New Cessna 150 model is out…

A new Cessna 150 Aerobat & Commuter model has been released for FS9. This is a payware quality model, that is available for free!!! There are some nice surprises included and a paintkit is also available.

Check it out over here….

Some posts over at indicate that it works well in FSX. However, the designers might be releasing a dedicated FSX version in coming months.

Happy flying!


Update: Dog-Trot Toolshed Paper Model

I worked on the dog-trot toolshed “dream” home over the weekend. As you can see in the picture below, I have the boxes for the main “sheds.”

Dog-Trot paper model - phase 2

The one on the right is the sleeping “shed” which will have a twin bed and a writing desk. Directly behind this unit is the carport. In front on the left is the main living “shed” with comfortable couches, kitchen, and an eating space. Directly behind that (the box without the roof that needs to be trimmed) is the utility “shed” which will house the bathroom, HW heater, and laundry. Between the two is a “dog-trot” or patio that will be my outdoor living room. Keep in mind that a roof will cover the entire layout, making them look like one unit.

Here are some example dog-trots: dog-trot1, dog-trot2

Seeing my dream home in its current phase, two things pop into mind:
1 – its small! I think my happiness with this home is going to depend a lot on the land and acreage that I build it on. I wll spending a lot of time outside, so Alaska may not be the most suited place. I was thinking somewhere more like Arizona, Texas, or New Mexico.
2 – It needs a porch along the front. The LBJ home in Texas (one of my favorite dog-trot houses) has a wonderful porch across the front, expanding their living space even further. I am not sure if putting a porch on the front will work with the roof line I have pictured in my mind, but its a model so I can experiment.

Obviously, more updates will come as I start putting together more details and spend more time on the model.

Cheers and Happy Day!

edit 6/10 – fixed broken link on dog-trot2 image

Flight Simulator Surprises… Vought Corsair F-4U – A review

I love surfing flight sim add-on sites as I always find new toys to play with in my simulator. After discovering and my visit to the Commemorative Air Force, I found a model of the Vought F-4U Corsair that is simply awesome. I grew up watching the Black Sheep Squadron, so the Corsair is special to me. Sometimes referred to as “Whistling Death,” the Corsair was known for its overall superior performance against anything in the air at the time.

In production from 1940 – 1953, it was originally designed for the US Navy, but the Corsair eventually found its true home with the US Marines. Even though its performance was outstanding, the difficulty of controlling it at low speed and poor forward visibility due to its long nose (nicknamed “The Hose Nose”), made it more suited for land-based operations.

Corsair ParkedCorsair - flying

The model for Flight Simulator 2004 was developed by Alpha Bleu Ciel and is highly detailed. From the animated canopy, pilot, and landing gear, to the detailed repaints, this one is a winner. The only downfall is that I haven’t seen many repaints for it, but I can’t let that plague this fine model.

The Exterior Model
Well… it looks like a Corsair, a highly detailed Corsair that is. From the decals on the props to the engine cowling to the rivets holding the skin on, the authors left no detail unturned. I especially like the engine, which has spark plug wires, cooling fins, and oil lines. The uniqueness of the old radial engines comes out shining in this model. The gun ports, wings and flaps are not mere rectangles like in FS5. There is simply too much eye candy here to discuss in detail. Overall Rating (1 low 5 best): 5

Quantico - Corsair Corsair - Engine detailQuantico - Corsair 2

The Cockpit
The cockpit is just as detailed as the exterior model and even includes a pilot. Both a 2D panel and a 3D virtual cockpit are included. Gauges of the era are represented and authentic; no modern GPS here. I prefer to fly in the virtual cockpit as it seems more real to me. This is definitely one “office” that I would love to spend time in. But, with a Japanese Zero on the tail, maybe not… Overall rating: 4

Vought Cockpit

The Flight
I have only a few hours in a real C172, so I am not the best person to judge flight dynamics. I will say that the Corsair is a powerful, agile plane that is tons of fun to fly. It takes off in a short distance and climbs fast. Its easy to get caught up in the moment and toss it around a little too much, buzz the tower, and make some high speed low passes over the runway.

The Corsair is known for poor handling at low speed. This trait is present in the the FS9 version. Often times when on a low speed approach, I find it hard to keep it centered on the runway. As it turns out the, the Corsair’s port wing tends to stall before the starboard wing, which caused the instability. I guess just keep your speed up and “drop” the bird onto the runway. It will take some practice. Overall rating: 5

Below is a screen shot showing some of the liveries available for this model. Overall, I wish there were more available, covering some of the specific aircraft flown by pilots during its day. However, the Coca Cola livery is fun.

Corsair Liveries

As you can tell, I am very impressed with Alpha Bleu Ciel’s Vought Corsair model for FS9. I think it is one of the best models out there. The exterior model is superb, the cockpit is authentic, and the flight dynamics are impressive. This should be a great addition to everyone’s hangar.

A Reality of My Own Rating: 4.5

Add-on Pack/Fixes:
Authors/Credits: “3D Model, virtual cockpit & textures Guy Hulin. Panel & gauges Jean-Pierre Langer, Arne Bartels. Flight dynamic Jean-Pierre Bourgeois, Benoit Dubé.”

 NOTE: This has been updated for FSX.  look for it over at simviation

Home-Made Chili… what’s good?

Lately, I have been getting more into slow cooking meals, such as stews, chilis, and my favorite, chicken marengo. Last weekend, I made a large pot of chili using a recipe I found in the Joy of Cooking. However, being the crazy chef that I am, I aways put a twist on the recipe. Along with the ground beef, I added some Italian sweet sausage and marinated pork (marinade was olive oil, garlic, and chili powder). I will say that these were extremely successful additions, especially the Italian sausage.

What I would like to know is (if you don’t mind sharing), what additions have you made to your chili recipes? What is your trick to making the best chili… you know that chili that you take to the backyard potluck and within a few hours everyone is standing in line for the bathroom type chili?

Becoming a genius…

A number of years ago, my grandmother gave me a book that discussed how you could become a genius just like DaVinci. I was very skeptical of this book, until I started reading it and discovered that I was already doing a lot of the activities discussed in the book. Things like:

1) writing open minded for 10 minutes straight each day
2) concentrating one thing for the entire day (i.e the feel of your pen on your fingers throughout the day or all of the different places you see a particular color during the day.)
3) drawing with your non-writing hand (I am left handed, so drawing with my right takes a lot of concentration).
4) Researching something and then writing an essay on it. (I wrote an essay on alternative fuels when that was at interest. I also wrote a paper on why my boss sucked, which worked out perfectly for me to work better with her/him.)
5) Reading. There is so much to learn in a book.  I have about five that I am currently reading on various topics; from financial planning to Chaco Canyon.

One thing I certainly recall is that geniuses do not watch much TV, if any at all. That really smart family that I went to school with never had a TV and is the perfect example. The older brother graduated from community college the same day he graduated from high school. The younger sister also graduated at the top of her class and went to Harvard, where she graduated in the top 5 of her class. Feel stupid yet?? A number of people who I have worked with that are currently leading international archaeological expeditions do not own a TV. They are handed money from many aid groups without much effort. I think there is something to ditching the TV to become a genius.

After turning off my television, I do feel like my brain has been freed. It is free to use its own imagination for different tasks. Plus I am not bombarded with ads for the latest crap someone thinks I need to buy. Could the end of television lead to the end of consumerism? Oh my gosh… I can feel the genius coming on.

FSX SP1 – Activation Issues

I’ve been reading a lot about activation issues with FSX SP1 and can say that I think Microsoft got what was coming to them.  First, if you are having issues activating your purchased copy of FSX, please call Microsoft and ask one of their CS agents to activate it over the phone.  They seem to be nice people and are at least reasonable about it.

However, what was M$ thinking?  My company would never put a customer in such a poor spot of having paid for software and then be left hanging.  Just think of the wasted time and money if every user of FSX called M$ once of a month to reactivate?  I guess M$ just has money to burn.  Then again, Bill may never have read The Ultimate Question.

FSX can run “well” on old machines

I spent the last few days resizing FSX SP1 textures by 50%. The biggest batch was the Autogen Ground textures that took almost four hours to downsize. I am happy with the results; I cranked up all the settings in FSX to max and flew from from Friday Harbor to Arlington. Let me say, I was amazed that the flight even started. I got around 3.5fps with occasional stuttering. The water effects and the AI were the big killers, so I turned them down and found a sweet spot that I think I will be happy with while getting about 9fps. The screenshot shows 9.7fps, but I think that is because I had it paused. What’s with the hideous looking forest? I didn’t know the NW was that diverse.

Approach to KAWO

The only issue is that I am flying a Mooney, which has relatively small number of polygons. I will not get the same performance flying over metropolitan areas in an A321. For the heavies, I will stick with FS9. However, my interest in heavies has been diminishing lately, so I don’t think I will miss it much in FSX.

A word of caution, take “run(s) well on old machines” with a grain of salt. My idea of running well might be a joke to the guy running the latest and greatest computer hardware. Good for you… but this is my reality and I say it runs well on my old machine.