For June 2003  we are recreating the United Airlines New York-Oakland CA Route using Boeing 247D’s




The Boeing 247D for FS2002 is available at   A panel and sound download is available here. As of 05-17-03 an updated aircraft.cfg which will have ATC calling you “United”  “1” or whichever flight number you enter, and an updated panel.cfg  can be downloaded here  The update is included in any panel and sound downloaded after that date.


Landing is difficult as compared to Lockheed Electra.  The Boeing didn’t have any flaps. Here are the remarks of the designer of the FS2002 models flight dynamics FSAviator:


The most unusual aspect of the Boeing 247 was the decision to provide low speed lift via a huge wing without flaps. The 247D has very low profile drag compared to other aircraft of the day and in reality the more Boeing reduced the drag by introducing new concepts like NACA cowls the more it needed those missing flaps. It is essential to reduce speed early to allow the deliberately low aspect ratio wing to produce induced drag. If you do not it will float down the approach and then on down the runway. If you are not used to flying flapless approaches you may find speed control difficult. The problem is however accurately portrayed.


This aircraft was not designed to fly a three degree glidepath under power. It is from a previous era of different techniques. You must reduce to 80 KIAS before beginning final descent much of which will be flown with throttles in flight idle. Reducing to 80 KIAS may take some time and you should plan your circuit or IFR approach accordingly. Plan your turn onto final so that it is flown at not less than 90 KIAS with time to reduce to 80 KIAS before intercepting the glidepath. Once established on the glidepath speeds down to 70 KIAS are safe, but with no flaps to modify the wing camber, (with an accurate panel.cfg), you will lose sight of your touchdown point as AoA increases. If you are not used to flying flapless approaches you will make the mistake of pushing the nose down. If you have judged your approach correctly your touchdown point will re-appear as you sink below the glidepath in a nose up attitude with some distance to run. Then, and only then, you can increase power and IAS to keep the touchdown point in sight. If you lose sight of the far end of the runway you are too slow or too high, or both, to complete the approach safely. Resist any temptation to sideslip an aircraft as big as the Boeing 247. It will not work well in FS2002 anyway.


Failure to control airspeed prior to final descent is the greatest problem you will face when learning to fly the Boeing 247. Give yourself lots of room and lots of time when setting up the approach. Those who flew it in real life had rarely flown an aircraft with flaps and were used to using induced drag from low aspect ratio wings to control descent rate.


Do not attempt to three point an airliner. The stalling angle is much greater than the tail down angle and you will suffer a tail strike. I have been very generous with the strength of the tailwheel, but taildragging airliners must be 'wheeled on'. Aim to put the mainwheels down at just under 70 KIAS, remove any remaining power and when below stalling speed pull the yoke full aft and apply the brakes.


Note that full emergency power is not normally used for take off in the Wasp. The 247D can easily take off from any runway it can realistically land on. The power surplus is so great, and the acceleration after take off so good, that the usual Wasp transition through METO power (33/2100) is normally omitted, power being reduced immediately from normal take off (34/2100) to continuous climb (31/2100). Setting 2100 for take off gives you one less variable to change as you climb away. Go around is however performed at 35.5/2200 (full throttle / fully fine).


Aircraft by Dee Waldron

Flight Dynamics by FSAviator


So we are off!  We will depart New York (Newark (KEWR+) at 8:30am for the 405 mile flight to Cleveland (Municipal (KCLE)).   The year is 1935 and we will be traversing the “Hell Stretch of the Alleghenies” where so many of the pioneer air mail pilots lost their lives.  Hard to imagine that only 5 years ago, airliners where prohibited from flying this route at nite.  In 1935 we have radio direction beacons to guide us on our way. (The beacons I created are not historically accurate.  They are Long Range NDB’s with up to 255nm range.)  Click here to download the NDB’s Unzip into your main Fs2002 folder.




Airport Code




Course to fly












286 deg






278 deg






261 deg






229 deg

Grand Island





269 deg

North Platte





266 deg






261 deg

Rock Springs





Read text

Salt Lake City





Read text






Read text






231 deg






217 deg

San Francisco





201 deg






46 deg


Although our aircraft is capable of rapid climbs, keep in mind that this aircraft is unpressurized and keep the climbs down to 500-700fpm and the descents to 500fpm.  The mountains in our path range up just a bit over 3,000’   Lets plan our flight for 8,500’, but we could fly VFR at 4,500’ or 6,500’ if the winds are more favorable.


About half way we will pass over Bellefonte Pa, an intermediate stop for the air mail pilots.  Our destination is Cleveland  Municipal airport now known as Cleveland Hopkins Intl.  Track the Newark NDB outbound at 286 degrees  When passing Bellefonte tune in the Cleveland NDB and track inbound.  I flew at 8,500’ until over Grove City PA (I was a bit south of the course) I descended to 3,000’.   When the downtown Cleveland skyline was just ahead to my right I began my final descent.  I controlled the airspeed with throttle and let the gear down early to slow to less than 100kts.  I didn’t have any difficulty slowing to 80kts and touchdown at about 70kts.  Arrived at the gate at 11:05am.


We are due to leave Cleveland (KCLE)at  11:32am (ET) and arrive in Chicago (Midway (KMDW)) at 12:43pm (CT) The distance is 266 nm and the course is 278 degrees.  I flew it at 6,500’ tracking the 802.0 CLE NDB until passing over Bryan OH (Williams County Field).  Then I switched to MDW 803.0.  I arrived at Chicago at 12:37pm (CT) All times are gate-to-gate and I am flew the first two legs with all weather cleared.  I flew the cruise with 25” map and 2000rpm.  Climb was with 31”map and 2100rpm.  Descent with 20”map 2000rpm.


Leave Chicago (KMDW) at 1:00 pm for the approximately 3 hour flight to Omaha’s Eppley Field (KOMA)  In 1935 it was known as Municipal Airport.  I flew at 8,500’ heading 261 deg tracking outbound from 803.0 MDW  Flying with real weather.  The winds varied from the north to northeast, then after crossing the Mississippi from the west.  Wind speeds were light, on the order of 5 knots.  But they were enough to blow me south of my course.  I expected to cross the mighty Miss at Davenport, but crossed south of the Quad Cities near Muscatine. 




About halfway to Omaha (1hr 30min) I picked up the OMA NDB at 804.0 and adjusted my course to 270 degrees to track to Omaha. I arrived at the gate at 3:43pm.  Anticipating headwinds I flew with power settings of 28”map and 2100rpm. I burned 150gal of fuel.  West of Des Moines I picked up mild turbulence so I descended to 6,500’ and found smoother air.


Our passengers continue on to the west coast, but we are going to spend the night here.  In the morning you have the option of  leaving at 4:05am with the local which makes 6 hops between Omaha and Salt Lake City, or at 6:30am with the Omaha-Cheyenne-Salt Lake City express flight.   I will fly the local.  If you choose the express fly direct to Grand Island heading 255 degrees 111nm and then follow the navigation instructions for the local flight from there.


Lincoln (KLNK) is a short  47nm flight with a course of 229 degrees.  LNK NDB is 805.0 116.10 is 5 miles north of the field. Depart Lincoln at 4:40am  I flew at 4,500’ arriving Lincoln at 4:36am used 22gal landed on RW 35 left


From Lincoln to Grand Island (KGRI) is 70nm at a course of 269 degrees. GRI NDB is 806.0 In modern times, the airport at Grand Island is a popular refueling stop for cross country corporate jet flights.  Departed Lincoln at 4:40am flew at 4,500’ arrived Grand Island at 5:22am used 30gal.  Landed on RW4 (long taxi to terminal using RW13 as taxiway)


From Grand Island to North Platte, NE (KLBF) pilots didn’t need any navaids.  The IFR rule “I follow railroads” applies.  The Union Pacific mainline (and US30 the Lincoln Highway)  was easy to follow.  While the railroad is not depicted in FS2002 you could follow I-80 for the 107 nm on a course of 266. Departing Grand Island at 5:24 am  with real weather winds 72 at 15!. At 6,500’ I had a nice 14 knot tailwind.  I picked up the LBF 807.0 as soon as I took off. Payback time!  Had to circle around to land on Runway 12.  Arrive North Platte at 618am just as the sun was coming up.   Used 44gal.


From North Platte to Cheyenne, WY it is 186 nm on a course of 261  The Cheyenne VOR 113.10 (195nm range) is 3 miles north of the field.   Depart North Platte at 6:29 am (CT)

Still using same weather file so I’m using RW12.  We will fly a heading of 261 deg until picking up the CYS NDB 808.0 beacon.  I climbed to 8,500’ and picked up the CYS beacon in less than 15 minutes. We crossed into Mountain Time about 25min after taking off. The winds aloft at this point were from 318 deg at 12 knots. I passed just north of Sidney NE elev 4,311’  Although the terrain is rising, it appears pretty benign.  No hint of the mountains ahead. Passed just south of Kimball NE elev 4,924’ at 6:30am MT  That puts us just 50nm to Cheyenne.  I taxied to the gate at 659am right on time.  Fuel use was 80 gal.  That left me with 94 gal in the tanks which were full (270g) when leaving Omaha.  Still no sign of mountains, but I know they are ahead.  (I am going to add a radar altimeter to the panel).   The next leg will traverse mountainous terrain, and we will have to divert from the most direct route to avoid the highest of them.


The terrain has been climbing steadily since leaving Omaha at 980.  Lincoln is 1217’, Grand Island 1842’, North Platte 2,778’ and Cheyenne is in the high country at 6,154’

We also crossed into the Mountain Time zone on the last leg.


The first 3 legs from Omaha can be flown at 4,500’ or higher, but the Cheyenne leg needs to be flown at 8,500’


Leave Cheyenne at 719 am for the local or 8:52 am for the non-stop to Salt Lake City.  The route will be the same except the non-stop will save the time of landing at Rock Springs.


From Cheyenne (KCYS)  to Rock Springs (KRKS) RKS NDB is 809.0 Flying at 8,500’ we will fly the northern route to avoid the bigger “hills”  from Cheyenne fly direct to Medicine Bow (elev 6,644’) 76 nm heading 293 deg  Track outbound from CYS  NDB 808.0   We leave Cheyenne at 7:19am and climb to 8,500’ (fuel tanks are topped off at 270gal).  About half way to Medicine Bow I notice some trees on a ridge ahead.  They seemed to be at about my altitude.  Make sure your altimeter is set for the current barometric pressure (press b) and climb to 9,000’   The ridge is about 8,400’.   After passing the ridge descend back to 8,500’.  I picked up the RKS NDB before I got to Medicine Bow (Medicine Bow is very hard to pick out from the air.  I saw the VOR antenna about 13nm SE easily.)  At 7:52 am I turned to track the RKS NDB hdg 250 deg  According to my charts its 130nm.   We pass just south of Rawlins WY (elev 6,811’) My winds aloft where from 261 deg at 16 knots causing me to drift a little south of the desired track.  So I adjusted my heading to 255 deg (right of the ADF needle).  Just west of Rawlins I noticed that I had picked up I-80 (Union Pacific for you 1935 purists).  Not much help, strains the eyes to see it.  Be nice if Microsoft includes railroads or at least more visible roads in FS2004.


Arrived Rock Springs (elev 6,758) making a straight in approach to RW27.  Time at the gate was  9:04am  Departed at 9:07am  and climbed to 8,500’ and a heading of 238 deg

Picked up the Salt Lake City 810.0 NDB about 10 miles out of Rock Springs. I track directly toward it at a heading of 232 deg.  South of Ft Bridger the terrain seems to be climbing to meet me so I climb to 9,500’  (when you see individual trees in FS2002 you are within 1,000’ of the ground).  At 10:05 the mountains block my path, but I see I-80 beneath me so I turn right to 253 deg and follow it through a notch.  Straight ahead is downtown Salt Lake City.  Municipal field (elev 4,999’) is 14nm at 220 deg.  I begin my descent and turn to 210 deg. As I arrive east of the field I am 1,200’ agl and turn downwind for RW34.  I’m already late according to the schedule!  I turn base at 700’agl and have the speed down to 80 knots.  As I turned final I am greeted with red VASI lights and trees that look too close!  Add some throttle and drag it on in.  Not a pretty landing.  Arrive at the gate at 10:20am (6 min late.)  The flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle don’t depart for another 90 minutes so no one is complaining.  Used 64 gal of fuel. Have 112 gal left out of 270 on board when leaving Cheyenne.  Next time I try this flight I’m going to fly faster.  I flew with 25”map and 2100 rpm.   I’m going to spend 25 hrs laying over in Salt Lake and will pick up with flight #5 to San Francisco tomorrow.


Depart Salt Lake City at 11:49am.  Due to winds used RW 16 then made a climbing right turn to 340 degrees.  Besides the mountains east of the city that we flew through on the last leg, there are mountains southwest of the city.  So we will fly north and climb to 8,500’.  When we reach the Great Salt Lake we will turn to 270 degrees until picking up the EKO NDB 811.0  I picked it up at about 20 min after taking off at a bearing of 258 degrees.  This takes us across the Bonneville Salt Flats and over Wendover UT/NV where we enter the Pacific Time Zone.


West of Wendover I crossed a ridge that was about 7,300’  then at 12noon PT (1:10 after takeoff I crossed a ridge that was about 7,600’.  Another higher ridge (with peaks) was ahead so I took a more northerly heading and flew around it.  As I again began to track the EKO NDB at 253 deg I was about 25nm from Elko.  As I passed over the Elko (elev.5,137’) at 12:14pm I turned to 231 deg.  At 12:25pm I picked up the RNO NDB 812.0 straight ahead (about 175nm away). At 12:33pm  I turned right to 240 deg to go around some high terrain.  At 12:37pm I turned back to track the NDB at 232 deg.   Not long after that, there was another ridge but I cleared it by almost 2,000’.  Approaching Reno (elev 4,409’) I encountered wind shift so I dropped down to 7,500’.  Landing RW34L.  Started my left turn to downwind just 5nm from the airport so as to clear the high terrain east of the field.  Turned to base at 6,200’.   The winds made for a dicey landing.  Taxied to the gate at 1:44pm PT  We are do to leave in 5 minutes for Sacramento.  Fuel used 152 gal.  Next time I’ll turn off the weather and fly straight in to RW25.


Pulled away from gate at 1:44pm Took off on RW 16, climbing turn to 270 deg climbed to 8,500’.   Found  I-80 (see picture) and followed it into mountains past Truckee. 


Climbed to 10,000 and tracked SAC NDB 813.0 hdg 217 deg.  After passing mountains descended to 6,500’, then 4,500’ and 2,500’  KSAC is elev 22’.  Entered right downwind for RW2 at 1,500’  arrived at gate at 2:41pm      used 40gal for this leg.


Departed Sacramento Executive at 2:45pm climbing left turn to 201 deg leveled off at 2,500’.  The SFO NDB 814.0 was active after takeoff.  Inbound to the bay I received clearance to approach RW 28R so turned to 190 deg and flew directly over Oakland on the approach.  Arrived at the gate at 3:24pm (3 minutes late)  Fuel used this leg was 28gal.


Departed San Francisco at 3:31pm for the hop across the bay to Oakland  The 1935 Municpal field is the North Field of todays KOAK.  Landed RW 27 L and taxied to the gate at 3:43pm  fuel used this leg was 6gal.  Fuel remaining from the 270 gal in the tanks when leaving Salt Lake City was 48 gal.  (Don’t bother contacting ATC as they will instruct you to land on RW 29 at the new airport.


Hope you enjoy your flights.  Report them all to the Northern Division.  I will copy the reports to your home division and to the Air Mail Division.  United Air Lines Newark-Oakland is the 1934 AM-1 Route.


Capt. Bill


Just a reminder, that the reason we are re-creating historic airline flights, is that 2003 has been declared the “Centennial of Powered Flight” in honor of the Wright Brothers first flight on Dec 17, 1903.


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