Saturday, 19 May 2018

ISG Simavionics

Ernie Alston’s fabulous ISG Simavionics comprehensive suite of primary and secondary AI & ND navdata ready instruments, EFIS panels, and FMC’s has received a very welcomed P3D V4 update.

Existing owners can download the update from the forum. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Guesstation Period Over! 26th June 2018

Aerosoft have set a “non-negotiable” release date for their Airbus Professional A318/A318, and it’s the 26th June 2018. 

Somewhat sneakily they posted the date in white text on a white background!

Be it camouflage or subterfuge is for you to decide, but either way, it’s not just given their customers the hump, but it seems also to have given the bus the hump too!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Pieces of Eight!

The somewhat haughtily named "Precision Manuals Development Group" have released a teaser video of their forthcoming 747-8.

From what I can see, it looks fairly nice, but you can check it out yourselves by searching through YouTube's vast vaults. I'd post the link for you but I'm too busy waiting for something else...

Their long suffering Jetstream JS4100 customers who, despite several reassurances and teases by the developers not so timid CEO, have waited patiently for the long promised re-release of their age old favourite turboprop have fallen back into denial - the jetstream it might seem may be nothing more than hot air which leaves me thinking that El Nino has struck again.

Someone might eventually postulate that the extraordinary delays behind the long-term imminently expected arrivals of Aerosoft's latest Airbus Professional and PMDG's hyped JS4100 have a common cause, which leaves me speculatively considering whether the moniker "Professional" has bitten these two on their corporate arms, and if so, could it be that this contagion will bite us too?

Are we witnessing the unseen dynamics "dues" and "levies" within the mighty dominion of P3D V4 "For Grown Ups Only"?

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Respect the Elders: Oldtimers Galore

Praise be to the Gods of Simulations - Milviz have delivered their P3D4 readied 737-200C!

On the other hand, perhaps I should say reinvented or even deconstructed?!

The MV 732C for P3D4 has lost the "737-200 Advanced" Universal FMC and autothrottle variants from the FSX/P3D V1-3 versions, but thankfully it has retained the essential features of the standard fit Sperry S77 autopilot, and that's actually a good thing because it is all that one really needs.

I am presently flying out of PAHO Homer and I have hand flown the departure in uncontrolled airspace to my cruise FL160 HOM 174R DCT PADQ ILS Y RW26. Meanwhile, the weather at Kodiak is miserable with a low ceiling and bucket fulls of heavy Alaskan rain.

I guess that today could be the day for opting for fully managed electronic hands-off sort aircraft, perhaps an Airbus or Boeing. However, I'd prefer to be in something where the pilot has a role and plays a vital part in the proceedings. Today I'll take the MV B737-200C thank you very much.

This is a true pilot's aircraft as it hand flies beautifully and just as one would expect such a craft to be. It was an absolute delight to power it above the mountains and light clouds around Homer of course with my hands glued to those two meaningful power levers.

You see, when he said "My aeroplane, I have control", he meant it - hand's off , it's mine.

The MV 732C's built-in REX Advantage WXR makes weather negotiations a breeze. The WXR is a fine and capable instrument, colourful too on a day like this, but it can be swapped out for a TCAS gauge (not functional under P3D4).

The area in the pedestal occupied by the ubiquitous Universal FMC (FSX/P3D V1-3 only) has under P3D4 kindly been left at my request as a blank gauge placeholder, and this means that buyers can retrofit their upper pedestals with a gauge of their choice; the default Milviz choice is the stock FSX/P3D GPS.

Not having the also ubiquitous Flight1 GTN means that I cannot vouch for whether the two are compatible. Nevertheless, I have retrofitted my model with basic working TCAS and WXR radar. Not only that, but for the lazy moments, I have placed the basic and cost effective 64-bit ready EasyFMC by Eric Marciano on the pedestal, but the Honeywell FMC by Garrett Smith which features in many freeware aircraft also work nicely under P3D4.

Don't forget that FSX/P3D users can update their native simulator with up-to-date navdata (current is cycle 1805) simply by visiting the Aero.Sors webpage (donations are optional). Updating your platforms native navdata allows basic FMC's such as the Honeywell or EasyFMC to become far more viable, as well as the standard or recently uprated GPS devices.

However, this is a pilots aeroplane, and it doesn't really need any of the electronic wizardry even if it's nice to have. The B732C really should be flown by the book, and when I say book, I mean the old school rule book where they speak of radials, line of sight, VHF, non-directional, antenna, and sweat.

It also feature fantastic cockpit lighting courtesy of TFDi's RealLight and TruGlass technologies, which both make the VC a great place to experience those tense overcast, bumpy, and miserably wet approaches. The aircraft features a large opening cargo door on the forward port side, and can be configured as a passenger, combi, or freighter only variants. A gravel kit is optional, but a grovel kit might have been more useful for my last approach.

An essential addition for this pilot driven aeroplane is Paul Tully's freeware V1-One Gauge which when correctly fitted will add a 2D panel of flap-specific v-speeds, EPR values, v-speeds calls as well as other PNF calls, cruise values, weights, OAT, local QNH, and toggleable kg/lbs fuel use. Paul originally devised the MV specific gauge for implementations under FSX/P3D V1-3, but with a little XML path editing it can easily be made to work under P3D4.

The Mv 737-200C has quirks and carries one or two uncorrected faults that have been ported over from prior FSX/P3D releases, such as the generators not coming online at certain times, but otherwise, should you be in the market for a hand-on, EPR twitching, trim juggling, pocket rocket flying machine, then this one gets the thumbs up, both thumbs actually.

At a droplet of Jet A1 under $50 it's admittedly not cheap, but then with the forthcoming three day Milviz 30% off sale running from the 11th May 2018, then if you don't already have a hand flying passenger carrying freight lugging wildebeest in your inventory, then here's one for you - it has a thumbs up from me.

NB. The link for the P3D4 version is in the forum which becomes accessible only after registration.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Upgraded CRJ700: Freeware by 2Skies

Here's a fabulous FREEWARE revamp of the classic default FSX CRJ-700, and I think that you'll agree that it's anything but a general touch-up...

Upgrades include a revamped VC with FMC, Milviz WXR, and TFDi TruGlass, plus reworked lighting!

Check out the YouTube video by clicking on the above video link, and then go grab the download at 2Skies ProFlight.

Whe you've done that, go and relive your junior FSX days by flying that St Maartens Approach Mission!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

FS Host Client: How to Swap Out Your Mates!

With FS Host Client, changing the aircraft model of other players can be a fairly straightforward routine. This narrative describes two methods for swapping out the aircraft of your fellow online players. So, if they show up as a Cessna, Mooney, or smoke-burning Tupolev, you can banish them from your screen and swap them for a Concorde or Boeing 777.

If in using FSHC you are at the stage of wanting to change the aircraft model/livery of other members, then you won't need me to tell you how to connect, so we'll dive straight in...

Just Flight's forthcoming Traffic Global 

1. The Easy Route: FS Host Client "planes.txt"

Planes.txt is a text based substitution model-matching table used by FSHC, and allows you to swap the model of other players aircraft. So, if you are seeing Cessna 172's instead of Boeing 737's, then this is the easiest way to make simple but effective changes.

The section below is a small section of this file, and essentially it is telling FSHC to swap the aircraft types on the left (other players) with the aircraft types on the right (models available within your sim):

*Airbus A321* = Airbus A321 Paint2
*Aircreation582SL* = Aircreation582SL Blue
*Beech Baron* = Beech Baron 58 Paint1
*Beech King Air* = Beech King Air 350 Paint1
*Bell* = Bell 206B JetRanger Paint1
*737* = Boeing 737-800 Paint1
*747* = Boeing 747-400 Paint1
*777* = Boeing 747-400 Paint1

To do this, FSHC reads the aircraft "title" from the aircraft configuration file, and you can easily do the same:

  • Check the FSHostClient window for the model of aircraft.
  • Use our online SWFSG Map as this also details the model of other players aircraft.
  • Open our FS Host Server Status webpage for the same information.
  • Open up any relevant aircraft.cfg and read the title line therein.

As an example, the line " *737* = Boeing 737-800 Paint1 " this tells FSHC to swap any aircraft whose title string contains "737" for the default FSX B737-800 in livery "Paint1".

An important aspect of this is the generic substitution of unrecognised aircraft types for new or unrecognised aircraft types; say someone joins in with a new payware aeroplane, for instance the TFDi 717-200, then you have two choices:

  1. Add a new line to swap the 717 for the default MD-83:
    • *717* = Boeing MD-83 Paint2
  2. Edit the FSX and/or P3D default types at the bottom of panes.txt such that any new type not matching the present criteria will be displayed as your choice of model & livery:
    • default_fsx = Boeing 737-800 Paint2
    • default_prepar3d = Boeing 747-400 Paint1

2. The Bigger & Better Route: Boston Virtual AI

Imagine 9Gb's of shiny new AI models and 1000's of up-to-date liveries residing within your virtual hangar!

Open the peerless Boston Virtual AI to find a download link to their superb freeware model matching system for online pilots (FSX, FSX:SE, P3D).

You have a choice of either downloading the manual installation files (for you to configure and install) or running the auto-installer for direct online installation into a directory of your choice (recommended).

Note that whilst these models will not provide you with directed AI traffic flying within your sim (NB. BGL files with airline routes are not included). To use BVAI models as intended, you will need to be online using VATSIM. However, these aircraft models and liveries will also work with FSHC.

The automatic installer will add the correct lines to your sim CFG/XML for your particular simulator platform (it worked perfectly for my P3D4).

However, FSHC cannot detect the presence of these new AI models, and so this is where we must change the setup for SWFSG.

The BVAI installation routine will have asked you for your chosen installation path; under P3D4 this can be anywhere as BVAI will create a mini-subsystem of three folders (Effects, SimObjects, Texture).

Wherever your BVAI files have been installed, you will need to move the 120 BVAI models from your BVAI simobjects\airplanes folder into your simulators simobjects\airplanes folder. I opted to install BVAI under my existing P3D4 simobjects folder:

Moving the BVAI model files in your simobjects\airplanes folder means that they will no longer be working for use with BVAI which may or may not be a problem for you.

If you need to copy the model files, note that FSX/P3D will report "Multiples objects with the same names" several times as the model files will be duplicated, and the aircraft titles as read from the aircraft.cfg will also be duplicated.

Utilities such as "Agent Ransack" (freeware) can be used to easily find/replace (rename) multiple instances of text strings within nested files and folders, which means that editing the 100's of aircraft titles within BVAI models can be achieved with relative ease.

In fact, I had to do the same for my Just Flight Traffic360 installation in order to use Traffic360 aircraft models for FSHC (NB. I copied the model files because the AI component of Traffic360 needed the aircraft models to remain in their default directory).


Whichever method you use, be it the easy but less versatile model matching offered by the planes.txt file or adding AI traffic models from BVAI, and perhaps any other traffic program too, you will need to restart FSHC in order for it to see the changes.

If you opted for BVAI or another AI Traffic utility, then right clicking on other players names should present you with a list of models to perfectly match the aircraft type and livery.

In recent times, a few "freeware" AI traffic packages such as SkyAI or SPAI have appeared as free downloads. Whilst the 100's of detailed aircraft models with up-to-date liveries may have taken a great deal of effort to collate, tailor, and package, allegations of "borrowed" models led to the withdrawal of certain packages. Knowing that there exists a mixed "history" regarding certain AI packages rings my personal alarm bells.

Instead, opt for BVAI, and once the download and installation is finished, make a backup of the entire package.

A few payware options are open to you as well, but do note that these are designed for AI traffic to populate the airport aprons and skies within your sims and not to provide models for FSHC. Your skies will be flooded with AI aeroplanes, and these too will use new aircraft models, and in the context of FSHC, this is the component that we are after (NB. not yet tested).

Just Flight are on the verge of releasing their new AI Traffic program "Traffic Global" and this looks to be an astoundingly good refresh for my ageing Traffic360. I suspect that FSHC will work as described above.

Another option is live traffic which mimics real world traffic shown in-sim in real time; you will be taxiing and flying amongst live traffic, so if you check out "Flight Radar 24", wherever it shows aircraft, you will also see that same traffic in-sim! Find Flight1 Ultimate Traffic "Live" here.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Flight Sim World heads into the sunset .. good bye

Flight Sim World: Closure Announcement