Update 26july09: Project Airbus is on indefinite hiatus and downloads are offline. I am leaving the links active to http://www.pairbus.com should their status change. The A380 development has been mothballed.
Today is a great day in the flight simulator world. Project Airbus released the second version of their A320 model. Their first model was highly detailed and changed the standard for FS modeling. Version two included dynamic jetwash, parallel bogies, and custom effects for lighting and touchdown. One drawback is that it does not include a virtual cockpit (VC), but it does have wingviews (pic below – lightning over Heathrow). Initial livery releases include mainly European and Pacific airlines, but a slew of JetBlue liveries are scheduled to be released in coming days. For more information, check out their website and forum.
While not designed for FSX, a number of people have successfully ported it over from FS9, aliasing the default FSX A321 panel and sounds. However, this model does not have a VC, which is a turn off for a lot of FSX users. Project Airbus is not supporting FSX, so you are on your own.
7/1 Update – I found a US Airways repaint on Avsim (file name: project_airbus_a320-200_usa_216706.zip) that has the FSX config files included. The user just needs to replace the FS9 files and the A321 panel and sounds will automatically be aliased. So, I put it in FSX. While the visual model looks awesome, the 2D A321 panel just doesn’t do it for me. In addition, the FDE seems to be screwed up, as I couldn’t get it to slow below 220 knots on approach to Long Beach. I don’t the trouble is worth using this model in FSX. I’ll just have to wait until Project Airbus’s FSX version 3 comes out in a few more years. Assuming they are going to make one! These comments were pilot error, I figured out how to slow it down. I love this model!
Edit: 07/26/09 – Added update at beginning of post regarding Project Airbus’s status.
Edit: 12/18/07 – updated links to Project Airbus’s new website.
To celebrate their 10th Anniversary, the Digital Navy released a detailed paper model version of a beautiful 1960′s ferry, the Lilla Weneda. You can check it out over here. The model is available free of charge, but please check out some of their other models as they are all worthy everyone’s attention.
Something tells me that the lightship Ambrose has some competition for the title of “best freeware, maritime paper model.”
One of the blogs that I check regularly, Ghost Cowboy, recently had a picture of an Indian family camped near a pristine river valley in Montana, circa 1905. It reminded how far our society had come and how “simple” life could be (although even the simple life has its complexities). I instantly thought how much of a shame it is that such places no longer exist in today’s world of concrete, cars, and wires. In fact, a reader also had the same thought and left a comment, to which the author responded with another post, showing off modern day pictures of “wilderness” and nature’s beauty. The author also links to TurnpikeCruiser.com for more scenic photos and information. The post was extremely motivating and I am considering visiting a few of the places on my upcoming vacation.
For those of us that are fans of ThinkingRock and the Getting Things Done theory of action management, version 2 epsilon is available for download. An epsilon release represents the fifth revision of a pre-release software candidate. It has increased performance and a lightly revised GUI over version 1.2.3. I am happy to see that the old DOS prompt is gone. You can check it out over at the ThinkingRock homepage.
As I embarked upon a new saga in which I hope to decide how to use my massive amount of vacation time from work, I came across a really awesome site. My background is in archeology and I am a pretty big culture/way of life buff. One thing I was considering was going back east and visit a few significant Civil War sites such as Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg, and Antietam.
As part of this exploration process, I googled “Civil War Tours” and found a great resource for those who wish to explore the Civil War and its important places. The site is Civil War Traveler and has tons of information including maps, histories, upcoming events, and now podcasts. You can browse sites by state and region. You can even search by battle if you have one particular battle in mind. Each “region” contains information on history, how to get there, and the hours of operation. One feature that I found to be extremely helpful is there Trek page, where they offer information on a 3-day trek based around Frederick, Maryland. This gave me a great sense how long I should expect to spend at different places and how long it would take to jaunt between them.
Their new podcast section is a great addition. This morning, over breakfast, I listened to the Malvern Hill battlefield tour. It was very interesting and together with the downloaded map, I felt like I was really there. While the tour guide was a bit repetitive it was very informing and appropriate. You can download the podcast to you iPod and take it with you to the site. Having the podcasts available really puts the virtual traveler one step closer to the battlefield.
Overall, the Civil War Traveler is a site that must be on everyone’s list of must visits if they are even halfway interested in the Civil War. The site is easy to browse, packed full of information, and offers 21st Century features to really connect with the viewer.
My vacation saga continues… although much more informed about the Civil War.
I found a new paper model. This time it comes from our neighbors to the north, the Canadian Navy. The model of a Kingston class coastal defense vessel comes in two versions, easy and advanced. I think I will add this one to my growing list of projects.
You can check it out over here.
I just flew into Skagway, Alaska and made a picture perfect landing. Leaving Juneau, there were some high clouds and the wind was a bit gusty, which made for an interesting take-off. En route, the weather was rough with an increasing lower cieling. The turbulence kept me awake. As I started my descent into Skagway, the rain began and did not let up until I touched down. Despite the wet conditions the landing went off without a flaw! Overall, the flight was short, but the weather made for an interesting flight.
When you combine your photography hobby with your obsession of aviation, what do you get? A Piper Saratoga on short final at a SoCal airport: