Saturday, January 31, 2009

FS2004 performance tweaks - how to get rid of the blurries

How to get rid of those texture blurries:
Find these lines in FS9.cfg and change them to read:

Load textures faster
Find and edit:

If you cannot find this line add it manualy under the [main] section.

Low overcast ceiling at LROP

About ot intercept glideslope for ILS 08R at LROP. Today I decided it is a good dat for practicing manual approaches so Autopilot was turned off just after I took the picture.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Airsimmer realesed their January progress report

The team behind AirSimmer Airbus released their monthly progress report. Still no indication of the percentage of completion or release date but it is definitely progressing and looks to be closer and closer to the finish.
Also they have released an movie illustrating the Fly by wire features of the aircraft, available on their media page.

Aproaching Minimums - what is the decision altitude/height

There is a point in the approach to an airport when the copilot or the aircraft systems call Minimums or Decision height. If you ever wondered what that means read below.

Decision altitude (DA) or Decision Height (DH) is a specific altitude or height in the precision approach at which a missed approach must be initiated if the required visual reference to continue the approach has not been acquired. This allows the pilot sufficient time to safely re-configure the aircraft to climb and execute the missed approach procedures while avoiding terrain and obstacles.

If you already do not know what is the difference between altitude and height in aviation a simple (not entirely "legal") explanation is that the altitude of an aircraft is measured from sea-level (local air pressure is a factor), while its height is measured from ground level(e.g. with a radar altimeter).

A minimum descent height (MDH) or minimum descent altitude (MDA) is the equivalent of the DA for non-precision approaches, however there are some significant differences. It is the level below which a pilot making such an approach must not allow his or her aircraft to descend unless the required visual reference to continue the approach has been established.

So how can I see what is the MDA for the airport I will land on? Very simple: in the approach chart for that runway. Most of the charts have it in the top part (as the one at the top of the post). It will list both DA and DH.

And where it is setup so my aircraft calls it correctly?
This differs from the aircraft but Airbus has it in the FMGC (approach page) and at Boeing you can set it up in the EFIS panel. G/A planes have mostly a knob on the radar altimeter.

What should I do when I hear the "magic word" minimums?
If you do not see the runway: Go around!
If you see the runway: land.

You can read more about Instrument approach procedures from wikipedia.

Disclaimer: This post is a simple explanation for beginners in flight simming, so the explanation here may not be complete. DO NOT USE FOR REAL NAVIGATION!

Rolls-Royce: Journey trough a Jet engine

For those who are interested in how a jet engine works, Rolls-Royce added this nice looking animation on their website.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Believe it or not it's not Photoshop...nor FSX...It's FS2004

Playing with ENBseries effects in FS2004, the photo is not in any way modified in Photoshop except a resize.
A good eye candy addon but with big impact on framerate and no practical use.

Bloom effect for FS2004 - who needs FSX anymore

I just discovered one of the coolest looking addons for FS2004 in some time. It adds the bloom effect present in FSX to FS2004,improving a lot the visual quality, especially the lights. Here is a nice movie from Youtube.

I translated the installation instruction with Google Translate from this blog in French. You can find there a lot of screenshots also. More images can be also found here.

1. Download. ZIP version 0.074g called GTA San Andreas beta v0.074g shader 1.4. Tests have been concluded with the 075 seems to be more recent.

2. In the. ZIP files are only two interesting D3D9.DLL and ENBSERIES.INI. Copy these files in the main Flight Simulator 2004 (eg C: \ Program Files \ Microsoft Games \ Flight Simulator 9 \)

3. And if necessary before launching Flight Simulator, replaced by the ENBSERIES.INI settings found on the Internet. Otherwise, try the default ones. To see.

4. Launch Flight Simulator. From the selection window of the flight (where the aircraft chosen turn at the bottom of the window), you can test if the mod is installed by pressing SHIFT + F12. The 3D window of the plane has to change in appearance (generally the aircraft is in a sort of halo of light) within the parameters of your. Ini. Then 3 lines of text appear yellow surreptitiously at the launch of the flight in the top left. They recall the author and the version of the mod. Watch them, they indicate that the two files above are in the right place and active.

5. If the mod. is not active by default, it starts with a combination of SHIFT + F12.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

History of Microsoft Flight Simulator

Over a quarter of a century it entratained millions of people, can be safely considered one of the oldest computer games on the market, it evolved from a couple of lines on a black background to photorealistic scenery and Direct X 10 effects, now that it's future it's uncertain, it's a good moment to look to it's past. There are a handfull of computer games that created that much "adiction" and the evergroing comunity of fans grouped in online networks like IVAO, Vatsim, along with the hundreds of forums available online, proves it.

A short timeline of the series, clicking on the tile will lead you tthe wikipedia page of that version.

More informations can be also find on this website, dedicated entirely to the history of our favorite game series.

ACES Studio closed - what is the future of Microsoft Flight Simulator?

As more and more confirmations appear about the closing of Aces Studio, everyone is wondering what willl this mean for the future of Micorosft Flight Simulator.

Although, acording to Shacknews, a spokesman from Microsoft confirmed that this will not be the end of the Flight Simulator series (which started in 1982 with the release of Sublogic Flight Simulator 1.0) we all wonder how much time will be needed to build again the experience lost after all but 6 members of the ACES studio left.

One thing is certain it will not happen very fast. Most certanly this doesn't mean an end of our hobby, but a chance for the adddon developers to explore new areas and develop better and better addons. I'm sure Micorsoft will not cease sale of the Flight Simulator Products.
Flight Simulator X is just at begining and it has a lot of potential for the addon makers, and community, as a large part of it is still using FS2004 due to the overwhelming number of addons. It's a pitty that Direct X 10, which was one of the most important inovations of this product, will remain only a preview, but even so it is still a great product and with the right addons will keep our fire burning for years to come.

Even if FS2004 was realeased 5 years ago it is still used by a large part of the users and great addons are still to come for it. It's safe to assume Flight Simulator X can be used for the same ammount of time or even more, hopefully enough for the financial crisis to pass and Microsoft to reassemble the team.

Our thoughts are with the members of this great team, whom lost their jobs in this difficult climate, we hope they will be able to pursue new opportunities and why not maybe meet again over the years to put their names on Microsoft Flight Simulator 11 title.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Microsoft is closing Aces Studio?

Sad news for all Flight Simulator fans, rumors are spreading Microsoft Corporation decided to close Aces Studio, the team that had been working on the latest editions of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Although not officially confirmed, it appears it is part of the response plan to the financial crisis, announced by the company during the previous day.
Rumors about it appeared since yesterday and a number of developers already announced they are leaving the company.

I hope this will not be the end of Microsoft Flight Simulator and Microsoft will continue development on this wonderful product. Best of luck to the team and a big thank you for giving us the opportunity to enjoy virtual aviation trough that many years.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scenery list for FSX

A great page to visit if you are looking to download Microsoft Flight Simulator X addon scenery.
The list is ordered by country and contains links to download location of the scenery available in that country.
If you are using FS2004 the site offers FS9 scenery list here:
Especially usefull when doing world tours or if you like flying to new locations.

Wilco Publishing/Feelthere released a new patch for the Airbus series 1 and 2

Wilco Airbus users (both A320 and A330/A340 series) can benefit from a new service update bringing new features to the most advanced Airbus simulation available on the market.

Bug Fixes and improvements in this release as noted on their website

* Usage of the Navigraph navigation database with recent AIRAC, with 32-bit or 64-bit operating system
* Hydraulic system bug fix
* FMA Speed bug fix
* ECAM Engine page
* ECAM Flight Controls page


* Many keyboard shortcuts have been added
* New ways of entering waypoints
* Reminder of some useful features

To read more go to Wilco website.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Northern evening

Departure from Copenhagen on a beautiful winter evening.
As we were climbing we received vectors direct to SIMEG which gave us a short glimpse over the airport during the initial turn.

As we were leaving EKCH_APP area the bridge conecting Danemark from Sweeden can be seen as it is entering Malmo. I had the oportunity to go on this bridge and tunnel during a visit in DK and SE two years ago. I can say it is a nice example of good engeneering.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ditch button on Airbus overhead panel

Anyone ever wondered what the ditch button, present on the overhead of Airbus airplanes, does?
Simple: in case of ditching the airplane (ditch = water landing in case of emergency) that button closes any outside openings (air vents, air outlet, etc.) to make it as water tight as possible in order to float.
Of course if the airplane disintegrate on impact that wouldn't be of much use, but in accidents, as the one on Hudson River, that button may have proved useful. From a procedure point of view it takes a lot less time to press one button than manually closing the openings separately. Time that can make the diffrence.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rainy landing at EKCH - Copenhagen Karstrup

I have finally managed to master Wilco's A318 autoland system. Although a bit shaky this 15kts wind landing went out pretty well. The plane found itself sleeping under the glideslope a couple of times but the autopilot managed to compensate in time and touchdowned at about 150 ft/minute, more than enough to keep our beloved passengers happy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

LLBG Ben Gurion 2006 Scenery

Not many freeware sceneries can be compared to their payware counterparts. I recently came across one that can be easily compared in quality and artwork with an comercial addon.
It is the Ben Gurion 2006 Scenery for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 made by David Rosenfeld. It can be downloaded from Avsim and probaly form other freeware download libraries too. You will also need to install this patch which corrects a couple of missing textures.

The main download is 40mb big, while the instalation will take around 150mb creating two 60mb folders , one for the photoreal ground and the other for the airport itself. The area covered by the photoreal scenery is quite large and it also includes autogen on a large percentage of the map. There are also included some skyscrapers from Tel Aviv which made a very nice touch and makes the aproaches very realistic.

Daytime approach to runway 12

Terminal and gates at dusk. The scenery features dinamic gates that connect to you aircraft depending on the radio frequency.

View of the buildings. As you can see there is a large number of autogen buildings over teh photoreal map. On my system it didn't had any impact on framerate. Another plus for this scenery.

Control tower

Climbing from runway 30 with the sea and Tel Aviv's buildings

You can see the resolution of teh photoreal image as well as the density of autogen. Just beautiful!

Overall I would recomend visiting Tel Aviv and installing this scenery.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

US Airways jet crashes in Hudson river after a bird strike that disabled both engines

Everyone on board the Airbus A320 aircraft appears to have escaped without major injuries, although the aircraft was put in a control crash in the freezing Hudson river. More details on MSNBC.
Early reports were that the plane collided with a flock of birds, but the FAA has not confirmed that was the cause of the accident.

"Worldwide since 1960, crashes of more than 25 large aircraft were caused by bird strikes, according to a published study by Richard Dolbeer, a retired ornithologist with the Department of Agriculture at the Wildlife Services in Sandusky, Ohio. In 23 of these incidents, the strike occurred below 400 feet."

Finally autolanded

I finally managed to figure out the autoland system in Wilco a318. Till now I was landing short of the runway or entering in stall. Here some nice shots from LLBG - Ben Gurion Intl. I hope I manage to do the same for the managed descent mode. Always too high on final.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Airbus aircrafts for Microsoft Flights Simulator

As I have currently become an Airbus fan, I did some research during the last couple of days for any Airbus aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator that is available on market.

Curently the best one seems to be the Wilco Feelthere model, but it seems to have some bugs and missing features. Another model is the PSS A320 which for some sources is as good as the Wilco one but still has some features missing.

But don't be sad there are two models in development that are looking spectacular. The one I found most interesting and that is almost completed, acording to it's developer, is the Airsimmer A320. More information about the progress can be found on their website and support forum. I have to admit the preview videos and images are looking just great. To give you an idea I found this nice video on their forum presenting the virtual cockpit animations.

Second model in development is Airliner XP. This looks amazing too but the developers are a bit quiet about the progress. Looking on the forums the last post about it is from begining of last year.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wilco Airbus A318 - my cute little new airplane

I decided it's time for a change so I purchased Wilco's Airbus volume 1 series and FS2crew. I have to admit that after that much time flying Boeing, this gives a new fresh perspective on flying. Even with the SP3 I still have a lot of bugs to fight with and having limite knowledge in Airbus systems makes this even harder.
To give a short fist opininion on this combination of products: I'm loving it! I hope that I will be able to fix all the bugs I encounter because it really seems a great product.

Some shots during the test flights.

Guess what is runned by a Intel 286 processor

State of the art in 1982 the Intel 286 processor is used on this hi-tech bird: the B-2 Spirit.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

PMDG Release their MD-11 for FS9

A good news to a lot of simmer fans.
I'm keeping my money prepared for the NGX version of th 737. No news yet when that will come but I surely look forward to take it for a ride.