A Fix If The New X-Plane Clouds Are Cratering Your Frame Rates

Try turning your antialiasing settings down to FXAA. SSAA can really hit your frames when working with transparent objects like clouds (which former P3D users know well). The other day when I went into an overcast cloud deck my frames when from 30 down to 7. I turned the antialiasing down to FXAA and my frames immediately went back up to 30 FPS, and then when I was in the thick of IMC, 50 FPS, with no visual change to my eye.

Fly With Me: KSUN to KGIC Today 3/24 & 15:00 ET / 20:00 Zulu

Today I’m going to continue the Saratoga’s point-to-point travels with a flight from KSUN (near Sun Valley, ID) to KGIC Idaho County, via the Donnelly VOR. 182 miles and I’ll be flying at about 150 knots for a flight of just over an hour depending on the winds. You can see the route here. I hope to use real-world weather unless it’s VFR, in which case I will fly with clear skies.

If you’re on X-Plane KSUN is already in the scenery, and you can download KGIC here.

I will be doing this flight on PilotEdge. Anyone PE user who wants to fly with me can meet me on the ramp at KSUN a bit before 3:00 PM ET today on 123.45 for a briefing before we switch over to the CTAF. If you’ve not used PilotEdge, this is a great chance to try it out with their free 14-day trial and you can get started via their website. Make sure you get the Western US expansion as that’s the airspace in which I’ll be.

Hope to see you then.

New Things Brewing At FSXTimes

Regular readers know I am a loyal and happy customer of Tom Tsui and the custom gauges he makes for Saitek FIPs. His store now offers over 170 FIP gauges that cover nearly 30 aircraft, including planes for FSX, P3D, and X-Plane, as well as RealAir and the always finicky A2A.

Tom charges about $10 a gauge, and less for package purchases, and I think they are excellent and worth every penny. And things keep getting better. Tom has recently updated the store and installation guide, and perhaps most exciting, he’s now working on a PFD. This is a pic of the beta, and it already looks fantastic. I’ll be getting this one for sure.


Calibrate Your Screens Online

One of the best ways to get good color consistency across multiple sim monitors is to calibrate your displays. Amazon has many DVDs that will allow you to do this, but a poor-man’s version that I’ve used is this site. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough, and it helped me improve my brightness and contrast in particular. From there I tweaked by eye for the front screen to match the sides, and I’m happy with the result.

The Jet Set

I have a good friend who recently passed his ATP and Citation training, and he’s now right-seat flying jets. He’s been sending along some pretty cool photos of his travels, and here are a few he said I could share. Pretty cool to zoom along at 30,000 feet and 450 knots.

Photo Mar 14, 10 44 32 AM

Photo Mar 14, 7 29 10 AM

Photo Mar 12, 8 32 52 PM

Photo Mar 12, 7 03 45 PM

Place-To-Place Update

And I’ve begun. The Saratoga now sits at virtual Bear Lake Co. airport in Idaho after a short flight up VFR from KSLC (on PilotEdge). I think from there I’ll take it to Montana for some virtual fishing. 

One of the things I’m going to do along the way is make photosceney and design airports. There is no good 3D 1U7 in X-Plane so I believe I’ll make one. 

The Virtues Of Flying From Place To Place

One of the readers and forum contributors here is a nice gent named Ken. Ken and I have flown together on PilotEdge, and one of the things I’ve learned is that he literally flies from place to place in Prepar3D using his slippery-fast Mooney. He does not relocate his aircraft at specific airports – if he wants to go some where, he flies there. The past several months he’s been on the West coast. A few months ago he nearly joined a PE ACT flight we’d arranged in Oregon as he was within striking distance of the fields we planned to use. Yesterday he joined the Alphabet Challenge flight from KTSP, and he flew up from elsewhere in SoCal that morning to do so. We finished at Bermuda Dunes, and it’s from there that he’ll continue his journey. He lives in Long Island, and plans to soon start the journey east so he can again simulate flights in his own neck of the woods.

I was impressed by this when I heard it, and I still am. One of the great things about our simulation software is that you can instantly fly anywhere in the world, and I’ve been able to simulate flights in some cool places as a result. At the same time, there’s a whole new dimension one probably adds to the experience by getting there the hard way.

So I think I’m going to give that a go. Not on every flight, as there are too many missions I want to fly for training and videos to do so, but with a specific aircraft that I will fly as my “fun” airplane. I’ll start it on the ramp at KSLC and see where we go from there, always leaving that situation saved in X-Plane so I can pick it up along the way.

To do this and make it reasonable from a time perspective one probably needs a fast ship like Ken’s Mooney. So, thanks to Jason Chandler’s Piper Package, I do believe I’ll be using this, which should do the job nicely.


The Piper 32R-301T Saratoga. Retractable gear, 300 HP, a cruise speed of 177 knots, range of 784 miles, ceiling of 20,000 feet, and still short-field capable. Much more airplane that I would fly right now in the real world, but simming in a more complex aircraft will increase my workload and help train me to stay ahead of the aircraft in the Warrior (“Fast ship? … Fast enough for you, old man …”). I think this is going to be fun, and I’ll post updates from the virtual journey along the way.

The New Default Clouds In X-Plane 11 Beta 14

Quite an improvement. My frames were good, although they did drop when I got close to a thick overcast layer. Turning down my antialiasing settings in the sim immediately resolved that problem.