By Bill Von Sennet
This month we are using the FS2002 Boeing 307 Stratoliner. We will be flying the Pan Am routes from Miami to Cristobal in the Canal Zone 1,142 miles, and from Miami to Belem Brazil 3,200 miles
South of those terminals passengers where
transferred to DC-2’s or DC-3’s. The
schedule is dated September-November 1940
The Stratoliner (Pan AM called them “Strato-Clippers”) had a very short
life as a commercial airliner. Only 10
were built because of the demands of World War II and B-17 production. Pan Am and TWA began passenger service with
the B-307 in the summer of 1940. I’m
not sure what happened to the 4 that Pan Am bought, but the 6 TWA 307’s were
sold to the U.S. Government in December of 1941 and designated as C-75’s. They flew over 7 ½ million miles and made
more than 3,000 ocean crossings in USAAF service. In 1944 they were completely refurbished by Boeing and fitted
with B-17G wings, landing gear, engines and tailplanes. Pressurization was
removed and they were returned to TWA for use on the shorter New York-Midwest
The Boeing 307 was the first pressurized
airliner. Cabin pressure was only 2 ½
lb/sq in which gave it a cabin altitude of 8,000’ when flying at 14,700’. My rudimentary math would indicate that it
could climb and descend at 1250 ft/min with the same comfort to passengers as
500 ft/min in a DC-3.
The FS 2002 Boeing 307 is by Al Kaiser of the
Vintage Aircraft Works. You can
download it from avsim.com, or visit Tim’s Flight Studio Tim Pinkawa bgas030 has done the Boeing
Factory and the TWA paint jobs. .
Screenshot copied from Vitange Aircraft Works site. Quality and size reduced.
I just visited The Vintage Aircraft Works web-site and Al Kaiser announces that he is planning on releasing an FS 2004 version with full panel shortly after the release of FS2004. That is great news!
This is panel that I have modified. Note the com radio up on the top right. This is the BCK.Radio_Multi.gau that I use on many panels to save space. If you click the rotating knob above “com” on the right side it will switch to display the NAV1 frequency, then NAV2, ADF/NDB and Transponder. Click on the left side to switch back to COM. It may not be prototypical, but it allows me to have all the gauges in view all the time. The throttle quadrant controls all engines simultaneously. The rpm and manifold pressure gauges display the readings for engine #1.
For more detailed info click the icons at the bottom left. The one with the radio antenna will display all radios and engine instruments. (Shift and 2 does the same thing). Click the satellite dish or press (Shift and 3) to display the GPS. Click the icon of the aircraft top view or (Shift and 4) to display the throttle quadrants and the starter and magneto switches. I have one switch to add: A Nav/Gps switch. It will be just to the left of the Auto Pilot. If your panel doesn’t have it, download the updated panel.cfg file here.
Flip the switch to down (GPS) and click the AutoPilots Nav function and it will track the gps. First you have to program the GPS. While still on the ground select Flights…Flight Planner Then enter the departure and destination airport i.e. kopf and mpej Click on VFR or IFR then direct route GPS. Then click find route , set the altitude for your desired cruise and click save then OK. All set. If you chose IFR then press the ATC (squiggly) key and request clearance to get the show on the road. After you take off and get turned toward in the right direction, you can activate the gps and nav mode to follow the great circle route to your destination.
How I fly the
While I am not an expert, I try to fly Flightsim aircraft in a manner consistent with the prototype.
My “World Civil Aircraft since 1945” book claims the cruising speed at 10,000’ was 200mph. Whether this is factual or the marketing departments “hype” I’m not sure.
While testing the aircraft I was able to fly at 200mph (true air speed) at 10,000’ (164 mph indicated) using power settings of 35” m.a.p. and 2,100 rpm. At 17,000’ that translated into 220 mph true airspeed. Those figures would represent the maximum cruise speed.
A more realistic cruise speed of 150 mph (indicated) seemed to be obtained with 31” m.a.p. and 2,100 rpm. At 17,000’ this results in a true airspeed of 200 mph. Please note that all speed numbers in this article are in mph. That is the way speeds are indicated on the 307 instrument panel.
To compute to knots divide mph by 1.1518, thus 150 mph indicated is 130 knots.
Now on to the schedules. I wish to acknowledge the kindness of Björn Larsson of Airline Timetable Images for supplying color copies of the timetables below. (I added the red lines to indicate which schedules were for the 307). Björn sent along some other treasures which will be used in future features. The PanAm Clipper story has been updated with some 1939 PanAm Atlantic timetables.
Flying Miami, FL – Cristobal, Canal Zone
What is now KPOF Opa-Locka was the Miami Municipal Airport in 1939.
The direct route to Cristabal C.Z. is
993.7 nm (1144 miles) on a heading of 179 degrees. You will fly over Cuba (which was permissible in 1939.) If you prefer to fly VOR to VOR your course
will be about 39 nm further via Grand Cayman 115.60 and San Andreas
113.30 After taking off fly direct to
Virginia Key 117.10 (12 nm at a heading of 148 deg) then fly the 191 deg
outbound radial (alt 16,500’ suggested)
At about the time you loose the VKZ VOR signal you will be in range of
Grand Cayman. Fly direct to GCM VOR
then turn to the 182 deg outbound
radial to San Andreas. You will pick up
SPP shortly after loosing GCN. When
passing over San Andreas take the 150 deg outbound radial and descend to
15,500’ or climb to 17,500’ (eastbound
flights fly at odd thousands +500’ for VFR) then tune in FNC 109.0 (France) VOR
and fly direct to MPEJ Enrique Adolfo Jimenez Airport, Colon, Panama. I believe that MPEJ is the former France
Field. Mr Jiminez was the leader of
Panama from 1945-1948. Somewhere along
the way they renamed the field in his honor.
Aside from geographic location, the name of the VOR is sufficient
evidence for me.
My test flight was done at 16,500’ direct via gps. I departed KOPF at 7:45 EDT (corresponds to
6:45 EST on the schedule). I arrived at
MPEJ at 12:21 EST 54 min ahead of schedule. I cruised at 200 mph using 2100 rpm
and 31” m.a.p.
I also tested the VOR to VOR route. Take off at 0645 EST (0745 EDT clock setting) Flew at 16,500’ Passed over GCM at 0917 EST,
SPP at 1139 EST and landed at MPEJ at 1307 EST 8 min ahead of schedule. (I was
too high on approach and took my passengers on a tour of the Gatun Locks of the
Columbia 51nm NNE of San Andreas Island
SPP VOR 113.30
FSNav settings for the Boeing 307.
Cruised at 150 mph (translates to 130 kts). At 16,500’ the true airspeed was 200 mph. Note the fuel flow #’s My flight plan came within 2 gallons of
actual fuel burned. Also the elapsed
time was within 2 minutes. The key is
to program the cruise speed with your expected cruise speed making allowances
for winds. Thus if I was expecting 10
knot headwinds I would change the 130 kts cruise to 120 kts. I used real weather and had light cross
Flying Miami, FL –
Leg 1 Miami – San Juan, PR
Daylight Saving Time was not used in 1939, so your time to San Juan
won’t match the schedule. In FS2002
during Daylight Saving Time, the San Juan time is identical to Miami since San
Juan is on standard time. To correct
for the difference, depart from Miami at 8am (EDT) which would be 7am EST as
depicted in the schedule. On my test
flights I didn’t have any trouble arriving ahead of schedule. The winds were light. On the southern portion of the route the
prevailing winds are from the east. On a stormy day, with a hurricane
approaching, the schedule may prove to be optimistic.
My first flight was VOR to VOR
via Bimini 116.70, Exuma 112.20, Provedenciales 115.60 and Grand Turk
114.20. Within range I flew direct to
San Juan 114.0 until picking up the 330.0 NDB.
I turned toward it until intercepting the localizer for runway 10.
FSNav flight plan VOR to VOR
The speed was set to 130 knots which = 150 mph indicated. Flying VFR at 17,500’ 2100 rpm and 31” map I
arrived in San Juan at 13:34 60mst (with an 8amEDT departure)
My second flight was ATC controlled GPS direct at 17,000’ with
2100rpm and 35” map I arrived in San
Juan at 13:16 60mst with an 08:00 EDT departure. I used 936 gal of fuel. I felt like canceling my IFR flight toward
the end as ATC constantly had me switching back and forth between 100 and 135
deg headings! I’m eagerly waiting for
FS2004 (*should be out by the time you read this). Some of the ATC options sound interesting, like being able to
file enroute and also to change altitudes.
The GPS routing followed the VOR to VOR route very closely. Other
than passing south of Bimini and east of
Great Exuma it was almost identical.
I flew just a few miles north of Provo and directly over Grand Turk.
I haven’t flown Legs 2 and 3 yet, but here are some screen shots of
the flight plans.
Belem approach is assuming a wind blowing in from the
Atlantic. Revise your plan based on
current weather conditions when you arrive.
If you look at the PanAm schedule you will note that after adjusting for
time zone changes the Port of Spain – Belem trip takes 7:20 eastbound but only
6:25 westbound. The prevailing wind in
the area is from the east. This trip
may require a direct route (not via the VOR’s and/or a faster cruise speed to
maintain the schedule. At 17,500 the max cruise would be about 220 mph at 170
mph indicated. (fsnav cruise speed in knots would be 150).
I flew the route from Belem to Port of Spain at the max cruise of
220 mph. Had a 10 knot tail wind and
was almost one hour early arriving at Port of Spain. The eastbound schedule must have some padding in it in case of a
All flights in this months feature get reported to the Southern
Division. I’ll pass your hours on to
your division director for inclusion in his roster.
Next months feature will be the 1932 National Air Tour. If you are within range of one of the cities
they are visiting, try to check out the real one. I will be at Kill Devil Hills, NC Sept 20th and maybe
Pittsburgh, PA Sept 22nd when the tour visits. I’ll get some pictures to post on the screen
shots page. Be on the lookout for a
1932 aircraft to fly. DC-3’s are a
little modern but will be permitted, since the FAA announced they will be
flying theirs in the tour. Not sure
what KFFA will look like in FS2004, but we have an enhanced version for FS2002
on our downloads page. (KFFA is First Flight Airport at Kill Devil Hills)
Just to remind you that we are doing historic fights for our
“Features of the Month” this year as it is the 100th anniversary of
Powered Flight. (In honor of Wilbur and Orville Wright and their Kitty Hawk
adventures in December of 1903)
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