Bluegrass Airlines

June 2003 Newsletter





Part 1


The Birth


          On a Saturday morning a few weeks back I carried out my usual routine of having a look at the Bluegrass web site to catch up with events. Whilst looking at the panel that was created for the Boeing 247 several thoughts came to mind, one being, this looks a nice user friendly panel, the other whilst looking at the panels windscreen was that this looks exactly as looking ahead in a B17. It would be nice to marry this panel with an aircraft and have a famous "Warbird" bomber to fly the skies.


Next was an internet search to find the aircraft, at Avsim an FS2000 model was found sleeping in the corner, a B17F.

The download was carried out and B17 along with B247 panel put into the FS2002 aircraft folder.


Let me say at this stage that I like to fly my FS aircraft as close as possible to the book numbers, in this case I had no book. My thinking told me she possibly should fly like something between a DC3 and a DC4. Also I know nothing of modifying config files and all the other little technical bits that go into making an FS aircraft package. One thing I do know is that I was running a bit short on the "GO" levers and gauges. On the plus side I did have one full set of flight instrument, a nice big lever to make the landing gear move up or down, some basic NAV stuff and an R/T so that all could hear my screams if things went wrong. With some button pushing on my joystick the flaps moved and the trim worked, heaps more stuff than the Wright brothers had on their first attempt at flight. So lets give it a go and see what happens.


I chose Sydney Australia International Airport, YSSY, for the test flight with its 12,000ft runway 16R with the hope of at least getting around the circuit and making a landing back on 16R.


All air traffic was cleared of the area for this "Evil Knievel" stunt and it was out to the waiting aircraft. A quick look around the ship on the spot plane view showed everything on the outside to be in the position where Boeing had originally put it. Put some fuel into the tanks but keep her light, then into the front office for me.


Battery switch to On and some Nav lights to warn anyone on the outside to watch out as this machine may burst into life at any minute. Much pulling and pushing on the GO levers and the computer keyboard and my speaker system told me that I had four engines running, how many were actually developing some sort of power I will never know.


Next was throw in some T/O flap, nose UP trim and lets see if this bird will taxi. It did, and with much differential breaking, engine juggling and a lot of wishful thinking we waddled out in the general direction of the 16R threshold. I did not worry about the normal pre-take-off run up for this flight as my main aim was just to see if this bird will fly, so it was line up in a similar direction to the runway centre line and brakes ON.


The RPMs were brought up on the engines, brakes released and we crept into a slight forward motion. Someone mentioned to me at a later date that a "T" model Ford was behind me tooting and wanting to pass. At 6,000ft down the runway the pointer on the speedo was just approaching the part where it had the 60 printed and there was a slight motion from the back of the airplane that the tail might actually be lifting. With some pushing on the yoke we became level and running on the mains, great, I think, with less ground drag we may pick up some speed at a more reasonable pace. Nooooo, that was not to be, we still could not catch the "T" model that had passed us earlier. At this point also the aircraft was starting to get the wanders. Something unknown on the left of the airport must have been attracting it. I threw in one big bootful of opposite rudder which did little to make the aircraft want to track in a similar direction to that of the runway. Next option was keep the rudder over and perform a tap dance of differential braking, it worked, we were again heading in the same direction as the black bit in front of us.


At a bit over 10,000 ft down the black tar the speedo had magically crept its way to the 120 mark. Some back pressure on the yoke and a milli-second later "Gear Up", to reduce drag to a minimum and YES, we were flying. The VSI told me we were going in the UP direction of about 150 fpm so there was no possibilty of any turn at this stage, just keep her going straight ahead. Finally reaching around the 1,000ft AGL mark some fiddling with the throttles, props and mixture was carried out remembering I had two levers for each and four engines but I did manage to arrive at some sort of happiness with the engines.

My thoughts were retract the flaps at the 140 speed mark and level out at 1500ft which was accomplished, still at this stage heading out across the wide blue Pacific in a straight ahead atitude.


 The auto pilot was engaged for altitude hold at 1500 and we started a slow turn to the north. At this stage the airplane must have decided to wake its self up from its long sleep, giving some indication of performance and leaping itself into one of the most stable platforms I have ever flown on FS. I even had time to look out the cockpit side widows for a magical view across the big wing and back toward the coastline.


We headed north to just past Sydney Harbor with the auto-pilot holding altitude and me doing the steering. Turning westward for our base leg back to 16R, retarding the throttles and with a good visual reference to the airport the gear was dropped to slow her down just before turning a 6 mile final. She handled perfectly through out this procedure, mixtures and props positioned and flaps lowered we made a full visual landing right onto the touchdown area, then some light braking to bring her back to taxi speed. Turning off the runway she even appeared to want to co-operate with the taxi back to the gate.


The two most impressionable results from this exercise were the great views from the front office along with the stability of this aircraft once in flight.


Next was an email to my good FS friend and our BGA guru, Capt. Bill Von Sennet telling him of my thoughts and findings. Bill, Can we make this 247 panel into a B17 panel I asked. Leave it with me Bill replied, in no time I was receiving emails with a new panel layout, config updates along with all the other bits and pieces including messages saying try this for altitude Rob, give me a speed reading for this Rob, test fly this Rob.


Yes, Bill kept me very busy for the next couple of weeks. Thanks to his outstanding efforts and dedication, BGA and the Flightsim world now has one very nice B17 to fly.


In next months BGA news letter I will report on the BGA B17 proving flight that I carried out from Sydney Int Airport YSSY to Brisbane Intl Airport YBBN.


Happy flying in the B17.


Capt. Rob Finn



Check out the June Feature of the Month


United Airlines Boeing 247D from Newark, NJ to Oakland CA using the 1935 schedule.


Perry Hayward bgan034 has repainted the 247D for Bluegrass.  You can download it from complete with sound and panel.


Bill Odell has a new feature:  Flying the DEW Line



May Statistics:


Air Mail Div pilots     50.94 hours   Visitors 112.92 hours

Alaska Div pilots      195.71 hours   Visitors 104.71 hours

Aussie Div Pilots      358.22 hours   Visitors 239.12 hours

Northern Div Pilots  109.76 hours   Visitors  321.30 hours

Southern Div Pilots  447.96 hours   Visitors  41.70 hours

Turbo Div                                           Visitors 196.89 hours


Web-site Visitors   4906


Total hours flown by Bluegrass Pilots 1162.59


Northern Division Report


02 June 2003


From:    BGA Northern Division Director
To:      BGA Chief Executive Officer


1.    In accordance with operational requirements of Bluegrass Airlines Divisions, the following is a summary of flight activity within the Northern Division during the month of May 2003.

BGAN005    Bob Beckelhimer        69.50 hours
  (career total: 663.69 hours)

BGAN007    Brent Perry             4.10 hours
  (career total: 356.00 hours)

BGAN033    Don Hulick             17.85 hours
  (career total: 57.95 hours)

BGAN034    Perry Hayward          12.16 hours
  (career total: 23.66 hours)

BGAN035    Gene Ward               6.50 hours
  (career total: 45.65 hours)



BGAD001    Brian Wilson        40.78 hours
BGAD011    Ed Burke            43.62 hours
BGAD017    John Lawler          9.47 hours

BGAK014    Tony Brown           1.50 hours
BGAK028    Brent Brazeel        6.62 hours
BGAK029    Pat Daley            2.78 hours
BGAK030    Ron Jorgensen       30.30 hours
BGAK033    Tom Burrill          5.74 hours

BGAM007    Allan Lowson         9.53 hours

BGAS001    Bill Von Sennet     37.83 hours
BGAS004    Bill Odell          52.88 hours
BGAS006    Bill Agee           19.89 hours
BGAS031    Gary McCarty        60.36 hours



2.    Migratory birds had a "really" bad month dodging their metallic and wooden wanna-be buddies in the not-so-friendly skies.  Anybody pullin' feathers out of the intakes??

R/Sr. Capt Bob Thompson

From the CEO

May was a busy month!  I can’t imagine that we can stay this busy over the summer.  Outdoor activities beckon, and the summer is usually a slow period for flightsimming. 

July 29th is the projected release date for FS2004 “Century of Flight”. Hopefully fs2002 aircraft and scenery will be upward compatible.

DC-3 Airways pilots were a major reason for the success of  “The Great Aussie Race”.  This fall they will be sponsoring an event.  I would encourage Bluegrass pilots to reciprocate and become participants.  More info when it becomes available.

The Boeing 307 from Vintage Aircraft works is available at, and a modified panel from our Notams page.

I may use the 307 for a feature this fall.  It is historically significant as the first pressurized airliner.  TWA flew it on a New York-Chicago-Kansas City-Albuquerque-Los Angeles route in 1940. The pressurization was only 2.5lbs/per sq. inch which gave it a 8,000’ cabin at 14,700’.   Still a major improvement so you don’t have to find your way through the canyons of New Mexico and California.   It didn’t last long, as with the entry of the United States into World War II all of the advanced aircraft of 1941 were used as military transports.  After the war the 307 was stripped of its pressurization and used by TWA on East Coast-Midwest Routes as it was already outdated technology far surpassed by DC-6’s and B-377’s

Have a great summer!

Capt. Bill