Around the world in 175 days.
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  1. #1

    Around the world in 175 days.

    I have recently been inspired by a virtual around the world by Peter McLeland that he had been posting on the CBFS forum. I began to think about doing something similar, but did not want to just copy what he was doing. My research on alternatives and came across the story of the very first flight around the world. In March/April of 1924 a team from the United States Army Air Service, started there attempt to be the first to fly around the world. The aircraft they used was the 'Douglas World Cruiser', a modification of the Douglas DT-2, an early 1920's torpedo bomber being built at the time for the US Navy. It was a two seat, open cockpit bi-plane powered by a 400hp surplus Liberty engine that on average had to be replaced every 60 hours of flight time. It could be easily converted from wheels to floats and was modified to carry 644 gallons (2,438 liters) of fuel (up from 115 gallons).

    They started there adventure in Santa Monica California, the site of the Douglas Aircraft factory and flew to Seattle where the trip was to officially began. They made 74 stops, travelled 26,345 Statute miles (22,893 nm) and took 175 days, passing through Alaska, Japan, China, French Indochina (now Vietnam), India, Persia, Turkey, Austria, France, Britain, Iceland, Greenland and Canada (and several other countries along the way) before returning back to the United States. Along the way they lost two aircraft, one crashed in Alaska, one force landed in the North Atlantic and sank but all the crews survived.

    Most of my information on the trip came from the book “Around the world in 175 days” by Carroll V. Glines and will liberally quote from this book while writing my descriptions.

    In planning this first thing I discovered was I could not find a Douglas World Cruiser that was really up to the standard I wanted to use. I found one that was a FS2002/2004 model that looked pretty primitive in FSX/P3D and whose panel was way to modern, the original aircraft only had four gauges in the cockpit. Besides I don't think I would have the patience to fly this single slow aircraft for the entire trip, so instead I will make the trip around the world also a trip through the history of aviation, starting with something early from the Wright Brothers and ending with something very modern. Trying to make sure that whatever aircraft I use was still in production after all the previous aircraft were introduced. This will give me an excuse to dig into my large collection of aircraft I have amassed.

    I will try to fly the original route as close as possible. Many of the early legs will be broken up into multiple shorter since many of the early aircraft I will be using are not as capable as the DWC. When possible I will try to fly at 1x speed with real world weather. Most of the flights will be flown using P3D v3.4 or FSX but some may be flown in X-Plane depending on what works best for the aircraft/location. I worked out a plan that involves 85 stops covering 25,875 statute miles/22485 nm, we will see how many days it takes me.

    I do reserve the right to patch in the hand held GPS/Radio on aircraft not equipped, and to install a period appropriate autopilot on aircraft that are not equipped but could plausibly have been so.

    The entire trip will be recorded using the flight tracking client. FSAirlines has mostly been used as a system for users to manage the economics of running there own virtual airline and to keep track of there flights. But they have a new feature in beta testing where you can rent just about any aircraft you want for a short period.

    Having said all that, the adventure begins.....

    Note and apologies in advance, I broke the first leg of the flight into five parts and wanted to finish all five parts before posting so it may seam like I am bombarding the forum in this post, but I won't do it again.
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  2. #2

    part 1

    March 17, 1924. The four pilots had assembled at the Douglas Factory at the airport in Santa Monica California. Over the previous few months they had completed there training, each pilot had selected a mechanic to fly with them and done a test flight from Santa Monica to ¬San Diego and back. Major Frederick Martin had selected Sergeant Alva Harvey to be his mechanic and co-pilot. Lt Lowell H. Smith had selected Lt. Leslie P. Arnold, Lt. Leigh P. Wade had selected Sergeant Henry H. Ogden, and Lt. Erik Nelson had selected Lt. Jack Harding. Lt. Nelson had experienced engine problems on his test flight to San Diego and decided to have the engine on his aircraft replaced. The other three crews loaded up there aircraft and started flying for Sacramento California, Lt Nelson would catch up with them later.

    May 25, 2017. For this first leg I was using the Wright Model B, created by First Class Simulations. Of all the aircraft I plan to use, this one scares me the most. The Model B was the first mass produced aircraft by the Wright Brothers, and when you read about the number of pilots killed flying it, in the few years it was actually used you get the feeling its a death trap. You are literally sitting in a seat attached to the leading edge of the wing with very little frame around you. The window of speeds between stalling and over speed is pretty small and the aircraft is very underpowered. I had too increase the propeller efficiency from .6 to .75 just to give enough power to get off the ground and stay airborne. This morning the weather was perfect for flying, clear, winds 3-4kn, perfect for flying an aircraft that cruises at 45mph. I did not think this aircraft would get over the Tehachapi mountains north of Los Angeles so I decided to fly up the California coast instead. So today my destination is the city of Santa Barbara, 73 nm away. The flight was thankfully uneventful, and I arrived at the Santa Barbara Municipal airport 1.4 hours later. Here are a few pics from the flight.

    Ready for takeoff.

    Climbing out of Santa Monica, the trip is finally started!

    Flying over Santa Monica heading for the coast
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  3. #3

    part 1 continued

    Here are a few more pics from the first part.

    Heading up the coast.

    The harbor in Ventura California.

    My destination, the Santa Barbara Airport.
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  4. #4
    March 17, 1924. “The three planes departed Santa Monica as scheduled but ran into low clouds over the Tehachapi Mountains so they had to zigzag through the passes”. Lt. Smith with his accurate knowledge of these mountains was assigned to lead the way.

    May 26, 2017. The aircraft I decided to use is the Morane-Saulnier H, a french sport monoplane that was produced from 1913 up until the beginning of World War 1, and in the war saw limited service as a reconnaissance aircraft. It was widely copied in Germany and was the basis for the Pfalz E.I-E.VI and the Fokker 'Eindecker' monoplane fighters, with more powerful engines and a synchronized machine gun.

    The aircraft model I am using today was created by Jean-Michel Castagne, which is greats. Another great flying day in Santa Barbara California, clear, few clouds, winds steady at 7kn. I need to fly down the coast a short distance before turning inland to get over the mountains that are north the city, after that it was an easy flight, I picked up the freeway that runs trough this area and followed it to my destination, the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, 63 nm away, which I arrived at after 1.1 hours of flying. Here are a few pics from the flight.

    Ready for takeoff.

    Climbing out of Santa Barbara, need get some altitude to get over the hill.
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  5. #5
    A few more pics on the way to San Luis Obispo

    Over the hill, Santa Maria is just on the Horizon

    Pismo Beach and my destination of San Louis Obispo are now in sight.

    On Final.

    Parked at the airport, Hey there are people here to greet me!
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  6. #6
    March 17, 1924. The three aircraft piloted by Major Martin, Lt Smith and Lt Wade are on there way to Sacramento.

    May 27, 2017. San Luis Obispo, California. For the next leg I decided to fly the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny. The Jenny first flew in 1915 and many thousands were produced during WW1. After they war surplus Jenny's flooded market and did much to fuel the barnstorming ear and the growth aviation in early 1920's. The model I am using was the one originally in FS2004 and was upgraded to FSX by David Grindele. When I first tried it in P3D it had a hard time getting enough speed to take off so I converted the rear skid to a steerable tail wheel, and gave it brakes while I was at it, and then it worked like a champ. Weather today in SLO was mostly clear, good flying weather except for a 17 kn head wind. My destination for today was the Monterey Regional Airport, 100 nm up the coast. Now flying an aircraft that has a cruise speed 52 kn and an endurance of 2 hours (range = 104 nm), I figured I may not make it in this aircraft, but I read that some Jenny's were modified to increase there fuel capacity from 21 gallons to 31 gallons, I figured I could make that field modification and hope that would be enough, but I did not have to worry, I think the fuel consumption in the old FS9 model was too low to start with and neither David nor myself had noticed or updated it so I got there with plenty of fuel. I did have P3D crash on me when I was 25nm out so I had to restart and I used x16 to get myself back to where I was. I arrived at KMRY after 1.7 hours of flying. Here are a few pics from the flight.

    Ready for takeoff.

    Climbing out of San Luis Obispo

    Morro Bay Harbor with Morro Rock at its mouth.
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  7. #7
    A few more on the way to Monterey.

    Heading up the California coast.

    Hearst Castle

    The city of Monterey with the airport in sight!
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  8. #8
    March 17, 1924. The three aircraft piloted by Major Martin, Lt Smith and Lt Wade are on there way to Sacramento.

    May 27, 2017. Took a bit of a rest in Monterey, then pulled out the Albatros D.III for the next leg of the trip. The D.III first flew in 1916 and was one of the leading fighters the during the period of German aerial dominance known as "Bloody April" 1917. The model I am using for this leg is the A2A Simulations 'Aircraft Factory' model, which is very nice. Compared to the previous aircraft I have used on this trip, the extra power in the Albatros will be very useful getting over the Santa Cruz mountains that are between me and my destination, the Oakland International Airport, 70.5 nm away. The weather was again excellent for flying, 12 kn winds with scattered clouds. Here are a few pics from the flight.

    Ready for takeoff.

    Climbing out of Monterey

    Up the coast toward Santa Cruz
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  9. #9
    A few more on the way to Oakland.

    Cruising along.

    On final into Oakland.

    Landed. I would have taxied to parking but since the AC has no brakes and just a skid in back, I will stop here.[/quote]
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  10. #10
    March 17, 1924. The three planes arrived at Mather Field, Sacramento California after 4.5 hours of flying and were greeted by the Mayor and a crowd of several hundred, after servicing there aircraft they were taken into town to a dinner in here honor given by the Chamber of Commerce.

    March 29, 2017. I was busy yesterday and could not fly, this morning I get the Avro 504K ready for the next leg. The Avro 504 first flew in 1913 and almost 9000 were built before the last variant was produced in 1932. The K model was built staring in 1917 and was widely used as a trainer and even a fighter for Home Defense squadrons. Many hundreds were sold for civilian use after the war. I will be using the 504K from the A2A Aircraft Factory.

    Weather today is wet and foggy, 700 foot ceiling and 10-15kn winds, the control tower denied by VFR take off request so I will have to go without permission. I had originally picked Oakland as a destination because from here I could do a tourist flight over the city of San Francisco before heading to Sacramento, at first I though it would be too foggy but I see the clouds over the city are not so bad. After taking a few selfies by the tourist spots I headed up the bay, staying over the water since the tops of the hills were mostly in clouds, it did not clear up till I was through the bay and over the Sacramento Delta, then it was a short flight to Sacramento Mather Airport, formerly Mather Air Force Base, formerly Mather Field. As the crow flies Mather is 58 nm from Oakland Airport but my round about route took me 1.2 hours. My scenic route took 6.1 hours of flying compared to the 4.5 in the original flight but since I broke it up into 5 parts I am now four days behind. Here are a few pics from my flight.

    Ready for takeoff.

    Maybe the clouds over SF are not so bad after all.

    Flying over the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Flying under the Golden Gate Bridge
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  11. #11
    A few more on the way to Sacramento.


    Finally out of the clouds!

    My destination is in sight!

    Parked at Mathers.

    Sorry for bombarding with all these pics all at once. I wanted to finish the entire first leg before posting, to make sure I have the drive to continue. I hope you will find this interesting.
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  12. #12

    That is one epic trip you have going there.
    Looking forward to more.


  13. #13
    Senior Administrator Roger's Avatar
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    EGCD...they bulldozed it!
    Love these adventure threads...carry on Joe!
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  14. #14
    Senior Administrator Willy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    West Tennessee, near KTGC
    Cool! I've flown it probably about a half dozen times in FS9 over the years. I started one in FSX flying the Alabeo Gee Bee Z. I took off from the local airport here (KTGC) and I think I left it parked in Edinburgh Scotland the last leg I flew.

    Good Luck and may your winds be tailwinds!
    So many aeroplanes needing paint, so little time to do it.

  15. #15
    Loving these "adventure" threads and historical info as you go.

    Keep it up
    One day without laughter, is one day without living.
    One day without Flight Simming, is one day lost living.

  16. #16
    Great idea, Joe - and nicely presented.
    I really like the aircraft update for each leg - hope you continue to include a note on the source of each 'weapon of choice'.
    Best wishes for your expedition - I'm already looking forward to the next installment!

  17. #17
    Thanks for all the encouragement! It means a lot. I did not want to just make this about some personal achievement but exploring history and shining a light on part of it that is not well known. I should have the next leg ready pretty soon. After that i will slow down, the holiday weekend was good for getting this project rolling.
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  18. #18
    March 18, 1924. They had originally planned to fly from Sacramento to Portland Oregon but in the morning there were very strong head winds so Major Martin decided that they would instead try to reach Eugene Oregon. After an hours flying they were only 40 miles from Sacramento...

    March 29, 2017. Getting ready fly this next leg I got ready the Nieuport 24. The Niewport was a French built biplane fighter (actually a sesquiplane if you want to be technical). While its performance was not really much better than the aircraft it was supposed to replace, But it was still built in large numbers and used by French, British, Russian and American Units as either a fighter and trainer. Today I will be using the model by FlySimWare. Its a pretty good aircraft, flies well but has a nasty twist on takeoff. And its one of the few good French aircraft in my collection (I already used the other).

    The Nieuport will not make it to Eugene so instead my destination is Redding in Northern California, 126 nm away. Flying conditions today are good, clear with 10nm winds. Flight was fine but when i landed I learned I did not start the FSA client to record it, so I had to do it again (with acceleration to make up time). Flight time 1.2 hours. Here are some pics from the flight.

    Ready for takeoff.

    Climbing out of Mather field.
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  19. #19
    A few more on the flight to Redding California.

    California's central valley can be a pretty boring place at times.

    It does have a some interesting features though.

    Redding airport, terrain around here is a bit more interesting as we are getting closer to the mountains.

    Parked at the Redding Municipal Airport.

    That's all for now, thanks for reading.
    Happy Flying.
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  20. #20
    I congratulate the patience !
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  21. #21

  22. #22
    Well done to you.

    I flew around the World just this last Winter in a Diamond DA-42 (Alabeo).
    It was wonderful - the PC was blowing cold air and for some of the time I actually had to wear my yachting oilies to keep warm - "As real as it gets"!

    It was a great trip. I flew 3-6 hours a day and I kept a paper log and I'll always remember it as an accomplishment worth doing.
    p.s: Watch out for India - textures are very repetitive!

    Here's my route:

    Here's the beautiful aircraft I did it in: Dear Old: "Papa Hotel - Lima Uniform Echo" - my favourite Aeroplane. She and I have flown around the World together and the trust is there. Blindfold me...and I'll fly her by feel and sound. When MIL COMBAT gets jaded I know it's high time to pull this airframe out of the hangar and start her up. On TO she yaws like a broken jib in a storm, and when you bring her in for a short final she flaps about like a glider but she hasn't let me down yet. Every time, you bring her down to a knot or two above the stall and she floats just to give you a sensation of fear and then she settles onto the tarmac and behaves herself.
    I've got loads of exotic aircraft in my hangar - this is the one I KNOW I know how to fly. Bless her.

    Here's the front page of my log:

    And here's the last page of the Log;


    Ducking and diving into 80 knot headwinds when approaching Alaska (plain frightening)
    Flying into New York and Los Angeles. (Incredible sight)
    Chasing the Sunset down to land at Lukla, Nepal as the sun was sinking. (scenery available in library)
    Goose Bay to Narsarsuaq, Greenland - and the landing. (Cold, dark, tired and hungry and crap viz on approach - quite real)
    Opening a bottle of Champagne when I returned to my home airfield of EGHF (South coast of U.K.)

    I had a real feeling of accomplishment, I was tired and worn out, etc, but, more than anything; a desire to do it for real. (It's on the Bucket List, actually, it IS the Bucket List)

    And lots of other moments that I will never forget.
    And you won't either.

    Fair winds!

    Last edited by Ganter; May 30th, 2017 at 13:47.

  23. #23
    Very cool Ganter, the route you took is similar to the route I am using, within at least a 1-2 hundred miles all the way around, except that I am going the other way around. Hopefully I will make it.
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

  24. #24
    My only advice would be: keep it manageable with real world activities.
    I chose the aircraft because I could get a reasonable distance for time spent in the sim. Legs averaged about 2-3 hours and that would get me 300-500 miles further along.
    Sometimes I deliberately chose much shorter legs as I knew I'd do a second leg later that day.
    The shortest legs were the hop across the channel to France at the start of my journey at 105 miles and the trip from Tofino down to Seattle at 116.
    The longest leg was 1237 miles from Mandalay to Hai Phong in Vietnam which took just under 7 hours (vicious head wind)
    Sharm El Sheik to Lamerd in Iran was just over 1009 and just over 5 hours.

    I took my collapsable BMW 7 series with me so I could land and then drive off to do some touristy sight-seeing.

    Other times I'd plan the leg so that I overflew something interesting at a certain time of day like Mount Fuji with the famous pink sunset.

    Mix it up a bit too. Fly at night, do a before dawn take off and chase the sun up into the sky. Chase it down again with a night landing.
    When it gets a bit tedious hang up your goggles for a few days and do something else. Keep a paper log - apart from anything else it will nag you to continue when you've lost a bit of momentum. Just after the half way mark I really got flu so I didn't fly for about a week but I don't recommend you do that!

    ASN16 took charge of the real world weather throughout so I never knew what I was going to get into - apart from the METAR and the briefings. Here in the UK I can read a METAR and make a pretty good guess what the flyings going to be like for the whole day. Out in India you can take off into clear skies and 20 minutes later you're battling 50 knot winds and thunderstorms; all courtesy of Active Sky!

    The mile stone is when you get half way and it's quicker to go on than go back.

    Above all else you will feel genuinely pleased with yourself when you get back to where you departed from. Hey, guess what? you're a Circumnavigator!

    Go for it!

  25. #25
    March 18, 1924: As they flew on the winds gradually decreased. Lt Wade was forced to land near Cottonwood California because a radiator leak. Major Martin decided not to land to prevent any damage to the other to planes and proceeded with Lt Smith to Eugene, they arrived after more than six hours, Lt Wade arrived three hours later. Again they were met by the city leaders and a large crowd, and were again the guests of honor at a dinner by the Chamber of Commerce.

    June 1, 2017. Today I prepared the Junkers F.13 for flight. The F.13 first flew at the end of WW1 and was introduced in 1920, it was the world's first all-metal transport aircraft and was very advanced for its day. Well over 300 were built and production continued until 1932. The model I am using was made by Craig Richardson and is available on the website.

    The flight started out as a pretty easy flight, light winds and clear skies for my next flight to Eugene Oregon, 221 nm away. I just had to get enough altitude to get over the mountains to the north. Things were going well when flying through the mountains in southern Oregon and also some puffy clouds near the top of the ridge, not wanting to loose altitude i decided to go over it, only to discover that it was not just a small cloud, it was the edge of a very large stretch of overcast. Once I knew I was past the ridge I decided it was not a good idea to be above the clouds in a VFR aircraft, so I tried to drop down in a hole in a cloud that was not really a hole, finally came out of the could at about 3000 feet only to see a 4000 foot ridge in front of me, up over the ridge, back into the clouds. Fortunately I brought a pocket GPS and when it looked like I was over a valley again I dropped down to get under the clouds and made my way the remainder of the trip at about 2000 feet until I reached Eugene, after 2.4 hours of flying. Here are a few pics from the trip.

    Climbing out of Redding California

    Heading on over the Mountains

    Mount Shasta from the cockpit, cold!

    Flying past Mount Shasta
    Joe Cusick
    San Francisco Bay Area, California.

    I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley.

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