The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition



Nice save(s) NickJZX. I’m always amazed at the bush flying that gets done in AK and Canada on old equipment without anti ice.


Beautiful screens Chick Chuck_Owl. The Saab is definitely pleasing to the eyes and your airport scenery is outstanding.


Lulz. :no_mouth:


Ha. Daoh, first cup of coffee.


It was a wild flight, so far none of us have had any sort of luck with the weather out here. Everything is either crazy low vis or some wild wind gusts! Makes for some fun approaches!


So, back home. Now, what are my options?

I am at Covenas (SKCV) with 39 Gallons. I have these jobs…

MAD Jobs

Note: Surprisingly, the passengers become more patient once they are en-route. Those two jobs in progress should have expired already, but because they are on their way, they seem willing to wait 20 days! I kind of like these passengers (and patient “cargo” of course!).

And this is the route to Barranquilla (SKBQ), where there is fuel, and reasonably cheap, for MAD’s benefit…

120 Statute Miles.

I have been producing specific ranges of between 0.33 to 0.36 Gallons per Statute Mile on my flights, so far. Let us take an average. 0.345 G/Sm. That gives me 0.345 x 120 = 41.4 Gallons.

Apparently, I cannot make it to Barranquilla. However, I have been flying the Trimotor a little fast on these flights, to get them over quickly. I would wager I can squeeze more out of it. As it is a fixed pitch, there will be an air speed at which the propeller is at its most efficient. Anything either side will result in increasing inefficiency and thereby, wasted fuel. The problem is, I have no documentation on what this speed might be. I can guess, however, that I have not been flying it at the most efficient speed by a reasonable margin. I have been cruising between 120 to 125 mph at lower altitudes, and 105 to 110 mph at higher altitudes, IAS. I’m willing to try a 10% decrease on that speed, and see how it goes.

Whatever the case, it will be tight, so I need a back up plan. That plan will be an inflight redispatch to Cartagena (SKCG), where there is also fuel. If, by the point abeam Cartagena, conveniently an easily identifiable swamp-lake (ciénega, the Colombians call it) along the course, I have 15 Gals FOB or less, I divert to Cartagena, and arrive with 8 Gallons remaining, at the consumption demonstrated. If more, I press on…

See, I have no jobs to Cartagena, and landing there without seeing first if I can make Barranquilla would loose MAD money again. :smiley:

So, a voyage of “rediscovery” with the Trimotor coming up. Leaving in a few minutes, report soon…


Leg 5 Ordu (LTCB) to Noshahr (OINN)

Heading further east from one small unknown airport to another small unknown airport. This is now a longer 686 nm flight over Anatolia and northern Iran.

The winds at FL290 would favor a more southern route but for safety reasons I prefer to stay north as this allows me to stay further away from Syria. The FAA proposes a 200nm safety boundary (probably due to the S300 missile system which has about this range) around Syria which I’m going to scratch a little bit in the north-eastern part.

I understand that most war activities are currently happening in the western part of the country so that the north-east should not be a big issue.

My fully packed TBM-900 together with 270 gallons of fuel is now rather on the heavy side and the CG pretty much aft and close to the landing getting even further back. I’m wondering how much of a difference it will be with such a heavy loaded aircraft…

With the long runway, the wight of course is not an issue at all…

The aircraft climbs nicely almost as if the load would but nothing unusual…

Having experienced fuel shortage in one of my previous flights and now that I’m flying over mountainous terrain with very few airports on the route I do regular fuel checks. At least every half hour or at every waypoint I compare Expected Fuel on Board vs. Actual Fuel on Board and notice that I’m always safely above the expected value.

The sun gets down soon and I fly into the pitch black night.

After about 2h and 30 minutes I have the runway in front of me.

One can nicely see the lights showing the cost line as Noshahr is at the south of the Caspian Sea. I touch down nicely (I think I finally get used to this aircraft!) and shut down on the taxiway as this is the only thing of the airport that is actually modelled.

Maybe I could have chosen a nicer airport but at night it looks ok :wink:


I planned for my TBM-900 270 Gallons for my 686nm flight which makes about 0.39 USG per nm and 0.35 per statute. Not much of an improvement in regards to fuel/distance ratio in the last 50 years :laughing:

also considering that the trimotor is heaver and takes more load…


Fifth entry for the Christmas Challenge.


Click to reveal AAR

I’ve finally decided to pick up the Aeroplane Heaven Lancaster Mk IB. We’re flying in “G for George” (AR-G, W4783) from the RAAF No. 460 Squadron. This Lancaster flew 90 missions over Germany (90!) and occupied Europe between 1942 and 1944 without the loss of a single crewmember. Retired in 1944, “G for George” was flown to Australia to assist in the War Bonds drive. Post war, it was left to decay in the open air at RAAF Base Fairbairn, before being moved to the AWM in the early 1950s.


I have a special thing for the Lancaster. It’s one of the few airworthy WWII planes I’ve had the chance to see fly in Gatineau in the Wings Over Gatineau airshow… and then we were allowed to hop inside and visit it and talk to the pilots.

Caution: the bomb bay is H-U-G-E!

The crew enters by the side door

The Lanc’… What a truly magnificent plane.

Fueling up. There are “simulator switches” on the flight engineer panel that call the ground power cart and the refueling truck. Notice the ground power unit on the third engine: this is the first one we have to start in the start-up sequence. Nice touch from the developer.

First, we set the battery on (panel to the left of the pilot seat).

Then, we close the bomb bay doors. There’s a nice little menu that you can use by pressing LSHIFT+1, or you can just use the bomb bay lever in the picture above.

Doors open

Doors closed

On the Electrical Panel, we also need to make sure both generator and alternator switches are ON

Then, we switch over to the Flight Engineer Panel, and then set Starboard and Port fuel tank selector wheels (in red) to the No. 2 Tank. Don’t forget to lock them into position using the middle mouse button.

Checking fuel with the Fuel Contents switch.

Then, we switch on all four Fuel Booster Pump switches (DOWN = ON).

We then hold the Oil Dilution for No. 3 engine for 4-5 seconds. We shouldn’t need it, but it won’t hurt with these old, temperamental Merlin engines.

Pitot Heat ON

The engine start sequence is: 3, 4, 2 and 1.

Interestingly, this sequence order is based on the fact that only the inner engines carry generators to power the aircraft’s internal electrical systems, while the outboard engines have alternators.

So, about that engine start:

  • Setting parking brake
  • Propeller pitch levers to Full Fine
  • Fuel cock for engines 3 and 4 Open
  • Magnetos for Engine 3 and 4 On
  • Master Ignition switch On
  • Radiator Shutter switch - Auto
  • Cracking up engine 3 throttle to half an inch

Clear prop!

Flipping the starter cover for engine 3, pressing the switch… and I get a first failed engine start. I wait a minute, then try again. As the Merlin roars into life and engine parameters rise up, I get a strange tingly feeling in my groin area.

Sing, Merlin bird, sing!

Engine run-up goes smoothly, oil pressures and temperatures look good, coolant temperature looks good too.

Generators and Alternators OK.

Closing doors (LSHIFT+E), releasing parking brake setting Navigation lights On and taxiing to Runway 26

I may or may not have left quite an oily mess behind me

Cracking up the window for some fresh oil-scented air

Taxiing towards Runway 26. I use a mix of left/right throttle control and differential braking.

Taking position on the treshold

Prepar3d can look good too!

Aligning my compass. I rotate the bezel (compass ring) until the red N is opposite the cross of the needle. The white lubber line indicates a heading of roughly 260, which shows that we’ve aligned this properly with the runway heading.

Setting all my radiators to OPEN

Another british-ism: you actually have to turn on the Flaps Meter Indicator Power switch in order to read the position of the flaps. Setting flaps 20 for takeoff and a little nose down trim.

Ready for takeoff. Manual prescribes the following:

  • Set propeller pitch levers to full fine pitch
  • Open throttles eventuly and slowly, advancing the port throttles slightly to overcome any tendency to swing as you accelerate
  • Push the controls forward to assist the tail off the ground as soon as possible after opening to full takeoff power
  • Aircraft should be held in this position until at least 95 mph is achieved
  • At around 100 mph, ease the controls back to liftoff

How hard could it be? I allow my speed to build up to 130 and the aircraft flies itself off the runway.

Positive rate, reaching 500 ft. Gear up, flaps up.

Switching off fuel booster pumps

Climbing at 170 mph, steering 245, starting the clock. 106 nm to go in that direction.

Goodbye, Phoenix!

Settings for climb (Merlin XX): 2850 RPM, + 9 boost. Since these engines are old, I’ll settle for 2650 RPM and + 4 boost (Max Continuous).

View through the navigator’s office

View through the radio operator’s office

Back in the “old days”, radio and navigation frequencies used preset frequencies. The radio operator had to manually set every red, blue and yellow knob and match letter codes.

The developer also implemented a secret panel that uses a modern radio. Here, we have our frequencies set to the KSAN ATIS and the KSAN ILS.

Flying over the desert

I still can’t get over how bloody gigantic this plane is

It’s getting hot in here. The Lanc’ is like a greenhouse. Let’s use that retractable curtain.

Aaah… much better now.

Once I reached roughly 28,000 ft, I try to figure out the autopilot. As it turns out, the “Auto Controls” aren’t too complicated. First, you set the AP control lever to SPIN, and the AP Clutch lever to IN.

Once you’ve got the AP armed, you can engage it by setting the AP Control Lever to IN (FWD). Then, you can steer the aircraft using the Steering lever and set the aircraft attitude with the Attitude selector.

View from the Bombardier panel

A better view

View from the Astrodome

Are we there yet?

View from the front turret

Doesn’t look very comfortable…

So far so good. No catastrophic failures yet.

Approaching Yuma. I was supposed to come by the North but wind drift brought me south of the town instead. At least we know where we are. Here’s the Colorado river.

Gulf of California in the distance

We can observe the Planta de Energía Geotérmica Cerro Prieto ( Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station) on the Mexican border.

Salton Sea

Mount Laguna

Checking the fuel in the auxiliary tanks. 400 UK gal total, same as on takeoff since I didn’t use the aux tanks.

We’re still good on fuel. We left with roughly 1500 UK gal, and we’re starting our approach with about 1300 UK gal. I may have gone overboard with the fuel reserve. After all, it was a rather short trip (270 nm).

Reaching KSAN airspace. The ATIS announces that Runway 9 is in use, so I’ll have to change my initial plan to land on Runway 27.

Approaching San Diego

For the approach, the manual says:

  • At 1500 ft, set speed to 135 mph with -1 lb boost and 2400 RPM. Set flaps 25 deg. Adjust trim
  • Once trimmed, increase throttle to 2650 RPM and +2 lbs boost and lower the undercarriage. Adjust trim.
  • At 600 ft, you should be on final at 130 mph, +2 lbs boost (level flight).
  • Reduce power to -2 to 0 lbs boost to achieve a descent rate of 400 ft per minute.
  • At 150 ft, lower flaps fully, open throttle to 2850 RPM and +2 boost.
  • Once over the treshold, close throttles and allow aircraft to settle on the main wheels.
  • Do not apply braking until tailwheel has touched down. Hold stick back for the remaining rollout and apply braking.

Swinging by MCAS/NAS Miramar to get to KSAN’s runway 9

On final

Easy there… that Lanc’ handles quite sluggish during the approach.

Almost there

Bombardier is about to need a new set of undies

Throttling up since I’m a bit too slow but the descent rate is good

Good landing. I came in a bit too slow: I did a perfect three-pointer instead of landing on both main gears as prescribed in the manual. Phew!

Clearing the runway

More Southwest planes… these guys are everywhere!

Shutting down the engines

Wow… that was a hell of a ride!


Nice AAR with the Lanc. :sunglasses:



Fantastic! I’d love a study level Lanc.


This AAR makes me want to do a guide for the Lancaster so bad :slight_smile: Not everything is simulated, but much more than I initially thought. I learned plenty just writing this AAR, which is sort of a mini-guide by itself when you think about it…


If that Lancaster was available for X-Plane I would buy it in an instant! It looks amazing.


Indeed, but there’s a bit of a caveat, LOL! No, it is not the time the TBM saves over the Trimotor at that specific range, but something that I suspect of the Trimotor add on, which I have mentioned before, over on the Two of Three thread. I have yet to make that complete post there. I am pretty sure that the add on, good as it is and enjoyable as it is to fly, has neglected the extra coefficient of drag imposed by the corrugated skin. In short, it is more efficient than it really was. I am flying it here “out of the box”, but I had, when I first got it, looked up the airfoil profiles, used Airfoilmaker.exe to match it to the real data, and added an arbitrary coefficient of drag (+5%) factor to it. I did the same for the fuselage coefficient, then tried it. It was much more believable, in terms of climb rate and cruise. At least, based on the reference documentation I could find on the Trimotor. This, of course, will undoubtedly affect its specific range, for the worse.

So, the flight…

Let me say this first…

Shakira, Shakira! :smiley:

Yes, I made it to Barranquilla. As well as being the birth place of the Colombian singer, it was also the place where SCADTA was founded, and its airport’s name, Ernesto Cortissoz, is in honor of the Colombian banker who founded the airline in 1919. SCADTA, I have already mentioned, is now known as Avianca. They operated the Trimotor extensively, at one point, and with these series of flights, I have retraced its history up the Magdalena river. It has been a very enjoyable experience!

The maps and MAD job are up above, no need to repeat that.

With a lump in the throat regarding the fuel, I set off on this flight. The meteorology looked reasonable…

METAR: SKBQ 112000Z 01012KT 9999 FEW015 30/25 A2970
METAR: SKCG 112000Z 03009KT 360V060 9999 FEW020 33/27 A2967

That headwind at Barranquilla was worrying, but I was game to try. I did not check winds aloft this time, as I wanted this leg to be reasonably historically correct. There were no winds aloft services of any reliability when Trimotors flew the Andes. That decision almost proved fatal.

I got some friendly people to tow the aircraft to the threshold at Covenas. I was determined to save every ounce of fuel, and did not want to waste any on the taxi…

It was a flash start up. An extremely quick run up check, to make sure the XP failure factor had not finally cornered the magnetos, and off…

I set a cruise climb as quickly as possible, 108 mph, leaned off to peak rpm and let it slowly trudge up to 5,500 ft. Take off time, 16:22 HL. Covenas behind…

Over cloud the first part, had me worrying about spotting landmarks…

But it was occasionally clearing to broken / scattered ahead…

I just sat back and enjoyed the flight, at this point…

And presently, had run the left tank dry…

At the time for the decision point, time 16:58, a little ahead of plan (nearly two minutes, which led me to believe I had a tail wind component), I checked the fuel again. 126 lbs. 21 gallons. I was 6 gallons up. Cartagena would be out that way, 27 statute miles…

Last chance to chicken out, but all seemed good. I elected to continue. I was now waiting for the Magdalena River to converge from the right, but cloud kept on fouling my view…

Then I was over cloud. And stayed over cloud up to the critical point where, with the revised plan times, I would be able to spot Barranquilla…

The issues started here. I decided I would have to descend through the cloud to improve my chances of finding the airport. Once down through the murk, I was practically at the time I should have been over Barranquilla. Comparing the terrain and river to my chart, it seemed I was, but the Magdalena is a bit of a treacherous landmark around this area. Behind me, it looked remarkably like the area where I wanted to be…

I did a quick 360º here, to ascertain, and quickly realized I still had a way to go. It suddenly hit me that I was now against a pretty stiff head wind. I resumed heading to Barranquilla, now intensely worried about the fuel I had wasted with that circle, and the early descent…

Goodness! Time and fuel were running on and out, respectively. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light… :wink:

But progress to it was unbelievably slow. I was undoubtedly facing a very marked sea breeze front. It had unexpectedly ruined my DR, and I was now 10 minutes overdue. I was very glad for the 6 gallons I had saved earlier, and continued inching on speed, to improve my wind penetration…

The wind was such that reducing to approach speed in time right at the end was very simple. It must have been all of 25 knots right down the runway, as a guesstimate…

The landing was ludicrously short, even by Trimotor standards. I made my way to the apron, shut down, and checked the data. 3 gallons remaining. I had just made it…

And I had made earnings for MAD, also…

MAD Payment

14 glorious cents went into the Company coffers! @EightBall will be thrilled!

Still in. Not out! Interesting flight, to say the least…


@Chuck_Owl Awesome. :+1:


Very cool account. You have a way of telling a story and always keeping us entertained.

Speaking of XP failures… You’re going to LOVE my next post. :smiley:


Sixth entry for the Christmas Challenge.

Well… it’s more like Entry 6.A. A for Aborted.


Click to reveal AAR

So here I am in San Diego, prepping my 737-200. This is old hardware, especially with that Carousal IV-A, but if I survived a trip in the 727 I think I can survive a trip in the old 737.

It was roughly 6:50 AM.

Passengers come aboard the United Airlines 737-200 developped by FlyJSim.

Ground power kicks in. Time to get to work.

I plug in my CIVA coordinates (which takes bloody forever) to Mexico.


I fire up the APU, then the engines as the pushback cart places me on the taxiway.

Good morning Mister Sun!

Lining up on Runway 9.

Throttling up to takeoff power

Picking up airspeed

V1, Rotate!

Pff, why would someone want to retire that plane? I still see Air Inuit 732s takeoff from CYUL all the time. Look at that gorgeous, noisy-as-hell beast!

“This plane is the BEST!” (actual quote from me, a few seconds after takeoff)

“Yep, totally worth it!” (another actual quote from me)

Now, this is the part where I go “what could possibly go wrong?”


Pulling the fire handle

Turning handle. Extinguishing agent is going through engine 2. As the agent kills the fire, I shut down engine 2 and start wondering what to do.

As I settle the aircraft in a straight-and-level attitude, Now that the fire is extinguished, I go through my options.

  1. Attempt to restart engine 2, which may very well be busted with all the extinguishing agent.
  2. If engine restart is possible, I “could” try to get to my destination. However, the engine fire probably burned through most of my right tank fuel. That sounds like a horrible, horrible idea.
  3. Regardless of whether or not I can restart the engine, I’ve got to save the aircraft first. With that rationale, the safest way to go is turning back and landing to KSAN with one engine.
  4. Keeping that in mind, I’ll have to touchdown as slowly as possible since using thrust reversers is out of the question (assymmetric thrust on landing? No thank you.) I’ll have to use manual braking and spoilers to slow me down as much as possible.

Approaching Miramar

Boy are these windows dirty. I’m starting to think this engine failure might be sabotage by one of the mechanics!

I hold 1500 ft AGL and 160 kts to enter the pattern on crosswind to land on Runway 9.

The landing isn’t pretty: I miss the treshold and land long…

I’m risking it: I fear more engine 1 dying on my go around than running out of runway length.

I got lucky: I had just enough room to not crash past the runway. Looks like I get to live another day.

Sadly going back to the Maintenance Hangar

“Dear passengers, this is your Captain speaking. I want to congratulate you on surviving your first 737-200 engine failure. I’ll go punch the Mechanic in the face shortly, and we’ll be back on our way to Mexico. We will now shut down the engines when we reach the ramp, where a company bus will bring you back to the Terminal.”

Like NEW?

This IS suspicious.

So… we’ll try it again next time once the engine has been overhauled…


It’s cold, it’s windy and it’s getting dark. None of the variables are really in my favor, except for maybe the temperature. But that’s fine with me, one more leg after this and then it’s the big one. I plan to do both.

The landing is a bit squeamish, again the winds are not favorable. I meet the 2 Bonanzas and it’s exciting knowing that in a few short hours it’ll be over to PASY and from there we head on into Russia.

Cue next morning, 2 Bonanza’s and a TBM900 sit cold on the ramp awaiting a fillup and a pilot. We depart westbound for PASY. The TBM900 has no trouble at all making this trip, one V35 opts for a short hop to PADK and the other will set off later in the day. I wait for the Bonanza to backtrack down the runway and depart, shortly thereafter follow suit. I quickly pass him in the climb (see lights in front of my right wingtip) and reach cruise.

PASY is far calmer with the weather, relatively speaking.

A quick capture of the ILS and it’s onto the runway and into the ramp to prep for the big leg.
I happened to park beside a KC-10, 1 of 2 on the field at the time.

Several hours later, the plane is refuelled and ready to move. The flight plan is set, DCT LUMES DCT UHPP.
I delayed the departure as 2 SIGMET’s regarding turbulence and icing were in effect. I planned to arrive just after they had expired, hoping that maybe it would clear up.

Nothing but ocean below, of course that’s actually blocked by the nice layer of cloud beneath me. Overhead several UPS cargo flights pass by, as well an Air Canada flight on it’s way to Tokyo. Much like the TBM makes the V35’s look like they’re standing still, same applies to the 787 and the 767 to the TBM.

2 uneventful hours later and it’s time to descend. Pull up the charts, prep the AI systems and brief the approach. The weather wasn’t terrible, winds were variable and it was snowing and raining at the same time. Interesting mix to say the least, but also something to keep an eye on.

Passing the 11,000ft mark and the precip began to hit. Nothing major as far as turbulence or icing fortunately, it seems to have cleared up somewhat since I saw the SIGMETs earlier. (You can see the boots in action on the inner leading edge)

Following the approach procedure it’s a right turn and down from 4070ft to 2100. From there we will capture the glideslope and ride that into the field.

Fortunately, despite clouds being scattered around the 500ft mark, it ended up being relatively ok for visibility. I had the airport in sight off and on but maintained the ILS down. About 1200ft I broke out and was able to complete the landing visually. While the weather could be better, so far it’s provided a nice little challenge. I had the TBM looked over and so far everything seems to be in good order, despite several rough landings.

@Chuck_Owl Agreed, seeing Canadian North 732 depart out of CYEG is probably the best thing. Loud but glorious aircraft for sure. Good to see you got the plane down safely, that thing is a handful with 2 engines, let alone one!


I fully agree! The Ju-52, in many aspects a very similar aircraft, uses about 0.9 gal per statute. And yes, today speed and reliability of course are also a very important factors…


When I saw Avro Lancaster on the briefing sheet, an eyebrow raised, surely not THE Avro Lancaster? That looks like a heck of a plane, I may have to pick it up.