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Damian Clark

Getting the best weather depiction for your type of flying

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Active Sky 2012, as well as the prior versions, have many options which can be used to fine-tune the depiction environment based on your flight parameters and expected results.

 

With all of these options, it may be a bit confusing for those who are not familiar. We'll attempt to break this down a bit to help you in your journeys.

 

 

DWC, Winds Aloft and Cloud Depiction:

 

FSX and FS9 have many internal issues with interpolation and overall depiction of aloft winds. We've spent many years trying to overcome these issues and provide an accurate, smooth and consistent winds aloft simulation using real data. We were finally able to achieve this using our unique DWC (Direct Weather Control) depiction mode.

 

When using DWC, there are some tradeoffs. Cloud coverage depiction is limited to "global" depiction mode which means that in general, cloud conditions depicted are for the entire globe, and cannot be individually set for various stations. We've attempted to add some variability, which can be enabled using the "Local Station Writes with DWC" option, but this does not always provide the kind of area-based variation that some may desire.

 

If you prefer area-based variation, using "station-based" weather depiction, look into the other depiction modes: Standard and Smooth Cloud Transitions. These modes do not provide accurate winds aloft depiction and smoothing, but do a better job in the clouds department.

 

In general, we recommend DWC for airline-style flights and those who are using realistic planning procedures where winds aloft accuracy is paramount to an enjoyable experience. For lower-altitude flight where winds aloft are not as critical, we recommend Standard and Smooth Cloud Transitions mode.

 

 

Difference between Standard and Smooth Cloud Transitions depiction modes:

 

Standard mode uses traditional station-based weather depiction. Cloud conditions are depicted individually for each station/area. There may be a performance penalty during weather updates in Standard mode as FS needs to perform internal processes and redraw the graphical conditions for each station update. There may also be "flashes" of the upper sky area during write updates (FS graphical issue). During weather condition changes, the cloud depiction will change instantly during "weather writes". To minimize visual cloud shifts during these writes, we have provided a "Local Range Suppression" feature which will inhibit changes of station data within the specified Local Suppression Range (200nm recommended). The area ahead of your flight path will continue to "update" until you get within visual range, where it will then stay locked, to avoid shifts. This mode is recommended for those who wish to have 100% accurate cloud and surface weather depicted at all areas at all times.

 

Smooth Cloud Transitions mode is similar to Standard, but there are a few advantages. First, the flashes of the upper sky are eliminated. Second, changed weather conditions will not result in visual cloud formation shifts. They will instead change gradually over 30 seconds. Finally, the performance penalty of Standard mode is eliminated. One drawback with Smooth Cloud Transitions mode is that internal FS interpolation issues can sometimes result in unexpected cloud coverages in some areas. This mode is recommended for those who wish to have generally-accurate cloud coverage and completely smooth cloud transitions.

 

 

Using DWC and the "Prevent Cloud Redraws" option:

 

The "Prevent Cloud Redraws" option prevents changes to the global cloud environment after departure/refresh. This prevents any visual cloud formation shifts during all updates. With this enabled, the cloud-scape will not change unless you also have enabled "Local Station Writes with DWC". With both of these options enabled, the global environment will not change, but local areas (within approximately 15nm) will change accordingly, with smooth cloud transitions, to provide variability.

 

We do not recommend using Prevent Cloud Redraws if you desire accurate cloud depiction that matches weather data throughout your route of flight.


Damian Clark
HiFi  Simulation Technologies

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Thank you Damian.

I use DWC with both "Prevent Cloud Redraws" and "Local Station Writes with DWC" *NOT* ENABLED, thus I should get a global situation of cloud depiction. Despite this global situation, when I fly from a clear area to an area with say broken clouds, I don't see them ahead in the distance before entering that area. While I am in the clear sky, I see only clear sky all over the place in front of me and then, all of a sudden, the clouds appear just as I approach them. Is there a combination that I may use in order to avoid that? Maybe checking only "Prevent Cloud Redraws" ?


James Goggi

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Off topic but any idea how long till the public beta release of the next SP update for AS2012?


Eric 

 

 

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Thanks, Damian. Good summary of the various parameters.

 

I seem to get the best representation for low and slow flights using DWC with Local Station Writes and Prevent Cloud Redraws checked, with a 10 minute weather update cycle. I can see weather in the distance that is different from my local weather. With 30 minute weather cycles, the clouds may not update during a flight, and with Prevent Cloud Redraws NOT checked I get a lot of cloud popping where the entire sky will change on an update. From Damian's description above, having Local Station Writes NOT checked will cause the same clouds globally until a weather refresh, so you probably won't see many different weather patterns in the distance.

 

I would probably go with Smooth Cloud Transitions, but the barometric pressure, wind speed and direction and air temperature change abruptly and often. This is not the case with DWC. Note that I'm currently flying a plane whose engine is sensitive to even one degree of temperature change, requiring constant adjustment if the temperature changes often. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong about the abrupt atmosphere changes or if there's an option I can choose besides DWC that will eliminate it and still give reasonably accurate cloud coverage.

 

Thanks again, Damian, for a great program.

 

Hook


Larry Hookins

 

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

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Thank you Damian.

I use DWC with both "Prevent Cloud Redraws" and "Local Station Writes with DWC" *NOT* ENABLED, thus I should get a global situation of cloud depiction. Despite this global situation, when I fly from a clear area to an area with say broken clouds, I don't see them ahead in the distance before entering that area. While I am in the clear sky, I see only clear sky all over the place in front of me and then, all of a sudden, the clouds appear just as I approach them. Is there a combination that I may use in order to avoid that? Maybe checking only "Prevent Cloud Redraws" ?

 

DWC uses global depiction mode so the cloud transition method you describe is normal. To see variable cloud formations outside your immediate area you would need to enabe a station-based mode (Standard or Smooth). If you require DWC for the ambient temp/winds/baro control and smoothing, you might want to try Local Station Writes enabled, which provides some variability of clouds in the general vicinity based on individual station data.


Damian Clark
HiFi  Simulation Technologies

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Ok, I tried with "Prevent Cloud Redraws" NOT ENABLED and "Local Station Writes with DWC" ENABLED and I got a satisfactory depiction of the clouds :smile:. I went through a variable weather in France yesterday evening and clouds were where they had to be. The only issues: at times there was a visual change of the type of clouds and the overcast conditions were not so overcast, the clouds at times were thin and I could see the ground below (although I have cloud coverage=12 in fsx.cfg).


James Goggi

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What is the best mode for VFR or flying GA planes around?

 

The newest beta versions have a menu when you start that allow you to select the type of flying you do. I believe that VFR/GA gives you Smooth Cloud Transitions.

 

I'm currently using Smooth and a registered version of FSUIPC to smooth the wind/baro/temp and it's working very well. Without FSUIPC you can get some undesirable wind shifts occasionally, but give it a try and see how you like it.

 

Hook


Larry Hookins

 

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

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Damian,

 

I'm looking for a little more informaiton on the effects of disabling or enabling the Turbulence and Thermal setting in FSX.

 

I understand the statement in the User's Guide regarding Checking this setting to reduce or prevent S-Turns, however I'd like to know more about what types and how much turbulence is injected by Active Sky and FSX.

 

Specially:

 

1. Does Active Sky 2012 inject turbulence, if so what types?

 

2. If AS2012 does inject turbulence (see #1 above), does checking "Disable turbulence and thermal effects" negate turbulence coming from AS2012? If so, is this all turbulence, or specific types?

 

 

Thanks so much for a terrific adodn!


Dave-Aerosoft-Signature-Banner-2019.png

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The newest beta versions have a menu when you start that allow you to select the type of flying you do. I believe that VFR/GA gives you Smooth Cloud Transitions.

 

I'm currently using Smooth and a registered version of FSUIPC to smooth the wind/baro/temp and it's working very well. Without FSUIPC you can get some undesirable wind shifts occasionally, but give it a try and see how you like it.

 

Hook

 

Thanks, It's enjoyable to fly VFR now!

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1. Does Active Sky 2012 inject turbulence, if so what types?

 

2. If AS2012 does inject turbulence (see #1 above), does checking "Disable turbulence and thermal effects" negate turbulence coming from AS2012? If so, is this all turbulence, or specific types?

 

AS2012 specifies turbulence within the aloft wind layer(s) and cloud layers. The turbulence specified is influenced by random factors as well as air stability (and your option settings). Yes, checking the Disable turbulence and thermal effects will negate the depiction of such turbulence (and thermals, which are also generated by AS2012).

 

You should leave the effects enabled unless you have exhausted efforts to avoid s-turns via the other recommendations (only applies to certain 3rd party aircraft).


Damian Clark
HiFi  Simulation Technologies

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what should be my AS2012 settings for the most realistic / accurate Cloud, fog, haze depiction?

If possible also wind, but wind is less important to me then, clouds , Fog, Haze does.

can some one post here all the weather settings I must check to get to that results ?

 

P.S. I am running on AS2012 w/SP2 Beta 6


Joel Strikovsky
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what should be my AS2012 settings for the most realistic / accurate Cloud, fog, haze depiction?

If possible also wind, but wind is less important to me then, clouds , Fog, Haze does.

can some one post here all the weather settings I must check to get to that results ?

 

I prefer using Smooth Cloud Transitions for what you're asking for. That would be the low and slow flying, VFR/GA or whatever that's called in the startup screen. Or you can set it manually within the options. I've given more information in earlier posts.

 

I used to use DWC but with Prevent Cloud Redraws you get odd cloud coverage. Without Prevent Cloud Redraws you get cloud popping, where the entire sky can change instantly.

 

Since I want to Smooth Cloud Transitions, I haven't had any reason to use anything else, whether flying low or high. The clouds are just about perfect in all conditions. If you need smoothing on winds or barometric pressure, the registered version of FSUIPC does this very well.

 

Hook


Larry Hookins

 

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

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thanks for the Info Larry.

I have noticed that AS has the tendency to place Stratus clouds at very low altitudes on a cloudy day and hardly any Cirrus clouds.

that is not really realistic as Stratus clouds are more in higher altitudes.

do you know how can I force AS to use Cirrus clouds at lower altitudes and/or change the behavior of how it injects Stratus clouds?


Joel Strikovsky
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Joel,

 

Check out the cloud page on the options screen. You can do a lot of tweaking there.

 

Very low level stratus clouds are drawn to denote areas of ground fog. The stratus clouds are about 200' AGL in that case.

 

If you have the option checked to enhance overcast, it puts a layer of stratus clouds below the cumulus. Personally, I find this effect quite ugly and have it turned off.

 

The default stratus occurrence is 10%. This means you shouldn't see much stratus at any time except the above two circumstances.

 

Cirrus clouds, according to wikipedia, form above 16,500 feet in temperate regions and above 20,000 feet in tropical. I seldom see cirrus clouds in FSX at levels lower than well over 20,000 feet.

 

I once got tired of seeing too many stratus clouds and changed the setting in the options to 5% stratus cloud occurrence. At least I thought that's what I changed; my options currently show 5% *cirrus* and 20% stratus. I don't see much stratus.

 

Play with the two settings for cirrus cloud occurrence and stratus cloud occurrence until you get a balance you like.

 

There's another setting to use skyscape for stratus, but you have to use one of the cirrus textures designated for this. If you're looking for very high level stratus clouds, try turning that on and selecting one of the skyscape cirrus cloud sets. I don't care for the effect myself, but it may be what you want.

 

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.

 

Hook


Larry Hookins

 

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

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