Flying the DHC Dash7 in FSX

Years ago, Milton Shupe and the rest of the Flightsimonline development team released a stunning de Havilland Canada Dash-7 for FS2002/FS2004.  This aircraft became a remarkable workhorse in my virtual hanger.  A four engined turboprop with STOL capabilities clearly is a very capable aircraft that earns its respect.

Sadly, when FSX debuted, the Dash-7 was left behind.  While it did sorta work in FSX, the usual bugs such as disappearing propellers and strange flight dynamics made this aircraft far from a joy to fly.  Lucky for FSX users, Shupe and team ported the recently updated FS2004 version to FSX.  I am happy to say that my workhorse is back for another beating in the FSX virtual hanger.

At dusk, the Dash-7 sits on the ramp at KSBA in FSX

At dusk, the Dash-7 sits on the ramp at KSBA in FSX

I flew it on a two test flights between KSBA and KONT and couldn’t have been happier.  The sounds, the virtual cockpit and cabin/cargo, the flight dynamics and the sexy fuselage all live up the expectation of its original release.  We are indebted to Shupe, Flightsimonline, and the rest of the team for bringing this update to our hangers.

< Visit the DHC Dash-7 Homepage >

Now go do some intense bush flying with tons of cargo!

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Poll: Which Flight Simulator Do You Fly Most?

With an upcoming series of posts that touch on multiple flight simulator products, please share which flight simulator that you fly the most?

Poll closes Friday, November 2nd at Noon PST!

Decisions on Flight Simulator: A Multipart Series

Here at ARoMO, I am not only intrigued by the awesome aircraft that our community creates, both payware and freeware, but I am also intrigued by the choices we have.

As a multi post series, I would like to discuss some of the larger decisions made when we sit down in front of our computers and click on the icon of our favorite simulator.   In fact, the very choice of which simulator to fly in is the first of a series of critical decisions we make, hence Part One, the Simulator.  If you are like me and have FS2000, FS2004, FSX, P3D, X-Plane 9, and X-Plane 10 sitting on your hard drive, how do you decided which one to use?  So, this is Part One, choosing the simulator.

For Part Two of this series, the airports.  I wanted to touch on how to decide where a flight a should take place.  From which airport, are there multiple legs and which arrival airport?  The very essence of the flight takes form in the decision we make here, although I don’t think this is the most critical.  In fact, the decision we make here influences the decision in part three. I will also offer some tools that can help inspire your choice of airports should you be looking for a new adventure or lacking inspiration.

For Part Three, the aircraft.  We will discuss the decision on which aircraft to fly.  From what’s available in the hangar, how do decide what your bird is for the day?  While dependent upon the size of the airports selected in part two, this decision is not as simple as walking out to your driveway, jumping in the car you own, and driving off to work or where ever.

One could argue that Part Two, Airports and Part Three, Aircraft can be flip flopped.  Sometimes the decision to fly a particular aircraft drives the decision of where to fly.  Bush planes fly in Alaska, but 747’s fly international between big airports.  But, if you want to fly a route, such as KSBA to KBZN via KDEN, that would take a regional jet or a more advanced general aviation aircraft like a Piper Malibu if you want to fly non-stop.

You can start to see some of the decisions we make every time we fire up the simulator, no matter which one it is.  My hope is that by the end of the three parts, my readers and flight simulator community at large will share their ideas on how they create their own flying journey’s across the globe.

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.

SkySpirit2012 CRJ-1000 Released

We knew it was in the works, but didn’t know when we could get our hands on its virtual yoke.  The release has come!  Available from SkySpirit2012 is the CRJ-1000 with tons of liveries.

SkySpirit 2012 CRJ-1000 leaving Bozeman for Denver

 For more info:

Check out the SkySpirit 2012 Facebook page, including links to packages

Check out Avsim, search for “SkySpirit2012 CRJ”

Service Pack 1 has been released, download it here

You all know what I will be doing tomorrow… flying the next generation Bombardier in FS2004!

Update: First Impressions

I had the pleasure of flying the CRJ-1000 from Bozeman, MT to Denver, CO and have to say that it flies like a CRJ.  In fact, I kept thinking I was flying the CRJ-900 whenever I went to outside view.   Of course, this meant the model offers the same great eye candy the former Project Opensky group was known for.  The push back tug, the air-stair, and the reverse thrust animation were all there.

Taxi to the active at Bozeman, MT in FSX for a test flight to Denver.

Regardless, the model had issues right out of the download file in FSX.  When I first loaded the aircraft, the nose wheel was turned completely perpendicular to the fuselage and no amount of joystick play was going to right it.  That was when I found the update on the group’s Facebook “file page” (clickie here) which updated the aircraft.cfg, model files, panel files,  and *.air  file.   With the update installed, life was so much better with a properly functioning nose wheel.  So, if you are having issues, run over and make sure you install the update before posting the issue on the Facebook page.

Nice shine on the wings and fuselage as we descend to final at KDEN, runway 34L

However, even with the update installed, I noticed the cockpit windows appeared greyed out in FSX (see screenshots).  At times they appeared more transparent, but most of the time they seemed dull,which detracted from the realism experience.  Hopefully a fix will  follow, although the model was designed for FS2004, not FSX.

Short final, runway 34L, notice the greyed out cockpit windows

Again, flight in FSX  went as expected from my flight time in the smaller CRJ-700 and CRJ-900 (did I just say smaller and refer to the CRJ-900?) in that the flight model rewards patience and calculated inputs.  An aerobatic biplane this is not, and your passengers will thank you for not flying it as such.  My one pet peeve, and this is probably because I am running FSX is that banking seems sluggish, even for a regional jet.  Both the Project Opensky CRJ-700 and the Roll-On CRJ-200 for X-Plane have a slightly more reactive feel compared to the SkySpirit model.  Aligning with the runway on short final was a little more challenging than expected. On the other hand, it could be that I have been  general aviation aircraft for the past few months and this is my first flight in a jet in a few weeks.

At the gate at Denver waiting for the jet-way to extend

Does the SkySpirit 2012 CRJ-1000 set a new standard?  Well, I think it compliments the existing FS CRJ family quite well.  The high  count of liveries already available is also a huge plus (livery list here).  Despite a few early bugs, this model will make a great addition to any virtual airline fleet.  But, I can’t wait for a private livery or two.  I am sure the 1% will add this to their fleet of toys as well.

Project Airbus Finds the Middle with An A330

Project Airbus shook the virtual skies with their A320 family of models for flight simulator.  They shook the skies a bit more (luckily no birds fell from the sky) when they released the flying whale, the A380.   Each release represented a new standard of detail and new drool on the keyboard.

< check out the new project tease thread here >

With the little guy (A318) and the whale (A380) awaiting download, the middle is left wide open.  But the Project Airbus team is looking to fill the spot with a new A330 model that is rumored to be in the works.  Head over to their forums and check out some of the screenshots they are teasing us virtual pilots with.

Welcome Alabeo to FS

Carenado has been providing numerous add-ons for MSFS and X-Plane for quite a few years.  The aircraft they produce set a standard by which many other aircraft models are judged.

They also seem to have a knack for surprises.  When they released the Mooney M20J for X-Plane, I believe I blew coffee through my nose.  After buying a new keyboard and subsequent unexpected releases and previews, it is clear Carenado will be in the news for some time to come.

But now they will have company.  Meet Alabeo, a joint venture between talented young artists (unnamed as time of publication) and Carenado.  You can visit them on Facebook and on Twitter to stay up to date on their progress.   The official press release:

November 21st, 2011

Carenado is announcing the creation of a new company: ALABEO (www.alabeo.com). This new company was born as a joint venture of a young and talented 3D artist’s team and the well-known general aviation developer company: Carenado.

This talented young team is composed by 3D modelers, digital artists and computer programmers. Their vast knowledge in the current 3D modeling techniques, digital arts and games programing makes a perfect fit with a company like Carenado. Both teams will complement each other with their specific areas of expertise, pursuing the objective of developing fun stuff for the major home flight simulators.

Carenado will support this new company providing expertise, a cutting edge technological platform, and vast commercial experience.
Alabeo plans to release its first aircraft in the next few days.
People can also follow Alabeo via their favorite social networks:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Alabeo
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Alabeo_com

This looks incredibly exciting and can’t wait to see what they deliver to the FS community.  I only hope that FSX and X-Plane are supported.

Update 11.23.2011 – Alabeo’s first release will be the Pitts S-2S. Screenshots available at their URL above.