The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition



The trek expires at the end of the year, but I think most of us were aiming to be at Pago Pago by Christmas Day. Right now I have about 12 hours worth of flying left to complete the trek, so I’m guessing I will be a straggler, at least by a day or two. At the end of the day, the journey is your own, and on your own terms. The main thing is just to have fun with it.


Being that my wings were ripped out of my hands by wife and family, dragging me to Chicago for 6 miserable days away from my gaming rig for the Yuletide :smile:, I will yet again be tardy. I am resolute to arrive in Pago Pago by New Years. See you there.


OK, I’ve got a little more than that, but as you say, the trek has been an adventure. Today for example, flying a DCH-6 float plane from the Maldives to Cochin, India, i missed a switch as I was balancing fuel and shut down both engines…at 8500 AGL…it was getting dark…:fearful:… but fun.

I may or may not make it in time…I still have a long way to go…in the neighborhood of 9,500 miles.


I made the mistake of planning a route that requires long, over water legs in rather slow aircraft that require baby sitting. It is a neat challenge, but finding the time to conduct these flights is not easy. Next year, I plan on doing many shorter legs to reach the destination.


No one else was crazy enough…



I was up at 5AM this morning to get a Leg in before ineeded to get ready for company this afternoon…note to self, remember to take off TrackIR antennas before guests arrive. :grin:


The rules are Jan 1. Are we a forum of men, or a forum of rules?!

Considering a decent number of us have holiday obligations, I don’t think you’re going to be in the minority to aim for Jan 1. I might sneak in one more leg tonight, but after that I’ll be tied up till at least the 29th. I am at the point where I have a lot of open water flying left, so I’m trying to decide between just hopping on something with the range and calling it a day, or doing a little more island hopping, I’ve at least got my plan to get back to home from Pago Pago already figured out.

I’m also totally with PaulRix

For most of us, we have an AC that could do the entire trip in one hop, or dang close to it. The long circuitous route, for me at least, is the point.


O.K. I’m ready. Now, where are we going?

Wait…how’d it get to be Christmas eve already!!!

Where’s this Pago Pago place anyway?


A long way from pretty much anywhere!


Yeah…no worries on getting there late. Things happen. Paul is right…just have fun with it. Heck…I’m trying to do the math and figure out how many days @Cygon_Parrot can stay on orbit before he comes blazing down in hail of fire to land in Pago Pago in his Space Shuttle… (@PaulRix might want to keep that Goose handy…)


Fascinating story about the U2 and the Me Too…never knew any of that!


We have video of @Hangar200’s passengers as things went quiet…



You need a…





Uh, yeah, it looks like I’m going to be a little late.

-N0492F340 DCT OOD J150 OTT J42 BOOYA J150 GVE J37 SPA J14 AJFEB
J37 SJI DCT TBD M345 RUMMM/N0489F360 M345 AXEXO UM345 PAZ UJ39
APN J177 ZIH DCT 15N105W 10N110W 07N114W DCT TIAMU G594
TUNBA/N0488F380 G594 TIERE/N0484F400 G594 TAF G599
EET/KZTL0045 KZHU0148 MMTY0256 MMEX0317 MMFO0448 NTTT0714

Considering that I hadn’t flown this thing in about a year, I was lucky to even get off the ground. Then I found myself terribly bored.

Time to divert to Denver and, uh, go the long way around instead.


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)
LEG 24 - King Air B300 (B1900D) Barking Sands, Hawaii - Johnston Atoll (PJON)

Our final leg of the 2018 Mudspike Christmas Flight is in the books. Twenty-five adventure filled legs that took me on a wonderfully nostalgic walk back through my logbook. For the final leg, I needed another airplane with near 2,000nm range, so I picked the airplane that only appears once in my logbook.

I left TPT Aviation in 1998 to jump over to MedCenter Air (where I just spent my twentieth year!) flying Citation V/Ultras and King Air B200s. A bit after I was hired at TPT, I managed to get my longtime friend Peter, who had signed me off for many of my ratings at Ramp 66, hired at TPT. He would stay there a bit longer and then hopscotch around the industry, accumulating type ratings like some people acquire ties. One day, after I had been at MedCenter for a while, he asked me to come over to Charlotte to help him ferry a Citation Excel from Charlotte to Gastonia. A whopping eight minute flight. But I’d never been in an Excel, so off I went.

I couldn’t find a Citation Excel for X-Plane or P3D, but I did find a freeware XLS (an upgraded XL) for P3D. Even though the panel is a default Lear panel, it actually looks pretty close to an old Excel panel. Our flight will take us 1,856 miles from Johnston Atoll to our ultimate destination of Pago Pago…!

Winds aloft are really light down here, so the range shouldn’t be a big factor - no big headwinds like you find in the North Atlantic and North Pacific…


The original Excel had big engines and a reputation for being able to climb to its cruising altitude in no time flat. The XLS is no different…

We are on our way…about a four hour flight down to Pago Pago…

Leveled off at FL450 and pulling the power back to maintain around Mach .74…

Ran into a couple thunderstorms on the way…

Soon we were around 20 minutes out and started the 2,000 fpm descent down to Pago Pago…

Land ho again!

We’re not in Alaska anymore!

On a vector to intercept the ILS…

Final approach configuration…

I can almost taste the beer that @chipwich has surely sent ahead…!!


Buckets out…

Departed with 6740 lbs. of fuel at 2001Z and landed with 760 lbs. of fuel at 0047Z…I’d say we squeezed the maximum range out of the XLS…

Woah…the humidity…! Where are my swim trunks??

So there you have it. Twenty-five legs representing nearly every type of airplane I’ve flown in my career. In racking my brain and lightly perusing my logbook, I can only think of two aircraft that weren’t represented here.

The first is a Cessna Conquest II, which I logged some time in. Carenado/Alabeo has an excellent one, but I lost my install files and can’t seem to dig them up. The second is a Beechjet 400A which I did some SIC flying with in Monroe, NC as some side contract work. I didn’t want to pay for a 400A that I’d only fly on one leg, so I let that one slide as well. Other than that…I think I pretty much covered all them…!

So the direct line distance from my home airport (nearest my home) of Gastonia, NC (KAKH) to Pago Pago (NSTU) is 5874nm. My route added to that significantly…

Thanks for letting me share my adventure with you. Thanks for those that have participated, those that have rooted us on, and those that continue to sail, drive, fly, or swim on these crazy adventures! I’ll save you a spot at the bar…!


So here’s where I’m at.

11,129 NM over roughly 48 hours of actual flight time. The 250 knot average speed is a guess, and I don’t feel like going into FSX and adding it all up to get a true flight time. I have 1706 NM to go to get to Pago Pago (the little green dot circled in red). Pretty much any jet I’ve got that has the range to get to Pago Pago could do it in one trip and make it before midnight my time. What’s the fun in that though?


No sweat. They canned plenty of Pawleys Pale Ale, Gray Man Stout, and Cranberry Sauced for the Arrival party.


That is really cool. Such a combination of manual help and automation…wild…!


Henderson Field (now Honiara Airport) down through the Solomons to Santa Cruz Airport.

It’s a relatively short little hop, but I wanted something that might have flown out of Henderson. Which ends up with this warming up on the runway.

If you sitting there thinking that’s a B-24 with a single tail. You’re kind of right. It’s a PB4Y-2 Privateer.

The B-24 served with the RAF as an ASW aircraft, with the main modifications being the removal of all armor and most guns, and a big honking spotlight. Consolidated then at the request of the USN developed the Privateer as a naval patrol aircraft.

This is a freeware bird, with a very marginal VC, but a workable 2D panel. Externals are decent, and no clue on the flight dynamics, besides it feels suitably heavy.

The Privateer started out as a B-24 body with a large single tail (later seen on the B-32), which Consolidated was going to implement on the B-24 but the end of the war prevented that from happening. The frame had a 2’7" plug added to the body, and the engines had the turbo-superchargers removed as the Privateer didn’t operate at the altitude where that was needed. Additionally it had a BUNCH of extra guns.

The Privateer had a nose turret, a tail turret, two top turrets, and a pair of side turrets (more on those in a bit). Giving it a total of 12 M2 .50 machine guns, all in flexible mounts. Additionally the Privateer retained the B-24’s large bomb capacity, carrying almost 13k lbs of ordinance.

The side turrets are Erco “Teardrop” turrets. The unique design gave them huge arcs of fire. They could elevate from 55 degrees, all the way down to 95 degrees. The Sperry ball turret on the B-24 was removed, as the two Erco turrets could just as effectively cover the belly of the Privateer. For some more info on the Erco turret, look here.

Later model Privateers carried all kinds of electronic gadgets, and even in WW2 surface radar was very common. The Privateer served in Korea as well, acting as both an ELINT aircraft, as well as a flare ship.

For our trip we operated around the usual ocean patrol altitude of around FL10. The Privateers lack of turbo-superchargers really doesn’t affect anything at this low altitude, however it pay to watch the engine temps as the Twin Wasps puts out plenty of heat in the much warmer air down low.

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A couple of hours later (total flight time was around 2.5 hours) we’re down. The Privateer is one of the lesser known aircraft of WW2. I wasn’t aware of it until I was doing some research on gun turrets and saw the very unique Erco turrets. That led to a rabbit hole of Wiki searches and suddenly this was in my FSX hanger.