SkySpirit2010’s Christmas Present

The gang over at SkySpirit2010 gave flight simulator enthusiasts a really awesome Christmas present (or Holiday present depending on your system of beliefs!).  The Boeing 767-400ER is a very long, unique aircraft and is brilliantly modeled for us by SkySpirit2010.

SkySpirit2010's Boeing 767-400ER with blended winglets

They also released a few additional liveries for the -300 series, including a stunning British Airways livery.

I’ll save you the details and just say go get it.  I will post some screenshots when I get back to my computer (I am at the in-laws, ;-|).

To get the 767-400ER, search “skyspirit2010” on either avsim.com or flightsim.com or visit the SkySpirit2010 team on Facebook.

SkySpirit2010 Releases Boeing 767

The restructuring of the old Project Opensky team into two separate teams is perhaps one of the best things to hit the flight simulator since FSX.  I say this with great respect for POSKY and its members, but seeing the group split into two, FSPro and SkySpirit2010, means more great stuff for us enthusiasts.

While FSPro has a Lockheed L1011 model in the works, SkySpirit2010 is continuing on where POSKY left off (its Hiroshi, afterall) by continuing work on the Boeing models.

Turning to course for LAX

In fact, SkySpirit2010 recently released their Boeing 767-300 model.  Available in numerous liveries on both avsim.com and flightsim.com, with or without winglets, this 767 will leave you drooling.

So, watch’a waitin’ for?  Go get it!  Search “skyspirit2010” on either avsim.com or flightsim.com or visit the SkySpirit2010 team on Facebook.

I’ll have a more detailed review once I have a chance to put this baby through her paces!

Cheers!

Historic Jetliner Group Adds a Lockheed

The Historic Jetliners Group (HJG) does it again.  One of my most favorite aircraft is now officially released and available for Flight Simulator 2004 (FS9).  Its distinctive tail and nose make this aircraft stand out on the tarmac.

With its first flight in 1970 and production ceasing in 1983, only 250 of these remarkable aircraft were built.  In fact, the Lockheed L1011 was one of the most advanced and safest aircraft for its time. The wide body, tri-jet can seat up to 400 and fly them about 3,500 nm.

Recently released on the Historic Jetliners Group (HJG) website is the L1011 in -1, -100, and -200 variants.  The model is Erick Cantu’s wonderful work, with the FDE and textures developed by the talented HJG team.

A full review will be coming soon… for now, head over and grab your favorite variant and livery!

Historic Jetliners Group

A Saratoga Joins X-Plane

The weather at Renton Municipal Airport was less than favorable.  With blowing wind at 19 knots, heavy rain and limited visibility to 1,500 feet, I knew taking off now was going to be a challenge.  In reality, I could either sit on the runway, waiting for the weather to clear, playing with the ashtray and all the click-able knobs, or I could attempt a takeoff and see what Carenado‘s latest model for X-Plane could do in such poor weather conditions.  With white knuckles, I took off.

Carenado Piper Saratoga

Carenado's Piper Saratoga leaving Renton field in dismal weather.

With such a strong crosswind, maximum deflection on the rudder pedals were required to keep this bird on the runway.  Forget about maintaining center line, keeping it on the runway was challenging enough.  Once airborne, the Piper Saratoga (PA-32R-301), took lightly to the skies, responding abruptly with every gust of wind.  I struggled to maintain visual reference outside the window, blurred by the driving rain, but scanned the instruments quickly to maintain climb rate and speed as much as possible.

As I moved the yoke around struggling to keep the aircraft pointed in the general direction of 350 degrees, I learned how forgiving the inputs were. I then realized that I was over controlling the aircraft and just let it settle in to with the wind.   The big problem was the driving rain… not only was it obnoxiously loud hitting the metal fuselage and windows, but it was making it difficult to maintain visual reference.

The goal was to fly directly north of Renton to Arlington field.   A very short flight, but long enough to get a taste of the Saratoga’s flight dynamics in X-Plane.  So, I started flying around rain cells using the weather map on my iPad (Carenado’s model doesn’t include one, but this is A Reality of My Own).  The nice thing about dodging rain is that it presents an excellent opportunity to put the Saratoga through its paces and mimic an acrobatic pilot.  I am happy to report that it handles quite nicely, predictably, and controlled.  It is certainly not a Mooney, but in a high banking turn, a predictable correction to the yoke brings the nose back to level.

On approach to Arlington, runway 11

The six person cabin is a great place to spend sometime, especially when it is raining outside.  The window curtains make you feel like you are visiting grandma’s house and there is that distinct aviation smell that really can’t be confused with that strange smell emanating from grandma.  Whether or not the curtains turn you on, Carenado did an excellent job delivering detail inside; the seats are nicely covered in fabric, the ashtrays open and close, the visor contains a quick reference guide, and the door actually opens when you click on the door handle.  Imagine that.

Deer on the runway! Quick, hand me my rifle!

More seriously though, passing Everett (KPAE) the weather cleared up and I firewalled the throttles.  With Arlington field in site, I made a shallow circle of the field from the south and prepared for landing on runway 11.  Unfortunately, the deer were out and force today and they tempted the hunter in me by running across the field on short final.  A distraction that would not deter me from a near perfect landing.

However, near perfect it was not.  I wasn’t paying attention to speed and stalled the aircraft about 8 feet from the surface. Ouch!  That was a hard touch down, but oh well, no one was bleeding.   Besides, after a flight through horrendous rain storms around Seattle, it was a good idea to make sure the passengers knew they were safely on the ground.

The Saratoga's classic lines.

In all seriousness folks, Carenado‘s Piper Saratoga for X-Plane 9 is a true gem.  It belongs in your virtual hanger along side their exquisite Mooney M20J.  The level of detail, both internally and externally, sets a new standard for realism. The flight dynamics are not scary and mimic the real thing (based on one flight in a real Saratoga).  The only improvement for Carenado is to somehow bring that unique aviation smell to our desktops.

Cheers!

Author: Carenado
Price: $25.95

PS… here is one more exterior detail shot… checkout them rivets!  The cool thing is that you watch the black antenna shake with aircraft movement!  Sweet!

Exterior detail, even on the white paint kit, is impressive.

FSPro’s Newest Project: L1011

When all good things come to an end, the start of new things bring really nice surprises.  So, when I visited Free Sky Project’s page today, I was utterly shocked when I saw that they are now developing the Lockheed L1011 commercial jetliner.

OMG!  The L1011 is only one of the best three-holers around and my favorite commercial wide body of all time!  Now, a new version will be available for flight simulator!

Check out the announcement here.  Based on Erick Cantu’s source model, the L1011 will come as a -100 and -250 series variants.

Can’t wait to see this bird in a Delta and TWA liver!

Cheers!