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Guest weeniemcween

Real Air's SF 260

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We all get frustrated at MSFS and add-on products that fail to meet our (sometimes over) expectations. And why not, when you pay half again as much, as you paid, for MSFS, you expect a lot. Below is an email I sent to Rob Young of Real Air. Below it, is his reply. I think the reason for this post will be apparent to anyone who reads both emails. I flew RF4's in the USAF as well as GA aircraft. I have over 2500 hours in real cockpits and the sore butt to prove it. Last night after much thought and consideration I purchased your SF260.To say it succinctly, I was amazed. This aircraft is as close to flying a real airplane as I have seen in MSFS. I was grinning from ear to ear, as I tried turning in slow flight and, every time I would get too slow, she'll buffet. Of course, I had to try and spin her. It has been 15 years since I spun an airplane. Almost got vertigo and was grinning, as she went around and around.Please feel free to use any of this in any advertizing you may do. This air plane as already given me my money's worth.John P. MiguezP.S. Can I convince you to do my favorite airplane, the T-38C? Please, please :) Thanks very much for the generous feedback. The best advertising is to tell others on the various Sim forums (like Avsim) why you like the SF260 so much. We do not advertise and we get by solely on personal recommendations.It's always appreciated when real pilots give us positive feedback, and of course we design our aircraft to appeal to pilots who know how an aircraft should fly.Kind Regards,Rob Young - RealAir Simulations

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Agreed - I have it too...what a great job they did!!! I love the new camera angles too!!

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T'is sweet, and for my money nothing else compares- with no fps penalty to boot. Its an IFR dream as well, with super-smooth vc guages. But be sure to try some of the stock stuff as well-the maule isn't half bad.

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I have it and like flying it in FSX. However, is there any way to change the very sterile instrument panel? You know, put some skuff marks and scratches on it like a real plane that's been flown for a few years. As it stands at the moment, it looks like what it is, a computer animation. It doesn't even look like a pristine just-out-of-the-factory panel. It's just too plain and perfect.

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Yup, I love it too. I like taxying with the hood open (anyone know how to get rid of that "Exit Open" text line)and the metallic sound when you start a spin.Try opening the hood in flight and see what happens, it behaves as you would expect with a bubble top, all sorts of nasties.Tis a great aircraft for FSX and frame rate friendly. I noticed how many scenery screen shots in this forum have the SF260 wing showing. It must be popular but that is not surprising.Bring on the Duke Rob. :-)John

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Ifr dream for sure! The problem is I can't fly anything else after being spoiled by it and what I really need/want is a twin with these capabilities. I know one is coming from Real Air though-I hope soon!

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>I have it and like flying it in FSX. However, is there any>way to change the very sterile instrument panel? You know, put>some skuff marks and scratches on it like a real plane that's>been flown for a few years. As it stands at the moment, it>looks like what it is, a computer animation. It doesn't even>look like a pristine just-out-of-the-factory panel. It's just>too plain and perfect.If they want to make it a bit more like an out of the factory new panel, then fine! But............I can't seem to stand beat up & worn airplanes! :D It's the reason I'd always tend to rent the newer stuff!But if any changes are made, don't take away from the fluidity of the instruments or a decrease in frame rates. :-hah L.Adamson

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Yep, it's the first add-on I purchased for FSX, after experiencing their awesome SF 260 and Spitfire for FS9. RAS are top of the heap IMHO.Now can someone help me with the SF 260 autopilot? When I have a VOR radial set and NAV activated, is there any way to turn off NAV without also turning off the whole AP unit (including the altitude setting)? When I hit the NAV button the display changes to ROL, but the plane still does not respond to aileron inputs.Maybe this is reality?Cheers,Noel.

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That's the only one I fly. Just reverted to stock Cessna to enjoy Tile Proxy, 'cause it's slower and there's no RealAir Cessna for FSX. Will purchase the Duke ASAP.

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How do you open the hood? I didn't see that one in the manual! lol

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To open the hood, its exit one so its Shift e then 1. I have it assigned to a button on my stick.John

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>I have it and like flying it in FSX. However, is there any>way to change the very sterile instrument panel? You know, put>some skuff marks and scratches on it like a real plane that's>been flown for a few years. As it stands at the moment, it>looks like what it is, a computer animation. It doesn't even>look like a pristine just-out-of-the-factory panel. It's just>too plain and perfect.Believe it or not but that's the reason I did NOT buy this plane... The gauges seem to float in a terrible dull grey. There really should be some shadows here and there around the edges of the gauges and the switches: that's what I am missing most. The way it is now it looks awfull, really... Very sterile and dull and computerized. It's as if there is no background all and everything floats in a grey nothing. Yes, I know everyone loves this plane but I'm (sort of) glad to see I am not the only one who doesn't like the look of the panel.EDIT:Now if it was possible to edit that 'grey nothing' a bit, put some shadows on it, some scratches and life (like they did on the wings!!!), than I might buy it. The gauges are awesome of course...

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The SF260 is one sweet aircraft/program that operates wonderful on my machine - smoooth - many, many hours including Multiply! Looking forward to more fine products from RealAir. ervIntel Core 2 X6800(3.22), P5W Deluxe, Coolmax 650W, Corsair DII800 4G, two 74G/WD 10,000 drives, ASUS 1900XT/512 Card, CoolMaster TAC-T01, Creative Sound Card, USB Logitech 350 Headset with Mic, Win XP Home Edition SP1, FSX SP1, SF260, ActiveSkyX/Graphics.

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>>I have it and like flying it in FSX. However, is there any>>way to change the very sterile instrument panel? You know,>put>>some skuff marks and scratches on it like a real plane>that's>>been flown for a few years. As it stands at the moment, it>>looks like what it is, a computer animation. It doesn't even>>look like a pristine just-out-of-the-factory panel. It's>just>>too plain and perfect.>>Believe it or not but that's the reason I did NOT buy this>plane... The gauges seem to float in a terrible dull grey.>There really should be some shadows here and there around the>edges of the gauges and the switches: that's what I am missing>most. The way it is now it looks awfull, really... Very>sterile and dull and computerized. It's as if there is no>background all and everything floats in a grey nothing. Yes, I>know everyone loves this plane but I'm (sort of) glad to see I>am not the only one who doesn't like the look of the panel.>>EDIT:>Now if it was possible to edit that 'grey nothing' a bit, put>some shadows on it, some scratches and life (like they did on>the wings!!!), than I might buy it. The gauges are awesome of>course...You are missing out on one of the most enjoyable airplanes available in MSFS for what I would have to consider a rather minor point. Believe me, once flying, you don't notice the above. To busy grinning.

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Is it possible to lock the GPS in the VC so it doesn't follow you when panning the view?

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"The gauges seem to float in a terrible dull grey."Well, a lot of Real Siai-Marchetti Sf260 panels really are grey! But I understand your point....you want to see a panel that has the unmistakable "warn" quality.Generally speaking, developers go one of two ways: they design worn-looking "photo-realistic" panels or they make pristine ones that aim for clarity. We went for the latter option with the SF60 (but not our Spitfire) because the vast majority of our customers want an aircraft which has a huge view OUT of the cockpit, and the Sf260 is all about flying by looking where you are going, but if they happen to look within they generally see crystal clear gauges and a pleasing design. The atmosphere in our SF260 is all in the flying and functionality, and clarity, not about photo-realism, and that was quite deliberate. The day photo-realistic panels in future version of FS really can look realistic is the day we will start presenting panels in that way. I must admit a few have got close (the wonderful, and free, Dave Maltby panels on the BAC 1-11 and Trident are fantastic examples, as are the panels presented by my friend Jan Visser). But those aircraft are generally not aerobatic and have an inherently stable background which photo real panels suit.The great majority of our customers find the way we present our panels fits the flying they are doing day to day: VFR, some IFR, circuits, aerobatics and basic flying skills.All the Best,Rob Young - RealAir Simulations

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Here's a novel idea...take the bmps or textures and modify to suit:-)

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Rob, I agree with your choice for me the SF260 is an aircraft I bought from the factory with fresh paint and that is the truth is it not. When I built my own RW a/c and no-one used it but me the cockpit never got that worn look. That look is more for aircraft that are flown by any Tom, Dick or Harry such as a club aircraft. If the paint were to be shown worn it would wear in places other than the cockpit first i.e. wing tanks and walkways. From the screenies on this forum it is interesting to speculate how many users fly the SF260 in other than the Air Combat camo colour scheme. It's a minor issue because it is for my money the SF260 is the premier aircraft, in its class, for FSX at this point in time.John C

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I've actually been up to what Ron suggested, altering the textures myself to add some more interior color based on real marchetti cockpits. I do this with a lot of the payware aircraft I have because it makes them feel more personal. If Rob and Sean permit it, I will upload a few of the alterations I have made. Perhaps they will better suit the taste of some of those who have been holding off on this amazingly modeled plane.Here is one example:http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t244/we...archettialt.jpg

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If Rob and Sean permit it, could you tell me if this is easily done? I have zero experience with editing textures but I am a professional graphics designer and have been working with Photoshop daily (well, apart from the weekends) ever since 1990 or so. Is it a simple matter of opening a bmp, editing and saving it, presto, or do I have to install programs to extract and convert all kinds of files, edit them, and convert and past them back together again...? I'd love to give this a shot myself. Although I first have to buy the plane before I can do so, of course. ;)BTW I don't want the plane to look old and worn and scratched, but I just miss something... I have the idea that some shadows and bevel and emboss (or whatever the english terms are) around the gauges and switches would make things less floating. Even though that might not be quite realistic... (which I don't really know).

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Well I can tell you how it's done anyway, since one can alter pretty much anything they choose without distributing. It's relatively simple. First, you get the nvidia dds plugin for photshop and install it, since that's the newer format which fsx and the sf260 use.I leave everything as is - default size and don't color manage (you'll see what I mean) - when I load up a texture. I use the pen tool a lot to define selections. In this case, as the model has sophisticated shadows going on, I stayed away from filters except some light rendering on the prop knob, and mostly just replaced colors and played with the color balance.For the textures I worked with, I saved in the following (common) format, resulting in a size that matched the originals: DXT3 ARGB (Explicit Alpha) No mips Often, finding out which colors are mapped to which part of the model is trial and error. I will tell you that the red of the stick button is the same red as that of the mixture and gear knobs, and one other switch. If not for this, I would have made the mixture knob brown too, like it is in many marchetti cockpits. So you might have to compromise as well. As to adding gauge shadows, that is a problem, since both the left seat and right seat cockpit versions use the same background in the main texture folder. You could, however, copy each invidual texture folder, e.g. texture.red copied to texture.red2, then direct the left seat cockpit models in their aircraft.cfg to one folder and the right seat ones to the other folder. Then you would have different fallbacks in each texture.cfg, respectively pointing to two main texture folders, one with shadows fitting the left seat cockpit layout, and the other with shadows fitting the right seat cockpit. Obviously that would be a lot of work. I'd imagine the easiest thing would be to take a straight-on screenshot of the cockpit while flying and then paste a cut out of the panel, resized and transparent over the panel background as you worked on that layer to add shadows matching the gauges. If you're a photoshop pro, though, you should be fine in doing what I have done and more (I'm no pro).

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Totally agree John C. I'm a sucker for new items but I always go back to flying the SF260 - one great program with FSX. erv

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I must admit I like what you've done. I'll get Sean to have a look and see what his reaction is.Rob Young

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