The Official 4th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2018 Edition



Excellent summary Hanger200, and you certainly made the trip an adventure. I very much enjoyed reading your entries, especially those in the 707.

But don’t bother saving a cabana for me. I’m being held hostage by my family today, which they’ve done for most of the holidays. Dratts!


Always nice to pick up a land based, traditional signal even when using INS or GPS. Just something reassuring about it.


Nice route…and great leg reports…! I’m at the bar. Wondering what all that racket was this evening out by the airport…


It just literally ‘Big Island’ in old Dutch :smile:


I’m going to file that piece of trivia away, I like that.


Leg09 Juneau to Honolulu (PAJN - PHNL)

Add-ons for P3Dv4 on this leg:
VRS Superbug and TacPack
Orbx: all layers plus PAJN
Active Sky P3Dv4 and Cloud Art

Departure from PAJN screen captures.

When I departed Atlanta in the DA62, I thought that I had a pretty solid flight plan:

But, that was wishful thinking and as Christmas approached, I got a big slice of RL pie when we went to Chicago for the holidays. Now those massive gaming laptops that some of you commercial pilots lug around began to make sense :smile: I knew that I would be late, but I just didn’t want it to drag on more than a few days past our loosely defined NYD deadline. To that end, I decided to eighty-six 4 or 5 legs.

I hadn’t flown the VRS Superbug since the DCS Hornet entered early access, but sliding into the cockpit, it was a lot more familiar than the last time. In fact, other than a few differences like the glass UFCD and EFD, the Rhino cockpit feels right at home to a legacy driver.

The VRS Aircraft Configuration Manager (ACM) made configuring the Super Hornet for ferry a few clicks.

My route would be a simple one, fly direct to PHNL using a bit more magic than I had available in the Mossie. In my caveman way of thinking, I could put the HSI in Waypoint mode and designate PHNL as waypoint 1. I doubted this would work in the real world, but when the Waypoint pointer swung in the right direction and PHNL populated the Waypoint Data Block in the HSI, my confidence rose to acceptable levels.

There was this little issue of not having enough go juice to travel the 2441 nm, nevermind a 100+ kt wind slightly off my starboard nose for the duration. In typical Chipwich fashion, I would solve for this once underway. There would be plenty of time to tinker with Sporty’s excellent E6B phone app in calculating what I couldn’t glean from the FPAS page. The headwind and a couple of aerial refuelings turned my 6:33 flight time into a bit over 8:42. It was easily the longest leg of the trip so far and the most time I had spent in a Hornet in a single mission.


Departure from PAJN screen captures.

I decided to check in with a tanker not long after going feet wet, and via the magic of the VRS TackPack, a reasonably willing Air Force KC-130J appeared. In retrospect, I should have burned off a lot more fuel before making the call. But I was curious as to not only how the process worked, but how long the Rhino’s legs could be extended.

His reassuring presence filled my confidence mug further and without too much drama, I joined up and carried out a simulated refueling to the best of my limited TacPack familiarity. One of these days I need to find a good AI KC-10 to make it left less to the imagination.

No long after I topped off, he began a left turn to take up his reverse track. Thanks big fella. We would need your services again in about 1500 nm.

As you might expect, there was not a whole lot interesting to snap photos of for most the leg. I watched the sun catch us and roll overhead, watched a couple of bowl games, and generally marveled at the expanse of H2O.

When fuel got down to about 5500 lbs, I decided to get on the vine with our friendly Hercules crew and request fill up. They happily obliged.

This time it was us whom did the kiss-off and we took up our journey to warmer climes.

As the sun receded, likewise we began our long glide down to earth. In fading light the shores of Kahaluu emerged and I begin to sit a little taller in the saddle. The warmer air became expectedly choppy and the BVDs were really a bunched mess.

After cheating a little to the east, I popped over the mountains taking the shortest route to Daniel K. Some might ask why not land at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (Kaneohe Bay)? Because I don’t trust those Jarheads not to mess with, or requisition my ride while I get a short night of RnR. That’s why :smile:

While setting up for 4R, a commuter came out of the fog intent on the same runway.

So I slipped under his stern…

… came up on his port side and lined up on 4L.

As I shut her down, I reflected on how well the Hornet managed the trip, albeit at the cost of rigor mortis setting into legs and back. I thought about 2300 nm left and whether I should break it up into 2 legs. My cell phone rang.

“Chipwich, where the hell are you son? The last keg of good beer is about to kick!”


Great leg. Nice to hear there is a bit of crossover between the VRS Hornet and the DCS Hornet (even though they are different models). Wouldn’t it be neat to have a round world DCS where we could do long flights over semi-good (generic) scenery? Maybe someday. Then we can make it a multiplayer flight…!


A fair point…that said, as a military jet landing at PHNL, you were undoubtedly directed to Hickham AFB’s transient line…OK, technically Joint Base Hickham / Pearl Harbor’s transient line…but on the air force side. I’m not sure I’d feel any better letting the “Zoomies” babysitting my ride…you never know how much red tape they could wrap it in. :open_mouth:

Besides, there are P-3 bubbas at K-Bay…and the golf course is really nice.…although it does have some wicked sand traps and water hazards…

…and some unusual course rules…

…just say’n…Mahalo :sunglasses:


Hard to argue with you there Hangar200. Kaneohe always seemed like it would be the best assignment in all of the armed services, so maybe there is a little resentment coming out in my story :slight_smile:

Dad took a squadron of F-4Es there from Seymour TDY. From memory, it was 3 mos of each service trying to outfly each other in their respective Phantoms, which of course ended in each side proclaiming victory. Upon departure, the Marines awarded my dad some sort of fancy diploma, lavishly adorned in scarlet, gray, and gold material and taseles, which very sarcastically proclaimed him and his squadron honorary Marine aviators. Need to find that thing. It was priceless piece of military memorabilia that one collects over a career, much of it making light of difficult assignments.


Groote Eylandt
Groot Eiland

Old spelling and modern spelling Eiland is Island and Groot is Big, make sure you sound like you are choking when you pronounce the G of Groot :wink:


Leg10 Honolulu to Christmas Island, REPUBLIC OF KIRIBATI (PHNL - PLCH)

Add-ons for P3Dv4 on this leg:
Aerosoft F-14 Extended
Orbx: all layers
Active Sky P3Dv4 and Cloud Art Cloud theme: Voyage
fsdreamteam Honolulu Note: has conflicts with Orbx LC
Christmas Island Cassidy International by Lawrie Roache Note: Some objects missing in P3D and required NZ LC libraries offline ATM


Two more legs to go. There was some speculation that the Bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout Face Down in the Mud would be tainted by the residual JP-5 in the modified external “fuel tanks” that I was carrying. But it’s amazing what a maintenance shop can accomplish when motivated by the mission and a few bottles of Woodford Reserve :smile:

Due to my current ukulele obsession, the party would wait one more day for beer delivery. I had made a silent oath that if I ever stepped foot on a Hawaiian island, that I would come home with the real deal. Fortunately, Oahu was home to two great houses of uke, KaOlaha in Honolulu and Kanile’a in Kaneohe. I would rent a car for the day and visit both, hopefully getting a factory tour at each.

Both craftsmen create amazing instruments by hand and gave very warm welcomes to the player seeking a tenor companion to his mahogany Kala concert beater. Holding, admiring, and playing both became an excruciating struggle which in the end, would require more than a day to resolve. I knew that no matter which one I left behind would become the source of much soul searching regret. Ultimately, American Express would win the day. Perhaps I should sell an acoustic to make room. Claudia will surely have my butt otherwise :slight_smile:

With Hornet delivered, ukuleles procured, and beer transferred to the new tanks, there was really only one way to depart Honolulu.

As my PC was strapping me in, a small pickup pulled up and a goofy dude slithered out of the passenger side wearing a flying suit and carrying a helmet bag. Where in the hell does he think that he’s going?

“Hi, I’m Jester!”, he yells as he climbs up the ladder. “Mind if I catch a ride?”

“As long as you don’t sit on my ukuleles and don’t yell anything like MUDSPIKE! while we are over the vast Pacific, you are welcome to tag along. Actually, you can help with fuel management, because I have filled those bags with beer.”, I yell back pointing down at the ramp.

Jester smiles and in his best Jethro voice, “I’m good a cipherin’.”

Too bad you’re not Ellie May, I think.

Pulling up the weather briefing I choose 8L and taxing into position say, “Hey Jester, you are allowed to yell something stupid now.”

He doesn’t hesitate and I hear in my headset, “I FEEL THE NEED!”. I have a huge grin as I advance the throttles to the stop.

I am surprised at how brutally the Tomcat accelerates and it feels like way are passing through our assigned altitude before we reach the end of the asphalt.

“You trying to break some windows?”, comes from the back seat.

We roll right to take up our course. Claudia and I need to come back here for our anniversary.

I think that I’ve found my favorite AS Cloud Art theme.

The big cat’s systems are fascinating. Careful Chipwich. Do not shut one down.

These clouds are amazing.

350 IAS is giving us 544 GS confirmed by my handheld Garmin.

This is the sweep our Tomcat likes at cruise.

The autopilot requires only occasional adjustments in HDG and ALT modes. But a few times the roll computer becomes upset by chop, resulting in some aileron oscillation.

Jester’s playlist is pretty good though. I haven’t heard of most of the artists, but am enjoying the music enough that ask him to email me the list. Should we survive the trip.

We pass the time talking about how we ended up in a Navy jet hauling beer. Turns out Jester was a Clemson grad and had played rugby. His dad was an Army officer and flew Loaches in Vietnam, doing VR missions near the trail. He had some insane stories about both rugby and his dad dropping hand grenades in gun pits. What is the saying about the apple not falling far from the tree? :slight_smile: Anyway, I mentioned that I thought that my dad had said that he had seen Loaches at Da Nang and perhaps they had shared beers in the O club. But their tours had missed each other by a few months.

After a couple of hours we start down. During the descent I check the weather, which doesn’t look too bad.

We hit some precip, but just enough to rinse off the salt. The rain looks correct until I hit the Pause button to take a screen shot.

Land ho!

I make a break over the field, but keep the pattern high because of the trees being so damn near the threshold.

Jester predicted that we had enough fuel and he was right. No alternate out here anyway.

One leg to go!


Man…you have the screenshot composition thing figured out…! S!


That’s a huge compliment coming from whom I consider the screenshot grand master.


OK 3 Wire landing!

Great summery…I’ll keep the beer cold until you get to Pago Pago. :sunglasses: