The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition



I hate to break it to you Bech, but that looks like a wet spring landscape here in Central Texas.


I’ll be right over…


There is a red guarded Push-Button on the OH panel on the 320, for high altitude airports. For the Airbus, that is anything over 9,200 ft. It is not a standard fitting, but all of ours have them because we fly into El Alto. Its effect is to delay the deployment of the passenger masks from 14,000 ft cabin altitude to 16,000 ft. Apart from that, the operation into El Alto is quite straight forward. You do get the cabin altitude advisory and later red warning (as you did here) during descent, but as their appearance was part of the briefing, it is considered normal for this operation. We do not actually come out of automatic CPC pressure control mode.

One thing to watch carefully is the tire speed limitation. It is one of the few airports where you can actually go through the ground speed limitation on take off if you don’t do a good 3º per second, and it is one of the weight/wind condition limiters on the RTOW charts.

PS: That was a good flight in a snazzy looking aircraft :slight_smile:


LOL! It is them!


Those outfits are all over the place around here actually. I’m still trying to convince my HOA that astroturf is good to go.


Twelfth entry for the Christmas Challenge.

Click to reveal AAR

Spawning in the Grumman E-2C Hawkeye by Indiafoxtecho.

This variant doesn’t have the EFIS upgrades, so the cockpit is mostly analog. In the package provided by Indiafoxtecho (also known as Dino Cattaneo), the C-2 Greyhound and E-2 Hawkeye are both available in EFIS and non-EFIS variants.

First, you need to make sure your battery power is on and the DC BUS TIE is on as well.

Then, the MFCDU switches need to be on as well.

The MFCDU (Multi-Function Control Display Unit) looks like an interesting beast. You can input waypoint coordinates manually (which I did).

The NAV menu. Press LSK next to RTN to return to the main menu (or press the U CAT button on the keypad, which goes to the MAIN CATEGORY menu).

Go in DATA


Click on ADD

Press on LSK next to LAT, then press N or S to select latitude, then enter your latitude coordinates on the keypad.

Then, press ENT to enter coordinates. Repeat for Longitude field (don’t forget to add a “0” before),

Once the coordinates are entered, set waypoint altitude in the same way (in meters, so for 26000 ft cruise altitude we set 07924 meters). Then,click on LSK next to “ADD WP” and voila. You’ve got a new waypoint.

Engine start procedure is fairly simple

  • Condition Levers - RUN
  • Power Levers - START
  • Tank Interconnect Switch - CLOSED
  • Fuel Boost Pumps - ON
  • Autofeather Switch - ARMED
  • L and R GEN Switches - ON
  • ENG START Switch - R (to start right engine)

Good engine start. Notice the low RPM since the LOW SPEED GROUND IDLE switches are ON. At an RPM this low, the generators haven’t kicked in yet. In order to do that, I need to set the LOW SPD GND IDLE switches (LSGI) OFF.

I release the parking brake, then start taxiing.

Cloud cover is at 1500 ft AGL

Ready for takeoff

Setting MAX RUDDER switch to 20 deg for takeoff.

LSGI switches OFF, rotation speed is at 120 kts, initial climb speed is 165 kts (reducing by 1 knot/1000 ft altitude. Good to go.


As I accelerate beyond 140 kts, I set the MAX RUDDER switch to 6-2 deg.

Turning towards our first waypoint: IRONO.

A bit windy, but we manage to stay on course

The weather isn’t particularly interesting. Minor turbulence but nothing the Hawkeye can’t handle.

More terrible weather ahead

That’s definitely one sweet-looking plane. If it ever came to DCS, I’d buy that in a heartbeat.

Approaching Río Desaguadero (Aullagas or Chacamarca during the pre-columbian era) just before hitting Lago Uru Uru.

Volcanoes Tunupa and Carabaya in the distance

The MFCDU has interesting functionalities to monitor throughout the flight.

The CALC (Calculation) Menu has an ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival), Fuel and DUR/RNG (Duration/Range) page.

The HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator) menu has the HSI and the PPS (Present Position) page.

The A/C (Aircraft) page displays interesting parameters as well.

The clouds slowly fade away. Seems like the weather suddenly dried up.

Looks like we’re just about to fly over the last mountains before the salt lakes.

Vila Pucarani, a volcano located in the Coipasa salt pan, a part of the Bolivian Altiplano.

Uyuni Salt Lakes in the distance

Cerro Cañapa, an elongated mountain in Bolivia close to the border with Chile. The mountain forms an enormous backdrop to the colorful lakes Cañapa and Hedionda.

Laguna Hedionda is notable for various migratory species of pink and white flamingos.

The second-to-last turn before Andrés Sabella Gálvez, formerly known as the Cerro Moreno airport.

Consulting SFCA METAR report and adjusting my barometric setting.

Visibility is really poor during the initial descent

Running on fumes

Finally made it out of the mountains

The Pacific Ocean. Now I just need to follow the coast until I get to Antofagasta.

For the approach, I basically need an ON SPEED AOA (yellow donut) with flaps 30 and throttles at about 850 SHP. Landing gear is retracted below 190 kts. I also have to set my MAX RUDDER switch to 30 deg when below 140 kts.

Runway spotted

A bit long on final


Vacating runway


500 lbs of fuel left. By navy standards, that’s doing it waaaay too safe. :wink:

Wow… these Allison T56-A-425 turboprop engines are really unkillable. They went through complete opposite extremes in terms of temperature and humidity levels and still got the job done.

Overall, my impressions in the E-2: it’s an aircraft that feels cramped but you sort of feel safe inside the cockpit.

I gotta say… that was a fun experience in the E-2.


That is one of the weirdest things I’ve recently seen. Why would you paint grass?!


Beautiful airplane and nice run down of the procedures!


…until you are shooting a Case III night recovery…Blue Water ops. :open_mouth:

Seriously, nice AAR!


Navy pilots are completely bonkers anyway, the proper course of action would be to find the nearest airport and port, have the ship come in, and then lift your plane on board again… Their strange insistence on smacking down on a small runway littered with obstacles and do this as fast as possible boggles the smartest minds around!


Well at least they are land before they leave the aircraft. My son, now a Captain, US Army, was in the 101st Air Assault Div. There is a Youtube video of him (and a bunch of other guys) fast-roping out of a Blackhawk. I explained to him that it is more civilized (and safer) to “wait until the aircraft has come to a complete stop” before deplaning. He explained that it was not as much fun that way. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


I would agree with that though, exiting an aircraft through the proper exits whilst it by any observation still appears to propel itself through air is by definition fun!


Leg 05 Salt Lake City to Boise (KSLC - KBOI) deadhead

With my time in the awesome little Embraer Phenom 100 coming to an end, I needed to get to Boise to pick up an Aztec that would haul me up to the Pacific Northwest. I dropped a bag at the Southwest counter and headed out to bravo concourse. After grabbing the obligatory Starbucks, my arrival at gate B22 coincided with that of our flight’s B738.

As is my habit while flying commercially, I waited standing at a window, much entertained by the ramp activity. A fruitless game of trying to pick out my bag being tossed on the belt ensues.

Then a tap on the shoulder. Spinning, I see a familiar set of Oakleys partially concealing a huge grin. She is happy to see me and more happy that I am catch her in uniform at her new gig.

Flashing back to Lemoore I shout, “Snuggles!”

“Chipwich! WTF are you doing in Salt Lake?”

Me checking out her 3 stripes, "Dropping one and deadheading to Boise to pick up another. You a Southwest FO now? "

Snuggles’ eyes roll back while she smirks, “Maybe.”

“I’m jealous for sure, but very well done. Would I be a male chauvinist pig if I told you how hot you look in uniform?”

“I need to do a walk-around.” she says over her shoulder heading for the the jetway door pulling a suitcase with a flight bag strapped to the top.

The flight is extremely light and without any obvious pre-boards, the gate agent soon calls first class. Boarding, it looks like I’m the only passenger up front.

These days there are usually plenty of frequent flyer upgrades and non revs filling up first class. But Boise, being the destination of rock stars, apparently I am their sole customer.

As I settle in at 4A, a flight attendant takes my drink order. Although I’m dying for a Woodford on the rocks, a little voice inside says Diet Coke. The inflight entertainment could be better. A man evangelizes against patent attorneys. While I empathize with him, I was hoping to catch up on ESPN before the safety briefing and marketing pitches begin.

Our host returns a short while later sans drink, “Your decision completely, but Mr Blake the captain has invited you to the flight deck. Or should I call you Chipwich?” Smiling, I gather up my Bose headset and iPad and head toward the cockpit.

While Snuggles is busy doing her FO thing, the captain turns in his chair and with a conspiratorial smile extending a hand, “Eliza says that know your way around a Hornet.” After thanking me for my service, he offers up the jump seat. He points out the headset hanging over my left shoulder and invites me to make myself comfortable. The gate agent sticks his head in the door momentarily wishing us a good flight and then I hear the L1 door being pulled shut and latched. A ring signals that the jetway is retracting.

I know not to ask questions while they get a pushback. start engines, and chat with ground.

We taxi to the line.

Cleared for takeoff, the Boeing’s acceleration surprises me and we break ground sooner than expected.

With the forecast calling for severe clear, I’m expecting a great view of Utah and Idaho today. Our departure dictates a turn to the west and soon we pass over the Great Salt Lake.

Eventually we turn northwest and over some spectacular scenery.

I wasn’t sure exactly when we passed into Idaho, but by then the captain and Snuggles are into a discussion about how many more legs they have today and if they will have time to get a run in at the hotel in Vegas. Then the chat turned to flying the Hornet. The capt caught me off guard when he asked Snuggles if the rumors were true how she got the callsign Feisty.

“Feisty?”, I asked with a frown.

“Yeah Chip, I have a new callsign.”, she says as she turns slightly away to take a flight level change.

The captain then offered more info, “The rumor I heard is that you gunned the Indian wing commander’s Flanker during an exercise at the NTTR.”

“I can’t talk about that.” Snuggles, now Feisty, looks uncomfortable, then shrugged, “Still in the reserve.”

“When I knew her she was Snuggles.”, I admitted from the jumpseat.

“Snuggles?”, asks the captain, apparently delighted at this revelation.

“Yeah she was so defensive and short tempered when she first arrived at the squadron, no one could imagine she would be much of a snuggler.” I explained with a grin. “In fact she had quite a bite.”

The captain chuckled and then said to his reddening FO, “Want this one?”

“Sure boss.”

Of course Feisty came in high and hot, but managed to catch a 4 wire.

Looking at the south ramp I was startled by a row of Phantoms, “Now that’s something you don’t see every day.”

Must be the new craze in Europe, “Let’s to take a junket to Boise!”

Feisty had enough turn time to join me for a cheeseburger. We catch up, exchange email addresses, and vow never to lose touch. Later, as I watch her head down the concourse back to her gate, I wonder if I’ll ever see her again. What a great catch for some lucky guy Feisty is. He would need to be a pilot though. An he would need to like red Ducati sport bikes and know how to shoot a GLOCK. He would need to know a few blues licks, and definitely not be afraid of black diamond runs. He would need to be…well, interesting.


Haha…that is some great character development. I can just imagine Snuggles fangs out…


@chipwich ROFL! Just thinking I am glad MAD is not the only company suffering from a revenue slump in the sim aviation world. Well, not “glad”, but not feeling so alone, now… :slight_smile:

“Feisty”… LOL!

@Chuck_Owl This year, South America has had the detailed tour of beauty spots and attractions from the both of us. I’m expecting a favorable boost in our PAX load factor early next year, as a result. That is a great looking add on, BTW, almost had me reinstalling FSX for it.


Hampton to Pago Pago Leg 4 Continued - Sylt to Alpnach Mil:

I switched to a USAF C-130 J for this next leg.

I plan on flying at approximately 2000 AGL the entire way. After my unfortunate fuel issues on previous flights, I decided to get a “Full Bag of Gas”

Leg4 AAR

Start up, taxi and takeoff were nominal.

As mentioned, the idea was to fly low and enjoy the German (ORBX) scenery. At first it didn’t look like I was going to see much.

However, the low clouds cleared up well before Hamburg.

Fuel: There are two approaches to C-130 fuel management when you have external tanks. You do not want to land with full / near full external tanks. However, the external tanks have two fuel pumps (redundancy) while the Aux tanks only have one, so on long flights, it is a better idea to drain the Aux tanks first. That way you have a reliable reserve. I thought this was a long flight…it wasn’t. Anyway, I drained the Aux tanks first and had relatively full external tanks on landing…I probably need some kind of inspection. (sigh)

It was a nice day so I decided to lower the tail ramp to get some fresh air.

I had FSWidget’s iGMap HD for iPad running with my route plotted on it. I used the Europe ONC Chart with VOR and NDBs plot on. I was using real world (static) weather, so I also turned on METAR reports so I could adjust the altimeter as I went along.

With the detailed scenery I was able to check my course with the landmarks (towers and chimneys) on the ONC.

I flew right over downtown Stuttgart before turning towards Switzerland.

Soon enough the Alps came into view.

As I got to Lucerne I began navigation solely by major landmarks. That is the town of Lucerne at my 10 O’Clock, the water is Lake Lucerne and Mount Pilatus is coming up ahead.

Alpnach is a Swiss Air Force Base. It is tucked into the mountains. RWY 19 is a difficult approach, either coming in reading to te west, low over the lake for a turning approach, or external ending the downwind for a semi-strait in coming approach, over a tall ridge line just before short final. I decided on the strain in. :open_mouth:

The ridge line…the airfield is just coming into view…

…and right for line up…did I mention you can’t see the runway until you clear the ridge…

…and a big dive for the deck…with the GPWS yelling at me the whole time.

I landed long (go figure) but with the C-130’s reverse pitch, was able to stop in plenty of time.

Hmmm…I wonder if that Swiss AF Bug is from DCS…

Taxiing in past the tower…

…and shutdown on the transit ramp.

Flying the C-130 J, with those big 8-blade props, was fun but do I want to do it again on the next leg?


Nice pilotage in old smokey there!


Love the look of those scimitar props. They look like they really mean business

We have the raf a400m fleet based 3 miles from my house and they and the c130j’s sound amazing when they are really humming along


I see someone has been doing some in-depth reading. :rofl:

I don’t think so. I don’t recall ever being told or reading about landing with full externals being any sort of exeedence. Although as you stated we still tried to avoid landing with them full. Then again my experience is solely in USMC KC-130J’s, some years ago now, plus things could be different between operators. :grin: I think the aim of not landing with full externals is based on reducing stress/fatigue to the wing boxes to extend there life more than anything.

Fun bit of trivia, if you choose to dump from an external, both pumps will activate, for maximum JP overboard!!!


Also all the components between the wing and the wing box! Although the most likely place for it to crack would be right next to the torsionbox, doubler galore ahoy!