• In Search of Greatness

    | 116 views

    By Simon Kelsey
    Contributing Editor
     
    You’ve arrived at the gate, the engines have spooled down, you’ve completed the shutdown checklist and all your virtual passengers are headed down the jet bridge. Hours noted in your logbook, perhaps, or virtual airline PIREP filed. Job done, right?
     
    Of course, in our simulated world that can absolutely be the case, and there’s nothing wrong with that: after all, we’re doing this as a hobby and if all you want to do is shut down the PC and move on to something else, that’s fine.
    The virtual airline I belong to had a conference a couple of years ago at which one of our members – a retired Boeing 747 captain – gave a talk about his career. “You are all pilots,” he said, “because whether you do it for real or not, you all think like pilots.” And I think he was right: perhaps one of the aspects of this hobby which is so addictive is the fact that there’s always something new to learn, no matter how long you’ve been at it.
    And so we keep coming back, and we keep seeking out more complex models, more faithful representations of aircraft and their quirks, more realistic weather simulations, more detailed and immersive scenery packages – because those of us who have been at this for any length of time have likely come to the realisation that there is no such thing as the ‘perfect flight’.
    There’s always something which could be bettered – that switch we forgot to actuate at just the right moment, the slightly bumpy landing, the non-precision approach not quite nailed, the continuous descent from cruise not quite achieved without using just a touch of speedbrake or a squeeze of thrust somewhere – the list is endless.
    And, of course, because we have the mindset of the pilot – an insatiable thirst for greater knowledge and a desire for ever-greater mastery of the art and science that is aviation – we have to keep going back to try again in an effort to improve our performance.
    Self-critique – the ability to review a flight, identify the good bits, the bad bits and the downright ugly bits and work out how to replicate what we did well and fix what we did badly – is a valuable skill in the real flight deck. But it is perhaps even more essential to the sim pilot, who is unlikely to have the benefit of advice from an instructor or a senior colleague sitting next to them. In the sim world, it is largely up to us to teach ourselves by trial and error.
    In real life, many airlines incorporate a post-flight review, where the crew will discuss the flight they have just completed, as standard practice. The same principle may also be applied to our simulated flights as we strive to further increase our knowledge and proficiency.
    The first step is to identify what happened and, most importantly, why? Of course, the objective here is to pick out key events – both good and bad – and establish their root causes.
    Next, for each event determine – was the outcome positive or negative? If it was positive – what did you do? How could you repeat that performance next time? If negative – how could it be avoided?
    It is important at this point to stress that it is just as vital to understand why something worked well as it is to know why something else went badly. After all, if you don’t know how you managed to achieve success, how will you be able to replicate that success in the future?
    Other points for consideration could include the impact an event may have had on safety margins, or, for those simulating airline flights – would there have been any commercial impact? Did you know and follow the correct procedures as per the flying manuals and company policies throughout? If not, why not? You could, perhaps, make a note to look up the details in the appropriate documentation. Finally, consider what you have learned as a result of the flight, and how you might put these points in to action on your next flight.
    Aviation has a long history of open dialogue. Many flying magazines have an “ILAFFT” – “I Learnt About Flying From That” – column where pilots are encouraged to send in their experiences and mishaps so that others may avoid falling foul of the same traps. Likewise most real airlines have some form of in-house safety reporting system, something which we’ve introduced in the sim world within my virtual airline – a form where pilots can anonymously send in experiences they might not, for whatever reason, otherwise be prepared to put their name to in the forum. Our training team are then able to add their comments before the whole thing is pulled together in to a newsletter which has proven popular and thought-provoking.
    The forums here at AVSIM are an excellent source of discussion and knowledge. The number of questions posed daily on all aspects of aviation – simulated or real – and “ILASFT” (I Learnt About Simming From That) type of posts demonstrates the level of passion and desire to gain and share wisdom. For whether we do it for real (be that in a Boeing 747 or a Piper Warrior), or simply soar virtual skies on electronic wings, the thing we all have in common and the drug that keeps us coming back for more is the endless pursuit of aviation greatness.

    Friday

    | 256 views



    Flight Simulator X - Aircraft Repaints, Textures and Modifications
    Avianca Brasil Airbus A320 (PR-OCP) by Gustavo Aguiar
    Delta Airlines Airbus A319 (N301NB-N321NB) by Lee Grant

    Flight Simulator X - AI Aircraft
    Lufthansa Airbus A340-300 by Ulrich Hofer
    Thomas Cook UK Airbus A330-200 RR by Ulrich Hofer
    Thomas Cook Scandinavia Airbus A330-300 RR by Ulrich Hofer
    QantasLink "2016 Livery" Fokker F100 by Matthew Fitzjohn

    Flight Simulator X - Scenery
    HOY upgrade for ORBX SCOTLAND (Orkneys) by john watts
    El Gouna-HEGO Photo Real Scenery by Mohamed Salamoni
    GHARDAIA (DAUG) Moufdi Zakaria Airport (v1.0) by ivy bravo
    KHNB, Huntingburg Airport by Tim van Ringen

    Flight Simulator 2004 - AI Aircraft
    Georgian Airways Embraer 190 by John Tennent
    S7 Siberian Airlines A320 Neo *Fictional New Colors" by John Tennent

    Prepar3D - Aircraft Repaints, Textures and Modifications
    Ansett Australia *Fictional* Boeing 737-800 (VH-ANA) by John Balzan

    Prepar3D - AI Aircraft
    Qantas "Oneworld" Airbus A330-200 (VH-EBV) by Brian Swintal
    Qantas Airbus A330-200 (VH-EVE) by Brian Swintal

    Prepar3D - Missions
    BoatAccidentRescue.zip by HeloMissionMan

    PMDG DC-6 comes to FSX and P3D

    | 671 views

    By Simon Kelsey
    AVSIM.com Contributing Editor
     
    Big piston fans are getting a new toy to play with in MSFS-based simulators with the release later today of PMDG’s DC-6 Cloudmaster for FSX, FSX-SE, Prepar3D v3 and Prepar3D v4.
     
    Originally released in 2016 as the company’s first aircraft for X-Plane, the MSFS version of the Cloudmaster features a realistic radial engine simulation, as well as a faithful replication of the Sperry GyroPilot.
    You can read PMDG boss Robert Randazzo’s post announcing the release at https://www.avsim.com/forums/topic/515419-20jul17-something-for-people-who-love-airplanes-and-flying/.
    Update 1900z: the PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster for FSX, FSX-SE and P3D v3 and v4 has now been released.
    By Simon Kelsey
    AVSIM.com Contributing Editor
     
    Cold and dark starts will soon be available to Dovetail Games Flight Sim World users, it was announced today.
     
    DTG Flight Community Manager Cryss Leonhart, programmer Sam Dark and lead artist Maxwell Taylor revealed the new feature during a broadcast on streaming site Twitch.
    Selecting the Cold and Dark option when setting up a flight will load the selected aircraft with the engines shut down and all electrical and electronic equipment switched off. In addition, users will now be able to select an airport gate or parking spot as the starting position, enabling a full start, taxi and takeoff sequence to be completed.
    Also revealed was an interactive checklist feature designed to walk novice users through the process of starting the aircraft from cold and dark. Flashing controls and levers can be activated as a guide through the startup process, though an “Advanced Mode” will also be available to seasoned simmers.
    Speaking during the broadcast, Leonhart said the new functionality was aimed at new users looking to add depth to their simming. “For someone who sits down in the cockpit of a turned off aircraft for the first time, it can feel almost daunting, so having that assistance with the checklist, the camera panning where you need to go, can be really useful in terms of helping you take things to the next step.
    “Obviously for people who already know what they’re doing, just pop in to advanced mode and you won’t need that assistance.”
    Third-party developers will be able to create their own custom interactive checklists, or simply insert a non-interactive checklist image if they prefer.
    It’s thought the updates will be released to FSW users later this week.

    Active Sky For Prepar3D v4

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    Active Sky for Prepar3D v4 (ASP4) has been officially released!
    ASP4 incorporates P3D v4 integration using a new 64-bit interface design and brings new visibility depiction and options, 64-bit XGauge weather display and radar, new active runway information, Air effects enhancements and more.
    ASP4 is a FREE UPGRADE for AS16 for P3D users.  Previous-generation product users including ASE, ASN, AS2012 as well as AS16 for FSX (cross-platform) are eligible for the upgrade version of ASP4 at reduced pricing.
    For a limited time, ASP4 is also available as a fully-functional FREE 7-DAY TRIAL.
    For more information, or to download and run ASP4 right now, visit the   ASP4 page

    FSFlyingSchool Pro 2017 Autopilot Tutor

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    'Autopilot Tutor' add-on for FSFlyingSchool Pro 2017 for FSX/FS2004 has been Released
     
    FSInventions announces the expansion of their product line with an add-on for their Award Winning FSFlyingSchool for FSX and FS2004.
     
    Discounted upgrades are available for registered owners of any previous version.
     
    Free Demo of Autopilot Tutor Pack included in FSFlyingSchool PRO 2017 for FSX
    Autopilot plays a key part in modern aviation and a thorough knowledge of the Autopilot and its functions is an essential part of pilot studies. Now your chief instructor Mr Smith can help in FSX, FSXSE and FS2004.

    Free DEMO of this pack works at KGRB - Green Bay
    Try it out for free! Take as long as you like - there is no time limit!

    Interactive Autopilot advice is optional
    If you want to hear it, turn on the 'Monitor Autopilot' option at the Pilots Screen of FSFlyingSchool. You'll hear your instructor describing the Autopilot and giving instruction and advice on it, including:
    Autothrottle
    Speed hold
    Speed Selection
    Heading Hold
    Heading Selection
    Altitude Hold
    Altitude Selection
    Vertical Speed Selection
    Autopilot Master
    Approach Hold
    Back Course Hold
    NAV Hold

    Autopilot tutorial advice is optional
    If you want to hear this general advice, turn on the 'Autopilot Tips' option at the Settings Screen of FSFlyingSchool. Chief instructor Mr Smith will give you general instruction on the Autopilot unit and more when you are flying during quieter periods. In order to avoid these tips sounding repetitive, they are chosen randomly so you won't keep hearing the same advice each flight.

    Get ready to learn - here are some of the areas Mr Smith will explain to you:
    - Intersecting the ILS glideslope from below
    - How to slow down to a target speed
    - Disengaging autopilot (or not) before landing
    - Speed management required to keep on glideslope
    - Importance of correcting drifting heading indicator
    - Wasted turns through poor use of heading bug
    - Immediate firm control of aircraft after autopilot is disengaged
    - Disengaging autopilot if flight path is not right
    - ...and a lot more!
     
     
    To find out more, watch movies, download the free demo, etc, visit the FSFlyingSchool Website 

    FS Repaint Version 2.24

    | 617 views

    A new release of FS Repaint - Flight Simulator Aircraft repainting tool (former Abacus FS Repaint) - is out.
    Version 2.24 brings several bug fixes and some new features, including the so requested support for Prepar3D aircraft.
    FS Repaint is an easy-to-use software for changing the appearance of your FSIM aircraft. In just a few minutes, you can dramatically transform the look of your Flight Simulator planes. With the simplicity of FS Repaint, your fleet will be larger in no time at all.
    Whether you want to just change the shade of your favorite plane, add your own personalized logo to the tail or engage in a full-fledged "restoration" of an old classic, FS Repaint will get the job done.
    FS Repaint comes with all the necessary tools to modify the textures and apply them to your aircraft. As you make changes to the textures, the results are instantly displayed in vivid 3D, exactly as you’ll see them in the Flight Simulator. Working like this, you'll complete the repaint in record time.
    FS Repaint has many unique features that make the repainting of your aircraft very easy and intuitive. Among them are:
     
     Real time visualization of the 3D model as you repaint.
     Up to four 3D windows for simultaneous views of the aircraft from different points of view.
     Feature-rich built-in texture editor.
     Support for several major external editors, for those of you who don’t want to use the built-in editor.
     Ability to visualize the model in day and night conditions. 
    You can download  the demonstration version or purchase FS Repaint from the official program's website .

    iFly 747-400v2 For Prepar3Dv4 64Bit

    | 614 views

    iFly and Flight1 are proud to announce that our award-winning 747-400v2 is now flight ready for the Prepar3D v4 (64-bit) platform.  As with the previous release of our 737NG, the 747-400v2 is not a simple “port over” from Prepar3D Version 3, but a new version compiled from the P3Dv4 64-bit version SDK. This offers users better overall performance of aircraft systems and takes advantage of the new high-definition dynamic lighting and HDR reflections recently added to the sim.  These new lighting and reflections illuminate the 747-400 airframe, ground and surrounding objects like never before.  Users will be very pleased with the advantages the new 64-bit platform provides by giving you stunning visuals and performance both inside and out of the cockpit.
     
    For more information, screenshots, and to download this beautiful version of our iFly 747-400v2, go to the iFly 747-400v2 Product page and for detailed installation instructions, please visit ourthe announcement thread in the iFly forums here: http://ifly.flight1.net/forums/747400v2-for-p3d-v4-64bit-released_topic15501.html 

    CARENADO 690B Turbo Commander FSX/P3D

    | 516 views

    Special Features
    Full FSX, P3D v2, v3, v4, and Steam compatible.
    Flight1 GTN 750* integration
     Reality XP GNS530* integration (only for FSX)
     Carenado GNS530
     Cold and Dark start option
     Volumetric side view prop effect
     Takeoff run and landing real rolling movement effect
     Dynamic propeller shines effect.
     Cold and Dark start option
     Custom brakes sounds on taxi and landing run
     Over torque failure simulated
     Hide/unhide copilot feature
     Hide/unhide pilots option when aircraft is shutdown

    Features
     Carenado GNS530 with Reality XP integration option.
     Original autopilot installed.
     HD quality textures (4096 x 4096).
     Volumetric side view prop effect
     Dynamic propeller shines effect.
     Real 690B Turbo Commander sounds.
     Customizable panel for controlling windows transparency, instrument reflections and static elements such as wheel chocks and sights props.
     Real behavior compared to the real airplane. Real weight and balance.
     Tested by real pilots.
     Realistic night lights effects on panel and cockpit.
    NOTE:
     This aircraft does not have a 2D panel.
     Reality XP only works in FSX. It does not work in P3D
    *Flight1 GTN 750 and Reality XP GNS530 are sold separately
     
    Included in the package
     6 HD liveries.
     1 HD Blank livery
     690B Emergency Checklist PDF
     690B Normal Procedures PDF
     690B Performance Tables PDF
     690B Reference PDF
     Avidyne Multifunction Display PDF
     Carenado GNS530 PDF
     Recommended Settings PDF

    Technical Requirements
     Windows XP with SP3 installed, Vista or 7 (32 or 64 bits).
     Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX with SP1 and SP2 (or Acceleration Pack) installed or Lockheed Martin - Prepar3D Flight Simulator v3 or v4 or FSX Steam Edition.
     i3 processor/3GHz or similar
     Minimum 2GB RAM (Recommended 4GB RAM)
     512MB graphics card.
     1.2GB available hard disk space
    INTERNET CONNECTION is required for installing this product
     
    Visit the CARENADO 690B Turbo Commander   Homepage for further information.

    RNAV: What’s In A Name?

    | 814 views

    Featuring the first contribution from Simon Kelsey, newest member of Avsim's Editorial Staff .
     
    An instrument approach procedure, or IAP, is designed to safely bring an aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions from the en-route portion of the flight to a height and position sufficiently close to the aerodrome that the remainder of the approach and landing may be completed visually. Traditionally, this has been accomplished with the use of a radio-based tracking aid such as a VOR, NDB or Instrument Landing System (ILS).
     
    But with the advent of highly accurate Area Navigation (RNAV) systems, the traditional ground-beacon-based IAP is increasingly being supplemented with GPS or Required Navigation Performance (RNP) procedures. These procedures make use of on-board navigation equipment, which in modern aircraft is capable of flying extremely accurate lateral and vertical paths in space -- to within a matter of a few metres laterally and a few tens of feet vertically -- with no reference to traditional ground-based navigation aids, provided the system is properly set up and operating at the correct level of accuracy.
     
    This approach has a number of advantages -- for instance, there is no need for the costly installation, maintenance and checking of ground-based navigation aids, whilst accuracy is often many orders of magnitude greater than, for instance, that afforded by an NDB or VOR. In addition, many of the limitations associated with radio navigation aids are removed -- terrain and obstacles which may otherwise mask or distort the signal from a radio aid are irrelevant if the path is simply being generated by the aircraft’s on board computer, and with no requirement to track in a straight line to or from a beacon the approach designer may introduce curved approach segments. This has enabled instrument approach procedures to be developed for runways and aerodromes situated in areas of challenging terrain where installation of a radio aid, or development of a radio aid-based procedure, would have been impractical or impossible in the past.
     
    RNAV and RNP are the products of a gradual shift in worldwide aviation away from traditional ‘sensor-based navigation’ -- where routes, procedures and waypoints are defined in terms of radio navigation aids -- and towards so-called ‘performance-based navigation’ or PBN. In simple terms, PBN means that instead of requiring an aircraft to use a specific type of sensor -- say, a VOR or NDB -- to navigate to a particular point, what is more important is that the aeroplane is capable of navigating accurately to that point, whether that is achieved with raw-data beacon tracking or via a magenta line and a GPS. In other words -- the emphasis is shifted from the method of navigation to the outcome.
     
    In the early days of RNAV, the main method employed (primarily in larger aircraft) was to use an Inertial Navigation System (INS) combined with radio (usually dual DME) updating in order to provide a corrected position for use by the Flight Management Computer (FMC). Whilst this system works well in areas of good radio beacon coverage, on routes over sparsely-populated terrain where radio aids are not readily available the FMC position tends to drift away from the aircraft’s real position until radio coverage is available to correct the position once again. Those who are familiar with the Level-D 767 will likely have experienced a “map shift” of this type after a long oceanic segment!
     
    In the last twenty years, however, GPS technology has become ubiquitous within consumer devices such as smartphones and car satnavs, and it is a natural progression that the aviation industry should take advantage of the system as well. GPS offers a number of advantages over the INS/DME-based system in terms of accuracy, reliability and availability, and not only is GPS technology now installed in almost every commercial airliner flying, the relatively cheap and lightweight technology is fast becoming a standard in light aircraft as well -- whether installed as part of the aircraft’s avionics suite or in the form of portable hand-held devices. GPS also offers a further benefit in that it incorporates a measure of self-monitoring -- a requirement for Required Navigation Performance (RNP) operations where the aircraft is obligated to alert the crew if it is not capable of remaining on track within tightly-specified limits.
     
    RNP is undoubtedly the future of high-level enroute navigation as well as terminal procedures: with the ability for aircraft to track given routes with a high degree of accuracy and certainty, airways and procedures can be designed in such a way that reduces the amount of separation required between aircraft and thus increases airspace capacity. Already the RNP4 specification is being introduced over the North Atlantic, enabling tracks to be spaced at half the distance they previously had been (about 25 nm laterally instead of 50 nm), and it is likely that in time RNP will be introduced on to congested European upper routes as well.
     
    One of the greatest areas of confusion for pilots is the naming of RNAV approach procedures, not least because of the number of different standards and requirements and a worldwide inconsistency in naming conventions.
     
    The ‘standard’ RNAV approach specification is referred to by ICAO as RNP APCH. This is a source of much confusion, particularly for US-based pilots because the FAA title these approaches RNAV (GPS)! To make things even more confusing, the old ICAO standard referred to these as RNAV (GNSS), because GPS refers to a specific satellite-based navigation system controlled by the US military: GNSS is a generic term for satellite-based navigation systems. Although many procedures are being re-titled in line with the new ICAO standard, there is still a long way to go and so you can still expect to see various titles.
     
    The basic RNP APCH specification involves straight legs only at this time, and with an RNP value of no less than 0.3 in the final segment and 1.0 in all other segments. As such, almost all aircraft (provided they are equipped with both a GPS and an RNAV-capable FMS) can fly this type of approach.
     
    The more stringent specification is known in ICAO as RNP AR APCH, where ‘AR’ stands for ‘Authorisation Required’. These are the ‘exciting’ approaches to places like Queenstown, New Zealand and Palm Springs, California, and often involve curved ‘Radius to Fix’ (RF) legs and extremely low RNP values, as low as 0.15 in some cases. Special equipment, approval and training is required to fly these types of approach, hence why they are ‘AR’. Again, there is an FAA difference in naming convention: in the USA, these approaches are titled RNAV (RNP).
     
    A further development is RNP 0.3. This is yet another (!) new standard which aims to provide something of a ‘halfway house’ between the extremely stringent requirements for RNP (AR) procedures and the more relaxed RNP APCH specification which can be flown by most aircraft but does not offer the benefits of, for example, curved approaches. Work is still ongoing to develop this standard but it is likely that we will see many approaches of this type start to appear as the years go on.
     
    As flight simmers we are blessed by the extraordinary work of add-on developers producing ever more advanced simulations of ever more advanced navigation equipment. Most of today’s complex addons are capable of flying at least a standard RNP approach both accurately and realistically, though I believe we are still waiting for a truly ‘RNP AR’ capable model: PMDG’s stable is not currently capable of flying true radius-to-fix legs, whilst the FSLabs A320 lacks the lateral and vertical deviation scales required to fly RNP AR procedures. In practice, however, both will fly procedures such as the Queenstown RNP Y 05 approach quite adequately as far as the simulator is concerned and if you’ve never tried, give it a go: the future is here, and the days of the ground-based navigation aid are numbered.

    Simon Kelsey
    Contributing Editor
    Avsim.com