Project Airbus release the A318!

The title says it, Project Airbus released the little baby of the A320 family, the A318. You can grab it from their download section.  There are a number of liveries, including Air France, Frontier, Airbus Demonstrator, and a sweet Global Jet (private/corporate) livery.

More after I get a chance to download it and spend some time with her.  This should be great if it anything like their A320 or A319!

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Update: Here are some screenshots of the baby-bus:

Waiting for take off clearance at Prague, Rwy 24.

Waiting for take off clearance at Prague, Rwy 24.

Finally airborne...  wingflex is stunning.

Finally airborne… wingflex is stunning.

Just look at the detail, from the engines, to the landing gear bay to the wheels, and to the engine strut.

Just look at the detail, from the engines, to the landing gear bay to the wheels, and to the engine strut.

Now I have a major problem.  What size Project Airbus do I fly?  the Big (A320), the Medium (A319), or the baby (A318)?

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More POSKY CRJ-700 Repaints Available!

Now that Project Opensky‘s CRJ-700 model has been out for a while now, some of their gifted repainters are starting to distribute their talented work.  Released on avsim recently are repaints by Joe DeGregorio, Ron Waite, and Kyle Schurb that take the model to the next level.

ASA Delta Connection by Joe DeGregrio

ASA Delta Connection by Joe DeGregorio

Delta Connection, operated by ASA, by Joe DeGregorio features two variations of the livery.  A more standard livery based on N716EV and the 25th Anniversary Soaring and Silver livery on N738EV (pictured). Both liveries are available in 32-bit and DXT3 formats so that users can choose the performance level they need.  The download is a full package with sounds, FDE, and model. (filename: asa_cr7s.zip)

SkyWest Delta Connection livery by Ron Waite

SkyWest/Delta Connection livery by Ron Waite

A little closer to home, is Ron Waite’s Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines livery.  Represented is N608SK in typical Delta Connection colors with a few added features, like additional reflections on the fuselage and wings.  The fan blades are also semi-transparent.  Any you look at it, this is one sweet livery. (filename: skywestcr7n608sk2004dci.zip)

Horizon Air by Kyle Schurb

Horizon Air by Kyle Schurb

One of my favorite liveries for the CRJ-700 is Horizon Air.  Included in the original CRJ release were Horizon’s college billboard liveries.  However, there is nothing more elegant and classic than the current Horizon livery.  It is beautifully detailed here by Kyle Schurb.  (filename: qxcr7.zip)

Happy Regional Flying!

Cheers!

Westland Wyvern for FSX!

While I am not sure what to make of this airplane’s styling and handling, but the fact is that it has been stunningly modeled in FSX.  The Westland Wyvern S.4 is a multi-role, carrier based platform built for the British Naval Air Squadrons during the 1950’s.  It is powered by a Rolls-Royce turboprop engine with contra-rotating props.

While production ended in 1956, with the remaining units retired in 1958, the Wyvern played a major role in Operation Musketeer in 1956. The aircraft had issues with high g-forces causing fuel starvation on the carrier catapult, which led to the first and only under water ejection after the aircraft ditched on take-off and was cut in to two by the carrier’s bow.

The short three year life span of this aircraft certianly make it unique.  I am happy to see that Richard Ruscoe, Fraser Paterson, and Philip Chandler, among others, recreated this aircraft for FSX.  The exterior model is stunning and it features an outstanding virtual cockpit.  The dive brakes are just awesome, the contra-rotating props certainly indicate the power of the beast, and the large bubble canopy actually has rivtets!  Great work!

Westland Wyvern in the dawn light off the coast of Japan.

Westland Wyvern in the dawn light off the coast of Japan.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I am really not sure what to make of this bird.  While the model is beautiful, the high mounted cockpit, drooping fuselage and large tail really me wonder if a P-51 and a Pilatus PC-12 were morphed into one.

I took the Wyvern on a flight from Okinawa to Tokyo’s Narita airport.  Graceful isn’t exactly how I would describe the flight dynamics.  I found that banking required a lot of stick input and the trim to be quite sensitive.  Then I encountered some wind gusts off the coast of Japan which made for a hair-raising flight.   Then I noticed that I had consumed almost all of the fuel, which meant buzzing Narita tower on fumes (this is a short-range aircraft) and then circling to land.  Overall, I did find it fun to fly, but I think smooth flying will take some practice.

Aircraft: Westland Wyvern S.4
Author(s): Richard Ruscoe, Fraser Paterson, Philip Chandler
Filename: Wyvern_FSX.zip
File Size: 26.1 MB
Webiste/Download: here
Updates: None yet

Project Opensky Releases Their CRJ-700!

This one is awesome and I am stunned.  There is now a great reason to keep that install of FS9 a bit longer… Project Opensky released their CRJ-700!  It is available at their download page, but you should read their release announcement <here> first!   This release includes the advanced features debuted with their 777v2 series (XML animation) and includes American Eagle, Horizon, Frontier, and United Express liveries to boot. A sound package is in the works, so expect it to be available… well when it is available.

Horizon "OSU" CRJ-700 by Project Opensky leaving SBA.

Horizon "OSU" CRJ-700 by Project Opensky leaving SBA.

More to come after I get her installed and have a moment to put her through her paces. FSX compatibility is not known at the moment, but I imagine it will do okay.  It would be interesting to put this one back to back with Microsoft’s CRJ-700 and see how they stack up.

Cheers!

edit 9/15: added screenshot and assigned categories to post

9/16 update: SP1a has been released for the CRJ-700v3.  Grab it from POSKY’s download section.  This fixes some misaligned polygons.

9/17 update: POSKY released a sound set for the CRJ series.  Look for filename crj_gecf34snd.zip on avsim. While I am here, here is another screenshot, landing rwy 7, SBA:

landing, rwy 7, SBA

landing, rwy 7, SBA

Need inspiration for an FS flight plan?

I came across a new site today that isn’t your typical flight simulator add-on.  I guess, technically, it is not even an add-on.  Four Flights is a site that gives the user an option of four types of flight plans, LIFR, IFR, MVFR, and VFR.  Clicking the type of flight plan that you want brings up a random flight containing those conditions. The site is updated hourly and a blog is available.

For instance, I click on IFR to practice my IFR approaches.  The site suggested I start at KPIA in Peoria, Illinois and fly to KMFD in Mansfield, OH, where there is currently IFR conditions, a distance of 326nm.  While it does not give me a flight plan, I can input the departure and arrival airports into the FSX/FS9 flight planner, load real world weather and then have some fun.

While this site is not ground-breaking, its simplicity is a nice touch. It is truly a great resource for someone that would like to explore new parts of the simulated world, but are not quite sure where to start.  I am looking forward to spending more time exploring the simulated world with their flight plans.

Cheers!

For the Rotorheads: NH-90 for Flight Simulator!

Adrian Brausch brings us his wonderfully modelled NH-90 military helicopter for FS9 via the RNZAF website.  With three visual models and a great soundset, this model is sure to please.  I took it out for a brief flight around SeaTac and then north toward the Oil Hotel (fictional scenery north of Golden Gardens on Puget Sound) and am impressed with the flight dynamics, but really missed a virtual cockpit.  I don’t have a lot of time flying helicopters (maybe 100 hours), but this one was finicky during transitions, particularly during hover.  This is such a great model that I am looking forward to getting to know this beast a lot better!

NH-90 by Adrian Brausch

NH-90 by Adrian Brausch

Note: According to the website, an FSX version is in the works that will feature a virtual cockpit.  The FS9 has some limitations in FSX.

Happy Rotoring!

Mooney M-18C released for FSX!

This is a release I have been waiting for for my entire flight simulator career; the release of a decent quality Mooney Mite (aka M-18).  While I had seen a few works in progress advertised on the world wide web, nothing was near completion.  Well, until now.  Tim “Piglet” Conrad brought the Mite to life for FSX-SP2 today when he released his model over at Simviation. While I am still in the process of downloading it, once I boot into Windows and capture some screenshots, I will give a more detailed review.

For now, go grab this historic flight simulator release!

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Post Download Update:

This model is super simple to install, just copy the M-18C folder to the airplanes foled and place the *.cab file in the gauges folder.  Fire up FSX, select the Mooney Mite and you are ready to go.

The M-18C is small, but looks impressive.

The M-18C is small, but looks impressive.

I decided to take the Mite out for a quick flight from Kerrville Municipal Airport (KERV), where the current Mooney Aircraft factory is located, to San Antonio International (KSAT).  This short flight would give me plenty of opportunity to experience grounding handling and airborne flight dynamics.

On the ramp at KERV, prior to departure.

On the ramp at KERV, prior to departure.

The level of detail that Tim put into this model is what we would expect for the latest generation of flight simulators.  From the propeller to the map/dog treat pocket in the virtual cockpit, to the Mooney logo on the tail, no detail has been spared.

The vitrual cockpit is highly detailed and is the perfect place to conduct business.

The vitrual cockpit is highly detailed and is the perfect place to conduct business.

Taxiing the Mite is a true joy as its responsiveness is lively and goes where you tell it to.  The oversize tires and unique landing gear definitely make great contact with the ground.  After looking at the Mite sitting on the ramp, I wondered if there were some balance issues as the landing gear looks too far forward.  It really isn’t and the ground experience is pleasantly civil.

Climbing out from KERV for San Antonio.

Climbing out from KERV for San Antonio.

On the takeoff roll, the Mite came off the runway so smoothly that the only indication was the lack of tire noise.  Pulling lightly back on the stick brought the nose up and a more aggressive climb.  Note that I did not give the Mite full throttle, only slightly more than half and it still became airborne in a reasonable amount of runway length.

Climbing the Mite is slow, but stable.

Climbing the Mite is slow, but stable.

As I turned toward Comfort, Texas, I did give the Mite more throttle for a more aggressive climb to 4,000 feet.  While not a stunning climber, the Mite does well for its small engine and gives the pilot a sense of stability that other small aircraft only wish they could achieve.

Looking toward Kelly AFB as we cruise south of KSAT for runway 30R.

Looking toward Kelly AFB as we cruise south of KSAT for runway 30R.

Cruising across the Texas hill country at slightly more than 100knts in this Mite was a real treat.  The flight dynamics are stable, even with a stiff, gusting crosswind.  I learned to appreciate the sensitivity to control input.  Like a dog, I found out how much this Mite could be a man’s best friend!

Approaching the airport a little too high and fast, but the Mite seems to love it.

Approaching the airport a little too high and fast, but the Mite seems to love it.

Approaching San Antonio, I really wanted to continue flying, but it was time to see how this old friend handles descents and approaches.  I purposely came in high and fast for runway 30R.  I wanted to see what would happen in a rapid descent and then how quickly I could burn excess energy to cause a stall just prior to touchdown. It did pretty good and I was impress with nosing down to ten degrees and throttling back the throttle kept speed under control.  At the bottom of the rapid descent, I began leveling off and found that the speed wasn’t bleeding off as quickly as I had hoped.  Extending the landing gear and then the flap helped, but I still ended up landing more than halfway down the runway.  I think this efficiency in maintaining speed speaks kudos to its design.

A zoom view from KSAT tower, the Mite looks as graceful as she feels.

A zoom view from KSAT tower, the Mite looks as graceful as she feels.

Once parked on the GA ramp at San Antonio, I took a moment to reflect on the flight.  The Mooney Mite is an exceptional aircraft whose only limitation is that you can’t share its grace with anyone else (it’s a single seater).  However, as a personal runabout, the Mite is fast, efficient, and stands out on the ramp.  Tim’s mastery of flight simulator modeling has transformed a little known legend into a download that we can all enjoy.  A big cheers goes to Al Mooney for creating the wonderful Mite in the first place and Tim “Piglet” Conrad for making this experience available to all of us!

The first of three repaints included in the download.

The first of three repaints included in the download.

The second of three repaints include.  Reminds me of a bumble bee!

The second of three repaints include. Reminds me of a bumble bee!

The third of three repaints.  The "Zero" repaint looks pretty good on this model.

The third of three repaints. The Zero repaint looks pretty good on this model.

THANK YOU, Piglet!

Author: Tim “Piglet” Conrad
Filename: M-18C.zip
Size: 9.5 Mb
Download Links: Simviation 
Update files: none as of yet

05AUG2011 – Updated download links as Sim-Outhouse and FlightSim no longer host the file.  Happy Mite Flying!