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About BFreemanMA

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  • Birthday 04/30/1985

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    Aviation, Education, Aviation Education, English, Music

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  1. General Aviation and Flight Simulation Those who have the ‘aviation bug’ as many call it can hardly remain blasé when in an airport. Prop planes, regional jets, and the big iron are everywhere, giving the entire experience an unreal, almost romantic tinge. Given this fascination with airliners, it’s easy to see the initial draw to programs such as Microsoft Flight Simulator and X-Plane: who wouldn’t want to realize that glamorous dream of being an airline captain? While many hop on to their flight simulator of choice, load up a Boeing 737 and fly from Point A to Point B, those who deal exclusively in the big iron are missing out on a very entertaining ‘other side’ of aviation: General Aviation (GA) aircraft. Every single pilot, from the 777 captain flying from Sydney to Los Angeles to the regional jet first officer, got their beginnings in GA craft. An aspiring pilot can use their flight simulator program of choice to learn the fundamentals of aviation and navigation. AVSim.com spoke with Fernando Herrera of Carenado, a company that creates quality payware GA aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator and X-Plane, about the process of creating such aircraft and how a budding pilot might use flight simulator to further their study. A Carenado aircraft goes through an extensive development process. Once the company decides to model an aircraft, they take about 1,000 pictures from the inside and outside of the plane to ensure that an accurate model is constructed. Once the developers have their visuals, Carenado collects as much information about the aircraft as it can. Herrera explains that the “POH [Pilot Operating Handbook, the ‘manual’ for the plane] and interviews with the real pilot of [an] aircraft are mandatory.” This allows the company to use the specifications set in the POH and the reports of real-world pilots to create a realistic aircraft. After they have all the information they need, Carenado gets to work on designing the plane to work as realistically as possible in the flight simulator. Specifically, they look at internal and external modeling and textures, flight dynamics, and instruments. A second picture session may also be conducted if the company feels it is necessary. Once the aircraft is put together, it goes through phases of both internal and external beta testing to ensure a quality aircraft. After release, Carenado continues to work on the plane in a phase called ‘post service’ as “service packs could be necessary.” Herrera places a lot of weight on testimonials from real-world pilots: “Their feedback is extremely important to us. It is essential [to know] the feeling and [every] notorious feature of each aircraft for reproducing it.” Even though flight simulators aren’t a substitute for real-world learning and experience, they can serve as a relatively cheap and effective way of practicing your lessons while remaining on the ground. Herrera claims that “although there are limitations, following procedures, learning instruments and switch locations, and having a feeling of the aircraft is very accurate in FSX. I would say they primarily assist a student pilot in procedures and knowing the aircraft.” Flight simulators provide a safe place to begin your understanding of flight training as the airline pilots did: climbing behind the yoke of a C172 or other GA aircraft and switching it on. Herrera closes by saying that “FSX is not a game. You don’t have a mission or objective to accomplish. It is a simulation of the world. In that regard, people are free to perform any flight they want in any aircraft, any weather, day or night, and any conditions. The main difference with real life is the price per hour.” With your newly-gleaned understanding of GA, the aviation enthusiast has a deeper understanding of the basics of flight and a stronger respect for the men and women who take to the skies.
  2. “FDX1127, cleared for the VOR approach, runway 12.” Looking at his laptop where approximately 13 tabs related to flight planning are strewn about his browser, the captain makes a frantic dash for his approach charts. He had planned on the ILS approach and must now take his eyes off of the sky at a critical point in flight to find the charts he needs. There must be a better way... Daniel Hawton and Rahul Parkar agree. Together, they have created AirCharts.org, a service which provides automatically updated charts for several countries around the world. Hawton explains that “AirCharts, while still early in its age, offers the internet community a completely free resource exceeding 26,000 charts for flight simulation purposes. You can fly in many developed areas and access the charts in one place versus scouring five different web pages for what you need.” Inspiration for AirCharts.org came from an initial frustration with the VATSIM (Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network) Chart Finder which required the author to manually update their charts and only covered the US and portions of Canada. Hawton and Parkar, having met as virtual air traffic controllers in the Jacksonville ARTCC on VATSIM, created AirCharts.org with the idea that people can enjoy up-to-date charts in many other regions of the world, sometimes the day they are published. Simply put, the idea works and continues to expand into other areas of flight simulation including virtual air traffic control. “Presently, AirCharts.org features a free Information Display System and a training system including automated tests [and] roster tracking” stated Hawton when asked about AirCharts.org's services. “I maintain the servers upon which AirCharts and its various services run as well as design and build the front-facing sites. Parkar is a developer. He also helps build and maintain the servers and [serves as] an advisor to the project overall, acting as one of the main marketing drives to get the word out about AirCharts.” Their teamwork also lead to the creation of the Leroy utility. Initially designed for controllers, it is a program which allows pilots to quickly grab a chart without opening a browser or searching through tabs on their internet browser. “The idea for Leroy came about during a visit to Jacksonville Center's facility in Hilliard, FL”, explains Hawton. He observed a controller quickly pull up a chart needed to send an aircraft directly to an Initial Approach Fix. “The speed at which he was able to pull the chart up lead to me paying close attention to its use and replicating it for use online.” Hawton and Parkar continue to expand AirCharts.org. Hawton states, “We're always looking for places where automation with chart-grabbing is possible.” Work has also been started for “Soar”, a project designed specifically for VATSIM which will create free-to-use DLL files to allow non-VATSIM projects to more easily interface with flight simulation software. AirCharts.org is looking for individuals who might be interested in helping the service grow. “Our primary areas that we need help with is developing charts”, states Hawton when asked how people can assist AirCharts.org. “Some areas lack publicly-available charts, for instance, a large majority of the Caribbean. I don't have the time to devote to hand-developing charts, so people with that ability would be greatly appreciated.” Donations and word-of-mouth praise also serve to keep AirCharts.org successful. “Currently, out site averages anywhere from 300 to 500 unique visitors per weekday, topping well over 1,000 on the weekends.” Thanks to Hawton and Parkar's work on AirCharts.org and Leroy, FDX1127 doesn't need to break a sweat the next time air traffic control throws him for a loop. A few simple mouse clicks and the VOR approach chart is at hand. Thanks to AirCharts.org, another virtual pilot safely lands.
  3. Good evening all, Not sure where to put this, so feel free to move if I made the wrong choice. I recently got a high-end system for an FSX upgrade, but I'm having a big problem with payware. Whenever I load any payware aircraft, the viewable area shrinks to the upper left-hand corner of my screen with ghost images in the areas surrounding it. I can try and post a picture or video if that would be helpful. My FSX has SP2 and whatnot installed and it runs absolutely fine on any default aircraft. I'm operating on Windows 7 64 bit with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 and a 3.4Ghz i7-2600. Graphics card drivers are all up-to-date, same with direct X. I read that DX10 preview can break some addons, so I tried disabling that, but there was no effect. Default aircraft run with no problems whatsoever; the only issue comes up when I load up any payware aircraft. Any and all help is deeply welcomed. Thank you, all!
  4. Ok, I'll give SB a try tomorrow and see if that clears things up. All audio settings are working as they should.
  5. Hello! I've installed FS2Crew, following the directions by the letter, and it works excellently! I've encountered one major problem, however, to which I've been unable to find a solution. Whenever I log on to VATSIM and communicate with the online ATC, I hear no audio. I've run radio checks both with and without FS2Crew enabled and it appears FS2Crew is the culprit. ATC indicates via text message that they can hear me just fine, so it seems like the audio is being blocked somehow. All audio options within FS9 have been checked and are all set. I'm using FSInn to connect to VATSIM, if that makes any difference. FS2Crew is really an amazing a product and being able to use it online would completely seal the deal for me! Thanks for all your hard work!
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