Just a note! We are still taking comments/screen shots/suggestions about last week's flight! Check out the Show Notes for last week for more details on how to participate!
Aerosoft Catalina Released
The PBY Catalina is without a doubt one of the most famous flying boats ever build. After its first flight in 1935 it quickly transformed into the PBY-5A amphibian model that it is best known for. Despite its strange shape it became a true work horse of many air forces and navies and kept patrolling the oceans for decades. It had many roles, search and rescue, any shipping or anti submarine patrols or long range reconnaissance. To this day the Catalina is well known to millions and a guest of honor at many air shows.
- 11 Different Models based on the PBY-5, PBY-5A, and PBY-6A.
- Different flight behavior for all different models that are checked with all available data and by current Catalina pilots. Now this is said a lot for FS add-on aircraft, but one Catalina operator is actually using this product for simple training in the winter when most Catalina's are hangar queens.
- Impressive and powerful sound set, you actually will be able to tune the engines using your ears.
- Aerosoft Sound Module that adds sound to switches, controls and events. From hydraulic pumps to the sound of the engines problems, this creates a far more immersive environment.
- Two different cockpits, one typical for the 1940s and 1950s and one as many Catalina's are flown today (with modern radio and GPS equipment).
- Cowl flaps, floats and landing gear has better simulation of influence on drag.
- More realistic water operation by use of additional coding.
- Manual (400+ pages) in two parts, includes full actual operational manual of one of the few PBY-5A's flying at this moment.
Gauges and Instruments:
- All instruments done in full 3d.
- Highly realistic Bendix King radio stack (feel free to download the real manuals and use those!)
- Highly realistic and complex Bendix King KLN-90B GPS receiver
- Realistic simulation of the Sperry A-3A (Jack & Heinz) Autopilot for the vintage model.
- The newly developed Interactive Checklist helps you to prevent problems by showing the correct settings with red or green checkmarks. It even includes sound effects and allows you to configure the aircraft for take-off or for a complete dead and cold setup.
- Non standard and far more realistic calculations of engine temperatures, taking cowflap position, ambient air temperature, fuel/air mixtures setting, airspeed and engine heat generation into account.
- Accurate electrical load and hydraulic pressures calculations.
- Realistic cold engine startup, requiring use of engine primers and fuel boosters.
- Realistic auto mixture that controls auto rich and auto lean.
- Realistic carburettor icing that takes moisture and carburettor air temperature into account.
- Structural icing that will accumulate ice on the structure, adding weight until the aircraft becomes unflyable.
- Non standard engine failure module that includes sparkplug fouling, damage caused by excessive cylinder head or oil temperature, shock cooling and more.
- Power reduction due to excessive carburettor air temperature.
Carenado's C172N Skyhawk II Ski Released
This aircraft is a standalone package (It isn’t an extension pack for our previously released C172N). This product was developed only for FSX taking advantages of all the FSX and DX10 features like cast shadows on VC, external dynamic cast shadows, normal mapping, specular mapping and bloom lights, resulting in a high quality aircraft. The model includes two different paints, and a slew of other features.
Price: $11.95 USD [Link]
Eric's Short Review:
I took the plane out for the Denali Base camp mission in FSX to test it out.
As you’d expect, the installation is very easy, and you get two repaints with the model. This only includes the Ski version of the plane, however it is of course possible to take off and land on a normal runway surface.
Pre Flight/Takeoff: I started out with a cold cockpit, the parking brake on, and the door open. When in this mode, the model activates chucks, and a “remove before flight” flag. A nice touch, but expected with Carenado aircraft.
The virtual cockpit is very well modeled, and uses high resolution texture for the inside of the aircraft. Carenado put so much detail into this model, that they even put a little bit of dirt on the windshield of the VC and the Cockpit. The VC is, as expected, totally workable. All gauges, switches, and buttons can be activated through the VC.
On the outside of the airplane, using the default “Rusted” paint, is where you really see the detail of the model. The textures used are high resolution and uses alpha channels on the aluminum reflective surfaces. I swear I saw myself in the reflection, but I may have been dreaming… Carenado includes 7 different “Airplane” views. These are those spectacular views from FSX that give you really nice detail. Unfortunately though, they don’t label the views. They use a generic label such as “View Angle 1, View Angle 2″, instead of “Nose, Tail, Left Wing” etc. So when it comes to these views you’re basically flying blind… No pun intended.
Lets go on to the takeoff. As you lift up, you can see the weight of the aircraft leave the wheel struts, as they flex inwards and the wings takeover the aircraft’s weight.
As you would expect with any payware (or freeware) model, the aircraft includes full moving surfaces, Ailerons, Rudder, Elevator, rolling wheels, etc. But it isn’t until you really start paying attention is where you really notice the amount of detail put into this model. For example, the radio antenna waves in the wind while in flight! The aircraft also handles like a dream, I’ve never flown a C172 but I imagine this is how it would be. The aircraft handles very fluid and gracefully.
Getting more technical, given the model of detail the aircraft is actually very friendly on the frames. I did not notice any reduction in frames over a normal aircraft using this one.
As I end my flight, I bid farewell to the Carenado C172N Skyhawk II, and it lands as smooth as a runway on a flat patch of snow or ice, after all, it is a ski plane.
I would definitely recommend this aircraft to anyone big into general aviation. Sure it is only the Ski version, but I am sure it will inspire some mountain runs, or winter missions. I would REALLY recommend this to someone who has never purchased a payware aircraft, and is looking for something inexpensive to get to test the waters. Carenado makes some of the greatest aircraft on the market, and if you’ve never experienced any of their products before, this would be one to start with, and priced at below $12… It won’t break the bank!
Screenshots of the test flight:
Flight Simulator Social Network
Mark Avey has been a busy man. He is the operator of FlightSimX.co.uk, which is an excellent FS news website we’ve talked about before, he also heads up the FS Bloggers network, which is a consolidated news network for FS sites (Think the Associated Press of FS). Well his latest endeavor has been an entire myspace or facebook like social network dedicated to flight simulator.
You can find this at http://flightsimulator.ning.com.
The Website features:
- Different Discussion forums and groups, such as the Flight Prep group, a Developers group, FSX, X-Plane, Condor, Flightgear, and even a VATSIM group.
- A complete screenshot library growing every day. Easy batch upload through a java uploader that allows you to select multiple images.
- You can also import directly from sites such as Flickr.
- A video upload system up to 100MB videos through the web uploader, 300MB through the enhanced uploader, You can also just give it a youtube video and use that.
- Each member has their own customizable profile page, and a blog to post personal thoughts to.
- About 400 members and growing every day, a couple dozen new posts every day.
- It also has an events and reviews page.
Eric: Carenado C172N Skyhawk II Ski Edition [Link]
Marty: Project GulfStream Repaint, Sign up to the FSX Thunderbirds forums [Link], and check it out in the Member Downloads section!
Jesse: Alphasim C-17 Globemaster [Link], Anyone know any additional info on it? Pass it along to Jesse.
Brendan: VATSIM ServInfo [Link]
Alex says that the Cloudwalker Simulator IS Safe!
I would feel safe using the Cloud Walker - safety is not the issue. I'm sceptical about how much more immersion in the sim you would get though. For example, in his video on the home page he does a barrel roll to the right, yet the Cloud Walker has a limited range of motion. Once the angle of bank reaches the limit of the products range of motion you can see it hit the stop quite firmly. I could see this making you nauseous because this will cause the mechanism in the human ear to send a signal to the brain that you are rolling LEFT. "Real" motion simulators don't match the attitude of the simulated aircraft exactly either, but they do induce small accelerations and changes of attitude that fool the brains of the pilots. For example the sensation of acceleration down a runway can be achieved by pitching the simulator slightly nose up so that garavity will press the occupants back into the back of the seat and accelerating fowards for a very brief moment. To achieve this effect you need smart software, to deprive the occupants of their reference to the real world by having a fully enclosed cockpit and by having the simulator able to pitch, roll and move laterally and longitudanally. <spelling> I could see the Cloud Walker increasing immersion in IFR flights with limited bank and pitch attitudes and I'd love to give it a try. Without wanting to be too harsh I am sceptical if anything like the Cloud Walker can really do much to improve the simulator experience but I'd love to be proven wrong. Price wise I wouldn't ever see me paying more than $2000 and it would have to be amazing! There's also the issue of appaerance and space. I have a desk with yoke, pedals, throttle etc and it looks geeky enough in my lounge but if I had a Cloud Walker in there people would freak out. It would have to go in the garage and that's not where I like to do my simming.
This is of course in response to the 'Cloudwalker motion simulator' in episode 14. [Link]
Oscar's Home Cockpit
I like to listen to your podcasts every week and I find them very informative and entertaining. You provide a great service to the Flight Simulator community. I wanted to share with you my current project: http://www.incaland.com/piranha/ I have been using Microsoft Flight Simulator since the time of the Commodore 64, it was the first program I ever owned...
- He is using a program called FsXPand for getting gauge data to other computers on his network.
- He is using an Nvidia 9800GTX+, connected to a TripleHead2Go Digital which makes up to three monitors appear to the computer as one huge 4080x768 monitor.
- So far he has spent $4,000 on the project all together, and many hours, but he tries not to think of the cost.
An alternative to VA's from Randy
I thought you guys might like to get another view into the Flight Sim Community. Most of your podcasts I have listened to sounds like everyone is pretty young. I mention this because I am an old fart. I am 63 years old……a retired Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, a real world Private Pilot and an avid Flight Simmer. I have been and am currently in VA’s like Delta Virtual…but I am also a member of a Flying Club www.flyvifc.org and this is where I spend most of my time……WHY?? Because I can fly what planes I want and fly where I want to and when I want to. I don’t have a VA telling me what to fly and where to fly and what to fly. We are a group of mostly older flyers…..like over 18..ha!! Just kidding. Our youngest pilot is 15 and our oldest is around 75 years old. The average age of our members is probably 40 years old. We have a Teamspeak server and two multiplayer servers and we fly for fun and friendship. We have a very active forum and our main goal is to have fun and build friendships. We have group flights and missions for our members to fly if they like. Much of the time we just get together and decide to fly somewhere and pick a departure and destination and whatever plane we want to fly and take off. Sometimes I will make a flight for Delta….but will get on the VIFC Teamspeak and chat with friends while flying for another VA. You can check out our new Promo Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxkqldgnAM8. (Or Watch It Below):
Randy also shares his website, http://www.flight-sim-tips.com.
SNL Video Brendan was referring to:
(To our international listeners, you can try your luck with YouTube [Link].)