The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition



In other words, you were the autopilot. My CFI, who happen to be a close friend, mastered the art of sleeping with one eye slightly cracked, while I flew us on long trips in his Arrow :smile:

Yeah, about to pull the trigger. Loves me a Baron. Beautiful screens Beach.

Great choice. Looks pretty much what you see on YouTube, albeit without the RVs and Carbon Cubs.


So why did the Starship fail so badly then? Beautiful shots by the way…


I think it was a case of “too ahead of its time”. I read that it initially had issues with the FAA over its composite materials construction-new for the time it was introduced and the FAA Regs hadn’t caught up as it were…and I seem to recall that it was expensive to maintain…but I could be wrong on both points. :slightly_smiling_face:


This writer has a different opinion

Now I ended up reading about the Starship while my calculations locked up my computer instead of writing the rest of my thesis


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.


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.


That Neptune post… :+1: :+1:


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:


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.


Neat! That is a great little freebie add on. I was going to use it myself at one point in the previous plan for these Christmas flights, with MAD, as it is available in FSEconomy.

PS: Did you find the Easter egg? :smiley:


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:


You found it! I thought it was quite funny. :smiley:

It is @il2crashesnfails fault! I knew it! :smiley: I’m about to degrade the protections in the FF A-320 and try it, too.


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. @Cygon_Parrot 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!