MSFS Cannonball Run Challenge (KJFK to KLAX in a GA plane for charity) [Prize from Microsoft]


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!


  1. 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.
  2. Live Weather must be turned on for the entire duration of the flight.
  3. Everyone will take off from KJFK simultaneously at exactly 1300Z on December 26.
  4. Pilots are free to plot their own individual flight plans from KJFK to KLAX. Waypoints and cruising altitudes are at each pilot’s discretion.
  5. 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.
  6. Enabling the autopilot is allowed and, in fact, is encouraged. Please take bathroom breaks and periodically get up to stretch.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. All pilots must track their flight using This is to validate everyone’s time, flight path, and refueling.
  10. Pilots must log their race results using this form:
    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: Spendenkampagne von Shinji Maeda: One eyed pilot flying the world mission in 2021

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:



Please complete the registration form at the link below to participate. All registrations must be received by 23:59Z on December 19, 2020. Please note that you will need to link your account as part of the registration process, so make sure you’ve already signed up there first.


I have setup a Discord server for this event. You will find a text channel and two voice channels: one for pilots who are livestreaming (and/or don’t mind having their voice broadcast over a livestream) and one for pilots who don’t want their voice broadcast over a stream but still want to talk to other people during the run.

You can join the server here:


Here is the list of everyone who signed up to stream the event. Approximately 1/3 of all registrants indicated they will be streaming, which greatly exceeded my expectations!


SeedyL#3205 Twitch
pwnshawp Twitch
Zero36 Twitch
allimac87 Twitch
DonDonPanPan Twitch
Aegalt Twitch
EricFlightUS Twitch
MRpolite01 Twitch
paladin569 Twitch
CaptArash Twitch
CaptGrogbeard Twitch
drsniper8x Twitch
GravyLeg#3572 Twitch
DrNoThumb7944 Twitch
HowardElvis Twitch
BLUEYONDER#9259 Twitch
JUSTK3N Twitch
PablodNinja Twitch
pascalpalace Twitch
ScottS87 Twitch
Shack371 Twitch
stw222 Twitch
RadioFlyerTV Twitch
Jeff Cat NL Twitch
Zappiercloudlover20 Twitch


A note to those of you who are streaming: please remember that we are trying to raise money for Shinji Maeda’s Earthrounder Mission. Be sure to mention it from time to time during your stream. If you have a chatbot, I suggest setting it up to automatically link to the GoFundMe every 30 minutes or so. I also suggest playing the MSFS spotlight series video about Shinji during your breaks. Links to both below.

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ill have to clean the dust off of my inactive twitch channel.
i hope this event gets more exposure in the coming month

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Super excited for this!


This MIGHT be the best flight so far. I plan on attending.


@IngoPlane I fully expect you to fly from JFK to LAX in an Extra 330…and inverted most of the way. :wink:


a challenge id like to see. aim for at least 85% inverted flight, and maybe throw in a few vertical loops


Aw it’s on the 26th? I’m probably going to be traveling for Christmas so I’ll be away from my PC :frowning:

will there be any rules about flying actual traffic patterns when landing? or should we just try and land at the highest speed possible without doing any sort of standard pattern?

will there be any rules about flying actual traffic patterns when landing? or should we just try and land at the highest speed possible without doing any sort of standard pattern?

I thought about that, but I don’t see any way to enforce everyone to fly proper circuits and obey all the appropriate air regulations, so I suppose the free-for-all do whatever you want approach would work best. I’m open to suggestions on this if the community has any ideas, though.

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Aw it’s on the 26th? I’m probably going to be traveling for Christmas so I’ll be away from my PC :frowning:

Sorry about that. No matter what date we choose, there will always be some people who want to participate but can’t do it on that particular day. My rationale for picking December 26 is that it’s a Saturday and many people will be off work the following week, leaving plenty of time to recover from the lost sleep from this event.


This is awesome


Sounds fun. This will come down to choosing the right altitude and stretching your fuel stops. Oh, and running the engine a heck of a lot leaner than you would ever think of doing in real life. As for the route, the bummer is most likely having a headwind the whole way.


Great event, thanks for supporting Shinij’s non-profit! Will see what we can do to help!


Wellll, the real cannonball runs dont take the road rules that seriously either. So i guess its in the spirit of the challenge :slight_smile:

And this looks very fun! Will participate if nothing important comes up! :smiley:


Cool idea, I like it! I don’t know if i will have time for the event in late December but i will try to participate in it. Still, there is more than a month to start so i will probably forget about it :smiley: Is there a possibility to ping/dm few days before the event starts?

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Is there a possibility to ping/dm few days before the event starts?

I don’t have them ready yet, but I’m going to create a sign-up form and a new Discord channel for everyone who wants to participate in this event.

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might i recommend that this freeware be used?
the downtown los angels pack on flightsim . to? (i cant post links)

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