BSMP Releases BAe ATP

I am a huge fan of Blu-Sky Mine Productions‘ flight simulator models.  Their Saab 2000 for FS9 is just the right combination of visual model, frame rates, and FDE.  When they announced work on their latest release a year ago, I was quite excited.  The BAe ATP is classic British airliner pushed through the air by turboprops.

During the 1980’s many turboprop aircraft came to market following the 1970’s oil crisis.  Based on the Hawker Siddeley HS748, the BAe ATP was stretched and the Rolls Royce engines were replaced by more fuel efficient Pratt & Whitney engines.  It first flew in 1986 and found a home with a few UK airlines such as British Airways, and British Midland.  With other comparable aircraft on the market, such as the ATR-42 and de Havilland Dash-8, penetrating the short-range commuter market proved difficult.  Production ended in 1993, with only 67 aircraft produced.

I am in the process of downloading the aircraft.  Once I have a chance to run it through its paces, I will post a further review.  In the meantime, check out this cool video (cool video) and then head over to BSMP’s site and check out their forum.

Author: Blu-Sky Mine Productions
File name: bsmpatpv1.0.zip (avsim)
File size: 42.8mb

Cheers!

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Mitsubishi MU-2 for FSX and FS9!

Many have been awaiting for this release since development screenshots appeared on the web a few months back. Earlier this week, the hard-working designers at Premier Aircraft Design (PAD) released their Mitsubishi MU-2 “Solitaire” model for both FS9 and FSX (it is not a true FSX model, but FSX compatible). This is yet another impressive release from this extraordinary team. For more information, please visit the PAD site.

The Solitaire circles to coarse over Kerrville, Texas.

The Solitaire circles to coarse over Kerrville, Texas.

This American made (yep, production facility was in San Angelo, Texas from 1965 to 1986), Japanese designed aircraft uses two Garret turboprop engines and features a pressurized cabin capable of reaching 33,000 feet. The MU-2 proved to be fast and capable which made it a popular business aircraft and a good choice for search and rescue.

Cruising over central Texas bound for Scottsdale, Arizona.

Cruising over central Texas bound for Scottsdale, Arizona.

What is this model really like? Does it meet expectations? It is a wonderful advanced FS9 model and it does meet my expectations. For the sake of this post, I took the FSX version out for a brief flight around Texas. I found this model to be a delight to fly. It has tons of power and can climb up to altitude very quickly. Maneuvering is docile and predictable. I actually thought I was flying a much smaller aircraft.

The visual model is spot on. The real world Solitaire has a bit of a proportion problem, in my opinion, and this model matches it perfectly. Stubby and fat come to mind as adjectives. The rounded fuselage, engine nacelles, and tip tanks are just about right. One of the features that really stood out were the animated pilots with panning heads. I found myself taking a screenshot to notice the pilot staring right at me. This shocked me for a second as I wasn’t expecting the pilot to be looking right at me. Eek.

This model features a virtual cockpit with older style analogue gauges. Glass cockpits certainly bring a video game type feel to aircraft, but there is nothing like flying by the old analogue dials. The layout is clean, with needed information available at a glance. The FSX default GPS is available for those that wish to navigate via more modern methods.

The virtual cockpit is pleasant place to watch the sunset.

The virtual cockpit is pleasant place to watch the sunset.

One downside of the virtual cockpit is that some of the buttons are not clickable until you open them in the pop-up window. I found myself trying to click the landing lights off by panning the view up to the overhead, but found that the switches were not active. Panning back down and clicking the overhead panel icon revealed a panel with clickable buttons. While the virtual cockpit is a pleasant place to spend time during your flight, it has some limitations that can easily be overocome.

Overall, PAD’s MU-2 Solitaire has a happy home in my hangar. I am looking forward to spending many more hours behind its yoke, exploring the world of FSX scenery. The visual model is spot on, the animated pilots are humorous and the FDE is well done.

Cheers!

edit 11dec08 – PAD released the larger “Marquise” version, which is a 7-9 seat stretch of the Solitaire.

Tea Fire – Devastating Stupidity

On Thursday night, November 13th, I came around the hill to find the foothills above Santa Barbara on fire. My heart sank… The Tea Fire had begun. The fire looked to be close to home, so I hauled ass back to the house in time to grab some belongings and my pet. I was lucky I left work early and was able to get back to the house before the fire came roaring down the hill. As I left, hot embers and fire surrounded the house. I was certain the house was lost.

snapshot-2008-11-14-06-38-3

The story of the weekend was alcohol consumption and awaiting news, any news of whether or not the house made it. What else is there to do? Being in this situation is an experience that no one should have to go through. I kept thinking of things I left behind only to imagine them go up in flames. Stress is an understatement.

Then, word spread that a few houses made it through the fire and that mine was one of them. I was so happy, but then the waiting began. When would officials open up the area so I can see for myself that the house was still there? From all of the stories I was hearing and pictures of our humble neighborhood, I really couldn’t believe that a single house made it through the inferno.

We were finally able to return home to utter devastation. Driving along Mountain Drive toward Coyote Rd I was speechless. I knew people who lived in the area and everything was just gone… our neighborhood was reduced to a desert-scape of ash and dirt. Stunning.

Coming around the corner to my house, I was amazed. The house was still standing with minimal damage to the main structure. The north end of the property went up in flames, consuming the patio gate, the tool shed, and half the tree. In the back, there is a foot diameter hole in the middle of the deck where an ember had started a fire, but was put out. The fire burned up to the garage and blackened the stucco. Clearly a fire crew had been at the house, fighting the hurricane force wind driven fire, saving the house. We are one of only two houses in that area that pulled through.

The neighbors above us, below us, and to the side, all burned to the ground. Living at the house is quite depressing… ghost houses surround us and at night it is so dark and quiet, it is erie. In all 210 homes burned to the ground, with countless more damaged. img_5723

The Tea Fire started from a bon-fire that a group of Santa Barbara City College students started at the Tea Garden, above Westmont College. The saddest part is that this devastating fire could have been avoided. These students are just plain stupid… they went into a know fire hazard area where high winds were predicted and started a fire that quickly got out of control. I hope the justice system works and all ten of them have their wages garnished for the rest of their lives paying for their stupidity and then get locked in prison for life. Stupid, stupid, stupid…

THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS!

Loving POSKY’s Embraer Legacy 600

We all know that Project Open Sky delivers stunning aircraft and ups the standard for modeling with each release.  While I have many favorites (a later post) for flight sim, I really enjoy taking the Embraer Legacy 600 out for a spin.  Its sexy lines, small size, reasonable fuel economy, and great handling really make this model one great choice to spend time with.  For this model, I prefer flying in FS2004/FS9, although the model does work well in FSX.

I took a brief flight from Santa Barbara (KSBA) to Las Vegas (KLAS) in POSKY’s Legacy, wrapped in a stunning Vegas themed repaint of N900EM (EVM Investments LLC ) by Samy Fay.  Heck, I am sure someone from Santa Barbara would enjoy a free ride to Vegas in a stunning business jet.

The day was a bit foggy as the passengers boarded and the crew prepared to depart.

N900EM prepares for departure are SBA (1920's terminal in the background)

N900EM prepares for departure are SBA (1920's terminal in the background)

After receiving clearance to Vegas, we depart runway 25 and back sharply left to the GOLET waypoint before proceeding on course.  The weather is brisk, but the fog ceiling is low, above is bright sunshine.  This will be a wonderful flight to Vegas.

Banking left to GOLET from runway 25, SBA.

Banking left to GOLET from runway 25, SBA.

After passing Palm Springs, it became clear that these passengers were not so ordinary.  They had not only consumed the $500 champagne, but the $700 caviar, and all of the bon bons!  We were quickly running out of treats, so I accelerated to max cruise so we can get them to the casino before they blow up and eat the entire airplane.

Cruising over Palm Springs

Cruising over Palm Springs

Before long, I happily start our descent into the Las Vegas valley. We area routed to 25L, but do to spacing issues with other aircraft, we extend our downwind toward Lake Meade.  Eventually, we make our 180 degree turn and pickup the ILS.  The weather is typical of southern Nevada, warm and clear.  The smooth air allows us to touch down hard, but without much fuss.

Touching down on 25L, KLAS with beautiful weather.

Touching down on 25L, KLAS with beautiful weather.

Taxiing to Las Vegas Executive Terminal seemed to take forever.  As we started a steady pace, we had to stop for cross traffic. Clearly the controllers are giving priority to airliners…  causing us to use more gas than we should.  After 20 minutes, we make it to the terminal so the passengers can deplane, catch their limo to the casino and spend some money.

Parked outside the Las Vegas Executive Air Terminal with the impressive skyline in the background.

Parked outside the Las Vegas Executive Air Terminal with the impressive skyline in the background.

I hope you enjoyed today’s flight.  Please make sure to check the seatback for personal belongings before deplaning!

Cheers!

Save $1,000 Challenge

I am not really one for gimicky challenges, especially when they come from an online source. However, with the economy on a downward trend and extreme socialism about to be instituted in the US (if Obama wins), I think it is important for everyone to spend their money in smart ways.  The Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge might just help us out.

While a little late starting, the challenge has already offered 4 tips that may or may not inspire you.  The best one I think is packing your lunch for the rest of the week.  Typically, going out to lunch will cost $7, whereas a healtheir lunch can be had from leftovers or a trip to the store for $3.  This will save you $20/wk ($4/ day times five days).

I would encourage everyone to at least take a look at the tips offered.  After all, 54% (315/640) of respondants surveyed are willing to spend an hour per day to save money.  Let’s see how this comes out!

Taylor J-2 Cub for FSX

For the low and slow crowd, Golden Age Simulations (GAS) released their FSX version of the Taylor J-2 Cub.  This aircraft would eventually become the Piper Cub after Piper Aircraft Company is formed.  This stunning aircraft is aircraft is available from avsim.  Please visit the GAS website for other FS2004 models and their stunning line of payware. 

Filename: j-2fsx.zip (avsim)
Author: Golden Age Simulations
Size: 6,851kb