Running Air Hauler 2–Standalone

I purchased Air Hauler 2 a year or two ago when it was in early beta for P3D.  I played around with it, but during those early days the application wouldn’t function in a networked environment.  So the only time I really could use it was when I was physically in my man-cave and using my main gaming PC.  Really at that time my main interest in Air Hauler 2 was in running my own cargo airline empire using AI pilots to do all the work.

At some point between the early release and the present time, the developers of Air Hauler 2 made the application capable of running in a network environment.  Meaning, I can run Air Hauler 2 and no longer need to have my main gaming PC running, or at least running all the time.  This also means that while I don’t have a lot of time to game at the present moment, I can schedule out the flights in the morning over my first coffee and check their progress throughout the day and afternoon.

The Setup

As previously mentioned, I installed Air Hauler 2 on my laptop.  I needed to connect it the first time via across my network just to sync P3D.  This is required so you can import the aircraft options you have installed.  But this step really is only needed to be done once or in the future if you install additional aircraft into the sim. 

The Initial Strategy

As previously stated, I have no desire to use Air Hauler 2 to track my flights and in my cargo airline I’m fulfilling the role of CEO and not a pilot.  I started out in “Medium” mode.  This gave me $500,000, 50% reputation and a Cessna Caravan which I immediately sold.  I took out a bank loan which allowed me to purchase two aircraft with one being a King Air 350 and the second the larger L049A Constellation.  I hired three pilots and established my cargo base of operations at Centennial Airport KAPA.  I chose KAPA over the larger Denver International as KAPA offered cheaper landing fees and after all, I’m a small cargo airline. 

The initial grind was challenging, but fun.  I managed to keep the two planes and three pilots busy enough to accumulate a little extra cash.  I then leased another King Air and a second Constellation.  I set a goal of paying back the bank loan before adding anything additional to the fleet. 

Another few days of the grind, I managed to pay back the bank loan and lease a Boeing 737-800 setup for cargo and hired another two pilots with certifications capable of flying the B738.  The money was now rolling in hand over fist. 

Factories

I setup my first factory at KAPA so I could manufacture cell phones, memory sticks and televisions.  I didn’t realize at the time I would also need to manufacture plastics and battery packs.  So I had a bit of a delay and had to save enough money to open a second base (Colorado Springs KCOS) where I could take chemicals and produce plastics and batteries to produce battery packs.  Once this was setup, I was set to get rolling in my factory operations. 

Initially I was moving the completed plastics and battery packs via my own aircraft.  But soon started paying for ground transportation between KAPA and KCOS.  The cost is minimal and allows my aircraft to do what they do best and that is haul cargo for paying customers. 

As It Stands Today

Today, I’ve grown my little operation to a total of 15 pilots and 9 aircraft with a total of 3 King Air 350’s, 3 L049A Constellation’s, 2 Boeing 737-800’s and 1 Boeing 757-200 with two bases and two factories.  The total cost for aircraft leases, insurances and base costs approx. $10.7 million and I currently have just over $15.0 million in the bank with no outstanding loans. My next payment for aircraft leases, insurance etc. is due in about two weeks.  So the goal for now is to grind out more cargo runs, keep the factories running  and producing approx. $1 million every 24 hours.  Depending on how hard I work my pilots, the cargo operation brings in approx. $1.5 – $2 million per day.  Again, it really just depends on how much I play.

airhauler2

Future Goals

Once this next $10.7 million payment is made, will see about leasing another 757-200.  This may or may not replace one of the existing “Connie” aircraft in the fleet or perhaps be yet another addition.  I do plan to continue to grow the small cargo airline into something much larger with the addition of a Boeing 777 Freighter and the Queen of the Skies the Boeing 747-800.  But we first need to continue crawling before we can run the marathon. 

I’ll check back in with you sometime after the new year and provide a progress update.  At the present time, I’m finding that leasing aircraft is far better than purchasing.  After all, most real world airlines lease versus buy for much the same reason. 

Air Hauler 2 is available for Prepar3d, XPlane and now MSFS2020.

Until next time…

Happy Cargo Hauling….

Jerry

Microsoft Flight Simulator Patch 1.7.14.0

Microsoft Flight Simulator logo (2020).png

The highly anticipated, brand new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (MSFS2020) was released on 17 August 2020 with much fanfare.  The release wasn’t without a few small hurdles and within days of the release, Microsoft had already announced a patch would soon be made available.  I discussed this first planned patch earlier this week.

Before I get into my experience with MSFS2020 after the patch, allow me to say this.  To the best of my memory, and at no other point in the history of flight simulation related to Microsoft or even Prepar3D have we experienced a shorter timeframe between initial release and the first patch.  While some will say that MSFS2020 was rushed and should have been delayed a few weeks which may or may not have avoided the need for an update patch, we’ll never really know.  But I believe when Microsoft released FSX back in 2006 it too was not without issues and required two service packs to fully resolve all issues.  It took Microsoft about 6 months to release SP1 and another 5-6 months to push out SP2.  It really wasn’t until SP2 was made available that FSX was truly stable. 

With Prepar3D v5 (the latest P3D release), it was released on 14 April and the first hotfix (HF1) was released on 30 April.  But many still experienced issues(myself included) which made the sim unusable until HF2 was released on 23 June.  It should also be mentioned that unlike Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, Prepar3D v5 was not a complete rewrite of P3Dv4.5.  MSFS2020 is a completely brand new simulator from the ground up. 

FlightSimulator_HjCIs9oCOs

My Experience Post Update Patch

The past few weeks I’ve been heavily prepping for a series of job interviews which have taken priority to my gaming time.  As of this writing, I’m still awaiting the official news as to whether I’m still in the running for the position and exactly what the next steps are.  But….what time I have spent with flight simulation has mostly been in P3Dv5.  P3Dv5 provides me more immersion based on the type of flying I mostly enjoy (jetliner), but this doesn’t mean I’m ignoring MSFS2020. 

As I’ve discussed in previous articles, I believe MSFS2020 will become the next generation flight simulator and in time, it will completely blow away what we have today with P3Dv5 and XP11.  However, with exception to VFR/GA flight, there are several obstacles preventing me from flying any of the jetliners in MSFS2020 and especially flying on the VATSIM network.

Lack of Immersion

This is key to me.  While the visuals are absolutely stunning and better than I can possible achieve in P3Dv5, the lack of payware/study-level aircraft is only one of the deal breakers for me at this time. I know I probably sound like a payware snob and I certainly don’t mean to.  In all honesty, I believe the work that is being done on the default A320 via the MS2020 A32NX Project will eventually have me flying the Airbus A320 in MSFS2020 on the VATSIM network.  But even then, until there is a model matching program that allows me to see other aircraft in the liveries those pilots are flying, the immersion is very much blown for me.  While I realize this is just a slight niggle, it’s big enough for me to stick with P3D.

FlightSimulator_Srpk0rZN3l

Fine Job

In all honesty, the recent Microsoft patch resolved two major issues I had been experiencing.   First, the load time seems to have been reduced.  However, even in P3Dv5 the load time generally takes 2-3 minutes from the time I launch the .exe until I can actually begin prepping my aircraft for flight.  But in reference to MSFS2020, the load up time seems to be much improved.

The really big issue for me was related to the performance hit when connecting MSFS2020 to the VATSIM network and of course I wasn’t the only one.  VATSIM stated all would be ready to go on day 1 and to their defense,  the issues which caused the performance hit wasn’t their fault.  There was a major bug with the Microsoft Simconnect which was the culprit.  Simconnect is what allows 3rd party applications (like VATSIM’s vPilot) to connect to the simulator.  This middleware connection is responsible for sending/receiving data elements to these third party add-on apps. 

On Wednesday evening (with the MSFS2020 patch installed) I fired up MSFS2020 and loaded up the Cessna 172 and then connected to VATSIM via vPilot and had my first successful VFR/GA flight around the Denver area.  It was a lot of fun and I’m sure there will be many more flights just like that in the near future. 

Not Fully Baked

Rest assured, this first patch for MSFS2020 is only the beginning.  Very soon we’ll learn what’s on Microsoft’s radar for the next patch.  I would suspect we’ll see multiple patches over the next several months as Microsoft/Asobo gently fine tunes the sim. 

Interested in Flight Sim?

If you are interested in getting started in the flight simulation hobby, there’s no better time and in my opinion, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is your best option.  While flight sim can be looked at as just another game, for those of us truly passionate about it…flight sim is much, much more.  For those who are new to flight sim, MSFS2020 will be your best investment option and will allow you to grow in your experiences.  While I’ve discussed limitations which I view as showstoppers for my own enjoyment, these shouldn’t prevent anyone coming into flight sim from experiencing an “As Real As It Gets” experience. 

In time all the bugs will be gone.  In time there will be more add-on aircraft (both payware and freeware) available to the new sim.  There’s hours and hours of fun which can be experienced in the new sim with the available aircraft on and off the multiplayer services like VATSIM, IVAO and PilotEdge.  Get started today and earn your wings.  I’m looking forward to seeing you in the friendly skies very soon. 

Thanks again for reading.  Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

Farewell Prepar3d v4

In preparation for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (MSFS2020), it is time to bid farewell to P3Dv4.5 and all the associated add-ons.  While my P3Dv5 instance is still awaiting the availability of the PMDG Boeing 777, I have enough add-ons in v5 to keep me fully entertained until such time as the Triple Seven can be installed.

P3Dv4.5 Was Amazing

I joined the P3D bandwagon when P3Dv2 arrived on the scene and in my opinion, while v5 is finally proving to be stable….P3Dv4.5 was just simply rock solid.  Almost from day one, the much anticipated 64 bit release showed us exactly what a flight simulator should be and remained almost trouble free for just over three years.  However, between the P3Dv4.5 install and all the associated add-ons adding up to over 275GB of SSD space, I need to remove it to make room for the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 which is planned to release in just a few days from now (18 August). 

A Bit of a Three Ring Circus

My current gaming machine was designed and built with the future in mind.  At just over two years old now, at the time of the build I installed a 1 TB M.2 SSD as the main drive.  I moved over a few older 500GB SSD drives along with a 500 GB SATA drive for video work.  To maximize the performance of P3Dv4, it was installed on the 1 TB M.2 SSD along side the Windows OS.  I have one 500 GB SSD dedicated to Steam content such as Farming Simulator, Truck Simulators etc. and use the remaining SSD’s for backup and non-gaming content. 

When I installed P3Dv5, I installed it onto one of the SSD drives and it’s performing just fine.  But I believe I’ll want MSFS2020 to go onto the 1 TB M.2 SSD for maximum performance.  So to make this happen, unfortunately I must sunset P3Dv4.5. 

It really isn’t that big of a deal as I’ve been using P3Dv5 exclusively now for over a month.  Now that I have P3Dv5 dialed in, the performance is better than what I had been experiencing with 4.5 so now is just a good time to say goodbye.

MSFS2020 Requirements

According to the published minimum requirements of MSFS2020 as it relates to available disk space, I will need a minimum of 150GB.  Clearing out P3Dv4.5 and all its associated add-ons along with doing some additional cleanup, I will easily have over 500GB of free space on my main 1 TB M.2 drive.  Certainly more than enough.  At least for now. 

Looking Forward, Never Backward

While a lot of flight simmers may plan to ditch Prepar3D and X-Plane on day one of the MSFS2020 release, as I’ve stated before…Prepar3D v5 will remain my main simulator for simulating jetliner flights.  However, between home DIY projects and other responsibilities I do anticipate flying in MSFS2020 with any of the default GA aircraft as I explore the world flying low and slow.  My first flights most likely will be as follows.  Depart KAPA and fly over my house and the greater Denver area.  Flight number two will probably have me depart EBAW (Antwerp, Belgium) and fly over the area where my in-laws lived along with the Antwerp area.  Then who knows?  Most likely I’ll hop around between Alaska, perhaps fly around Innsbruk Austria…really the complete world is my option. 

Until next time…

Happy Uninstalling and Flying!

Jerry

My P3Dv5 Settings and the Journey So Far

It’s been a few weeks since I posted a progress update on my journey to Prepar3D version 5.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I was in no rush as my P3D v4.5 was rock solid and was providing me absolutely everything I needed for my flight simulation hobby.  But like many others, I purchased P3D v5 in the hopes that it would be everything P3D 4.5 was and more.  I’m happy to report that in my experience this is certainly the case. 

The Beginning

In the early days of my P3D v5 experience the road was rocky.  Or should I say the skies were turbulent.  There were a few times that I believed the purchase of v5 was foolish and that most likely I would just discard it and proceed with 4.5.  But I held the course and life with P3D v5 did get better with the release of the second hotfix.

Windows 10 2004

For the past several months or so, I’ve been running Windows 10 version 1909. I had heard good things about version 2004, but until recently that version of Windows 10 was not available to update to.  The news that Microsoft had specifically made changes to version 2004 with regards to VRAM utilization was something many of us running P3Dv5 had been looking forward to.  I recently received the update for 2004 and I’m very pleased to report that P3Dv5 (with hotfix 2) is running and looking as good as my P3Dv4.5 instance. 

Thank you PMDG

Of course one of the main reasons I had held off on making the move to P3Dv5 was the wait for the PMDG 737NGXu.  The Boeing737 is my most frequently used aircraft in the sim and PDMG had been holding off on its release until Lockheed Martin released the second hotfix. 

VRAM Utilization

With P3Dv5 HF2 and Windows 1909 my available VRAM with the 1080Ti was capped at 9.1GB.  Since updating to the 2004 Windows 10 update, this cap has been increased to 10.1 GB.  This is great news as I can finally inch those P3D graphics sliders further to the right without having to worry about running out of VRAM. 

Test Flights

Since updating to Windows 10 2004, I’ve conducted several test flights in the PMDG 737NGXu, Aerosoft Airbus A319, A320 and A321 along with a few test flights in the FSLabs Airbus A319/A320.  With comparable settings which I had been running in P3Dv4.5 and the same add-ons in P3Dv5, I’m truly happy to report that P3Dv5 is out performing 4.5 which is what we had all hoped would be the case. 

Proof in the Pudding

Here are just a few screenshots produced in P3Dv5 with the settings I’ve documented below. 

2020-6-26_6-16-35-914

 

2020-7-16_6-40-41-951

 

2020-7-20_17-43-49-707

 

2020-7-7_4-57-3-92

My P3Dv5 Settings

While I’m always a bit reluctant to post/share settings simply because what works for me may not work for you.  I still do it in the effort of sharing knowledge.  I caution anyone to only use my settings as a guide.  I would highly suggest you make small adjustments and test before going full bore.  Even if you have the same hardware, no two systems will perform exactly the same.  With all that said…here are the settings I’m currently using in Prepar3d v5 with hotfix 2 and Windows 10 update 2004 as of 23 July 2020.

1

 

2

 

3

Regarding FPS with these settings, if you’ve read some of my other writings you will know that I’m not concerned with the actual FPS number.  I tune my P3D instance to produce a smooth, stable and visually appealing experience.  Once everything is set, I really could care less about how many FPS I’m getting.  Having said this, I will tell you that with the above settings I’m generally getting +30 FPS on the ground at most payware airports and 50+ at cruise (in the PMDG 737NGXu).  Of course, your mileage will vary.

Oh and now that VRAM utilization is a key element in P3Dv5, my VRAM with these settings on the ground at a payware airport will range from 3.5 – 6.0 and at cruise ~2.5 – 3.0 GB.  Not all payware airports and aircraft are created equal and as a result your results will vary.

While we’re still awaiting PMDG to release the B777 for P3Dv5, I have enough aircraft available in v5 to keep my busy and enjoying the hobby.  I think it is safe to say that from now own I’ll be flying in P3Dv5 exclusively.  Most likely P3Dv4.5 will be uninstalled to make way for MSFS2020 sometime in the future. 

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you establish a baseline to get the most out of Prepar3D version 5.  It truly is a leap forward from earlier versions.  Of course, MSFS2020 will most likely blow this away.  But that’s another subject for another writing. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

GoFlight Hardware and Prepar3D v5

There are a few key areas which is causing me to take a slow approach to moving full-time over to the new Prepar3D version 5.  Of course, reason number 1 is because I have such a smooth running P3Dv4.5 setup that there really isn’t any need to get in a hurry to make the move.  Also as I’ve mentioned before, the PMDG 737NGXu is my favorite aircraft and one I fly most often and it most likely is still a few weeks from making it over to P3Dv5.  Finally I’m also dragging my feet a bit in anticipation of the next P3Dv5 hotfix.

While all those things are certainly important to me.  There is another area which also takes center stage and that is supportability of my GoFlight Hardware.  I own several different external hardware components which I enjoy using when flying.  As of the posting of this article, there has been no mention from GoFlight on when they plan to release an updated version of their software to support Prepar3D version 5.  I’ve emailed them and received no response as of yet. 

Did Some Digging

Normally I’m pretty reluctant to try to make something work in a new version of P3D until a new installer has been released.  There are some who are flying around in the PMDG 737NGXu and I guess they are having fun with a few minor quirks.  I don’t like minor quirks and try to avoid them at all cost.  My philosophy is minor quirks now could lead to serious issues later.  I just don’t have time for that. 

Having said all that, I proceeded to research if any others have had success in getting it all to work and I found the answers I was looking for. 

It Does Work

Oddly enough, the GoFlight Software does work fine in P3Dv5.  All I needed to do was copy my .exe.xml file from my P3Dv4 instance over to P3Dv5.  Of course, I made sure to first backup my P3Dv5 .exe.xml file first.  Then I proceeded to copy/paste and overwrite the file.  I rebooted my PC and tested. 

Just FYI, the purpose of the exe.xml file serves as a set of instructions for launching various P3D addons.  When I view my exe.xml file in my P3Dv4 setup, I see entries for GoFlight and also for Chaseplane.  Comparing that to the v5 instance, it only showed Chaseplane.  So since both GoFlight and Chaseplane are working great in v4 and I’ll use both in v5, I just simply copied the file from v4 to v5.  But once again, please make a backup of the exe.xml file located in your v5 just in case.

File Location

Just copy .exe.xml located C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v4

to C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v5

This should get most GF hardware working in P3Dv5.  If you own the GF MCP Pro and EFIS panels, then you’ll need to pickup the updated GFIT (GoFlight Interface Tool) from Pollypot Software.  A new version has been released for P3Dv5 which does work great on the PMDG 747 QoTSII. 

With this working, once the PMDG 737NGXu is officially made available for P3Dv5 I then just need to proceed with finalizing getting my yoke, pedals and throttles programmed in FSUIPC 6 and I’ll be off to the races.  But until then….I’m happily flying along with my trusty P3Dv4.5 setup and she’s looking marvelous.

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

P3Dv5 Inching Closer and Closer

My Prepar3D v5 setup is getting closer and closer to being ready for full time use.  Just in the past 48 hours, Aerosoft announced the release of their P3Dv5 installers for the Airbus A318/A319 & A320/A321 aircraft.  I’ve downloaded and installed both and they appear to work just fine. 

As I’ve mentioned in previous updates regarding my move to P3Dv5, I’m in no hurry to pull the plug on P3Dv4.5.  It continues to run smooth and as I’m still in self-isolation and working from home, I’m logging 6-8 hours a day in the sim.  For the month of May I logged over 150 flight hours.  The only hiccup I had was some performance issues after taking the last P3Dv4.5 hotfix which I discussed here

Fun in the Airbus Continues

As I mentioned here, I’ve moved back to the Aerosoft Airbus for my A319/A320 and A321 flights.  Since reacquainting myself with these models, I’ve logged perhaps 35-40 hours of flights in them and while the FSLabs product is more immersive, the Aerosoft versions have given me many hours of trouble-free enjoyment. 

Come on PMDG

As I’ve mentioned before, my holding pattern from plowing full-steam ahead with P3Dv5 is the PMDG 737NGXu release.  At the time of this writing, there is no clear timeframe for when it will be made available for v5.  From what I understand, there are two possible reasons for the stall.

First, Lockheed Martin is working on another hotfix for P3Dv5 which is supposed to resolve some of the performance and stability issues.  Second, Microsoft is due to release the latest Windows 10 update 2004 which is supposed to also address some issues with VRAM.  Most likely, Lockheed is waiting on Microsoft and PMDG is in a holding pattern as a result.  Makes sense to me.

My P3Dv5 Settings

I’m still tweaking my graphics settings to get the best looking visuals and performance from P3Dv5.  I started by essentially duplicating my P3Dv4.5 settings and that was initially OK.  However, due to the slight instability of v5 (at this time), I’ve backed them down slightly without much visual impact.  So I’ll continue to see how this works with the add-ons I have and what limited about of time I’m flying in v5 until the hotfix is released.  After all, at this point it’s really just about testing.

Well that just about does it for this update.  I need to get back to work and in a few hours land my Airbus A319 at KDFW. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Prepar3D v5 More Progress

I spent several hours over the weekend downloading new installers for most of my major airport sceneries.  I learned a long time ago that it was worth the effort to keep an Excel spreadsheet of all my add-ons.  This way I know what I have and when it comes time to redownload or even update, I won’t go stir crazy in the process. 

At the present time, sceneries from Drzewiecki Design, FSDreamTeam, FlightBeam, FlyTampa, LatinVFR, ImaginSim, Orbx and UK2000 all have new and updated P3Dv5 installers.  This represents about 85+% of my add-on collection.  Once these approx. 100 items have been downloaded and installed I will be that much closer to making the move to P3Dv5 full-time. 

Just Need Aircraft

As mentioned in a previous update, the delay to truly making P3Dv5 my full-time sim will be aircraft.  While PMDG released their B747 QOTSII (see this post), I don’t fly it very much.  The PMDG 737NGxu is not only my favorite add-on airplane, it’s also my favorite and gets the most work.  I’m truly in no hurry to make the move.  Prepar3Dv4 is working like a champ and I’ve recently been flying out of Miami into the eastern and western Caribbean. 

A2A To The Rescue

This week A2A released their Cessna 172 with a P3Dv5 installer.  This has been a welcome addition for me.  As I mentioned in an earlier update, I do enjoy spending time in the near vanilla simulator just flying around low and slow.  The A2A Cessna 172 is the perfect study level GA aircraft for this task.  I’ve spent a few hours flying around the Orbx regions of the Pacific Northwest, Southern Alaska and even nearer to my own backyard the Central Rockies.  Prepar3D version 5 is showing excellent progress.

Continue as Filed

The next several days will be much the same.  Install sceneries, test, install sceneries and test some more.  I’m still heavily using P3Dv4 for my everyday flying.  But generally take 30-60 minutes each day to load up the A2A C172 for some fun. 

That’s it for now.  It’s time to begin my descent into Bozeman, Montana on a American flight out of KDFW on VATSIM.  Life is good!

Jerry

Bad News from REX

As many are awaiting news regarding whether their favorite add-ons will be compatible with Prepar3D version 5, the development team over at REX posted a status update on their Discord.  I’ve included the announcement below, but will first share my own thoughts with their decision.

My Use of REX

Since P3Dv4 first arrived on the scene, I had experimented with various shader applications.  The first I tried was PTA.  While I liked what I saw, I wanted more.  I moved to ENVTEX/ENVSHADE by TOGA Projects and was pretty happy with the eye candy it provided.  Then pretty much everything changed when REX released their SkyForce 3D and Environment Force products.  From many in the community REX had developed and sold to the community the “holy grail” of all things environment producing eye candy.  What I fell in love with was the simplicity of its use.  While I did some tweaking, I found the fully automated settings gave me exactly what I wanted.  I was happy.

While the two products combined can offer the flight simmer a complete weather and environment system, I deactivated the weather component within SkyForce and chose to use ActiveSky.  But bottom line, I was very happy with this setup and was looking forward to the continued use in Prepar3D v5.

Reasons?

I can only guess the reason REX has decided not to bring their Environment Force application to P3Dv5 is due to the enhanced shaders and cloud textures within the sim.  Yes, the sky and cloud textures in P3Dv5 are better than we’ve had in previous versions.  But at this stage, I’m not entirely sure

Other Shader Choices

As I began writing this posting, I decided to do a little digging to see what other shader choices were available or what news I could learn regarding P3Dv5 Compatibility.  It appears Tomato Shade (which I have no experience with) won’t be coming to P3Dv5 anytime soon.  Also, PTA (at the present time) is of unknown status.  As previously mentioned, REX will not be bringing their Environment Force to P3Dv5 so that leaves ENVTEX/ENVSHADE as the only one currently ready to go with P3Dv5. 

Final Thoughts

Many may ask why these shader add-ons are as popular as they are in the flight sim community.  Immersion is the answer.  For me, the eye candy is an important element in my flight simulation experience.  I’d even say it’s just as important as the level of immersion I get from flying a study level aircraft such as those from PMDG or FSLabs. The flight simulation hobby has come a very long way since my early days on the Commodore 64 and I truly love every minute I can spend in the sim.

As I do own ENVTEX/ENVSHADE from TOGA Projects, I will most likely use this product in my P3Dv5 setup.  I’ve read many improvements were made to the product over the last year.  But I think I’ll first experience P3Dv5 in its native state and see for myself the improvements Lockheed Martin made to the sim. 

Thanks for reading.  The REX announcement is below. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

REX Announcement

SUBJECT:
REX Product Compatibility with Prepar3D v4.5 HF3 and Prepar3D v5+

TYPE:
NEWS

LEVEL:
HIGH

DATE ISSUED:
Monday, May 11, 2020

EFFECTIVE DATE/TIME:
Monday, May 11, 2020
END DATE/TIME:
Monday, June 1, 2020

NEWS TOPIC:
*
Over the past few weeks Lockheed Martin released Prepar3D v4.5 Hotfix 3, Prepar3D v5, and Prepar3D v5.0 Hotfix 1. We wanted to take time to inform you of the status of our product line compatibility with each simulator.

Prepar3D v4.5 Hotfix 3:
The following REX products are 100% compatible with Prepar3D v4.5 Hotfix 3:
•    REX 5 – Environment Force
•    REX 5 – Sky Force 3D
•    REX 5 – Worldwide Airports HD
•    REX 4 – Texture Direct with Soft Clouds
•    WX Advantage Radar

Prepar3D v5 or Prepar3D v5 + Hotfix 1
Currently none of our products are “officially” compatible with Prepar3D v5+. However, since we are part of the beta team for Prepar3D, we have been actively testing and evaluating each product. Here is the current status of each:
In Development:
•    REX 5 – Sky Force
•    REX 5 – Weather Force (Add-on to Sky Force)
In Process:
•    REX 5 – Worldwide Airports HD
Under Review:
•    REX 5 – Environment Force
Will not be made compatible for Prepar3D v5+
•    WX Advantage Radar

We will keep you updated with the status of each product as we progress. Thank you for your patience during this time.

PMDG Is First

The development team at PMDG was the first to ready one of their payware, add-on aircraft for P3Dv5.  The majestic Boeing 747-400 Queen of the Skies II is now 100% 99% compatible with P3Dv5.  Unfortunately, she isn’t 100% as there was a last minute change with the way the new ActiveSky P3D handles weather.  Specifically the way aircraft needs to be coded to interpret weather from ActiveSky P3D so the weather radar functions correctly.  Unfortunately, PMDG were not aware of this change and only learned about it after releasing the QOTSII.  While the PMDG Dev team have moved onto the next aircraft (hopefully the 737NGXu), they will circle back and make the necessary corrections to the Queen.  Most likely I will wait and install the 747-400 after PMDG has provided the new updated installer. 

Speaking of the Queen

While not flight sim related, Friday 8 May marked the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.  VE Day also known as Victory in Europe Day was the day in which the Allies of World War II accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.  Queen Elizabeth II spoke on Friday and was quoted as saying, “Never Give Up, Never Despair”.  In these trying times we’re now finding ourselves living, those words could never be more important.

The Work Continues

As I mentioned in my post on Saturday, I have successfully installed P3Dv5, ActiveSky P3D and FSUIPC.  I’ve now moved on to installing all my Orbx sceneries and airports.  I’ve always had the best luck in doing this in a particular order. 

First and obviously you need to install P3Dv5.  Next install Orbx FTX Base and Libraries.  It appears Orbx will not be making their FTX Vector for P3Dv5, so for now skip that. Then I begin installing the Orbx regions and finally all Orbx airports.  Once this is done (and it will take some time) I generally spend some time in a GA aircraft and go out and enjoy the beautiful Orbx regions.  My all time favorite is Southern Alaska and Pacific Northwest.  The very first add-on Orbx airport I purchased was 7S3 Stark’s Twin Oaks Airpark which is a Bill Womack classic.  I just love flying around this area. 

Still Not Ready for Prime Time

P3Dv5 still isn’t ready to go for me.  While it’s coming together for GA, VFR, low and slow flying…it’s not yet ready to take the place of P3Dv4.  Most likely it will still be a few weeks away from that timeframe.  To me this is a very methodical process and as I’ve stated before, I DO NOT install anything into the new sim that hasn’t been made compatible.  So my favorite aircraft, the PMDG 737NGXu will have to wait for the PMDG team to provide a new installer.  Whether that is a few days or a few weeks, the wait will be worth it. 

For now, I’ll continue installing the rest of the Orbx airports and then begin downloading other “ready to go” payware airports.  I have a lot of add-ons so stay tuned.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

Prepar3D v5 Update

Yesterday I discussed the latest version of Prepar3D.  Within about 15 minutes of publishing that article, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on P3Dv5 along with FSUIPC 6.  If you’re not familiar with FSUIPC (and many flight simmers are not), well FSUIPC is a little utility which allows many add-ons to connect to P3D and also allows for better external flight control support in the sim.  Most users can get by with the freeware version of FSUIPC.  However, if you are like me and want to customize your 3rd party add-on hardware (throttles, joysticks, yokes etc.) then you need FSUIPC.  But I digress…

It Is EVERYTHING and a box of chocolates

Of course, at this very instance the only thing installed into my new P3Dv5 setup is of course P3Dv5, FSUIPC and ActiveSky.  As a matter of fact, ActiveSky is the main reason I went ahead and pulled the trigger on P3Dv5 now.  Currently, ActiveSky for Prepar3D v5 is available as a beta at zero upgrade cost.  The new version of ActiveSky is called ActiveSky P3D and if you owned the previous version for P3Dv4 (ASP4) then for the next 2-3 weeks you can upgrade to ActiveSky P3D at no cost.  ActiveSky P3D will work for both P3Dv4 and P3Dv5. Once installed, it will prompt you to choose which simulator you want to use.  Pretty slick.

But back to my statement,  “It Is EVERYTHING and a box of chocolates”, the new Prepar3D v5 is truly amazing.  While even in its vanilla state, I can see the benefits of the upgrade and I’m very pleased to have made the purchase. 

One Step at a time

As I’ve mentioned before in other blog postings.  If you truly want the best out of your sim experience, only install 3rd party add-ons which have been ported over by the developers.  Don’t try to hack something into P3Dv5 which hasn’t been updated as you’ll likely only cause yourself issues and a lot of headaches. 

All major developers are working as quickly as they can to get their add-ons available for P3Dv5.  Spend some time just enjoying the vanilla sim and as add-ons are made available, install them.  Until that time…continue flying in P3Dv4.  This is my plan. 

If I were to guess (and a lot of this is based on my move from P3Dv3 to v4) it could be several more weeks before we have everything available from the devs.  Just be patient. 

If you yourself are currently making the move to P3Dv5 or planning to, FSElite has a really good P3Dv5 Compatibility Database.  They are documenting everything from add-on aircraft, airports, scenery and utilities.  

More to Come

I’ll provide updates as more add-ons have been made available to P3Dv5.  I’ll also share my settings as well.  Currently, I have my P3Dv5 settings adjusted to mirror what I have set in P3Dv4.  I figure this was a good starting point.  I’ll tweak to get the very best performance and will share them. 

Of course, at this very moment my FPS is phenomenal.  But this is expected in a vanilla sim.  As more add-ons are installed including scenery, airports and aircraft…the FPS will drop.  As I’ve always said….don’t drive yourself crazy chasing 60FPS.  I’ll be happy if DX12 and the enhancements made to v5 will give me a solid, smooth experience.  This is what I have with v4 and it’s all I need in v5.  Once I have made my tweaks, I’ll not pay much attention to FPS. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog postings. 

Until next time….

Happy Flying!

Jerry

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