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ECON-2018 Instructions


  • FSX, FSXSE, P3d (These simulators are compatible with the required ACARS program, SPAACARS)
  • Use of St. Paul Airlines SPAACARS program(Version 10.5 or higher) for auto-submission of PIREPs and other changes related to the Econ-2018 Project.

SPAACARS Settings:

Make sure you have checked the box "Use Econ Mode" in the SPAACARS settings menu.

Note: The Econ setting now results in an automatic PIREP submission upon landing/crashing. This ensures that pilots are less likely to only send good flights to SPA. To add to the realism, your flight is your flight - and you are rewarded or penalized based on your flight planning and piloting skills.


We have a revised Econ model for 2018. In building it, we are attempting to model realistic revenue and costs for the operation of a given aircraft on a given flight assignment. Each flight assignment in the new model will specify an origin and destination, a passenger load and a cargo load. The choice of aircraft to accomplish this assignment, the route you choose, and the fuel you load before your flight will all be up to you. Your revenue will be based on the number of passenger miles and cargo ton-miles which you deliver successfully to the destination. Your costs will include an operating cost per hour of operation of your chosen aircraft and a fuel cost. The operating cost of your aircraft per hour of operation will be proportional to the Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) of the aircraft you choose - double the MTOW and you double the cost per hour of operation. Your fuel cost will be the cost of the fuel you load before the flight, minus a 45-minute reserve fuel load, based on your actual in-flight fuel consumption rate. As in the old model, there will be penalties for excessive g loading of the aircraft and for hard landings and crashes. In addition to these, you will be charged at three times the nominal rate for fuel burned from your 45-minute reserve.

To get the hang of this new system, you will want to do some test flights before you start logging the flights for Econ model credit. Of course, you will get flight time credit for these test flights. However, before you get started, let us point out a couple of factors you should bear in mind.

First of all, you will want to choose your aircraft carefully. It should be adequate to carry your passenger load and the assigned cargo load. Do not overload your aircraft. However, since you are charged according to the weight (MTOW) of your aircraft, you will want to fit the aircraft to the assignment. If you pick a B747 to deliver two passengers and 150 lbs. of cargo, you will lose a lot of money.

Second, you will want to load the right amount of fuel. You will want to load enough to be sure of having a 45-minute reserve when you land. But, since you have to pay for every pound of fuel you load above that reserve, you won't want to fill the tanks either.

Important: You must ensure that SPAACARs is showing the correct and exact Pax count and cargo weight for the flight you are flying or the flight will not count as an official ECON2018 flight. You should accomplish each flight in today's actual weather. If the weather looks dicey, you might want to do something else today. Since a given model of aircraft may have a range of installed seats, let's just say that your aircraft should be able to accommodate the assigned passenger load within a reasonable range of the number of seats customarily installed in that aircraft and that your passengers should be counted at 170 lbs. apiece. Don't put 15 passengers in the KA350; the seats won't fit. Bear in mind that the empty weight of your aircraft, plus the weight of the fuel you have loaded, plus the cargo weight, plus the weight of n passengers at 170 lbs. apiece, must total less than the MTOW of the aircraft you are flying.

Finally, a word about competition. Each of you have a different hangar of aircraft to start with. That by itself means we can't guarantee a "level playing field". But that's not the purpose here. The idea is the same as with the original Econ model - to make you consider all of the variables involved and plan your flight accordingly, and then to do your very best to execute the flight correctly.

We will start with a single set of flights centered on Juneau, Alaska. You will see that these are appropriate for GA and Cat I aircraft, but the choice of aircraft is yours. The flights in the first group are all straightforward airport to airport flights in several closed loops. Just like the original Econ flights. As we move forward, we anticipate augmenting these flights with more "interesting" bush flights, and longer commercial type flights. There will undoubtedly be changes as we learn together.

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