David Maltby’s Updated ‘Comet’

David Maltby has been making British classics for a number of years.  He is one modeler that deserves a lot of respect and admiration.  To further impress us, he just released an updated version of his de Havilland DH106 Comet 4, which includes new flight dynamics, an improved panel, and a stunning virtual cockpit. Wow. It even works to some success in FSX.

DH106 Comet 4 DH106 Comet 4 Virtual Cockpit

For more information, please visit his website or Classic British Flight Sim.

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Took PAD’s CTws out for a spin.

The other day, I posted an announcement that Premier Aircraft Design had released their Flight Design CTws for FS9/FSX.  Now that I am back from vacation, I had a chance to take it out for a spin to see how it flies.  I flew the FSX version from Medford, Oregon, down to Ashland, then up to Crater Lake and back to Medford.

CTws Test Flight Map

I must say that I am very impressed with this aircraft.  It reminds me a lot of a Piper Super Cub, but with many more creature comforts.  It willingly leaves the ground and is susceptible to winds, like the Cub.   Cruising is around 110knts while sipping gas.  Banking the aircraft brings no real surprises. However, the small engine lacks the power needed for aggressive climbs, but then this isn’t a Mooney. Overall, it is very well behaved and gets the job done on the cheap.

CTws over Crater Lake

PAD’s model is very detailed, with all of the usual animations.  There is a pilot modeled in the exterior view, which offers lots of detail.  The shape is a little strange, but then aerodynamics are never “traditional.” The virtual cockpit is detailed as well and has a landing checklist right on the panel.  However, it does lack a horizontal horizon (HSI) gauge. This took a little bit of getting used to.   With such a simple aircraft, PAD has put a lot of detail that really makes it payware quality… for free.

CTws Virtual Cockpit Crater Lake

PAD’s Flight Design CTws is a superb aircraft that should find a welcoming home in every pilot’s hangar.  The inexpensive aircraft offers enough performance and comfort to satisfy all but the pickiest pilot’s.

CTws landing, Medford Rwy 27

Cheers!

Zagat’s 2007 Fast Food Survey

I am sitting in a hotel room looking up something that I found to quite intriguing.  When I was in Grants Pass, Oregon at a Dairy Queen waiting for my Blizzard and a cheeseburger, I noticed a sign on the wall bragging about their frosty taking top honors in Zagat’s 2007 Fast Food Survey.  I couldn’t believe my eyes…  someone actually rates fast food?  Of course, there must be as fast food is a multi-billion dollar industry. So I decided to look it up and see what they said about my favorite fast food joint.

Here are some highlights concerning the survey, but I encourage everyone to go over to their website and download the actual survey.  Taking top honors for food among the “mega-chains” is Wendy’s, followed by Subway.  However, their ratings are reversed when it comes to service, surveyors say that Subway has better service than Wendy’s. This is interesting since the last time I went in to a Subway, I had to order my sub in spanish as no one spoke English.   So, I have to disagree, Wendy’s has far better service than Subway, in my opinion. However, Subway was rated as the healthiest choice by surveyors.

One my of favorites, Dairy Queen, tied for third place for food with Pizza Hut, despite rating them low for facilities. Taco Bell, one of my personal best value selections for their chicken soft tacos al fresco, managed to pull into the “good to very good” food rating with a score of 16. However, an overall score of 13, puts it in the “fair to good” category.   In Zagat’s write-up, they refer to Taco Bell as the “Chef Boyardee of Mexican-inspired fast food.”  Hmmm…

Clearly, everyone’s experiences will differ across geographical location and personal taste. If you are on a health kick, please refer to the restaurant’s nutrition information.  I saw a number of patrons at a McDonald’s in Salem, Oregon using this information to make a smart decision for their next meal.  If you are a frugal type, then Wendy’s would not be as good of a choice as either McDonald’s or Taco Bell that have an extra cheap “value menu” to choose from. Good luck…  may the force be with you.

New FSX/FS9 light-sport aircraft is out…

The designers over at Premier Aircraft Design recently released a very interesting aircraft for both FS9 and FSX. The Flight Design CTws is a revolutionary new light-sport aircraft that offers a “high” top speed, and a low stall speed while delivering a low operating cost. It is set to compete with the new Cessna 162 SkyCatcher. The light-sport market just got hotter!

PAD’s version is stunning and has the usual level of detail they typical model. I have not flown it yet, since I am still on vacation and am away from my simulator computer. Check it out and post a comment if you love it, hate it, or whatever…

Cheers!

Visiting Fort Tejon, CA

     As you walk up the path and cross the babbling creek, you get a glimpse of the barracks through the old oak trees. After paying your park admission fee and obtaining your self-guided tour pamphlet, you begin in the wonderful shade of those old oak trees.
Off to the left, bound by wooden fences, are the remains of the fort band stand and officer’s quarters. You use your imagination to vision the band playing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” as enlisted men watch.
Continuing up the trail, you pass the end of the first enlisted barracks, behind which are buildings associated with the camp kitchen and mess hall. You can hear the chatter of the enlisted men complain of the food and heat as they eat their bread or tack. Many thousands of meals have been served in this area.
Passing the foundation of the second barracks, you walk toward the steps into the reconstructed enlisted barracks. After entering, you notice its simplicity and the creaky floor as you move about. The southern end is the officer’s area and moving north you move into the enlisted men’s area where 80 or so men would unfurl their textiles for a good night’s rest. The rifles and swords would be in a rack in the middle, while the exterior wall would have pegs and a shelf, allowing the men to hang their wool jackets and place their cap on the shelf.
Looking out through the windows over the parade ground, you can here the officers shout orders as the enlisted men drill in the afternoon sun. Beyond, lays the foundation of the fort hospital where doctors would use “primitive” instruments and medicine to treat your wound.
Exiting down the stairs, you walk south across the parade ground toward the married officers’ quarters. Currently there is only one reconstructed. To the west are the foundations of two other four room, 2-story houses. While rather simple in its design, it is efficient and houses the family. At times, these were duplexes, housing two families that each had two of the four rooms. As you walk up the stairs to the front porch, you can here the footsteps of the captain’s wife as she walks from the kitchen to the porch to watch the drill on the parade ground.
From the central hallway, you can go the to dining room, to the parlor, or upstairs to the two bedrooms. The floor creaks while the sunlight fills the room through the wavy glass windows. Simple pictures adorn the walls and fine wood furniture sparsely fill the rooms covered by simple white linens. Everything here had to be hauled in, so the furniture they had, had to be functional.
Exiting out the back door, you pass the kitchen, where simple ingredients were made into tasty meals for the officer and his family. To the right is another stone building that is believed it was used as an unmarried officers’ quarters. As you walk west between the foundations and the officer’s quarters. You can smell the fruitcake and soda biscuits as they are prepared for the families.
Turning north behind the foundations of the commissary and hospital, you can look across the Parade Ground and the fort flag. Again, you can imagine federal troops playing baseball in the afternoon sun or socializing in the shade. Off to the left, in the trees, are the remains of the fort bakery where hard tack was made to feed the men while on patrol. The smell must have been better than the taste.
Moving further north are two more foundations, which represent two more officers’ quarters. You can see how the parade ground was surrounded by higher ranking individuals. If you disobeyed these higher ranking individuals, you might find yourself in the fort jail, located east of the officers’ quarters back toward the entrance to the park. The cells had little in the way of creature comforts and provided no heat. These cells represented the worst punishment. Next door is the guard house.
As you exit the park, and look across I-5, you can see the Tejon Ranch. What you have just seen is only part of the original fort, the other part lies under I-5 and under the Tejon Ranch structures. Located in this area would have been the stables, corrals, quartermaster’s quarters and store, as well as storage buildings and blacksmith.

This is a brief description of my experience at the park. I would encourage everyone to visit it, especially during one of the reenactment events. For more information and a list of events, please visit the Fort Tejon Historical Association’s website. I will update this post with images as I have them available.

A Simple Productivity Tip…

A while back I had read a post over at Lifehacker that really intrigued me.  The post talked a productivity tip from Jerry Seinfeld.  The thing was, it was so simple, I had a major Duh! moment. Jerry’s tip was to take a wall calendar with the entire year on it and put it on a prominent wall.  Then take a big red marker and cross out the day everytime he accomplished a task like writing daily. Each time he crossed off a date, he extended a chain of red marks.  The key is not to break the chain.  Simple?  Yep!

For me, my task was to not have more than one cup of decaf coffee per day.  I printed out a calendar I found on the internet, and have been building my chain ever since.  This would be useful for reaching your goals and/or trying to learn something, like SQL.  If I spend 30 minutes each day  studying SQL, then after a few months, I would not only have an impressive chain on my calendar, but I would also have a pretty grasp of SQL.

This would be good for those that are trying to get out of debt and are on a tight budget.  Did you make your budget for that day?  Yes, build the chain.  If not, you broke your chain and have to start all over again.

I encourage everyone to try it.  It is quite motivating!

Taking a vacation…

I am off on my vacation starting today.  I will have sporatic access to the internet, so I will post when I can.

For those watching the Zaca Fire, please continue to check the websites mentioned in each post regularly.  The good news as of this morning, is that the south front is holding and to solidify their hold, the DC-10 high capacity tankers are going to make some drops.

Til later then…