The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition

Ahh … what just happened? There was no reference intended. My apologies if I have offended anyone.


Well, we will miss your updates but please do drop in once in awhile and let us know you are still afloat…!

To All - it was my hope by posting the destination early this year we could make it a little more relaxed affair without lots of time pressures. I might actually start sooner than later for the same reasons as everyone else…better not to get behind and feel any pressure.

Most importantly, everyone have fun!


I am about to start on my journey as well! I am pretty happy we got the destination this early, I was stoked to hear where we were going, and to start reading everyone’s reports.

The planning side of things are done. I’ll do a short hop from my local airport to EHAM to get started. Then I’ll visit some relatives near EGTE and then off to shannon airport (EINN) where I’ll be swapping frames for the big jump across the pond.

Crossing over, I’ll (hopefully) make it to JFK, from where I’ll head to Louisville and then Dallas-Fort Worth. My last stop in the continental US will be KLAX.

A visit to the Hawaiian islands will prelude my arrival at the final destination.

Some time ago, I predicted my journey would probably take slightly over ten thousand nautical miles, and around a day’s worth of stick time. It looks I was close, but not quite.


Propelling me forward on this great journey will be the (Flight Factor) 767-300ER for the longer treks and pond crossing action.

Shorter section action will be untertaken with the (Flight Factor) A-320


Still figuring out my route, but…

Think I found my ride.


Leg 1 EHBK —> EHAM

The last glimpses of sunlight as I attempt to summon the Airbus to life. I only had this aircraft for a few days, but start-up is pretty easy and straight-forward. Only three things had me slightly baffled, and only one was included during the start-up. It was the APU MASTER, and it sits deviously close to the APU starter :slight_smile:

Start-up went mostly as expected. Only INS3 was giving me troubles. I attempted to troubleshoot it like a real professional, namely by turning it off and on again. It attempted to allign each and every time but ended up going into faults again, so I ended up turning it off and flying on only one and two.

Working that MCDU magic…

… I eventually came up with this route.

Interesting turn before final, but winds are pretty strong and we have some localised precipitation, so shooting for an ILS on 27 is justified.

APU coming online

And here come the engines.

Don’t mind the error. It is apperently something that has to be cleared using the tablet. haven’t figured it out yet.

pretty long taxi session. I also have to roll down the runway and turn around, much to the dismay of the plane. “Warning runway 3300 feet remaining! Short runway, Short runway!

Getting ready to leave this place. Since we’re only lightly loaded for this short trip, I opted for a FLEX+75 take-off. I don’t really know how to calculate these, yet. Maybe CP has an insight to share? It turned out fine. This was also my second out of three confusing elements as I was learning the 'bus. The autothrottles don’t move the physical throttles. The jet was complaining to me in some sort of code I did not yet understand. The only thing my feeble mind was able to comprehend was “move throttles”, so I did, at which point the bus’s throttles announced they had TOGA, and all seemed fine. Now that I have a few hours in, I understand TOGA means take-off/Go-around. That has been explaining all the overspeeds and subsequent manual flying I had to do. I now understand that once in cruise, you can just leave the throttles in CLIMB.

Off the runway and above the clouds. Hitting some patches of rain here and there.

On our way to cruise, the rain looks very convincing. Perhaps difficult to see in this dark screenshot, the droplets on the glass distort the light very nicely. Very convincing to see in motion.

Having safely made it to the top of climb, the top of descent is already in sight on this short leg of the journey.

Precious few minutes over Eindhoven is the only time spent in cruise at maximum altitude.

In the descent. While take-off and climb FD and AP modes were perfectly understandle, descending was the last tricky concept my mind had to try and wrap around. Instead of a single descent mode, there are several. Atleast V/S did right what it says on the tin it should do, but understanding managed descent versus Open descent took some reading and getting used to. It seems that once a managed descent has been conscented to, the jet will fly the descent path as calculated by the MCDU. This is the mode I have chosen. The calculated path is shown on the altimeter as a magenta dot, and the wiggle on the navigation display indicates the point where the jet will intercept the calculated glide path. Open descent seems to be managed around speed instead, where the jet will use its pitch to control the speed. (CP?)

On the glidepath, continuing the descent.

EHAM comes into view. Just pressing the LS key auto-tunes the ILS for runway 27, fantastic.

Hitting a local patch of rough weather as I move through the turn I described earlier.

Coming up for runway 27, the weather is still rough but the visibility good. It became immediatley apparent that there is still quite the crosswind component, I should have adhered to the ATIS! but this will be a good testing enviroment for the auto-land. With both AP’s enabled but with one INS INOP, the jet seems to conscent to a CAT III Single. If I had all systems running, CAT III Dual would have been possible.

Quite the crosswind indeed. Fortunately it is not very gusty, and not shearing at all. I only had to take over to keep her on the centerline, and to activate the thrust reversers.

She seems to be catching quite a wind, and attempting to feather into the wind. Something I am not really used to from airliners, but then again, she can be up to about a hundred tons lighter than the 767 I usually fly.

At the gate!

and fully shut down

Distance travelled: 0.92%

Thanks for reading!


I haven’t started yet my grand trip to NSTU but I thought I’d just put a summary of my trip of the previous year so I can refer to it. I hope nobody will mind.

Christmas Island Challenge 2017

Tentative Route for Christmas Flight 2018

  • LEG 1: CYUL - KATL (Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, Montreal, Canada) - (Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta, US) - 864 nm - Airbus A319
  • LEG 2: KATL - KICT / (Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta, US) - (Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, Wichita, US) - 734 nm - Boeing 727-100
  • LEG 3: KICT- KABQ / (Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, Wichita, US) - (Albuquerque International Sunport, Albuquerque, US) - 471 nm - Grumman F-14A
  • LEG 4: KABQ - KPHX / (Albuquerque International Sunport, Albuquerque, US) - (Sky Harbor, Phoenix, US) - 294 nm - Saab 340A
  • LEG 5: KPHX- KSAN / (Sky Harbor, Phoenix, US) - (Lindbergh Field, San Diego, US) - 270 nm - Avro Lancaster Mk IB
  • LEG 6: KSAN - MMMX / (Lindbergh Field, San Diego, US) - (Benito Juárez, Mexico City, Mexico) - 1258 nm - Boeing 737-200 (First Try) / (Second Try)
  • LEG 7: MMMX - MPTO / (Benito Juárez, Mexico City, Mexico) - (Tocumen, Panama City, Panama) - 1300 nm - Boeing 757-200
  • LEG 8: MPTO - SKBO / (Tocumen, Panama City, Panama) - (El Dorado, Bogotá, Colombia) - 400 nm - English Electric Canberra PR.9
  • LEG 9: SKBO - SEQM / (El Dorado, Bogotá, Colombia) - (Mariscal Sucre, Tababela/Quito, Ecuador) - 380 nm - Boeing 737-700 NG
  • LEG 10: SEQU - SEMT / (Mariscal Sucre, Tababela/Quito, Ecuador) - (Eloy Alfaro International Airport, Manta, Ecuador) - 150 nm - Douglas C-47 Skytrain
  • LEG 11: SEMT- SLLP / (Eloy Alfaro International Airport, Manta, Ecuador) - (Aeropuerto Internacional El Alto, El Alto/La Paz, Bolivia) - 1256 nm - Boeing 717
  • LEG 12: SLLP - SCFA / (Aeropuerto Internacional El Alto, El Alto/La Paz, Bolivia) - (Andrés Sabella Gálvez International Airport, Antofagasta, Chile) - 458 nm - Grumman E-2C Hawkeye
  • LEG 13: SCFA- SACO / (Andrés Sabella Gálvez International Airport, Antofagasta, Chile) - (Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio Taravella International Airport, Córdoba, Argentina) - 750 nm - Avro Vulcan B.2
  • LEG 14: SACO- SCEL / (Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio Taravella International Airport, Córdoba, Argentina) - (Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, Santiago/Pudahuel, Chile) - 360 nm - McDonnell Douglas MD-82
  • LEG 15: SCEL - SCIP / (Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, Santiago/Pudahuel, Chile) - (Mataveri, Hanga Roa, Easter Island/Isla de Pascua) - 2029 nm - Boeing 747-8i
  • LEG 16: SCIP - NTAA / (Mataveri, Hanga Roa, Easter Island/Isla de Pascua) - (Aéroport international de Fa’a’ā, Tahiti, French Polynesia) - 2297 nm - Boeing 767-300ER
  • LEG 17: NTAA - NZQN / (Aéroport international de Fa’a’ā, Tahiti, French Polynesia) - (Queenstown International Airport, Frankton/Queenstown, New Zealand) - 2467 nm - Boeing 777-200LR
  • LEG 18: NZQN - NZWN / (Queenstown International Airport, Frankton/Queenstown, New Zealand) - (Wellington/Rongotai Airport, Wellington, New Zealand) - 164 nm - Douglas DC-6B
  • LEG 19: NZWN- NZAA / (Wellington/Rongotai Airport, Wellington, New Zealand) - (Auckland Airport, Auckland, New Zealand) - 259 nm - Lockheed L-049 Constellation
  • LEG 20: NZAA - NSTU / (Auckland Airport, Auckland, New Zealand) - (Tafuna/Pago Pago International Airport, Pago Pago, American Samoa) - 1563 nm - Douglas DC-8-50

Really nice to see the A320 in action.

Any aircraft suggestions for this years’ challenge? I’d like to try Maybe the 717, 727-100, 737-200, 747-8i, 757, 767, 777, 787, A319, A320, MD-82, DC-6… I’d like to spice things up a little.


I kind of figured we be knee deep in 737-200s and 727s with all the hype they’ve been getting in X-Plane of late. I think someone’s got to the one to break that seal.

Also be sure to check if they finally got all the sand out of the Rano Kau on Hanga Roa. Damn tricksters with their bunker sand.

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Maybe I’ll get off my ass and fly this route, however in typical me fashion, its going to be in some variety of fighter jet. I’m thinking historical F-4E out of Lakenheath :smiley:


Nice route…I was wondering if any North American pilots would go south and west like that. I’m thinking north then west then south.

You using X-Plane or P3D/FSX? There is some nice freeware Tahiti islands scenery that might be on your way:

The southern route is a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed “negotiating” (at 25,000 feet at Mach 1) the Andes, and I’m curious about further hopping through Polynesia. If I hadn’t done it the last time, I’d definitely do it this time. Needless to say I’m looking forward to Chuck’s dispatches.

I’ll be using both.

Thanks for the tip!

Chuck, I’m thinking that if you are going to be in Christchurch, you should hop over to Queenstown before heading up to Auckland.



I crossed a line. Giving myself a 1 month Mudspike break. (We all need them from time to time.)

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Unapproved. Or, if that doesn’t work, time accel times 64…means you get half a day off. See you this evening. :+1:


Yes! Thanks a lot, feel free to delve in to as much depth as you like! looking forward to the read. :coffee:

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Aaaand here we are. This is my first entry for the Christmas Challenge.

Click to reveal AAR

It’s a grey afternoon in Montreal. There is a low cloud layer but no rain. As I climb into my trusty A319, I fire up the APU and start the MCDU dance once again.

Start-up is painless; looks like all this studying I did on the A320 finally paid off! Taxiing is uneventful.

Taking off on CYUL Runway 24L

Up we go!

No fancy SID, this time. Direct to the next Waypoint VEVKU, above Cap Saint-Jacques.

Au revoir, Montreal!

Even waypoints remind me of that horrible hockey team we have (nicknamed the “Habs”).

Even with max passenger and cargo capacity, the A319 still climbs like a race car in comparison to the A320.


Crossing the US border

Near Syracuse, New York. Lake Ontario in the vicinity.

Heavy winds above PSB (Philipsburg)

Any idea why the blue stripes on the wing? I always wondered…

Washington DC and the Potomac River

Mountains of West Virginina and the Shenandoah Valley. Absolutely stunning.

Charlotte, with Lake Norman and Rodhiss Lake

Beginning of sunset


Oconee National Forest, with Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair

Approaching Atlanta

Wow… this city looks MASSIVE! Deploying speed brakes to slow down in a hurry.

Descending towards Runway 09L

Visibility is getting low

Last turn

Manual landing. Visibility is… err…

Almost there!

Landing is a bit long but very smooth

Slowing down

Thrust reversers because why not?

Looking for a parking spot

Enough for today.


Beautiful AAR! Good idea to use a “hide details” block!


Country road…

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Yeah like that the thread won’t be super cluttered.

John Denver never gets old. I actually drove through West Virginia when I visited Washington DC last summer. Breathtaking landscapes.

Great write-up, Chuck!

Since you’re open to suggestions, I was wondering if you’d like to do another leg or two in the Q400 this year? I’d love to see you work the Universal Avionics UNS-1.