The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition



Next leg is from Kaimana (WASK) across Papua to Nadzab Airport (AYNZ).

As this was going to be just a straight ~800 nm flight over default FSX scenery (which manages to make tropical jungle look like western europe in the summer) something quick to just get it over with seemed in order.

The Embraer ERJ-135 fits the ticket. Primarily a short haul regional jet, it has the legs to knock this flight out, and with a cruising speed of mach .76 we’ll get there in a reasonable amount of time too.

There is a good VC, but it’s easier to read most of the displays on the 2D pit, particularly when programming the FMS.

The runway is a bit short, but a full power takeoff gets us up in time. Though there may have been some greenery lodged in undercarriage…

Once we’re on the climb profile, activate climb mode, and set the VNAV mode to Flight Level Change (FLC). The autopilot will use your selected airspeed to set the climb profile, all you do is keep the throttles all the way forward.

At our cruising altitude of FL37, we transition to cruise mode. The AC does NOT feature autothrottles, so it’s on you to keep an eye on the speed. We’re cruising at .76 mach, just a hair under our max mach of .78. You have to keep an eye on the winds at well, to avoid an overspeed. The VNAV does all the work from here, we just pay attention to the speed.

The FMS will give you a ToD warning, however it’s on you to initiate the descent. Leave the throttles in cruise mode, set the VNAV altitude, and set FLC mode again. In descent you can dial in your desired airspeed (recommended in 300 kts till FL10, and 250 below that), and it does a pretty good job of managing your descent profile.

The 135 with a light load, stops pretty quickly, particularly with the reverses engaged (sorry no pics of that).

This was my first “complex” FSX addon years ago. I never got deep into playing with the FMS, and learning that, but it’s still a lot of fun to fly. The package includes the 145 and 145XR, so between the three models you have plenty of range to go all over the place. It’s reasonably fast, and has a decent cargo/passenger capability. It’s not as system complete as say a PMDG product, but it’s miles away from FSX stock AC. Overall if you can find it on sale for say ~$20 I’d recommend it.


And now, here is the twentieth and last entry for the Christmas Challenge.

Click to reveal AAR

For this particular flight, we will be taking the DC-8 Series 50 by Aerosoft.

LSHIFT+3 allows you to load cargo, passengers and fuel.

I hop in the cockpit and marvel at that old jet’s analog gauges.

First, I have to set my parking brake on. Then, I set the external power by pressing “LCTRL+W” (default P3D Water Rudder control) and set the Battery switch to EXT PWR (DOWN). This switch is on the Flight Engineer Panel

As I start going through my checklists rain starts to fall

  • Generator Switches - ON
  • Electrical Bus Tie Switches - ON

  • Master Heater Switch - ON

  • Set Cabin Pressure Altitude to Cruise Level (For a flight altitude of FL 320, or 32000 ft… we will set a cabin pressure altitude of about 4000 ft)

  • Set Galley Power Switch - ON
  • Set Flight Spoiler Switch - NORMAL

  • Set Oil Cooler Door Switches - AUTO (UP, use mousewheel)
  • Fuel Selector Levers - MAIN
  • Fuel Cross-Feed Levers - NORM (OFF)
  • Center Fuel Tank Levers - As Required (ON)
  • Auxiliary Fuel Tank Lever - As Required (ON)
  • Main Fuel Booster Pump Switches - OFF
  • Alternate Fuel Booster Pump Switches - OFF

Now, let’s switch to the CIVA (Delco Carousel IV-A) INS (Inertial Navigation System).

First, we pull the CIVA Mode knob, then turn it to STBY, then push it back in. We do it for both CIVAs.

We then set both CIVA DATA knobs to POS. This will give us our current position coordinates (which, thankfully, has been already entered for us). Then, we click on the CIVA 2 REMOTE button, then on the CIVA 1 REMOTE button. This will allow the INS system to take directly what we input from CIVA 1 and transfer it to CIVA 2. This way, we don’t need to enter data twice. Interestingly, you can verify the position by pressing LSHIFT+Z to show your current coordinates. Sometimes I have to re-enter the POS coordinates manually or the alignment will not complete since the CIVA detects some sort of missing information or input error.

Once that’s done, set both CIVA Mode knobs to ALIGN.

For “how to enter CIVA coordinates”, I suggest you guys check the “Chuck’s Guide to the FlyJSim 727-100” for X-Plane. I go into details. Here is a preview of the coordinates I plan to input in the CIVA

To enter coordinates, set the CIVA DATA switch to WAYPOINT. Then, set Waypoint Selector to 1 (we will enter the coordinates for Waypoint 1 - SELKA). We will then enter the South coordinates by pressing 8 (South key), then enter 34086 (rounded up 34 deg 08 Min 57 sec) from the keypad. We then enter these coordinates by pressing the INSERT key.

We repeat the same step, but for the Eastern coordinates.

Waypoint 2 (DRAWN)

Waypoint 3 (NSTU)

We can also monitor the status/progress of the alignment. From the 727 guide:

Once the alignmen is complete (code 0 05), we set the CIVA Mode switches to NAV on the overhead panel.

We must also not forget to set our INS/Radio Navigation Selector switch to INS to track the INS waypoint since this is what we’re going to use instead of VORs.

The performance calculations need to be done by hand. Old school. Luckily, the developer provided these charts. However, I’ll spare you the details. :slight_smile:

Now, time to fire up these old JT3 engines (sequence: No. 3, 4, then 2 and finally 1). To start the engines, we need to be aware that there is no APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) on this aircraft. Therefore, we will need a ground air cart to provide pneumatic pressure to drive the starter. We can call the Air Cart with LSHIFT+Q.

Note: We need at least 30 psi of manifold air pressure for an engine start.

  • Confirm Air Pressure cart provides at least 30 psi of manifold pressure. Check that Freon Compressor switches and Cabin Compressor switches are OFF to ensure maximum available pneumatic pressure.
  • Engine 3 Main Fuel Tank Selector Lever - MAIN (UP)
  • No. 3 Engine Main Fuel Booster Pump - ON/UP (BOOST & FEED)

  • Throttles at IDLE

  • Starter & Ignition Switch - ARMED
  • Push IN the No. 3 Engine Starter Switch

  • Once N2 reaches 17 % RPM, introduce fuel by setting the Engine Fuel Control lever to ON (FWD)

Introducing fuel

Engine lightoff

To do an engine cross-start, it’s a bit tricky. You need to disconnect the Air Cart (LSHIFT+Q), then set the running engine’s Pneumatic Pressure switch to HIGH, then set the running engine’s throttle high enough to generate a manifold pressure of about 30 psi. IDLE throttle will only generate about 10 psi, which is insufficient. Throttling up will allow enough bleed air to be generated for an engine start.

Once all engines are started, we can set the Starter & Ignition Switch to OFF and turn on the Pitot Heat and arm the emergency lights .

We then disconnect the ground power unit (LCTRL+W), then set the Battery switch to BATT. Check generator and bus tie switches are ON, then press the GEN PARALLEL switch (IN) to ensure all generators are running in parallel.

Anti-Skid ON, setting target altitude

Setting Pneumatic Pressure switches to HIGH, Hydraulic Pump switches ON, Freon Compressor switches ON, Recirculation Fans ON.

Setting flaps and elevator trim for takeoff. Spoiler lever OFF.

All right, time to fly!


Ready for takeoff

Up we go!


Passing through the overcast

Using the autopilot isn’t very complicated. To use in conjunction with the CIVA, we have to make sure we have the proper “WY PT CHG” code set. As an example, 01 means Current Position to Waypoint 1.

We then set arm our desired PITCH (vertical) and NAV SELECT (lateral) autopilot modes, then set the Autopilot Master Lever to AUTOPILOT. Ta-dah! In our case, since we want to track a CIVA while climbing, we will set the NAV SELECTOR to AUX NAV (CIVA) and the PITCH selector to VERT SPEED. We adjust the climb rate with the Vertical Speed Setting wheel. If the Vertical Speed Setting wheel is set to ALT HOLD, the aircraft levels off and sets a climb rate of 0.

There are other components of the autopilot at the front, like the Heading Select knob if we want to use the NAV SELECT HDG SEL mode. We can also use the TURN KNOB to turn manually. It is quite similar to the autopilot installed on the 727. However, Aerosoft confirmed that the IAS-HOLD mode was not implemented since it was not fitted on this version of the DC-8. I guess we’ll just have to control our airspeed with the throttles since the DC-8 we have isn’t equipped with one.

Approaching Great Barrier Island

Over the Pacific

As we reach 32,000 ft, I hear the most annoying warning sound ever. That’s the cabin pressurization system that’s unhappy: I forgot to set the pneumatic pressure switches back to LOW and I overshot the 32,000 ft to 33,000, which triggered the warning. Thankfully, I corrected the mistake and pressed the Warning Horn Mute button. I have a theory that every annoying sound in the MD-80s were actually created by Douglas.


That DC-8 is really a beautiful aircraft

The view during the flight isn’t really exciting… but I can feel Pago Pago getting nearer after all these miles travelled throughout the world!

More cruising

As the flight goes on I need to do some manual fuel management.

The Main tank valves now start pumping their fuel from the alternate tanks. Alternatively, I could’ve simply set the Fuel Selector levers to the Alternates directly instead of transferring the alternates to the mains.

More beauty pics

I start making a bunch of quick calculations in my head to estimate how I am doing on fuel.

If I have about 13,000 lbs of fuel left…

And about an hour left to go, I will probably have to set my throttles from a 3000 pph fuel flow to a 2000 pph setting. 12000 lbs for an hour of flight (4 x 3000 pph) is just way too dangerous. With 8000 lbs (4 x 2000 pph) for an hour of flight, or maybe a bit more… it feels much more reasonable even if we spend a bit more time in the air.

As we are about 80 nm from DRAWN (which is 20 nm from Pago Pago), I start my descent. I arm my spoilers, set throttles to IDLE and set my VERT SPEED wheel to maintain a descent rate of 2000 ft/min. My target altitude is 2000 ft.

Uh oh… weather doesn’t look good down there!

Doesn’t look good at all!

We’re in the middle of a thunderstorm. Oh man…

Turning into the last segment

Wow… the aircraft shakes like crazy.

Rain… tons of rain

Pago Pago!!! It’s real!!!

Getting closer I’ll land with full flaps with a touchdown speed of about 120 kts (ballpark figure, this value needs to be calculated from the charts based on the aircraft gross weight at landing)

There is a lot of wind, which won’t make my job easy. Curse you, Active Sky and your awesome weather model!

Starting my approach. The Autopilot can’t help me… so I grab the yoke and proceed with caution.

Windy… Rainy… I really picked the wrong day for this!

Turning on final

On final


Taxiing back to the parking area

Phew. Finally made it. What an adventure!

So many memories… feels good to finally get that “achievement unlocked”.

Merry Christmas everyone!


So there it is! I finally made it.

Christmas Island Challenge 2017

Route for Christmas Flight 2018

  • LEG 1: CYUL - KATL (Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, Montreal, Canada) - (Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta, US) - 864 nm - Airbus A319
  • LEG 2: KATL - KICT / (Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta, US) - (Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, Wichita, US) - 734 nm - Boeing 727-100
  • LEG 3: KICT- KABQ / (Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, Wichita, US) - (Albuquerque International Sunport, Albuquerque, US) - 471 nm - Grumman F-14A
  • LEG 4: KABQ - KPHX / (Albuquerque International Sunport, Albuquerque, US) - (Sky Harbor, Phoenix, US) - 294 nm - Saab 340A
  • LEG 5: KPHX- KSAN / (Sky Harbor, Phoenix, US) - (Lindbergh Field, San Diego, US) - 270 nm - Avro Lancaster Mk IB
  • LEG 6: KSAN - MMMX / (Lindbergh Field, San Diego, US) - (Benito Juárez, Mexico City, Mexico) - 1258 nm - Boeing 737-200 (First Try) / (Second Try)
  • LEG 7: MMMX - MPTO / (Benito Juárez, Mexico City, Mexico) - (Tocumen, Panama City, Panama) - 1300 nm - Boeing 757-200
  • LEG 8: MPTO - SKBO / (Tocumen, Panama City, Panama) - (El Dorado, Bogotá, Colombia) - 400 nm - English Electric Canberra PR.9
  • LEG 9: SKBO - SEQM / (El Dorado, Bogotá, Colombia) - (Mariscal Sucre, Tababela/Quito, Ecuador) - 380 nm - Boeing 737-700 NG
  • LEG 10: SEQU - SEMT / (Mariscal Sucre, Tababela/Quito, Ecuador) - (Eloy Alfaro International Airport, Manta, Ecuador) - 150 nm - Douglas C-47 Skytrain
  • LEG 11: SEMT- SLLP / (Eloy Alfaro International Airport, Manta, Ecuador) - (Aeropuerto Internacional El Alto, El Alto/La Paz, Bolivia) - 1256 nm - Boeing 717
  • LEG 12: SLLP - SCFA / (Aeropuerto Internacional El Alto, El Alto/La Paz, Bolivia) - (Andrés Sabella Gálvez International Airport, Antofagasta, Chile) - 458 nm - Grumman E-2C Hawkeye
  • LEG 13: SCFA- SACO / (Andrés Sabella Gálvez International Airport, Antofagasta, Chile) - (Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio Taravella International Airport, Córdoba, Argentina) - 750 nm - Avro Vulcan B.2
  • LEG 14: SACO- SCEL / (Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio Taravella International Airport, Córdoba, Argentina) - (Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, Santiago/Pudahuel, Chile) - 360 nm - McDonnell Douglas MD-82
  • LEG 15: SCEL - SCIP / (Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, Santiago/Pudahuel, Chile) - (Mataveri, Hanga Roa, Easter Island/Isla de Pascua) - 2029 nm - Boeing 747-8i
  • LEG 16: SCIP - NTAA / (Mataveri, Hanga Roa, Easter Island/Isla de Pascua) - (Aéroport international de Fa’a’ā, Tahiti, French Polynesia) - 2297 nm - Boeing 767-300ER
  • LEG 17: NTAA - NZQN / (Aéroport international de Fa’a’ā, Tahiti, French Polynesia) - (Queenstown International Airport, Frankton/Queenstown, New Zealand) - 2467 nm - Boeing 777-300ER
  • LEG 18: NZQN - NZWN / (Queenstown International Airport, Frankton/Queenstown, New Zealand) - (Wellington/Rongotai Airport, Wellington, New Zealand) - 164 nm - Lockheed L-049 Constellation
  • LEG 19: NZWN- NZAA / (Wellington/Rongotai Airport, Wellington, New Zealand) - (Auckland Airport, Auckland, New Zealand) - 259 nm - Douglas DC-6B
  • LEG 20: NZAA - NSTU / (Auckland Airport, Auckland, New Zealand) - (Tafuna/Pago Pago International Airport, Pago Pago, American Samoa) - 1563 nm - Douglas DC-8-50


That’s awesome…! Really cool itinerary and lots of interesting aircraft in that mix - I don’t know how you kept all of them straight. You must have some good guides… :wink:


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)
LEG 16 - BAC Jet Provost - Hanel Field, OR - S50 Auburn, WA
LEG 17 - Cessna 206 - Auburn, WA (S50) - Mears Field, WA (3W5)
LEG 18 - Beechcraft C-23 Sundowner - Mears Field, WA (3W5) - Squamish, Canada (CYSE)
LEG 19 - Citation II - Squamish, Canada (CYSE) - Chilko Lake (CAG3)
LEG 20 - Citation CJ - Chilko Lake (CAG3) - Ketchikan, AK (PAKT)
LEG 21 - Citation V - Ketchikan, AK (PAKT) - Valdez, AK (PAVD)
LEG 22 - King Air B200 - Valdez, AK (PAVD) - Unalaska (PADU)

For this 23rd leg, I’m going to go back to the well and utilize the Citation simply because it might be the only airplane with the range to make this next leg. The big hop across the Pacific from Unalaska to Barking Sands, Hawaii. The 1935nm leg requires some favorable winds, long range cruise profile, and good weather at the destination (and a little bit of luck!).

Full fuel load in Unalaska. Though this is a Citation II, with the Citation Ultra you would want to fill the tanks via the overwing fillers to the very brim. Single point refueling in the Citation (pressure fueling through the rear hose attachment) usually leads to a fuel load of 200-300 lbs. less than full fuel unless the fuelers use a lower PSI for the last little bit. There is some Citation trivia for you.

Off the map…!

Filled up and ready to go - takeoff time is 1901Z…

Getting cleaned up and on the way as soon as possible…thinking every gallon counts!

Leaving behind the snow and ice of Alaska for more tropical locales…!

Fuel planning page during the climb for a max range flight in any jet will show frightening numbers initially as the fuel burn is through the roof and the groundspeed calculations shows you deeply in the red with regards to fuel…

I initially put in FL370 to judge the performance of the Carenado II. Some Citations (and most other planes) have optimal altitudes based on weight and ISA temperature. For instance, the Ultra and V can sometimes climb to their max certified altitude of FL450 even when taking off at max gross weight, but the performance up there will be absolutely terrible. And if you are looking at ISA+5 or +10 temps on the way up, you might not even make it up there and have to come down.

I use a climb profile slightly lower in speed to FL370 to get into the most fuel efficient altitude quicker, then push the climb into a maximum power setting and lower rate since we are driving into a headwind component. The winds aloft chart shows an increasing wind to the midpoint, then dropping off in the last half of the flight. Thankfully, the wind is mostly a quartering headwind, reducing the headwind component. Had it been full on in the face, the flight would have been questionable and definitely not legal. With performance satisfactory to 370, we continue up to FL410 for a bit…

Leveled out and accelerated to our cruise Mach number we are seeing good numbers on the fuel summary page of the GTN 750. Looks like we are overhead Barking Sands with 48 minutes of reserve fuel…!

Winds out of the southwest at 135 knots - fortunately they aren’t more out of the south…


A whole lot of nothing out here…

Point of no return. Range circles are leaving Unalaska behind, and Barking Sands coming into view. Technically though, the equal time point is a bit further along since if I did turn around here, I’d get the boost of a tailwind, I’d be able to reduce power to a long range cruise setting (you can’t do that into a headwind) and you’d see that range ring expand significantly past Unalaska. ETPs are usually calculated by flight planning software. The real danger here for this type of jet would be a loss of pressurization, or loss of an engine, or some other emergency that would force a descent to a lower altitude where fuel burns might make reaching land impossible.

Fuel range ring with 45 minute reserve (dashed line) and absolute range (solid). Obviously, they change according to groundspeed and fuel flow…

In my real life flying, I like to land Citations with around 1600 lbs. on board. 1,200 lbs. would be getting into the uncomfortable range. As a new copilot at TPT, I once saw the 185 lbs / side warning lights illuminate. That is about 7 or 8 minutes of fuel at normal traffic pattern fuel burns. I didn’t know enough to be scared. More than twenty years later, that flight keeps me awake at night.

As predicted by the winds aloft chart, the winds die off and shift to the west as we approach Hawaii…


Land ho!

Two of the three most important controls in the Citation. When cold soaked and descending into a humid airport, you’d better run the windshield bleed air, defog, and close the foot warmers. Or you won’t be able to see when you land. This never happens.

Held off for a 2,800 fpm descent for best fuel economy…

Final to Barking Sands. Kind of drab scenery because I forgot to install custom scenery…oops…!

In the blocks…

Takeoff at 1901Z
Landed at 0116Z

Total flight time of 6+15. I’ve never flown our Citations more than around 3+45…maybe 4+00 at the maximum. But the II does have a listed range greater than the V/Ultra…that Mach .65-.68 plus the reduced fuel flow of the smaller engines must give a boost to economy…

Pretty excited to be in Hawaii now! It has been many, many legs and I was thinking I wouldn’t make it by Christmas…but (at the cost of all the other work I’m supposed to be doing…doh!) it looks like I MIGHT make it…


Great read Chris. I had completely forgotten about having to stay ahead of the windshield fogging in the descent.


Actually…the default scenery looks pretty much like it. Kauai has some beautiful areas…Barking Sands is not one of them. :grimacing:

BTW, did you check the NOTAMs before you took off? Barking Sands is home to the Navy’s PMRF (Pacific Missile Range Facility).

A happy snap from the last time I was there…:open_mouth:


We leave NFFN, this time it’s back in my trusty Pratt and Whitney powered TBM900. The mechanics also fitted an AOA indicator on the glareshield, a nice touch to help me nail down those shortfield landings.

I’ve been fortunate enough that as of late the weather has been very cooperative, I’ve managed to dodge thunderstorms based on timing alone. However, if need be the weather radar in this plane will alert me to any possible danger.

It’s onto NLWW, the 2nd last flight of this tour. Nearly 12,000NM have beenc overed, with roughly 8500 of that covered by this TBM. It’s edging on 100 hours flight time now. I followed one of the Bonanza’s into the field, came it way too fast and way too high for the first approach, circled back around for another go which ended up alot smoother.

Once again the Boeing Submarine was lurking in back ground!

But alas, there’s zero time to relax as the deadline is fast approaching and I’m still planning a return leg.
The bonanza’s and I refuel for the final leg. Except, the 30* weather is making it difficult to start the plane. Not only that but due to my lack of knowledge of using the GPU, I nearly killed the battery. I can’t get the required NG to start the plane. So while they cruise along happily, I wait for the battery to be replaced…quicktime.

It’s off we go, following some advice to let the NG run slightly higher to prevent overheating, the engine is fired up and out we climb! (Change in scenery, found a cool freeware, thanks Todd!)

The lack of Pax in this plane has been nice, enabling climb rates of up to 3000FPM. In no time at all, I’m catching up to the V35’s and shortly prior to midway I pass them, cruising at a mild 31,000 feet and 310kt GS.

Remember that comment about the weather earlier? Well, the powers that be didn’t like that and blessed me with a ceiling at about 5000 feet and scattered below that.

You may be asking, if you’re entering from a straight in position (we opted for the short runway) why are you on a right base? Great question. It’s because I bounced hard and the landing was going awful. So it was time to go around!

The second landing was far better. Although the recorded descent rate was higher I didn’t bounce and the plane came to a nice slow stop. Taxiing down main large runway and back to apron, I pulled up beside a 767.

and here we are at Pago Pago! 11,700nm covered in total.

Now it was time to plan the return trip. I’ll be posting that very shortly. Although not as interesting, we’re packing the TBM up in a 757 and shipping it to LAX, from there it’ll be flown back to Canada!

For those interested, this is the route in question!,-130.62890624698096&chart=301&zoom=16&fpl=N0300F350%20CZVL%20CYXY%20PANC%20PADQ%20PAKN%20PAAK%20PASY%20UHPP%20UHSS%20RJCW%20RJCH%20RJTT%20RJOY%20RJFM%20RJKA%20RCSS%20RPLI%20RPMR%20WAJJ%20AGGH%20NFFN%20NLWW%20NSTU


Wow…what a great route and adventure…! Out of curiosity - do you happen to know the max range of the TBM? Curious if it could make that 1950nm gap from Unalaska to Hawaii…


Um…I thought we had until midnight 31 December 2018…or when the Heatblur F-14A is released…whichever comes first.

in fact…from the event description…

As with previous years, the rules are pretty loose – just get there before January 1st if you can!

…and under Rules:

  • Flights can be flown at any time up to New Year’s Day.

EDIT: I just did the math…I’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 9,500 Nm to go…:slightly_frowning_face:

EDIT 2:…that’s 3,000-ish Nm more than if I quit right here and started all over again, this time heading west! (I’m not in my happy place just now.) :disappointed:


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)
LEG 16 - BAC Jet Provost - Hanel Field, OR - S50 Auburn, WA
LEG 17 - Cessna 206 - Auburn, WA (S50) - Mears Field, WA (3W5)
LEG 18 - Beechcraft C-23 Sundowner - Mears Field, WA (3W5) - Squamish, Canada (CYSE)
LEG 19 - Citation II - Squamish, Canada (CYSE) - Chilko Lake (CAG3)
LEG 20 - Citation CJ - Chilko Lake (CAG3) - Ketchikan, AK (PAKT)
LEG 21 - Citation V - Ketchikan, AK (PAKT) - Valdez, AK (PAVD)
LEG 22 - King Air B200 - Valdez, AK (PAVD) - Unalaska (PADU)
LEG 23 - Citation II - Unalaska (PADU) - Barking Sands, Hawaii (PHBK)

With our long hop from Alaska to Hawaii in the books, it is time to return to my logbook and there, on June 4, 1997 I’m introduced to the fifth airplane in five weeks, and the final type in the TPT Aviation stable - the King Air 300. So to summarize, the CJ, II, V, King Air 200, and King Air 300. Do you think I ever knew any numbers for those planes? Barely.

The King Air 300 was a good bit different than the B200 - with more powerful engines, a triple-fed electrical system, and an overall boost in MTOW from 12,500 to 14,000 (thus, requiring a type rating). I still remember my first King Air 300 trip out of Gastonia, NC where I could quite seem to time the left and right props “getting on the governors” correctly and ended up doing the King Air waggle down the runway as the governors came on the stops at different times. Later I’d learn to ease the power up to near the governor, add that smidge more to ensure they were both on, and then rapidly but smoothly advance the levers to takeoff.

I don’t have a King Air 300 for P3D or X-Plane, so we are going to go with the next best thing - the Beech 1900D! Yes…it actually is a pretty good stand in for the King Air 300 with the 1900 sporting PT6A-67D engines while the 300 had PT6A-60A, a difference of about 200HP. Both have triple fed buses, and the panels are very similar…

Our planned route is from Barking Sands, Hawaii over to the abandoned airfield at Johnston Atoll

Off we go…!

I actually climbed to FL260 before I realized the ceiling for the 1900D is FL250…oops…!

Good bye Kauai…!

Triple fed bus of the 1900D…

Passing Ni’ihau…

Settled in at FL260 for the two and a half hour flight to Johnston Atoll. I descended to FL240 a bit later when I realized my error…

Doing some other work on the autopilot…oh dear…! Only 10 miles out at FL240…! Dive, dive! Like the rest of the Beechcraft turboprops, the 1900D comes out of the sky at a good rate. 5,000 fpm in this case…

One circle over the airfield to scrub off some additional altitude…

Looks beautiful. I wonder how much radiation and poison chemicals are left…probably a fair bit…

On and in…

Still about 1,300 lbs. on board…

The King Air 300 was a great plane. It was actually competitive with the CJ on legs less than two hours long…it would only arrive 15 or so minutes later, having burned probably 40% less fuel. I never really got comfortable in it though…just too many other airplanes in the fleet to remember how to fly, and I tried to concentrate on learning at least some Citation II / V / CJ numbers.


Beautiful aircraft and screens NickJZX. I’ve been sitting on the TBM waiting for the bugs to get squashed. When this challenge is over, going to be spending some time with it for sure.


Beach, how does the B1900D handle in GE and flare? I assume that you are running the latest beta. I used some recommended acf edits from the support forum because it was running out of elevator trim on landing. Wonderful aircraft otherwise.

Beautiful screens as well.


Unfortunately I’m going to likely be busy during these next few days. So I wanted to make sure I got it done!

@BeachAV8R It’s range is somewhere around 1500nm I think, with a good tailwind and an efficient climb up to cruise you could probably make it. I typically burn around 55-65GPH and it has 292 gallon capacity if I recall! It would be a stretch for sure, but at 31,000 you’ve got good glide range hehe

edit: looking at Socata’s official figures…

Max Range with Max Fuel:
(ISA conditions, MTOW, no wind, one pilot, 45 min fuel reserve)
@ 31,000 ft.
252 KTAS cruise speed 1,730 NM 3,304 km
290 KTAS cruise speed 1,585 NM 2,935 km
326 KTAS cruise speed 1,440 NM 2,666 km


I only flew it for one takeoff and one landing…so I didn’t really form an impression. I’ll check back on it once this X-Mas flight is wrapped up…

Speaking of which - last leg is in the air…!!! I’m so excited…! (And relieved!)


The crew of the Short Solent have partied hard during the past month they have had on the ground at Honolulu. They had such a good time that it became obvious I would never pry them away from their Mai Tai’s before it was too late to continue the trip. I guess there are worse places to spend Christmas than in Hawaii!

Of course, this is just an excuse for me to fly a different airlpane for the rest of the trip. I recently picked up Dden’s Grumman Goose. The remaining legs are a bit long for the airplane if you believe the max range figure shown in Wikipedia, however, after a quick test flight to establish fuel burn at various power, mixture and prop settings, I think I should be able to make it to Pago Pago if I make a stop in Kona, then head to Christmas Island (PLCH) and from there to Pago Pago. That is the plan anyway…

Departing from Pearl Harbor…

Following the coast I get a good view of Honolulu.

Even in the Goose, it doesn’t take long to reach Maui.

And then a short hop across to the Big Island. We can see Mauna Kea ahead of us in the haze.

Following the coast, the familiar sight of Kona International Airport soon comes into view.

Landing at Kona seemed to be the boring option. We are flying an amphibious airplane after all. I push on down the coast towards Kealakekua Bay.

Kealakekua Bay…

Turning Base…

A nice, smooth splashdown…

And I pull up onto the beach…

Kealakekua Bay has quite a history…


Our next leg takes us from Papua over to Henderson Field, now Honiara International Airport on Guadalcanal.

For this flight we’ll be in a USAF U-3A, commonly known as a “Blue Canoe.” This is military version of the Cessna 310a. With a 1960’s operating cost of $12 per flight hour, they were immensely popular with all services as a utility aircraft. This is a freeware version, as I can’t find another version that doesn’t use the more angular “tuna tanks,” which I personally don’t like the look of.

The VC is lower res than we’re used to these days, but it’s serviceable. Lots of steam gauges, with a panel mounted FSX default GPS to make nav a little easier.

The U-3A has the same engine as a Cessna 182, just 2 of them. With a gross weight only 1,000 lbs more than the 182, adding 240 more horsepower to the airframe, means it’s very spritely. Take offs are easy, and climbing out at 150 knots IAS you get around 1200-1500 ft/min on initial climb.

The round tip tanks are an indication of an early model. In the 310G they went to a more angular profile (which IMO spoils the look of the AC).

Entry and exit of the AC is through the passenger side door. There’s a fold down ladder, that leads you to the right wing root. From there just slide on in. Once up to altitude pull all the levers back to setup for cruising, and at 180 TAS we head out over water.

I skipped the three hours of over water images. However an interesting note about the U-3A was that it was also used as training and chase aircraft for the U-2. (Taken from: here with a bit of editing to make it flow better).

The U‑3A chase planes demonstrated turn rates, descent profiles, and traffic pattern airspeeds very similar to the U‑2. With a pilot eye‑to‑ground height almost identical to the U‑2, the U‑3 allowed the chase/instructor pilots to train pre-solo U‑2 pilots by managing the throttles to match the U‑2 glide and “float” characteristics. Fred McNeill remembered that, as part of the training, the student had to learn to “level‑off at one foot over the numbers and hold it there for the entire length of the 12,500‑foot runway.” When the student could fly this profile consistently, the instructor landed the U‑3 and stopped next to an already pre-flighted U‑2, into which the student promptly hopped. For each student’s first solo, the U-2’s removable wingtip “pogo” landing gear (designed to support the wings on the ground and usually dropped at liftoff) remained attached to preclude inadvertent scraping of those long wings.

The U-2 and U-3 formation became a common sight over Tucson, and the pairing gained the nickname “U‑2 and Me‑Too.” The U‑3 could intercept a descending U‑2 at 15,000‑18,000 feet at 160‑180 KIAS, stay on its wing through the descent and traffic pattern, and slow to a typical U‑2 threshold‑crossing speed of 65 KIAS (10 KIAS above the U‑3A’s stall speed and 18 KIAS below its minimum single‑engine control speed). The chase U‑3 always flew on the U‑2’s right wing and discontinued chase ten feet above the runway — where a souped‑up Ford El Camino would dash onto the runway and chase the U‑2 to touchdown, calling out height above the runway and tail attitude (up, level or down) as the U-2 pilot worked to achieve the mandatory full stall landing.

Landings are pleasant, flying much like a small GA twin (which it basically is). Speeds are slow, and she handles this gracefully.

One of the reasons I was on the lookout for a U-3A model, was that this lady is based not too far from my home.

For whatever reason this little bird captured my attention in a big way. Maybe it’s the lines, maybe it’s the classic USAF blue I grew up around (Air Force brat here), I don’t know. For whatever reason though, I find this to be one of the most beautiful light twins around. I had the chance to have pretty much unrestricted access to her this summer at an event, and shot a good amount of pictures. I shot mostly film that day, as vintage AC demand vintage cameras (shooting a B-17 on a 1940’s vintage Graphics was a great treat), but I did take some digital too, here are a few of them.


Wishing all of Mudspike very Happy Festivities, and a New Year filled with fulfillment, achievement, prosperity and above all else, peace and joy.

All the best!


Merry Christmas CP! Here’s to a great 2019!


So…no answer to my “Are we ending on Xmas vice on 31 DEC/1 JAN… I’m going to take that as essentially a “yes” and there won’t be much interest past the 25th…so I’m bagging it after I land in Cochin…