Lionel Mandrake

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  1. Lionel Mandrake

    Donations-Paypal only?

    No, sorry - I've just tried it again, and at 'Step 1' the third box is 'Choose Gateway' and the only option in the menu is 'PayPal'.
  2. Lionel Mandrake

    Donations-Paypal only?

    Thanks; I'll try again.
  3. Lionel Mandrake

    Donations-Paypal only?

    Hi all, like blaird22 I want to donate but don't want to use PayPal. However on trying to pay just now using a MasterCard I was automatically rerouted to PayPal as the only option. The drop-down menu now contains only 'PayPal'. I'm quite happy to be twentieth-century about this and send a cheque, or even to hand over a fistful of dollars, but I've had it with PayPal and their creepy 'ten strikes and you're in' stunt. Please let me know how I can donate without submitting to the wiles of yet another internet oligarch.
  4. Lionel Mandrake

    Decals for Cessna C172 Home Cockpit

    Pietrogramma, I'm also doing a C172, but I'm using Bodnar interfaces. To make illuminated legend annunciators the best method is traditional wet photography. It is possible to photograph artwork (or, possibly, a computer screen; I've not tried this) using monochrome film so that the negative, if neatly cut from the film strip, forms the mask itself with no further work needed. This process is capable of exquisite accuracy and has few limitations as cameras up to 5x7 or even 10x8 are readily available. If you can find someone who still has a photosetter the output from this is even better than film, as it is thicker and stronger with very dense black, but the process gives only a limited choice of fonts. I used it to produce legends (not illuminated, but placed on a white background in a black panel) for the dashboard of a sports car I built in the 1980s. Engraving a black-coated acrylic or other transparent panel would produce masks directly. If done in reverse the whole panel could be dimly sidelit with individual legends appearing as required. Failing these one can print onto some kinds of transparent film using an inkjet printer. Unless the printer is expensive the black probably won't be very dense. A more modern method would be to use a tiny colour screen and display a graphical annunciator array on it, then arrange to view it through the 3D-printed frame. I believe this is should be possible using AirManager, as it has a standard 'instrument' which is the C172 annunciator array.
  5. Lionel Mandrake

    Home cockpit - Ideas and stuff

    Hi thomasrohdejensen. One suggestion would be force-feedback controls, which I am trying to develop for my own setup. How I hope to do this: program an Arduino to read the sim data for IAS, then square it to represent the aerodynamic force on the control surfaces (1/2 rho v**2 s) and use this number as the position target for a stepper motor driving a leadscrew (the kind used in imported folding workbenches looks good for this - big, strong and cheap). The leadscrew then moves the anchor point of the control return springs, so that allowing for Hooke's law the control return force is more or less proportional to the square of the IAS. This should produce control feel roughly approximating to that of a real a/c, adjustment being possible both mechanically and in software. Another suggestion: for me, one of the most distinctive sensations in aviation is the sudden cessation of vibration and wheel noise on takeoff, and their equally sudden onset on landing. This ought be replicable somehow; if the sim data includes a squat switch output, this could easily be used to gate a vibration/noise signal to transducers attached to the cockpit floor or seat. I'd like to make this work but haven't started researching it yet. The biggest problem might be separating main and nose gear effects. I think the most important thing - much more important than visual appearance - is ergonomics. Sitting in an aircraft cockpit is physically unlike sitting behind a desk. From the training point of view it would be best if a blindfolded pilot were able to place a hand on the appropriate control from memory of the real a/c. Controls need not, IMHO, be exactly like the original, particularly given that switches, etc. are often quite different in individual a/c, but they must be in the right place, and be roughly the right shape and size, and work in the same sense. Having done ten years at Martin-Baker I naturally also think of a mechanism like the original Swinging Arm, which, when one has had quite enough and pulls the black and yellow handle, hurls one bodily through the ceiling, to descend on a crane-supported genuine parachute harness into some astonished neighbour's garden. Flight helmet compulsory. I do like PebbleBeach's wafting-engine for the coffee, though. That's class, that is.
  6. Lionel Mandrake

    Aviation is boring

    [Chock]>Personally, I can't wait to see the movie 'From Da Nang to Fleetwood'< MOL (Somerset acronym: Made Oi Larf) It seems that I am among helicopterists. Helicopters are wonderful things and I am sure that it is not really true that they cannot actually fly. Coincidentally I was at Middle Wallop a few days ago, impressing everybody by keeping the little ball in the middle of the turntable on the Scout trainer, until I had a funny turn and fell off the wretched thing. For myself I remain strictly fixed wing, never having been able to master (e.g.) rolling a cigarette while riding a horse. In the words of the great Clint Eastwood: "A man's got to know his own limitations."
  7. Lionel Mandrake

    Aviation is boring

    pracines, expense is of course relative. Once upon a time (also being a drummer) I was able to have a fancy drum kit made to my own design by a very posh English manufacturer, but alas it is no longer so. Fortunately I bought so many sticks back then that I have yet to break them all. As to emergencies I reckon you must be the '******* of Cool'. The things that have happened to me (a) while playing the drums, particularly on stage, and (b) flying, pale into insignificance beside mere cats. High Bypass, the Bird Dog is a delightful aircraft and once upon a time I was so filthy rich (and they so cheap) that I toyed with the idea of buying one. At the time I could find one for roughly twice what the firm's old CTP was asking for the Kitfox he'd just built and was hard-selling to me every time we sat in the same cockpit. The singular problem was that the a/c that were available back then were all ex-Vietnam, having apparently been in storage ever since, and still had the traditional bullet holes. In the practical and sensible USA these are often regarded, I gather, as cosmetic provided they don't intersect anything vital. Here in the UK the CAA* goes into conniptions at the very idea of the Common People owning a/c at all, let alone punctured ones, and so can be rather difficult about airworthiness issues. And no [LOL], it wasn't a drug reference, though of course now I see what you mean; were we talking about King Airs that would naturally be a different matter. What is wrong with mentioning Willie Pete: you might not believe it, but here in the UK one risks jail time if anything one says or writes is perceived as 'offensive' by a member of what is called a 'Protected Identity Group'. There is apparently no standard of proof or superfluous legal process; if a PIG member feels offended, the offender is automatically convicted. It is claimed by the MSM that about nine people a day are now being arrested for what they say on Twitter alone. Whether the VietCong are now also a PIG I don't know; it is probably not a very good idea to try to find out. Hence the caution. IRO paragliders, powered parachutes, ornithopters, etc., see footnote in re 'enforcement'. One has to give the birdmen credit for motivation above and beyond the call of duty (or possibly psychosis above and beyond the reach of psychiatry) but because their mounts are so unlike real a/c I would prefer some kind of traffic separation scheme, like sailors have; for example, the birdmen could have Jan Mayen and Bear Island, and we could have the Rest of the World. BTW 'duvet-like' is too good not to steal and I shall use it at the first opportunity. * Being an incurable wag I always tell Our American Cousins that the British CAA's sole purpose is the implementation and enforcement of the Birdmen (Prevention) Act of 1899, the last Act of Parliament to be signed into law by Queen Victoria personally.
  8. Lionel Mandrake

    Aviation is boring

    shermank, very many thanks, bookmarked, looks brilliant. I liked the bit about 'It's 1948'. At MBA we always said that within the perimeter fence it was 1947, and would remain so until further notice. I liked even more the bit about Radio Range 4.0 which is exactly what I had in mind but as usual with such things it is M$ only and for a variety of reasons I've now settled on X-plane. Ho hum. If I may I will first get my single-engined setup going, as I now have a queue forming (including some people whom I would never have suspected of a conspiracy to commit aviation). Once I have done that I intend to do a twin-engine cockpit suitable for a variety of types, using interchangeable modules of my own design, one set of which could certainly be for a DC-3. I have downloaded SkinMan for Windows with which it is possible to make the graphical bases of one's own Air Manager instruments, and will look into what is required for this type. I note the availability of gorgeous instrument panels such as the NH but am convinced that having scenery and instruments in the same focal plane is a dead loss ergonomically, which is the reason for using Air Manager to drive internal instruments, while X-plane, on another machine, drives the external scenery - thus ensuring that one has to refocus one's eyes when looking from one to the other. I hope eventually to use projection for the scenery, to make it even more different from the interior, but having spent some time theorizing and experimenting it seems that I do not own a projector with a wide enough lens to make the optical geometry work. overspeed3, of course you are right, but I do feel that in the present state of the art, the further one gets in simulation from sedate, rule-bound IFR, the less satisfactory it becomes. In particular the thing which I find least satisfactory is the hat-switch. When flying VFR one is always peering over one's shoulder or craning one's neck into the windshield, trying to see the lunatic on a collision course at ramming speed (one day I'll tell the story of my first solo) or to locate something plausible upon which to land. Gazing sedately into a computer screen and urbanely wiggling one's hat-switch is IMHO not really much of a substitute for this, in particular as it fails to develop any of what a doctor might call 'spinal memory' or what we call 'a crick in the neck'. Accordingly I designed a cockpit with a field of view that really is restricted to 60 degrees horizontal, to match the default setting in X-plane; the assumption being that for today windows other than the wiped one are unusable. It is this which is currently under construction. I am trying to obtain an old but large TV which I can modify into a monitor (TVs are heavily taxed here) to use for this as I don't have a suitable projector, see above. Ideally, though, for VFR one would have an available FOV of about 300 degrees, the only way to provide which being cylindrical projection using several projectors and the costly professional version of X-plane which can drive them. And even this wouldn't really do for a helicopter, or fixed-wing a/c with glass noses. pracines, you may well be right - my favourite computer game of all time was the eight-bit original Atari Star Raiders from about 1977, which being written in machine-code was as fast as lightning; the sixteen-bit replacement was rubbish, and I haven't done computer games since. I can't be bothered with 'creating a character' or 'trading assets' or any of that stuff; for me it's straight out of Harry Harrison's Bill, the Galactic Hero: GREEN LIGHTS OUR SHIPS. RED LIGHTS ENEMY. FORGETTING THIS IS A COURTS-MARTIAL OFFENSE. I too moved my apparatus, in my case to the garage, but it was so cold there, and the local wolf-spiders so territorially belligerent, that I moved it back again, having first removed from it sufficient weight to stop it from falling through the floor. You are clearly knowledgeable about VR; I have never experimented with this, as (a) it is expensive and (b) I cannot help but wonder how long it would be, were I to don one of those totally exclusive headsets, before the carefully crafted immersivity was ruined by one of our cats leaping onto my unguarded lap.
  9. Lionel Mandrake

    Aviation is boring

    Dear all, what a kindly crew you are. JYW, thank you very much for the DC-3 link; should I ever be able to afford it I would love to have one. However, more important than the a/c type for me is the navigational environment, but the thought occurred that it might somehow be possible to generate navaids in the same sort of way as one generates scenery, and I wonder whether anyone knows about this. qqwertzde, I did look hard at P3D, because as you say effort has been made to rid it of MSFS's difficulties, and Lockheed Martin are as it were an old acquaintance, but what finally sold me X-plane was the ability using Plane Maker to design one's own aircraft and then try to fly it; this sort of aeronautical engineering simulation being quite absent from those of X-plane's competitors which I could conceivably afford. I already have a drawing on the board of something like a cross between a King Air and a P-38, though the idea of transcribing and testing rare birds like the BV141 is perversely attractive. High Bypass, roger your point, I tried hard (and paid a consultant) to get MSFS to work, as it is the 'industry standard' and has such a huge support base, but alas it was not to be. We never did find out why and have now disposed of the software and modified the computers. As to fun, for myself I fancy an O-1 (flight model roughly similar to C172; cockpit, as we euphemise here in the UK 'as crude as Aerospace'; and about as safe as 'district-visiting in the Apache quarter of Paris' [Saki]), but doubtless it is now Politically Incorrect so much as to mention Charlie, never mind Willy Pete. As to Gliders, you (and my old boss at MBA, also a glider pilot) will not get me up in one of those things. Every landing a forced landing, and all that. I grant that I did nearly buy the old CTP's Kitfox but at least that has a kind of engine, even if it did once belong to a lawnmower. busdriver, many thanks indeed for the kind thought but regrettably in this I am up against at least four general practitioners, a consultant neurologist, Martin-Baker's company doctor and all of his chums at the Institute of Aviation Medicine at Farnborough, who are unanimous in the view that I am now and will hereafter remain unfit to fly a desk, let alone one of those balsa wood thingies with a rubber band for an engine. You guys are stuck with me now.
  10. Lionel Mandrake

    Aviation is boring

    Thank you, all, for your replies. qqwertzde, alas, I have ruled out M$'s flight simulator, in all its versions, because I have never in all these years been able to get it to work at all, never mind properly. I have never tried P3D because AFAIK it is a re-skinned FSX, with all its faults, and definitely very expensive and with absurdly restrictive Ts&Cs. X-plane attracted me because it allows one to make one's own aircraft, and its performance and reliability seem to be generally much better than the others. I'm aware of the large amount of investment people have put into M$'s product but regrettably life is too short to struggle any more with what has always been a difficult application to use and which now many see as a 'dead product'. mrchrsrider, roger your point but as I mentioned the simulated interpretation of the place where I qualified is so wildly different from reality that I certainly wouldn't trust the programmer's idea of what any other places look like. As to 4 hour flights and so forth I greatly admire both your skill and your patience; I would not be an airline pilot, driving busloads of drunks to Torremolinos, for a pension. Mr. Street, I always have X-plane on 'current time' and 'current weather', and have joined VATSIM in the hope of being able one day to use their simulated ATC - I bet they haven't got anyone who is anything like as rude and unhelpful as the real Luton Approach. The time will come but at the moment I'm still working on the hardware. busdriver, I am a qualified but medically grounded pilot, formerly at the Pilot Centre, Denham Aerodrome, when I worked at Martin-Baker, which is a mile or so from the field. One's view hinges I suspect on one's definition of 'boring'. For example, the company's old CTP, who egged me on, was not boring, having been in the same squadron as the fellow who was busted for flying a Hunter through Tower Bridge, and is still flying the RV-8 which he built, at the age of 80 or so. His eventual replacement, however, despite having ejected from a Hawk and done all kinds of other stuff, was as boring as hell. Chock, thank you but as I mentioned I've given up on M$'s flight simulator, which is in my view no better than their operating systems. In the 1970s I worked for a company (Nascom Microcomputers) which had Bill Gates as a subcontractor, writing our BASIC interpreter. I had to do the documentation half of his job for him because the lazy so-and-so simply wouldn't. I've never met him, but I've spoken to him on the phone a couple of times, and so can't really summon up enough of the awed respect in which the wretched fellow now seems to be held to spend any more time trying to make his stuff work. flyforever, believe it or not I've never subscribed to this 'dream of flying' story. My experience of aviation (which started in 1963 in a Vickers Viscount) has always suggested to me that here in the UK at least it is largely a matter of paperwork and radar, a sort of aerial chess. I view aerobatics as mere Blaginism and have never attended an air show, except Farnborough in professional or semi-professional capacities. pracines, at Martin-Baker there was the story of Sir James, who, having bought an airliner (a BAC 111), stepped into the cockpit during a flight and quickly returned to his seat, muttering "They're not doing anything in there. They're just sitting there, throwing switches." Thanks for the recommendation but as I mentioned I've never been able to get M$'s product to work at all - before settling on X-plane my computer expert and I spent nearly a fortnight trying to get two different 'editions' of FSX to install on either of two high-end systems; eventually, having spent a lot of time on forums, he said "Apparently this is a 'known problem'." and I said "Well, that does it, then; it's sacked."
  11. Now that got your attention, didn't it? It's quite true, though. Aviation is boring. It promises, and works very hard to deliver, safe, predictable results - the minimum fuel used and the minimum gin spilled, as airline types put it. Aircraft older, and in some cases better qualified, than their pilots take off, fly to somewhere and land on it, untouched by human hand except possibly to dial another number into the autopilot. And we seem happy to simulate this safe but uneventful state of affairs. Of course there are those who simulate fast jets and air combat - often unsuccessfully, in my view, as the lack of inertial feedback is far more obvious if one indulges in turns above rate 1. Instrument training has always been the most satisfactory form of simulation because instrument flight is (or certainly ought to be) stately. Unfortunately now it is also terminally dull thanks to the computer and GPS. In a twin-engined aircraft there is now little to do (in a single-engined one, of course, one spends all of one's spare time in gloomy contemplation of the harsh earth beneath, wondering where to forced-land). Simulator programmers always try to be ahead of the game. For example, Denham (EGLD), where I trained, is a small and unpretentious little field just inside Heathrow's control zone, but is represented in X-Plane 11 as a major airport with all kinds of things it never had, still hasn't, and might never have. Therefore designers will doubtless be just as keen promptly to 'switch off' VORs and other traditional navaids provided in the simulation as budget-conscious aviation authorities are with the real ones. While this is of course correct from the training point of view I have to say that pressing the 'Direct-To' button on a GPS - simulated or real - is pretty poor entertainment. What I would like, and would be prepared to pay a reasonable price for, is an historical flight simulator, preferably based on X-plane or, if not, as good as. For example, I should like to try flying at night around the USA (perhaps carrying the mail) in a suitable period aircraft like a YB-10, using only airway light-beacons and four-course 'A-N' radio ranges, assisted no doubt by a copy of Mr. Jeppesen's famous notebook. Would this not be more difficult, more demanding, and therefore in general more fun?
  12. Lionel Mandrake

    Hello, virtual world...

    Bill, further to my last, is it a Boeing P-12?
  13. Lionel Mandrake

    Hello, virtual world...

    Thanks for the welcome, Bill. In fact I'm not a complete newcomer. In the 1970s I was in the computer trade, and had the SubLogic simulator before they sold it to M$. It was rubbish. I never used the M$ version, mostly because it was always so wiggy (just for the sake of form I tried two different issues of MSFSX recently, and nothing has changed - neither would install) but when I was flying I used a British procedural trainer called LAS VFR 5.0 with a CH yoke and pedals, which don't seem to have changed much in twenty years - mine were not good, to be honest, and horribly overpriced. I'd recommend X-plane. What sold it to me was the ability to design one's own plane and fly it. This IMHO beats the pants off collecting payware. Air Manager's a very good idea but my computer expert friend says that Java Script is exactly analogous to the 'dangerously cheap dynamite' once sold to Cornish tin-miners, and that AM was probably written by someone whose enthusiasm exceeds their talent. Though I believe that the engine behind you in your photo is perhaps fitted with a Townend ring rather than a NACA cowl I regret that beyond that I can't identify your a/c.
  14. Lionel Mandrake

    DIY Throttle Quadrant Help

    If you use a Bodnar interface they recommend using any value between 1K and 100K, nominally 10K. The resistance doesn't alter the accuracy. The instructions for using their boards are on their website as PDFs (e.g.
  15. Lionel Mandrake

    DIY Throttle Quadrant Help

    Hello flyforever, you said that 'building a multilever quadrant that is functional is a bit more difficult than simply putting a few parts together...In theory, it can be done. In practice, after all the money and time has been spent, the Saitek looks like a bargain.' As far as I know the Saitek quadrant does not reproduce the mechanical interlocking found in the majority of throttle gear for turboprops. For example, in King Airs the levers must be lifted over stops to ground idle, feather and reverse positions. Using controls like the Saitek without this positive interlocking, one is expected to move the levers through positions at which their action will start to be interpreted differently by the software. I believe that this is insufficiently realistic to develop any useful skill as during landing the quadrant levers must be operated rapidly and positively, relying on their stops to prevent error, and there is no opportunity to look closely at their markings. I once found a commercial replica of the King Air quadrant, complete with these essential liftover stops (though perhaps not with realistic clanking noises), but it was about a thousand dollars US and by the time it got to me it would have been at least a thousand English pounds, the price here of a reasonably good secondhand car. Therefore despite the difficulty I still think my only chance is to persevere with trying to design something which can be made with modest resources.