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About Paraffin

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    Pacific Northwest USA
  • Interests
    Civilian and Combat flight sims.

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About Me

  • About Me
    I've been flying on virtual planes since the old SubLogic PC days, and was once a SysOp on the pre-Web Compuserve FS forums.

    Real-life flying experience -- never a pilot, but I spent many years as an aerial photographer in light planes and helicopters based out of Miami, FL, Central America, and South America. I know what it looks like up there, with the door off, even if I've never had the yoke in my hand.

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  1. Paraffin

    Vskylabs Mini-500

    Don't I know it. 😀
  2. Paraffin

    Vskylabs Mini-500

    To test mast bumping, you want to fly a maneuver that would make you feel weightless (or nearly so), like you're trying to lift out of your cockpit seat. That's the point where the rotor is unloaded, and further control input might cause excessive mast bump or even blade contact with the fuselage. You can't feel that zero-G state in the sim, but certain flight maneuvers like nap-of-earth over a mountain ridge and over the top could do it. Or any aerobatics that unload the rotor (flying inverted maybe?). It can also happen in turbulence, which is why there are limits on flying in turbulent air past a certain point with helicopters like the Robinson R22 and R44. So that's another way you might force it, if you can get into turbulent enough air. Especially with something as lightweight as the Mini-500. Here's an Army instructional video for Huey pilots from 1980 that shows where it would happen:
  3. Paraffin

    Second install with Steam

    On a Steam installation, right-click over the X-Plane name in your games library, select Properties - Local Files - Verify Integrity of Game Files. That should find and replace anything missing. If it doesn't, then the long way around is to make copies of any plugins, aircraft, and scenery you've added to the default sim. Then Uninstall in Steam, and re-Install for a fresh installation.
  4. Paraffin

    Second install with Steam

    There is a folder under /Custom Scenery named "KSEA Demo Area" that should have all the object files for the default KSEA area. I'm not familiar with the benchmark you're using, but I think that area should be the same in the full installation as it is in the demo version of X-Plane.
  5. Paraffin

    Second install with Steam

    The first thing I'd try, is just making a copy of your current X-Plane folder in steamapps/common, move that to another location. In that copied folder, delete the /Output/resources/X-plane.prf file. Then delete any plugins you've added in Resources/plugins, and delete any extra custom scenery folders not needed for benchmarking. That should give you a more-or-less clean copy of the sim for testing. Swap it back and forth with your normal installation under /steamapps/common. I think Steam wouldn't have any trouble with this, but you'd have to test it. Another more cumbersome workaround would be to set up the second drive with a new Windows login ID and a new Steam account there, and then use the Steam Family Sharing feature to log into Steam on that drive. That should allow a fresh installation of X-Plane as a shared game. Family Sharing works with most things, I assume it would work with X-Plane too.
  6. Paraffin

    Vskylabs Mini-500

    This is a very lightweight single-seater with a Rotax engine (64hp two-stroke). I don't know if you can get any more lightweight than this! 🙂 Unless you're thinking autogyro? There may be some free models in the .org library.
  7. Paraffin

    Vskylabs Mini-500

    Looks like this one might be the first one for testing how X-Plane models mast bump. A concern I have about that -- not that X-Plane or this model isn't simulating the failure in aerodynamic terms -- but that X-Plane doesn't have a full damage model. With more severe cases of mast bump, you can literally chop off the tail or the front of the cabin if you go into low-G maneuvers and unload the rotor. X-Plane has never modeled that kind of discrete damage (and probably never will, for reasons that have been argued over). But there should be at least some kind of feedback that you've gone past the point of a survivable event with mast bump. This should apply to the upcoming Huey model too. Similar "teetering" rotor system. So, someone buy this and try a neg-G maneuver like NOE over a steep ridge line, and see what happens when you unload the rotor. Bad things should happen.
  8. Paraffin

    Winter Textures

    I think there may be some free seasonal texture replacement options in the .org database, it's been a while since I've looked over there. The other payware option is TerraMaxx, which might work if you fly for an extended period in places like Canada, Alaska, etc. where X-Plane looks wrong in the winter. One drawback is that it takes a long time to load and swap in the textures. So it's fine for an extended period spent in one area, but not so good for flying from Point A with no snow into Point B where its snowing, unless you can handle the immersion-breaking load period. Also, like most other texture replacement solutions, it won't work if you're using ortho-based scenery. xEnviro supposedly has a snow option in an upcoming version that will work with orthos. Some day in the far future, we might get a procedural-based seasonal effects from Laminar. Things like snow blowing over runways, linked to live weather data so you'd only see it if it's actually snowing. Deciduous trees changing leaf color dynamically and then dropping leaves in Autumn, and so on. Austin has said previously that he'd like to do that, but I haven't heard anything about it lately. And it might not be compatible with ortho scenery. Austin isn't big on the ortho approach for scenery, at least in the default simulation.
  9. Paraffin

    xEnviro 1.10 in Beta

    I'm not plugging SkyMaxx. I've gone out of my way to say that, and to also say that I'm not currently using it after buying it. That's hardly an endorsement. Wrong. I have an opinion about xEnviro, as someone who paid for the program, and it's not meeting my needs. That's not an "agenda." It's an opinion of someone who bought the add-on. You may have noticed that others here are also voicing their opinions about it, pro and con. That's how these forums work, unless you only want to see positive opinions? Sure, I see it all around me with various developers trying to approach improvements with add-ons in different ways. I've also seen it in real life, in the businesses that I've run, which you know nothing about. So let's drop the ad-hominem in this discussion okay? And let's talk about these products and how they do or don't fit our individual needs in a flight sim.
  10. Paraffin

    xEnviro 1.10 in Beta

    Well, let's start with the claims on the SkyMaxx Pro sales page: So either the clouds are 3D and "volumetric," or they're guilty of false advertising. 🙂 I think there is a clue in VR compatibility, because that's where 2D billboard clouds vs. full 3D clouds is so easily seen. I don't have VR so I can't test that. However, In terms of what I see on my 2D monitor when I fly the sim with SkyMaxx Pro running, I don't see billboards, except maybe in the more distant clouds that may be 2D for the sake of efficiency. When I actually fly in and out of a cumulus cloud puff, it looks like a 3D object to me. I don't get the sense that it's stacked 2D layers at close range to do that. If it is, then it's doing a good job of masking the effect. And at that point, I don't really care how they do it, as long as it looks like a 3D cloud as I fly through it. It's down to semantics at that point. And again, I'm not really promoting SkyMaxx Pro here over anything else. But we need to be clear about what each different add-on has to offer, as well as the weak areas. SkyMaxx Pro has some problems looking realistic up in the flight levels, for one thing. I mainly fly at low altitude where I like how it renders clouds in mountain valleys. But the default XP cloud rendering is good enough now, that I haven't bothered to re-enable SkyMaxx Pro lately. I'm just using default XP clouds with ActiveSky now, and waiting to see what ActiveSky brings out later in the year with their own (extra cost) cloud depiction add-on. I'm basically keeping my eye on everything, and will buy any likely candidate for improving the weather in X-Plane. Then choose whatever works best for the way I fly.
  11. Paraffin

    xEnviro 1.10 in Beta

    See, I have this old-fashioned idea, that when one pays for a product like I've done with xEnviro, one has a right to discuss how one feels about it. And to mention the limitations that might help others considering it. Any new update for existing software has to be considered in the light of what has already been released, and how developers have responded in the past. To be clear -- right now I think there are no perfect weather add-ons, largely due to the fact that X-Plane itself has an outdated internal weather model that limits what any add-on developer can accomplish. The ball is really in Laminar's court to improve the foundations, or else we'll never have something like a realistic model of a thunderstorm or approaching weather front.
  12. Paraffin

    xEnviro 1.10 in Beta

    FYI, SkyMaxx Pro has had moving clouds (and moving cloud shadows) for a long time. This is not unique to xEnviro. Again, SkyMaxx Pro has had volumetric clouds for a while now. This isn't new or unique. I'm not trying to push SkyMaxx here; it's one of several add-ons I've purchased including xEnviro and ActiveSky, and I'm actually not using it right now. Just ActiveSky and default clouds, while I test the ActiveSky features. But sometimes the hype is over the top for xEnviro, when others have been doing similar features for years. Personally, even though I bought it, I can't live with xEnviro's real weather only design with minimal adjustment. I fly light GA planes and helicopters in parts of the world with severe weather. I need enough manual control to back down the winds, and occasionally raise the cloud deck, or I can't fly at all. Not all of us fly tubeliners that can (mostly) ignore the weather. Also, I do most of my flying in the FSEconomy game, where I can't just choose to fly somewhere with better weather because I "own" two aircraft that are locked down to specific parts of the world. Regarding the new snow effect in xEnviro, if they add "historical weather" then this might solve the issue of choosing it when you want it. That still won't work for me, because I'm looking for "what's out there right now," with some adjustment so I can still fly. ActiveSky does that, along with some other nice additions like more realistic turbulence (when it's working) that I like for immersion when flying. I will still take a look at xEnviro's new update when it comes out (since I bought it), but I'm not keeping my hopes up for enough adjustment. The devs have posted in the past that manual adjustment will never happen, due to their server-side modeling.
  13. Paraffin

    X-ROTORS AW139

    It's up to the mods, but for me, advertising means something posted directly by the developer or distributor, or someone being paid (directly or with free software) to do that. As far as I can see, Nils is just an enthusiastic sim pilot showcasing his new toy. Nothing wrong with that, in my book. He's providing useful info like the .fms loading post above, for anyone interested in picking this up.
  14. Paraffin

    X-ROTORS AW139

    The larger real world helicopters, especially those in mission-critical roles like military or SAR generally have FMC's for navigation. Even the ones with modern glass cockpits, like the new King Stallion naval heavy helicopter. I guess it's considered more robust than Garmin kit, and can still be linked to glass cockpit displays. I think the only other payware helicopter available for X-Plane with an FMC besides this new AW139 is the S-92. The Blackhawk should have one, but it looks like it's GPS only. The V-22 Osprey has FMC navigation, if you call that a helicopter. 🙂
  15. Paraffin

    Desktop Speakers

    I like that idea! Extending the DIY bass kicker approach, it would probably help immersion to screw a transducer to the underside of my computer desk, so I would feel vibration through the HOTAS flight controls too. And then, another transducer for the pedals on the floor. Gotta keep everything in sync. 🙂