A Quick Hop In The Physical Sim

Captain ShaneGo–one of my best mates and the man who helped me construct the sim over a weekend almost three years ago–was in town this past weekend and climbed into the cockpit for a quick virtual hop. A Citation jet pilot in real life, I was impressed with his willingness to simulate work on a day off. We had a great time, right up to and including the point where I crushed the tires. “You did seem to flare a bit high,” he said after I’d turned off the stream …

ORBX TrueEarth Great Britain South

I was very happy to see in my inbox yesterday an email from ORBX announcing that their TrueEarth Great Britain South package is on the way and planned for release later this month. Since ORBX announced that they would be developing for X-Plane I’ve been eagerly awaiting their products as, even with the wonders of orthoscenery for X-Plane, ORBX scenery really is top notch and I enjoyed it when flying P3D very much. The official announcement is here, with plenty of screen captures. I’ve also posted a few caps and the promotional video below. I really do feel that ORBX development for X-Plane is a fantastic thing for our community.


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RW Landing At Albert Whitted

Two weeks ago I was able to get up for a cross-country flight to Crystal River with my CFI just to keep the rust off. A good buddy of mine was in town, so with my CFI in the right seat as Pilot In Command we took him along for the ride. We had a great flight — beautiful weather, advisories from Tampa Departure, C-17s going by on their way to MacDill AFB, and a near-miss with a bald eagle at 3,500 feet. My buddy managed to capture the landing back at KSPG, which I post below. One night flight to go and then it’s checkride time. I’m getting excited!

GDPR

I’ve updated the site today to reflect GDPR compliance. You’ll notice the cookie approval on first loading the site, and there’s an approval checkbox for comments as well. I’ve also put a privacy policy online, which is linked in the Legal Marginalia at right.

X-Plane At Night To Punta Gorda

I took a little sim night flight this evening in VR to Punta Gorda for some pattern work — something I’d scheduled to do tonight in the real world but needed to scrub. I decided to stream it, and watching the YouTube video after the fact I’m still amazed at how great X-Plane can look at night. Incredible.

Video Review: The xVision Shader Utility In Action

xVision, a new (and free) shader utility for X-Plane is getting a lot of attention. I’ve never used shader tweaks, although I have modified some art assets via my own Lua script, so I decided to give xVision a try. Below is a flight in VR from KSBP to L88 and back, at dusk and into night using the XtremeRealistic Enhancement preset. Having used xVision a little bit, I have two conclusions:

  1. It works great, at least for me. And the XtremeRealistic Enhancement preset is excellent and X-Plane absolutely looked the best I’ve ever seen it look. It sharpened the image a bit more than I like (it gave me jagged edges in VR), but I was able to turn that down in the xVision Pro settings.
  2. The xVision preset improved the clarity of the VR image for me, enough that I probably could have turned down super sampling. This was a surprise for me, but I was happy to see it. I could read the GPS frequencies with absolutely no difficulty.

Absolutely give it a whirl – but be sure to back up per the instructions! (And if you are wondering where the activation key is that xVision asks for on installation, it’s in a text file in the folder you downloaded.)

GPB500’s Fantastic Airports For X-Plane

One of the excellent scenery designers in the X-Plane world is GPB. He has a number of freeware airports available on the .ORG, and they’re all worth getting. He also, though, produces a larger set of payware airports for X-Plane, which he sells as a one-time subscription service. Last I checked it was $75US for the entire set, which includes these fields (along with frequent updates and new fields from time to time):

  • 49X Chemehuevi Valley
  • F70 French Valley
  • KBLH Blythe
  • KBUR Burbank
  • KBWG Bowling Green
  • KCMA Camarillo
  • KIZA Santa Ynez
  • KJAC Jackson Hole
  • KSAC Sacramento Exec.
  • KSNA John Wayne
  • KTRM Thermal
  • L45 Bakersfield
  • L52 Ocecano
  • KBNG Banning
  • KNUQ Moffett
  • KPSP Palm Springs
  • KSBA Santa Barbara
  • KSBP San Luis Obispo
  • KTNP Twenty Nine Palms
  • KUDD Bermuda Dunes
  • L70 Aqua Dulce
  • L88 New Cuyama

His work is excellent, and at a few bucks a field, the package is a bargain (and, at least to me, essential if you fly on PilotEdge). GPB500 doesn’t have a website, but you may contact him at gpb500-x at yahoo dot com and he’ll give you instructions for payment and get you on the distribution list. If you’re interested in the quality of the work, see some screen shots of his KBUR Burbank below. It’s excellent.

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Free From Orbx: L52 For X-Plane

Free From Orbx: L52 For X-Plane

PilotEdge fliers have a soft spot in their hearts for L52 Oceano, which is were PilotEdge suggests you make your first flight on the network. I still fly the KSBP / L52 / KSBP milk run quite often — it almost always has traffic, Oceano is a cool little field, and it’s great to hear people new to the network feeling their way on the radios.

So I was excited today to learn that Orbx, who has only recently begun bringing their impressive scenery design skills to X-Plane, has released L52 — and better yet, it’s free. You may get it here, as I plan to do later tonight or tomorrow.

Review: Advanced Flight Modeling M20 Collection

Review: Advanced Flight Modeling M20 Collection

Readers and viewers know that I’ve been flying the Alabeo / Carenado Mooney Ovation around the PilotEdge coverage area for the past several months. During that time one of my flight sim buddies has told me to keep my eyes on the forthcoming Ovation from Advanced Flight Modeling (AFM). This is actually a collection, as the package includes the Ovation II, Ovation III, and the Acclaim. I signed up for the early release of the package, and while it flew great the interior textures weren’t polished enough yet for me to enjoy it in VR. The official release is out, though, and I have to say this is a spectacular aircraft. I recorded a VR tour and review of the plane, which you may view below (including the random engine failure shortly after takeoff), but the short story is, “Worth every penny.” You may get it here.