Project Opensky has Closed, Welcome FSPro

Update 12/01/12: There is a new site up called, Project Opensky Archive, which contains all of the original Project Opensky (POSKY) files.  In Addition, the FreeSky Project domain has expired.  If  anyone has any news, please leave a comment.

Update 09/01/12: Additional Facebook sites have been added to cover an updated POSKY Boeing 777 model and the release of the CRJ-1000.  Below are links to the corresponding page depending on the aircraft model you are looking for:

Boeing 777 ~ SkySpirit2012 – 777

Bombardier CRJ-1000 ~ SkySpirit2012 – CL Series

Boeing 767 ~ SkySpirit2010

Boeing 747-8i(f) ~ SkySpirit2011

Project Opensky Archive Site ~ poskyarchive.com

Update 10/30/11: Free Sky Project is no longer supporting the Project Opensky models.  The models are available for download from the original Project Opensky site (site has expired as of 8/1/12).  Free Sky Project has moved on to other unknown projects for fs.  The Lockheed L1011 is dead, but you can get one from Historic Jetliners Group.

Update 2/14/11: This post has been updated with more accurate information regarding the status of SkySpirit2010.  The SkySpirit2010 Facebook group is only active to support the 767 model. Please keep all discussions and posts to the group limited to the 767 model only.   All other models in development will be released under a different group(s) when they are formed.

Update 2/16/11: Previews of the Boeing 747-8I by Hiroshi are now available at a new Facebook group called SkySpirit2011.

–original post—

All good things must come to an end.  Shortly, the group known as Project Opensky, one of the best flight simulator freeware add-on developers, has closed its doors.  For reasons that I will not mention here, the group has disbanded.

However, for every end, there is a new beginning.  A few members of Project Opensky are taking ownership of maintaining the files and continuing operation under the name of Free Sky Project (FSPro).  They are currently in the process of launching a new website and forum, so be patient over the next few days as they ramp up.

Note the aircraft under development with Project Opensky are not going to be released under the new group. Hiroshi created the SkySpirit2010 group to release and support the 767 model only.  All future aircraft will be released under a yet to be named group.  

It is with some sadness and great admiration that I bid farewell to Project Opensky.  For so many years, they have set the standard for freeware flight simulator add-ons that it is safe that they have dramatically shaped the freeware community into what it is today.

With an open mind, great respect, and a tad bit of curiosity, I welcome the FSPro team.  I am looking forward to flying their work and hope they will continue the spirit set by POSKY.

Cheers!

An Updated Brasilia Comes to FSX

The Embraer EMB-120 “Brasilia” turbo-prop airliner is one of my favorite commercial aircraft.  Living near an airport serviced by one of the largest operators of the Brasilia, SkyWest Airlines, and you can see why.  It is such a common sight at Santa Barbara that there are usually two or three on the ramp bound for LAX, San Jose, or San Francisco.

Brasilia Leaving Santa Barbara for LAX in FSX.

There have been a few models of the EMB-120 available at different times for various versions of Microsoft flight simulator.  The first, by Nick Botamer for FS2002, set a new compromise between detail and frame rates.  I found this model to be quite fun to fly, but I always found the cockpit windows to be of strange configuration.  Also, repaints were limited. Still, I spent many happy hours flying it.

Then Erick Cantu released his Brasilia for FS2004 (FS9).  For those of us that weren’t already drooling by Erick’s other models, the Brasilia release set a very high standard for small aircraft freeware quality.  Granted, his model lacked a virtual cockpit, but the extreme detail and flight dynamics made up for 2d panel experience.

Flying Over Camarillo and Pt. Nagu NAS

And then FSX came out and we found ourselves without our brilliant favorite.  Granted the FS9 version would work in FSX, but there were issues with the flight dynamics, challenges with the prop animation and it was unable to take advantage of new FSX features like dynamic self shadowing.  If you overlooked these issues, you could be content flying, but for me, I always had a voice in the back of my mind saying “look at those prop animations, this isn’t a TRUE FSX model!”

Landing Long on Rwy 27R at KLAX

Not any more.  Thanks to Eagle Rotorcraft Simulations, Erick’s Brasilia has an entirely new life FSX.   Completely rebuilt in GMAX to take full advantage of FSX advancements, this really comes alive.  I took it on a test flight from Santa Barbara (KSBA) to Los Angeles (KLAX), a flight I’ve taken many times on SkyWest (who is the largest operator of the Brasilia).   The model is beautiful, the shadowing adds an intense sense of realism, and the props animations no longer disappear in the clouds.   Woohoo!

Since this was a GMAX rebuild only, the missing virtual cockpit was not added.  In addition, the model uses the default KingAir panel and sounds. While virtual cockpits are a huge part of the FSX experience, the detailed external model makes up, somewhat, for this.  While you can setup an alias to the KingAir 350, it isn’t a true Brasilia virtual cockpit.

Parked at the gate, LAX.

Bottom line, no matter how much you want to complain about the missing virtual cockpit, you can’t.  The aircraft is such a joy to fly with plenty of eye candy that it makes up for it.  We also have to give a resounding “Thank you!” to Eagle Rotorcraft Simulations for rebuilding this model and bringing it to a new level in FSX for us.

Download (avsim): ersemb120fsx.zip
Author: Erick Cantu (original model) / Eagle Rotorcraft Simulations (FSX Modification)

Fokker F27 For X-Plane

Fokker has a long history of producing aircraft.  From WWI to their 1996 bankruptcy, Fokker produced many civilian and military aircraft at their factory near Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.  Their most successful airliner was the F-27 turboprop, first produced in 1958 with many still in service today as freighter/cargo aircraft. (wikipedia)

Fokker F27-600 for X-Plane

This historic aircraft is now available for the X-Plane community.  The model includes four liveries, a nicely detailed exterior model, a 3D cockpit, and a detailed passenger cabin.  For those that were about to ask, yes, the checklist is included as a pdf document.   This is a complete package that weighs in at just over 59 megabytes, but will bring you loads of flying fun.

Look for a more detailed review coming soon…

Download (note, registration required at x-plane.org)