The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition



LOL - Just one page from the manual. Actually it is a very well written manual.

The manual did cover KC-130 Js, just Fs…although it does talk about them being modified by AFC 242 which seems to give them 20,000 lbs more recommended max weight.

I lived on MCSA Miramar* 2002-2006 and used to meet up at the O’Club with one of the pilots from the KC-130 squadron there . They were just starting introduce the J’s. Great times…although it could be a bit of a commute when I was stationed aboard a carrier at NAS North Island.

*When people asked where I lived, I would tell them, “I live in a gated community.” …which was technically true…with 18 y/o gung-ho Marines with shotguns guarding the gates…couldn’t get safer than that! :sunglasses:


Indeed… Reading that makes me feel like I’m reading out of the NATOPS again lol.

Interesting… I’ve never actually seen gross weight numbers for older models. I don’t remember the exact numbers off the top of my head, but the J model has similar, if not the same gross weight limitations as the modified F. Then again all a J is is a late model legacy airframe with fancy new engines, props, and avionics slapped on.

Very cool. I was stationed at Miramar from 2008-2010. Nice place, but I preferred the flying we did when I was with VMGR-152, back when they where still at MCAS Futenma on Okinawa. :cry:


This is why we stopped at Midland International Air and Space Port…!


That was another great read! Very interesting Indeed.

Out of curiosity after you leave the atmosphere you said you could spin 180 degrees and have no Ill effects as long as you were lined up again by re-entry. But my question would be would there be any forces acting on the ship or the pilot during that spin? Would it feel relatively gentle or is this something that wouldn’t actually work in the real world due to lack of reaction mass or something else?

Loving the series of sub orbit flights so far beach.


I would think there would be a tiny force on the pilot during the initiation of the yaw input, but once you had finished the initial input, things would go back to neutral (zero G, zero X/Y/Z axis accelerations). Of course, to stop the motion, you’d have to put in an equal and opposite input at some point, which would again impart a small force on the pilot.


Thirteenth entry for the Christmas Challenge.

Click to reveal AAR

Time for some old school Slant Alpha navigation in the newly released Just Flight Avro Vulcan.

We’ll be navigating from VOR to VOR all the way to Cordoba.


I had the chance to visit two Vulcans (in Duxford IWM and Cosford RAF museums) and it is hard to describe how huge these aircraft are when you stand right next to it.

XJ824 in Duxford

XM598 in Cosford

Interestingly, the Bristol-Siddeley Olympus 301 turbojet engines fitted on the Vulcan were also used on the TSR 2, another magnificent british jet that got its program cancelled. These engines are also very similar to the ones installed on the Concorde (Olympus 593), which I also had the chance to visit in Duxford (terrific exhibit!).

Now, now, enough with the pretty pictures. Time to go to work and see Bossman.

  • BOSSMAN: Here you are again, Mister Chuck. What brings you here? Haven’t had enough fun with the Hawkeye already?
  • ME: It’s an okay plane, but, you see, Just Flight just released this new plane and…
  • BOSSMAN: And you want your wife to eat some more Kraft Dinner for the rest of the month, is that it?
  • ME: Exactly. I want to fly this magnificent Vulcan to Cordoba.
  • BOSSMAN: Cordoba… as in that place in Argentina?
  • ME: Precisely.
  • BOSSMAN: Argentina… as in that place where the Vulcan went to war some years ago?
  • ME: You don’t sound too thrilled…
  • BOSSMAN: As much as I hate your guts, young man, the MAD company cannot afford to get a british bomber shot down over Argentina.
  • ME: But…
  • BOSSMAN: And the noise requirements prevent this aircraft from being operated even in the UK!
  • ME: But the Queen said I could…
  • BOSSMAN: You mean Randy Queen from Leicester? That doesn’t count!
  • ME: Don’t you want to hear that Vulcan howl one more time?

After hours of arguing with Bossman, I am finally allowed to take my Vulcan to the skies. Wonderful!

I climb the ladder just next to the landing gear (LSHIFT+E)

On top of the ladder

The access to the cockpit is a bit tight

Thankfully, a quality-of-life improvement allows the fuel control panel to be rotated up with a white T handle

Fuel panel down

Fuel panel up

And there it is! The interior of a nuclear bomber.

I check that the parking brake is set.

Then, the maintenance crew plug in the Houchin Ground Power Unit (under the left wing) and the Palouste Air Pressure Compressor Cart (under the right wing).

A five-man crew, the first pilot, co-pilot, navigator radar, navigator plotter and air electronics officer (AEO) was accommodated within the pressure cabin on two levels; the pilots sitting on Martin-Baker 3KS ejection seats whilst on the lower level, the other crew sat facing rearwards and would abandon the aircraft via the entrance door.

Unfortunately, we can’t access the electrical panels in the back compartment since it’s not modelled (hidden behind this big metal door).

However, we can pop up 2-D panels for the ACP (Alternator Control Panel) and AAPP/SSP (Airborne Auxiliary Power Plant/ Secondary Supplies Panel). The AAPP is basically the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) of the Vulcan.

First, we need to set the battery switch ON (SSP panel). We can confirm that the busbar gauge is at approx. 28 Volts.

Then, we set all four LP (Low-Pressure Fuel Cocks to OPEN (FWD).and close the cover guards.

On the right side console, set Cabin Pressure Selector to Cruise (Fully forward) and cover guard set to prevent inadvertent selections. Also set Engine Air and Cabin Air switches to OFF.

  • Close the entry door (LSHIFT+E).
  • Move to the fuel control panel and set all fuel pump switches ON (1 through 7).
  • Set the Cross-Feed fuel cocks CLOSED.
  • Set the Fuel Pump Auto/Manual switches to AUTO.

Interestingly, the pumps in AUTO mode will already start transferring fuel from different tanks to have a correct CG (Center of Gravity) for takeoff.

  • We can verify fuel readings by holding the Fuel Tank Contents pushbuttons.
  • Set Throttle/HP (High Pressure) Cocks Levers to OPEN/IDLING position (right click)

On the starter panel (left side of pilot seat), we can start the engines either using an engine-cross-start procedure or by using the “Rapid Start” procedure. This time, I try to go for the Rapid Start.

Good start! Confirmation of four successful engine starts is shown by the four engine start lights extinguishing. Once this occurs, switch OFF the ignition and engine master (MSW) switches.

We can also check the fuel flow and see if it’s within an acceptable range.

On the SSP and ACP panels, set the Port and Starboard TRU (Transformer Rectifier Unit) switches ON, the Port and Starboard Main Transformer switches ON, and the four Alternator switches ON.

On the left pilot console, set the PFCs switches, auto-stabiliser (Pitch & Yaw Dampers) and artificial feel switches ON. Basically, we can click on all the PFC Stop Buttons and turn off Artificial Feel & Pitch/Yaw dampers, then turn them all back on gradually using their respective switches.

Setting my navigation frequency to 114.9 (Antofagasta VOR), which is about 1.4 miles from us. The Vulcan doesn’t really use VORs for navigation according to the manual. It comes equipped with a TACAN system, which is used by the military and not modelled in Prepar3d. However, we can tune two knobs on the COM/NAV radio panel to VOR frequencies and use them like TACAN beacons (the frequency will only be visible via cockpit tooltips). You just need to make sure that the Radio Preset Frequency Selector is set to M (Manual).`

A couple of last checks before takeoff:

  • Oxygen ON (for both pilot and copilot sides)
  • Pressure Head Heaters (Pitot Heat) ON (DOWN & GUARDED)
  • Radio Altimeter ON
  • Engine Air switches for Engine 1 & 2 - ON/OPEN
  • Port Cabin Air Switch - ON/OPEN
  • Extend left & right taxi lights (FULL DOWN)
  • Navigation Lights switch - STEADY
  • Set External Light switch - ON
  • Parking Brake OFF

Time to taxi

Heading towards runway 19. It’s a pretty foggy morning.

Needless to say, the Vulcan is absolutely HUGE.

Holding the CG CHECK button to see if the fuel pumps distributed the fuel correctly, giving me a balanced Center of Gravity. The CG should be good (and it is) since the fuel pumps were set to AUTO mode. When lined up on the runway, I also check that the correct heading is entered on the Beam Compass (194 for the first leg).

Removing ejection seat safety locking pins

Checking the rotation speed chart in function of AUW (All-Up Weight, also known as Gross Weight). Since we will takeoff with approx. 52,000 lbs of fuel, the empty weight is about 100,750 lbs and we’re carrying about 1000 lbs worth of payload, we have an AUW of 153,750 lbs. That gives us a rotation speed of about 137 kts and an initial climb speed of 150 kts. To be conservative, I’ll take a rotation speed of 140 kts and an initial climb speed of 150 kts. After that, the recommended climb speed is 250 kts all the way up to 20,000 ft, then Mach 0.86 above 20,000 ft.

I throttle up, wait for my engines to spool up and the Olympus engines howl the loudest and most magnificent sound I’ve ever heard.

Here is how it sounds like. This video was taken in a short check ride I did earlier to see how the plane behaved.

Retracting landing gear

Gear up and locked

The aircraft is surprisingly elegant for its size.

Skyrocketing over Antofagasta

As I reach 3,000 ft, I retract my landing lights, set my remaining Engine Air and Cabin Air switches ON/OPEN. I climb at 250 kts.

Looking at the aircraft limitations… I really need to make sure I am super careful with this aircraft.

It’s now time to set up the autopilot, also nicknamed “George”. As shown in the picture above, I first set up my Autopilot Master switch to ON (UP). Then, I pull the Autopilot Power knob and wait for the READY MI (Magnetic Indicator) to turn to white. This can take up to 1 minute.

I then level off the aircraft and set up the IAS/ALT autopilot mode selector to ALT (Altitude Hold) and pull the ENGAGE knob. Simple as that. You can also monitor the servo loading on the front panel. If you want to use HEADING HOLD, set the Autopilot Heading Select Knob to the desired course on the Beam Compass, then pull on the TRACK knob to arm Heading Select mode.

I run into some difficult autopilot oscillations as I engage it below Mach 0.6. I disengage it and climb to 27,000 ft, level off, then try again. As I reach Mach 0.7, the autopilot seems to cooperate this time. Bug or feature? I’ll have to ask the developers.

Another cool fact: you can use the nuclear flash protection panels. To use them, click hold left mouse button an individual window, then drag the window left or right to move it.

Following the coast

Trucking along, 48 miles south of Antofagasta

The autopilot starts oscillating again. I disconnect it angrily. Something feels off.

As I go 100 nm south of Antofagasta, I switch my nav frequency to DAT (117.1). The distance being probably greater than 100 nm still, the indicator points in the right direction but the DME distance is stuck at 99 nm for now.

After a while, I finally end up having a distance on the TACAN display…

60 miles out to DAT

Over DAT, turning 120 towards LAR for a 245 nm long leg over the Andes… and into Argentina (gasp)

Opening bomb bay doors…

Just kidding…, just kidding!

That’s one long boring leg… especially since the AP doesn’t seem to quite work as intended.

The visibility is really not that great in that aircraft.

An interesting angle

Over the Tampalaya National Park… or at least something that looks like it.

Clouds ahead. I hope the visibility is good during the approach.

Strangely enough I end up being able to capture the signal to LAR but I get no information about its distance. maybe it has something to do with the fact that the VOR is close to a mountain?

Approaching LAR (La Rioja). Quite a beautiful place. As the needle starts turning, I know we crossed the beacon. Maybe it was an ADF and not a VOR? I’ll have to verify.

Tuning on SRC frequency and turning 158

SRC VOR captured. Got it!

Lago Salinas Grandes

Reaching SCT

Time to tune on CBA (Cordoba) following heading 042. Starting my descent and deploying airbrakes.

There is a lot of turbulence during the descent. Flying over Alta Gracia

Tuning on the ATIS frequency on 127.5… doesn’t seem anything is being broadcasted.

Internet to the rescue. Adjusting my altimeter setting to 1024 mBar.

Approach speed is 200 kts. Engine Air and Cabin Air switches are SHUT, and landing lights are deployed at 180 kts.

I rapidly check my remaining fuel: 26,000 lbs. My AUW is 127,750 lbs.

Speed on final is 140 kts. Touchdown speed should be about 130 kts. I’ll use 145 kts on final and 135 kts at the threshold for safety.

I swing around the airport by the East, then turn south towards runway 18.

On final


Using the wing like a huge airbrake

Deploying Drag Chute

Taxiing to parking area

Aaand engine shutdown. Finally reached Cordoba in one piece.

Power off.


phwoaaar what a beaut! Nice one chuck!


Great read Chuck! So, is there going to be a Chuck’s Guide to the Vulcan?


What a spectacular aircraft Chuck! Thanks for sharing it in detail. Very much appreciated.


Power off… (followed by ominous silence)

You weren’t lynched, were you? :worried:


I actually thought of doing a “British Bombers” series of guides, starting from the Lancaster, then the Canberra and finally the Vulcan. I don’t know when I’ll find the time to do that but so far my AARs for these three aircraft are good studies/reminders of the plane I think.

I landed during a Football game, so I escaped the aircraft safe and unharmed. :slight_smile:


Victor k2 next please chuck! I know someone who would be very interested in that particular AAR. :thinking::+1:


FTFY :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Fourteenth entry for the Christmas Challenge.

Click to reveal AAR

Bossman and myself sprint through the Cordoba airport.

ME: Fuel up that plane! We have to leave - NOW!
BOSSMAN: I told you this whole “landing-a-Vulcan-in-the-middle-of-Argentina” plan was bonkers! Start the plane! Start the bloody plane!
ME: It’s not my fault, Boss! I didn’t know they’d want to lynch us after their football game was over!
BOSSMAN: Hurry up, I see the angry crowd in the distance. They’re trying to force their way over the fences!

Setting up fuel and cargo in a hurry. CG looks good, weight looks good.

Ground power ON

Loading up the passengers

Plugging in V-speeds for a flaps 15 takeoff


Lining up on Runway 36

Ready to roll

Rotating, gear up.

Climbing across the SID

Flying over Cordoba one last time

So far so good

That Maddog really IS a magnificent aircraft. It’s probably my favourite aircraft to fly in Prepar3d.

Embalse Los Molinos

Encountering severe turbulence before I climb above the Andes

Reaching contrail height

Over San Vincente. Does anyone have any idea what those circles are down there?

Lago Pampa de Las Salinas, another salt lake

Chilean border ahead

Into the mountains

Arriving at the Top of Descent, checking my landing speeds. I plan to land at flaps 28 at roughly 135 kts.

The Andes are truly breathtaking

The eternal snows. We are south of the Aconcagua near the mountain called Cerro El Plomo.

Approaching Santiago

Santiago is to our left

At last, an ATIS that works!!! Setting my barometric setting at 29.90 in Hg.

Turning into the final approach

On final

Before touchdown, coming in a bit too fast

We made it!

Vacating the runway

Heading to our gate

Everyone out!

This was our final leg before our crossing over the Pacific Ocean. Time to take a little break.



Those are going to be fields that us a center pivot irrigation (also called water-wheel, and a couple others). Real common in the US too, but if you don’t spend much time in farm country you probably won’t see one.


Any decent add-on on that?


Hampton to Pago Pago Leg 5 - Alpnach Mil to Sion:

We are doing something different for this leg. @BeachAV8R’s post on his new helicopter, Sera Sim’s Bell B222 got me to thinking, a couple of my favorite FSX civilian helicopters are the aforementioned B222 and Nemeth Design’s / Milviz’s AW-109. I don’t have any Swiss livery for the B222 but I do for the AW-109. (It turns out that an original design specification of the AW-109 was Rescue/ MEDEVAC in the Swiss Alps).

The Nemeth/Milviz AW-109 has a bit more “in depth” flight model than many other FSX helicopters.

One of the truly modeled is the retreating blade stall at high speeds. They are serious about VNE. More than once I’ve I’ve gotten too fast and put myself into the ground in this helo. And it is pretty easy to get too fast, especially if you let your speed get away from you while descending. This is something to think about on this flight since I will be climbing through the high Grimselpass and then down into the Rhone Valley.

Here is the Flight Plan:


Dawn at Alpnach Air Base. Getting ready to start it up.

Engines running. Everything else is set. Ready to go.

Pull up into a hover…clear of obstacles… (Note Alpnach is a Swiss AF helo base. I’ve added a few bits of scenery to include a few Swis AF Eurocopter 135s on the flight line)

…and outbound.

One nice thing about this model is the autopilot. As I head out I have set heading and altitude hold.

I spotted a frozen lake so I just had to land on it. Why? Why not?

Enough fun. I’m heading up the climbing valley to Grimselpass…

when I see this…clouds hiding the valley ahead. I could have gone all day without that.

Decision time: Do I abort? See if I can go under? What about over? Go right through? I’ve got a good terrain picture on my GPS so I decide to reduce speed a bit, climb and go through. Soon enough I’m in the soup.

It is just the one cloud and after a bit I’m in the clear. Grimselpass is straight ahead.

The Rhone Valley has better weather and plenty of space. I start my descent. I want to get down to about 1,000 ft AGL and then press in. (The one unfortunate thing about this AW-109 model is the lack of a radar altimeter.)

The flight down the valley is uneventful. Soon I have LSGS in sight.

On short final…er…not really. This is the threshold for RWY 25 and RWY 7 is the active…but the helipads are down at this end and there is nobody else in the pattern…so…

Making my approach to Helipad 1. Note the barricade for keeping jets from overrunning the runway. There are also arresting gear at both ends. (Sion is a civilian and military airfield.)

Safe on deck? … I had better make sure……“pilot to crew chief; make sure we have landed.”

“Crew chief to pilot…um…it looks that way.”

(Actually, the animation is for when you are using the hoist in a hover.)

Safe on deck confirmed. Shut it down and let everybody out.

I’m not sure what I’ll be flying for the next leg. I do know that I’ll be headed for the Croatian, Adriatic coast and Dubrovnik (LDDU).


I found a free version that covered all marks of Victor including the very secretive SR2 reconnaissance variant. This was for fsx but honestly the cockpit was subpar although the flight model was pretty nice. You could put the B1a into a dive at FL350 and it would go supersonic and the later marks wouldn’t do that and they had noticably more power and feeling of weight.

Maybe one day.


So from Davao in the PI down to Manado Indonesian, 336 NM. Mostly over water, what to fly, what to fly…?

Well as Beach got me thinking the other day with the sub hunting comment, and I’ve been missing some big ole’ radial engines, the obvious choice is of course:

The Grumman S-2 Tracker. First introduced in 1952, the Tracker was the first purpose built ASW aircraft for the USN when it entered service in 1952. it has a pair of Wright 1820 Cyclone engines (the Cyclone also powered the B-17), putting out 1525 SHP each. That combined with a large flaps, gives the expected STO performance. Though we have plenty of runway here.

This model is freeware from Eagle Rotorcraft Simulations. The exterior model is great, unfortunately the interior is not quiet as polished. Additionally the systems modeling seems to be pretty bare bones. I have no clue on the flight dynamics of the real Tracker, so I can’t say how accurate it is, but it seems reasonable.

The model has a deployable radar dome, EW antenna, and a MAD stinger.

It’s mainly water, lots of water between the two islands. The Tracker has a cruising speed of about 125 knts IAS at FL10. It cruises about 30 knots faster than the PBY-2, but does so MUCH more comfortably. With the Catalina, in warm air I was always worry about the engines lighting on fire or stalling if I throttled back. Getting up to FL10 or higher was a fight and pretty much required step climbing. The Tracker cruises much more comfortably at higher altitude and speed than the Catalina, which makes for much more comfortable flying.

Entering the pattern.

On final.

And down. As I had plenty of runway I figured I’d try a carrier type landing. Full flaps, and fly it right into the runway. No wire to catch, so we ended up a bit further down the runway then normal. It definitely handles a “solid” landing just fine.

Overall this is an outstanding exterior model with what appears to be FSX stock plane default systems modeling. There appears to be some oddness with autopilot, but that may have been operator error.


The Aerosoft Catalina X? If so, I know what you mean. They did a pretty good job on the engine model. Cold weather flying is also a “treat” playing with the carburetor heat. Too little and ice chokes the engines; too much and they overheat. Definitely a Goldilocks situation. :slightly_smiling_face:

When I was a young Ensign, the USN still had a couple C-1 Trader CODs in operation. I got to see two of them “launch” from the ship (CV-67) using a deck run, down the angle deck, just like in WW II…the end of an era. :sunglasses: