The official 3rd Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2017 Edition


I like all those stories in this forum. Virtual aviation at its best and with a broad variety. Really entertaining and an excellent alternative while I sould keep away from the x-plane org forums.

@Cygon_Parrot I never tried out a glider. How realistic do you think are the thermals modeled in x-plane? Your AAR and your route makes a pretty realistic impression. Are the thermals placed where you would expect them in real life, i.e. based on wheather (cumulus) or based on specific ground surfaces or landscape shapes?

I hope you will somehow be able to get access to a DC-6. I’m sure some alaskan airline or someone like Dietrich Mateschitz (owner of the Flying Bulls) will be able to lease you a DC-6! During my meet up in Salzburg I can ask him :wink:


Definitely - lost two Sharks to that in the Deployment campaign, during persistent high altitude flight.


The packing is done and the essentials for the journey are loaded into my empty torpedo tubes.
Including Beer and Women

Cast off fore and aft, gangplank ashore, all hands to stations

Glad to be free of this smokey, damp pen and feel the sun on our backs and the wind in our faces. At least till we submerge :slight_smile:

Clearing the harbour we sail hard through the Kettegat and along to the end of the Skagerak with Kristiansand of our Starbord beam
Course plotted to take us up and around the Orkney Islands and SW into the Western Approaches. We will run silent and deep during daylight and surface tonight to shoot the stars and set on our course for the Azores :slight_smile:

Off to polish my Sextant


:joy: For you @Cib! Gut fahrt!

“Wunderbar! Wunderbar! Kopenhagen!”

I predict that some of those evil anti-Christmas delivery Englanders will be attempting to hinder your voyage along the way.

Hope you didn’t leave all your torpedo tubes empty (empty of torpedoes, that is)!


Not thermals, no. They are pretty random in generation location, appearing at about the density you set percentage-wise, and stay pretty constant up to the AGL tops you set, at which point they fade off very quickly. They also do not behave properly in a wind. By that I mean you have to employ the turn around a point, as on “eights around pylons”, wind correction technique to stay in them, reducing bank on the into wind section of the turn and steepening it on the downwind half. In other words, they seem to stay “fixed” to the geographic location where they spawn. This is not right, they should drift away with the wind, and the fade off of the lift should be more gradual, starting narrow and strong, ending wide and gentler towards the top. There is no association of cumulus with them that I can tell, at all.

However, they are usable. I do want to add, nonetheless, that a recent update of XP11 sort of “broke” the variometer behavior. It works kind of “backwards”, at the moment…

Ridge lift, on the other hand, is pretty much predictable, and appears (if a little bit too strong for a given wind, perhaps) where you would expect to find it. There is also the expected sink to leeward of a ridge. This is the best modeled and why I preferred to use it on this trip.

Regarding wave lift, I believe it is totally absent.

Yeah, I once heard someone else on a TS mention this, for the DC-6 in XP11, but I didn’t follow up with any questions, myself. Could you explain what is happening? Strangely, for me, the DC-6 pressurization does maintain a good cabin differential, and works fine if I have beforehand set the cruise altitude in the gauge. The only thing that does seem a bit “iffy” is the manual pressurization control, which does not seem to work at all.

Now that route is keeping things interesting. Looking forward to the flight reviews!

Pretty sure they wouldn’t want to trust such a prize possession to a member of the species “Common Bus Driver”, but you can try! Thanks! :grinning:


Second Leg: Second Attempt

This flight from KBFI (Boeing Field) to PANC (Anchorage) went much better this time.The flight was about 1200 nm.

I was better prepared this time: I actually checked the weather reports beforehand. Sky was scattered with clouds but we had overall a pretty good visibility.

Bye bye Seattle!

I flew over British Colombia and its gorgeous mountains. It was quite a sight.

I reached FL360 without problems and started my descent as I crossed the Alaska shoreline. The sun was beginning to fall below the horizon.

I ran into a couple of issues with my VNAV profile since it would stick me to a level altitude to prevent me from smashing myself in mountains covered in clouds. I flew part of the descent manually and eventually reached PANC. I couldn’t quite catch the ILS for runway 7L as I initially planned, so I did a manual approach.

I had to go around the first time since my glide slope was too high. After lining up a second time, I could land it without much problem.

Second leg complete!


@Cygon_Parrot: interesting stuff about the thermals in XP. Sounds not perfect but still quite good!

I only read that the plane fails to pressurize in XP 11. One suggested fix is to set the following data ref to 5: sim/cockpit2/pressurization/actuators/bleed_air_mode

Yes my route has some interesting destinations and by the way is close to the Hump routes which I initially wanted to properly include. However the classical Hump airfields do no longer exist and due to my limited time I did not want to create these old airfields on my own, even though I already started doing that a while ago… My setup would have been the LES DC-3 in XP 10 while waiting for the new update and for the airports I started creating my own ones using some Khamsin’s objects from the wonderful pacific islands sceneries…)


Nicely done Chuck! I think you are going to catch up to my DC3 in no time. :slight_smile:


So, a quick report on the leg from Petropavlovsk to Iturup (UHSI), which ended up at Memanbetsu, Japan.

The intended route:

It was a nice day at Petropavlovsk as we departed. In the distance we can see the distinctive cone of the Vilyuchik volcano.

Passing Vilyuchik.

Off to the right we see the Opala Volvano with the summit jutting up into the cloud layer.

Down by the river somewhere there is a useful NDB Ozernaya (NS). Out to sea, the Alaid Volcano is barely visible to the right, and Paramushir to it’s left.

A short time later we get a better view…

While glancing behind us, we say farewell to the Kamchatka Peninsula.

We now follow the Kuril Islands all the way to Itutup. There are several big volcanoes along the chain, a recurring theme since our route met with the infamous Ring of Fire, all the way back in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. The Kretnitsyn Volcano, at the Southern end of Onekotan Island, has to be one of the most interesting I have seen so far on this trip. A large, flooded Caldera with a prominent secondary cone that forms an island, within an island.

As we progress down the island chain, we get out first glimpse of our intended destination.


Unfortunately, I neglected to take any shots of where the airport should be. I picked up the navaids but there was no runway to be found. With plenty of fuel remaining, the best course of action was to press on to the Japanese mainland. I decided on Memanbetsu (RJCM) as our new destination. It has an 8202 ft runway with a good selection of instrument approaches.

As we cross Japanese coast, it becomes obvious that the weather here is deteriorating.

Still hoping to get a visual approach I descend to stay below the cloud layer…

But it wasn’t getting any better, so I set up for an ILS Approach to runway 18. I selected the ILS Z approach to Runway 18 as that utilizes a DME Arc to feed you onto the final approach. I haven’t manually flown a DME arc for years, so I thought it would be interesting to see how it would turn out… here is the approach:

So, with the ILS dialed into Nav 1, and the VOR to Nav 2, I approached the field until the DME read 14nm and then started a turn to put the VOR off my left wing. Then, using 10 degree course adjustments I flew around the arc, paying close attention to the DME reading. At the expected time, the Localizer came in on the OBI and I followed that in for the ILS. It wasn’t my best approach, bit overall I was quite happy that I found myself on final, in a position to land.

Safely on the ground…

After landing I took a peek at the map to see how my arc looked. Pretty decent all things considered. :sunglasses:


Funny how I don’t seem to need to do that. Perhaps I got my DC-6 module after they had done a bug fix, or something? It has always worked fine, as can be seen on some of the shots on the first post on this FSE thread

@PaulRix You are producing some absolutely amazing screenies!


Only 42 leagues to Kritimati, now. Just a tad over 12 hours.

A little while ago, I was able to do my last sun zenith check to establish longitude the old fashioned way. There is a lot to rabbit on about, regarding some of my experiments with these celestial navigation methods, but I’ll start short and sweet with this one.

I’ve managed to establish that the cardinal points on the so-called “Tactical View” (the ring of bearings you can bring up) are geographic (true) and not magnetic. This was important, of course…

As there is no sextant (this sim needs one, and a good number of the Sailaway community is crying out for it, too), nor a graduation into the sky similar to what the Tactical View does for azimuth, the method of establishing zenith is primitive. I look south and center the view on the “S”…

As the vessel is gently pitching, you need to wait until an instant just before the horizon is level, then pan the view straight up to see the sun. Here you can see it is still slightly left (east, that would be) of the screen center…

Try again a little later. When the sun is directly above the “S”, then it is on the same meridian as you…

Immediately record the UTC time. Historically, this was the last part of celestial navigation that was sorted out satisfactorily, as it relied on an accurate marine chronometer. Establishing latitude, on the other hand, had already been possible for a long while, using elevation of the sun or stars, without any need to refer to time. Paradoxically, establishing latitude on the sim, however, is very hard, as there is, first, no way to measure elevation, and second, there is still something wrong with the night sky in this early release of the game. I’ll talk more about that some other time.

So, the time was 22:20 UTC, with the sun on my meridian (whichever that one was). I do this without “peeking” at the in game position functions, then look at the GPS display later to check my accuracy.

It has been 10 hours, 20 minutes since it the sun was over the Prime Meridian. Since then, it has changed its relative position westwards at a rate of 15º per hour.

15º x 10 hrs = 150º
15’ x 20 mins = 300’
300’ / 60 minutes to the hour = 5º

150º + 5º = W 155º

Now, I’m no astronomer, but this was exactly right, according to the sim, when I looked at the GPS. If anyone sees me doing something wrong there, shout, please, because…

In reality, for some reason I simply cannot get to the bottom of, those times of the sun over the meridian are different. The sun (today) was over meridian W 155º at the time 22:04, according to Stellarium…

And according to Day and Night website

(Ignore that 23:04, it is actually 22:04 UTC. That is the fault of that ridiculous DST thing that I really wish we could do away with, like right now. It is totally archaic and useless to the present day world).

I continue to ponder all this celestial navigation thing, with some confusion abounding. Maybe I need to look into the sidereal rotation side of it, even though by rights I shouldn’t, as this method is based off a solar day, not a 360º axis rotation (?)… :dizzy_face:


Should I tell him? Or do you guys want to tell him?


LoL, I do believe that @Cygon_Parrot is planning to visit both Christmas Islands on his epic voyage.


Just curious, have you ever read North Star Over My Shoulder by Robert Buck? It is a great read. There was one part of the book where he flew a B17 from somewhere in the Aleutians to Midway Island using celestial navigation. That’s pretty amazing to me because they actually made it. That took courage and a lot of confidence. I really should get myself an Octant. I’m guessing they aren’t cheap though.


Now for Leg 3: PANC (Anchorage) to UHPP (Petropavlovsk-Kamtchatski).

Time to cross the Pacific Ocean for 1700 nm until landing in Russia.

It’s a quiet, grey afternoon at Anchorage as I enter my flight plan in the FMC of my IXEG 737-300 Classic. I’ve grown quite fond of that plane during my trip from Boeing Field to Anchorage, so I think I’ll be a little better prepared this time. I plan a good 34000 lbs of fuel for the ride and I intend to climb to FL330.

The ascension is a bit foggy and visibility is a bit poor during the climb.

I follow the mesmerizing Alaska Range, which is covered mostly by clouds. Still, it’s quite a pretty sight.

I hardly notice crossing into the Pacific Ocean since it’s covered by a thick cloud layer. It seems like this white tapestry never ends. :open_mouth:

I spot a small aircraft carrier near the ENM waypoint. The seas seem stormy down below.

The cruise is very uneventful, apart form a nasty crosswind that rattles the plane once in a while. Still, the autopilot keeps me on track. The Pacific Ocean is huge and this part of the flight is quite boring.

Eventually, I reach the shores of Kamchatka. Small mountains peak over the cloud layer.

I spot the Koryaksky volcano, towering over Avacha Bay.

Seeing all these mountains and this low cloud layer makes me uneasy. I still remember that crash in Alaska during my first attempt. I timidly begin my descent, making sure I clear any obstacle. However, I overfly the STAR approach since my descent was too timid and need to fly manually. At that point, I’d better be safe than sorry. I take a deep breath and carefully dive into the soup. At 2500 ft, I see the ground at last.

I get my bearings pretty rapidly and see the airport not too far away. Raindrops on my cockpit windows and a nasty crosswind up the stress levels a bit.

Through the fog, I spot the air strip at last.

I crab until I finally cross the runway threshold.

Almost there!

I come a little bit nose high but overall the landing is pretty smooth.

Aaand wheels down!

Runway 34 Right.

Water splashes away on the wet runway.

Look at these mountains, I bet they’re quite a sight in good weather!

Going to the parking area. I can breathe, now.

Ugh… I feel exhausted.

Full stop. I’m pretty glad I made it in one piece again. :slight_smile:

It’s a bit unfortunate that out of my three landings, I had to land manually every time, which I think is good practice. This way, I make sure I don’t over-rely on the autopilot. It seems like by chance there was always something preventing me from using the ILS (bad descent, failing to capture glide slope or localizer, or just running out of gas seconds before hitting the runway).

Phew, now time to take a little break for beer-o’-clock (local time).


Nice job Chuck! Where are you heading next?



I don’t know… any suggestions? Japan, maybe?


Maybe to Sapporo (RJCC) to pick up some beer? I was going to head there for my next stop, but after diverting to Memanbetsu the other day, I am thinking of heading straight down to Tokyo. We will see. I still might drop in on Sapporo as I have flown in and out of there in the Global a couple of years ago. And yes, I can claim to have had a Sapporo beer in Sapporo…:beers:


Sapporo? Me likes! There are a number of aircraft I’d like to do this leg with (MD80, or 747) but I don’t feel comfortable enough in them yet. I guess I’ll just stick to the A320 or the 737-800 NG for that one.