KCLW Clearwater Airpark (X-Plane)

KCLW Clearwater Airpark (X-Plane)

Clearwater Airpark is a public strip near downtown Clearwater, Florida. I get to that part of the world from time to time, so thought it would be nice to improve on the available scenery. To use this scenery please download it here from the .org. You will also need these libraries:

This scenery is good for XP 10 and 11. The attached screen caps are with an orthophoto tile underneath and World2XP America / HD Mesh 3, but I have attached a pic over default scenery as well. Thanks for looking and happy flying.





US West “Real Life” (X-Plane)

US West “Real Life” (X-Plane)

I’ve commented before that while World2XP America is excellent for increasing the accuracy of the underlying street-level data in X-Plane 11, much of the autogen it uses are still too european in look and placement. Now X-Plane.org user slai has released his US West “Real Life” package to close this gap. From his description at the .org:

This world2xp scenery covering Western US from Los Angeles to Denver, utilizes a focused set of locally flavored HD photoreal textured objects and facades against an extensive heuristic rule set extracting a maximum amount of OSM tag info to produce real life scenery across a vast area.   Mixed with LR autogen buildings and houses using smart exclusions.  Includes scrub and wetland areas but relies on the underlying mesh (highly recommend HD Mesh V3) for roads and wooded forests. 

What gives USA West its distinctive flavor?

  • Fast-food restaurants galore including In-n-Out Burger
  • Parking garages and lots filled with lots of vehicle makes
  • Gas stations, gas canopies, mini-marts, car wash
  • Starbucks, Costco, Whole Foods, Home Depot, mini-mall stores, sprawling malls complexes
  • Very small to large ranch style homes, swimming pools, Row homes in San Francisco, town houses, apartment/condo complexes, apartment buildings
  • High rise towers with helipads, low rise office complexes, light industrial buildings, warehouses
  • Power substations, waste treatment plants, water towers, wind turbines, construction zones, quarry’s
  • Lighted navigational beacons, buoys, lighthouses, piers
  • Dedicated facades and objects for Hotels, Universities, Schools, Hospitals, Government, Banks, Retail, Commercial, Industrial, parks

Like so much of the X-Plane universe, this add on is free. The reviews so far are fantastic and I’ll be downloading it tonight. If you do as well, be sure to follow his directions, especially if you already use World2XP America.

US Orthophotos For Download (X-Plane)

As more simmers have made the jump from P3D and FSX to X-Plane I get more questions about orthophoto scenery, how to make it, and how to get it. Many ask where they can download it rather than make it, but sources haven’t been available as much of the underlying imagery is copyrighted. But now on X-Plane.org a user has put some tiles online for the Southern California area based on public domain imagery and free for downloading. So if you like flying in that part of the US West, go get it.


REX Worldwide Airports HD On Sale (P3D, FSX)

REX Worldwide Airports HD On Sale (P3D, FSX)

REX has its Worldwide Airports HD texture package 50% off until this Monday. I have this for Prepar3D and like it. While it’s not revolutionary, it does transform default airport buildings into a much more modern and higher-quality look, and includes some full airports (like KSLC) in the process. Prior REX customers get 20% off as well.

ACT Flight Tomorrow At 11 AM ET (X-Plane, P3D, FSX)

Those who have been wanting to either do some group flying on PilotEdge, or who want to try the network for the first time, are welcome to join the new “After-hours Closed Traffic” group flight tomorrow at 11 AM ET. (Note that it’s not after-hours anymore, but the name sticks.) You can learn more here, and here are the details from that post:

[R]oute proposal for this week is:
L52 (Oceano) -> LPC (Lompoc) -> IZA (Santa Ynez) -> CMA (Camarillo)
Aircraft: your choice. 

Link to the route

Looks like an interesting VFR route with some controlled and restricted airspace, and terrain, to navigate along the way. I plan to be there unless home obligations intrude, and hope to see you there as well. And if you want to use this as an opportunity to try PilotEdge, it’s a great way to do it as you’ll have folks with you who can coach you and we actually won’t be talking to ATC until we arrive at Camarillo (a Class Delta strip). You can sign up for a two-week free trial here, and there’s more information on getting started with PE here.

Is Prepar3D 64-Bit On The Way?

Sim forums have been ripe with speculation that Lockheed Martin is working on a 64-bit version of Prepar3D for many months now, but in recent weeks the intensity has increased to the point of suggesting a new version is already in beta. It may be, and I hope so, as a 64-bit sim based on the FSX code is about 10 years overdue. I’ve chosen not to link to the post from which most of this speculation has grown, as to me the original Facebook thread does not read as authentic. But you can judge that for yourself.

More interesting to me than 64-bit capability, though, is the extent to which the underlying code will get a thorough rewrite. Much of my frustration with P3D was not actually tied to out of memory errors. Instead, it was its overall speed of use, stability, and the constant tweaking I needed to do to get it to preform well and look great. Beyond this, having used X-Plane 11 for a few months now, in my view the P3D flight models, UI, and lighting engine also need to come up to current technical standards. Candidly, I’m doubtful that LM will go this far, and if P3D 64-bit is nothing more than a marginally improved Preapar3D under the hood with greater memory access, I’ll keep doing most of my simming on X-Plane. But if they DO give P3D the rewrite it needs? That would be fantastic. Nothing could be better for the hobby than to have multiple platforms competing to lead the technology forward. So let’s keep watching and  hope for the best.

My USB Hubs

I’ve been getting some questions about which USB hubs I use. I have several of the “Sabrent 7 Port USB 2.0 HUB + 2 Charging Ports with 5V/4A Power Adapter (HB-UST9)” hubs. They work fine, have charging ports as well as data ports, and you can attach them to the panel base with Velcro tape. Remember not to attach more that four devices at a time or you’ll get unreliable results (assume each device needs 500mA of power). They are here on Amazon.


xOrganizer Is A Must Have X-Plane Utility

As I’ve been downloading more ortho scenery to my X-Plane library I started needing a map of what tiles I’d downloaded so I could focus on areas where I really want to fly and not duplicate efforts. I couldn’t find a simple solution to this, so I started making my own map, when I got a tip in the .Org forums to check out xOrganizer. It’s a Windows utility that tracks all your custom scenery, LUA plugins, mesh, libraries, overlays, ortho scenery, airports and more. It also shows your scenery on a map, scans for duplicates, allows you to activate or deactivate scenery and plugins with a click — and perhaps best of all — automatically organizes your scenery config file so the order is appropriate (and tidy). It’s a great utility, and like so much in the X-Plane world, it’s free. You can get it here.





Prepar3D and X-Plane 11: Back To Back Laps At Bonners Ferry

A reader / viewer recently asked if I’d consider doing a comparison flight of the sim in P3D and X-Plane 11, and I was happy to do so. This video is only meant to illustrate the two platforms, both of which are excellent and both of which I enjoy very much, so make of it what you will. In the video we do back-to-back laps of Bonners Ferry (65S), which I picked because it illustrates about the best setup my rig can do.

The P3D setup:

– Prepar3D v 3.4
– ORBX Northern Rockies Region
– ORBX NA Landclass
– ORBX Vector (nearly everything on)
– ORBX HD Trees
– ORBX Global Airports
– A2A Cessna 172

The X-Plane setup:

– X-Plane 11 beta 8
– Photorealistic scenery (freeware, made by me)
– HD Mesh 3 (freeware)
– World2XP North America (freeware)
– 65S Bonners Ferry (freeware, made by yours truly)

The settings in both are maxed out for autogen, although X-Plane has shadows ON and P3D had shadows OFF. Real world weather is OFF because it was raining and snowing in Bonners Ferry (although you see me play with it in the XP flight). Also note that X-Plane does not appear in my cockpit as washed out as it seems here, although it does simlulate the flat light of a high latitude differently that P3D, so it’s not as saturated. The GoPro did its best to get the f-stop right but the dark cabin makes the projection screen a bit over-exposed.

Finally, and perhaps most exciting, I also have an engine out in X-Plane at the end of the flight (!), so that lap ends a bit sooner (I’ll keep you in suspense regarding if I make it back to the strip or not :-).

Thanks again for watching.