X-Plane 11

It’s on the way, and it’s the talk of the hobby over the past few days thanks to the surprise release of a free beta. And based on the video, it looks visually fantastic:

Early reviews range from “totally buggy, visually bland in the day time, framerate hog” to “my God, it’s the most fantastic thing ever, cue the death of Prepar3D.” My sense is that it’s going to take time but will be a great platform. Most important, in my opinion, is developers like ORBX and HiFi getting on board, as the developer community tends to produce add-on functionality with much greater quality and specialization than any individual sim could manage. And this simmer, at least, really appreciates high quality scenery and weather.

I am a big fan of XP historically (flying it in v8-10 on the Mac before I built the sim), and I really like the flight mechanics. The challenge with 10 has been that to run my multiple screens I would need to run multiple instances of the sim on multiple PCs. With 11 that is apparently no longer necessary, and you can span views across multiple screens. So I’ve been eager to download it. Reading the manual online today, though, I still don’t know that I’ll be able to recreate my side-window layout. I suppose the only way to know is to try, and I will in the next few days.

Regardless of whether I use it or not, though, I have to believe that a vibrant, high-quality (and 64-bit) X-Plane can only be good for our hobby. Competition is a great thing for technical development, so I’m glad to see both P3D and X-P as vigorous platforms, and hope that Dovetail can add to the competition with its sim as well (now set for 2017).

Guide Update

I’ve been on the road all week, and haven’t made much progress on the “How To Build Your Basement GA Simulator” guide in the past few days, but will be at it again tomorrow. I’d say it’s more than half done. The only problem is that the more I write, the more I think of to write about – so it keeps expanding. But it’s on the way.

Africa! Lagos To Akure

I’ve had several requests for flights in Nigeria, so here one finally is. The original request was a bit long for me to complete in one siting, so here we fly from Lagos to Akure. I REALLY enjoyed this flight – even in the sim the scenery was interesting and unique.

Along the way we also…

  • Get a good look at AS16/ASCA clouds post-Service Pack 1 (which look great, at least to me)
  • Do some treetop flying
  • Get an introduction to the new FlightIllusion avionics and autopilot

This one was fun. I hope you like it, and thanks for watching.

P.A.T. Fun On PilotEdge

A few PilotEdge users, led by Jiva, have arranged some pattern traffic together in the hours before controllers start manning their stations on the network (hence PAT – PilotEdge Afterhours Traffic). Today I joined the group a bit late at KDLO where we did pattern work, and then Jiva and I flew out Elizabeth Lake for a touch and go, and then to Bakersfield (which by then was manned by a controller) for landing. As always it was a learning experience, and it was a lot of fun flying from place to place as a flight. Here are some pics, and if you’re on PE, we’d love to have you join us. Watch the Fly With Me thread in the PE forums for updates.

Also worth noting in these pics: The hangars and airport textures of REX Worldwide Airports HD,  the wonderful haze and sky textures of As16/ASCA with the Service Pack 1 update, the fantastic textures of ORBX SoCal scenery, and the beautiful lines of the Carenado C 177 RG Cardinal II.

Ready To Go
Headed East
In Formation
A Flight To KBFL

Coming Soon: My Guide To Building A Basement GA Flight Simulator

CoverI’ve been trying to post more and more information that can help folks build their own Basement Simulator, and have finally decided to take the plunge and write a guide on the topic. I do NOT want to offer something that goes into significant detail about the software, hardware, and PC side of things, as Sim Samurai’s Ultimate Guide To Advanced Flight Simulation achieves that with far greater detail than I’ll ever have to offer. (And if you’re planning to build a home sim and haven’t purchased the UGTAFS, I can say it was one of the first things I did when I got started, and it’s worth the price.) Rather, I want to offer something that describes in reasonable detail the design I’ve used, choices I’ve made, and lessons I’ve learned in building the Basement Sim — including plans, tools, and parts — so that others who wish to build a similar GA cockpit can more easily do so. My vision is something that will be enough of a detailed resource that someone could use it to build and start flying in a sim like mine.

I began producing the guide yesterday, and have 18 pages written so far, including side, front, top and back plan elevations. I hope to complete it sometime next week. Because of the time and energy invested, I do plan to offer the guide for sale, and expect to do so for somewhere around $30 with a full money-back guarantee if people who buy the guide aren’t satisfied with it. I figure the experience I’ve put into it is probably worth that, but we’ll see.

For those who are curious, here’s the current table of contents, and I presume each of these sections will make it into the final draft:

    • Tools
    • Parts
    • On Resolution
    • The Projector
    • Projector Or TV Front View?
    • The TVs
    • Instruments
    • The Wonderful FIP Gauges By Tom Tsui
    • GPS
    • Controls
    • The Importance Of USB Hubs And Proper Power
    • Final Thoughts On Avionics And Controls
    • Basic Frame Plans
    • Side Elevation
    • Top Elevation
    • Front Elevation
    • Back Elevation
    • The Panel
  • TRIM
    • Placards & Stickers
    • Real-World Parts
    • FSX, P3D, or X-Plane?
    • Rumblers
    • GoPro and Video

So stay tuned! I hope it will be a valuable resource for others looking to pursue the hobby as I have.

How To Simulate A Short-Field Landing

The final performance take-off/landing procedure in our continuing “How To Simulate” series, which brings real-world procedures to flight simmers. This time: short-field landings. I actually posted this on YouTube last week, but forgot to post it here!

How To Simulate A Soft-Field Landing

The latest in our “How To Simulate” simmer tutorial series, in which we bring real-world procedures to flight simmers. With this episode we continue our series of performance takeoffs and landings with a short-field landing. As always, thanks for watching.