The official 3rd Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2017 Edition


Alrighty, time for penultimate Leg 8!

I’ll depart from Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand (VTBD) and land in Changdi Airport in Singapore (WSSS). The flight is about 800 nm.

This time, I’m exploring an aircraft I’ve been wanting to fly for some time: the Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 by Majestic! I see them land and takeoff from CYUL all the time, therefore I just couldn’t not try it out. I read Q400 documentation in diagonal, and after a good hour or two of scribbling notes I feel I’m ready. I spawn on the tarmac, plug in ground power, start my IRS alignment and begin to plug data into the FMC.

I also open the door (SHIFT+E for those who don’t remember) since I need to talk to the ground crew and tell him to remove the landing gear locking pins. That’s done through the “DATA -> Services” menu of the FMC. I hear the passengers board the plane and the flight assistant greet everyone. I load up a good 12000 lbs of fuel, with about 70 passengers.

The FMC is quite different from anything I’ve seen from Boeing or Airbus, which makes me look for stuff for a good 15 minutes. As I turn on the tower frequency on COM1 and turn on the TCAS system, I am pleasantly surprised to hear classical music and a greeting message from the Majestic team through the radio. Nice easter egg! I fire up the APU and start my engines. The sound of the PW150A turboprop is truly jaw-dropping.

Taxiing is uneventful. As I reach the runway threshold, I make sure everything is set. Flaps at takeoff? Check. Takeoff trim? Check… Safety lever unlocked from the throttles? Check. Condition levers to Max? Oooh, almost forgot that one. Check.

As I throttle up, the Q400 accelerates nicely and climbs superbly.

See ya, Bangkok!

I won’t miss you and your invisible airport!

I climb up to 25000 ft and enter cruise without much trouble. It seems like what I’ve learned with the CRJ finally paid off!

As I cross the Gulf of Thailand, I marvel at the beauty of this cockpit. Majestic really did a great job with it.

The shores of Malaysia, at last! I’ve been flying for almost two hours already.

The sound design of this aircraft is remarkable. The engines sound exactly like what I hear every morning when I watch them takeoff. The Packs are also really noisy.

Still tracking my flight plan. So far so good.

There is Kelantan, home to some of the most ancient archaeological discoveries in Malaysia, including several prehistoric aboriginal settlements.

Crossing through stormy clouds. Thankfully, my icing protection systems are on and functioning well.

Now, time to take the STAR to Changdi Airport, Singapore.

Diving into the cloud layer. There’s minor turbulence.

I use my VNAV PATH planning, which generates a smooth descent. My speed is managed with gentle throttle inputs.

According to the STAR chart for the ILS of Runway 02L, I need to start my final approach from 3500 ft.

One last turn…

On final approach.

Localizer is captured, glide slope is good.

Making a few last ajustments.

Wow, Singapore is actually a much bigger city than I thought.

At roughly 1000 ft, I disconnect the autopilot and land manually.

The landing is qutie smooth.

As i set my thrust reversers to MAX REV, I’m surprised to see the Q400 come to an almost full stop! This aircraft can really land on a dime.

I didn’t even take half the runway. Great, now I have to slooowly taxi half the runway in front of everyone.

And there it is, Changdi Airport!

I hear my pilot talk through the intercom “Good afternoon everyone, welcome to destination.” It’s a really nice touch by Majestic. I genuinely felt like I had carried actual passengers safely to their vacation spot. Cool!

All right, now there’s just one last leg to do: Singapore-Christmas Island. I feel so far from home already…


Hey…that was a great flight in the Q400 - I think that was your smoothest thus far…maybe you’ve found your niche with the Q400! I don’t know how you are managing flipping to new airplane so frequently…a lot of them have some pretty significant differences in both systems and performance. You must be a quick study!


I’m definitely a prop guy… and a helicopter guy. :slight_smile:

Yeah, that one went smoothly but mostly because I didn’t rely too much on the autopilot on final. I find landing props to be more instinctive for some obscure reason.


Okie dokie, time for leg 9 to Christmas Island! The final one!

Departure: Changdi Airport, Singapore (WSSS)
Arrival: Christmas Island Airport (YPXM)

This time, I take one of my favourite rides: the A320 equipped with the CFM engines. I do a bit of research beforehand on Christmas Island. Since I first learned to fly it, I’ve become quite fond of the capabilities of this plane. I intend to fly the last 700 or so nautical miles with it.

The island seems fairly small and there is no ILS system to assist me in landing. I’ll have to eyeball it.

Boy, that runway looks short. The topography makes it look like the runway is on top of a plateau, which means I’ll have to come a bit high if I don’t want to risk smashing my gear on the rocky hill. I have a feeling the approach is gonna have to be very precise.

The sun rises in Singapore.

There isn’t much activity at Changdi Airport. As the passengers and the cargo is loaded up, I start my refueling procedure. A quick planning estimates it to 15000 lbs of fuel with an additional 5000 lbs of reserve in case something goes wrong.

I do the whole poutine again. External power on, program the FMGC, start the APU, start the engines, and taxi to runway 20L.

I contact the tower and the controller tells me to make a detour and take runway 20C instead. Will do!

As I do my last checks and press the “TO CONFIG” button to verify everything is in order, I take a deep breath. Let’s do this thing. I spool up the engines to 40 % N1, wait for them to stabilize, then I push them forward to TOGA.

The engines scream past the airport as I start climbing the SID towards waypoint ANITO.

I engage the autopilot and set up my climb to 35000 ft.

I overfly a couple of islands like Pulau Lingga. The weather is clear, wind is almost nil. It’s a nice change of pace in comparison to my legs in Canada and Alaska.

As I cruise over the Pacific Ocean, I can’t help but notice how peaceful and calm this whole area looks. Maybe, one day, I’ll get to visit for real.

Bangka Belitung Islands. I’m just about to turn south towards South Sumatra.

Time to turn South towards Sumatra, and then to Jakarta.

As I’m about to track Jakarta, I marvel at that beautiful Air Canada skin. I really like what Flight Sim Labs have been able to achieve.

Finally, I start tracking the LADIR waypoint, leading straight south towards Christmas Island.

Land ahoy!

I start my descent 85 nm from the XMX VOR, just to make sure I can reach the recommended 2300 ft in due time. Apparently, the airport elevation is about 916 ft. Better make sure my QNH is set properly, eh?

40 miles from Christmas Island, gear down, flaps 1, speed brake armed.

Rate of descent seems acceptable

20 miles from the island, full flaps.

The descent goes smoothly, visibility is great for a visual landing.

At last, I see the PAPI lights.

Oh boy… that airport really IS 900-ish feet above mean sea level!

I do disengage the autopilot and perform a wide right hand turn in order to line up properly.

As I’m about to hit the runway threshold, a draft of wind sucks me up and rattles my stall warning. I push the nose down and throttle up to gain back speed and kick my rudder to keep my nose lined up with the runway.

The landing is super smooth. Apart from that last minute surprise, I barely felt a thing. I come up on the runway a bit fast, but I slam the brakes and activate my thrust reversers.

Ugh, that runway certainly “feels” shorter than I expected!

I go a bit long but I can eventually stop before the end of the runway. Phew!

The runway is wide enough for me to use my nosewheel steering to do a 180 and taxi back to the airport building.

I finally made it to Christmas Island, everyone, after more than 10000 nm!

I stop in front of a gas station.

Time to hop off and chug some beer.

Finally! What an adventure! Flying and learning the FS Labs A320, IXEG 737-300, PMDG 747, Rotate MD80, Aerosoft CRJ 900 and Majestic Q400 was quite an experience. It’s an amazing feeling.


Congrats on being the first person to make it to Christmas Island this year! Your flight adventures were fantastic to read…thanks for documenting them so well. I guess I have to get off my butt and start heading that way too. If I wait too long, all the beer will be gone on the island…!


Let me understand the premise of this, as I wasn’t here for the inaugural flight . We start out from our home base and fly to Christmas Island? Switching aircraft is acceptable? Must you have cargo space, or can you be a fast mover (for expedited packages)?


Apparently you can sail if you wish. Stop being difficult.


Lol linebacker with the sass


Yeah, the journey is yours to interprete as you wish basically, from Wright Flyer to Space Shuttle, from sailboat to submarine.


Be there in a jiffy


There is no huge rush to get there. I set out early because I know my schedule will interfere as we get closer to Christmas. I have to admit that I am making better progress than I had anticipated though.

I’m considering taking the trip all the way back to Austin as a circumnavigation (going the wrong way around the world). I’ll sit at Christmas Island until the new year though I think.


Good idea, count me in pls :slight_smile:


Are you sailing there?? Courageous!!


Yes, and I too will start my journey to the Christmas Island. The first leg, Boston to Narsasuaq.


Finally, leg 2. Yes my progress is not overwhelming…

Leg 2 goes from LOWI to LOWS. A pretty short flight but short enough to make it a hard trip.

When I came to the airport the weather was so good that I chose a scenic departure, down runway 26 and then nicely through the wally on MOGTI 1X departure, until I reach 13’000 ft. For such a short flight (124 nm) this departure is a bit an overkill. The departure is by the way an RNP departure. Not exactly sure what this but it looks like it has special performance requirements and it also requires special authorisation. I’m sure @BeachAV8R or someone else knows these type of departures. Is it realistic to fly such a special performance departure with a DC-6? I have to admit that I struggled a bit to follow the altitude requirements (wet takeoff then METO power) with my heavily loaded DC-6 but I was quite close.

Ok, lets start with this flight. I pick up the plane where I left it. Before I left the plane, I saved the scenario and so I was able to reload it and take over the airplane in exactly the same state as I left it. I’m however not entirely sure if this was a good idea. Later in the flight I had weird and annoying autopilot issues. Not sure if it had anything to do with this.

However, the takeoff was very nice and the departure a real enjoyment. Have a look and keep in mind that I have an old iMac and low graphic settings…

After that nice departure, my flight however got a bit difficult. The autopilot disconnected all the time and I had no clue why. You need to keep in mind that the DC-6 (in hard core mode) does not have an aural warning when the autopilot disconnects. I think there is only a read light on pedestal that indicates the disconnect. As I never had that before I’m wondering if this was a side effect of the loaded scenario. However I somehow got distracted and from then on failed to make anymore screenshots…


An awesome exposition of some fine add ons! If I didn’t have such an inexplicable aversion to modern, “computerized” aircraft in my “sim life”, I’d be inspired to pick at least a couple of them up, based on your flights. Great stuff!

Sail planes and sail boats. ROFL!

In all truth, I’m wondering if I might get “disqualified”. Last year’s trek stated words to the effect of “any sim you like”. This year’s “rules”, which were published after I left port, state “flight”, and go as far as listing the simulators that can be used. In any case, I will continue the voyage. And…

…my plan, too. Across the Indian Ocean, along the clipper tea trade routes, the South Atlantic to round Cape Horn, and up the coast of South America to Salinas. I’ll also be pausing at Christmas Island, to do the rest slowly later, and allow the Sailaway simulator to get some updates to see if some issues are sorted out.

Yesterday, I was able to pick up the voyage again from where I had left off, sea anchor deployed, off Tabwakea, the north western corner of the island. With the wind still insistently from the south, it was time to beat up wind, which I accomplished in four tacks…

In St. Stanislas Bay, once the “hook” of London port, north of Cook Island, was rounded, constant reference to the map was necessary, as often there was only one or two fathoms under the keel. I shortened sail and reduced progress to a crawl…

…and made it without any incident…

Anyway, as I sit at anchor at the port of London, Kritimati, here’s the third installment on the “flashback” to how it all started…

September 27, 2017

Guayaquil. I’d made it this far, but still had another 66 miles to cover to get to Salinas, where Gary, our Operations Manager, would be waiting for me, presumably with my alternate aircraft that had a high altitude “performance problem”. Probably some old flying boat, I guessed.

Speaking of which, I managed to have a quick look at the AOG DC-6 that should have been my aircraft for the trip, all painted up in Berlin Airlift “Spirit of Freedom” colors. Not exactly right, as they used C-54s, but might have been good for commemorative purposes flying through Germany on the way back…

Not to be, though. I continued the glider flight in the Twin Astir. Another aerotow, and away to the south west of the port city of Guayaquil…

There were no more mountains, so this was going to be a thermals only flight. Being somewhat staid and inhibited as a result of years of not flipping a switch or pressing a button if there wasn’t an authorized document somewhere telling me why, how and when I should do so to back me up, I had found the first leg of the journey uneasy and uncomfortable with getting back into that “freedom of flight” thing. But some of my old glider days flamboyance was slowly coming back. Daring to let myself get a little low on a fast glide, taking a chance on a thermal that should be there (provided I could see a landable field nearby if it wasn’t), pulling up in a chandelle when the ASI twitched, and finding myself reasonably well centered once the maneuver was over…

Off three good climbs along the route, I was in range for the final dash into Salinas…

“Silently buzzing” (LOL!) the airfield at almost VMAX…

…pull up…

…turn into circuit, and I was there at last…

1 hour 13 minutes.

Gary was indeed waiting for me. He took me for a drive across to the town of Salinas, making some idle chatter, and stopped before the bay. I assumed he was taking me to my accommodation for the night.

“So, what have I got?” I asked, eventually. “The Grob all the way?”

“No, no,” he laughed. “Would I do that to you? No. I had an idea. It occurred to me while I was recently at Monaco, testing the new car I’m getting myself,” he paused for dramatic effect. I waited for him to continue…

“Seeing all those boats in the marina reminded me that you have some of the old ‘salt water heritage’ in your blood, right?”

I winced,

“Well, not me, really. My paternal grandfather was a ship’s pilot for Barrow in the first third of the 1900’s. He had a couple of boats, a ketch and a small lugger, I understand. Most of his family before that had something or another to do with either sailing or ship building, too. But, how do you know that?”

“Yes, that little ‘grandfather vocation’ detail is on the copy of your birth certificate, in our personnel file on you. So, I thought you might like to start off the trip with that,” Gary pointed out into the bay of Salinas…

“You have got to be joking, now,” I gasped.

“Not at all. You’ve come this far without using any fuel. Now, let’s see where this Green thing really stands, okay?”

Everything was pretty unreal at this moment. This image flashed spontaneously through my mind…


Good to see you continuing the flight @Fsjoe! I love seeing that DC-6 in action!

About this…

You wouldn’t really be able to do a SAAAR RNP with the DC-6. Look at the notes; Dual GNSS and at least one IRU or equivalent. You only have one GPS, with very limited integration to the AP, and no IRU at all. Plus, these STARs would be flown on a fully integrated FMS equipped aircraft on AP, capable and certified specifically for compliance with all the RNAV path terminators applicable to the departure.

This does not detract at all, however, from the fun reading about you flying it! Great flight!


Yes you are right. I also read that this is the departure for airliners which definitely have different equipment :wink:

If I read correctly, the performance refers only to navigational performance, not to engine performance. Is this correct? It would somehow surprise me as I would also like to make sure I can leave this valley with one or even two engines out…


Ha…! I’m writing about Narsarsuaq for my next PC Pilot article. Tough little airport with some fun approaches - particularly if the weather is down. And no alternates for hundreds of miles… Good luck!


Memanbetsu (RJCM) to Chubu (RJGG).

It was a pretty decent day when we left Memanbetsu.

As we proceeded South, the cloud layer thickened up, but there were some decent holes to look down through.

Coasting out, leaving the Northern island of Hokkaido behind us.

I dropped down below the cloud deck just before crossing the coast of Honshu, the largest of Japan’s Islands at Hachinohe.

I stayed under the overcast for about 20 miles but the terrain was rising ahead of me, while the clouds were not, so I decided to climb before it became too much of a problem.

Once again, on top of the layer. For this leg I used the experimental clouds mod for X-Enviro. I think they look great overall.

Some time later, a first glimpse of Japan’s most famous natural landmark: Mt Fuji.

After passing Mt Fuji, my plan was to land at Shizuoka (RJNS), but it turns out that it isn’t in the scenery database, so, I pushed on about 70nm West to Chubu (RJGG). The airport is built on a manmade island near the city of Tokoname.

The weather wasn’t great for the approach…

But it was a lot better once I was at the runway…

Parked on the GA ramp. It looks like they have quite the cargo operation here!