Weather, Fog and a Cool View

 

Sometimes, the less than ideal weather that causes that voice in the back of your brain to scream, “don’t fly! don’t fly!”, really is the best weather to fly in.  Not only for entertainment purposes, but also because it can make you a better pilot.

b747

I recently took the SSG 747-8f out for a spin around the Seattle area.  The Cargolux beast took to the air from Everett/Paine Field and quickly became consumed in fog.  Flying IFR was great on the ascent, but changed to chase view in X-Plane to capture the above image.  Sorta of reminds me of jaws coming out of the deep blue sea.  Without the tail, the sexy, curvaceous fuselage really pops.

Happy Flying!

 

FlyJSim Releases Boeing 727 for X-Plane

As if Christmas came early this year, FlyJSim beat Santa Claus to the virtual flying gift with their long awaited release of the Boeing 727 for X-Plane 10.  Available as stand alone packages or a complete pack, the group offers the 727-100, 727-200Adv, and the 727-200F variants.  If this release is anywhere close to the quality of their existing Dash 8 Q400 model, the 727 is going to be an awesome experience!

FlyJSim releases the 727 series

FlyJSim releases the 727 series

If that hasn’t gotten your mouth watering, available separately are livery packs, such as “The American Classics Pack” from XPJets for the -200Adv model.  You can also purchase a pack that contains all 54 liveries across all three variants.

What surprises me is that by the time you buy the Complete 727 Model Pack ($62) with the Complete Livery Pack ($19.95), you are pushing north of $80.  While the sticker shock makes me change my underwear, when you realize you are getting a complete package of one of the most detailed and advanced models for X-Plane 10, suddenly that sticker shock seems like a bargain.  Of course, you could just purchase your favorite variant $32 individually.

< click to see the purchase options at the .Org store >

I know what I am doing this weekend… flying the virtual skies in a classic three holer!

FlyJSim 727-100 on approach to KSEA. Detailed cockpit is awesome.

FlyJSim 727-100 on approach to KSEA. Detailed cockpit is awesome.

Update – Purchased the complete variant pack and the complete livery pack. After a simple installation, I took the -100 variant in an Eastern Airlines “whisperjet” livery out for a flight from KPDX to KSEA.  I can say that I am speechless.  Everything I love about the Dash 8, applies to the 727.  The detailed cockpit, sounds, and exterior model are simply the best and justify the expense.

Banking turn from KPDX on a test flight to KSEA in the FlyJSim Boeing 727-100

Banking turn from KPDX on a test flight to KSEA in the FlyJSim Boeing 727-100

With three models and 54 liveries to explore, this X-Plane 10 add-on is going to keep me busy.  Time to  sit down with the manuals and start with cold and dark cockpit.  Full review coming soon!

 

BBJ Design Group Is Back!

Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) come in all sizes.  If Boeing makes a jet, then it can easily be converted into lavish personal transportation for the 1%.

Lucky for the flight sim enthusiasts we have talented painters like the BBJ Design Group to make those BBJ’s a reality in our virtual worlds.

BBJ Design Group’s first release, the 777 VIP

You might recall last summer they released their Boeing 777 VIP repaint  for the POSKY 777 model.  This paint is one of my favorites to circle the earth in.  Whether it is crossing the pond or crossing a continent, you can do it in style.

There are some exciting things to come for this talented group.  Not only are they working on an updated version of the 777-300 VIP livery, but they also are working on a version for the 777-200.  And to complete the Boeing lineup, BBJ Design Group plans to offer VIP liveries for the 747-8i and the more mainstream 737-BBJ.

< BBJ Design Group Facebook page >

Head on over to their Facebook page and show them some love.  They are also taking requests, so ask nicely and perhaps your favorite BBJ will be added to their livery lineup.

A Boeing Never Built for MSFS

Hiroshi Igama, a modeler for the SkySpirit2010 group, is a seriously talented modeler.  In his spare time, he cuts the 767-200 fuselage 66 inches and releases a plane that Boeing never built.  A plane being referred to as the 767-100 is now available for download.

The Boeing 767-100 by SkySpirit2010

BUT, since this was a side project, the 767-100 is represented in visual model only.  In fact, the package available for download uses the -200 FDE, so the contact points and fuel burn are not of the -100 model.

Even still, I must say that this “little guy” will grow on you.  Quite possibly the handsome brother to the Airbus A310, the Boeing 767-100 will likely make a magnificent BBJ-variant for those “haves” in the world.

Turning southwest in the late evening sun

So, if you are up for a sense of adventure in FS9/FS2004, take this Boeing baby out for a flight and enjoy a model that Boeing never built.

The BBJ Design Group Delivers a Heavy

Airliners like the Boeing family of jets, such as the 737 and 777, typically fly wearing a corporate livery.  Delta, American, and Southwest are just a few of the airlines operating heavy metal in the commercial realm.  But not all jets are operated commercially, and many have found their way to the private sector.

777 VIP by BBJ Design Group

Hence, the BBJ family from Boeing.  Airbus has the ACJ family and many other jets have been converted to be an ultimate private airliner (the Playboy DC-9 is a great example).   While most of us will never see the inside of such a jet, flight simulator opens up some possibilities for traveling on cloud 9.

The 777 VIP turns to course.

Enter the BBJ Design Group, a group formed to focus on private repaints for some of the top models for flight simulator.   Their first release is the Boeing 777 VIP (see screenshots) livery for the POSKY Boeing 777-300 model.

I took it out for a flight from Sea-Tac to Dublin, Ireland and have to say that this is quite an impressive paint job.  While it mimics the Dreamliner livery Boeing introduced a few years back, the gold and blue combination is truly luxurious and compliments the 777 lines well.

They are continuing work on a 747-8i VIP livery, which is going to a be great compliment to the SkySpirit2011 model.  They are also working on a VIP livery for the 777-200 and a 737-BBJ livery to boot.

As the group’s first release, they did an awesome job and I am looking forward to their next release.

Cheers!

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Sky Spirit 2011 Releases An Intercontinental

Not long after the real Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental took to the skies for the first time, Sky Spirit 2011 releases their exquisite model for FS2004.  To keep this brief, I will simply say, head over to Flightsim.com and search for ssp748v4_genx_n6067e.zip.

The FlightSim.com file description.

So, what are you waiting for, go get it!

Leaving Anchorage

Update 22mar2011 – Loaded it up in FS9 and took it for a brief flight around Anchorage.   Initial thoughts:

  1. The exterior model is gorgeous!
  2. Taxiing takes practice as steering can be tricky depending on speed, etc.
  3. Take off requires proper flap and trim or else you’ll end up in the bushes.
  4. This thing needs a panel and sound set.

Update 4/24/11 – The official paint kit is now available and can be downloaded here, if you want to try a paint for yourself.   There is a very active discussion going on over at the SkySpirit2011 Facebook page regarding repaints and previews.

A New Boeing 727 For FSX

Thomas Ruth is most well known for his Airbus line of models for FSX.  The A340, A330, A310 and A300 come to mind and are constantly in the “Top Files” charts at avsim.com. His models are a great compromise between detail, frame rates and realism.  In addition, Thomas’s consistency across all of his models is exemplary.

Taxi for takeoff at KVCV

He must have run out of Airbus inspiration as he recently released a really cool Boeing 727 package for FSX.  Included are the -100 and -200 models with a few liveries to match.   Included is a detailed virtual cockpit, wing views, and enough eye candy to satisfy any flight sim enthusiast.  My favorite feature is the virtual cockpit as they always a sense of realism to the model.  I don’t care how great the exterior model is, a 2-d panel just doesn’t cut it anymore.  I am a virtual pilot seeking realism and Thomas Ruth delivers!

Gear retraction in early morning sunrise.

For my inaugural flight in a 727-100C wearing UPS colors, I flew an early morning flight from Victorville (KVCV) to San Luis Opisbo (KSBP) to see how she flies and how the frame rates handle this large metal bird.   As I pushed the throttles forward, the 727 very reluctantly started to move.  In fact, my reaction turned to wondering whether or not this thing will ever get up enough speed to take flight.  Since this was a new aircraft and the older jetliners weren’t as responsive as today’s jets, I sat back and watched the needle slowly move around the circle. Eventually, and with room to spare, this UPS 727 took flight!

Turning to course for San Luis Opisbo.

With gear retracted, we made a left turn toward to a heading that would take us to SLO.  The flight was relatively short, with only a few hundred nautical miles separating the two airports.  While in the real world, this would have been costly and there must have be good financial reason for making such a flight, the short distance lets me spend time behind the yoke and get an impression of this awesome bird.  After all, this is A Reality of My Own.

To save you the time, I will simply say this bird cruises well.  The autopilot functioned as it should and the virtual cockpit was an excellent place to monitor traffic, gauges, and the view outside. With fully clickable buttons and good quality gauges, the realism is what we have come to expect from an FSX model.  The engine sound is spot on and you can almost smell the stale coffee brewing in the galley.

Turning to final

Clicking off the autopilot and “stick” flying this bird to landing gave me a chance to feel how this bird really handles.  With just a banking turn after take off and a few minutes of flat and level flying during cruise, I really didn’t have the opportunity to put it through its pace, until now.  I am happy to say that there are no surprises, other than it handles like an older jetliner should.  When you start to bank, it feels sluggish and resists the change in motion.  Bank too much and the nose drops very quickly.   Maneuvering to short final reinforced this as I came in off center and too high initially.

Slammin' down on the pavement

With a little finessing and careful use of the throttles, flaps, and speed brakes, I was able to align with the runway and slow the bird down.  Unfortunately, that day there was a stiff cross wind and I ended landing off center. Initially I was disappointed with myself, but a commercial pilot I know said that they do land off center as the ride is typically a bit smoother. So, maybe I knew what I was doing, but I was surprised how hard I hit the runway.  This was one “hot” landing.  Engaging the reverse thrusters and slowing down was not an issue and I was happy to feel how composed the 727 was despite the harsh landing.

Whew! Made it to the ramp!

Taxiing to the gate proved to be simple, with a straight line shot from the runway turnoff to the ramp.  The 727 turns as expected and it has that jet handling, sluggish to get started, but then speeds up quickly as friction is overcome, forcing one to throttle back to keep the speed down.   Arriving at the gate, it was time to shut down the engines and take another look at the exterior model.  With fully animated doors and operating rear stairs give this three holer more of a sense of realism parked at the gate.  One problem though, is the UPS freighter livery does not have an opening cargo door.  This is likely because the model is a passenger version wearing a freighter livery.  Perhaps a true 727-100F/200F will be released at some point.

Overall, Ruth’s Boeing 727 for FSX hits the mark and is a great addition to my virtual hanger.  Like the Airbus models released before it, this 727 has a great virtual cockpit, enough eye candy to please the gamers and is easy enough on the frame rates that it does not choke our video cards.   Go get it if you haven’t already!

Author: Thomas Ruth
Filename: tom7271.zip (fix: tom72fix.zip)
Download: tom7271.zip on Avsim (fix download)

Update: Thomas Ruth also released the Boeing 727-200 Advanced model.  Follow this link to grab it from Avsim.