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About Chock

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  • Birthday 08/27/1965

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  1. On a 737 NG, the autothrottle takes data from the radar altimeter and closes the throttle automatically at a suitable altitude (27 feet AGL), which is why it is fairly important to have the Vref speed set up correctly for the weight. As the aeroplane flares, the speed bleeds off and theoretically you come in and touchdown at the correct speed, but it is still the job of the co-pilot (i.e. the pilot monitoring) to observe the speeds and stuff to make sure everything is cool. However, various types of autoland categories require certain parameters to be met (runway visual range, MDA, that sort of stuff) and the crew have to be qualified and current on the approach/autoland type. Since this is not always the case, it's fairly common to do an automatic ILS approach initially, then disengage everything and finish the landing manually, and to do that, basically you want to be switching everything automatic off as you come over the runway threshold, closing the throttle manually and using the flare to bleed off speed so you touchdown smoothly. At light weights, a 737 will float quite a bit and since it will be in ground effect at low altitude (the air being forced down under the wing bounces off the ground and provides a cushion which the aeroplane rides on). Surprisingly, in these circumstances, a 737 NG can be at speeds as low as around 100 knots and still not completely quit flying owing to that air cushion effect, so you need to be aware of this. The 737 is known to be a bit 'floaty' compared to the A320 as a result of it not having as long an undercarriage as is found on the Airbus, and if you are used to flying an A320, it is as well to be aware of how this makes the 737's fairly different to the A320 in terms of landing despite the fact that they are basically rival aeroplane types. A good example of a real world accident where all this stuff came into play, is the heavy crash-landing of Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 at Schiphol in 2009. Part of the problem was the F/O's inexperience in arming the autoland system correctly (there are a number of ways to do this, and how you do it and in what order you press the MCP buttons depends on whether it will be a single channel or dual channel automatic approach), but there was also a fault with the altimeter system and in addition to this, the pilot monitoring wasn't doing his job properly either owing to cockpit distractions. Things were not helped by the fact that ATC had the crew intercept the glideslope from above, which is not really what you are supposed to do, and in pulling the throttles back to try to get down onto the glideslope, the throttles automatically went into retard mode owing to the radar altimeter's erroneous information. The pilots did open the throttles up again, but if you move the throttles briefly to do this instead of holding them there, they will not stay in that position and will revert back to their autothrottle setting (in this case, idle). Because the crew were doing an autoland, they assumed all the automatic systems would function as they supposed, which they did not. This would not have been a problem if the crew had taken corrective actions, but since the aeroplane's systems were incorrectly indicating that it was at low altitude and about to touch down, the autothrottle closed when the aeroplane was still a couple of thousand feet above the ground. The crew were somewhat distracted by the fact that there was a third crewmember in the cockpit involved in training, so the pilot who was supposed to be watching the airspeeds and such, did not monitor the instruments properly, which would have alerted him to there being something wrong, and in any case with a not properly stabilised approach, this should have been a situation where he advised going around. With the autothrottle closed, the aeroplane began slowing down and dropping below the glideslope, the aeroplane actually dropped to a speed of less than 90 knots and at about 500 feet the stick shaker went off to indicate an imminent stall. At this point the pilots rammed the throttles wide open and the engines did on this occasion begin to spool up, but by that time the thing was too low and too slow to stay airborne and it smashed into the ground heavily in a tail down attitude at about 95 knots, breaking into three sections as it slid along in a ploughed field a few hundred yards short of the runway, resulting in nine fatalities (including all the cockpit crew) with most of the rest of the passengers being injured, several of them pretty seriously. If you want a good book on flying the 737, and indeed a good website too. Then have a look here.
  2. They look okay to me, you can even add the eyebrow windows to it if you like. Not sure if that's an option on the real things, but it looks cool.
  3. Yup, and that's not even taking into account how the base sim affects them either. Like jcomm, being also more of a glider pilot in real life than with most other types of aeroplane, this is usually the area where I can comment with plenty of real-world experience to back it up, although again this is frequently influenced by one's own preferences. Since we're not exactly inundated with gliders in most of the mainstream sims (as opposed to things like Condor and Silent Wings, where they do behave as expected for the most part), it can be difficult to say what's not convincing with them in mainstream sims, but if I had to pick one thing which definitely is wrong about the way they fly in most, is that there appears to be a notion among people programming the way gliders handle which suggests they think that a glider's nose will wander about all over the place because it's not being driven by a prop, and so we end up with gliders which feel like the thing is on a very loose pivot point centered around the middle of the wings; this occurs a bit with the powered ones too. Sadly, nothing could be further from reality with how gliders sit and ride on the air; whilst it is true that they have no propeller pulling them through the air, nor acting on the rear surfaces with propwash, and this does mean you tend to have to give them a proper bootful of rudder to get them to roll into a turn because they typically also have a lot of adverse yaw what with their long wingspans, it would be incorrect to imagine they have no engine at all. Their engine is gravity, and once they actually are belting along through the air powered by this, they don't wallow about in the way most sims tend to depict them; they really do penetrate the air in a very positive manner, it's easy to forget that that gliders have a VNE which is way higher than most powered single-engine GA aeroplanes if you stick them in a gentle dive. I've certainly gone belting past a few Cessnas in my glider in real life going well past their top speed, no doubt much to the Cessna pilot's surprise. This was always my problem with P3D, FSX and XPlane, none of which seem to get this right; P3D and FSX were a bit too much 'on rails' and XPlane is a bit too 'wallowy' which I think some people conflate into thinking is a realistic feeling of riding on air. If you watch my first ever Chock's Hangar video where I compare numerous payware and freeware Boeing Stearmans in various sims (this being one of the powered aeroplane types I have actually flown for real), it's actually the default Stearman in MS Flight which wins out in the comparison of flight behaviours (not in all respects, but certainly quite a few), since it is the only one which can do a proper ground loop amongst other things, which certainly was a plus point for ground handling effects too. One of the worst ones in that regard was actually the freebie Stearman in XPlane, and it's why I've never really got on with that sim in spite of many people holding a different opinion on the matter. That video was made before MSFS was released, and so it might at some point be something I revisit to throw the payware Stearman in MSFS into the mix, but certainly I feel that MSFS conveys the feeling of actually going through the air in a fairly convincing manner even though it too can sometimes do that wallowy thing. As with most things however, and as alluded to by mjrhealth, a lot of this comes down to what one personally tends to prefer, which is why I always cringe a bit when people say things along the line of: 'real Cessna/747 pilot etc says this, or that...', in the same way that one might say of my own comment here 'real glider/biplane pilot says this...' because after all, this is just my own opinion and preference, a lot of which is informed by, in the absence of a real seat of the pants feeling on a desktop sim, my own preference for what gives me the best impression of how something seems based on personal experience and the replication and/or substitution of the physical feedback from these experiences. Where ground handling is concerned, I can say for sure, based on the fact that I do shove the things around with a tug in real life, that the ground handling of airliners in most sims is something which does leave a bit to be desired in terms of inertia and is not that great in MSFS. As one can imagine, there is a really noticeable difference in how this happens with say, an ATR-72 and an Airbus A330, with the small one setting off easily and the other much larger one needing quite a bit of a shove to get going and the towbar clanking away like mad as a result of this; once rolling, the smaller airliner is certainly more inclined to turn easily and wander off course, which is why, contrary to what most people might suppose, it's a lot easy to push out a big airliner than it is to push out a smaller one, not least because you can actually see underneath the bigger ones, and actually being able to see where you are driving the thing helps! The 737 and the A320 are kind of halfway between those two extremes, and of the two, the 320 is a bit easier to drive around because of its longer undercarriage which affords a better view than with the 737. I can live with slightly ropey ground handling in flight sims so long as the take off roll is reasonably convincing and the most critical aspect of any flight - the landing - is well depicted; we are after all talking about a flight sim and not a driving about sim. The PMDG 737 NG for MSFS does a good job of these so far as I can tell although as noted, I'm more of a glider pilot than anything else, so this is just my opinion and people can and doubtless will disagree with it, which they are perfectly entitled to do. This is after all, not a 'my sim is better than yours' post; fly what you like and if it floats your personal boat, great. Back with real airliner pilots, I was having a funny conversation on the headset with one of Loganair's Embraer 145 pilots yesterday. We were having a competition to see who could do the best 'Eaarm' at the start of a sentence, which as you know, pilots always seem to start their passenger announcement sentences with. After the push, I said 'Eaaarm, push maneuver complete, can you set the parking brake?' and he declared that one the winner. Loganair's pilots are a really good laugh. So I would definitely lend that pilot's opinion of the Zibo 737 more credence if what he'd actually said was: 'Eaarm, the Zibo 737's flight model is really good'. That's what proper pilots do. 🤣
  4. Turbocharge - shoving compressed air into a regular internal combustion engine to get it to run better. Turboprop - a gas turbine (jet) engine with a propeller attached to it.
  5. I do get the OP's point that it's taking a while for every single super-duper feature to be in MSFS, but that little quiz above which I created shows that in reality, MSFS is moving at a blistering pace compared to previous sims and that stuff will show up. It's worth remembering that we had to wait literally five years for PMDG to get their 737 NG into FSX, and even longer than that for an A320, and even then PMDG were beaten to the finish line by the iFly one which released just slightly before it. In all honesty, PMDG whacking their 737 NG into FSX when they already had one for FS2004 which essentially shared very similar architecture and a virtually identical file structure to the later sim, probably wasn't nearly as different as banging their NG into MSFS has been in terms of addressing a completely new sim; this is somewhat indicative that even the developers are blasting along with getting things out for MSFS compared to previous FS iterations. So far from being stalled, I would say MSFS is going stratospherically fast compared to what we've seen before with other sims, including those from Microsoft.
  6. Could you run that 2020 release on an XBox? Nope. Would it have any of the added world updates? Nope. Would it run even better than the current version? Nope. Would it have all the tweaks that have been added? Nope. So that's quite a lot of differences, and to put that in perspective compared to previous efforts from MS and related titles, try this little quiz... Microsoft Flight Simulator X (i.e. the preceding last version of the Flight Sim Series from Microsoft) was released in October 2006. So, without cheating and looking the answers up... 1. How long was it before the first service pack (aka patch number 1) for FSX became available? A, Two weeks after release. B, Two months after release. C, Six months after release. D, Over a half a year after release. 2. How long before service pack 2 was available? A, Two weeks after service pack 1. B, Two months after service pack 1. C, Three months after service pack 1. D, Five months after service pack 1. 3. Do A2A's Accusim add-ons function with a standard copy of FSX, or do you need to buy additional products to have them work? A, They work fine with a default standard copy of FSX. B, They work fine with a Deluxe Copy of FSX only. C, They work with all versions of FSX if you patch them with the service packs. D, They only work with versions of FSX that have the payware Acceleration add-on, or the payware Steam Version. 4. How many years after the release of FSX, was the upgraded Steam version of FSX released? A. Three years. B. Five years. C. Six years D. Eight years. 5. How long after the release of the original FSX, was the first version of Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D released? A. One year. B. Two years. C. Three years D. Four years. Answers: Q1:D, Q2: D, Q3, D, Q4: D, Q5: D.
  7. Finally got around to making my traditional airliner test flight with the new PMDG 737 - good old EGCC to LEAM - and the shiny new 737 did not disappoint.. Good frame rates with flawless LNAV and VNAV performance out from Manchester up to southern Spain, then nice and easy to land manually in a visual approach, even without the HGS flipped down.
  8. As Tom does on that video, I've always called it AV-SIM (i.e. the first half of AVRO, with SIM tacked onto the end).
  9. Nope, they really are filthy and very battered. Many of the Menzies chocks at EGCC have some dodgy bit of filthy blue or orange rope threaded through them, if they even have any rope at all, having lost the original black/yellow rope years before, and I doubt there are two chocks at Menzies Aviation which are of the same type, they're a right mish-mash of different ones accumulated over years, with various chunks of rubber missing off them. Most airport cones have been driven over by a vehicle at least a couple of times and as a result of that experience, invariably scrapped along underneath that vehicle, causing them to get all scuffed up, dirty and often cracked and broken in some way, so they are very rarely clean. People tend to use whatever cones happen to be in the clearway of the stand they are working on even though each service agent does (in theory at least) have their own cones with their company name on. But since you need four cones for an ATR (five for an Emerald Aer Lingus one), five cones for an A320 or 737 (nine for a 737 MAX because we put three cones in a triangle around the lower winglet), they're always getting nicked off the adjacent stands and moved about as people grab what is to hand. Nobody really worries about this 'whose logo is on it?' too much, for example, if someone happened to need a trailer and didn't have one of their company's own trailers nearby, they might use one from another company and nobody would be really too bothered about it so long as they put it back where they found it. Where flight simmers are concerned in regards to realism, if your flight sim doesn't have the right service agent vehicles coming up to it, this means it could - theoretically at least - still be realistic. It's not unknown for various service agents to officially ask to borrow stuff from another service agent, such as a belt loader, aircraft towbar, air start unit or whatever. Most companies will happily help each other out in this regard. This cones malarkey and the picture below, is why we put nine cones on a MAX wingtip and why you have to be cautious driving near aeroplanes. Note the super-irony of the not very excellent driving resulting in smacking the word excellence on the Menzies truck dead centre (this incident was at Heathrow, so not any of us lot at Manchester, not that I'd be driving a catering truck anyway). An interesting exception to all this cone malarkey, is Jet2's cones (which are blue with a yellow top); they have a little transponder built into them up at the top of the cone. Jet2's ramp vehicles have equipment which detects their proximity to these cones (a bit like a car's parking sensors) and warns the driver if they are getting too close to it. I don't whether that would have prevented the incident in that picture, but it might have done, however, the driver of the truck should have been more careful and used a colleague to guide him if he wasn't sure about whether he was going to pass clear of the wing, because it looks to me like he would have scraped the underside of the wing even if it didn't have that split scimitar winglet on it. You can't simply rely on the cones to keep you clear of potential collisions because if the wind gets up, the airport will declare a wind warning and then we don't use cones at all, put six rather than four chocks on airliners and we don't put steps on the back exit door (or even the front one if the wind is really strong).
  10. Wish our chocks and cones were that clean in real life. 🤣
  11. Even better, make a full cockpit and add a galley. Then tell her: 'that's your bit.' 🤣
  12. Me too. It was technically impressive, but it was a bit too overblown with its own sense of heavy-handy, tree-hugger preachy self-importance to really like. At times Avatar is a bit like 'James Cameron's greatest hits' too, what with the 'Aliens' style hardware, the Ripley-esque fight with the mech suit bad guy, the 'evil corporation', the casting of the troops being very similar to the Colonial Marines in Aliens, etc. Not that this is terrible of course, Aliens is a kickass movie and the vast majority of Jim Cameron's films and their production design are better than other films, but these production theme similarities did sort of leap off the screen a bit with Avatar. I was vaguely involved in Avatar's production via some FX training I presented for some of its production people (When I answered the phone at work, and the guy on the other end introduced himself as James Cameron, at first I thought it might have been one of my mates taking the mickey, but it turned out it really was him). Avatar was one of the first movies to shift almost all of its post production, and some of its on-set production services to Adobe's Creative Suite, which is what I was training people on. This is because Jim Cameron, like David Fincher, is a big fan of Adobe's stuff, hence me doing that training. They stopped short of doing the final NLE edit of Avatar in Premiere Pro though and did it in Final Cut as was pretty common at the time, but everything else prior to that NLE process was Adobe CS where they made use of a lot of the integration for the VFX, so I'd be interested to know it this one went all the way and used Premiere for the final edit as well because Premiere Pro would certainly be capable of doing that these days.
  13. Just bought it. Gotta go to work and play with the real things unfortunately, but a quick look confirmed that it looks pretty good. Good price too, pretty close to my guess.
  14. If you are into realistically operating your simulated 737' then it is more than just another 737. The engines require some different management for a start. The core spindle on the new engine is lighter than that on previous 737s and what that means in terms of operation is that it has a longer and slower start up sequence so that it doesn't warp the spindle. The slower start up allows it to warm up and slowly get up to operational rpm without the spindle buckling. This has a bearing on spin times where with the engine still warm on a turnaround, the crews are always keen to crank the engines asap on pushback so they don't have to wait a long time at the trp before taxi. But it also means that the first start up of the day is a bit quicker because the spindle is cold and therefore more rigid meaning it can withstand higher revs sooner. This is just one aspect of the MAX which is operationally different from other 737 models. The same is true for the A320 NEO compared to the earlier A320 CEO.
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