END OF EVENT UPDATE
All pilots be sure to submit your time using the official race completion form found in the thread below. You have until 2359Z on Tuesday, December 29 to lot your result.
Calling all MSFS pilots!
The Cannonball Run Challenge is an unsanctioned road race to determine who can drive between New York City and Los Angeles in the fastest time. The current record is 25 hours and 29 minutes.
In recognition of Microsoft Flight Simulator’s World Update II: United States, I am organizing the following live event:
Who: Anyone who wishes to participate
What: An air race from New York John F. Kennedy International (KJFK) to Los Angeles International (KLAX)
When: Saturday, December 26, 2020 starting at 1300Z (8am ET)
Where: MSFS East USA Server, Twitch, YouTube
Why: For fun, glory, bragging rights, and raising money for charity (not necessarily in that order)
Edit: The stakes just got real! I just received word from the amazing @Jummivana that Microsoft is very generously donating a Thrustmaster Pendular Rudder System to this event! Thank you SO MUCH for your support!
- Full realism settings in MSFS must be enabled. In the Options Menu, “Piloting” must be set to “Hard” with the exception of “Take-off Auto Rudder” which can be on or off depending on your preference. “Aircraft Systems” and “Failure & Damage” must be set to “Hard”. All “Navigation Aids” must be turned off with the exception of “Taxi Ribbon” which can be on or off depending on your preference.
1a. The procedure for refueling is as follows: land at any airport and come to a complete stop. You can then re-fill your fuel tanks using the in-game menu along the top of the screen. You must wait a minimum of 10 minutes before taking off again for the next leg of your flight. During this 10 minute wait, you are permitted to taxi and reposition your plane, but you must remain on the ground and not exceed 50 knots.
- Live Weather must be turned on for the entire duration of the flight.
- Everyone will take off from KJFK simultaneously at exactly 1300Z on December 26.
- Pilots are free to plot their own individual flight plans from KJFK to KLAX. Waypoints and cruising altitudes are at each pilot’s discretion.
- Pilots can choose any of the default aircraft included in the Standard, Premium, or Premium Deluxe versions of MSFS (no custom add-on aircraft allowed) but you may only fly single piston engine GA planes. No airliners, jets, turboprops, or multi-engine aircraft are allowed.
5a. Additionally, the following single-engine planes are not permitted: Beechcraft Bonanza, Cirrus SR22, and Extra 330LT. These planes have a higher cruising speed and/or range than the others, and it’s more fun if there’s a variety of aircraft types in the competition.
5b. All planes must be flown stock from Asobo/Microsoft. No custom liveries or flight model enhancements are permitted.
5c. You are not permitted to switch planes partway through the run. You must fly the same aircraft type for the entire duration of the race.
- Enabling the autopilot is allowed and, in fact, is encouraged. Please take bathroom breaks and periodically get up to stretch.
- Successfully landing at any airport creates a “save point”. If you crash (either virtually in the sim or your computer crashes), you may “respawn” and continue the Cannonball Run from your last “save point”. Your elapsed time does not reset, however.
7a. You can create a “save point” by performing a quick touch-and-go landing at any airport. You may not refuel during a touch-and-go, however. Refueling is only permitted if you wait on the ground for 10 minutes per Rule 1a.
- There are two divisions for this challenge:
8a. The Rodgers Division (named for Calbraith Rodgers, the first aviator to fly coast-to-coast across the United States) is for pilots attempting the Cannonball Run Challenge solo.
8b. The Kelly & Macready Division (named for Oakley Kelly and John Macready, the first aviators to fly coast-to-coast across the United States non-stop) is for pilots attempting the Cannonball Run Challenge in groups of two. Co-pilots in the K&M Division must physically share the same PC.
8c. The prize of the Thrustmaster Pendular Rudder system will be awarded to one person or team irrespective of division. The winner will be selected randomly from all pilots who successfully finished the run. Finishing with a higher rank will result in a greater probability of winning compared to someone else who finished with a lower rank.
- All pilots must track their flight using https://simair.io. This is to validate everyone’s time, flight path, and refueling.
- Pilots must log their race results using this form: https://forms.gle/yA23CVCXu4TBaKSA7
10a. The deadline for logging your race result is 23:59Z on Tuesday, December 29.
Participants are (optionally) encouraged to livestream their flight on Twitch or YouTube and solicit donations from viewers to support the Aero Zypangu Project Earthrounder Mission. One-eyed Japanese pilot Shinji Maeda is raising money to fly around the world in 2021 to inspire people to chase their aviation dreams. A link to Shinji’s fundraiser is here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/one-eyed-pilot-flying-the-world-mission
Edit (December 11): @HowardElvis created a flight-planning tutorial on his Twitch channel. He spent about three hours teaching a very detailed course on how to plan for a long-distance cross country flight, with this Cannonball Run event serving as the inspiration. If you’d like to learn more about flight planning and maybe pick up some useful tips for your run, take the time to check out the video replay:
Countdown timer to the race start courtesy of @ucixsonixs: