Call it Synchronicity, call it Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, or just call it a late night session checking the DC-3s A/P function for a concerned reader, but all through the night not a creature was stirring but everything led to this bunch of screenshots, and the mood in the room just about bowled me over as things slipped into place. The colors of the sky, the colors on the aircraft an echo…Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds playing to the darkness, but I suppose that was inevitable, wasn’t it? I’ve always enjoyed reading and thinking Jung, so I suppose looking for causality was a little self-defeating, but even so I enjoyed the way these shots all started coming together in the wee hours, so let’s take a gander at ‘em first, then we’ll slide on into the news – and then on to a few other files too, even!
You know, it doesn’t hurt that we’re looking at two absolutely gorgeous files here…the Leading Edge DC-3 and AeroSOFT’s BIKF + Keflavik…but I guess there’s a cumulative effect going on too as together these files make some pretty sweet music together. Then you add the artistry of someone like Leen de Jager into the mix and something almost mystical emerges in the night… like fixing a hole when the rain gets in…and stops my mind from wondering…where it will go-o-o…
(…The Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows floats through the darkness, the 60s are alive and memories of DC-3s at Love Field come through the music and into the night. Yes, Braniff’s DC-3s and DC-7s, and Trans Texas Airways too (didn’t we call that one “Tree Top Airlines”?). Growing up in Dallas, coming to terms with JFK and The Beatles, all these memories dance around the room while I fly this urDC-3 around inside a Mac…)
The first effort we’ll look at here, Leen’s bifurcated Swiss Classic/Alrodo paint, splits the night too and leaves you wanting more. The cool blue panel fits the mood, too, and is perfect for midday or late night work.
And I guess at Keflavik you get either the Sun or you don’t, depending on the time of year. Midnight Sun, Norwegian Woods, and all that brings to the show, but look close – because not all is as it seems Within You and Without You…
The bi-polar nature of this file comes to this other life in the image below…one side “Classic”…the other very commercial. Unique, though. And very well done even if it makes you want to be Back In the U.S.S.R.…
Oh, speaking as we are of music…composer Hans Zimmer has just released a piece titled Aurora, an elegy for dreadful passings in Aurora, Colorado last month. Ethereally beautiful, almost haunting, and if the language of music stirs your soul – timeless, but not for the faint of heart. At the iTunes store, so why am I thinking of A Day in The Life again…
And then there’s this image. Not quite ethereal? Well, soak up those early morning details in the amber light…there on the gears, and yes, on the leading edge. What’s going on with MacOS10.8, anyway? Not only is everything sharper, but the colors have more punch too. It’s like Apple was really on top of their game with this release, and it’s showing up everywhere you look on a Mac. Photoshop CS5 and Illustrator CS6 simply look better, Garageband looks (and sounds) better, and even Scrivener (where my alter-ego writes) looks and runs tight as a drum.
But Holy Mackerel! Details in the engine pop – even from a distance, while landing lights and beacons bathe gathering elements in pulsing glows. The panel (below) is soothing in these early morning hues, not quite as blue-blue as Leen’s Alrodo effort above – but still catchy even so.
You can tell this paint had it’s origins in the 60s…the colors are…well, exuberant…the overall style is…what, a little on the “mod” side?
But those 60s grooves really pick up on those early morning hues. What’s that playing now…Stevie Wonder…Innervisions…Visions… Oh, what a long night…
There’s a little history of this airline at the link, but suffice to say for now that you’ll be able to use this one all around Florida and on over to the Bahamas too, while Al Stewart’s End of the Day takes you inward to your dreams…
So yeah…synchronicity…that’s just the word I was thinking of. Eternal coincidence…or none? Or was it all a dream?
So, if you’ve got the ACF and haven’t picked up these paints yet? Well, here’re the links, so go get ‘em!
Don’t yet have the ACF? Uh-oh, bad move, Dude. You can grab it over at X-Aviation right now, and you know you’ll be glad you did – so go for it!
Ah, one more interesting bit of music to pass on. Paul Simon joining Herbie Hancock for a jazz rendition of Simon’s I Do It For Your Love, on Hancock’s Possibilities album. Smooth and cool, another great late night vibe.
Now let’s do some news:
- The Senate Transportation Committee voted Tuesday to support Michael Huerta for a five-year team as Federal Aviation Administration administrator. Huerta is currently serving as acting administrator. However, a spokesman for Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said DeMint plans to “have a full debate” on Huerta’s nomination when it goes to the Senate for a vote, which could stall the process. USA TODAY/Today In The Sky blog
- The Airplane Geeks attended the EAA AirVenture 2012 in Oshkosh, Wis., and discussed their experiences for Episode 208. The 100-plus degree heat presented challenges for some members of the podcast, which is sponsored by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. The podcast also features an interview with Yohai West, an expert on aviation security.Airplane Geeks Podcast
- Jay Johnson, chairman and CEO of General Dynamics, said subsidiary Gulfstream has a “robust order pipeline” but is facing longer times to close deals. “We continue to believe we will realize many of these orders, although their timing and in some cases their scope may vary from initial discussions,” he said. Aviation Daily
- Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana will host a grand opening Thursday of a flight school. The school, operated by the Flight Academy of New Orleans, will occupy a hangar that formerly counted Northwestern State University as a tenant. KATC-TV (Acadiana, La.)/The Associated Press
- A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew has been honored for its role in rescuing people from a sinking ship off Kodiak, Alaska, more than two decades ago. “It took time to scoop them out of the water,” said Marty Heckerman, an air crewman aboard the helicopter during the 1988 rescue. “It was like scooping a goldfish out of the tank.” Anchorage Daily News (Alaska)/Kodiak Daily Mirror (Alaska)
- NASA has asked general aviation pilots to participate in two special studies it is conducting with the FAA based on data collected through the Aviation Safety Reporting System. AOPA Online.
Those of who’ve been reading along here for a time know that I’m a sailor of sorts, and having lived aboard sailboats a time or three, and while making fairly long passages I have a real empathy with cruising sailors. As soon as feel up to it, I plan to get my own sea legs back and sail away for a while, so I keep up with things. Two items that you might find interesting popped up today, so I hope you’ll indulge the intrusion of a few nautical items in todays news!
- The record for a solo trans-Atlantic crossing has just been broken, and this may not seem a big deal until when you consider that not so long ago a crossing under sail in anything less than “months” was considered routine, and this was via large ships with big crews. Alex Thompson, a 38 year old British solo racer, just completed the crossing in 8 days, 22 hours and 8 minutes. Read more here.
- On a somewhat different note, imagine 28,000 miles in 250 days at sea by yourself, rounding all five of the Southern Capes in the process, and almost completing the voyage non-stop but for a knock-down off Cape Horn necessitating repairs. Okay, got that? Now imagine being a 70 year old woman and doing this. Angry at being denied the “non-stop” part of this voyage, she’s setting out again this October to make the trip again. Want to know more, then read this.
Finally, a reminder about the night of 5 August and the optical alignment of planets preceding Mars Rover CURIOSITY’s entry into the Martian atmosphere, and the final “seven minutes of terror” before landing. And a new article is up at NASA concerning the role played by this rover while en route to Mars, and how it has been analyzing the types and severity of radiation events astronauts will encounter while en route in the not too distant future. Worth a peek for all you aspiring astronauts, and you’ll find the article here.
Now let’s look at some files:
One of our favorite seaplanes, HydroZ’ PBY developed a reputation early on for being about as easy to handle as a lizard on a hot rock, and with engine OPS as challenging as those found in XPFr’s B17G many newcomers to piston engine aircraft were flummoxed. And dismayed.
Well, time to go grab your updates, because this latest version brings an easy mode to the party. Here’re the notes from the release, in case you missed them:
This update “introduces some interesting new stuff, such as 3D internal sounds and easy mode with engine failure disabled. Some bugfixs too…
New features :
Alert pop-up system now on-screen:
- When exceeding maximum engine settings
- When you have an engine failure (fire, oil pump, engine ice/carb heat, etc…)
3D engine’s sounds
- More varied sounds (Starter, engine ignition, idle, cruise, max power and shut-off)
- 3D interior sounds, depending of engine position and point of view
- Engine failure can be disabled
- Easy water mode which add a water rudder for easy handling
Bug fix :
- Now mixture can be mapped on joystick button or axis
- Vertical Speed indicator fixed
- Tuned a bit engine failure behavior, now more tolerant with engine temp (oil temp, etc…)
- No more water sound while landing on ground without gear set down
- Engine can be start in XP10.10b3 (Starter was not enough strong)
Know bug : With X-Plane 10.05 or 10.10, you can’t click on the PBY icon if you load the CAT at startup. You have to reload the aircraft first to correct this. I’m currently investigating this bug.”
So, how does all this work in practice? Well, the pop-up warnings definitely grab your attention:
The “alert” is graphically well done and not overtly intrusive, and so does it’s job well. Forget to apply carb heat when letting off power and up pops the alert icon, and while you still have to be an adept throttle jockey the system is tons more forgiving than previous versions and the alerts help keep you on your game. In the end, this set up in effect coaches you along to better engine management, and along the way helps keep your head in the SIM. Immersive? Yes, but fun too. A useful improvement all round!
This remains one of the best looking seaplanes in XP as well, but as we’ve found time and time again – without decent sound files any good looking ACF will begin to fall apart if the soundscape takes away from the overall effect. Thankfully, HydroZ comes through again with a much more inventive sound field than heard in previous versions, and cockpit sounds are dimensionally more immersive now.
The Cat is still a handful, don’t get me wrong! There are more ways to screw the pooch in this ACF than I can count too, all of them realistically modeled effects that ring quite true to real world drivers of this aircraft, yet the ACF now has an element of user-friendliness that was lacking before. It’s a good combination too, one that hit the “sweet spot” for me more than once will flying around Khamsin’s Munda Island package over the past week or so.
This remains a most highly recommended file, and with multiple variants still included that bring this Cat right up to it’s current livery, it’s an unbeatable value too. But once again we ask that you consider the proceeds of sales here go to restoring and maintaining the real Cat in flying condition…
…and that’s an offer we just can’t refuse!
Horribly remiss here, but I neglected to get this file from Ntr09 posted a few days ago, and the omission is doubly bad as it’s a useful (not to mention well done) addition to the growing collection of GA airports in central Tennessee. Check out the Google Earth collage below and you’ll see why.
Yes, several GA flights are possible from this central location, and not just to those in the immediate vicinity. Looking over the map will lead you to all kinds of interest places. Santiago’s 2NC0 Mountain Air and the Drawbridge KILM will be two very worthwhile hops from KSRB, but then of course Pensacola and central Louisiana are too. Chicago? New York City? All very easy from here, and we’ve never had better airports in this region than we do now, so taking advantage of these new opportunities to explore is a natural.
As you can tell in the image above, this isn’t a large airport, though runway 4/22 is 6005 ft x 100 ft, and there is a published LOC/DME approach for runway 4 (110.1), as well as published NDB and RNAV approaches. Below, other nearby NAVaids:
|VOR radial/distance||VOR name||Freq||Var|
|HCH r 304/31.5||HINCH MOUNTAIN VORTAC||117.60||02W|
|LVT r 211/36.3||LIVINGSTON VORTAC||108.40||02W|
|HUCHN||036/4.9||233||03W||HEM||…. . –|
|HURRICANE||074/14.1||256||02W||SKN||… -.- -.|
|LAFAYETTE||139/37.6||245||02W||LFB||.-.. ..-. -…|
|LEBANON||104/38.8||414||02W||JUE||.-– ..- .|
And as mentioned, you’ll find nice facilities in XP for journeys in and out of Sparta:
With 6000 feet of runway and at an elevation of a bit over a thousand feet, you’ll find that just about any aircraft – from large, overloaded GA singles up to Bizjets – can operate from this facility. The DC-3 was easy on the in-and-out, too.
Fidelity to what’s on the ground appears excellent. All told, we’d consider this a good addition to our collection of airports in the southern U.S., and the file is Highly Recommended. You’ll find the file here.
Well, signing off now. Thanks for coming along, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for two new files that may be popping up soon. We’ll let you know “if and when”, so keep your fingers crossed, and Hasta later –C