Saturday, November 27, 2010

Last minute !

Tropical sim just released today its Bilbao LEBB for FS9. And a FSX version will follow soon. Enjoy. This designer has improved its sceneries quality and spanish airport Bilbao is a 6 months work.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Incoming airports for Poland

The Drzewiecki design group has confirmed working on a Polish airports vol. 2. scenery package. It will continue to include regional airports ; Szczecin Goleniow (EPSC), Lodz Wladyslaw (EPLL) and Zielona Gora (EPZG). It is a very nice new considering the quality of their Volume 1 (take a look at the ground textures and buildings).
A lot of us regret that they are not working on a major international polish airport. Of course, i think of Warszawa Okecie and Krakow. Maybe in a third volume.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

France VFR Alsace ready for release

France VFR decided two years ago to dispatch new generation photosatellites sceneries of France. Areas are splitted in administration official regions. Britain was released first, followed by Nord-Pas-de-Calais (the northest region of France, south of Belgium). Now, the designer is releasing Alsace, that will support its home-made airports Strasbourg LFST and Bale-Mulhouse (LFSB). Alsace region has a 4,75m (LOD13) mesh, a specific autogen and 16 airports/airfields have been polished to fit with the scenery. I tested this new generation photorealistic sceneries and like them as there are no blurries at all. (should be released on Simmarket in a couple of hours). FSX and FS9. If you are not familiar with France regions, you might wait for the incoming Rhone-Alpes VFR (a must have with Alps and Mont-Blanc).

www.francevfr.com/

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Boeing 777 ?

Hush-hush. Following new developments AND (certainly) decision from Quality Wings to launch a Boeing 787, Intersim Studios might launch a totally new project in the following days: a Boeing triple seven. Intersim Studios, conducted by Junior Puente, was the first to announce a B-787, preceeding Quality wings announcement.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Incoming sceneries

Many sceneries release dates are planned or postponned for/to early January 2011 : are in this case, Lima SPIM from Latin VFR (a pretty heavy work), Luton from Eiresim and Antartica by Aerosoft.
On the other hand, Tropical Sim promised Bilbao spanish airport LEBB could be finished in early november. It should be released in a couple of days. FS Dreamteam might also surprise us by releasing Los Angeles KLAX for Christmas or new year. It is a huge airport but they work nice and fast.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Orbx FTX Pacific North west released

FTX just released its PNW scenery. The region covered can be watch on Google Earth with a .kmz file, downloadable from FTX website. The scenery covers parts of Oregon from Roseburg to Chilko lake in British Columbia (Canada). Watching their video trailer, i am wondering what are framerates performance, as they are stressing on bush flying and small airplanes. I am also concerned about UTX Ultimate terrain. Of course, UTX is fully compatible (they say "seamlessly" compatible) but Orbx scenery add up a lot of textures and autogen. If so, why keeping on with UTX ?

Monday, November 15, 2010

iFly news

The chinese team iFly confirmed they are working on a FSX version of their Boeing 737ng. The drawing board stage may have already been passed but they still need to finish the FS9 service pack.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A focus on the BN2-Islander

Why would you not fly on a STOL aircraft ?

A lot of airfields are difficult to land at because aircrafts are just not appropriate (St-Barth, Saba, Dutch harbor...). In FS world, there are not so many Short take-off and land (STOL) capability aircrafts. The Britten-Normandy BN2 islander, designed by Virtavia, is one of them and can take-off on a rough 300 meters strip. 750 units are still in service around the world, 50 years after its development.

Virtavia worked pretty hard to give the aircraft its rustic nice-looking. At approximately 60-70 knots, ready for take-off, the BN2 is shaking hard, producing realistic sounds of the vibrating cabin. The aircraft is equiped with a Bendix King GPS (KLN 90) and all mandatories navigation systems. Service ceiling 13 000 fts, cruise speed 154 mph. One small detail : landing gear does not retract.

Interest : 8,5/10 Overall quality : 7,5/10 FPS : 6,5/10













Thursday, November 11, 2010

B-737-100 project launched

Captain Sim just announced start of production of its Boeing 737-100 and extension 737-200.
Mason

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Presenting... a new version of Ottawa CYOW

I, weeks ago, i told you about a freeware of ontarian airport Ottawa, capital city of Canada. Well, Aero Files editor, who designed Billund for both FSX9/X, is working on a payware version this time and just disclosed some screenshots. Besides this, others designers are thinking about doing a top quality scenery of Montreal CYUL ; Fly Tampa and SunSkyJet are lined up.
Mason

http://img835.imageshack.us/i/modelconverterx20101023.jpg/

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Airbus X 1.22 update

Aerosoft has just released update 1.22 for its Airbus X. This file (55 Mb) fixes the RAD/NAV input settings and a minor landing light error. As a bonus, two new liveries are given ; Swiss (A-320 plus A-321) and Edelweiss A-320. Previously, update 1.21 was a major step to fix the flight model of the autoland. To improve aircraft's flyability, some people also found a way to disconnect the fly-by-wire, by setting off the SEC 1 of the flight control system, top left of the overhead.
Mason

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

FS sceneries market exploding : our study

Scenery designing is booming. Here is published a short study about FS sceneries. Analysing Simmarket web site and official releases dates, 32 european sceneries were launched in 2009, not taking into account small stuff of less than 12 euros or special packages. This year - which is still not over - a total of 47 european sceneries have been released. This proves that the market is not saturated. For south america, 6 sceneries were done last year and we can expect 10 sceneries this year. We are clearly expecting a boom, especially in north america, carribean, central, south america, eastern europe and Asia. Aircrafts production certainly does not follow this trend but.. but...  is surely growing : 6 liners have been built last year and 10 will be in 2010.
Mason

IVAO first steps and tips

I am talking about IVAO which seems to be the greatest FS network today ahead of Vatsim in term of volume. If i am wrong about that, do not hesitate to comment. Anyway, Vatsim is a huge network too and have its fans. I am flying for maybe 18 years on FS and a couple of years ago, rumors about a flight sim network slowly emerged. Was i ready for this network ? Comments were harsh about the seriousness of IVAO. Finally, a friend pushed me to register and one year later, i am still addicted to "the network".

What do you need ;
1) Of course, some minimum skills are required ; knowing how to take off, how to follow a path fom waypoint to waypoint, changing altitude with the best rate of climb/descent and of course ability to land and capture ILS : usually by capturing locator and then glideslope. This is easy if you are very found of flight simulation.

2) Second step : you are going to need hours to understand IVAP because it will be your interface with controlers and pilots. You will also learn to use Teamspeak 2. These programs are very well explained on IVAO official web sites (for instance, in France, it is http://www.ivao.fr/)

 3) Okay. First flight. Wow. You should not start at New york JFK nor big platforms. Choose a small airport first. You will be disappointed because you will not hear any controler (although...) but there are pilots here and there, and step by step.. a controler maybe call you. A good thing is too listen them on Teamspeak first (you have the right to enter a channel on observatory mode). 4) It takes time to be accustomed to the rules. You have to undersand how grounds, towers, approaches and controles are organized. There are also departures and deliveries etc.

3 advices : * One common mistake is to forget setting the transponder ON as you are lining up on the runway. Controlers don't like that because they cannot see your current status.

Don't forget. * Seriously, do not start IVAO on London Heathrow, you have no idea what you will be confronted with. Is is just a question of discipline and these mains platforms require a high level of discipline : you must find quickly frequencies, know perfectly your SID/STAR, read a chart etc. * LEARN to fulfil a flight plan and use good plans generators (vroute or even free access routefinder. Flight Commander is very good but tricky for a beginner as it cannot suggest the optimal SID/STARS according to winds configuration.

One example : in many countries, your cruise level MUST be impair if you are going to the east but in Spain or France, it is a question of north/south direction and not east/west. Try it, you will not regret it. A controler can see your position on taxiways any time. Choose your departing gate, fulfil your flight plan, switch frequency and call him :
" Bordeaux Merignac tower good day, delta eleven with you information Zulu, request clearance to Stuttgart.
Tower ; " Delta eleven, good day, clear to Stuttgart. SAU6A departure, initial climb 140, squawk 1234.  YOU : "SAU6A departure, initial climb 140 and squawk 1234, delta eleven". 
Merignac tower : "read back is correct, push and start approved, call back to taxi." 
YOU "call you back for taxi, Delta eleven" 
And the adventure begin!

Level : beginner.

First months on IVAO (or Vatsim). Let's presume you took a look at Ivap and Teamspeak, and you made your first flight on IVAO. Now we want to plan a serious flight between Palma and Frankfurt (LEPA to EDDF), two busy airports on IVAO. Lucky you, it is full staff tonight, all along the flight. This is how you should prepare your flight ;

1) Get a good flight plan from these planners : routefinder, vroute, flightplanpro, flight commander etc. (if you want to be a pro {in Europe}, ensure your flight plan is fully compatible with the Central flow management unit CFMU references. You might also go on flightaware website and pick a real flight plan.

2) Find your maps. You need ground movements for the two airports, standard departure SID, standard arrival STAR and the final approach & landing file card which gives you the altitude of glide interception, ILS freq, RVR and decision height for the say the least. You may look for official websites or networks ressources (IVAO, VATSIM etc).

3) Take a look at the real weather forecasts and then, check IVAO METARS, TAFS etc.. The METAR gives you a photograph of the expected weather at your destination. The TAF is interesting as it gives you a trend.

4) Make load and fuel calculations (with Topcat or Vroute for example) and prepare your flight ; flight plan loading, configuration, and save it.

 5) Start IVAO (or Vatsim).


3 advices :

* The climb stage usually consists of following your flight plan. So you just need to know about your next waypoints and check your parameters (speed, climb rate, top of climb position etc). If there is an approach controler, get ready when he requires to take short cut (for instance, "Speed bird 7, climb flight level 140, route/direct Bebix").

* Last part of your flight, the approach phase is merely a track guidance, so just be prepared to make quick moves on your MCP to follow controler commands. Do not forget to adjust your heading to take account of the wind.

* For your first flights on IVAO (or Vatsim), prefer your best aircraft (with accurate FMC and airac). By doing so, you will not be surprised by an unfamiliar approach. Be prepared and always expect a controler along your flight plan. This is common knowledge : most accurate aircrafts/FMC today are : Level D 767, Pmdg 747, 737NG, iFly.

Airbus X on IVAO ?

A lot of people have requested from Aerosoft a better FMC and SID/STARS implementations. Its totally legitimate as most of us are flying all kind of flight plans. But despite an uncomfortable FMC, the Airbus X is flyable under IVAO (and certainly under Vatsim network).
The only serious problem could appear if a controler request a hold pattern. The function is not available yet but even so, a pilot can perform a hold everywhere with its onboard chronometer and its MCP, adjusting headings.
Compared with Ariane Design or mid-core aircrafts, the Airbus X has a perfect trump : its airac is based on Cheyenne/Fokker/Mustang/Super 80 pro. from navigraph. This database has 99 % of real world waypoints, including RNAVs. Second, Vors and NDB can also be entered in the FMC in order to program a SID or a STAR (but usually IVAO controlers will suggest a track guidance on approach (usually, but not always)). You can enter VOR1 and course 1, VOR 2 and course 2 and NDB/ADF.

To fly the Airbus X on IVAO, we just need charts. In this environment, you are supposed to be using charts. So you just have to look for the best websites displaying airports charts. Vatsim websites are usefull resources.
In Europe, Vatsim Spain (vatspa.net) and Switzerland are nicely done. IVAO Germany is a quite a nice source as well. In France, administration is doing this job (until now). Just look for http://sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/ So, look at your airport. Look for SID chart(s).
If the departures only show intersections with 5 digits, it is usually a piece of cake. Enter these points in Airbus X FMC. If the waypoints are strange with navaids references, arcs and distances, you will need to enter the relevant navaids in your NAV/RAD page (its usually a VOR or a NDB/ADF). Write on paper the radial reference and the distance (nm) and go thru it on "manual". On Take-off, set your ND (navigational display right of the PDF) on VOR and check for the radial (an arrow) crossing the right value. Of course, there are an easier way to do that. FlightSim commander utility can record a flight plan you have defined with SID and STAR but you will have to do it manually. I am writting this item here for beginners and am trying to give new perspectives.