ECON-2018 Instructions

30-minute Quick-start Video for KMSP Center Flights


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.

Minneapolis Center - Additional Instructions

Minneapolis Center operates a bit differently than Juneau Center. At MPLS Center, pilots bid for open flights and then fly those flights as they normally would for Juneau Center flights. Your company earns revenue by making profiable flights just as with Juneau Center, but you will also be charged a monthly Gate Fee at MSP Center. An additional penalty fee is charged if you bid for a flight and fail to fly the flight in the allotted time because your being 'assigned' that flight prevents other pilots from that flight opportunity. There's only a couple of steps to get flying:

On the Regional Activity Page, you will find the Regional Airlines list. When you are logged in and go to or update this page, you will see the option to create/edit or delete your regional company. This uses the same name as your Juneau company, but since Juneau really didn't create a company record, you must 'create' a company to do flights here in MSP center because it needs to create a company record for you. Note that if you change the name of your company in MSP center it also changes the name of your company listed in Juneau center, (they both use the same name information).

Once you've created your company, head over to the Flights page and check for available flights to fly. Currently the flights are in sets of 3 that are updated every 12-hours at 8am and 8pm Central time. This will allow our Euro pilots to have a shot at some flights too.

Same as with the Activity Page, when you're logged in on the Flights page, you will see the option to bid for a flight. You can only bid for one flight at a time and must fly that flight before bidding a second. All bids are final and you must fly the flight within the remaining time shown on the board. If the remaining time is less than the expected flight time, don't bid on it because the flight window will close before you can file your pirep and you'll be penalized for not completing a bid flight.

All flights - even if they fail to register for the Econ flight will still show in your log book and you'll get credit for the flights. Just as with the Juneau Center, your flights will not register if the PAX count, Cargo Wgt, or flight number differ from what is shown on the flight you were assigned. So - Make sure you complete these fields correctly on SPAACARS before starting your flight! A successful bid will replace the status with "Assigned" and when completed, the flight will show "Completed" in the Status field on the Flights board once your pirep is filed via SPAACARS if you did everything correctly.

Here's an explanation of how simulators work with SPAACARS and ECON-2018.

First, the simulator itself doesn't see passengers, baggage, etc.  It only sees payload weight and fuel weight.  All these extra things you see listed are additions handled by a particular aircraft model and controlled by programming for them - similar to the issue in the earlier post on this thread about how landing light switch won't trip the "prepare for takeoff/landing" of SPAACARS (because SPPAACARs reads simulator settings while these are handled by some payware programming outside of the simulator settings on some models).

SPAACARS - SPAACARS takes the total payload weight your simulator is showing and allows you to make the necessary changes as to how much of that weight is for PAX and what is for cargo.  It gets the total payload weight from the simulator AFTER you have initialized the payload and fuel for your plane in your simulator, so SET YOUR PLANE UP FOR PAYLOAD AND FUEL BEFORE STARTING SPAACARS.  Actually, SPAACARS should recognized changes to fuel/payload settings made prior to starting your flight, but you'll want to check the totals on the main screen of SPAACARS to be sure it's correct for PAX and cargo.

For some reason, when I originally programmed this (perhaps to include them in the payload weight), I included pilot/copilot weights as passenger weights.  Thus, for the purpose of ECON-2018 and SPAACARS, when calculating for the PAX number shown in the ECON-2018 flight schedules, you will want to consider the pilot and copilot as a PAX, otherwise it won't come out right on the main SPAACARS when you add it all together with the cargo.

For example, I fly the DHC-6 Twin Otter (Aerosoft) on flight 600000, the first Econ-2018.  It requires 15 PAX and 650 cargo.  Aerosoft has set up payload and pax settings, plus pilot/copilot areas in their fuel/payload area.  When this gets plugged into the actual simulator, as previously stated, it only sees this all totaled as payload weight along with the cargo.  So, I have to add my 13 PAX in the passenger area at 170 lbs. each along with the pilot and copilot at 170 lbs. to equal 15 pax.  I then add my 650 lbs. of cargo weight to the cargo areas supplied in the fuel/payload area by Aerosoft.

Now when, SPAACARS sees the payload weight on the main page of SPAACARS, you can move your 15 PAX over to the PAX column and the cargo will correctly display the cargo weight at 650 lbs.  Additionally, SPAACARS provides the "Cargo Capacity" field which will show the remaining cargo capacity that SPAACARS believes is available given the current fuel, cargo and pax weight according to the simulator readings.  If you fill your plane to Max takeoff Weight this field will read "0", as there is no unused capacity remaining.

So...the short answer is:

Ensure that your aircraft payload weight is set for (#pax * 170) = ttl pax wgt + cargo wgt = ttl payload wgt.

This will allow you to adjust the number in the PAX field of SPAACARS to show the number of passengers required by your ECON-2018 flight and the remainder should show the correct value of cargo for your flight in the cargo field of SPAACARs.

Here are two pics showing my settings for ECON-2018 flight # 600000 as explained above.

Example 1 - SPAACARS settings for ECON-2018 flight 600000. The Cargo Capacity remaining is "0", meaning that my combined weight of pax, fuel and cargo = the max takeoff wgt for my current aircraft. The PAX count shows the correct number of pax for this flight (15), which leaves the remaining weight at (650), which is the correct cargo wgt for this flight.

Example 2 - fuel/payload settings for my DHC-6 in P3d v4 for ECON-2018 flight 600000. Note that the takeoff wgt = the max gross wgt. This causes SPAACARS to show '0' cargo capacity remaining in the 'cargo capacity' field. Note the distribution of the pax and cargo weight according to Aerosoft's payload dispersion defined in the payload area. Pilot and copilot count as pax in SPAACARs, so to get my necessary 15-pax for this flight, I've added 3-pax to rows 1 thru 4 at 170 lbs. each (510 for each row) plus 170 lbs in row 5, which added to the copilot and pilot covers the remaining 3 pax needed for this flight's 15-pax.

Hope this helps clarify some things for all pilots.