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Toby, Andras Meridian VA

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After the Round The World with Aerosoft and some private ones before that, I'd had my fill of round the world trips. But alas, the tickle emerges once again.


I'm currently flying around the USA in a T6 Texan with some other Andras Meridian VA flyers. Combining these seems impossible, but let's see what I can arrange.


Aircraft.... Dunno yet.

Either historical multiengine (A2A B17, A2A B377, A2A L049) or more modern, but not too modern (JF L1011 Tristar).

All will reveal itself. Or fizzle out and end up on the large heap of great ideas come to nought.



route drawn in, aimed at old propliner usage with around 1000nm per leg. Some are legs already in our VA's International network.



Edit 2:

Presenting the birds: Beauty and the Beast



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The Beauty has arrived at Duxford, hoping the painter has time this sunday to add a logo to her nose. Then prep and sell tickets for our first run on our start date, monday oct 2nd. Tomorrow is the day!

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First flight! 

A lot of attendance at Duxford today as Tobias Fogg attempts to circle the globe in 80 days.

Startup was quick in his shining mount, a Lockheed Constellation L-049, nicknamed "The Beauty". She was quickly adorned with the 80-days logo on both sides of her nose by @Thorsten42, fellow pilot at Andras Meridian VA. Navigation would be done via VOR's CLN-KOK-REM-TRA-CHI-VIE-BAR towards LIBD Bari, Italy. From there a quick turnaround to continue towards Port Said in Egypt.








When all 4 of the mighty R3350 enginges were warmed up we took off from leaving jubilant crowd. Climbout was swift and steady over the North Sea, reaching our cruise alt of FL220 just passing the Belgian border at KOK.








Hopping from VOR to VOR our flight went smooth, averaging around 300kts GS. Soon we crossed the Alps and arrived over Italian airspace, known to pilots as "Hell between the clouds". Getting bounced from ATC to ATC to ATC we started to descend towards Bari.






Soon we were on ILS approach rwy7. Not that we needed it as weather was fine for a visual approach and landing.








Under guidance of a follow-me vehicle and a park close to the terminal, we got unloaded, stocked up on supplies and loaded up again. We still had enough fuel for the remainder to Port Said.







So off we go again! But that's a different story.


Full Pirep

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Second leg!

A nice quick turnaround and off we went. Light on fuel The Beauty jumped into the air. We routed through several VOR's before we went "dark"  in a no-reception zone over the Mediteranean. Soon after take off bad mojo on our right, so we continued west while climbing and flying around the bad mojo.







Once the bad weather was behind us we set course and climbed to our cruise alt of FL200. Having attained that I set the Sperry and maintained our attitude hopping the VOR's. Meanwhile Betty was serving lunch, smothering us in cakes and coffee and making sure our pax got everything they needed. We were now over the Western Greek isles. Somewhat at the half way point between Crete and the Northern African lands, disaster struck ... a medical emergency was reported by Betty, we needed to land the plan ASAP. Not much choice here... Back to Crete or soldier on to Port Said made no difference in time. Cyprus was just as far off. Nothing to do than pour on the sauce and hurry towards Port Said. In 30 min we sighted the Egyptian coastline.



We got vectored for a visual approach on rwy28, so we had to fly around the airport over water. My higher engine settings had pushed our fuel too. With only 800lbs in our tanks we settled on final. I made a greaser of landing. I think even the unconscious guy applauded. After a swift taxi we offloaded, our medical passenger first. Looking at the sunset we were content with ourselves. Switch off, off to the bar and some R&R (Captain Toby has to finish the Andras Trophy USA, circumventing the USA with a T-6 Texan this week). See you all next week for our run to India!



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Very nice screenshot of the Connie eclipsing the sun.:)

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thanks guys.

All my pics are generally to be found on my fs-snaps account http://fs-snaps.com/tobus, from where I easily link to forums.


Contemplating a very large one-go leg from Port Said to Mumbai. 2310nm. Easily doable by either Beauty or the Beast and a nice filling of a rainy off-day.

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Route drawn in for next week. Just over 9 hrs. However, if the forecasts become truth staying further north would give me a kickass tailwind.





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The Beast has arrived at Port Said, addorned with a logo by VA housepainter @Thorsten42,

Now to get her ready for her 2300+ nm trip come monday.




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Right! Let's get this beast on her way. Next stop, Mumbay!

My pirep tool tells me it's gonna be 7hrs50min flying. That's not counting my actual route and weather ofcourse.

So first the weather report at FL250.



It seems heading towards Mumbay on a straight easterly line, turning south from Sibi, Pakistan, will help greatly in speed and fuel consumption.

As such, this is my planned plot, VOR to VOR:



Live flightmap: Here!

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0650utc, loading up, refuel, oil, ADI, coolant. 30 degrees outside temps so start of engine 4 to power airconditioning.

0700utc: engine start


The B377 Stratocruiser has 4 of the largest and most intricate reciprical engines ever conceived: the mighty R4360 Wasp Major.

It's 28(!) cylinder radial, with the 7 cylinder rings turned offset to optimize cooling, making the engine famous as "the corncob".

Gerelateerde afbeelding


As it is supercharged it has a myriad of switches and settings for cowl flaps, oil coolers, intercoolers and aftercoolers. This times 4! On top of that it has 5 fuel tanks, 1 per engine and a center one; the outer wing engine 1 and 4 tanks being the largest, the inner engine tanks smaller and the center the smallest. To be certain of correct consumption and good balancing the use per tank has to be maintained vigilantly. Luckily my trusted Flight Engineer, Goofy, is up to the task. The only thing I have to do is make sure the ADI pumps, pumping water into the fuel mix to prevent premature detonation in the cylinders at high temps, are running and functioning.



07:15utc, line up with a bit of backtrack on rwy 28.



07:20utc: take off clearance, let er rip!!

07:27utc: climbout ok, engines running a bit hot but within margins. Ease off and turn 095, climb 7000, engage AP.



07:35utc: passing FL150, ease off climb to +500, signal Heidy the friendly stewardess to start serving drinks




Passing El Arish VOR @ FL207, set course for Al Jouf VOR, which is still way out of range, flying the 098 outbound radial of El Arish.

Tailwinds already picking up.





reached FL250. step climb to FL260 to then gain cruising speed in a descent to our cruise level of FL250.

Engines back to 40", 2100RPM, 168psi, mix autolean, check ADI low pressure 4x. Tell Goofy to maintain MP using the turbos.


Adjust 5 degrees right due to strong tailwind, now 262@50kts B). Heidy just opened the lounge and bar on the lower deck.

ETA at VABB now 06hrs42minutes. Compare that to the 9 hours straight line and no wind calculated earlier!



Passing the Dead Sea.




Picked up Al Jouf VOR, tune out El Arish for Rafha VOR.

Adjust course for straight intercept, wind now 257@60 kts, giving me a GS of 355kts at 200kts indicated. 

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?





handover from Amman control to Jeddah control.



picked up Rafha VOR



Passing Al Jouf VOR

Turn towards direct Rafha, wind now 256@68 kts, GS 368 kts






Heidi serves Roast beef sandwiches.


Lots of nice views btw :P



0910utc, 1210LT

Passing Rafha VOR, tune Bushehr VOR.

Set course 092 to intercept Bushehr while keeping Rafha tuned, as Bushehr is a long way off, over the Persian Gulf into Iran.

Wind 265@62, 200KIAS, GS 366kts.



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2 minutes ago, ilgrillo said:

But the next step of the 80 days trip starts October 10th... O_o'

Time difference :lolsign_s:

No seriously: i have a week of travels abroad for work so this is my only gap to fly such a distance, in one leg or more, this week.

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11 minutes ago, ilgrillo said:

You are forgiven. :)





1045utc, 1345LT

Kuwait in sight! 

Signal on Bushehr VOR, adjust heading for direct.

Heidi brings us some very hot coffee.




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1105utc, 1505LT


Bush too far as I was reading a book and getting the kids from school, lunched and back again.

Had set the AFK command for pause but apparently it doesn't work on distance. 



Anyway, getting back on course towards Kerman.

The center tank now empty, fuel switched around to either tank-engine or tank-engine+manifold



1145utc, 1645LT

Zahedan VOR should be in range but is not picked up. 

Triangulating visually via flight map, plan-g and outside world for a turn towards Pakistan Panjgur VOR.







12:05utc, 17:05LT

Sun starting to set, passing light on. Panjgur VOR detected and on direct. Lake Amun-e-Mashkel in sight.

And "only" down to 50% fuel.



1230utc, 1730LT sunset

223nm / 40min NW of Karachi

Heidi is serving dinner.

Winds diminishing as I'm moving south out of the high wind corridor.




The pit is looking serene and Karachi VOR is tuned in on direct. With the centre tank empty and the inner tanks down to 2000lbs, outer tanks are feeding the manifold, with engines 1 and 4 feeding of engine and manifold and engines 2 and 3 from the manifold







13:15utc, 1815LT

Passed Karachi, heading for Bhuj VOR and from Pakistan into India!

Out of my nice wind zone too: winds dropped to 9kts out of the west.


13:41utc, 1841LT

Passed Bhuj, now on to the last VOR station before turning to Mumbai: Bhavnagar.

Still 300nm to go




1418utc, 1918LT

Bhavnagar VOR reached! Heidi is serving Filet Mignon with mushrooms and mashed potatoes. 

As we are not fast descenders, I've asked control to let us descend to 15000, then to 5000. Almost there!






1435utc, 1935LT


From here on approach. Descended through 12000 and passing through showers and clouds that go bump, Seat belt signs on and Heidi can tidy up the cabin. Lounge and bar closed, sorry chaps. 86nm To go.


14:38utc 1938LT

turn 120 expect ILS rwy 27 VABB.


1445utc 1945LT

turn 150 hold 5600ft

Pause. why? Because I have to cook diner :lolsign_s:.

Be back in a couple of hours to finish this loooooooong flight.





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Great stuff Toby. You're setting the bar very high for the rest of us.

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you must have ants in your pants after eight hours sitting in front of your pc.:clapping_s:

Why don't you ask Heidi to prepar for dinner?:D

Enjoy diner and then go for it! You've almost finished!

Then you deserve a  a beer or if you prefer some camel piss and a nap!:lazy_s:



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Thanks guys.

Back at it.

Real time 18:15utc, not counting that due to pause

Sim time 1950LT.

5600ft, heading 150. Pitch black outside but stable on the approach. Heidi is finishing up the cabin and everybody is back in their seats.






Turn 240 hold 3700ft until stable on localizer.

ATIS reports overcast at 1000ft.  A quick glance at AS2016 weathermap .... oh bollocks.... clench the cheeks boys!




Settled on the localizer, 4000ft. Landing lights extended and lit, nose light and gear light on. No more pics till after landing.




drop MP, slowly going through flaps 5, flaps 10, flaps 15.



speed below 150 so safe for gear down. No sign of runway although visibility seems better than foreseen.

Fully established on ILS localizer, AP off.



flaps full down, no runway in sight



runway in sight, 500ft callout, pitch full fine




Beautiful landing!! Applause from the back. The moonlight helped me on that one.





What a flight!

One my longest ones ever I think.

Total flight time 7hrs 58min.

Full pirep Here.


All uninterrupted posts of mine are now merged into large ones for reading purposes.


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Now that I've flown both the A2A, Captain of the Ship, Boeing 377 Stratocruiser and Lockheed L-049 Constellation over large distances, a retrospective.


The Strat is a beast, pure and simple. Under it's veneer of very refined and sophisticated systems (for that time) lies absolute brute force. In a way it was the Concorde of the 50's: grandly luxurious, powerful, large, grandiose. In that time Boeing was known for building bombers, Lockheed and Douglas for building tranports. The Strat was notoriously expensive to maintain. Fuel consumption of its massive engines was actually low. But oil consumption was high and it's oiling systems very intricate for cooling and lubricating the massive beasts. Link that to the spark plugs tending to foul (56 per engine) and you'd easily lose the aircraft for a day on line-maintenance. United had calculated that it took $2,46 per plane-mile on direct costs and the equivalent on in-direct costs. This made the Strat only profitable from 57 passengers onward. In a normal 100 seat fashion this was ok (although aircraft were nowhere nearly always fully booked), but as it was used on very long ranges it was often decked out as a Sleeper aircraft, losing seats and gaining collapsible bunks for passengers to sleep in beds on their long overnight journey. As a result, the Strat never made a profit. It was used on very long range flights, connecting Tokyo directly to Honolulu, which was an enormous feat at that time. With 56 built and 13 losses, it's safety record was poor even for those days. In military service it fared much better, with hundreds of KC97 in use well into the 70's, as well as it's derivate "Guppy" series.


In the sim the engineers office is massive. Back in the day when I bought her, I disliked her soon, as all the actions had to be done by me alone. Totally undoable, I induced more engine fires than ever and I never even landed her. With the CotS addition, things got different, as I now had an interactive flight engineer to do all the hard stuff while I could fly the plane. It's pilot station is clear and understandable, it's greenhouse bomber-like outlook a very good view of surroundings for such a large plane. It flies as a freight train, but feels wonderful at the same time. It's autopilot is very easy to use: set and it keeps course and attitude. Turn a handle for a coordinated turn and turn it back on the correct heading. A secondary trimwheel controls pitch, with an altitude hold switch to keep her where you want her in the vertical. As you'd expect, nothing more than heading and alt hold is available. For naviation it has 2 VOR and 2 ADF radios, linked to a single gauge with 2 RMI needles. Without DME though, so you'll have to triangulate old school from time to time if you get lost a bit. You can also use the navigator station with a moving map giving your location, nose heading, wind drift heading and the RMI's interpolated. More than enough to get you from A to Z via the alfabet without the "progression" in aviation and simming by linking the AP to the magenta line. In my case, I just flew an 8hr flight in her, having a book handy for the low action moments. In hindsight, I don't think I read more than a 30 minute combined period.


The Connie was a different beast. It's R3350 engines were less powerful than the R4360's but still easily able to power a large people transporter over long distances. While the R3350's had their issues, they were also way more easy to maintain and operate, resulting in a way less complex setup in the cockpit. This is also the case in the sim. The engines are a bit more finicky in MP vs RPM settings due to the more simple low vs high blower turbos, but other than that way simpler. As the L-049 modelled by A2A is basically a civilionized C69 military transport, not a lot were built. It was soon replaced by a proper civilian version, the L-649 (newer engines, strengthened wings and fuselage, passenger comfort, seat and berthing arrangments and better sound insulation) and L-749 (as L-649 + strengthened landing gear and more fuel). The L-749 was to become the by standard Constellation. Although it had much more graceful lines than the Stratocruiser or other contemporary designs, this did in fact not gain any performance over them. It was, however, very economical in fuel use, very stable in the air for passenger comfort and able to fly much above the weather due to her pressurized hull, although not as high as the Stratocruiser.


In the sim the Connie is only available as a CotS version, meaning that you can choose to let some or all systems behind the captain's seat be done by your interactive flight engineer. This, like in the Strat, gives enormous immersion and makes it way more easy to jump into for an average simmer. It's engineers panel is way less complex than the Stratocruiser's and thus give an easier overview. Some gauges are on the pilot's dash instead of the engineer's in the Strat, also meaning that the pilot panel is a bit more difficult. Like the Strat it has 2 VOR and 2 ADF radios, linked to a dual RMI. It also has a DME that can be switched between VOR radios, which is a definate plus over the Stratocruiser. The Connie can also be equipped with freeware and payware GPS with a modern AP. I dislike it, favoring the VOR and old Sperry AP, but it does give an added ease for new simmers. I use the old way of doing things, with the Sperry AP taking most of the work but giving new work back. This is because the Sperry is an attitude manager, not a settings manager. You can trim her off and set the Sperry, but if you trifle with for instance the throttle after that, it will try to keep the plane's attitude at this different power setting, meaning you'll go up or down and have to play with the Sperry settings to equalize. The same goes for manouvering: make a turn via the Sperry and it will invariably change it's attitude and thus also your altitude, which you then have to correct again. It's cockpit layout is more complex due to this. Also it has way less views outside than the greenhouse cockpit of the Stratocruiser. It also flies way more agile than the Strat, feeling almost nimble, fast if needed and still able to land at slow speeds in excess of 60 kts. It's also somewhat easier in take-off, clib, descent and landing, as it has only 3 flaps settings, compared to the Stratocruisers's 8 steps.


There's plenty stuff to find on both these amazing aircraft on the A2A webpage and their youtube channel. In the end I think I have no clear favor. As the Strat has such enormous range, I think I'll use her primarily on the very long legs, the rest with the Connie.

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Thanks for this comprehensive summary Toby.

The design of the strat is fascinating and thus teasing me. But I don't have your patience to sit 8hrs in front of the screen fir a long range flight.



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9 hours ago, gazoeller said:

Thanks for this comprehensive summary Toby.

The design of the strat is fascinating and thus teasing me. But I don't have your patience to sit 8hrs in front of the screen fir a long range flight.



She's plenty capable of shorter legs too, Gernot. I did a round the world trip with her several years ago doing 2hr max flights, no problem. Lighter on fuel she feels less like a train to fly too ;-)


But yes, she is a 2-decker, way ahead of the A380. And it's fuselage construction is a root for every Boeing narrowbody conceived since then.

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