The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition



The next AAR has several pics for you to enjoy…perhaps a sneak preview?

Hegoland Island:

The northwestern rocky cliffs:

Dune Island (the airfield island):

I will say that the scenery is better explored with a helicopter or Cessna, than a C-130. :sunglasses:


Hampton to Pago Pago Leg 2 Continued - Trondheim, Vaernes to Helgoland-Dune (Part Deux):

The SAS guys were nice enough to tow the Hercy Bird over to the Military Ramp (and plaster a few SAS promotional stickers in the cargo deck).

Fuel: Since I didn’t want to deal with the dump system, I took and educated rough estimate–about 4,000 lbs each engine tank; and around 1,000 each in external tanks and the Aux tanks. The idea was to drain External and Aux tanks early, then burn down the engine tanks so that I’d have 2000 lbs per engine tank when I was overhead EDXH. That should give me a couple shots at landing with fuel to spare for the nearest divert.

With the Aerosoft Scenery, Gardermoen is a much more populated…

…and busy airport.

With a light fuel load,Vr was 90 kts - I took it to 100 kts and rotated smoothly.

Passing by the famous Holmenkollbakken Ski Jump facility…

…and then saying good by to Oslo as I head down Oslo Fjord.

The fuel gremlins strike again! As I am setting up to stop pulling from the external tanks, I miss a step and this is the result.

Fortunately a C-130 can actually cruise on 2 engines so killing 3 was not a huge deal. I feathered it, ran through the simple air start procedure and was back in business in no time. Lesson Learned: Ensure the Engine fuel pump is ON / operating before disconnecting from the fuel manifold.

Leaving Norway and heading out over the North Sea.

As I got closer to the Denmark coast, I began descending from 5500 ft to 3500 ft. I was at 3500 ft when making landfall.


This shows the AP pop up panel. It is pretty simple. First power on. Next, turn on the three servo motors. Then Engage. I have the heading input as ILS/NAV1 and turned on Track to hold that course. I have also turned on Altitude Hold at 3500 ft. In the Lower left is the mini-panel to activate the 2D pop-up windows.

Then the weather got a bit more cloudy. I dropped another 1000 feet to 2500ft MSL. That put me nicely between the clouds…but what would the lower altitude do to my fuel plan? (such as it is…it’s really a fuel guess)

OK, External and Aux Tanks are dry. At this point I was shooting to start burning into that 4000 lbs per engine tank…Tanks 3 and 4 are about right…4 is a little light…1 and 2??!!

How did they get so low? Had to be my fuel set up. Regardless, I’ve got a pretty significant fuel imbalance that I need to take care of…and I’ll probably be more like 1500 lbs per tank overhead EDXH, 2000 lbs total under what I had planned.

I began rebalancing the fuel. That was just finishing up as I hit the last WP, SLT NDB, before EDXH. It is 44 Nm SLT to EDXH. The divert route to Westerland Sylt (EDXW) (beyond my right wing) is 48 Nm.

In a few minutes, Helgoland is sighted…and my fuel is rebalanced.

Actually there are two islands. Helgoland (right of aircraft) is hilly and evidently where everybody lives. Dune (left of aircraft) is where the airfield and beaches are located.

Checking in with the tower, RWY 15 is the active. That is not good news. The short final to RWY 15 is over sand dunes, about 30 ft elevation, that end a couple yards / meters from the pavement. I know I can’t land that way but decide to try a touch-and-go aiming to hit the runway about half way down. So I turn to final. From this altitude about 1/8 of the runway is hidden behind the dunes.

I don’t get the touch-and-go as I realize I’ve got a pretty good cross wind…

…so I just go around, and see if RWY 33 is doable. It isn’t. Again it is the cross wind. I wave off early.

One more half-hearted try at RWY 33. Without knowing what the winds are (no ATIS and the tower wasn’t any help) I am really having a hard time adjusting…that and the runway width is only 98 ft (30 m). As I sail by the right hand edge, almost at the threshold, I throw away the approach and set Go Around power. As I wave off I have a nice, low level view of Helgoland.

I climb back to 2500 ft, turn to the SLT NDB which will let me line up with EDXS’s RWY 32 ILS. As I approach SLT, a slide a bit to the east, to ease my turn to final. Even if I do run out of gas and splash, the water looks shallow enough that I could walk to shore.

I check my fuel before turning to final. It is 4,000 lbs total - about 1,000 per engine. This is lower by a few hundred pounds from what I wanted but I should have at least one GA still left in the tanks (and at least its balanced).

On final…a little high but looking good.

After landing I taxi to the ramp and shut down. I seem to have drawn a few interested folks out on the apron.


Seventh entry for the Christmas Challenge.

So there we are in the 757, loading up 100 passengers and cargo to from Mexico to Panama.

Click to reveal AAR

Welcome aboard!

Local time is 14:00. We will most likely land at night since we’ve got a 4-hour flight ahead of us.

We started pushback 30 minutes late (plugging in the flight plan in the FMC was much longer than I anticipated)

Taxiing to Runway 5R

The Rolls-Royce engines roar

Good-bye, Mexico!

Pretty cloudy


I reach 30,000 ft near PBC (Puebla). I’ll climb up some more to 36,000 ft

36,000 ft. Time to sit down and relax.

Getting pretty cloudy up here

Cloud surfing

Over Ixetepec Airport

I crossed Tapachula without having seen anything below the cloud cover. Tapachula is Mexico’s southernmost airport, right before entering Guatemala.

Guatemala. I’ve often dreamed of visiting the ancient Maya ruins. It’s sad how little we know about pre-columbian civilizations.

Approaching San Jose, Guatemala (SJO)

Still cruising

Approaching MSLP (El Salvador)

Santa Ana Volcano and Lago Coatepeque

I hear it’s a great place for hiking!

Jiquilisco Bay

Gulf of Fonseca, which is directly on the borders of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua

We’re getting there, slowly but surely

Running into some high altitude Cirrus

Managua and Lago Xolotlán, Nicaragua

Chiltepe Volcano

We still need to fly over the Cocibolca (Lake Nicaragua) before crossing Costa Rica

There it is

Volcanoes Concepcion and Maderas

Halfway through the flight, my center tanks are empty. I check the fuel gauges on the overhead panel, then turn off center pumps.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to see much of Costa Rica

So far so good… approaching the Top of Descent BITOR, which is the last waypont before the Top of Descent at the BOGAL transition towards the BUSUN1 STAR.

As I try to tune on the ATIS frequency, I realize that the Tocumen airport in X-Plane isn’t equipped with it. No worries though, I’m using real weather so I can just take the METAR straight from Tocumen.

I adjust my altimeter to 1006 hPa and begin my descent.

Steady as she goes

Visibility gets worse…

And worse…

And even worse still…

On the Pacific Coast of Panama

Swinging by runway 03

On Final

Very humid down there

Runway in sight. The localizer doesn’t seem to be working, so I go for a manual landing. AP Off, Auto-Throttle Off.

Here we go

Landing went well. Barely grazed the runway.

Welcome to Panama.


Oh jeez, the legs have gotten shorter so I’m going to begin condensing my updates a bit. It’s been a wicked journey so far, travelling to places I’d love to go to in real life. Last update we crossed into Russia, still tagging along with V35’s, we continued on south!

I absolutely love the look of this plane, can’t beat the head on!

It’s a fast climb up to cruise altitude, to our next stop of UHSS before we head to Japan. On the way to UHSS I spotted a US Carrier doing it’s business. DCS, hello? Is that you?

But alas, there’s no time to bug the carrier. Besides, I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate that. Back to the flight at hand, we’ve reached TOD in a remarkable amount of time. Fortunately, things are far better weather wise this time around.

I took the visual and came in relatively calm, nothing exciting happened this time around which if I’m honest is a nice change from the IMC stuff.

I’ve ended up parked beside some sort of high performance tail dragger. Can anyone identify?

There’s no time to waste, we’re planning a return trip as well and I’m aiming to do this all by the original deadline. It’s off to RJCW! Japan, here we come!

I’m here with a goal, I want to do some drifting, see some cool cars and fly around some cool places.

An interesting bit about this airport, RJCW is that they have circling guidance lights. Something I had never heard of before. It actually seems to be more common here in Japan, as compared to say Canada. Though I can’t be certain of that as I’m very limited in my scope of airports I fly to in Canada as well as the US for that matter.

A nice little turn to final and we’re in to the field. I’m aiming to do more visual approaches in this segment, weather permitting. One of the things I’m struggling to grasp in real flying is the whole pitch for speed, power for descent rate. So I’ve been working to get that lodged into my memory and it seems to be working quite well. The joys of a simulator to help cement real world practices!

As it turns out, I haven’t done an inspection on the aircraft since I’ve started this journey. Considering the inclement and rapidly changing weather situations, this obviously isn’t ideal in the slightest. So up she goes!

A quick check of the aircraft determines that overall the plane is in good shape, there are things wearing such as the nose gear which is to be expected. But nothing that warrants concern at this time fortunately. What’s the warranty like on this plane I wonder? Maybe there is no warranty? Questions that plague my mind at 10PM.

The next day it’s back to the airport, which had loaned me a car the previous day to get around in. It wasn’t quite what I was hoping ( See Toyota Mark II) and instead I got a BMW. Luxury is nice too I suppose.

We’re moving on to Hakodate (RJCH), diving further into the country! Shortly after takeoff, a weather donut began to form below me. Odd. Is this a bug in 11.30?

The weather going on began to deteriorate slightly, down to scattered at 2000 and broken around 4000. With mountains in the area, the GPWS was keeping me aware of the current situation when I was in the soup.

After landing at Hakodate, it was time to plan for a hop to RJTT, better known as Tokyo Haneda Intl. It was also the first time I got to see the new British Airways submarine service in Japan, utilizing the 737-300 as it’s startup craft. (If anyone knows where to find a v35.OBJ let me know lol)


A very interesting flight. I noticed that when the center tanks went dry the gauge still read 50 lbs…I assume unusable fuel. I think that is pretty cool that they do that, as FSX usually lets you go down to 0. The C-130 I’m flying has a usable fuel table but I haven’t checked it to see if it really is enabled in the sim.


I would not be so convinced you are doing anything wrong here. For some reason, several FSX add ons seem to have fuel management issues. I think it is something to do with the base program’s hard wiring of fuel systems (citation required, and not a Cessna one, to be sure), but I do know that last year it caused me some issues with the Just Flight DC-6, which is nothing like the “correct” rendition of the fuel system in the X-Plane PMDG DC-6. Just a thought.

BTW, loving the low altitude stuff!

LOL! I know where you are coming from with all of these. The VS had its moments of uproarious fun, I have to admit. Sorry I could not stay for the stream. Too exhausted last night.

Not convinced about the hull integrity of that, for any serious submersion. :smiley: Uhm… What was the negative pressure limitation on the 737?

Hah! One of the few add ons for X-Plane on which the SmartCopilot config works well. However, I’d be embarrassed to post the link to the video of a multi-crew flight I had with it (I did not know the other guy had saved the stream, TBH). Someone dropped in on the TS, watching the stream, and commented after a few minutes; “you guys are terrible pilots”, and when we landed at KLAX with under 1,000 lbs of fuel remaining, there is me saying “loads of fuel, what are you worried about?” LOL! I do enjoy the simulator multi-crew, myself.

I am still stuck in Aruba, on these flights. And no more Trimotor. It is transferred to an aerial island tour operator as a novelty. The following contains no travels, it is just trivia about the adventures on Aruba, and has no impact on progress of the trip. Please skip, if you will…

Aruba hiatus...

(Note: Not my personal photos of Aruba. I am very bad at taking pictures.)

I awoke to an early telephone call in the hotel at Aruba. Get to the airport, was the message. Some business needed discussing. I caught a taxi. Driving along the front in Oranjestad, I saw the Caribbean cruise ships, some small, some huge, going about the operational tasks of preparing to sail. It seemed all had names like “something -Princess”…


Except one vessel. It was a Royal Netherlands Navy frigate, obstrusive and functional in its grey scheme among the pristine, glistening hulks.

Everywhere, souvenir and jeweller shops were opening. This was a place guys brought their to be fiances to propose, and it raised quite a business, it seemed…

At the airport, two men met me. One had the appearance of a very tired accountant, with spectacles, and the other a silent “honcho”, of sorts, both in disheveled suits. They led me into a room off the terminal, and sat me down at a desk. The accountant tossed a paper at me. Financial statistics. Oh, brother…

At length, after allowing me a supposed “sufficient” amount of time to absorb the figures, he spoke.

“MAD is a fair Company, you know. You get 50% of the gross revenue, as a pilot,” his eyes were glassy with lack of sleep. “The other 50% absorbs all costs and expenses of the operation. What is left of that is the net profit for the Company.”

He rubbed his forehead vigourously between thumb and fingers, and continued.

“You are expected to select your revenue making exchanges with some consideration for the net profit of the Company.”

“It would seem I have”, I countered. “They made over 6,000 USD, from my flights.”

“And that is only 24% of the gross profit. You take 76% of it, on the balance. Ideally, you can manage 33/67, with some judgement as a business man pilot. And that is more than fair,” he snapped back at me. He had all the symptoms of being in this against his will. The silent man behind him had now leaned over, holding the edges of the desk menacingly, fixing me with a sharp glower. I frowned. What did this mean?

“Sir”, I said. “You know, this is starting to look to me like a money…”

The honcho cut me off, with a terse, conclusive tone in his voice, and pointing at me with his hand in the shape of a gun.

“You look here, boy. We’re doing you a good thing to have here,” he waved the pretend barrel at me. “Now you do your part and shut up, okay? We are giving you another chance.”

I leaned back in the chair, suddenly feeling a bit cold blooded.

“We probably have got another job for you. But not from here. You have to get to Havana, Cuba, by your own means.”

Hell. I did still need the money. I was hiding a secret of my own, after all. Two, in fact…


Yep…it looks like I’m going to Make the Leap to X-Plane…in fact I’ve started a thread (more of a support group…“Hi, Im Hangar200 and I still use FSX.”…type of thing.)


I was in some turmoil, when I got back to the hotel. I went out onto the beach, studying the tourists learning windsurfing and kite flying to clear my head. While I was sitting there, under a tall palm tree, I watched the frigate I had seen earlier, a couple of miles offshore now, departing up Arashi Bay and around the northern point of the island.

I did not sleep all that well, that night, and was the first in the restaurant for breakfast. The TV mounted up on the wall was switched on to a news channel. It suddenly got my undivided attention…


(Note: Again, this does not resume travels, so has no major impact on the flight to Pago Pago. But it does get me off Aruba. Skip at will… :smiley: )

Departed Aruba unexpectedly

The image flashed repeatedly between a woman newscaster, a journalist on Curaçao, some maps, and pictures of the same frigate I had seen depart the day before.

“Here is the latest on the developing situation. The warship, Van Amstel, after a precautionary inspection of a private cruise vessel north of Curaçao, was repeatedly overflown by a Venezuelan F-16 fighter jet.”

“Moments ago, it came under fire from an unkown aggressor, to the south east. Numerous missiles were detected inbound to the frigate. It was able to fight off the attack successfully. It is feared that the Venezuelan military has initiated hostilities, perhaps with the intent of invasion of Curaçao.”

I left the hotel as soon as was possible, and hired out a bicycle from the foyer. They looked pretty worried, there. I rode out east, behind Oranjestad, then south towards the airfield. I had managed to calm down, by this stage, and was riding along with a plan in mind, when suddenly I was hit by a shock blast of wind that threw me off the bike. I could see an orange explosion nearby, as I tumbled, and the sound of a massive crackling and reverberating thunder deafened me before I was knocked out cold…

When I came around, I was on a helicopter. There were many wounded people on board, with me. With my consciousness coming back slowly, I concluded I must also be wounded. However, a quick inspection of myself revealed nothing more than grazes from the bicycle fall and some minor cuts from flying debris. There was also a persistent ringing in my ears, caused by the proximity of the explosion. The navy winch operator of the helicopter spoke to me briefly, and answered some of my immediate questions.

“Yes, we are under attack from Venezuela. Willemstad was just hit, too.”

I became aware I was aboard Van Amstel’s helicopter, being evacuated to the frigate. The winch operator said just one more thing, before he got back to looking over other wounded people.

“We are ordered to ex filtrate as many personnel as we can from Curaçao and Aruba, and then retire to the north.”

I felt safe, now. That frigate would be a match for anything in these immediate waters. What I did not know, however, was that she had already depleted her stores of SAMs defending from the first attack, and was now rather vulnerable.

Soon, we had alighted on the deck of the frigate. I was able to walk unassisted to the hangar, where I stopped to look astern from inside. For the second time this day I was to witness a sheet of flame, this time erupting on the starboard quarter. The frigate heeled violently, and a second hit occurred. The helicopter, before my eyes in an emblazoned image I would never forget, was swept off the deck in slow motion by heavy shrapnel, into the sea, with its rotors still gently spinning around. Amid the din, I could hear the crew in the hangar, shouting orders, and generally confirming their whereabouts. It was a mass of confusion, suddenly.

“It is that Lupo class frigate we spotted earlier. She’s got us!”

“How did she get into firing position so quickly?”

“Prepare to abandon! We won’t stand this!”

I had to admit, my nerves were getting shot through with all the excitement. I spotted a float mounted on a bulkhead, ripped it off, and threw myself overboard with it, not waiting for any orders. Once I had orientated myself again, in the churning wake of Van Amstel, I was able to contemplate her last stand and demise. She was certainly going down, there was no doubt about it. Listed back over sharply to the starboard, the side she had received the hits on, I could see points of fire through the splinter perforations in her superstructure and hull, portent of the huge inferno raging within. She receded towards the horizon slowly, the list increasing, until my view of her was obstructed by the thickening smoke she trailed like black blood dispersing in water. Somewhere in there, soon enough, she inevitably foundered.

So, I was adrift. And it got very quiet. I was unbelievably tired. I fell asleep, hugging the float. When I woke up, I could see this…

What? No!

NOOOOO!!! Not again!!! Why is this happening???


Genius. :blush:


Finally decided to give it a whirl. Will be doing the trip with FSX:SE, stock scenery, an old version of REX I had laying around for real time weather generation, and a few payware A/C that have been collecting dust in my hanger.

After a few cups of coffee and playing around with Sky Vector this is the rough route I came up with.

First leg ARR

So the first half of my route will take me west from Lincoln, NE to San Diego, CA. I’ve decided to break this first half into a number of small flights.

So with the route planned out I now needed a plane. Hopping into my truck I drive to the east side of KLNK to start digging threw my hanger to see what I have available. Upon arriving at my hanger, I open the door, revealing its contents which have not seen the light of day for several years. I start moving the dusty aircraft out of the hanger one by one, none of which catch my eye, until only a single small aircraft remains, tucked away in a corner. “Bingo”. I hook up the tow bar and drag it out of the hanger, giving it a good once over before towing it over to my works FBO for fuel.

Climbing into the cockpit, I notice it still has that “new plane smell”, and begin pre-flighting my A2A Civilian P-51’s cockpit.

After checking out all the Mustangs systems, I decide that there’s “no time like the present”, and run home to grab my bag and file my flight plan to Denver.

After returning to the plane I load up and begin the process of trying to bring the Mustang to life in 23 degree F temps. After about 15 minutes and multiple trips to my hanger for new batteries and new starter, She LIVES!

Unfortunately, as the day has progressed, the weather has gotten progressively worse, with light snow slowly getting heavier, and vis dropping to just a couple miles. However taxi and takeoff, amazingly, are uneventful, and soon I’m cruising just over the cloud tops at angels 12.

Not much to see en route since the sun has set and the clouds remain thick all the way to Denver.

Luckily A2A provides some nice tools to help manage the plane, if your someone who doesn’t fly it often, like me. The GPS and auto pilot help as well. :grin:

Almost there.

So the weather in Denver turned out to be about the same as Lincoln, which made for a sporty approach in to an unfamiliar airfield, in a plane I haven’t flown in years, and never really mastered to begin with. No pressure.

Somehow managed to land on the runway, and in one piece, two feats I’m shocked I pulled off.

After taxing to the GA ramp and prepping the plane for a cold weather start, I shut down and grabbed a big flat head screw driver from my tool bag and proceeded to pry the seat cushion from my rear. Once that was accomplished and the seat cushion reinstalled, I made my way to the hotel, hoping the weather for the next leg would be much more pleasant.


@Cygon_Parrot’s identity finally revealed…


Jim from “The Office”? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


It’s “Mister President” to you. :smiley:


He’s looking a little Rambo for a President…did he have an argument with Dwight again? :wink:




Well looks like it time to fire up some planes and mosey on down to NSTU.

Ill be using FSX:SE, Default scenery and payware aircraft and a traffic add on to make the airspace more lively.

For my flights ill be leaving KTBR going to NSTU. We will have stop in KSAV, KATL, KLAX, and PHNL.

I will be using the Default C208, the Aersoft Airbus x A319, and the Level D Sims 767.

Leg 1 KTBR to KSAV

Leg 1 is a short little hope to KSAV to get a bigger plane.

We will be flying the C208 with 14 people and hauling 808 lbs of beer and hunting gear.

Flight plan

Holding short of RWY 23 at KTBR

Climbing out to the east

On final into KSAV rwy 10

And parked at KSAV

Up next a brief trip to KATL.


Haha…just when we think we have you figured out…



Any Caravan gets an upvote from this guy…!


I’m currently still in New Orleans, starting to go broke and my liver is sending me signals that it is soon time to move on (oh…and a mysterious burning sensation…) I’m trying to build some ortho for my next leg since there is no premade ortho…

Next leg is looking like New Orleans Lakefront (KNEW) over to Beaumont, TX (KBPT)…


I’m on my way out of New Orleans (8 hours bottle to throttle…right on…). Unfortunately, it looks like X-Flight Server is down. I’ve tried multiple times to connect to it…and I also don’t see anyone else flying, so something is amiss. So live tracking will not be available for this leg (I know, it is soooooo exciting anyway!)

Our route will take us from New Orleans over to Beaumont, Texas on a 208 nm hop. The plane we are using is the fifth type of plane that shows up in my real log book - the PA-28 Warrior…!

Should be a fun flight across the coast…a smidge of weather to contend with coming in off the Gulf, but we can pop-up IFR at any time…