The Way It Should Be….

I’ve often commented on how much I enjoy the Steam gaming platform update process.  Of the Steam games I enjoy (Farm Sim, Truck Sim etc.) when a patch or update becomes available, the Steam client seamlessly (for the most part) installs that update and I don’t need to worry about anything.  Likewise, both ATS and ETS2 have even simplified a portion of their mod update abilities via the Stream Workshop.  While some gamers might not understand just how wonderful this concept is (for Steam games), it’s only recently made it’s way into the flight sim world.

Historically speaking, anytime we’ve needed to update something in the flight sim arena (FSX and early versions of P3D) it’s been somewhat of an arduous task.  Many times applying a service pack or updating scenery would/could lead to issues downstream.  I would often forgo taking updates until such time I felt I really either had no choice or perhaps it was time to do a complete and full re-install of everything including Microsoft Windows.  But as the title suggests, things have become much, much easier with regards to updating certain elements within Prepar3D v4 and yes….it’s the way it should be.

Prepar3D v4

The P3D update process really couldn’t be any easier than how Lockheed Martin have made it for us.  Unless you are absolutely brand new to P3D and only purchased v4 AFTER the latest update (4.1) became available then you probably already know just how easy it is to apply updates.  By the way, this same update process existed within v3 (perhaps earlier but I just can’t remember).  Essentially you can update P3D by uninstalling only the component you desire to update, then simply install the new updated component.  Typically this would be the “Client” component.  Complete and easy to follow instructions are available on the P3D website and YouTube also offers dozens (if not more) tutorials on how to safely update the P3D platform.

How we did things yesterday, is not always how we’ll do things tomorrow

Change can be a really good thing!  And this is really why I decided to write this article.  Upon initial release of P3D v4 some folks began to lose their mind regarding how developers began to change the way add-ons would get installed.  Since the dawn of time (as it relates to flight sim) add-ons would get installed in the same directory structure of the sim.  This concept worked fine (I suppose), but did present its own set of challenges when it came time to applying updates to the sim.  Starting with P3D v4, add-on developers began to utilize the “Documents” method of installing add-ons.

For years the philosophy behind how to build the perfect sim PC consisted of at the very least two hard drives.  One HDD which contained the Windows operating system and other applications not related to flight sim.  Then a second HDD (preferably SSD) for the sim software.  The idea behind this was one could get away with a smaller HDD for Windows and invest their money on a larger/faster and preferably SSD drive to contain the sim and all things related to the sim (scenery, aircraft etc.)

When I built my current gaming machine, I took it one step further and even included a third SSD drive for my Steam games to run on so I could truly keep flight sim separate on its own SSD drive.  But with more and more developers moving to the “Documents” method of installing software, things started to get a little tight on my main HDD.  Thankfully, if you are also experiencing (or starting to experience) congestion on your main HDD due to more and more add-ons being installed into the “Documents” folder, there is hope for you.  You can simply relocate the Documents folder to another drive.  As I’m a fan of giving credit where credit is due, I’ll just simply direct you to an already existing YouTube Video which discusses just how to safely accomplish this task.

Now back to the update process discussion….

But it truly gets better…

Oh yes it does!  I can’t remember who did it first…perhaps it was PMDG or perhaps it was Orbx, but these were the first two I noticed including a control panel update process for installing incremental updates to their products.  Since that time, other developers such as FSDreamTeam and FlightBeam have also moved to this concept and it’s truly amazing.

Specifically speaking about Orbx, I own a lot of Orbx scenery.  When I say a lot, I mean….A LOT!  Thankfully, Orbx has never charged a fee to upgrade any of their scenery from FSX up to P3D (including P3D v4).  Because Orbx has a really large catalog of wonderful scenery, it was somewhat of a daunting task to constantly venture out to their forum site to check when a particular scenery title had made its way to being updated.  But through their updated FTX Central client, it knows every piece of Orbx software I own and tells me when that particular title has been updated for V4 or includes an incremental update.  As you might have guessed, it really is just as simple as point and click to install scenery or scenery updates.

As I mentioned, both FSDreamTeam and FlightBeam have also developed a similar control panel and it couldn’t be easier to keep everything updated.  Thank you to all who have moved to this process.

One can only hope…

that others will follow.  I’d love to see developers like Carenado, FlyTampa and others follow suit.  Maybe they will….maybe they won’t, but I do feel the developers who have moved in this direction have set the bar which others will be measured against.

Until next time…

Happy Simming!

J

QualityWings 787 and P3D v4.x

Hello to all.  Life has been quite busy for me the past few months.  I must apologize to my readers as in typical fashion, my busy schedule has had an impact on my blogging.  It’s been several months since I posted an article to my blog and for that I must apologize.  I had the best intentions of writing more and of course writing about flight simulation.  After all, it was flight sim which caused me to create this blog site over 10 years ago.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my hotel room in Orlando, Florida where I’m on my third business trip in the past five weeks.  I just got back from dinner (I’m stuffed), turned on the TV (boring) and decided to check my email.  One of my long time readers messaged me asking if I had spent any time with the newly released QualityWings 787 Dreamliner and what my impressions were.  Well…unfortunately, I had to answer his question with a short answer of no, followed by some additional comments I’m going to share here.

I believe the last time I wrote about the QualityWings 787 was back in June of this year.  At that time I had read a Facebook message stating the aircraft was expected to be released in the Summer of 2017.  Unfortunately, QualityWings missed their mark slightly.  The season of summer came to an end on Friday, September 22nd and the QW Dreamliner was released in early October.  Now I realize I’m being a bit cheeky with pointing this out….but details matter right?  OK….perhaps not.  The good news is the much anticipated QualityWings 787 Dreamliner is available, but the bad news…it’s only available for FSX!

Of course, we knew this would be the case and I even touched on that in my previously mentioned June blog post.  QW explains this decision is due to the fact the 787 has been in development longer than Prepar3D v4 (or even v3 or v2) had been in existence.  While I understand this fact, I must also mention that I’m of the opinion that QualityWings really have never fully embraced the Prepar3d P3D platform.  While it is true they did FINALLY update their Boeing 757 for P3D v2.5…but their treatment of P3D could be likened to that of a “red headed step-child”.

While I fully realize many flight sim enthusiasts still fly FSX and FSX Steam Edition, surprisingly there appears to still be a large number of FS9 users….but I’m of the opinion that FSX (in all forms) is just simply dead.  But I must again say that I don’t blame or fault QualityWings for releasing the Dreamliner for FSX.  But I’m curious how long it will take them to bring this wonderful aircraft to P3D v4?

I know some might say, “but the QW development team is small” and “these things take time”.  I get all that.  But I will remind everyone that PMDG was able to update their older Boeing 737 NGX which was released in the 2011 timeframe (if I’m not mistaken).  So in theory, the same can be said of PMDG that they began development on an aircraft prior to Prepar3D, but was still able to update/release the NGX for P3D v4 within a few weeks of release.

So….to answer my readers question.  Unfortunately, when Prepar3D v4 was released earlier this year I made the decision to embrace it as my flight sim platform and I’ve not looked back to earlier P3D versions or FSX since and I don’t plan to.

But having said that.  Just as soon as this beautiful aircraft is released for P3D v4.x, I will purchase it and I’m sure I’ll have more than a few things to say about it here.

I’m exhausted after a long day and ready to turn in.  I’ll post this sometime on Wednesday or Thursday.  So until next time….Happy Simming!

JT

Car Mechanic Simulator 2018

YDlJWbyfcDMfdWU-1600x900-noPad The wait is over my friends, Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 (CMS18) has been released to the masses in almost all it’s glory.  I say “almost” only because there are still a few bugs (some small and some large) which have yet to be squashed.  But the devs behind CMS18 are hard at work and making every effort to fix bugs and bring about all the new features promised in this version of their popular simulation based game.   I quite enjoyed CMS15 and I’m looking forward to the newest version.

Beginning Tuesday, 8 August…I’m bringing Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 to the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel in a new feature segment I’m calling “The Grind”.  Episodes of “The Grind” will feature my CMS18 game play as I progress through the various levels on my career profile.  Essentially starting at the very beginning and working my way through the various levels by earning $$$ (hopefully lots of $$$$$$) and XP points (experience points).   No Cheating!!!

The first episode will find me about 3 hours or so into my game play.  Yes, I’m doing my best to save you from watching me fumble around with the new controls and features of the CMS18 game play.  Yes, there are some major differences between both the look and feel, but also functionality with the updated game.  But I’ll discuss some of these, point out a few tips I’ve learned along the way and hopefully deliver episodes in the 30-45 minute range once or twice per week.

As I progress through the game play and open up the auction and the brand new features of barn finds and junk yard, I will create a new playlist for these complete restoration projects.  I must admit that I really enjoy stripping an auction purchase all the way down, rebuilding with 100% new or rebuilt parts and selling for profit.  These special projects videos will include all the steps from initial purchase all the way through the rebuild process.

Now as I stated at the top of the article, there are some bugs in the game.  From what I understand, the dev teams are working hard to eliminate these bugs and also bring about some of the promised functionality.  In addition, the devs are also hard at work on optimizing the game for performance reasons.  I’ve owned the game for approx. a week and in this span of time much progress has been made in correcting bugs and improving the overall performance of the game.  More still needs to be done, but the devs are committed and making excellent progress.

Thank you to all my loyal readers and viewers.

Until next time…

Happy Simming!!!

Jerry

A Grizzly Confusion

Geez…sometimes you have to wonder if all this is really worth it……

It’s been brought to my attention that someone using the name or handle of GrizzlyMan has been doing some pretty despicable things with various Farming Simulator mods (including maps) and re-uploading them to various mod hosting sites including modhub.  One specific example has to do with the Hobbs Farm map.  Grizzlyman made some edits, created lots of errors and then re-uploaded Hobbs Farm (calling it Texas Dedication of Hobbs Farm) to modhub.

One of my viewers contacted me about this and wanted to bring it to my attention.  Note:  My viewer DID NOT accuse me (GrizzlyBearSims) and GrizzlyMan as being one in the same person.  He was simply bringing this to my attention and simply mentioned some could get confused.  Especially since I’m originally from Texas and proud of it.

My internet persona or identity is GrizzlyBearSims.  With exception to just a few forums where where I may go by FarmingSimJT, my YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, PC-SG, 3DudesGN and of course my own website/blog site are all branded as GrizzlyBearSims.  While I’m not opposed to having my real identity revealed…I prefer to just do everything related to my simulation gaming hobby handled under my branded name of GrizzlyBearSims.

Of course, those who know me…know that I rarely do any modding and again….those who really know the real me, also know that I would never sink to the levels of those who steal from our modding community and violate their wishes by uploading to these dreadful websites.  In addition, while I’ve heard about the Hobbs Farm map, I’ve never downloaded it, never installed it and have never played it.  The only connection I have with the Hobbs Farm map is to be a member of the Hobbs Farm Facebook community.

I don’t know who GrizzlyMan is (also goes by Grandpa Grizzly) and truth be known, I don’t care to know him.  I (Jerry) do not have any sort of trademark or exclusive use to the word “Grizzly”, but I could see where someone might confuse the two of us.

Anyway….I just wanted to write something stating my case and placing it into the interwebz so hopefully there will no confusion going forward.

Until next time….

Happy Simming and thanks for reading!!!

Jerry

Old Guy Farmer Challenge

So I return to work on Monday morning (10 July) after having spent 10 wonderful, relaxing days on vacation.  Over half of this time off was spent near Estes Park, Colorado and the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park.  This was a much needed, highly anticipated and just honestly what any doctor could have ordered break for both my wife and I.  The last few months have been tough on both of us and I honestly think we began counting the days down to this get-away back in the early spring timeframe.

Between meetings on Monday morning, I decided to catch up on a few of my fellow YouTube friends and the videos they released while I was on vacation.  My friend Farmer Klein was the first name that popped up in my list of video recommendations and I noticed the video title was “Old Guy Farmers Single Player Challenge”.  Challenge??? What’s this about seemed to be thoughts that entered in my mind.  Obviously I know who Old Guy Farmer is…that’s Mr. Jerry Ott who created the wonderful Mountain Valley Farm map which I’m currently running a “Let’s Play” series on.  If interested, you can follow my progress on my Mountain Valley Farm series on YouTube.

Anyway…back to this challenge.  I watched with excitement as Farmer Klein started game day 1, episode 1 of the special Goldcrest Valley Edit map which Jerry Ott had designed specific for the challenge.  As more minutes passed, I began thinking…I want to do this.  I want to play this map and I want to participate in the challenge.  I quickly read through the rules/guidelines of the challenge….”Must Use Seasons Mod” Ok…that’s good as I just simply can’t play (nor am I interested in playing FS17 without the Seasons Mod.  “Game mode must be set on Hard”.  OK..that is also OK as I’m playing on MVF set to Hard mode.  “Game play time must be set to x15 speed and can only skip time from 9pm to 6am”  That’s also just fine.  “Game play must be streamed on YouTube or Twitch”  This is also great because I’ve really been wanting to stream my FS17 game play more.  Etc. etc.  I’ll let you read the rules/guidelines at your own discretion.

While I did say several months ago I had no interest in playing another GCV edit map, on Monday afternoon I downloaded the GCV edit challenge map and fired up OBS and kicked off episode one (of 72 total episodes) of this challenge series.  Yes…you did read that correct.  This series will consist of 72 episodes as each episode will be precisely one game day (6 AM ish to 9 PM ish).  72 days is what 3 Seasons Mod years, set to 6 game days per season calculates to.  Yes, this is a major undertaking…but I have until 1 November.  There’s a lot of time between now and 1 November!  Right?  Right????

I’ll admit, my game play during episode 1 certainly was not my finest hour.  I must have appeared as if I was a nube to Farming Simulator 17 or perhaps even a nube to simulation based gaming altogether.  I really do have over 500 hours of game play recorded in FS17 (and over 700 in FS15) and I’ve been using the Seasons mod since early January.

The truth is, I completely underestimated the stress in knowing that from the moment you enter the game, time is ticking away at a fairly fast pace (game play set to x15).  An entire game day (6 AM to 9 PM) passes by at near light speed in just over an hour.  As most of my viewers know, I farm at a fairly relaxed pace and I may spend a few minutes painstakingly comparing tractor specs before making a decision (or no decision at all).  In this challenge, TIME is definitely of the essence.

Long Story Short….so yes…GrizzlyBearSims took the challenge and I’ll do my level best to not only survive the challenge, but also complete it and also try equally hard to win it.  While the rules are clearly defined, I’ve made the decision to follow my own guideline of “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” way of doing things.  Meaning even though time is quickly speeding by, I won’t take shortcuts…I’m not going to drive through my crops etc.  I’m  plowing fields, applying fertilizer, cultivating, seeding and then fertilizing again.  Regardless of the outcome,  FUN is the absolute number one priority for each episode.

While I don’t believe it’s too late for others to take part in this challenge, if you are interested in participating…please visit this website for complete rules and information.  But don’t wait too long as while on paper there are many days between now and 1 November…trust me, before you know it…summer will be over and just remember, time is of the essence.

For my wonderful friends/viewers of the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel, Are you interested in winning your very own copy of the Giants Farming Simulator 17 Platinum Expansion Pack DLC?  I’m  gifting a copy to three lucky winners of this expansion pack (via Steam) at the end of the challenge.  All you need to do to enter, is watch my livestreams (either live or via YouTube recorded playback) and listen for me to provide the daily code word.  Each episode will have a unique code word which I’ll verbally announce during the game play.  Once you hear the code word,  just follow the information I’ve outlined to enter.  You can view these contest guidelines and how to submit the code word on the GrizzlyBearSims Discord Channel.  You can enter up to 72 times,  pending you watch (and listen) for the code word.  Obviously, the more episodes you watch, the better odds you’ll have at winning.  I’ll do the drawing and notify the winners on Sunday, 6 November.

If you are interested in catching up with my progress, you may view my archived livestreams here.

Thank you all for reading and thank you for watching.

Jerry

IFR versus VFR

Just for clarification, my blog articles are geared towards the new flight sim enthusiast.  2017 is “The Year of Flight Simulation”.  With new and updated flight sim platforms from Lockheed Martin (Prepar3d v4), Laminar Research (X-Plane 11) and the new kid on the block Dovetail Games (Flight Sim World)…a lot of hype (very good hype) has been focused on our wonderful hobby.  If you build it, they will come…is just as fitting on the flight sim scene today as it was years ago in that Iowa cornfield. 

Today’s “How To” article is designed to help the new virtual pilot understand the differences of VFR and IFR flight rules as they relate to the flight simulation hobby.  But before we get started and to satisfy the attorneys….allow me to post the fine print.

Fine Print:  Unfortunately I feel the need to state for the record that my “How To” articles and tips are for flight simulation purposes only and should not be used for real world aviation.

Now that we have the legal stuff out of the way…let’s get started!

The Flight Rules

There are two sets of rules for flying and operating aircraft.  VFR and IFR.  The choice between these two sets of rules is generally determined based on weather conditions.  However, other factors may come into play such as flight operations, type of aircraft and terrain/border considerations.  But before we dive into these specific sets of circumstances, let’s clear the air on exactly what VFR and IFR means.  Let’s start with IFR first.

IFR

IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules and is a set of rules that govern aircraft which fly in what is considered Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC).  IMC, in general terms, just means flying in the clouds.  More to the point, IMC weather conditions are defined as weather that is below the prescribed minimums for VFR flights. 

Essentially, under IFR flight or IFR flight conditions, the pilot or pilots will operate and fly the aircraft by instruments without any outside visual guidance.  In the real world, pilots who wish to fly IFR are required to possess an instrument rating and required to undergo additional training. 

VFR

VFR stands for Visual Flight Rules.  Just as the name implies, VFR flight rules require the aircraft must, at all times be clear of any weather situations which would prevent the pilot from maintaining visual separation with other aircraft, terrain, obstacles etc.  While some VFR flights may be under radar coverage by ATC, under VFR the responsibility for traffic separation lies solely with the pilot in command. 

Other Considerations

While weather certainly plays a crucial part in determining whether one flies VFR or IFR, also the type of aircraft, the type of flight operations being conducted and also general terrain and border considerations must be factored in.  Of course, the other really important factor is pilot rating/certifications.  However, pilot rating/certifications are not applicable in the virtual flying environment. 

Simply put, unless the pilot holds an instrument rating…if weather conditions are not VFR (meaning they are classified as IMC as discussed above) then the aircraft and the pilot will remain firmly in place on the ground. 

The type of aircraft also carries an important factor in the decision.  Something like a J-3 Cub with no lights and no radios will remain grounded under non-VFR conditions.  At a minimum, (along with pilot certification) any aircraft filing for IFR flight must have two-way radio communication capabilities, a transponder and navigation equipment. 

Any sort of scheduled passenger flight operations will require an IFR flight plan to be filed and the pilot/aircraft must fly under IFR flight rules at all times.  The exception to this rule might include certain charter operators, but for insurance purposes even these may be required to always operate IFR.  Obviously all large jet aircraft will generally file and operate IFR. 

Finally, depending on terrain and altitude restrictions, these type of flights might be IFR type.  Also, crossing of international borders will also most likely require an IFR flight plan.

Fine Print:  Unfortunately I feel the need to state for the record that my “How To” articles and tips are for flight simulation purposes only and should not be used for real world aviation.

Again,  while much of what I’ve discussed above comes directly from real-world aviation rules/guidelines, I just want to remind readers this information is not geared towards real world aviation. 

Virtual Flying  – IFR or VFR?  What is most common?

In the virtual world, and specifically speaking about the virtual multi-player networks of VATSIM and IVAO, the most common type of flight operations are IFR.  While both networks welcome and encourage VFR flying, the most common will be IFR. 

Even yours truly, got started on VATSIM flying IFR and of the almost 2000 hours I’ve logged flying on the VATSIM network, I’d guess that 95% of those hours will be under IFR.  As someone with over 17 years of VATSIM experience, if there is any regret I have today, it’s that I didn’t do more VFR General Aviation type of flying on the network to gain a better understanding of the key functional differences between the two. 

What’s Next?

This really is only scratching the surface and this article is really only providing the explanation and differences between IFR and VFR flight.  In a future set of articles I’ll provide more clarification specific to IFR and VFR flying as it relates to virtual flying on the various online, multiplayer networks.

Until next time…happy flying!

Jerry

Fine Print:  Unfortunately I feel the need to state for the record that my “How To” articles and tips are for flight simulation purposes only and should not be used for real world aviation.

Flying the Heavies

Much of these early “How To” blog articles are dedicated to understanding some of the basic knowledge required, as we progress I’ll include some additional and more advanced “How To” information.  At this time I’m assuming you are still very much new to the hobby of flight simulation.  If you have been following my “How To” articles, you may recall I’ve suggested on more than one occasion to start with the default Cessna (or some other single engine, light aircraft) and work your way up.  In my opinion, this is important and shouldn’t be overlooked.  As in the real world, an individual just doesn’t walk off the street and learns to fly a Boeing 747.  They start off in a much, much smaller aircraft.

The principle of flight is the same regardless of aircraft type.  Regardless if you are flying a Cessna 172 or a Boeing 747, you must taxi, takeoff, climb, cruise, descend and land the aircraft.  Again, the process is much the same….but one major difference is in the speed at which you accomplish these tasks.  It’s easier to learn the basics in a slower and more forgiving aircraft like the default Cessna 172.  But certainly as you master these tasks in the Cessna it really is just a matter of applying the same principles as you progress to larger and more complex aircraft.

I know there are some (perhaps many) who have no desire to fly the heavy jets.  Likewise, many of you once you get the hang of flying may never fly anything smaller than a Boeing 737.  This is of course the beauty of our hobby.  There truly is something for everyone.

At some point if you want to try to fly the heavy jet aircraft, I would suggest you start with the default Boeing 737.  The Boeing 737 has been a featured default aircraft of Microsoft Flight Simulator since FS95 and is an easy aircraft to learn.

Tip – When starting to learn how to fly the heavies, stick with the default aircraft.  While these default aircraft models may lack the sophistication of their real world counterpart, the up side in learning is that they lack the sophistication of their real world counterpart.  Said another way, the default aircraft modeled in Flight Simulator are more forgiving and much easier to fly than the study-level, payware models such as PMDG.

Much as I did in the article titled “Your First Flight”, I suggest you load up the default Boeing 737 and head out to KEDW (Edwards Air Force Base).  Our goal is to spend time getting to know the flight characteristics and differences of the Boeing 737 (compared to the Cessna).  I highly suggest following the same steps of concentrating on taxi, takeoff, climb and cruise at first.  As you’ll quickly get the hang of that (since you’ve been practicing and mastering the Cessna), then add the descent and landing phase.  Just follow the pattern shown in the image below until you get it right.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

JT

QualityWings Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Could the wait be almost over?  It certainly appears so.  Looking back through my archives of blog articles, it appears the first time I mentioned the QualityWings Boeing 787 Dreamliner was way back in February of 2013, so yea….over four years ago.  What I said back then (and I quote myself) “QualityWings Simulations currently has a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in development and if it is anything like their 757, I’ll certainly make the purchase pending it has the upgraded batteries”.  Of course, the battery remark was referencing the issues Boeing had been experiencing during that timeframe on the real Dreamliner aircraft.

Anyway…according to this Facebook post directly from QualityWings, this awesome aircraft is expected to roll out of the QW Hangar sometime in the Summer of 2017.  This truly is great news for those who are Boeing fans (like me) and are looking for a little variety.

FSX Rollout First

I suppose the news stating that initially the B787 will only be released for FSX doesn’t come as a big surprise.  After all, with a development spanning over four years and their initial reluctance to support P3D….those still on FSX will get to have the first level of fun.  But don’t fear…the QW787 will also be supported on FSX-SE (Steam Edition) and Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D v4.  Unfortunately there is no mention if they also plan to support the older P3D v3 (or even v2 for that matter).  I would certainly hope QW would at least consider releasing and supporting it for P3D v3.

Cost

QualityWings have announced their QW787 will be sold separately for FSX (including SE) and P3D.  This is become more and more common with add-on developers and the price will be $69.95 USD for each platform.  Purchasing the product for FSX will not guarantee operation in P3D and vice versa.  Finally, the QW787 will be sold through Flight1 and will include a 30 day refund policy.

More about the Dreamliner

Boeing announced the development of the 787 Dreamliner in 2003 and the first test flight occurred in late 2009 with the first production model being introduced in 2011.  The Dreamliner is a long-haul, mid-size widebody, twin engine jet liner.  It offers variants seating anywhere from 242 to 335 passengers in a typical three-class configuration.  The Dreamliner is approx. 20% more fuel efficient than the Boeing 767 which it was intended to replace.  Airlines are using the Dreamliner for both long-haul and shorter high-density routes.

Saying Goodbye to an old friend

With my move to Prepar3D v4 (and not looking back), it appears I’ll need to say goodbye to my old friend the QualityWings 757 as QW has no plans to make it available in P3D v4.  At one point in time, the QW757 was my favorite aircraft.  But much like the Level-D 767, they both really began to show their age in a post FSX world.  Fortunately, according to the latest news from FSELITE, the folks behind the popular Level-D 767 have finally announced their 757-200 which is reported to be approx. 80% ready and in beta. Of course, time will tell just when and how this will be released.  Rumors are also going around that Level-D is looking at what it would take to get their 767 into P3D v4.

My Hangar Needs

When (if) the QW787 is available for Prepar3D v4, it’ll fit in nicely with my PMDG Boeing 737NGX (800/900 and 600/700), Boeing 747-400 (Queen of the Skies II) and the wonderful Boeing 777 (200 and 300 variants).

As I just don’t have time for many long-haul flights, I would suspect I’ll use the Dreamliner in the shorter-haul high density passenger route configuration (2-4 hour) both in North America and Europe and continue using the 777 and 747 to simulate freighter operations across North America and Europe.  My 737NGX will continue to be my workhorse.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

Your First Flight

A few weeks ago I shared with you all the choices you have available in the form of flight simulation software.  While you certainly have many options, the majority of my experience and what I will discuss throughout these tutorials will be how it all relates back to Microsoft Flight Simulator/Prepar3D.  Regardless of your choice, once you get it installed the next step is to take that first flight.

While it may be tempting to load up the default Boeing 747 and depart from KJFK in New York and fly to London Heathrow.  If this is your first time in a computer flight simulator, please allow me to provide some advice and encourage you to wait a little while before you jump into the big jets.

Remember, a normal aircraft flight includes several parts of flight including taxi, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent and landing.  Each of these parts do require a certain amount of practice and they are the same regardless of aircraft type.  Practice really does make perfect.

Tip – You may have read previous articles on my blog about flying for virtual airlines and flying online with other pilots and controllers on the VATSIM or IVAO Networks.  These are both fun aspects which can and will add additional layers of realism to your flight simulation experience.  However, please wait until you have sufficient experience before pursuing as VA’s and the online networks require you to have the necessary skills to operate aircraft in all aspects of flight (taxi, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent and landing).

In addition to the Microsoft Flight Simulator flight tutorials which will help you tremendously, load up a flight in the default Cessna 172 Skyhawk from KEDW (Andrews Air Force Base, California).  I suggest this location as the runways are wide and long.  Consider turning off the options for other traffic and set the weather to imitate a clear, calm day and just spend time practicing and maneuvering your Cessna 172 both on the ground and in the air.

Depart the active runway and practice hand-flying the aircraft at first. Practice maintaining your speed, altitude and direction.  Don’t worry about landing the aircraft at this time.  Remember this is just a simulator and nothing bad will happen if you crash a few times.  As you spend more time practicing your take-off maneuvers, you’ll get the hang of properly trimming out the aircraft where it will fly straight and level with minimum input from the controls.

Tip – While the aircrafts autopilot functionality can certainly assist in controlling the aircrafts direction, altitude, etc…these tasks should also be understood and practiced without the need of relying on the aircraft autopilot.

Once you can successfully taxi to the active runway, takeoff, climb and cruise you really only have two elements of flight to master and that is descent and landing.  Again, using your default Cessna 172 at KEDW, practice landing maneuvers using the diagram below.  Depart KEDW and fly a runway heading while climbing a few hundred feet.  Practice turning on the crosswind leg, then again on the downwind leg (parallel to the active runway), then the base leg and then final approach.   Don’t worry about descending and landing.  Just practice this important maneuver and make sure you can correctly line up with the runway each time.

After you can demonstrate flying this pattern and being successful at lining up to the runway on final approach, then introduce descent and practice “touch-and-go” landing maneuvers.  Again, KEDW is a perfect facility to practice this with runway 04R/22L being a long 15,024 feet in length (2.84 miles).

Tip – Remember “Pitch for Speed, Throttle for Altitude”.  Trim your aircraft for the desired speed you want.  Need to descend? Simply reduce power.  Need to climb?  Increase throttle/power and the aircraft will climb.

As you complete one after another successful “touch-and-go” landings, try to eventually land in the touchdown zone and centered on the runway.  Practice will make this become perfect in time.

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I can’t tell you how many hours it will take to master the maneuvers I’ve discussed here today.  You should spend adequate time practicing until you feel comfortable.  But I can tell you that in time it will eventually become second nature.  As you get better and better controlling the Cessna then work your way up.  Before you know it, you’ll be the PIC (Pilot In Command) of a Boeing 747 headed from KJFK to EGLL.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

JT

Fine Print:  Unfortunately I feel the need to state for the record that my “How To” articles and tips are for flight simulation purposes only and should not be used for real world aviation.

Must Have Hardware Items for Flight Simulation

A few days ago I reviewed all the various options you have in choosing a flight simulation application.  I covered everything back to FSX and everything forward to Dovetail Games Flight Sim World, X-Plane and my favorite Prepar3D.

While some simulation game titles such as Truck Sim, Farm Sim etc. can be played with just a mouse and keyboard or even a slight upgrade to an X-Box style controller, the same really can’t be said for flight simulation.  Yes, you can certainly fly only with the keyboard and mouse, but I’m confident that you’ll find learning to fly much, much easier with a good joystick setup.  For me, flight simulation is more than just flying from point A to point B.  It’s the extra level of immersion which a good set of controls provide and the ability to improve my virtual flying skills with each and every flight.

If you are going to spend your hard earned money on a new flight sim application, then consider spending a little bit more and purchasing a good joystick.  From my early days with the Commodore 64 all the way up until approx. the late 90’s or early 2000 timeframe, that is all I used was a joystick.  A very good joystick at a reasonable price is the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick.  Amazon currently lists this joystick at $34.99.  The 3D Pro might be considered entry level today, but that hasn’t always been the case.  When I purchased my first 3D Pro (just a few years ago) it was over $100 and it also works well with Farm Sim.  The joystick will do everything you need it to do from controlling throttle, rudder, ailerons and offers buttons which can be easily programmed to control flaps, landing gear etc.

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Of course, just like with everything else…there are many different options you have in the joystick department.  If you are looking for something a little more advanced then look into the CH Products Flight Sim Yoke and add the CH Products Pro Pedals for ultimate rudder control and precision landings.  The Yoke sells on Amazon for around $130 and the pedals for about $120.  The yoke offers a built in throttle, prop and mixture controls along with toggle buttons for flaps and gear.  Additional thumb control buttons can be programmed to suit your needs.  I’ve had my CH Products Yoke for well over 15 years and last year I replaced my pedals which had stopped working after about 12 years.

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The CH Products Pedals can certainly be added at a later time.

 

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You still have many other cool hardware accessory items you can add to increase your level of realism and fun.  I’ll cover more of these in a later article.  The purpose of this posting is to provide you with a few examples to get you thinking.  I own and use these items in my setup and can tell you that if you take care of them, they’ll provide years of flight sim fun.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry