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CapnSplat

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About CapnSplat

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  • Birthday August 12

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  1. Seems like a great area for some carrier ops. :smile:
  2. The DCS: Bf 109 K-4 teaser trailer just went up on YouTube. Looks great! I wonder if the background music is going to be the Bf 109 theme. If so, sounds great too!
  3. Super excited for this one; the Bf 109 is perhaps my favorite plane of all time. Can't wait to see how it flies in DCS!
  4. Continuing the burgeoning trend of making flight simulators available on Steam, the upcoming IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad can now be had from Steam Early Access.
  5. An FMC may not make the actual act of flying from A to B more challenging, but the challenge of learning the ins-and-outs of an aircraft's particular FMC is what many, including myself, find enjoyable. Starting from the manuals and working your way up to being able to key in routes, do your fuel planning, reroute around weather, perform a diversion, etc.--it's a lot to learn and it can be very satisfying to practice with a high level of competency.
  6. Nothing other than "work continues" (Aug. 3, 2014). Things have been pretty quiet since they posted the demo flight videos.
  7. How's everyone enjoying the Dora so far? I've just gotten to the point that I can get her in and out of the air without breaking anything; time to build a gun range and try out the weapons!
  8. Nice! I haven't been around the ED forums in a while so I'm out of the loop when it comes to third-party modules. The P-40 is a cool bird; hopefully we'll eventually get a Mediterranean theatre and some tropicalized Bf 109s to go with it!
  9. Leg 21 Depart: Houari Boumediene Airport, Algiers, Algeria (DAAG) Arrive: Mostépha Ben Boulaid Airport, Batna, Algeria (DABT) Aircraft: Douglas DC-3 (Leading Edge Simulations / X-Aviation) Flight Plan: DAAG ALR BTN DABT Distance: 163.0 nm Scenery: DAAG - Algiers International Airport, Algeria (8.6+) I've been keeping myself on the ground for a few days, waiting to see whether the winds coming off the Mediterranean would calm and hopefully make things a little easier for me. It seems, however, that I'll have no such luck. And as great a city as Algiers is, I'm getting antsy being stuck on one place. Adventure awaits! Time to press on to Batna, a city to the southeast which lies roughly on the geological border between the Tell Atlas and Aurès mountain ranges. We should be in for some more stunning views of the landscape as we pass over head. After my engine troubles at Oujda, I've been eager to get the DC-3 back in the air, so we'll be making the one-hundred-sixty-odd mile trip in this lovely plane. The DC-3 is quickly becoming one of my favorite payware planes available for X-Plane: it's a lot of fun to fly and very hands-on, beautifully modeled and textured inside and out, tough, fast, and just exudes that classy, old-school vibe. I highly recommend it to anyone who happens to be a fan of vintage aircraft. The big radial engines roar to life on the apron. No more problems there, it seems, but I carefully double check all the gauges and levers lest we lose an engine on takeoff this time. I taxi her out to runway 27 and steadily open the throttles. There's a crosswind incoming from the northwest that gives me heck on the takeoff roll (though X-Plane's exaggerated weathervane effect isn't doing me any favors), but I manage to keep the plane on the runway and lift off into the air. After retracting the gear and picking up some speed, I climb toward the northwest and begin to turn back around toward the airfield. Beneath us pass the city of Algiers, the old citadel, the Bay of Algiers, and the airport again. The engines chug along as we leave Algiers the White beneath the clouds. We settle into a cruise of 11,000 ft and I take especial care to treat the engines kindly by adjusting the throttle, prop, and mixture handles for an economical flight. Once I've finished squinting at gauges I can sit back and take in the sights. Below us is the stunning Djurdjura Range of the Tell Atlas. Seems like a nice place to do some hiking; evidently there's also skiing in the winter. Snow skiing in Africa--those are two things I'd never put together in my mind before! From time to time the cloud cover obscures my view of the world below, but wherever there's a break in clouds there's a sweeping panorama of the Tell Atlas to be had. (The eagle-eyed among you may notice a difference in the clouds and atmospheric effects in these screenshots compared to my previous flights. A few weeks ago, the developers of EFASS introduced UltraWX implementation into their program. UltraWX is a highly configurable real-world weather injector and so in a lot of way a big "first" for X-Plane. Since I mainly use EFASS for planning and monitoring my progress on airline flights, I haven't really touched it in a while, but decided to give it a go to test drive UltraWX.) Batna sits at about 2,700 feet above sea level so we've got a significantly shorter way to descend than we had to climb. Looks like the airfield is reporting-- wait a minute, that can't be right! 41 kt winds?! (Let's just chalk this up to a bug in UltraWX, shall we?) I consider diverting or even returning to Algiers; however, I notice that the wind doesn't seem to be gusting and that it's coming out of the southwest. Against my better judgement, I decide to attempt a landing on runway 23. Matters are made worse by the clouds near the ground. Let's play "Spot the Runway"--it's there somewhere! The runway becomes clear as I get closer. Even though the winds are strong they seem steady, so I decide to go for it. I pass over the threshold in what feels like slow motion and touchdown daintily with the two fore gear. The aircraft rolls forward a short distance, the tailwheel comes down, and we slow to a stop. Success! Welcome to Batna! (Here's a close up of the main instrument panel just after the aircraft came to a stop on the runway; just under 40 kts IAS. Wow!) Next leg: Mostépha Ben Boulaid Airport, Batna, Algeria (DABT) to Cheikh Larbi Tébessa Airport, Tébessa, Algeria (DABS)
  10. Leg 20 Depart: Chlef International Airport, Chlef, Algeria (DAOI) Arrive: Houari Boumediene Airport, Algiers, Algeria (DAAG) Aircraft: Beechcraft A36 Bonanza (Carenado) * Flight Plan: DAOI DAAG Distance: 95.2 nm Scenery: DAAG - Algiers International Airport, Algeria (8.6+) This afternoon's flight will take us from the sleepy town of Chlef to Algiers, the largest, most populous city of Algeria. The weather around Chlef has improved somewhat with lower winds and better visibility, but I'm expecting thick cloud cover over the mountains and our destination in addition to diminished visibility on the ground. Between the weather and Houari Boumediene's status as one of the busiest airports on the African continent, I'd be more comfortable taking something with some IFR capabilities, just in case. To this end, I'll be flying the Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, a thoroughly modernized variant in Beechcraft's venerable Bonanza line of aircraft. Equipped with Aspen EFD1000 avionics, KFC225 autopilot, and Garmin GNS 430 units, the A36 is a massive technological leap ahead of the spartan aircraft we've been flying so far across the skies of northern Africa. The Bonanza's suite of high-tech features should be more than capable of shooting an IFR approach should the need arise. Oh, and my favorite feature of the Bonanza? Those big windows. Great views from this plane. But for all the technology crammed into the A36, it's a real pleasure to hand fly. Takeoff is as smooth as can be, as is the standard rate turn toward the northeast, and the climb to altitude. As expected, the atmospheric conditions begin to deteriorate as we enter the skies over the Tell Atlas mountains. There are some thick clouds ahead, so this view of Lake Ouled Mellouk and the adjacent national forests may be one of the few landmarks we'll be able to discern during this leg. While cruising above the clouds it's extremely difficult to catch a glimpse of anything down below. I tune the navigation radio to ALR, the VOR nearest to the our destination airfield. Once we've drawn closer to Algiers, I begin the descent. When we break out of the clouds, visibility is only about five or six miles. I continue flying toward the VOR until the airport comes into sight. There's a 14 kt wind coming from the northeast, so I line up for runway 05, glad that I'll finally be able to perform a landing without having to deal with excessive crosswinds. The landing is as smooth as silk and, boy, does it feel good to put the plane down without worrying you're going to go careening off the runway. Landing on a tricycle gear is also a nice change of pace from the conventional undercarriage arrangements that we've had since coming to Africa. Relieved, I taxi to the apron and shut the plane down. Welcome to Algiers! Next leg: Houari Boumediene Airport, Algiers, Algeria (DAAG) to Mostépha Ben Boulaid Airport, Batna, Algeria (DABT)
  11. Leg 19 Depart: Es Senia Airport, Oran, Algeria (DAOO) Arrive: Chlef International Airport, Chlef, Algeria (DAOI) Aircraft: de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk (Khamsin Studio) * Flight Plan: DAOO DAOI Distance: 101.4 nm Scenery: Default Today's flight will take us up the northwestern coast of Algeria to the city of Chlef. The plotted course is a straight line between Oran and Chlef, but in actuality I'm planning on flying over to the Arzew Gulf before turning inland and flying along the river valley to our destination. Visibility this afternoon isn't the greatest and we'll have a 12 kt crosswind from the Mediterranean to deal with during takeoff. Although I've had to consign the Hurricane to the hanger after the last flight, I've still got an itch to take up another warbird; therefore, today's aircraft is the de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk. Introduced just after the Second World War, the "Chippie" was used extensively as a training aircraft by the RAF and RCAF and many restored examples are flown by pilots today. Khamsin's virtual replica of the Chimpmunk is modeled after the British-built T.10 variant with its 4 cylinder, 145 HP Gipsy Major 8 engine; compared to the speeds attainable with the Hurricane's V12 Merlin, today's flight will be rather leisurely. As I expected, the crosswind pushes us around a bit on the takeoff roll, but the winds feel less noticeable once we a few thousand feet up. The hazy weather over the Algerian coast makes identifying landmarks a bit more difficult. After a few minutes of flying, however, the Arzew Gulf comes into view. I fly along the curvature of the gulf before turning inland toward Chlef. Well, what do you know? Algeria is fond of artificial lakes too! After following the river valley below into the haze for what feels like ages, I'm finally able to make out the lakes Merdja Sidi Abed and Gargar which lie near the town Oued Rhiou. Chlef should come into view any minute now. I descend between Chlef and the airport to the north. The field is reporting 8 kt crosswinds from over the mountains. Hmm, I'm detecting a trend here. (Also, just look at that lovely cockpit. Khamsin is, in my opinion, one of, if not the best texture artist working with X-Plane today. If I'm not mistaken, Khamsin is responsible for the textures in the virtual cockpit of Flight Factor's 757 and the reason that many consider that aircraft's interior to be much more beautiful than the earlier 777.) I circle around and line up with the runway. It very quickly becomes apparent that this landing will be no simple task. In the slight frame of the Chipmunk, those 8 kt crosswinds feel much more like twice that. I hold my speed fairly high to keep from being blown south of the airfield as I crab my way toward the runway. I cross the threshold with a rather large angle of deflection, but I hope I can straighten out just in time. Kicking left with the rudder, I point the nose of the Chippie down the centerline. Unfortunately, my speed is too high and I float in the ground effect as the wind pushes me over the edge of the runway. Going around! This time I turn wide of the airfield as I line myself up for final approach, hoping that I can get my speed down as the wind puts the aircraft inline with the runway so that I can crab my in the last few hundred feet.* * I have since learned that this is not necessarily a "good idea." I've also learned of the wing-down method, which I hope to try at my next opportunity. It mostly works. As I straighten the craft out, my right wing gets lifted up and I touch down with the left wheel before I can get the rest of the undercarriage on the tarmac. It's a squirrely landing, but at least the Chipmunk is all in one piece! Welcome to Chlef! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to study up on crosswind takeoffs and landings! Next leg: Chlef International Airport, Chlef, Algeria (DAOI) to Houari Boumediene Airport, Algiers, Algeria (DAAG)
  12. Leg 18 Depart: Angads Airport, Oujda, Morocco (GMFO) Arrive: Es Senia Airport, Oran, Algeria (DAOO) Aircraft: Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB (ND Art & Technology) * Flight Plan: GMFO DAOO Distance: 81.9 nm Scenery: Default I've had a great time flying around Morocco and taking in its varied and beautiful landscape, but today's leg will take us over the border into Algeria. Once again, this will be brand new territory for me and I'm looking forward to exploring it! The flight will be pretty straight forward: I'll be departing Angads Airport from runway 06 and fly in pretty much a straight line to the northeast until we reach Oran in Algeria. The plane I've chosen for today is the Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB, but it has been painted to resemble the Mk XIIB JS327, which participated in Operation Torch. The actual aircraft was forced to crash land on a beach to the northeast of Oran; given our troubled landing in Oujda, I'm hoping that by selecting this livery I'm not dooming myself to an involuntary littoral landing. I decide to cruise at 7,000 ft and the Hurricane's powerful engine propels the craft to altitude in no time. Within moments I've passed over the Moroccan-Algerian border and can spy the Tell Atlas Mountains below. It's not long into the flight that I begin to notice a problem. I'm flying to the northeast but I keep seeing the coast line on the horizon where I know there should only be more mountains. I double check the compass (which is very small and difficult to see in the Hurricane's cramped cockpit) to make sure I'm heading in the right direction. Turns out this is a bug with the aircraft's implementation of the reflective gunsight. The reticule itself (which I have turned off--no gunnery today!) seems to be projected onto a transparent plane in front of the cockpit, but the transparency of this plane doesn't play nicely with X-Plane 10's atmospheric scattering and reveals part the terrain through the haze, thus creating the 'mirage' of an ever-shifting coastline. Also, strangely enough the gunsight plane casts a shadow, which places the cockpit in constant darkness. You can hopefully get an idea of what I'm talking about in the image below. The weird visual effects caused by the gunsight prove to be very disorienting and make it difficult to enjoy the flight. At this point I'm ready to be back on the ground. I open the throttle and push the engine toward its redline, hoping to make it to Oran as quickly as possible. Finally, I see the Sebkha d'Oran ahead, a long salt lake just southwest of the city. (You can also see another visual artifact caused by looking through the arc of the prop, beyond which the atmospheric effects are not rendered.) I overfly the lake and fly along its north shore, which leads straight to Es Senia Airport. I drop the gear and flaps and gently descend toward the runway. While this aircraft has been giving me some trouble, I'm pleased to see that Oran, the second largest city in Algeria with a population of about three-quarters of a million inhabitants, is well represented with plenty of dense autogen. Phew! Not a bad landing, despite the constant crosswind coming off of the Mediterranean. As I rollout down the runway, I can just make out Mount Murdjadjo looming out of the haze, upon which is the old Spanish fort of Santa Cruz. That seems like a neat place to visit to get a commanding view of the city and the port below. Welcome to Oran! I had had grand visions of flying across this part of North Africa in the Hurricane (especially the tropicalized variant), but owing to the graphical glitches that I'm getting, I'm afraid I'll have to confine it to the hangar until I can figure out a fix. Bear in mind that this aircraft was originally designed for X-Plane 9, so perhaps I was overly optimistic in expecting it to work flawlessly in X-Plane 10. It's a real shame since there aren't very many high-fidelity warbirds available for the platform. Ah, well... caveat emptor! Next leg: Es Senia Airport, Oran, Algeria (DAOO) to Chlef International Airport, Chlef, Algeria (DAOI)
  13. Leg 17 Depart: Saïss Airport, Fes, Morocco (GMFF) Arrive: Angads Airport, Oujda, Morocco (GMFO) Aircraft: Douglas DC-3 (Leading Edge Simulations / X-Aviation) Flight Plan: GMFF OJD GMFO Distance: 160.1 nm Scenery: Default Before we get back into the air, here's a fun fact that I forgot to point out in the previous post: by traveling to Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakesh, and Fes we've visited the four most populous cities in Morocco (in that order). We're well on our way to becoming Trivial Pursuit masters! Eager to continue the push on toward Algeria, I plan to leave Fes at 0930 and arrive in Oujda before 1100. The weather is good along our planned route, so it should be smooth sailing for our final flight in Morocco. We'll be flying our trusty Air France DC-3 again. We depart runway 27, turn ourselves around toward the northeast, and take a last look out the windows at the great medinas of Fes. A few miles outside the city is another artificial lake created by the Idriss I dam. I suppose such reservoirs are important for irrigating Morocco's farms, especially those located in the country's more arid interior. Next up on the horizon is the city of Taza. Located in a narrow river plain appropriately known as the Taza Gap, Taza is flanked by the Rif mountains to the north and the Middle Atlas to the south. You can see the foothills of both on either side of the image below. I don't think I ever realized just how mountainous Morocco is; this tour is proving quite educational so far! We continue pressing toward the northeast where the landscape opens up into a large desert basin. The occasional town punctuates the rivers below as we make our way toward Oujda. Pictured here is, I believe, the town Guercif, roughly the half-way point of the current leg. Guess what? Another artificial lake! They do make useful landmarks, though, especially in the midst of so much dry rock and sand. Lake Mohamed V isn't far from Oujda, so we'll be at our destination before we know it. Angads Airport, once used as an airbase by American forces during the Second World War, is a few miles to the north of Oujda, which itself is only a few miles from Morocco's border with Algeria to the east. This will be our last flight in Morocco for the rest of the tour! On final we have a north-northeasterly crosswind to contend with. At 14 kts and nearly perpendicular to the runway, it's causing me some concern (especially since runway 13/31 is conspicuously missing from X-Plane's apt.dat...); however, the picture out the window looks good and I decide to commit to the landing. I cross the runway threshold and begin to retard the throttles, and... uh-oh... What's that sputtering sound? The plane begins to veer to the left and I can't correct enough with the rudder. Off the runway we go! Once we've come to a stop, I'm better able to take stock of the situation. Yup. Left engine's died. There's yer problem! I'm not completely sure what happened; judging by the image, the blade pitch looks a little high, so maybe I accidentally nudged the left prop handle at an inopportune moment. At least we're all in one piece! After that harrowing landing, welcome to Oujda! Next leg: Angads Airport, Oujda, Morocco (GMFO) to Es Senia Airport, Oran, Algeria (DAOO)
  14. Thanks for the kind words, everyone! I've flown a few legs ahead of what you find on the blog right now and I'm in the process of writing them up, so expect to see them soon! (May contain tricky crosswind landings, engine failure, and high pucker factor!) For the time being, leg 16 is up. Go for it! There's a lot of world to explore in these sims of ours! Looks like that sound pack was developed for the FSX version; I doubt it will work in X-Plane without modifications. Thanks for the suggestion though.
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