Sign in to follow this  
Stearmandriver

Re-creation of the China Clipper's Inaugural Flight

Recommended Posts

All,

 

I originally posted this over at another forum since there'd been previous discussions on flying boats, and someone pointed out that is primarily a warbirds forum so I might consider cross-posting here.  I'll go ahead and do so, just in case there's any interest.

I decided I needed a winter flight simming project, and settled on modeling a historic flight - the Pan Am M-130 "China Clipper's" first flight, inaugurating commercial air service across the Pacific.

I've found I can keep it semi-accurate, using a combination of dead reckoning and celestial navigation; and I've found a way to decently model the HfDf they used (though at shorter distances). I think this trip will be interesting...

I decided to document the journey, mostly because I've found that doing so forces me to study up on the history more and I always end up learning something. For any fellow flying boat enthusiasts (are there any? Just me? I was afraid of that...), feel free to take a look and correct any inaccuracies you may find.

It turned out longer than intended (they always do), but there are timestamps in the descriptions to skip to any part that may interest you.

3 Legs are complete so far:

Leg one - Alameda to Honolulu: 

 

 

Leg 2 - Honolulu to Midway Part One: 

 

 

Leg 2 - Honolulu to Midway Part 2: 

 

 

Leg 3 -  Midway Island to Wake Island: 

 

Edited by Stearmandriver
typo
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Hi Andrew

I just wanted to let you know that I've been following this series of videos and really love them. Looking forward to checking out the latest leg tonight. I've also been watching your tutorials on celestial navigation and it's really got me fired up to have a go at this sort of thing myself. I love the old propliner aircraft but have never tried my hand at 'proper' navigation like you are doing. I've always used GPS or moving maps etc... But this has really captured my imagination now and I'm determined to ween myself off these modern conveniences!

To this end I've got all the gauges I need (weatherships, sextant and a driftmeter) for my trusty A2A B-17 and have been avidly reading all the tutorials I can. Thanks for all the links you put on your youtube page - I've bookmarked it as it's so useful.

I'm really fascinated by this pioneering age of aviation and have a bit of birthday money burning a hole in my pocket. Do you have any book recommendations that cover this era and operating flying boats and other early propliners and the navigation techniques used? I feel like immersing myself in this age a little!

Anyway, thanks a lot for these videos; I think they're great - they feel like proper flying adventures!

Cheers

Stu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Thanks Stu!

I do have a great book recommendation about this era; I quote from it at the beginning of the leg 3 video and it was probably my primary source in my efforts to re-create this.   It's called "China Clipper - the Age of the Great Flying Boats", by Robert Gandt.

And of course there are so many others.  Gandt's book is a great start because it has a pretty thorough bibliography to branch out into if you want.  I'm still looking for some of Marius Lodeesen's books; he was an old Clipper captain that wrote a series of memoirs about it in the 70s and 80s.  They're hard to find now...

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Andrew

I'll check out that book, sounds like it will be a great start. Watched the leg to Wake Island last night and what an arrival at Wake! Just goes to show how accurate this kind of navigation can be - to arrive in 2.5 mile visibility and still be able to find a tiny speck of land in the vast ocean! It amazes me that we can use FS in this way and get accurate results. Looking forward to trying it out myself. I think it will add a lot of excitement to my flying.

Cheers

Stu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Andrew and Stu,

You have touched a topic which I find fascinating. Although I have not yet watched all the videos, I find them both entertaining and enlightening.

2 Years ago I wrote an article about Flying Boats in different flight simulators in the german magazine FS MAGAZIN. In FS 2004 there are flying boats like the B-314 and the respective sceneries available. For XP11 the Short Solent is available. I do not use FSX any more. In P3D there is the Catalina. The latter is of interest for me since I took a flight on the Catalina with both land and water landings in Lelystad (NL) in 2014.

I happen to own the book by Marius Lodeesen, but the German version. I also have a small collection of other books about flying boats; both fiction and non-fiction. If you are interested, I could send you a list with brief descriptions. In various museums around the world you can still see some of the big old 4-engine machines. Unfortunately neither the China Clipper nor the B-314.

Thanks for providing great visuals and food for thought!

Ruediger

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Thanks guys,  I'm glad to see others enjoy this stuff.   Stu,  I agree - it amazes me that they've basically managed to model the entire planet accurately in flight sim.  I mean, I'm using a real world charting utility and real world dead reckoning calculations to navigate in a digital world... and it WORKS.  It still kind of blows me away. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, FlyRudy said:

Hi Andrew and Stu,

You have touched a topic which I find fascinating. Although I have not yet watched all the videos, I find them both entertaining and enlightening.

2 Years ago I wrote an article about Flying Boats in different flight simulators in the german magazine FS MAGAZIN. In FS 2004 there are flying boats like the B-314 and the respective sceneries available. For XP11 the Short Solent is available. I do not use FSX any more. In P3D there is the Catalina. The latter is of interest for me since I took a flight on the Catalina with both land and water landings in Lelystad (NL) in 2014.

I happen to own the book by Marius Lodeesen, but the German version. I also have a small collection of other books about flying boats; both fiction and non-fiction. If you are interested, I could send you a list with brief descriptions. In various museums around the world you can still see some of the big old 4-engine machines. Unfortunately neither the China Clipper nor the B-314.

Thanks for providing great visuals and food for thought!

Ruediger

Hi Ruediger

Thanks very much for your offer. I'm very interested to see your list of books, that would be great! I'm very jealous that you've had a ride in Cat though!!! That must have been amazing. Did you get any photos at all? I'd love to see them if so.

10 hours ago, Stearmandriver said:

 Thanks guys,  I'm glad to see others enjoy this stuff.   Stu,  I agree - it amazes me that they've basically managed to model the entire planet accurately in flight sim.  I mean, I'm using a real world charting utility and real world dead reckoning calculations to navigate in a digital world... and it WORKS.  It still kind of blows me away. 

I know, the Aces team did an incredible job when you think about it. I think it's still amazing all these years later.

Looking forward to seeing the how the rest of the flight progresses!

Cheers

Stu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it's been a long time coming, but in case anyone is still interested, I've finally finished Leg 4 - Wake Island to Guam.  One to go!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this