The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition

Thank you for that, very elucidating. I have a soft spot in my heart for the starship, because I flew it a lot in MS flight simulator 2(?) Four color CGA graphics were the bees knees back then.

I had some sort of expansion where you could tweak certain parameters of your aircraft, such as CG position, wing position, wing angle of incidence, etc. The starship came with that package and lent itself well to such experiments.

I also never remember me completely losing my **** over one flying over the house. I must have been like 8 or so at the time.

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Yeah, that is an interesting read. I don’t know enough about the Starship to comment on whether pilots liked flying them or not…I suspect they probably did for many reasons, not the least of which is that many pilots enjoy flying unique aircraft. The decision to go with something so wildly unconventional drove up initial production costs and there was probably a hesitancy to dive into a new type of product by customers wary of new technology.

Even if it had been modestly successful, sometimes products become a liability to a company because they compete too closely with later products. The Cessna Conquest and Conquest II are great examples of planes that were superb performers that had their support yanked because they competed directly with the emerging light jets in the early Citation lineup. Cessna didn’t want a product that burned 40% less fuel, but could go just as far and nearly as fast to horn in on their jet sales. I suspect that is why they didn’t fight the eventual life limit hour AD that the FAA slapped on that type.

Interesting…definitely more comprehensive and authoritative than a much shorter article I saw, that quoted a Starship owner (with an ax to grind?) vice somebody, “in the know”… thanks for looking that up.:slightly_smiling_face:

That said, and as mentioned in this article, the “let’s make a plane out of composites” was evidently a bridge too far in the 1980s and what I read indicated that the FAA regulations also had not caught up with the technology.

Eh…you time was probably better spent. I wrote my Master’s thesis in 1992 on a x386 using Word Perfect for DOS…and promptly forgot all about it once it was accepted and published. :sunglasses:

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5 posts were split to a new topic: ASW sims!

LEG 1 - Cessna 152 - Gastonia, NC (KAKH) - Mountain Air, NC (2NCO)
LEG 2 - Cessna 172 - Mountain Air, NC (2NC0) - Andrews-Murphy, NC (KRHP)
LEG 3 - Cessna 182 - Andrews-Murphy, NC (KRHP) - Tyndall AFB, FL (KPAM)
LEG 4 - T-34 Mentor - Tyndall AFB, FL (KPAM) - New Orleans, LA (KNEW)
LEG 5 - PA-28 Warrior - New Orleans, LA (KNEW) - Beaumont, TX (KBPT)
LEG 6 - PA-32 Lance - Beaumont, TX (KBPT) - Temple, TX (KTPL)
LEG 7 - Cessna 172RG - Temple, TX (KTPL) - Midland, TX (KMAF)
Intermission - Sub Orbital Flight
LEG 8 - A-36 Bonanza - Midland, TX (KMAF) - Albuquerque, NM (KABQ)
LEG 9 - Cessna 404 - Albuquerque, NM (KABQ) - Montrose, CO (KMTJ)
LEG 10 - Grumman AA-5B Tiger - Montrose, CO (KMTJ) - Salt Lake City, UT (KSLC)
LEG 11 - BE-58 Baron - Salt Lake City, UT (KSLC) - Johnson Creek, Idaho (3U2)

With my CFII in hand, my logbook starts to get a bit quirky as I occasionally take breaks from instructing in the company Cessnas and Pipers to give Biennial Flight Reviews (BFRs) and Instrument Competency Checks (ICCs) to pilots based at the field and sometimes ones that are just down for vacation. Many of these are given in Pipers and Cessnas, but occasionally some odd ducks squeak in.

So it was on February 28, 1997 when one of the based FBO customers approached me for a night currency ride in his gorgeous Meyers M200C. This rare airplane was simply stunning, rarely flew, and the owner, an older gentleman with the kindest eyes you’ve ever seen, would only occasionally take it around the pattern. He let me fly it that night and it was a real treat. In doing some research for this section of the trip report, I learned that he passed away in 2016. Fair skies and tailwinds Lou.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a Meyers M200, but I think the recently made freeware Navion by vFlyteAir is a fair stand-in. Yes, the purists will scream they are not the same…and indeed they aren’t, but they look pretty close, and their historic nature is fitting with the purpose.

The Navion has a nice EFB integration - which is nice since I need the moving map for this very short leg!

The Navion has a gorgeous old school cockpit…

And a beautiful polished aluminum skin…

The Navion is a crisp performer. The retractable landing gear makes it a bit swifter than the horsepower might imply…

Climbing out of Johnson Creek we take up a heading to the northeast for the short thirty or so mile flight over to Mile Hi strip - a tricky grass strip carved out of the side of a mountain…

The weather improves as we climb out of the valley…

Stunning vistas ahead…

I spot the strip on the other side of this mountain - tricky tricky! I overfly it an asses the best approach. It is severely uphill, so there is only one option…

After descending in a circle over the field, I hit the button to add in a little bit of variable flap and oops! I damaged the flaps. The plane rolls hard to the right and I use a fair bit of left aileron to counter the broken flap…

The plane is still controllable though. I was taught to never try to remedy a bad situation by changing a configuration if what you have is working, so I elect to land with what I have without adding or retracting flaps…

Mile Hi has a very steeply sloped runway, so you need to pitch down, build up a bit of energy, then time your flare so that you actually start to climb into the slope to provide a normal touchdown. This can be tricky to time. Don’t worry to much about overrunning the short strip, the braking provided by going uphill is significant!

On safely…! Just a short fifteen minute flight in this unique airplane.


Excuse my absence! Vacation recently to far warmer climates has kept me busy! Will return to regularly scheduled programming shortly!

I did not. Was it in the glove compartment?

LEG 1 - Cessna 152 - Gastonia, NC (KAKH) - Mountain Air, NC (2NCO)
LEG 2 - Cessna 172 - Mountain Air, NC (2NC0) - Andrews-Murphy, NC (KRHP)
LEG 3 - Cessna 182 - Andrews-Murphy, NC (KRHP) - Tyndall AFB, FL (KPAM)
LEG 4 - T-34 Mentor - Tyndall AFB, FL (KPAM) - New Orleans, LA (KNEW)
LEG 5 - PA-28 Warrior - New Orleans, LA (KNEW) - Beaumont, TX (KBPT)
LEG 6 - PA-32 Lance - Beaumont, TX (KBPT) - Temple, TX (KTPL)
LEG 7 - Cessna 172RG - Temple, TX (KTPL) - Midland, TX (KMAF)
Intermission - Sub Orbital Flight
LEG 8 - A-36 Bonanza - Midland, TX (KMAF) - Albuquerque, NM (KABQ)
LEG 9 - Cessna 404 - Albuquerque, NM (KABQ) - Montrose, CO (KMTJ)
LEG 10 - Grumman AA-5B Tiger - Montrose, CO (KMTJ) - Salt Lake City, UT (KSLC)
LEG 11 - BE-58 Baron - Salt Lake City, UT (KSLC) - Johnson Creek, Idaho (3U2)
LEG 12 - Navion 205 - Johnson Creek, Idaho (3U2) - Mile Hi, Idaho (I97D)

For our next leg, I’m skipping ahead just a few months to put a plane out of order from what it appeared in my logbook, for the simple reason that the type of aircraft that actually was next in line isn’t appropriate to fly from a bush strip. I’ll circle back around to that airplane on the next leg.

For this leg - a short 35 mile or so jaunt west to another U.S. Forestry Service strip - we are using the Shade Tree Micro Aviation Cub, a fun little airplane with nice options even though it is a bit dated.

It only takes a minute to get started, plug our destination in to the GPS, and head off out of Mile Hi in a burst of dust…

My tailwheel time in the J-3 was obtained because one of the pilots at the company I went to fly for after flying freight and flight instructing at the beach had bought a J-3 in Maine and flew it back down to Charlotte. He tooled around in it and invited me to fly it one day from our home airport in Gastonia, North Carolina. It is the first tailwheel aircraft I had flown, and it was very responsive and fun. Dancing on the rudders was a great challenge and the center stick felt great.

Of course, this was nearly 25 years ago, and the owner was a little more liberal with the plane that I would have been. And so it was that I found myself over the green forests of North Carolina, staring up at the wood spar above my head, with the knowledge that this particular Cub had been constructed in the early 1940s, while the owner performed loops and rolls. Without a parachute. I survived a lot of stupid things in my aviation career. That day was one of them. It was fun though.

For giggles, I tried to do a little inverted flying in the STMA J-3…

Oooooo…kay…let’s try this leg over again. Any-who, we are back airborne in a non-inverted fashion just taking in all the beautiful Idaho scenery…

Passing by Big Creek (U60) - looks like a great place for an Elk Burger, but I’ve got places to be (Pago Pago) and people to see!

Starting the descent into Krassel strip…and reading the airport notes: “RY SURFACE ROUGH DUE TO RODENT HOLES.”

Starting to skim over the higher peaks to the east as we lose altitude…

The plan is to drop in to that valley ahead, turn south, and land on 17 as recommended in the airport notes…

Once you get below the ridgelines, you start to get committed when mountain flying. A good awareness of your position is critical since you can easily find yourself in a box canyon without the ability to outclimb terrain. All good mountain pilots are taught to practice minimum radius turns (at altitude) to get familiar with what their planes can do. And keep in mind the density altitude really changes the way your plane performs…

There is the strip ahead…!

I think I brought my Husqvarna chainsaw…I’m gonna take care of that one lone tree on the airfield perimeter!

Stiff crosswind from the right…dip some right wing and a touch of left rudder…

Love X-Plane’s flight dynamics!

Down safely and ready for some s’mores.

The J-3 was fun to fly. To date, it is the only tailwheel time I have in my logbook (I know right?) and is the only airplane I landed on grass (I know right?)…

A nice package of updated Idaho back-country airports using X-Plane library objects can be found here:


Sixteenth entry for the Christmas Challenge.

Click to reveal AAR

It’s a lovely morning in Easter Island

Loading up the plane

Firing up the APU, plugging in my performance data

Finally ready to go!


“Air France 219, on remonte la piste 10” (Backtracking to Runway 10)

Throttling up

Accelerating to V1


Holy vortices batman!

Gear up!

Bye, Easter Island!

Touring the island

Swinging around the airport

Going through the cloud layer

Out of the soup

Climbing to 36000 ft

Cloudy morning indeed

I actually stumbled upon this feature by mistake, but you can actually go almost everywhere in the aircraft!

You just need to unlock the door with the switch on the overhead panel, then click on the door knob.

Some gorgeous contrails

Approaching the Top of Climb

36,000 ft… or is it? In fact, I lied… the aircraft couldn’t reach this altitude with the cargo and passengers we had. I changed my cruising altitude in the FMC to 32,000 ft, something more reasonable. Time to stretch our legs and wait for the longest flight yet.

Another gorgeous shot of the 767

Cruising over the Pacific is… kinda boring…?

Sky is getting darker ahead

The sun is setting

It sort of feels weird now… I left in the early morning at Easter Island and now it’s almost night.

160 nm before SADIT

Getting darker still

While we’re cruising, I thoguht I’d show you guys how nice the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) made by Flight Factor is. It has three sets of checklists:

Normal Checklists

Amplified Checklists

Abnormal Checklists

It even has a PA doing the announcements for you if you want. It’s really, really cool. A lot of attention has been brought to aspects “outside” of the sim, which is very nice. An even better EFB has been developed by Flight Factor (same company) for their A320.

The moon

Wing lights

I really can’t imagine doing trans-Pacific flights like that… at night… with old slant alpha navigation. @Sine_Nomine looks like he could tell us some interesting stories about that… or even celestial navigation? I think I recall someone on the forums mentioning he did a tutorial of some sorts about navigating with stars or something like that…


Approaching the Top of Descent. We’ve got roughly half an hour of flight left.

Beginning descent a bit early

ATIS received… setting barometric pressure.

We can almost see the island during the descent.

It’s now pitch dark below the cloud cover.

Flying over the island. We will swing around AROBA to line up with runway 04, which is equipped with a VOR beacon

Setting 153 approach speed for a flaps 30 landing, last turn before final

Altitude is good, speed is good.

Runway ahead

On final

Bonjour Tahiti!

Almost there! Disconnecting both autopilot and autothrottle

Floating a bit on the runway, but the landing is butter smooth. I think I’m getting much better at landing manually now.

Engaging reversers

Slowing down

Full stop. Turning around

Looks like fuel-wise we were OK

Taxiing to parking area

Disembarking passengers. We landed at 5:25 local time. Another leg complete!

We have a nice view on Moorea Island, where the Moorea Temae (NTTM) airport is located.


So this flight was originally planed to be a little bit different. Bula (WAPB) is only ~150 nm from Pattimura, BUT FSX doesn’t have it! I took a test flight over there in a yet as unrevealed AC to see if the terrain was amenable to an unimproved field landing. They’ve got the town of Bula there, and the urban area covers the area where the strip would be. So that was a no go. So if we’re going to have to make an overwater flight of some distance, lets head in a straight line to Pago Pago at least, which takes us to Kaimana (WASK).


For this flight, lets get old school in a couple of different ways.

The de Havilland DH.88 Comet was one of my favorite planes in FS9, and I completed a real time border flight of the CONUS in it (yeah that took a while). Black Magic was also my favorite livery, so when I found an FSX version, needles to say I had to download it. I honestly don’t remember where I found this one, but it was freeware. It’s a straight FS9 conversion with some minor graphics updates, but don’t except super high fidelity here. Which is a shame, this would be a great plane to do a high fidelity simulation.

So little history about the Comet as we line up for take off. The dh.88 was a purpose built racer, designed specifically for the 1934 McRobertson Air Race from the Uk to Australia. It needed to be reliable, long range, and fast. Geoffery de Havilland (yeah THE de Havilland) chose to develop it both for the prestige (read sales) it would generate from winning, as well as the technical data that would be gained. It was very innovative for the time, and if your thinking it led to the Mosquito you are absolutely right.

This particular example G-ACSP, was Black Magic and flown by a husband and wife couple, Jim and Amy Mollison nee Johnson (both are pretty cool people worth reading up about). It was actually the favored Comet, but a major mechanical took them out of the running at Allahabad.

The Comet uses a pair of Gipsy Six R’s, which are basically tuned racing versions of the regular Gipsy Six, producing a staggering 220 shp :wink: . The Gipsy Six was basically the Gipsy Major with 2 extra cylinders, and the Gipsy Major was just a Gipsy flipped so the cylinders where on the bottom of the block. The Gipsy was an inline 4 cylinder engine, that other than being a bitter bigger than what you’d find in a truck was pretty dang similar to an automobile engine. The Gipsy series of engines powered most domestic (ie British) aircraft produced between the WW’s, and all the various variants still do plenty of flying even today in restored vintage AC.

The Comet had an enclosed unpressurized cockpit, with state of the art navigation equipment for it’s time. A Sperry gyro compass, and as many magnetic compasses as you could mount (in FSX just one). Reading contemporary logs, it wasn’t uncommon for each cockpit to have 3 magnetic compasses, and each pilot to wear four watches. At the time of the initial flight of the Comet, radio navigation didn’t exist over the vast majority of the race route, so no need to weight it down with gear it couldn’t use. The cockpit is simple, clean, and nice to fly.

The Comet’s wings were too thin for normal construction methods at the time. The chief designer AE Hagg, who had some experience as a naval architect, borrowed a technique from lifeboat building. The short version is that layers of spruce planking was laid down crossway to the previous layer (plywood basically), and each layer was shaved to achieve the final desired profile. The planks varied in size from a half inch at the wing root, all the way down to 9/64’s at the wing tip. This technique would be refined in the the dh.91 Albatross, and reach its zenith in the Mosquito.

Originally the Comet was to have a 3 bladed variable pitch prop, but it was found the model that was spec’ed interfered with engine airflow due to the large blade roots. A two position pneumatic prop was fitted, that was set with a bicycle pump on the ground. The blades were set to fine pitch for starting and takeoff, and once in the air they’d snap to coarse, with no way to go back to fine. Needless to say reverse isn’t an option either. The Comet had plenty long legs, considering that the McRoberston race stages averaged 2000 NM, and for the time blistered along at almost 200 knots.

This part of the world, particularly with the default FSX scenery (miles of nothing), really does fit the Comet. Flying into Kaimana, it was miles of water and jungle, until suddenly out of nowhere a narrow runway cut into the brush. While this doesn’t match the real world (there’s a resort on the beach just down the way), it certainly makes your feel like a 1930’s air racer! I really enjoyed flying the Comet back in FS9, and I really enjoy it in FSX. A more detailed model would be great, but if you’re looking for something fairly simple (systems wise) which oozes history and golden age charm, it’s hard to beat the Comet.


Superb leg and that really showcases the FF767. Very complex and detailed. Another airplane on my wish list…but man, I don’t know if I could carve out the time to learn it!

Really nice screens on a very long flight…and no fear of FSX.exe has crashed…


Great leg in an interesting aircraft. Thanks for sharing some of the history of it. I still remember that FS9 “Grosvenor House” as a default aircraft I think…

LEG 1 - Cessna 152 - Gastonia, NC (KAKH) - Mountain Air, NC (2NCO)
LEG 2 - Cessna 172 - Mountain Air, NC (2NC0) - Andrews-Murphy, NC (KRHP)
LEG 3 - Cessna 182 - Andrews-Murphy, NC (KRHP) - Tyndall AFB, FL (KPAM)
LEG 4 - T-34 Mentor - Tyndall AFB, FL (KPAM) - New Orleans, LA (KNEW)
LEG 5 - PA-28 Warrior - New Orleans, LA (KNEW) - Beaumont, TX (KBPT)
LEG 6 - PA-32 Lance - Beaumont, TX (KBPT) - Temple, TX (KTPL)
LEG 7 - Cessna 172RG - Temple, TX (KTPL) - Midland, TX (KMAF)
Intermission - Sub Orbital Flight
LEG 8 - A-36 Bonanza - Midland, TX (KMAF) - Albuquerque, NM (KABQ)
LEG 9 - Cessna 404 - Albuquerque, NM (KABQ) - Montrose, CO (KMTJ)
LEG 10 - Grumman AA-5B Tiger - Montrose, CO (KMTJ) - Salt Lake City, UT (KSLC)
LEG 11 - BE-58 Baron - Salt Lake City, UT (KSLC) - Johnson Creek, Idaho (3U2)
LEG 12 - Navion 205 - Johnson Creek, Idaho (3U2) - Mile Hi, Idaho (I97D)
LEG 13 - J-3 Cub - Mile Hi, Idaho (I97D) - Krassel, ID (24K)

So we jumped ahead a month or so to put this plane a little bit out of order, but we’ll jump back for the next flight. The reason is, the Mooney M20 isn’t exactly an airplane you’d expect to see rolling in and out of forestry service strips. In fact, it has been my observation that most Mooney pilots would rather stay in the hangar and wipe down their baby with a fine cheesecloth and admire themselves in the reflection. Oh stop it…I’m being mean!

In reality, I’ve found that there definitely does seem to be a Mooney “type” of pilot. They are sticklers for everything. They are the type that will order 6.5 gallons of fuel per side. They will fully brief you on the towing limits of their aircraft. I know I’m over generalizing here, but after spending a few years on the flight line pumping gas, we pretty much had Mooney pilots pegged.

I had the opportunity to fly several Mooney variants over the years to include the M20C and M20J (Mooney 201). There was a really, really old guy at the FBO in North Myrtle Beach that owned a Mooney M20C in a blue and white paint scheme. He was famous for his erratic flying and his stubborn persistence to keep flying even though he was deteriorating both mentally and physically. It was nice to see someone trying to stave off old age…but we also worried he’d hurt himself or others. Eventually, he landed gear up in the Mooney and I think that finally put an end to his unaccompanied flying.

I went flying with the old guy once and was happy to survive the experience. His aircraft was maintained with NAPA parts - completely illegal but probably a quarter of the cost of FAA certified parts. The plane (this is not a lie) had sandals affixed to the rudder pedals and a golf ball as the end of the throttle plunger.

For our very short, 80 nm flight from Krassel, ID to Enterprise, Oregon we will be using the very old Carenado Mooney M20C. My version is an old, non-updatable version for which I wrote a review many, many years ago. Thus, it only works with X-Plane 9 and somewhat with X-Plane 10. With the ongoing Carenado sale at the store, I’d be curious if the latest version works with XP11. So I’ll be flying this trip in a hastily cobbled together XP10 install…

My old Mooney version has some prop artifacts, and the keys don’t work in the cockpit, so you have to do everything with the mouse. For XP10, I just used some HD mesh and Idaho/Oregon ortho scenery…and it actually turned out really nice! XP10 still looks fantastic.

Climbing out of Krassel…(cue the joke…has anyone made the “Krassel Run” in less than 12 parsecs??)…

Climbing up through the valley before turning on course…

I couldn’t get the default GPS to work in my old Mooney, so I just turned it off and used VOR/DME navigation to find Enterprise, Oregon.

The old man’s Mooney actually ran pretty nicely with regards to the engine. He had some jerry-rigged trim switch that was actually duct taped to the top of the left yoke horn. The guy couldn’t hear anything and ATC, seeing his call sign come up, would know they had a special case on their hands. He had, on occasion, landed without clearance more than once.

Picking up the outbound VOR radial which we will track for 60nm to the airfield…

A smidge of weather ahead…hoping for clear skies over the field since it is another VFR only airfield…

Just after this picture…X-Plane 10 crashed to desktop because it had some problem with the next ortho tile loading (I’m guessing something in my copy/pasted tile from XP11 was not compatible with XP10).

So I loaded the Mooney in XP11, which will not display the virtual cockpit, and just finished up the last few minutes flying with the HUD view.

I’ve landed on airports with just about this much grass growing through cracks in the pavement (Laurinburg-Maxton before they resurfaced their runway and closed the other runways). Make sure you check your Mooney for ticks after this.

The Mooney is a great airplane. The later variants are extremely quick (and extremely expensive). They aren’t the roomiest aircraft in the world, but they are luxurious. I always found their ground handling to be a bit wobbly for some reason…which is odd because they have a fairly wide stance. They were also slippery, requiring careful vertical planning so as to reach the airport or approach area without closing the throttle excessively fast. Later models added tiny speedbrakes that popped out of the wings to assist in adding drag.

No doubt, sadly, the old man is long in his grave unless he lived into his hundreds. I like to think wherever you end up, you are transformed there into your prime and that he is winging around doing what it was he loved for eternity.

I’ll have to take a short break from the X-Mas flight while I concentrate on my King Air recurrent checkride the next few days. But I’ll be back!


Hampton to Pago Pago Leg 5 - Sion to Dubrovnik:

I started off this grand adventure with the rule that I would not use GPS, only VOR, NDB naiads and INS or doppler navigation systems…well…its more of a guideline…

For this leg I am using a Piper PA-31 T Cheyenne IV. The model is by Digital Aviation, released by Aerosoft. Despite its age, it is still a great sim to fly with a lot of systems modeled to some extent.

It has a GPS…a rather old model, the TRIMBLE 2000 Approach Plus. Almost all its functions have been modeled. So much so that they just give you a link to the real GPS manual. All things considered, and despite the fact that it’s graphics are limited to the a LED display (and a simple CDI “needle” for staying on course–no Maps), I’ve found that this GPS is much more useful than the standard FSX default GPS.

For this leg, I plan on cruising at FL240 so I have set up a High Altitude Airways route, with a SID and STAR…which I will add to the basic route stored in the GPS.

My route:


I loaded and fueled the plane, buttoned up and started engines.

Taxi clearance was to RWY 7.

On the way I should have noticed something wrong. I had not flown this plane in a while and missed an important step in the start up checklist. But I didn’t notice it and once I had clearance, moved into position…do you see what I missed?

My HSI is still on N. I had forgotten to turn on the Inverter (switch lower left in center off position).

After a nominal take off, I circled back towards the airport per the SID.

But evidently one turn was not going to do it…not enough altitude to clear the terrain…so I stayed on tower freq and took another lap…

…and was soon above the terrain, on the SID.

OK, time for a couple of “features” of this plane. First to has a working weather radar, which, given the conditions, I won’t need today. So I switch it to a flight plan text mode.

Next the GPS has a “Calc” feature that will display a bunch of good to know information…
…especially about fuel status.



So I have plenty of fuel to make LDDU…which is a good thing.

After an initial course to the southwest to pick up the airway, I turn south and am soon leaving the Alps behind me.

The Tyrrhenian Sea comes into view…

…and one of the passengers takes a photo too.

The course takes me over central Italy…I think that is Bologna down there…

…and soon the Adriatic Sea is in view off the left wing.

Everything is looking good…I’m on course…and I even matched the engine torques.

Passing Ancona, I head out over the Adriatic …

…following the coast…as I do the Dalmatian coast comes into view.

At the Vieste VOR I turn east and begin my descent to 5,000 ft.

Passing 10,000 - turn on the lights.

Level at 5,000 ft MSL - heading to the penultimate WP.

LDDU is in sight at my 2 O’Clock as I proceed with the STAR.

I turn the WX radar back to radar, with the flight path superimposed. It clearly shows the high terrain of the coastline. The STAR lets me off at the KLP NDB, and then its a smart right turn to pick up the ILS for RWY 12.

The turn put you over the city of Dubrovnik…

…and onto a long final.

I dirty up…seems to be a bit of crosswind.

Looking god on short final. When trimmed properly, this plane responds quickly to thrust changes keeping it on glide slope.

On the deck…rolling out…a bit of reverse thrust…

…and I turn off onto a taxiway.

Taxiing in past a variety of “tails”. Some are static ORBX scenery; others are UT2.

I park down on the GA ramp…

…and shut down. Another nice touch with this model are the cones and tow bar.

You may have noticed that, with the exception of the USAF C-130, I have started using a livery from the Leg’s country of origin. Thus the RNoAF C-130 from Varenes, the Swiss registered AW-109 from Alpnach and this Cheyenne. So a Croatian registry? I’ve got a Dash 8-Q400 in Croatia Air colors…but I’m pretty sure its got a new GPS…oh, well, like I said, it’s just a guideline. :sunglasses:


Inverter running the ADI maybe?

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Yep…that would be it. Fortunately the compass must slave to a magnetic compass–either that or the sim just fakes it–so I didn’t have to land to reset everything.

Sometimes there are some AC engine gauges too. AC lies / DC dies is the old standard. AC gauges sometimes freeze, whereas DC gauges go to zero. Not always the case though.

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Last time I checked in we were still in Japan, I’ve made a few short hops since. We flew to RJTT, Tokyo Haneda. With one of the three of us suffering a gear up landing. GUMPS checks are overrated I suppose…(Link below)

Anywho! Weather was supposed to be VFR, to some degree it was. I had planned for one of the visual approaches following the bridge into Haneda. Overall it went fairly ok, minus the broken ceilings at around 5000 feet. As I followed the visual in, a sudden weather change occurred and luckily I had just setup the ILS as a backup. I was forced to fly the ILS in until I saw the runway at about 2000FT AGL.

Off the left wing behind some clouds lies Mount Fuji.

A very short fuel stop and it was off to Yao (RJOY), I tried aiming for some smaller airports for a bit more of a challenge. Fortunately RJOY did provide a challenge, particularly the challenge of spotting it. At first I was fine, but as I glanced down at the instruments I managed to lose it. So I followed the trusty G1000 in towards the airport and eventually found it.

The details on this plane are just superb!

It was time to leave, to Miyazaki Airport (RJFM) followed shortly there after by Amami (RJKA).

A late flight next day yielded some nice photos of the arrival into RJKA.

Below is the departure from RJFM, late.

Flying over the city of Miyazaki, it’s nice to just throw the plane into IAS hold and enjoy the sights. One thing XP11 really excels at, it’s convincing night lighting.

I found some very nicely done scenery for RJKA, fortunately with the help of Google translate I was able to use it with next to no issues. (Minus the lack of ortho)

Unfortunately this is where we leave Japan…

The next flight takes us into Taipei as seen below. After making sure to stay well clear of the East China Sea ADIZ…

It was here I would find out about a maintenance issue. The AME said it had something to do with 11.3B6? Maybe it’s an engine thing, maybe it’s avionics only. I’m not sure. Either way, the plane was out of action for a little while…

The company stepped in however, mentioned they had a 727 that needed ferrying. Newly acquired to the fleet as a cargo horse. With a deal set for the AME to bring the TBM my way eventually, it was off in the 727.

And what a change that was. Remove a mans G1000 and what is he left with? Good old VOR-VOR navigation. No moving maps, no procedures to draw upon or GPWS to save my hide if I get too close to mountains, it was back to the basics, relatively speaking. With nothing to figure out my my descents for me, my speeds or anything like the sort. It was time to drag the old 3x ALT = NM to descend. At 32,000 feet with a goal of 2500 (rounded up to 3000 for ease) I planned to descend 87NM from the airport, which happens to sit almost dead center of the field.

It was time to find out GS, at 59NM from the previous VOR I set a timer, in 1 minute I tracked how many miles I cleared, just about 8NM in a minute. This puts me at about 480kt ground speed, some earlier reading about the 727 mentioned that a common descent is 2400, which this happened to be close enough too. The descent went smoothly and as planned. Ending up at 2500 about 5 miles from the field giving me plenty of time to prepare for the approach.

A short VOR approach (no ILS at the field) into the field and it was a solid touchdown followed by a quick exit to the ramp. Which actually doesn’t quite fit the 727 too well…oops. The next flight will be to RPMR with the 727, fortunately there are a number of high altitude airways I can take which means lot of switching between VOR’s and keeping busy…


Here we go, all the way from Capetown, South Africa [FACT].
I’m currently flying the Carenado Beech B1900: a lovely aircraft.
FL 190 with a nice tailwind: looking forward to a late supper and a beer in Durban!
First stop is King Shaka International for fuel [FALE]
I’m about midway, and the sun has set, revealing a beautiful clear sky over the Karroo!


Hampton to Pago Pago Leg 7 - Dubrovnik, Croatia to : Antalya, Turkey

Keeping with the, “Try to fly an aircraft registered in the departure country…without buying a new one.” theme, mh only Croatia registered aircraft was a Dash-8 Q400 (Majestic; Pilot version). I haven’t flow this aircraft in a while. It does have a full, GPS-based FMS which goes against my “no GPS” guideline, but…anyway.

My route:


I entered the route into the FMS with a cruising altitude of FL240 and then saved it so on “the day of the flight” I can just pull it up.
Over a TPC - with terrain see view (FSWidgets QuickPlan)

Full AAR

Flash forward to the day of the flight…active at LDDU is RWY 12. I select the RWY 12 SID to the BEVIS (and Butthead?) intersection where I will pick up my route.

Looking ahead to Antalya, LTAI, I am hoping that the 18 runways–18L, 18C, 18R–are active so I can use the RNAV STAR RWY 18C/18L - NERSIL 1D and RWY 18C (longer than RWY 18R) to the ILS RWY 18C approach. That is the most direct route coming from the west.

Fuel Planner says I’ll need around 5500 lbs. Add 500 reserve and 1000 alternate/divert = 7000 lbs of gas. Using the Majestic loading app, I add 55 PAX and 1803 lbs bags/cargo. All this goes into the weight & balance screen…press calculate…and I am well wishing the envelope. All that will go into the FMS for fuel calculations.

Start up and Taxi:
I’m starting from Spot 19. Note the high terrain in the background. On a clear day like today, it is not a problem, but when the weather closes in…

The prescribed start up is to use ground power and the APU for air. Aside from that the check list is straight forward. (I know I’m in the right place since there is a Croatia Arline static Dash-8 next to me.)

Taxi out to the active…

…and hold for traffic.

(Yes, I know I went over the line)

The Flight:
At the end of the runway. It is long enough to use a reduced power takeoff. The last few checks are: AUX FuelPumps ON; Auto Feather ON; Stby Hydraulic Pump ACTIVATED (Comes on when setting Flaps 5)

Climbing out towards the first waypoint, a turning point to the BEVIS Fix. A good view of LDDU. This is one of my favorite airfields because of how it sits atop a small plateau with high terrain to the east and Adriatic to the west.

Ahead and to the left is Kotor Bay, a place that, although I’ve never been to, I know well–it was the former home of the Yugoslav Navy, then Serb Navy. I spent more than a few cold, cold weeks in the winter of 1992-1993 off the coast aboard USS Guam.

Majestic includes 2D pop us for all of the MFDs and the FMS’ I have just arrived at my cruising altitude, about to change MCL to MCR.

I don’t use the Terrain feature on the Nav MFD that much (although t automatically comes on during landing), however, it is nice to check it every once in a while. Just about to go “feet dry” into Albania.

Of course I could have just looked outside.

That is Corfu off the right side. Had a couple good port visits there.

This is something I could have used on a couple of my early 707 flights. I’ll have plenty of reserve fuel at my destination to go for an alternate airfield if I need to.

Bored…getting bored…this is why I want to fly in airplanes without modern GPS autopilot systems…what to do? I know…I’ll check my position by cross referencing landmarks!

…and…yep, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Now what to do…

The Aegean Sea is up ahead, and across it is Turkey.

Going “feet wet” off the coast of Greece.

A short while later the Turkish coast comes into full view.

As the sun gets lower in the west, my copilot uses the sunshade! (Did I mention I’m bored)

The sun hasn’t fully set from altitude, but it is getting dark. Other aircraft Nav Lights and Beacons are in use.

It looks like there is some weather ahead. I tune LTAI ATIS and sure enough, it is windy and cloudy with thunderstorms in the area. Still visibility is 20 miles.

The good news is that RWY 18C is one of the active runways. I quickly add the RWY 18C/18L - NERSIL 1D STAR and ILS RWY 18C approach into the FMS, delete a couple of unnecessary points and keep a space between the approach and missed approach (it keeps the MFD a bit cleaner and is easy enough to add-just delete the space–if you go MA). Here is the finished flight plan.

The STAR dumped me off onto the approach. I dirtied up, went over the landing CL and then switched to the ILS…on course, on speed, waiting on the glide slope.

The winds are gusting pretty good…well good enough to momentarily drop my airspeed below stall every now and then, which cuts off the AP and is just plain annoying. Airport not in sight…although I’m pretty sure its that small blinking speck of light peeking through the clouds.

I bump my speed up about 5 knots to deal with the gusting winds…airfield still not in sight.

As I broke through the cloud ahead of the aircraft, the runways came into sight (about a minute or so before this screen shot). I’m still getting bumped around.

GS captured and I’m heading down hill.

Short final…off AP.

Threshold…reducing power

Touchdown. Reverse pitch…

…and lightly touching the brakes…

…clear of the runway, switching to Ground.

Taxiing in…

…Welcome to Antalya…

…Gate 10 B…

…shut down the engines, deplaning the PAX, unloading the bags.

This was a successful flight if not all that exciting…until the end that is. The plan is to “RON” (Rest Over Night…its a USAF acronym…in the Navy we call it “sleeping”) then find a Turkey registered aircraft…hmmm…looks like the only one in my virtual hangar is a MILVIZ F-4E in Turkish Air Force colors…with TACPACK…this could be interesting.