August 14, 2008 - August 22, 2008

Bear's Cave Revived

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2008 - 3:20
Steve "Bear" Cartwright has come out of hibernation and revived his much read "Bear's Cave". This featured article looks at several freeware aircraft and scenery files that meets Bear's criteria of worthy mention. This edition reviews five FS9 aircraft; the Cirrus 20 six; the French Cessna 150L; EADS/Socata TB21 Trinidad GT; the Socata TB10 Tobago GT; and HJG's British Aerospace BAe 146/RJ100.

Oshkosh Has Come And Gone

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2008 - 1:10
For those of you who wanted to attend Oshkosh but were unable, Arnie Lee and a crew from Abacus have submitted a couple of blog entries to share their experience at this year's show. You will find interview links embedded in Adam Howe's storyline which add that much more to the Oshkosh experience. OK Team AVSIM, it's time for us to attend.

Try Before You Buy

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2008 - 1:01
Just Flight announces both the boxed and download versions of the Mosquito are now available, and a demo version is also available for those who'd like to try before they buy.

The demo aircraft is the BOAC unarmed high speed courier aircraft, which is featured in the Mosquito Special Ops - Upgrade Pack A. This variant was adapted to carry one passenger in an extremely compact compartment in the bomb bay on high-speed envoy missions. The BOAC markings were an attempt at trying to convey to the enemy that the aircraft was unarmed, although the Mosquito's enviable high speed performance was a very handy defence!

You can download the demo (51Mb) plus read about the complete package with the addition packs available.

nVidia Conference Announced

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2008 - 0:55
If you are going to be in the San Jose, California area 25-27 Aug and are interested in what's happening in the world of graphic cards and/or multimedia, then check out nVision 2008.

VATSIM: Taking R&D from Virtual to Reality

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 14:03
Can a fun, virtual air traffic simulation game translate into “tried and true” research and development? CAASD is exploring the possibilities through a partnership with the Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network (VATSIM), a global aviation community on the Internet avid about flight simulation. The network offers CAASD an opportunity for concept exploration and validation within the research and development community that has yet to be explored. Principal Software Systems Engineer Frank Sogandares says, “We hope to conduct virtual future National Airspace System (NAS)-level and global simulations with the group. These simulations can offer better insights into how aviation systems behave as operational changes are introduced.”

Through the CAASD/VATSIM partnership, CAASD hopes to evaluate the feasibility of using virtual gaming rooms as a method to expand R&D goals. The key is to conduct the research in a manner that will not impose upon the virtual community. “The guiding principles to meet our objectives are simple,” says Frank. “We want to ensure our collaboration is mutually beneficial, and, should we exit, our departure will be transparent to the community. We’d also like to team up our laboratory, software resources, pilots, and controllers along with VATSIM’s resources, in order to conduct our research, and ultimately find ways to give back to the virtual community.”

To learn more about the CAASD/VATSIM partnership visit CAASD, and VATSIM.

PRE-Flight Beechcraft Staggerwing Available

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 12:10
Announcing the Beechcraft Staggerwing by PRE-Flight RC Simulator. Regarded by many as "The Most Beautiful Airplane" of all time - certainly the most beautiful biplane, the Beechwood Staggerwing was designed as built from the start in 1932 to be THE premium business executive airplane - much like the Gulfstream executive jets of today.

The Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing gets its name from the negative stagger - the lower wing is more forward than the upper wing - which is designed to give the pilot a superior view as well as provide a lower stall speed. Its retractable gear, uncommon at the time, combined with advanced streamlining and a powerful, light engine resulted in a faster, more agile, and longer-ranged aircraft than its contemporaries. Its design was found by many to be ideal for racing as well as for fast, comfortable travel.

The last Staggerwing left the factory in 1949, however, it was widely used around the world for decades longer, many Staggerwing's still flying today, lovingly maintained by their owners and still looking very fast and modern despite its age.

This large scale PRE-Flight model of the Staggerwing is composed of over 130,000 polygons, and has full moveable control surfaces, retractable main and wheel landing gears, finely detailed radial engine and even a detailed, cream leather interior. Performance is as would be expected of a muscle biplane.

To download this and other models, visit PRE-Flight RC Flight Simulator

MiG-17 from Flight 1/Bear Studios

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 3:03
Staff reviewer Peter Clemenko takes a Vietnam War veteran for a test flight with Flight 1's MiG-17 from Bear Studios. "The MiG was used most famously by the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War. While it was not the most powerful or most dangerous aircraft, it was a really bad day for you if you got into a dogfight with it."

"There are plenty of variants of the MiG to fly in this pack. Overall they are well done and the aircraft models are very high in poly count. The variants in this package include the trainer model, the FT-5; the various single seat Fresco models including the LiM-5P Fresco D, LiM-6Bis Fresco C, the Fresco A; the Chinese built versions; and even the radar equipped PFU version among others. While it doesn’t include every variant, there are enough to keep you busy for a while."

"The model is very well done and has some very nice features to add the sense of realism everywhere. One nice thing is that the engine itself is modeled and you can use the wing fold key to expose the engine. The 3D panel is a work of art. The panel is nice and in high resolution. Most of the switches are modeled in 3D, if it were all of them it would be perfect. The 2D panel is there, and is good for people who need to conserve frame rates using less polys, or for those who just prefer the 2D cockpit."

Wrapping up his look at the MiG-17, Peter comments, "If you love the MiG 17, and can’t live without it, then pick this one up. But if you can live without it, wait for a service pack or a patch."

PMDG Member Selected for Lufthansa Flight Training

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 1:35
During the better part of 2008, PMDG member Marc Harrington has been pushing himself through a very difficult internal selection process for First Officer candidates at Lufthansa. In addition to his duties at PMDG, Marc has been working for Lufthansa for nearly a year. After thousands of hours of self study, a number of rather torturous tests and a battery of interviews, the Captain in charge of the selection process today informed Marc, “Congratulations, we’ll take you!” All of the members at PMDG are very excited for Marc, and incredibly proud of this accomplishment. Ahead of him lies two years of Ab-Initio training, then the right seat on a 737, A320 or A300 in the Lufthansa fleet.

Marc plans to continue his work with PMDG and his new expreiences will likely influence PMDG products in the future. "Marc has been with PMDG for nine years, and all of us are incredibly proud of him," said PMDG Founder Robert S. Randazzo. AVSIM joins PMDG in saying, "Congratulations Marc".

Cirrus SR22G2/G3 Turbo Service Release 1

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 1:33
Eaglesoft announces FS9/FSX Cirrus SR22G2/G3 Turbo Service Release 1 is now available. Current owners may simply redownload and reinstall to obtain Service Release1 for either FS9 or FSX Version. Each Version corrects VC Operation and minor tweaks to textures and avionics operation.

Alaska Airlines' Mad Dogs

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 - 5:54
From Magadan, Russia, to Mazatlan Mexico, and all points between, the "Mad Dogs" helped make Alaska Airlines what it is today during their 23 years of service. "As we bid farewell to the MD-80, we salute our Alaska Airlines crews and the customers who flew with us along the way. Our last two MD-80 flights take place on August 24, 2008. Flight 331 will depart San Jose at 7:50 p.m. and Flight 363 will depart Sacramento at 8:20 p.m."

VFR Real Scenery Vols 1-4 from Just Flight

Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2008 - 19:55
Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis does on a scenic tour of England with several Just Flight products, namely VFR Real Scenery Vols 1-4 and touches down at Denham and White Waltham airfields. "Now available at Justflight are five different downloadable scenery titles taken from the VFR Real Scenery Volume products and compiled into five smaller versions. They are Volume 1 London; Volume 2 Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton; Volume 3 Isle of Wright; Volume 4 Cardiff and now Volume 5 Leeds and Bradford."

"The scenery covers relatively small areas of England. If you buy all four of these scenery volumes, you are looking at a total coverage of England, north, south, east and west! Personally, I don’t think I would have had it any other way and I really don’t think I would have settled on just one area. The scenery includes day and night textures and offers some fantastic looking night lighting."

Gene gives a general overview of what each volume includes and goes on to say, "The scenery itself not only enhances the Flight Simulator visually, but it offers an option for those who do not get good frame rates with the default stock scenery. The photo scenery removes all of the autogen and scenery objects so the only thing you are relying on and using, is the photo scenery and from what I can tell, Flight Simulator seems to really like it or you might say that your PC likes it!"

About the two airfields, Gene generalizes with, "The airfields are good and they do graphically enhance the terrain as well as add for some interesting places to fly to. I would definitely recommend getting at least one of these airfields, if not both."

"The VFR Real Scenery Volumes will, at times, leave you breathless as you tour the English Countryside. You will quickly forget about things like scenery objects, buildings and autogen and just take it in for what it is; four volumes of scenery goodness! I am relatively happy with Real Scenery Volumes 1-4 and if you like to fly in England, these are a must have as they offer total and unrelenting coverage of one single country."

FSX Cirrus SR22G2/G3 Turbo Package

Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2008 - 17:21
Team Eaglesoft is pleased to announce that their Cirrus SR22G2/G3 Turbo Package for FSX is now available. Completely rebuilt to the FSX SDK using 3D Studio Max and fully FSX/SP2/DX10 compliant, the Eaglesoft Cirrus SR22G2/G3 Turbo Package includes both G2 and G3 Turbo models with all the latest features of its counterpart. Revised Avidyne Entegra Turbo Avionics and reduced FSX draw calls help this one to perform in FSX. The new Turbo flight Dynamics by Rob Young round out the package. Details and screenshots may be found in Eaglesoft's support forums and on their website.

Angle of Attack Productions Training Video

Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2008 - 12:19
Angle of Attack Productions is excited to announce the release of their Training Package for the PMDG 747-400. This DVD with 6 hours of footage packed on 3 Dual Layer DVD's can be used for both the FS9 and FSX versions of the PMDG 747-400. a wide range of systems and procedures are taught. The training also includes an in depth tutorial teaching you beginner, intermediate, and advanced techniques for flying the 747-400, for an in depth look at this product visit Angle of Attack Productions .

Space Shuttle Mission 2007 Service Pack.

Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2008 - 1:38
Service Pack 2 adds a new free mission, new cool features, improved flight model and additional systems simulation, but most significantly, it brings with it a major increase in performance. The new "fluidity" is more noticeable on especially slow PCs and laptops where the overall performance increase can be up to 300%.

STS-124 - the new mission included in the Service Pack, and the latest flown by NASA - started with an uneventful Discovery launch on May 31, 2008 and is one of the busier ISS assembly mission. It carried the Japanese ISS laboratory "Kibo" and featured three long and busy space walks around the International Space Station. STS-124 concluded with a perfect landing at the Kennedy Space Center on June 14, 2008.

The Space Shuttle Mission 2007™ is available for online purchase in downloadable format at the SSM2007 official website. The latest Demo can also be downloaded freely at the same website.

FSWidgets Release: GMap - iPhone Edition

Posted: Friday, August 15, 2008 - 13:08
FSWidgets has released the fourth member of the GMap for FSX family. This latest arrival - the iPhone Edition - runs inside what could be considered an "iPhone emulator", displaying the look and feel of Apple's iPhone with all of the functionality of previous editions of this freeware moving map system. To download GMap or browse their entire range, visit the FSWidgets site.

ATi Release 'Fastest Card In The World'

Posted: Friday, August 15, 2008 - 10:37
ATi have announced the Radeon™ HD 4870 X2: advancing visual computing ever closer to eye-definition computing gaming and cinematic experiences, it delivers a whopping 2.4 teraFLOPS of processing power. Also announced is the ATI Radeon™ HD 4850 X2 graphics card, delivering blistering performance at a compelling price point.

ATI Radeon™ claim that the new HD-4870 X2 (essentially a dual-chipped card that that only requires one PCI-E slot) will deliver up to 80 percent more performance than than the award-winning ATI Radeon™ HD 4870. The cards combine two ATI Radeon HD 4800 series GPUs with a more advanced cross-GPU connection based on the PCIe 2.0 standard plus two gigabytes of memory.

"...These technologies combine to make the ATI Radeon HD 4800 X2 series perfectly suited for the most demanding games, able to deliver astonishing frame rates at extreme resolutions and image quality settings..."

The ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 will offer new levels of performance for under $400 and "set new performance standards" for video cards in this price range.

A video interview with ATi regarding the 4-series cards, can be streamed here.

Sherburn Aeroclub Announce Date Of 2008 Show

Posted: Friday, August 15, 2008 - 10:32
Saturday September 6th, 2008 will see the Yorkshire (UK) - based Sherburn Aeroclub holding what promises to be, a very special occasion bringing together - for the first time - a show for both real and virtual pilots. Founded earlier this year, the Sherburn Flight Simulator User Group meet on the first Saturday of every month and members bring along their own systems for people to view and use during the day. They now have over 50 members all of whom have contributed to the planning of this event.

The inaugural flightsim show took place in 2006; this year however, they have expanded the show and now for the first time, are opening a fully working hangar to hold the event.

Top names from around the flight simulation world will be there to show their latest products, from software to hardware, and trial flights in some of the club's aircraft will also be available throughout the day - weather permitting! It should be a great day out for all the family, so make a note in your diary: The 2008 Sherburn Flight Simulation Show - 'where the real world meets the virtual world, coming together as one!'

For more information on both the group and the show, visit their official site.

Free Download - Focke-Wulf Triebflugel VTOL

Posted: Friday, August 15, 2008 - 1:08
PRE-Flight RC Simulator announces the Focke-Wulf Triebflugel. The Focke-Wulf Triebflugel's tailsitter design coupled with the ramjet-powered rotor made it one of the most unique aircraft ever concieved. It had only reached wind-tunnel testing when the allied forces put an end to its development - no flying prototype was ever built. Concieved in the final months of World War II, it was thought to have been a solution to the increasing bombing raids by the allies, as well as a response to the lack of flying fields for normal aircraft operation.

The Triebflugel's main propulsion consisted of a single, large-diameter, 3-bladed rotor powered by ramjets positioned at the tip of the blades. Take-off is similar to a helicopter then the craft is nosed over to a normal attitude with the blades providing forward thrust as well as lift. The theoretical specs are impressive: 3 wingtip ramjets giving it a speed up to Mach 0.9 or about 1000kph; 2 X 30mm cannon and 2 X 20mm cannon on the nose. Designed primarily as a bomber interceptor, it would take only a few minutes to reach a high enough altitude to engage its target. Little thought seems to have been put into the landing of such an aircraft - with the pilot not seeing much of the landing wheels behind him.

This PRE-Flight model of the Triebflugel has an operating rotor, animated flames at the ramjet exhausts and even "3D" sound coming from the rotating engines. Flying the model is similar to flying a helicopter, up to the point where enough forward speed enables the model to fly more like a conventional aircraft. As in the real thing, landing is exceptionally challenging. To download this and other models and to download the PRE-Flight Demo, visit PRE-Flight RC Flight Simulator.

Integrated Simavionics Group 1 (ISG1) Upgrade

Posted: Friday, August 15, 2008 - 0:45
This upgrade (v1.5) integrates an A300-A310 style Navigation Display, an MD11/B717 style Navigation Display, and Collins Proline4 style MultiFunction display. All ISG1 gauges can be selectively mixed and matched into the aircraft/panel of your choice. This update also provides fixes for some minor reported issues. This is a free upgrade for previous ISG1 customers. ISG1 gauges are available at the Integrated Simavionics Group 1 website.

RAF Vulcan from Just Flight

Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2008 - 2:56
Staff reviewer Laure Aston reviews a piece of history that is back in the air, the RAF Vulcan from Just Flight. "The Avro Vulcan’s beautiful lines and distinctive shape make it an icon of cold-war aviation. RAF Vulcan contains a total of eighteen examples in different Squadron liveries and with different model variations, including the 2K air-to-air refueling tanker variant and those carrying the Blue Steel British nuclear cruise missile, the Shrike anti-radar missile as used in the Falklands, and the ‘project cancelled’ Sky Bolt missiles."

"Just Flight have captured this magnificent aircraft perfectly, in all its guises and colour schemes, glistening in the sun with protrusions displayed for all to see. The bomb bay opens to reveal a cavernous internal warehouse, capable of carrying enough weaponry to destroy just about anything on earth."

"The cockpit area of the Vulcan is fairly compact, and appears to be displayed faithfully by the “Just Flight” Team. The instruments that are important for flight are working properly, although not in the case of every switch and knob visible. The layout works well overall, and the views from the flight deck are exactly as per the real Vulcan, and the “Virtual Cockpit” pilot is catered for very neatly too."

"The sound department at Just Flight and Phoenix has tweaked the Bristol Siddeley (now Rolls Royce) Olympus engines to perfection, and they sound great in the FS2004 or FSX versions. The power comes in at the right time when the thrust levers are moved, the gauges read well, and the aircraft responds to changes in thrust as near as I can tell quite accurately."

"The RAF Vulcan is thoroughly recommended for anyone and everyone. It flies well, looks fantastic in the air or on the ground. Lay out a few well earned pennies knowing you have purchased a big piece of history, at a fraction of the price of a real Avro Vulcan, it will never let you down."