Detroit to Honolulu on a Hawaiian Airlines MD-11

My flight sim of choice is still solidly X-Plane, but I have to admit that I’ve been lured by Microsoft Flight Simulator 10 (FSX) recently – enough so to actually go out and purchase a copy of it to see what it’s all about. Of course it wasn’t that simple – I only have a Mac, so that meant having to set up a Boot Camp partition, purchasing a copy of Windows, and then getting FSX installed. It was a long process, but I think it was worth it. Now I can fly both X-Plane and FSX!

I’ve been messing around with the settings for a bit, and I think I’m to the point where I’m comfortable enough to start doing some real flights with it. This flight from DTW to HNL will be my first long haul on this platform. The plane I’m using here is the MD-11 from PMDG.

So – are you ready to go to Hawaii? Let’s get onboard and go!

Hawaiian Airlines
Detroit, MI (DTW) – Honolulu, HA (HNL)
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-11

HA MD-11 in Detroit

Beautiful Hawaiian MD-11 sitting at a remote stand at DTW just before sunrise

Position and hold flaps set

Position and hold

MD-11 cockpit view

Looking straight down the runway from the cockpit

hawaiian airlines MD-11 rotating off the runway


md-11 engine and wing from business class

View of the engine and wing from business class as we climb out over metro Detroit

hawaiian airlines MD-11 over michigan

Climbing to cruising altitude over western Michigan

approaching the rocky mountains

It was a long and boring cruise over the northern plains of the US, but here is our first view of the eastern range of the Rocky Mountains

green rocky mountains in the summer

As you can probably tell, this is summertime – not much snow on the mountains this time of year!

flying over the sierra nevada mountains

Almost to the west coast – here we are over the California Sierra Nevada Mountains

about to head out over the Pacific ocean

Here we go – the Pacific coastline!

overflying the california coast line

Still about another 5 hours of flying to reach Honolulu from this point

bare metal hawaiian airlines livery

The MD-11 looks great in the Hawaiian livery, don’t you think?

MD-11 cockpit in flight

Quick update from the cockpit – all systems in check, though I am buying a bit more fuel than I had planned. Not worried yet.

perfect flying weather over the pacific ocean

The weather has been absolutely perfect on this trip so far. Haven’t seen many clouds yet.

md-11 engine and wing over the pacific ocean

Taking a quick break from the fine Hawaiian Airlines Business class service to have a look outside. Beautiful!

building clouds near hawaii

The clouds started to build as we got closer to the islands

hawaii off in the distance

What’s that off in the distance? Our first look at the islands of Hawaii!

overflying the islands of hawaii

Starting to get low and slow as we position ourselves for arrival into HNL

approaching the reef runway at HNL

Short final for the reef runway. So far so good…



arriving at the terminal at HNL

Pulling up to the terminal after a long 8 hour flight from DTW. View from the economy class cabin.

HNL ground crew servicing a hawaiian airlines MD-11

The ground crew wasted no time in servicing the aircraft for it’s next flight back to the mainland.

Sure feels good to be in Hawaii! Especially considering it was largely an uneventful flight from Detroit. There were some fuel burn issues that I had to contend with, but otherwise it was a perfect flight. Now…time to hit the beach.