Susi Air Virtual

I just discovered Susi Air a day or two ago and joined yesterday. This is my first experience with a virtual airline and I had no idea how it would be operated. The key element is software called smartCARS. To start a flight you find the flight you want, either through smartCARS or on the Susi Air Virtual website. Then you select that flight in smartCARS and start the flight.

I’ve had a lot of problems with the airport codes being incorrect, or different, or non-existent in X-Plane. They are also very hard to find or missing in skyvector but I just found a site that has information and weather on 29 of them called Our Airports.

New Zealand – Problems with Thranda Quest Kodiak

I’ve undergone some frustrations with the Kodiak here in New Zealand. There seems to be a certain sector of airspace that causes X-Plane 11 (now 11.10rc3) to invariably crash. I can fly from the north to Raglan and Hamilton and from there, south to New Plymouth, but trying to fly east always causes a software crash.

To get around this problem, I flew the Cessna Skyhawk from Raglan to Hamilton (…because there was one there to rent with GPS), from Hamilton to New Plymouth, and finally from New Plymouth to Gisborne. As you can see from my log below, I also flew the Cessna Caravan from Hamilton to Matamata, from Matamata to Tauranga and from Tauranga to Great Barrier Island.

FireShot Pro Screen Capture #049 - 'FSEconomy terminal' - server_fseconomy_net_log_jsp

I was also able to fly from New Plymouth to Ohakea Military Airport on the coast south of New Plymouth. I am currently enroute to Nelson, on the South Island. From there, I will try to work my way back north on the east side of the north island.

Crossing the Tasman sea to New Zealand

Yesterday I flew from Gunnedah Airport in Australia to Norfolk Island. This was a distance of 927 miles, my furthest flight so far in the Kodiak. I took off from Norfolk Island about 15 minutes ago headed for the northern tip of the north island of New Zealand to Kaitaia airport, a distance of 452 miles. Although the calculated fuel burn is only about 120 gallons, I topped out the tanks with 320 gallons. You never know when you might get lost! I’m also flying at FL200, 20,000 feet! My MFD indicates that I have two hours to my destination–in other words, my ETE. I’m leveled off at FL200 now. The prop is pulled back from 2200 to 2000 RPM. The power is set for 1172 Ft-Lb torque, giving a fuel burn of about 247 pounds per hour (PPH). The temperature is -25° C, the IAS is 148kt and the TAS is 201kt. I currently have about an 8kt tail wind and my GS is 205kt.

14:28 zulu: I just arrived at Kaitaia. Here are some statistics for my flight from Norfolk Island, YSNF, to Kaitaia, NZKT:

  • Distance – 453 nm
  • Fuel consumption – 118 gallons
  • Fuel consumption PPH (Pounds per hour) – 41
  • Time enroute – 2:53 (includes startup, preparation (flight plan) and taxi

Now I plan to make a short hop to NZKK, Kerikeri/Bay of Islands Airport. My current assignments for the flight from Norfolk Island are to drop 3 passengers in Hamilton, NZHN (Cliff Tate’s home airport) and 4 passengers in Tauranga, NZHT. I would like to land at several small airports on the flight down to Tauranga although, being the middle of the night, it doesn’t make much sense! Perhaps I can take on another couple of passengers along the way. I still have 200 gallons of fuel on board so I shouldn’t have to refuel. Keri Keri is only 33 nm.

Sure enough, I found 2 more passengers going to Hamilton from Kaitaia so I am now completely loaded. I had to put the cargo pod back on in order to put the CG in a reasonable location, about 74 inches aft of datum.

Here is what the aircraft loading looks like without the cargo pod:

X-Plane Screenshot 2017.12.05 -
Aircraft loading profile without the cargo pod – no cargo and 9 passengers


Here is what it looks like with the cargo pod:

Desktop Screenshot 2017.12.05 -
CG with cargo pod and 9 passengers

But here is a better solution. I’ve removed the cargo pod again but removed the 115 lb from the baggage compartment and changed the passenger weights. It has moved the CG back a bit but still reasonable. The aircraft performance will be much better without the cargo pod!

Here is a short video clip of my flight from Kaitaia to Kerikeri:

Australian Flight for FSEconomy – Moranbah (YMBH) TO Gunnedah (YGDH) at FL220 (22,000 Feet)

I bought my first plane in FSEconomy, a Quest Kodiak 100 on November 24th, 2017. It had 86 hours on engine and airframe and I paid $413,144.00, which seemed like a good price. It was located at Limnos Airport (LGLM) on the Aegean island of Limnos, Greece.

After I bought the plane, I decided I would fly it back to the USA in an Easterly direction to benefit from favorable winds aloft. I also decided that I should take the opportunity to visit Papua New Guinea, a country where this plane is used by Christian missionaries to get in and out of small landing strips in the jungle highlands.

I just left there this morning because there was a good assignment to the northern peninsula of Australia which is quite close to PNG (Papua New Guinea). At first I was going to fly back to PNG but developed itchy feet and anxious to get back to New Zealand.

Here is my current itinerary:

I am flying this leg of 548nm at 22,000 feet for best economy. The next leg will be from Gunnedah Airport to Norfolk Island International Airport (YSNF) on Norfolk island, a distance of 927nm. This will be my furthest flight so far in the Kodiak and I will have to maximize fuel because I’m not sure exactly what my range is yet. It will be very exciting!

I have a tail wind of a little under 10 knots for this leg. Hopefully it will continue to be a tail wind for the flight to Norfolk Island although it is 90 degrees to my current course so I suppose it is unlikely! Infact, looking at the charts, it looks like I will have 90 degree cross wind!

Here is a screen shot of the cockpit showing FL200 on the altimeter:

Method to Calculate Pressure Altitude

Whatever value it reads is pressure altitude. That’s a pretty simple formula since two of the variables will always be the same and the other two are easy enough to find. Let’s say our current altimeter setting is 29.45 and the field elevation is 5,000 feet. That means (29.92 – 29.45) x 1,000 + 5,000 = 5,470 feet.

STOL Aircraft to consider for FSEconomy back country flights

Pilatus PC-6

Pilatus PC-12 NG

Cessna Grand Caravan 208B

Cessna T 210 M Turbo