• Thursday

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    Flight Simulator X - Aircraft Repaints, Textures and Modifications
    JetBlue "Blue Yorker" Airbus A320 (N821JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada
    JetBlue "Blue By Popular Demand" Airbus A320 (N809JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada
    JetBlue "1. Fly JetBlue 2. Repeat Step 1" Airbus A320 (N807JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada
    JetBlue ¨Objects in Mirror Are Bluer Than They Appear¨ Airbus A320 (N806JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada
    JetBlue ¨You Had Me at Blue¨ Airbus A320 (N805JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada
    JetBlue "Got Blue?" Airbus A320 (N804JB) by Miguel Angel Taboada
    SCA 'Moonraker' Boeing 747 by Luca "MiB" Paoloni
    Jetblue "NYPD" Airbus A320 by PA320 Model, Texture by Michael Ullman

    Flight Simulator X - Helicopters
    Sikorsky S76A Spirit Version 1.0 by George Arana/Nemeth Designs

    Flight Simulator X - Scenery
    CYYJ (2017) for FS9, FSX and P3D by Don Grovestine
    NDBs for oil platforms in Lerwick/Bressay upgrade for ORBX shetland by john watts
    Lerwick, Bressay E and W Burra UPGRADE to ORBX SHETLAND (Scotland) by john watts

    Flight Simulator X - Sounds
    B777 Sound Pack (For PMDG) by Kairi Akai

    X-Plane - Scenery
    BR MG SBVG - Varginha Airport v1.0.0 by Rui Mesquita
    BR RS SBSM - Santa Maria Airport v1.0.0 by Rui Mesquita

    Prepar3D - Aircraft Repaints, Textures and Modifications
    Icelandair 'Vatnajökull' Boeing 757-200 (TF-FIR) by Mario Henrique

    Prepar3D - Missions
    WildLifeTour.zip by Helo Missionman
    FS-FlightControl now officially supports the Early Access version of Dovetail Flight Sim World. This enables users of FS-FlightControl, as one of the first commercial flight simulation add-ons with official support for Flight Sim World, to use the product with this new flight simulator without restrictions.
    FS-FlightControl, a touch-optimized Instructor Station for Prepar3D, FSX and FSW, assists Simulator Operators, Flight Simulation Enthusiasts as well as Home Simmers to get the most out of their flight simulator.
    The Instructor Station allows the user to set the aircraft on an approach to any airport runway, define weather conditions as well as trigger specific or choose random aircraft system failures.
    FS-FlightControl also comes with a very detailed moving map, optionally with street, satellite or height map background, including airport taxi way layouts. It includes the possibility to plan flights directly in FS-FlightControl with the option to exchange them with many relevant products.
    Furthermore, the flight and landing performance can be tracked and – also graphically – evaluated. More features are fuel and load planning, pushback control as well as remote controlling of network computers.
     
    Visit the FS-FlightControl Website: for further details

    MegaSceneryEarth Montana

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    MegaSceneryEarth publisher, PC Aviator, today released it's 35th US state in its version 3 series of MegaSceneryEarth - the entire state of Montana - 147,000 square miles of aerial photography photoscenery
    MegaSceneryEarth V3.0 Montana offers users of FSX, FSX:STEAM and PREPAR3D a truly visually spectacular flying experience with the Rocky Mountains turning Northern in the west of the state. The entire state is recreated from the latest 2015 aerial photography data further enhanced using proprietary image enhancement techniques to bring out the true colors and finest details in the scenery.
    As well as the enhanced clarity of the scenery, it also applies FSX water properties to all water bodies in the state with FSX water, from small farm ponds to giant 300 square mile reservoirs such as Fort Peck Lake. The scenery also supports night flying with seamless integration with FSX night scenery.
    Montana is the third largest state in the continental USA at over 147,042 square miles in size and has 247 airports.
    Flight Simulator pilots will get to enjoy and see everything they would see in real life including but certainly not limited to the following:
    Cities: Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Butte, Bozeman, Kalispell, Havre
    Lakes & Water Bodies: Flathead Lake, Fort Peck Lake,
    Mountains & Hills: Beartooth Mountains, (12,694 ft), Granite Peak, Mount Wood, Castle Mountain, Whitetail Peak, Silver Run Peak and a total of 50 peaks above 11,000 ft.
    State Parks & National Forests: Beaverhead National Forest, Bitterroot National Forest, Custer National Forest, Deerlodge National Forest, Flathead National Forest, Gallatin National Forest, Helena National Forest, Kootenai National Forest, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Lolo National Forest, Glacier National Park
    Major Rivers: Clark Fort River, Missouri River, Yellowstone River
    Flight Simulator pilots will enjoy many hours of flying the state of Montana in the incredible level of realism.
    MegaSceneryEarth V3 is also a valuable tool for practicing and learning real world VFR flying as a result of it being created from actual aerial photographs of the state.
    MegaSceneryEarth V3 Montana offers the best value ever seen in a photoscenery product at 30 cents per thousand square miles and is available by instant download  or optionally on DVD or flash drive from the at MegaSceneryEarth website 
     

    Prepar3D v4 Release Announced

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    Lockheed Martin announced that the next generation of simulation and training will start on May 30, 2017 with the public release of Prepar3D v4. The release culminates over eight years of Lockheed Martin development and welcomes major enhancements and new capabilities.
    Prepar3D v4 completely changes the simulation landscape with a comprehensive baseline update to a 64-bit architecture. Higher resolution visuals, more objects, increased data precision, larger scenarios, and improved performance are now all possible at levels never seen before in the product’s history. The sky’s not the limit!
    Additionally, the release brings dynamic lighting, rain/snow particles, global 3D trees, a fully reworked software development kit (SDK), new default vehicles, and countless improvements.
    More details will be released over the next week with Prepar3D v4 being directly available from Prepar3D.com on May 30, 2017 at 2:00pm EST.
    Visit the P3Dv4 Homepage to read further details and the Avsim Forum    to follow the commentary of Avsim's membership.

    Robert S. Randazzo PMDG

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    An announcement from Robert S. Randazzo Director PMDG regarding free transition to Prepar3D v4
    Captains,
    Now that the cat is out of the bag on the worst kept secret in simming, we can **finally** give you a bit of information on what our Prepar3D customers can expect to expect moving forward during the next few weeks and months.
    As we promised back in 2015, customers who have purchased our products for Prepar3D v3 are going to enjoy a free transition to Prepar3D v4 and the advent of 64bit simming technology, as this was already rolled up into the development costs of the product you already purchased.
    Beginning on/shortly after the release of Prepar3D v4, we will begin publishing Prepar3D v4 compatible versions of our existing product lines.  We have spent the better part of 2017 thus far working our way through the transition of our existing product line to make the NGX, 777, 747 and DC-6 compatible with the new, Prepar3D v4. 
    As of today, we have both the DC-6 and the 747 operating within Prepar3D v4, and we hope to have the 777 completed later this week, with the NGX to follow shortly there-after.
    Those who are already customers of our Prepar3D products will be able to obtain these new versions at no cost.
    Now a couple of notes:
    With the release of Prepar3D v4, we have new sets of developer tools and many new features to work with that did not exist (or existed in less useful formats) in Prepar3D v3.  Our goal with the initial push into Prepar3D v4 is to bring you a fully x64 compatible product version that has been rebuilt using the new development tools for each product initially.  We will then be updating each product over time to include many of the new functions native to Prepar3D v4, and pushing those updates to you via our in-house product updater functionality.
    Schedule-wise we are still working out a few details because we haven't been allowed to discuss Prepar3D v4 even with our own beta team, and that also means we have been unable to beta test the DC-6 and 747-400 in their new x64 iterations...  So we need to work out the details of how we will do this before pushing the new versions to you.
    (The DC-6 is easy- since that product is still in beta testing, we will have it fully tested when it releases in a few weeks, obviously, but the 747-400 is a whole different animal...)
    My best guess right now is that we will begin pushing the new Prepar3d v4 versions to you within days of the initial Prepar3D v4 release, as this will give our own test team a chance to make sure we haven't missed anything obvious before handing the product over to you for use.  In order, I expect you will see the products in this order:
    PMDG 747-400 Queen of the Skies II, PMDG 777-200LR/F (and expansions), PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster, PMDG 737-NGX (and expansions.)
    Again I want to stress that PMDG customers who have already purchased our products for Prepar3D v3 **as of the day we release the Prepar3D v4 compatible version** will receive the update at no cost...  (No matter what foolishness you read on the internet!  )
    We will have lots more information for you in the coming days, so please stay tuned!
    Follow the discussion in the Avsim Forum  .

    HJG WEBSITE UPDATE

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    HJG (Historic Jetliners Group) have pleasure announcing another website update .... its 2nd for the 2017 year.
    This update is composed of both new release and upgraded texture files .... featuring the liveries (including some nostalgic and rare hybrids) of major and lesser known B717-200, B727, BAe 146, CV-880 & -990A, DC-8, DC-10, and MD-80 operators from Canada, Central & South America, Europe, and the USA (both scheduled and tourist charter carriers .... some of which are no longer existent today) from between 1966 and 2009 .... and among which "a classic WHAT-IF" subject is also offered.
    HJG also advise that 3 separate upgrades for its "NEW" and recently released ARJ/BAe projects have also been released during April and early May. These upgrades "fix" .... and "further improve" .... a few details associated with this project .... to the extent that these ARJ/BAe simulations are now "SUPERIOR" to what was originally released during late March. For further information regarding this .... and the new and upgraded texture files too .... please refer to the following HJG forum announcement/s ....
    http://tonymadgehjg.proboards.com/thread/8564/website-update-18th-2017
    "ALL THIS" and "A GREAT DEAL MORE" .... may be downloaded "FREE" .... from the HJG website at the following address :-
    http://simviation.com/hjg/
    Work continues at pace on a number of "NEW" HJG projects and which are slotted for 2017 release.
    France VFR is proud to announce our last VFR Scenery :  Auvergne VFR FSX/P3D

    This very famous area is modelized with one hundred thousand 3D dedicated buildings and a very accurate vegetation using France VFR 3D Automation technology !

    This new scenery is fully compatible with the other 3D Automation VFR and Airports sceneries...

    The new VFR Regional series was designed and developped to provide VFR flight an environment as realistic as possible. It is the result of years of experience and practice in flight simulation and 3D modeling.

    "VFR Regional" products embed all enhancements from the new 3DAutomation® technology developed by France VFR. This technology already allows to generate the most realistic and dense environments ever seen. It does not intend to model real world accurately but to create a copy "as real as it gets" on a massive scale. It will evolve to adapt to the needs and new data available.


    This scenery full compatible P3DV2-V3 and FSX with both specific installer.

    The scenery is available at France VFR and European resellers.

    France VFR
     

    Features :

    - Ground textures from 0.8 to 1.20 meter / pixel resolution from IGN aerial photography reworked for an optimal visual rendition in Flight Simulator X® (summer only).
    - Dedicated mesh with high definition 4.75 meters (LOD13).
    - Lakes and rivers with navigable waters fitting the texture.
    - Transparency management of the seabed on the entire scene.
    - Semi-detailed generic airports including flatten platform correction.
    - Obstacles and VFR landmarks modeled on the entire scene including the official SIA database (antennas, towers, water towers, wind turbines, various constructions ...).
    - Hundreds of thousands of objects and notable buildings integrated into the environment (churches, power plants, silos, castles, industrial tanks, bridges, tolls, cranes, boats, streetlights, road signs ...).
    - Integration of 3D Automation® technology allowing multi-million buildings and realistic vegetation areas fitting geographic specs.
    - Extremely dense and optimized vegetation coverage using a custom rendering module controlled by artificial intelligence (AI).
    - Autogen buildings including additional specific and optimized 3D variations.
    - Geo-referenced data for maximum compatibility with future add-ons installed on the same area.
    - Development process 100% Microsoft ® SDK specifications compliant, ensuring maximum compatibility with new releases.

    FSWidgets Updates iOS Apps

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    The team at FSWidgets has rolled out updates to four of their iOS apps (iGMap, iGMapHD, QuickPlan and EFB).
    Under the hood the apps were significantly re-worked to use the very latest technologies (iOS SDK 10.3, Dropbox API v2, AFNetworking) so they should run faster and smoother, especially on the latest devices with iOS 9 or later.
    For full details please see the News page  .
    Paderborn, 08 May 2017 The 15th German Flightsim conference was hosted by the Airfield Haxterberg, Paderborn for the very first time. Perfect weather conditions and more than 500 visitors made it a great day for all flightsim enthusiasts and virtual pilots checking out all the news and latest developments. Around 20 exhibitors from 5 countries displayed their products and services in the glider hangar of the airfield.  Apart from the latest software developments, visitors had the chance to test hardware from simple rudder pedals to complete 737 or A320 cockpits. In addition, talks and presentations held by developers rounded off a very informative and special day.
     
    This  year the conference which was organized by the German company Aerosoft hosted around 40 software developers from 13 countries (England, Spain, France, Poland, Norway, Russia,…) who all exchanged their views and experience revolving around flight simulation at the evenings “Captain´s Dinner”.
     
    The combination of the virtual aviation and the “busy” real life flight activity outside was the perfect mix for all who attended.
    Next year´s conference is being planned in southern Germany.
    An important post by Robert S. Randazzo reprinted from the PMDG forum  at the discretion of Avsims Managing Editor .
    Captains,
    I have been a member of the simulation developer community since 1992, when I began creating freeware scenery using the incredibly primitive methods available to us 25 years ago.  In the quarter century that has followed, the team that is PMDG has worked very hard to push the state-of-the art of desktop simming to new levels and to all points of views I feel that we have succeeded.
    I have the sometimes-fun/sometimes-frustrating position of being the visible face of PMDG.  I am very proud of the fact that in most reasonable opinions, users in this community generally give me credit for being up front with what I think of trends and moves within the simming marketplace.
    I have always been against paid-beta testing, for example- and I took an incredible amount of criticism for coming out strongly against the trend by warning users to be wary of their investment ten years ago when the paid-beta trend took off.  Five years later, many users were sharing their horror stories and lamenting that perhaps this was indeed a bad trend in our marketplace.
    I have tried very hard to be a calm point of view in the community- recognizing the enormous size of our customer base.  I have tried very hard not to criticize other developers- even in the face of no such courtesy from others.  I spend (literally) thousands of dollars a year on products from new developers because I think it is important for all of us in the "old guard" to support new entries to the marketplace because a thriving marketplace is what helps our own companies to grow.
    Occasionally, users have tried to pit PMDG vs <some other entity> in a strange "coke v. pepsi" or "godzilla v. mothra" battle that I always find to be supremely strange.  I like our competition- because they help to bring customers into the marketplace with their own products- and ultimately we all wind up sharing in the health and vibrancy of the community.
    I don't worry about much in the future of our hobby- except for two things:
    1) Someone making a grab to control distribution channels and their associated profit margins.
    2) Flagrant dishonesty/concealed motives.
    You are going to start hearing me talk about these two topics quite a bit in the coming months, I fear.
    Three years ago, PMDG was involved in a conglomeration of well known sim developers who negotiated with Microsoft to acquire the rights to continue developing FSX as a platform.  Late in that process, Dovetail Games appeared on the scene with a better, cleaner plan, and Microsoft rightly chose them as the custodian of their platform's future.
    My primary concern then, as it is today, is that Dovetail might ride into a marketplace that has been created by companies like PMDG, Aerosoft, Flight1, JustFlight, SimMarket and dozens upon dozens more- and attempt to make a overreaching money grab by forcing all developers to push our products through THEIR distribution channel.
    There are many economic reasons why this will signal the beginning of a decline in product quality and product differentiation, and I can certainly go into that in detail in another thread if anyone is actually interested in the process- but suffice it to say the PRIMARY reason why we have such a broad and active marketplace for flight simulation addons has EVERYTHING to do with how free and open the marketplace is- and how low the barriers to entry are placed for new entrants.
    I fear that this is about to change for the worse- in spite of assurances to the contrary.
    After I made my post on Friday regarding the news release from Dovetail regarding their upcoming sim, a user pointed me to an information post in which dovetail address the topic of distribution for 3rd party addons like ours.  In their post, they said:
    "In order to market as an official FSW add-on, you will be able to sell your add-ons on your own store as long as it is made available on the Dovetail channels as well."
    Last night, I was lying awake pondering this comment, because it was in direct contravention to assurances I was given when PMDG was asked to provide input and ideas and engage in conversation with Dovetail about putting PMDG's products into their steam channel for FSX-Steam Edition.
    This afternoon, I went digging into our email archive and my conference call notes- and sure enough, I found a lengthy communication exchange that involved multiple members of the leadership team at Dovetail responding to my direct concerns regarding the rumored requirements that companies like PMDG would only be allowed to sell products for their new platform if we agreed to sell them via their steam channel.
    I was assured in no-uncertain terms that this would never be the case, as Dovetail felt that such a move on their part would destroy the ecosystem that has grown and thrived and made the FSX platform and brand so significantly more vibrant today than it was ten years ago when it was launched.
    This has me pondering:  What changed?
    For a few years, PMDG and Dovetail had an open line of communication.  It was honest, humorous, respectful and at times unpleasantly candid.  But there was never any doubt that we held one another in mutual respect and wanted to see one another succeed.
    That communication essentially dried up after PMDG decided not to push our products via Dovetail's steam channel, because we couldn't see the value in surrendering nearly 65% of the revenue earned by our products in order to be present in that channel.  Sure, not all of that cost winds up in Dovetail's pocket- (Steam takes about 30% of each sale, for example) but the bottom line is that companies like PMDG and Aerosoft and our competitors get here by having the ability to reinvest in ourselves and our products.  If our distribution costs become artificially inflated by being forced to use a high cost channel in which we don't control our own destiny- it is only a matter of time before the companies with the kinds of capabilities simmers have come to love vanish from the landscape.
    We have been reaching out to Dovetail off-and-on since late last year and those efforts have met with deafening silence.  Perhaps the language chosen to describe Dovetail's position inaccurately appears to constrain developers to their steam channel, when instead they mean to separate community offerings as "official" and "unofficial" in a manner that has yet to be described?  I don't know- but the silence doesn't bode well.  After all- PMDG aren't exactly newcomers to the marketplace.
    I sincerely hope that Dovetail hasn't decided to toss aside the value set that has allowed the ecosystem of flight simulation to grow and thrive.  If they have, it will have grave and terrible consequences for the continued growth and product quality of the community.
    As I said, I don't like money/power grabs, nor do I like dealing with dishonest brokers. 
    From where we sit today, it seems we may be dealing with both and that is a very troubling thing indeed.