A few new files round out the recent goings-on in XP-land, but the news so far this week is getting more than interesting…it’s getting downright overwhelming…or troubling…depending on your point of view.
First, a few of the less troubling odds and ends:
- Windows 8? It’s coming. (well, maybe this is troubling news after all!)
- Investigators continue to look into the cause of an accident during an airshow in Reno, Nev., that killed 10 people. Jimmy Leeward, a veteran pilot, died when his P-51 Mustang aircraft plunged into the crowd, but some onlookers praised the pilot’s actions. “The way I see it, if he did do something about this, he saved hundreds if not thousands of lives because he was able to veer that plane back toward the tarmac,” said spectator Johnny Norman. Google/Agence France-Presse
- Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., sent a letter to the chairman and CEO of LightSquared after the company placed an ad in The Wall Street Journal. Plans for a LightSquared wireless network have been delayed because of interference issues with GPS used in aviation and other industries. “The U.S. Department of Transportation has stated the GPS interference could result in almost 800 aviation fatalities and cost over $100 billion,” wrote Petri, who serves as chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. General Aviation News
The long awaited 4Forces Cessna 152 update was released this weekend. Our reporter Perry Wagner will have a review for you soon.
A drool-worthy image from the IXEG of their forthcoming 737 Classic:
Follow developments here. Big image, too. As usual, click to enlarge. I need to go get a towel for my keyboard now…
Looking for some audio entertainment to while away a few hours? Want to listen in to live ATC transmissions to hone your skills? Well, try this link. No UK facilities online yet, but some other surprising airports are. Worth a look…er…a listen.
And now, hang on to your hat. Item 3 is interesting, while item 5 is, well, unsettling:
3°) Airdailyx : Some designers opinions are laudatory on X-Plane 10. From what you know about X Plane 10, do you consider there are still (too many) hindrances or limitations in its architecture and programming for Orbx to develop a large scenery like NA BLUE/GOLD?
John Venema : We’re watching X-Plane 10 for sure, but we have no plans to port to it at this stage. You have to understand that we have invested millions of dollars building our tech on the FSX architecture, so we will only port to a platform which has a large enough audience to make it worth our while. Besides, I think Austin makes far, far more money from his iOS sim toys these days, than anything he makes from XP PC.
5°) Airdailyx : With the slow agony of FS9/2004 and all the uncertainties around FLIGHT, do you think that FSX will now live – at last – its great apogee ?
John Venema : Flight is not what people are expecting, it won’t compete with FSX at all, it’s a completely different sim category. FSX is the serious sim platform for the hardcore and will be for at least 5-10 years, and certainly hardware is now capable of overcoming most of the shortfalls of the code. We are also very excited about Lockheed Martin’s PREPAR3D, which is built on FSX and has a bunch of ex-ACES guys fixing all the major bugs and making it work with today’s CPU/GPU hardware. We are waiting on some new pricing models to emerge and then it becomes a serious alternative platform for Orbx and its customers.
So, ya got that? PREPAR3D? LockheedMartin and FsX developers pairing to make a SIM that Orbx is gearing up for? A “new” SIM with a hyper accurate flight model – developed by LockheedMartin – and that uses existing FsX add-ons? How many ways can you spell Trouble for the X-Plane universe… Well, PREPAR3D certainly ought to shoot to the top of your list of interesting new topics to discuss and research.
UPDATE: we have images from within the new SIM up here.
We will be covering this in more detail at the X-SIM+Reviews blog, so join us there if you want to follow the news on this “interesting” new development. Another thing to consider: Laminar’s reputation among FsX devs still doesn’t exactly sound encouraged or positive, and as a 10 dollar a month fee is all that’s required right now for non-commercial devs to start tinkering with PREPAR3D, so from where I sit the timely release of XP10 would appear more vitally important than ever. Sure, this “product” is in it’s infancy, but the one thing XP10 can’t concede right now is momentum – and already a few forums are going ballistic with this info. Yet even so, Laminar has generated some serious energy with their Christmas announcement; now they have to capitalize on that force – and follow through.
Well, why don’t you look at some files while the rest of us go for some antacids! Chaos Manor is getting, well, kinda chaotic…if you know what I mean.
Georgian Airways was established and commenced operations in September 1994 as Airzena; the carrier started with business and charter flights, and scheduled service added in 1997 with Boeing 737/5s. Airzena merged with Air Georgia in November 1999 to form Airzena Georgian Airlines and adopted the current title on 1 October 2004. Airzena Georgian Airways owns Boeing 737-500 and recently added CRJ-200 and CRJ-100 jets.
Mkiii’s paint for JRollon’s CRJ200 is crisply executed, the LIT textures perfect; this handsome livery is a standout effort, highly recommended, and one of the best available for this ACF.
Canadian Airlines International Ltd. was a Canadian airline that operated from 1987 until 2001, when it was acquired by Air Canada. The airline was Canada’s second largest airline, second only to Air Canada, and carried almost 12 million passengers to over 160 destinations in 17 countries on five continents in 1996 (it’s best). Canadian Airlines served 105 destinations in Canada, more than any other domestic carrier, and primarily operated Boeing equipment on higher capacity routes, but also had A320 in inventory at the time of acquisition.
audiotracker’s Canadian paint for the QPAC320 is simply perfect. The “goose” logo is carried out with precision, and text and other detail is sharp and well-placed. This is a “dirty” paint, too, so if you want a clean version you’ll need to find a good car wash.
LIT textures are textbook for this ACF, as you would expect from this artist. Highly recommended, and see here leaving Santiago’s “new” KLGA.
There was also a very nice looking DHL paint for the XPFWP 757/200 released Monday, you can access the download via the Org’s link here. This is a very nice looking effort and well worth mentioning, but it’s a multi-step installation involving Planemaker and (potentially) text editors but I doubt I’ll have time for all that any time soon. The night cockpit lighting tweak is detailed as well. Nice images at the link. If so inclined, give it a go!
Lockheed’s Skunk Works produced some of the most notable aircraft of the Cold War, but the über-secretive division was reportedly actually formed in 1938 when hostilities with Germany appeared inevitable. The P38 Lightning grew from these early efforts, and recent histories of the mysterious organization makes for fascinating reading. Also note: the “skunk” image above is LockheedMartin’s trademarked image, and you can see below that the logo is still in use, as the division remains very active:
Headquartered in Palmdale, California (below) near Edwards Air Force Base, The Skunk Works is currently occupied with the F35 project, and with two UAVs also in production their status as one of the premier weapons engineering works in the world remains more than intact.
Notable “Skunk” milestones besides the P38 include the F104 Starfighter, the U2, the F117 and F22 fighters, as well as the aircraft developed for Project Oxcart.
There are, or were, three main variants of the Skunk Work’s basic Oxcart design: the original A-12 single seat recon model, the YF12A dual seat interceptor, and the final dual seat SR-71 recon bird. These three aircraft grew from the CIA’s original design brief, which eventually became Project Oxcart.
Released early Monday, The Privateer’s YF12 ACF is built on the default SR71 which has been included with X-Plane for some time, as was an earlier effort by Vonrik. Both models have their strengths and weaknesses, but The Privateer’s latest has one interesting addition: the inclusion of three AIM-47 Falcon AAMs.
Unfortunately no corresponding work has been done on a fire control radar, and as XP really isn’t set up for combat anyway you have to conclude the effort would be a waste of time at this point… Yet Khamsin and Arno have sort of blazed a new trail, haven’t they.
Makes you wonder what a talented programmer and Gizmo could come up with, doesn’t it? What would you call this, I wonder? The Mig 25 for lunch bunch?
Anyway…puttering around in X-Plane over Southern California at Mach 1.5 is just plain fun: there’s simply no other way to look at the experience. You’d never have been able to do anything like this in “reality” under any conditions short of DEFCON 1, so while the thought of cruising over a hypothetical San Fernando Valley is amusing, and leaving a sonic boom rolling along in your wake big enough to knock Valley Girls out of their virtual VW convertibles is sort of gratifying in a warped kind of way, in the end it’s the immersive feeling of speed that will likely appeal to you, and I’m guessing you’ll want to try your hand in this ACF more than once.
You can try high Mach numbers at medium to high altitude, but you’d best not try it at sea level as the dense air can bring on a rapid onset of turbulence generated flutter. That’s bad at 1500KIAS. Still, Mach 1.2 was doable just over the Nimitz flight deck…perhaps 300AGL…low enough to peel the paint off the flight deck anyway.
Take-off is a leisurely affair, as you might imagine. While a Porsche 911 might beat the real aircraft in 0-60 mph times, it’s the 60-200 that becomes a little, well, breathtaking in this ACF. I was too busy hanging on for dear life to note V1, but it was somewhere between 180 and 200KIAS. Altimeter and Rate of Climb are vertical tape readouts, which is good in this case as there’s just no way a conventional circular dial could spin fast enough to keep up with this thing’s blistering acceleration in a climb.
Landing the YF12 is simplicity itself…as long as you land on Edwards AFB’s dry lake bed runway complex. Finding a patch of dirt long enough and dry enough isn’t usually a real problem, just keep your speed above 210 KIAS and cross your fingers that the tires don’t blow on touchdown!
Oh, that yellow thingamabobbit next to the standby compass on the upper left panel is the landing chute. A word or two of advice: USE IT!
Ah! A few images of Vonrik’s earlier YF12 ACF now:
I don’t know about you, but I like the steel/ceramic look of this ACF.
Oh…and another few words about Edwards AFB… There’s a decent enough file here for the air base, but the dry lake bed is rendered like this by XP:
Which, oddly enough, offers no real resemblance at all to the real thing:
But it just so happens that a texture file to fix all this nonsense was released this past weekend (and – cough, cough – by The Privateer… Now, imagine that!). This is what you’ll find after you follow the rather simple but detailed installation instructions carefully:
This landscape will prove handy for the YF12A, the Space Shuttle, and all sorts of interesting black products that emerge from a quiet corner of Palmdale otherwise known as Skunk Hollow.
So…The Privateer released a nice new texture set to go with his nice, freshly revised Oxcart. Both are highly recommended. So, for that matter, is Vonrik’s ACF.
Give all this stuff a try…you’re bound to get a smile or three for your trouble.
And that’s all she wrote for now, so…