The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition



Up next leg 3 KATL to KLAX

We will be flying a 767 with 261 people and hauling 49,336 lbs of hunting clothes, household goods, and drums

Flight plan,

Holding short of the rwy at KATL awaiting clearance.

Climbing out west in some beautiful weather,

Cruising across the plains,

Descending into the LAX area

On final into KLAX

Taxiing to our gate

Parked for the night

Up next a Thanksgiving day flight to Hawaii


Yes. You appear to be surrounded by cocks.

Yeah…that is a no joke airport where you have to be careful…


Up next leg 4, KLAX to PHNL

We will once again be flying a 767, we will have 250 people on board and hauling 51284 lbs of generators.

Flight plan,

Holding short awaiting clerance

Climbing out to the west,

Still climbing but turned north so we can pick up the R576 airway

At cruise

Descending into PHNL

ATC seems a bit drunk, not sure a 767 mixes well with a water runway

on final

At the gate

UP next the final leg of our journey, PHNL to NSTU

but first the thanksgiving day feast!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it and to those that dont, I hope you had a wonderful Thursday!


@Chuck_Owl Thanks for that! Fully enjoyed the post. Very familiar route for me. And a very nostalgically familiar aircraft, for the reasons I know. In short, I owe my debt of existence to the Canberra. I had written a lot more, and even included a rather special, related picture. But really, on second thoughts, what is said above already suffices.

The Christmas Travels continue with…

Surprise setbacks on the way to Havana

All the plain sailing was suddenly over. With the destination almost in sight, we hit hard times. The dividends of our success caught up with us at what was, for me, a critical moment. I could feel myself there, at Havana, to continue on the Christmas flights after what had proven to be a most unorthodox way of getting to Havana. And then, out of nowhere, something the crew called “The Confederacy” put a massive stumbling block in my way. We needed to make 3,500 coins to purchase the map of Cuba. With the method we had, we were going to make it no problem. Then I was going to jump ship the first time we sailed into Havana, and leave dear old Captain Parrot to his devices. Wishing him much luck from afar, of course. Then…

What the devil was this? In the ensuing doneybrook against superior force, we lost one of the ketches. We managed to evade destruction in the remaining ketch and the brigantine by holing the sails of the pursuer with chain shot, and retired in a state of bewilderment to a port and take stock. There was much damage to repair on the two vessels…

It seemed we could not leave port without running into The Confederacy again. And invariably, we collected damage. On one occasion, the brigantine was captured, and by superhuman effort supplemented by a ration of rum, we managed to tack around upwind of the enemy in the ketch, then dart downwind, recapture the surrendered brigantine and escape…

The decision was made to act independantly, from now on. Drawing on the tactics of the U.S. Navy in the War of 1812 (Captain Parrot laughed at that. He did not know what the U.S. Navy was), we decided we stood a better chance of evasion if we operated as single, fast, self sufficient units not tied to lame ducks in a small squadron.

We detached the brigantine to do some swashbuckling missions, worked on the ketch to make it as fast and well armed as possible, using up most of our money in the process, and set out on lightning trade runs…

We were intercepted by The Confederacy almost every second run, always with stronger vessels than our own. But we found ways to survive. Then came the great day. After causing a corvette to chase us, we poured shot into her bow repeatedly from our two stern chasers. To our surprise, after some insistence, she suddenly heeled over sank before our eyes…

We were overjoyed. Making money had become hard. And risky. Some cash was coming in from the swashbuckling, solo missions of our other vessels. However, one by one, the two sloops, the cutter and the brigantine were also caught and lost in unknown, distant battles against The Confederacy…

To make good these losses, we captured two larger hold caravels, spent more money improving them to give them a fighting chance, and sent them off on missions. Soon the money started coming back in from them…

And we were not sitting on our hands ourselves in our ketch. Day after day, we managed to prevail against the odds. When outrunning the enemy was not possible, we resorted to tricks. Steering them onto sand bars or rock outcrops…

Dropping barrels of gunpowder like mines in front of them…

And plenty of rum splashed around with reckless abandon. Eventually, we had the money. The coveted map of Cuba was ours, at last…



Remind me not to go on any adventures with @Cygon_Parrot - trouble seems to find him! Whether being becalmed to the point of madness in the Indian Ocean or being chased by pirates…he has a very Indiana Jones way of finding trouble… :laughing:


:smiley: You would love a drive in my IRL car right now. Say no more…

(I’ll explain that comment some other time. But you will see what I mean. It is the adventure of the month.)


I already know what @Cygon_Parrot’s next leg of his Christmas flight is going to be like…


You mind reader! :astonished:

(No, really… LOL!)


Ninth entry for the Christmas Challenge.

Click to reveal AAR

What do you mean, “My TBM-900 is grounded?” I screamed at my boss.
-We mean that this great TBM-900 you wanted to fly is currently having issues with X-Plane’s current beta.
-You’re kidding…
-Nope. You’re gonna have to pick something else while Laminar works on a stable version.
-Don’t you know who I am? I’m the guy who -
-You’re a nobody. Shut your yap and pick another plane.
-Well, then… I’ll go with a 737. You can’t go wrong with a Boeing. Do you guys have a -700 somewhere?
-Good kid.
-Okay then… let’s do this. I know a guy who liked that plane.

Taking the United livery for that one.

IRS Alignment

Starting pushback

Lining up on 31L

Flaps 5 takeoff


Gear up

Here’s that big cliff we almost crashed into last time in the Canberra

Feels good to climb in these clouds with a modern autopilot at the helm. That ILS approach in the Canberra was not very pleasant.

The sun rises over Lake Del Muña


The morning fog lifts

The climb to GIR looks a bit odd…

Turning (Cinematic Mode: Activate!)


That’s a shade of blue I don’t get to see often :slight_smile:

The Puracé is an andesitic stratovolcano located in the Puracé National Natural Park in the Cauca Department, Colombia. It is part of the North Volcanic Zone of the Andean Volcanic Belt. The volcano is located at the intersection of the Coconucos and Morras Faults.

Approaching Cali

Approaching San Luis Airport (SKIP), the 27th highest airport in the world at 9764 ft above sea level. The airport is right after the Páramo de La Paja Blanca, which is a plateau. In more exact terms, a páramo is the ecosystem of the regions above the continuous forest line, yet below the permanent snowline.

As I start my descent, I see that I can’t seem to hear anything from the ATIS freqency. Strange… I consult an online METAR for Mariscal Sucre.

More clouds on the way down

Cayambe Volcano

As I come on final, I realize that something is not right. I can’t get the ATIS frequency, but I can’t get the localizer either.

I can either do the following:

a) Try to land in zero visibility conditions and follow my flight director to what I assume is the runway, even if I don’t have a localizer or a glide slope captured


b) Go around, climb up and check my database

I elect to go around and climb back to 11,000 ft and enter a holding pattern. The database seems to tell me that there is an airport, but nothing leads me to believe that there is an actual airport. I have a feeling… oh no. Not the Bangkok Phantom Airport episode again! Could this be possible?

I check the Map and see that no SEQM airport exists, but an airport of the same name SEQU exists, but with different frequencies for everything.

And here’s the culprit: the defunct/old Mariscal Sucre airport (SEQU) is in the simulator, while the PMDG 737 database (which dates from early 2017) has the new Mariscal Sucre airport (SEQM). The old Mariscal Sucre International Airport ceased all operations at 19:00 on February 19, 2013, which makes sense since Prepar3d uses the old FSX database which dates back from the early 2000s.

Luckily, the Map menu also gives me the frequency for the Quito Tower.

I contact the tower on the new frequency (118.1). I get asked to enter a transponder squawk code of 0113 so they can have my aircraft on their radar. Then, they give me directions towards the airport (at my three o’clock).

If the airport is to my right, I can only assume that I will have to take runway 35. I will have to tune in to an ILS frequency of 110.5 for runway 35 with a course of 352. I have to be careful though: the altitude is now 9228 ft.

With the new Localizer frequency

Ah ha! We have a signal now. I’ll home on that one. Hopefully we get to land on a real airport this time.

Terrain radar says: you’re playing with fire.

I can do it. Come on!

I get my landing clearance for Runway 35. (Taking a deep breath)

Moment of truth

Almost there

However, during the last few seconds before touchdown, a succession of huge wind gusts pushes me up. and the cockpit starts shaking violently. I ram the throttle forward and abort the landing, going around. The wind turbulences make an autopilot approach almost impossible since the wind gusting create an airspeed variation of +/- 15 kts, which messes up the autopilot and autothrottle inputs since they rely on the pitot reading to give their corrections. In that case, I would bet that the safest course of action is to aim for the runway myself and disregard the airspeed gauge when it varies too much with the wind gusting. That means: I may be going a bit too fast, but at least I’ll be able to manage my attitude correctly.

TLDR: I’m gonna have to try to land this aircraft by myself. (Gasp)

I swing around, do another circuit and I come in a bit lower, a bit hot but this time I have much better control of the aircraft since the autopilot doesn’t move the yoke with the wind gusts.

As I am about to touchdown, yet another wind gust pushes me up again but I firmly keep the nose down. The aircraft accelerates, but the spoilers kick in and the autobrakes do their thing as the main landing gears touch the ground. I see the end of the runway approach dangerously fast. Like… REALLY freakin’ fast. This is one of these times where you have a split second to make a decision: commit to bringing the aircraft to a full stop or going around (even if that could mean running out of runway length). Instinctively, I set the Autobrake switch to MAX instead of 3 and deploy the reversers to MAX.

The aircraft doesn’t seem to slow down. I hit the brake pedals in panic mode. Then, the aircraft suddenly starts to decelerate quite rapidly. Mere meters before the end of the runway, the aircraft comes to a full stop. Holy cow… that was THE most intense landing I’ve ever done. My hands were shaking, my palms were sweaty… It’s just as if I had been there.

As I start taxiing back, another aircraft takes off.

As the passengers are about to disembark, I start thinking about all the things that went wrong and all the things that could have gone even worse.

Here are the things that went wrong:

  1. The fact that the airport I was planning to use didn’t exist in Prepar3d really screwed up my carefully planned approach.
  2. The terrain in Quito is quite difficult: lots of mountains (one of them right next to the runway) and lots and lots of winds.
  3. Weather was just overall not good and visibility was poor, forcing me to perform an ILS approach which I had to do manually since the autopilot became unreliable with the heavy gusts.
  4. I wasn’t familiar with the area. I had a good reflex to contact the tower and be given directions towards the approach, but I should have been more prepared (and I should have planned for an alternate airport, which I didn’t).
  5. The runway length looked good on paper, but I know I came in about 10-15 kts too fast. Speed was difficult to manage and I took an enormous risk. All was well in the end, but in retrospect, it didn’t seem like the best course of action. I think I should have found an alternate airport if weather permitted an easier landing.
  6. I failed to check if I had enough reserve fuel for an alternate airport. I was aiming to have a reserve of about 10000 lbs, but the go around and difficult approach (the winds forced me to approach with engines at high revs) That was poor planning on my part. When I landed, I had about 2000 lbs left of fuel. Definitely not enough.

So overall, I thought I’d give a quick shoutout to @smokinhole .You taught me much about the 737 back in the early days of the “Boeing Chuck Guide” and I remain thankful about it to this day.


Yes, with these sims one need to check in front what do exists in game and what doesnt. I usualy have problem with navaids, recently I noticed some missing NDB in XP11.
Maybe update of the navaids database will help? Never played with it.

Chuck what weather engine you use in P3D ? Is it something 3party or is it default?


I use Active Sky Next for P3D, which is a third party add-on. This has to be the best weather add-on I’ve seen yet for Prepar3d and FSX. It takes online weather reports and injects it in the simulation…I often compare it with what I see in CYUL when I get back from work and it’s surprisingly accurate at times.


It’s probably not be the same one but I crashed one of those when I was 16, 1981/82 time frame. They were showing it in a mall and letting everyone try it. Me being a kid I listened long enough to get it in the air and then I tried to loop it. Next thing I know the ball was tumbling and the salesman/instructor was asking me to leave.



One short leg, one long leg. Here’s the overall flight plan for this post:

184 NM from Taipei down to Hengchun, and from there 936 NM to Davao in the PI.

We’ll be flying the JS 4100 again, with a full load of passengers and cargo, we’ll be taking off right around max weight. However there is plenty of reasonably cool dense air to work with here at sea level, so with a careful eye on the engine instruments, throttles forward.

Once we get the call of positive rate of climb, we clean the AC up, set climb power at 98 % RPM and max temp, and get a VS of ~1500 FPM. We’ll cruise at FL16 on this trip. Due to the humidity we might get some icing, so we’ll keep an eye on that.

As expected the FSX default terrain isn’t stellar, but at least there is some conture to keep it interesting.

As you can tell by my setup here, trying to hand fly the approach and take pictures was giving me some issues lol. In the interest of expediency I pushed this one down, even though a go around would have been a much better option.

Surprisingly I managed to salvaged the landing, though it was definitely a bit off center there. This was a quick, and really what the JS 4100 was designed for, commuter work.

I’ll put up details about the second leg this evening. However until then…


Tenth entry for the Christmas Challenge.


Click to reveal AAR

The Boss takes a deep breath.

-I heard that you didn’t land at the old Mariscal Sucre airport last time… is that true?
-Well, sir… it didn’t exist!
-What do you mean, “it didn’t exist”?
-Well, there was nothing there!
-So you mean to tell me that I sent you to an aiport that just… that just “wasn’t there”?
-Yes, sir.
-You’re insane.
-I went there… there was nothing there.
-I don’t believe you. Are you sure you just haven’t made dozens of mistakes and look everywhere BUT the airport?
-I swear.
-On your momma’s head?
-You’re a madman, Mister Charles.
-I get that often…
-Well, at least you didn’t crash my plane. Your Christmas Challenge is starting to get quite expensive. I hear the MAD company is crumbling under debts.
-That wasn’t me, that was…
-I don’t want to hear it, Mister. Do you know how much it costs to get all these fancy planes in the air because you just want to look cool and take pretty screenshots to post on the internet?
-Umm… A lot?
-Wrong. “A lot” would be like last year’s challenge. This time, it’s “Too beaucoup”. Get me?
-Come on, now… I paid for these planes!
-About that… Your wife called… she said she’s sick of eating Kraft Dinner for breakfast, lunch and supper.
-She’s exaggera-
-Listen. We’re gonna give you something more reasonable.
-Reasonable… cheaper like what? A C152?
-No. Cheaper like something that’s completely free. You’re getting Manfred Jahns’ C-47.


LSHIFT+5 shows the interface.

The checklist system works really well.

Right engine comes alive!


Waiting for an A320 to clear the runway

Setting up my navigation radios

Consulting some notes on engine power settings

Rudder effectiveness at 40 kts, tail comes up at 60 kts, accelerate to 85 kts, then rotate. Simple enough.

Taking off

The initial climb is quite difficult. The mountains are high and the air is rare.

Capturing the first VOR radial: QMS

3.4 nm from VOR QMS. Magnetic declination for Quito is approx. -4 deg

Switching frequency to VOR MNV. DME distance seems ok.

Climbing gets more and more difficult at this altitude

I find a small passage between two mountains

These mountains are truly a breathtaking view

Curse this weather!

Is this england or what?

Finally crossed the mountains

Look at all these flat lands. Yay!

Rain now… I can’t catch a break!

I recognize that lake. We’re on the right path.

Approaching Manta

Running landing checklists

Approaching at 85 kts


Vacating runway

Shutting down engines. Phew. Finally made it.


Up next the 5th and final leg of our journey, PHNL to NSTU

We will be fly a 767 with winglets, we will have 218 people on board and hauling 58215 lbs of baby clothes, guitars, fishing poles, fresh potatoes, and soft drinks

Awaiting a DC-10 to take off before we are cleared to depart

turning west during climb

Turn west complete as we continue the climb


Starting our decent

Descending through a storm

Through the storm and the island is in sight

Flying over the northern part of the island

Lining up on final, bit of a cross wind

Almost there and almost in the trees,

And at the gate

Great location to fly to for Christmas!

During my trip I flew 890 people and 164,769 lbs of cargo. I flew for 15.6 hours and traveled 7362 miles burning 181,557 lbs of fuel as well.


Alright as promised, part two, the long leg to the South end of the PI.

So what we have here is the Vickers Viscount, basically the first turboprop airliner (another freeware from, I hadn’t planned on flying half their planes on this trip, but now that I think about it…). The first flight was in 1948, and serial production began in 1953. The last known commercial flight was in 2009. Not a bad bit of service! The Viscount is powered by 4 Rolls-Royce Dart engines, the same as the Fokker F-27 I flew a few legs ago. They were one of the first viable turboprops and were used all of the place. This particular Viscount is a type 813, which uses the Dart 525, at approximately 1990 SHP, for a totally of a bit under 8,000 SHP at full power. The Viscount introduced things like cabin pressurization to commercial air travel, so it was pretty complex for the day. How complex you ask?

I’m still getting to grips with what all everything does, and how to operate all the systems (as well as figuring out what is modeled to what depth). This is the overhead, one of about 15 panels in this plane. The only major dig I’ve got on this freeware bird, is that there is no “takeoff/landing” panel view, it’s either the whole panel in your face, of the miniguage view. However as it’s really designed to fly high for long periods of time, I can moderately forgive that.

So with take trim set, prop’s locked into pitch, ADI engaged, fuel trims calculated and set, spill valves checked… There’s a lot to check and set. However once it’s all done, take off is pretty simple, one notch of flaps, throttles to the wall (watch for an overtemp), and rotate.

Post take off there is plenty going one, getting the ADI system shut down, the fuel system setup for cruise, getting on climb profile etc. Once you get to your cruising altitude, it settles down to the usual routine of watching the engines, watching the fuel, and making sure nothing unusual is happening.

FSX’s default Philippines scenery, nothing to write home about and not nearly green enough.

Descending is a stately affair planned long in advance. Fixed shaft turboprop’s are not happy slowing down and descending, so plan ahead! There’s another long checklist (fortunately interactive) for descent and approach. The Viscount does have the default FSX GPS gauge, but I flew this flight old school. IIRC I’m still riding the VOR in before going to the localizer.

So the my ground steering needs some work! I had to make 2 go arounds to finally get a good landing, as the almost complete lack of forward view was NOT helpful.

Overall this version of the Viscount is a fun plane to fly. It has a great feel of it’s weight, and a ton of system modeling. You can tell this was definitely a labor of love from it’s creators.


Delta - ruining Christmas for countless families. I’m all about some Hawaii though! Nice leg!


Nice trip…! I have some friends that flew the JetStream…but it was the -32 for CC Air. That was a tough job…lots of really short legs into crappy airports (at the time) with icing, non precision approaches, and no autopilot on those JS-32s…


No, no, no…we are getting on the cutting edge. Hear me out.


It’s gonna be huge. We are just going to need a very small investment from each Mudspike member (I have a lawyer who can help everyone take out that home equity loan) and then…we are going to build a solar powered GigaFarm out in the Nevada desert. It’s gonna be great.

Now, where’d I put my My Pillow and I’ll be needing to cash in some of these gold bars… :thinking:


Now we’re talking. We can make a bonfire on the beach with the remains of @Cygon_Parrot’s sailing vessel when he washes up on shore. @Chipwich had better get a move on or the party won’t have any beer.

Congrats on your safe arrival to NSTU!