I keep plugging away at KTPA during free moments. One of the things I’m trying to do, and that I try to do in all my scenery, is create a very accurate ramp environment. This means detailed placement of all lines, and KTPA has hundreds of them, including yellow bars and chevrons on the paved margins around taxiways. Thanks to the new art assets in WED and 11.1, one can now make these chevrons using yellow draped polygons. I’m also accurately portraying the taxiway margins, and hand placing every blue taxiway light. It’s a time-consuming process, and for me it’s not the funnest part of the design, but I think the results are worth it.
A frustrating few days in the sim recently. I’ve been having repeated crashes to desktop, right after the sim puts the plane on the ramp, both with beta RC2 and 3 (just released today). Nothing seemed to fix it, and the culprit seemed to be the usually rock-solid SPAD.neXt.
The problem? The thing that always seems to be the problem when the sim is acting strangely: USB hub power management. Somehow in recent Windows updates all my USB hubs were set back to “power management on.” This is a no-no in Saitek world. I toggled them all back to power management off and things are right as rain.
I’ve learned this lesson more than once, but didn’t think of it today as it’s been so long since I’ve had the problem. Luckily someone somewhere had mentioned the same issue recently so it was top of mind. But it bears repeating: if things aren’t working as they should, check USB power and power management as a first step.
The X-Plane 11.1 beta is now in Release Candidate 2, meaning Laminar are getting close to releasing 11.1 as a non-beta product. I’ve only had one brief flight with it. My experience, like that of several others, is that there seems to be some issue between WorldTraffic 3 and 11.1rc2. My frame rates were highly variable — from the 4os down to the teens — vacillating back in forth in short order from good to awful. When I disabled WT3 my frames stabilized around their normal levels of 30+, and in fact, my impression is that my frames and smoothness both improved from rc1. I hope to take a longer flight today and we’ll see how things go. I have also read in the .ORG forums that WT3.1 may solve the issue, but for now I have the plugin disabled.
HelliSimmer has an interview with MisterX, who is perhaps the leading scenery designer in the X-Plane community. The surprise is that he’s only 22 years old. It’s well worth reading.
One thing I struggle with when designing X-Plane scenery is guessing how different building facades will end up looking in the sim. For those in the same situation, this forum post, “An Introductory Guide To Default Autogen Facades,” should help.
I’ve finally settled in with a new CFI here in Tampa and we’ve picked up my flight training after a bit of a layoff thanks to the move, the hurricane, and my first CFI here getting a job flying jets. I only have cross countries, night work, and check ride prep to complete before trying for my ticket, so I’m eager to get things moving again.
Yesterday we flew from Albert Whitted to Venice and back. It was a lovely day and perfect flying weather. The only wrinkle in the plan was Tampa Approach / Departure not being willing to give us flight following. They didn’t even respond to my radio calls, in fact, and apparently they’ve been reticent to responded to any GA traffic asking for advisories for the past while now. This meant we flew lower than I would have preferred, and that we skirted the Sarasota Charlie airspace, but so it goes. Here’s a link to the flight track on Cloud Ahoy.
And here’s a very brief clip I shot along the way. I also simulated the flight two days ago and ran the GoPro while doing so, and will post that video soon. Next flight is a cross country up to Ocala and back, and I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve scrapped the earlier work and have decided to use the new Terminal Kit, objects, and lettering available in the X-Plane 11.1 beta libraries. While this means the Tampa International I’m designing for the Gateway won’t work with X-Plane 10, I prefer to design for the future. And the new Terminal Kit is much more flexible and powerful than the old terminal facades. There is still much to do on Terminal F, but I’d say this is looking pretty good already.