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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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 Keeps Them Coming: A320 v2.1

We really ooohhh’d and aaawww’d when Project Airbus released the A320 v2 for FS2004.  Then we ooohhh’d and aaawww’d a bunch more when they released the A321 with new features not found on their legendary A320.  At this point, the A320 was antiquated and there really wasn’t much reason to continue ooohhh’ing and aaawww’ing about it.

Ooohhh, aawwww: The A320 v2.1

Well, we can now ooohhh and aaawww again when we fly the Project Airbus A320 v2.1.  The latest update combines the legendary A320 with the awesome new features of the A321, including:

  1. Wing flex
  2. Improved A321 engine nacelles
  3. Modeled wiper blades
  4. Additional antenna
  5. Reshaped APU
  6. Revised cargo door animation

The official release and documentation is in this Project Airbus forum post.  Downloads are available at the PA download section or via Avsim. Note, you must download the base pack AND a livery pack for it to work.

Check out those detailed engines!

Once downloaded, prepare yourself for some serious ooohhhh’ing and aaawwww’ing.  I am in the process of putting this update through its paces, so more will come later.

A note on FSX compatibility.  This model was built for FS2004 and no FSX model exists.  While you can load it into FSX yourself, your experience may vary and there will be limited support.

Cheers! Happy Airbus’ing!

Update 01dec12 – updated links to the new Project Airbus site at http://www.pafs.wf

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.

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.

Poll: What Is Your Favorite Time to Fly?

Now that my recent poll regarding your favorite simulator is well underway, I thought I would ask another question.

What is your favorite time to fly?

Some of are night owls and love flying at night, after all the stars are amazing and the lights glow below us.   Yet, some morning people might be up before the sun, catching the sunrise from 6,000 feet.  Whatever you favorite time is, please let us know.

Also, please leave a comment describing why you voted the way you did.  What makes that time a favorite?

Boeing’s Different Beast for FS9

There are certain releases in the flight simulator community that just shock me.  Either the release was unexpected (at least by me) or the quality of the aircraft was so good, I wonder how it could possibly be released as freeware.   Another one of these shocking releases happened.

Boeing’s 797 is a fictitious double deck, blended wing airliner with seating for 1,000 passengers.  Capable of flying 8,800 nm, the 797 can move a lot of people around the world efficiently.  Whether or not the 797 is actually real, or ever will be real has been a debate for quite a while, with rumors and discussions popping up across the internet.

Lionheart Creations has taken the 797 design and made it a reality for the Microsoft Flight Simulator family, FSX & FS9.  William Ortis left no detail behind when he created this monster.  The windows, landing gear, engines, virtual cockpit, and stairs are of superb quality. Flying this distinct looking bird around the virtual skies is an experience that you will never forget.

The only drawback is the size of the model.  Not only is it a 65mb download, but the model itself contains 32-bit textures and tips the rendering scales at 65,000 polygons.   While the user can improve frame rates by converting to DXT-3, the sheer size of this model will leave low-end systems stuttering.  Still, the flying experience is worth it.

Head on over to Simviation.com and download this rather different beast.<direct download>  As of Aug 19, you can also download it from AVsim’s library as well. <Avsim download>

Cheers!