The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition

event

#524

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:
LSGS SID SPR Y58 GVA UM135 LURAG T293 LURUT Y11 PETAS Y765 ANC L612 VIE A482 BANAV P748 LOKRU STAR LDDU

AAR

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.
08%20WX%20Radar

Next the GPS has a “Calc” feature that will display a bunch of good to know information…
GPS1
…especially about fuel status.
GPS2

GPS3

GPS4

So I have plenty of fuel to make LDDU…which is a good thing.
GPS5

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:


#525

Inverter running the ADI maybe?


#526

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.


#527

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.


#528

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…


#529

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!


#530

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:

LDDU SID BEVIS DCT PAPIZ DCT PINDO UP14 RIKSO UN127 IMR UN135 NESIL STAR LTAI

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.


#531

I moved the threadbare curtain aside and looked down onto the street from my second floor room. Where my bare shoulder touched the wall, I could feel it was damp and clammy.

“Havana…” I said to myself.

Sorry, long. I'll compact this...

I was becoming a Cuban. I had anticipated my stay might be long, so I had not chosen a tourist style hotel. Suffice to say, it was a long way from Playa del Chivo. The wall mounted air conditioning unit did not work. By the grime on its louvers, all askew, it seemed it might never have worked.

A couple of weeks ago - or was it a few? - I had gone up to the airport to see what MAD had for me. They offered me this…

A ferry flight, all the way up to KJFK, New York, for “historic” purposes. That would get some miles behind me, for sure. Then I was taken to meet the crew. I was to be a stand in first officer. They were a team, it seemed, until suddenly their normal FO had decided, out of nowhere, that his flying days were over. He was 82 years old. He had come down to breakfast and said…

“I need see no more, my friends, I’m through,” kissed the waitress, went out with his bag, caught a taxi, and left them there.

The Captain, 79 years old himself, and his 87 year old flight engineer were left in a fix. MAD offered me up for the job. The two crew members had looked at me askance (that is how I got to know about Playa del Chivo, by the way, where they were staying). They made it a point of ignoring me all the way to the airport, and once on the flight deck, the Captain pointed to a lever and said the only words he would ever say to me;

“See that? When I say gear up, you pull that up. When I say gear down, you pull it down. Got it?”

So. Okay. He looked over his shoulder, grunting with some unknown pain, and spoke to his flight engineer.

“Is the cargo secure?”

Cargo? This was a part 91 ferry flight, was it not?

“The cargo sure is secure, Junior, all 8,000 kilos of it. And the passengers, too. I told them to hang onto the harness straps when they heard the engines spool up.”

I excused myself and went back to the hotel. I would take my chances in Havana, thank you very much. Time then went by. I lived on soft chocolate bars and soda, managed to give myself chronic gastritis in the process, and got into the habit of not tying my boot laces, when I wore them. Then MAD remembered me. They sent the taxi for me, and soon enough I was standing before this on the platform…

“Is that more your style?” the MAD agent asked me, sounding to me a bit sarcastic. “Here’s the job.”

HavanaJob

“I’ll take it.”

“Good,” he said, and left me to it. I went ahead and got familiar…

Quite a step up from the old Tri-motor. And I would be doing some radio nav-aid navigation this time…

The passengers were in a bit of a hurry, it seemed, but no matter how fast I went I would not get to Cayo Coco before dark. Still, I wanted to get going, too, so I made some estimates of what good cruise settings might be, read the placards…

Figured out where the tail wheel lock was…

Got a METAR, scribbled down some estimates on a post it, and got to it…

It was a bit of a heap, really. There were INOP things all over the place, and I could not find anything that resembled a MEL anywhere, but I had flown worse. As soon as I put on the battery switch, I got a magical, unrequested push back to the grass, even though the parking brake was supposedly set…

(Note here, the push back request at the top left of the screen. It was me actually trying to stop the unexpected push back! LOL!)

I have no idea what that was all about. Anyway, if this is where the ethereal spirits of Havana wanted me to start up, who was I to argue? Plenty of strange things had already happened to me to let it bother me, at this stage.

Beacon and nav lights on, cowl flaps open, fuel tank cocks to respective side mains, number two mixture to auto-rich, boost pump on, magnetos to both, tickle the primer, and start. Repeat for number one. The start up was surprisingly uneventful.

Being used to the dark cockpit philosophy, a lights on to mean normal operation was a bit confounding, to start with, on the generator output…

Especially when considering a lights on meant an abnormal condition on the fuel pressure when I switched the electric boost pumps off and the low rpms meant the mechanical pumps were delivering at low pressure…

Things to get used to, for the flight. I would check that again during the run up, and all proved satisfactory…

Set first notch of flaps, locked the tail wheel, and off we went into the twilight…

We climbed out to 7,000, intercepting outbound on radial 091 from UHA VOR. Levelled out, I set up for cruise, and while switching off the boost pumps, I eyed those generator lights with suspicion again…

But on the load meters everything seemed reasonable, so I resolved to stop worrying. Time for some more classic, golden age shots as night fell…

I eventually put the basic auto pilot on, and tracked the VOR, correcting for some wind drift. The settings were for a faster than standard cruise, but all the arcs were green and the cylinder head temps were spot on at 200ºC, once I closed the cowl flaps and leaned off the mixture (right here in this shot, the cowl flaps were still in trail, and the CHT still a bit cold for my liking)…

I noticed we had some undeclared cargo. I cannot seem to get away from this situation…

Soon enough, we had passed over Varadero VOR, and tracked outbound on radial 105 towards Cayo Coco.

Time to brief the arrival. Here’s the METAR…

METAR: MUCC 140050Z 08009KT 9000 FEW020 24/21 Q1018

Huh! Hectopascals. My altimeters are in inches Hg. Quick conversion, 1018 / 33.86 = 30.06". That’ll do.

They have an ILS at Jardines del Rey airport, but I chose a straight in VOR approach for 08, via VOKAT. Transition altitude 3,000 ft (I hurried to correct that, I had been flying at 7,000 ft on QNH, :smiley: Somebody call my original instructor, please!). Go around to KASEN, on radial 142 from UCJ VOR, 18.1 DME, parallel entry, RH turns at FL 040. Fair enough…

Also, I should have no trouble exiting the runway via Alpha, parking at stand 12…

Questions? That’s all I have to say in honor of the truth. God, country and liberty.

The cockpit got quite dark, and I turned on the florescent lighting and the red flash light. The mixture of the colors made for some sophisticated restaurant ambiance on the panel…

On through the night…

Until breaking off the airway for VOKAT, for interception of radial 258 inbound to UCJ at 3,000 ft. There was the runway…

Set up for the approach. Lights on, flaps and gear, mixture auto-rich, pitch high rpm, cowl flaps trail, and boost pumps on. No issues…

Parked up at stand 12…

MAD payment…

Whoa! That was a well paid flight! And even made a bit for MAD there. I will treat myself to a slightly better hotel tonight.


#532

Dude, you should totally write a book.


#533

So, after leaving Durban [FALE] at 05:00z and some 4.5 hours over the Indian Ocean, I’ve reached Madagascar [FMSD].
Great to see land, and land after some 850nm of ocean :wink:
Very boring flight, so I started singing to myself in between en route checks.
Sing along if you like - here we go:

We joined the Navy to see the world
And what did we see?
We saw the sea
We saw the Pacific and the Atlantic
But the Atlantic isn’t romantic
And the Pacific isn’t what it’s cracked up to be!

[from Follow the Fleet, 1936 movie]

Uploading: FMSD-landfall.png…


#534

Is that a Pilatus PC12 you were flying earlier on? Great detail!


#535

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)
LEG 14 - Mooney M20C - Krassel, ID (24K) - Enterprise, OR (8S4)

Over a two day period of February 24-25, 1992 I went over to the flight school in Conway, SC - North American Institute of Aviation - to obtain my multi-engine rating. The school specialized in training European students who would later take their licenses home and convert them. A large percentage of the students were from Norway as the school had a training agreement with Scandinavian Airlines. Not sure if @Troll ever made it through the area.

Conway was only 20nm from our airport in North Myrtle Beach, and we affectionately referred to the flight students out of NAIA as “The Conway Bombers”. I received 4.8 hours of multi-engine flight training in the school’s Piper Seminole N2085B and two days later took the airplane to North Myrtle Beach for my multi-engine FAA designee exam which I passed. I had a good bit of time already in the company Barons and Cessna 402s, so the Seminole was easy-peasy. It was like flying a twin Lance.

Our route today will be taking us out of Enterprise, OR over to Hanel Field, OR in the shadow of Mount Hood…

We will be in the Aerosphere PA44-180 Piper Seminole. I have an older version that seems to work fine in XP11.

As usual, I have the advantage of a nice GPS and autopilot that wouldn’t have existed in the plane I flew back in 1992.

Off we go into a stiff right crosswind…

On the climbout, just for old time’s sake, I shut down an engine…

The Seminole could squeak out a few hundred feet per minute of climb if flown correctly on a single engine. Basically put 2-4 degrees of bank into the good engine and fly the ball about a half width into the good engine. A good way to remember this is “raise the dead (engine)” wing…

I remember on my checkride my FAA designated examiner was very suspicious of the Seminole and its performance. We performed all engine shut down and restarts within easy single engine drift down distance to the airport in case the engine feathering didn’t happen. And lets face it - sometimes piston engines are reluctant to restart…so training should always be fairly conservative.

After a bit, I restart the engine and continue on my flightplan…

Just taking in the beautiful eastern Oregon countryside. Have I mentioned how much I love orthos?

Taking a jog south to avoid the restricted airspace around Boardman MOA…

Passing over Pendleton, OR…

Love X-Plane’s reflection abilities on the aircraft skin…

Mount Hood and Mount Baker coming into view on the extreme left and right…

A dam on the Hood River…

Coming up on our destination I decide it would be criminal to not go do a flyby of Mount Hood with the ridiculously good weather…

Descending back down into Hanel Field I go ahead and shut down the other engine for a single engine landing…

I spot the field out of the left window…

Interestingly, my air driven gyro gauges go out with the loss of the left engine. The vacuum gauge has a L/R indicator, but I can’t see anywhere to select L/R vacuum source - so I don’t know how to remedy that…

On safely…fun little airfield by “dkm”: HERE

So with my multi-engine rating in hand, I’m finally able to fly multi-engine trips at Ramp 66, but before I get to do much of that, a new opportunity will present itself out of the blue…


#536

No, SAS moved their ab-initio training to europe, after NAIA. But I have a lot of colleagues who went there.


#537

That’s a beautiful livery on that aircraft


#538

“All you have to do is like us.”

I had been woken up far too early after the flight the night before. I had found a reasonable hotel, which took until nearly midnight, and then, seemingly only moments after having managed to get to sleep, the room phone rang from the front desk. It was 03:30. I went down to find the two same business men from MAD that had interviewed me in Aruba sitting in the foyer. They seemed much friendlier this time, however.

“Ah, Mr. Parrot. We heard you had quite an adventure when Venezuela invaded Aruba,” said the accountant man.

“Huh?” I was still very sleepy.

“Your escape from Aruba, and then your disappearance from the face of the earth for two weeks. Then you wind up in Havana.”

I remembered the event of the sinking of Van Amstel, and inevitably, the bizarre circumstance that followed.

“Oh, that,” I grimaced and nodded. “You don’t know the half of it. I think I met my own seventh removed grand father.”

They both guffawed loudly, then invited me to sit down. They had another historic flight for me. A classic aircraft had been doing a tour of South America with a film crew. Black Pearl Studios, did I know of them? I had already transported part of the crew last night. I shook my head. Yes, it was a nostalgia tour, around South America, where the aircraft type had equipped the squadrons of various countries post World War II. Now it was flying home to Fort Lauderdale. There were several other pilots who wanted the job, because it was a rare opportunity. But they were offering it to me on the condition that, upon arriving in Fort Lauderdale, all I had to do was tell everyone related to the media that I liked MAD. Deal?

Sounded fair enough.

Pack up and be at the airfield by 08:30, then. They would see me again at Fort Lauderdale...

There it was. One North American B-25J Mitchell…

It was love at first sight. Jaded as I was by this stage of the game, I could not help feel a slight resurgence of enthusiasm. I had not expected this. The film crew had already loaded up their kit. I got about doing the operational side of things. Initially, I planned a VOR to VOR route…

But upon looking at the VHF radio nav-aid receiver installed, it became apparent it was only good for homing, and not for flying outbound. I changed the plan to overfly Dog Rocks as a visual way point…

Then I collected the job papers…

image

A scan of the manual for limitations and procedures, kick the tires, and we were on our way…

Leaving Cayo Coco, I settled back to book climb power, slid the window back, and enjoyed the ride…

Having updated my navigation log with the real speeds I was getting from the settings, I got an estimate for the of sighting of Dog Rocks. Once leveled off at FL100, a quick visit of the stations was in order…

When I got back to the cockpit, Dog Rocks was right there. Where and when it should be. This way point also served as my indicator for the start of the US ADIZ. I made sure my Transponder was being interrogated, and changed frequency to Miami Oceanic Center…

Then a thought hit me. This was a combat aircraft, at heart. I wonder. I got one of the film crew to look in on the bomb bay. Surely, they would not have been so stupid as to…

Oh, yes they would! What an oversight. Maybe they were dummy-duds for the documentary, but no one had told me about them and I had to ditch them, right now…

I had bombed the ocean. Nobody on board saw any detonations, so either they missed spotting them, or the bombs really were dummies. In any case, the fright was over. The next leg, inbound to Dolphin VOR, would converge me with the northern end of Key Largo and over Ocean Reef Club airfield. I grinned; “We had it all, just like fogging up the car”. At least, that is what I thought the lyrics used to say, when I was a kid. Clearly, I was enjoying this. It was great sitting between those two roaring Wright Twin Cyclones…

It was all coming to an end too quickly. The VHF nav-aid homing receiver picked up Dolphin VOR, still bang on course…

I scanned the engine instruments again, to avoid a developing sinking feeling that was beginning to pervade my consciousness. There was a bit of a procedure for fuel transfer that involved some manipulation of fuel cocks and transfer pumps, but having flown with the parameters by the book, it had proven unnecessary. It had been very efficient, when set up properly…

My first glimpse of Key Largo…

And soon enough, there was Ocean Reef Club. Up ahead, Biscayne Bay. It was time to think about letting down gently…

I picked up Fort Lauderdale ATIS. Quite a crosswind, apparently, with gusts…

Coming down through the clouds 10 miles, by estimate, north of Dolphin, it was suddenly a bit gloomy. And turbulent…

As the homing receiver was useless for intercepting a radial, I did the turn to long finals for runway 10R by similar estimate from Dolphin. It proved reasonably accurate…

I quickly worked through the settings for approach and landing, and as I neared the airfield, the intensity of the crosswind became apparent…

Last scan check to make sure I had not forgotten anything…

I was happy with it…

Over the threshold, holding the drift correction right to the end…

I vacated the runway and parked up where there were some King Airs…

A military band that had been waiting for our arrival fired up with some march or another, and paraded around in front of the aircraft while I went up to the office. On the way, I was met by a man in white overalls, holding a clipboard. He had a logo of a bomb going into a target on the left breast, kind of like what you will see if you look up and left, right now.

“Hello, I’m here to collect the bomb film props. Can you sign here, please?”

“Uhm. Yeah, give me a minute,” I made to look like I was in a hurry and left him standing there.

Up on the second floor, I met the two MAD agaents again, who had flown in earlier on something faster. They looked stern again, all their friendliness from earlier evaporated. The accountant spoke gravely. First, he showed me the job results. I had lost money for MAD again…

After he allowed me to digest that, he continued…

“Mr. Parrot, we have a serious matter to discuss with you.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yes. It has to do with that Trimotor you flew. We investigated some of the financial irregularities associated, and we have some evidence that you have commited some fraud.”

I stayed silent.

“It was your aircraft, was it not? It was not rented by MAD from a thrid party, but from you. And you also flew it, without informing this fact. Right?”

My first dark secret was out of the bag. I looked at the window. It was open.

Cut to the final scene of this post…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdZuHyttXbw


Where You Are Photos
#539

Nice AAR. Dubrovnik might feature in one of my Challenging Airports articles at some point down the road. You definitely don’t want to find yourself off course to the northeast of that airfield…!

The Dash certainly is gorgeous. I wish someone would give an X-Plane version that much attention to detail. I’d really love to see a full on Dash 8 100/200 sim for X-Plane (@Troll agrees!) :wink:


#540

:smiley: That was funny…

Texaco kerosene? Oh…my “Will Not Carry” HAZMAT director will be furious!

Great report on the DC-3. And a nice payday!


#541

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)
LEG 14 - Mooney M20C - Krassel, ID (24K) - Enterprise, OR (8S4)
LEG 15 - Piper PA-44-180 Seminole - Enterprise, OR (8S4) - Hanel Field, OR (0OR9)

Another little quirky entry in my logbook. Just a bit after obtaining my multi-engine rating I was kicking around our home airport and got an interesting invitation. One of the airport regulars was a fellow named Ricky Griggs. He was a disabled pilot (I never asked how, but I suspect maybe polio?) who was super cool and nice. He owned a Piper Arrow that had specially modified controls so that he could use the rudder with hand controls. It was really nifty and gave him the ability to fly anywhere he wanted. He’d just work his way off the wing and pop into a wheelchair that he’d pull from the back and off he’d go.

He owned a business in Cheraw, SC that was successful and he surrounded himself in aviation. One year, he came into ownership of a pair of BAC Jet Provost trainers. He invited my friend and I (my instructor pilot Peter) over to Cheraw one weekend to take one of his Jet Provosts up for a spin with his mechanic/pilot/IA.

For this Christmas Flight leg #16 (we sure aren’t getting far for so many legs flown!) we will take the Jet Provost from Hanel Field, Oregon up to Auburn Municipal just south of Seattle.

The only Jet Provost I could find was for FSX/P3D, and this one seemed to work pretty well. Yes, it is a bit dated, and the textures and modeling are a bit rough - but it got the job done!

I loaded up with 30% fuel to make sure I could get off the 1,900’ long runway at Hanel Field…

It was a close calculation, but we got airborne just at the end of the runway…thankfully no trees!

Tuning in the Seattle VOR to navigate to Auburn Muni…

When Peter and I showed up in Cheraw that day, we didn’t know what a treat we’d be in for. With little fanfare, Ricky’s pilot got us strapped in on separate flights, we went through a quick familiarization, and off we went. The thing was a dream to fly - it was the first jet aircraft I’ve ever flown and the only jet trainer I’ve ever been in. We took it up and the demo pilot put it through its paces, with some rolls, wingovers, and a few other maneuvers. I was young and dumb and thrilled to be in what looked like a fighter to me. It was loud, a lot was going on, and we had no ejection seat, helmet, or parachutes. Another crazy aviation moment in my early career survived by sheer luck and relying on someone else’s skill. Nuts.

On the way up to Seattle, Rainier actually made an appearance…

We ate up the 100 or so miles in quick order and were soon descending slam dunk style into Auburn…

Speedbrakes out…

Buzzing the field, just as we did in Cheraw that day. I won’t say we were over 250 knots, but I think we were over 250 knots.

Pulling up and around, dirtying up, and flying the downwind…

Auburn has a 3,400’ long runway…

Too bad it wasn’t 3,700’ or my landing would have been perfect…!

No harm, no foul though…we didn’t hit the perimeter fence…

Me, 1995 in Cheraw, SC…

My buddy Peter…about to pee himself he is so excited…

I did not barf…despite looking like I might have…

In doing the research for this leg - I also learned that (this is becoming disturbingly familiar) Ricky passed away in just August of this year…at the age of 59. Thanks for the great memories Ricky. I’m sure all of Cheraw and the wider Carolinas misses your enthusiasm, smile, and generosity…


#542

I do agree!
So do Skyline Simulations… :wink:


#543

It’s a Socata TBM900 by hotstart!