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  1. 8 points
    Hi Everyone. Big thank you to @Wonko for giving me the opportunity to take over the site. I am very excited to see where things can go. I want to speak a little bit about my plans going forward, once we have a firm handoff date set. The first step will be migrating to a new server. This is most likely to take 2-3 hours where the site will be offline and will be done in the next couple of weeks. Once on the new server, a lot of new possibilities open up. My main goal will be to keep this same community atmosphere but focus on growth. I would like to expand our modding/resources sections to try and drive some more visitors to the site. I am open to suggestions and would love to hear how you think we can grow as a community and how I can fit in with all of you. I am looking forward to working with and meeting all of you over the coming months and I'm excited about some of the ideas I'll be trying to implement over the coming weeks!
  2. 6 points
    A sad day indeed. I am honoured to have been part of PC-SG. To be part of a site with no flame wars has been great. To be part of a site which everyone takes account of other peoples views is very rare now a days. Take a bow all who are/have been part of PC-SG. Much as I would love to take it on my own and my wife's health won't allow me to.
  3. 4 points
    Thanks for all you did. I hope wellness for your wife and good luck whatever you do. Thank you for letting me be a small part off such a great webpage and group of people, that handled everything in these times with the civility that we all need today. I wish everyone well!! Jim Estep
  4. 4 points
    Sad news, but completely understand where the priorities need to be, and that is always with family first. Have very much enjoyed the positive atmosphere of this forum which is seldom seen anywhere else. Best of luck to you and your family and certainly want to extend thanks to all the other members as well for their supportive and friendly approach to this forum.
  5. 3 points
    It is with real sadness I have to announce that PCSG will be closing down at the end of the month after 6 years living in the internet. I have been struggling to find the time and motivation to look after the community for a while, this is mostly due to a change in my work commitments but also my wife has been suffering badly with her health over the past 18 months and obviously family comes first in all things. The rise of Facebook & Discord and other social media has had a big impact on forums across the internet and PCSG has not been immune to the decline in forum use. I want to thank @mereman aka reeefy @GrizzlyBearSims and @Dirtracer00 @Johnny Vee for their help & support in setting up PCSG in the first place we would never have got this far with out them, Thanks guys👍 Thank you the members for living up to the ethos behind the community of friendliness & helping out fellow gamers without the drama, we have only ever had to ban 1 person (out of 9k members) in all the six years apart from spammers which is testament to how things can be if the will is there, its been a real pleasure and I hope to keep meeting you all on our streams with @Johnny Vee @Brummie Farmer @Icelandic Farmer @mancert and Farmer Oopps Thank you to all the modders who have trusted us to host their mods in a secure (as much as anything can be on the interweb) and hassle free way for all to enjoy. Thank you all Wonko P.S If there is anyone who feels they can take up where I have left off please contact me I would be more than happy to pass PCSG on to someone who can take it forward and keep the community going.
  6. 3 points
    This is awesome news @River.
  7. 3 points
    This is very sad news, although Family does and should always come first and foremost to anything else so I understand completely. I want to wish your wife and yourself the very best and hope her health gets better. I want to say Thank You for allowing me to be a part of this very peaceful, respectful, and very friendly community. I have met some wonderful people that have never once been disrespectful or rude in any way. I have only met true down to earth people that would always lend a hand to help with any problem or question you had. I would love to take this and keep this wonderful community alive if I had both the time and know how to do so the way it is done now. I wish you all the best and again, Thank you all for allowing me to meet so many wonderful people that have become friends.
  8. 3 points
    While I’ll be the absolute first to tell you that Prepar3D, Flight Simulator X (FSX) and X-Plane are NOT video games…they are computer based flight simulators! It certainly didn’t start out this way. As I often show my age when I speak about the fact that I’ve been flying computer based simulations since the early 1980’s…really and truly at that time, the ancestors of P3D, FSX and X-Plane were just simply games. At that time, I really don’t think anyone (perhaps other than the developers) could imagine what these games would become and the industry which would rise up to support it. A Picture is Worth… They say “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”. The top image is what things looked like back around 1984 on the Commodore 64. I spent hours upon hours and a few hours more sitting at my desk flying around Chicago Meig’s Field. Advance the calendar some 35 years and this is what the above evolved into. The image below is from my own Prepar3d version 4 setup and the PMDG 747-400. I believe I captured this screenshot on a flight from Denver to London late last summer (2018). The stark contrast between those two images is truly amazing. From a very basic 2D cockpit with very limited controls to the flight deck of the Queen herself where just about every button, every switch and every dial does something is again just simply amazing. While I often envy the younger generation who have basically grown up with only knowing the more modern of things, I do consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to witness this first hand. There’s an interesting backstory with the above image. I have this image on my work laptop and Windows 10 automagically changes out my desktop image every 15 minutes. I have two very large external monitors in my office and they are situated where if someone stops by to visit, they can see the desktop image if I have my applications minimized. One of my co-workers stopped by one day, saw the image and asked me where I found it. I explained that I captured the image (that’s all I said), he looked at me and said “how the hell did you manage to convince the pilots to A. let you onto the flight deck, and B. convince them to step out so this picture could be taken. LOL I explained this was a screenshot from my home flight simulator setup. I think we spent the next hour discussing the hobby. The Struggle is Real While I can’t speak for all who are involved in the hobby of flight simulation, I would wager to guess that most (at least some) struggle with the balance between ultimate realism and beautiful/stunning eye-candy. Which is more important and does it really matter? As Microsoft Flight Simulator evolved over the years, there was still a time where third party add-ons were somewhat rare. Especially what I would refer to as complex versions like we have today from the likes of PMDG, FSLabs and A2A. So I would say (for me), as the complex aircraft were slowly starting to come onto the scene, I was still stuck in the “I care more about eye candy” mode. What I wanted was simple. I wanted an aircraft which closely resembled what ever I wanted to fly (Boeing 727, 737, 757 etc.), I wanted it to have decent flight characteristics (meaning perform better than a brick) and I wanted a livery for which ever real world airline I was simulating at the time. Again, at that time….all the rest wasn’t a concern. I also wasn’t all that bothered if the aircraft didn’t have a virtual cockpit. I would guess this was the time frame of about 25 years ago. The turning point for me was sometime after the dawn of the SATCO/VATSIM age (circa 2000-01). Of course, this is also around the same timeframe when internet based virtual airlines began popping up and the interwebz made the world a much smaller place. Immersion is Key I think with any simulation based title, the immersive experience is due part from the software itself and also from ones own imagination. While I’m not suggesting any of us sim gamers go around thinking (or certainly not pretending) we’re farmers, truckers or pilots…but I believe, our own imagination certainly makes up a small (perhaps larger) part of our overall experience. For example, I have my own rules for how I enjoy flight simulation. First, I almost always begin a flight from the last airport I previously landed at. There are a few times in my mind I will just say “jump seat” and start off from an airport I hadn’t just flown into…but that’s rare. Second, I’m also not the type of virtual aviator who fires up a flight and then either goes to bed, goes to work or goes shopping. While I’m not going to lie and tell you that my rear keister is always firmly planted in my chair for every minute, every hour of a flight….I’m generally not far away. After all, pilots in the real world will get up and stretch their legs and go to the toilet. Finally, when I was single…I would often heat up a “TV Dinner” which I would eat on longer flights. But hey…I was eating a lot of these types of dinners when I was single. The Trade Off Unfortunately, it wasn’t that long ago most of us had to make a decision. Did we want the experience which the complex, advanced simulation add-on aircraft would deliver…OR…did we want the breathtaking visuals? Because it wasn’t always money that determined the path. Before P3Dv4 was finally capable of taking advantage of a 64 bit architecture and move beyond the 4 GB virtual memory limitations, we all found it hard to mix both together. You’ll find older writings of mine on this blog site where I attempted to marry the complex and the stunning visuals….yes it was doable, but it required significant compromise. It’s All a Balancing Act Today, I enjoy a perfect balance between the more advanced simulation add-on aircraft and the stunning visuals. With the advancement of hardware, software and the financial ability to marry both together…I can finally shove those graphic sliders to the right and enjoy the challenge of learning and flying some of the greatest machines ever invented and experience the visuals as if it was really happening. My friends…that’s how you define the tagline “As Real As It Gets”. Until next time… Enjoy the experience however you define it. Jerry The post Flight Simulation–The Struggle for Balance appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  9. 2 points
    Hi Wonko, sorry to hear you are leaving PC-SG. I have not been here much due to ill health myself, mine is just what happens when you become old and things breakdown (enough about me). I just want to wish you and your family all the best, and it was a pleasure to work with you. Good luck to you River, and thank you for taking over. This site has warm and friendly people but, watch out for mereman he can take liberties if not kept in check.😉 All the best. Mick (OldGit)
  10. 2 points
    Thank you for returning for another edition in the “A Pilot’s Life” Storyteller series. I’m still trying to work out the title format I’ll use. For now, I’m going with Series 1, Edition 2. In each of these updates, I’ll spend a little bit of time catching you up on flights I don’t cover in detail. This way you are somewhat aware of the progress I’m making as I continue my APL career. After arriving at Sea-Tac from our flight from San Francisco (S1, E1), I had a trip out to Salt Lake City and back to Sea-Tac that same day. These two flights increased my APL XP up to 235.20. I have just over 414 XP points to accumulate until I’m eligible for my promotion to the rank of Captain. (See below) In addition, this trip up to Ketchikan and back will complete this assigned schedule set. As I can’t consider options from other airlines at this time, I’ll need to accept at least one more schedule with Alaska. If you are new to APL or not familiar with how it works, once you accept a position at a new airline or you receive a promotion during your employment with an airline, you can’t accept a new offer until a period of 7 calendar days have passed. As I was promoted to Sr. First Officer on 26 May, I will not be eligible to accept or apply for any other jobs until 2 June. As for my plan after 2 June, well…..I really don’t know. I first will take a look at the job offers I receive. If these are lucrative enough, I will certainly consider them. The challenge for me is with 3rd party add-on scenery. The add-on airport scenery I own is mostly concentrated in the USA. So accepting a job with any of the major US based carriers will certainly give me plenty of opportunities. However, accepting a job with a European (or any other region) will certainly give me some interesting route opportunities which obviously will lead to some interesting stories to tell. Again…time will tell. Present Day The day has come for my flight up to Ketchikan, Alaska. A number of years ago, I spent some time up in Ketchikan piloting small bush and float planes hauling paying customers to secluded hunting and fishing spots. While there isn’t much money to be made (certainly compared to a commercial airline pilot), I could certainly see myself returning back to the slower life which can be found in places like Ketchikan and Juneau at some point in the future. But of course, time will tell. The flight today is an afternoon flight out of Sea-Tac in the Boeing 737-800. We’re in our special livery titled “Spirit of the Islands”. You can read more about this special livery here or watch the short video below. The livery honors the Aloha State. Watch this video on YouTube. The weather today in Seattle is in rare form. Today is one of those days where (while it’s a great day to fly) you are almost wishing you were flying so you can actually get outside and do something. But I need the work as I am still paying off the student loans. The great news is I have arranged for a few days R&R in Ketchikan. I am going to visit some friends for a few days and will catch a flight back to Seattle later in the week. Weather permitting, I might even rent a float plane and do some exploring. Flight Details Today we’re operating Alaska flight 179 with non-stop service between Seattle to Ketchikan, Alaska. Our flight is scheduled to depart at 16:30 from gate N13. Our planned fuel for this trip is 17, 111 lbs. and our take-off weight is 148,985 lbs. Our cruising altitude today is FL340 and we have a block time of two hours, three minutes. Flight Plan: BANGR9 PANGL QQ PR/N0338F 160 V309 ANN Walk Around As the turnaround at Sea-Tac is a quick one today, I’m conducting the walk around while the bags are going in. But all looks good with our aircraft today. Looks like that’s one heavy suitcase. I’d offer him a hand, but you know…union rules and all that. Remember, bend at the knees. These guys are good. But of course with Sea-Tac being our main hub, you would expect nothing less. Catering, fueling and the last of the bags are going on. Time to get rolling. It’s time to push back It’s a busy day today at Sea-Tac. We have company traffic flying in and out, plus an American and Delta are also preparing to pushback. We’ve been cleared for engine start. Starting Engine #2. Good engine start on #2, starting engine #1 As we taxi out to 16L, a Virgin America (now of course Alaska Airlines) Airbus lands. I guess we haven’t got around to painting that aircraft just yet. Alaska 179, Line up and Wait 16L Positive Rate, Gear Up! Beginning our right turn to join the SID. Wing shot…..Oh Yea! The view from the office. Climbing out over Vancouver Island. The views are rather impressive this afternoon. Beginning our descent. We’re about to cross over Annette Island and the Annette Island Airport (ANN) is visible through the clouds. ANN served as the major airport from the WWII era until the early 70’s. Slowing our speed as we continue to descend. The appearance of the water is very calm. The approach into Ketchikan for runway 11 brings us in almost parallel to the airport, then fly out approx. 25 nm. Then we do a easy 180 degree turn. Starting to make our turn now. Looking forward to spending a few days flying around Ketchikan and exploring. The weather forecast is calling for excellent VFR flying conditions. Completing our 180 degree turn. As we roll out the runway should be directly in front of us. We’re cleared for the approach runway 11. Cleared to land, runway 11 Clear of the active and beginning our downhill taxi. Just as we roll in, a company 737-800 is about to pushback for Anchorage. At the gate and shutting down. In just a few minutes I’ll begin my short vacation break in one of my favorite places in the world. I think before I head to the hotel, I’ll walk down and see if there are any aircraft to rent. Well that just about does it for this edition. I certainly hope you are enjoying reading these as much as I’m enjoying flying and writing about my adventures. I hope you’ll check back next week for another adventure. It might just be a mini-adventure as I rent an airplane and fly around Ketchikan before heading back down to Seattle. Talk to you soon. Credits If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane. You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket. Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here. Flight Simulator: Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1) Aircraft: PMDG 737-800 Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA) ATC: VATSIM Airport Scenery: KSEA Drzewiecki Design, Orbx Ketchikan Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx NA Pacific Northwest, NA Pacific Fjords Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4) Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24 Note: If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons. Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links. The post A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E2 appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  11. 2 points
    Welcome @River. Thank you for stepping up and keeping this wonderful community here alive. Looking forward to seeing this community grow and be successful.
  12. 2 points
    Great news😀 @River Has stepped forward to take over the running of PC-SG, a formal hand over date has not been confirmed just yet but PC-SG will not be closing down after all, please make River welcome and support him as you have me and the team.
  13. 2 points
    Once upon a time, a few of us flight sim bloggers were into storytelling through our writings and images. This was really before the YouTube thing took off. A few years in, I took the turn down the path of Twitch and YouTube and mostly used the blog for “how to” type articles. Essentially I sort of shelved the storytelling articles a few years ago. My other blogging friends also seem to have dropped out of the blogosphere. That’s sad….as several of them were really good at what they did. But I suppose the trend is more towards watching flight sim livestreams, requesting songs via YouTube and watching someone fly from point A to point B. Nothing wrong with that….at all! I just learned it wasn’t my cup of tea to be that type of content creator. A few days ago I posted a couple of screenshots over on the “A Pilot’s Life – SimBitWorld” Discord server regarding my quickly approaching promotion to Sr. First Officer. At the time I was less than one XP point away from the promotion and would certainly secure it on my flight from Oakland, CA back to SeaTac. If you haven’t heard about “A Pilot’s Life” by SimBitWorld, then please read my review of this add-on application which has been developed for all major flight sim platforms including Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane. Anyway, one of the other APL pilots commented “Love your stories, maybe you should write a diary flying APL and the adventures you are facing.” Actually…I agree! So let’s do this! Is the Blogosphere Dead? A couple of thoughts come to mind when I ask myself that question. First, my long-term readers will know how I often like to intermix music lyrics or song titles (especially from the 80’s) into my writings. Has blogging suffered the same fate as that of the radio star (Video Kill the Radio Star)? My second thought has to do with the decline of the book store. The major shopping mall I visit regularly is one of those massive double-decker types. When I first moved to the area over 20 years ago, this shopping mall had 2-3 book stores. One of which took up both floors. Today…there are none. Not a single one. We have to drive a few miles down the road to find one of the last major brick and mortar book stores. But….the stats on my website still tell me that I receive plenty of visitors each day. The vast majority of these visitors show up for my flight sim content, so I’ll give it a whirl. Return of the Flight Sim Storyteller Before I get going with the first entry (coming next week), allow me to bring you up to speed on my APL career thus far. I feel this is necessary just to bring things current. I purchased APL back in mid April. So at the time of this writing, I’ve been logging hours for about 6 weeks. As I explained in my review, everyone starts off with zero hours and the rank of Junior First Officer. I was hired by Sun Country Airlines (SCX) and based in Minneapolis KMSP. I flew mostly the Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 on routes in the eastern portion and Midwest of the US. These routes took me to cities like Chicago, Memphis, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Washington DC, Cincinnati and Denver. After working my way through two flight schedules, and accumulating 50 XP I was promoted to First Officer and after fulfilling the terms of that new contract, I wanted to make a change in the hopes of gaining a higher hourly wage and different routes. I was offered the current job I have now with Alaska Airlines and moved to Seattle. I began my work with Alaska Airlines on 10 May and my first flight was from Sea-Tac down to Las Vegas. My flights with Alaska has taken me to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland in the Southwest portion of the US. I’ve also had flights up to Juneau, Sitka and my favorite Alaskan airport of Ketchikan. I hope to return to Ketchikan very soon. Upon recently arriving into Oakland, I was less than 1 XP away from my promotion to Sr. First Officer. I had a overnight layover in Oakland and returned back to Sea-Tac the following morning. Upon landing and arriving in the crew office I was presented with my Sr. First Officer certificate and a new contract guaranteeing me a new salary of $39.39 per hour. The terms of the contract state I must continue to work for Alaska Airlines for another 7 days. I didn’t have much time to celebrate as I was due to fly back down to California soon after signing my new contract. What’s Next Initially when I began typing this article, it was going to contain the first installment of my “A Pilot’s Life” Storyteller series with a flight from San Francisco back to Seattle. But I realized it might make for a really long first edition, so I will use this post to just bring you up to speed and I’ll return with the first edition early next week. As for how frequently these will come out….for now, we’ll just have to see. But until next time… Happy Flying! Jerry The post Return of the Flight Sim Storyteller appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  14. 2 points

    Version 1.1.0

    1,709 downloads

    The very popular Emerald Coast USA map, enjoyed by many in FS 2017, is now here in FS 2019... This map embraces the many new features of the 2019 game, much of the land is buyable, including all the field areas and the huge forest area... as well as several wooded lots around the map, even a couple of overgrown lots in town in the residential district. There are transport missions, hauling pallets of stuff from one place to another, also field missions on most of the fields. You, the farmer, have been away from the Emerald Coast for a few years... in the meantime, a severe storm ravaged the area, many buildings were destroyed, much was damaged... all of your equipment was lost, farm houses destroyed. Insurance finally paid out and the area has rebuilt. You are back, ready to make your presence known as a master farmer once again... can you do it? Welcome to Emerald Coast USA... Deep in the southeastern United States lies the Emerald Coast. Just a few miles north, however, there is rich farmland. Now you can journey to this area and enjoy the farming experience for yourself. You begin with adequate equipment, but to work well you must become profitable and expand. In this region forestry is just as big a business as arable farming. Therefore, a large managed forest dominates the northwestern hills of this map. Arable farmland can be found in between the forest and the town, which is located in the southern part of the map. All standard animals are available, with a sell point in town. All of your farming supplies, such as fertilizer and seeds, must be bought in town. (no seed or fertilizer triggers at the farms) Fuel storage is available on the farms, with a small amount to get you started, for more, use the universal pack fuel trailer to refill from town. For those that prefer to fertilize using anhydrous ammonia there is a dedicated sell point by the main highway. There is plenty of work here, so enjoy farming in the Emerald Coast, USA! • in "New Farmer" mode you start with some equipment, a couple of fields and the 3 farms... in the hard modes, you get nothing but some money... work wisely... • get water at the lake for free / Farmland Fertilizer sellpoint has bulk fertilizer, seeds, lime and herbicide available... in addition to water. Fuel is available at the Shell station and at Marty's Diner... Over at the Farm Land garden center, you can purchase premixed pigfood... The animal dealer always has more manure and slurry than they would like, you can get either there very cheap... • There is custom traffic on this map, edited for faster speed without tinkering with the game itself and messing up other maps... definitely do not pull out in front of them! Also, several vehicles are parked at various locations (during the work day) and leave at night. • The dealer lot and lobby, the granary sellpoint, the fertilizer sellpoint and the garden center, the sawmill, the dairy and the rootcrop sellpoint all have timed gates which open at either 7:00 AM or 8:00AM and close at 6:00 PM... no entry is permitted into these areas before or after hours... • The Harvestor silos function again as fermenting silos, using the great script by Farmer_Schubi... Ensure to have the included HarvestorSilo mod in the folder and active when first starting your gameplay... the silos take both grass and chaff and will slowly convert both to silage. • The bunker silos are modified to produce compost rather than silage, the fermenting time and compacting processes are the same... The land must be purchased before using them. They take precompost, which is produced at the Razwood Factory in town, which accepts manure, straw and sugarbeet to make the precompost for the bunkers. There are four sellpoints to sell stuff: • Deep South grain mill - wheat / barley / canola / corn / sunflower / soybean / oat • Garden Center - wool / silage / compost • Biomass Plant - woodchips (located at the sawmill) • Southern Ag - sugarBeet / potato / sugarcane Also, there is a cotton bale drop off point in the business area, to sell your bales... Regular bales and straw may be sold at the animal dealer, around back... To use this map, unzip the EC_UNZIPME file and place all three included files into your mod folder and remember to activate them for proper functioning of the map... Disclaimer: this is a highly detailed map, using many different scenery objects and several custom textures to achieve visual realism, and as such will require a strong, high spec PC to run... especially if you have many mods on the farm. The only solution to this issue is to not use any mods and/or turn the settings down. Additionally, to avoid unforeseen issues and conflicts, please have ONLY this map in the mod folder as having multiple maps in the folder will cause issues as the game loads all the scripts from all the maps, including the active one... There will be a followup version of this map once the factory script and Seasons are available... to restore the remainder of the missing features from the FS 2017 version. However, any things you don't like or would like to be improved in the meantime will have to be for your own private editions. It is absolutely NOT allowed to edit and upload ANYWHERE without my express permission... Happy farming! CREDITS: Map Makers ccs101 - FS 2019 version ccs101 - FS 2017 Conversion & Improvements ccs101/DarkHorse64 - Original FS 2015 concept & design Map Objects ccs101 Giants Sandgroper Darin Cassel realismusmodding Dorset LoneWolf FD LS-UK Mod Team SukasFarmer NI Modding BcBuhler BM Modding Niggels Vertexdesign LBJmodding frasercow Paldoo cjwilksy honclik JauchenPaule LazyMod Studios TSL Ryan456 SanAndreas itisntworking farmerboy69 Causton robbie blacky_BPG petorious RAND0Msprks matzesft Dogface schwaki 112TEC Joerg_B kOrnRabe LSSA Modding Team Freelance Modding Crew BigM Bluebaby210 Richard sven777b m4pj3cts rafftnix Poderoso Neurotek Disturbed742 LS-Modcompany ItsPooopFace Looseterror troll711 modswanted ShowMeDirt Sivy and I DocElyoc SPARTAN_6 Alaska99709 Winston9587 If there are objects on the map that are not credited please drop me a PM because this wasn't deliberate. I would always credit peoples work properly
  15. 1 point
    Thank you for returning for another edition of our “A Pilot’s Life” Storyteller series. When we were last together (S1, E2) I had just completed a flight from Seattle up to Ketchikan, Alaska. I mentioned I planned to spend a few days of R&R while there. So this edition won’t really be so much about the APL application as it’s just going to serve as a brief break from flying jets and give me some time to enjoy flying a little lower and slower and taking in all the eye candy that is this region of Alaska and Canada. Present Day I’ve been in Ketchikan the past couple of days and have just one full day before I’m due to return back to Seattle on Alaska flight 9249. This will complete my third schedule set with Alaska and I’ll apply for a new set and then see how things look once I’m eligible to apply for other airlines. But this week has all been about having some fun. The weather has been truly amazing with VFR flight conditions each day. So far I’ve managed to spend some time flying, fishing and just doing a little exploring. Mostly I’ve been able to relax and enjoy my time off. They say “membership has its privileges” and rightfully so. This is a pretty darn good life if you ask me. As this is my last full day, I thought I would rent a Cessna 182 and depart Ketchikan and head east to Stewart, British Columbia, Canada. As I’m also trying to make friends where I can, I asked if there was anything which needed to go to or picked up from Stewart. As long as it would safely fit in a 182, I’m happy to take it. I’m really just planning to fly to Stewart, land and have lunch. Perhaps stroll through town and then head back to Ketchikan. Doug (the guy that works at the rental desk) knows a guy that knows a guy that knows this other guy. Anyway, there is a package on Annette Island which needs to go to Dawson Creek. The timing isn’t an issue and they figure someone in Stewart will move it along. So the plan will be to depart Ketchikan, fly the 18nm to Annette Island, load the package and then head 76nm northeast to Stewart, BC. Sounds like a fun day. Of course, we’re not going to fly as the crow would. Especially not on the second leg. I’ll take the safer and longer route and fly along the Portland Canal which makes up the border between the US (Alaska) and British Columbia (Canada). It’s mid-morning and I show up at the Ketchikan rental facility and directed down to the lower level where my Cessna 182 is waiting for me. As I’m taxing up the ramp, I see another Alaska 737-800 has just arrived. Most likely from Seattle. The wind this morning is out of the north, so we’ll be departing runway 29. Holding short runway 29 awaiting an approaching DHC-2 Beaver on final. We’re issued our take-off clearance and we get moving. We were allowed to do a 180 degree turn and proceed direct to Annette Island. Runway in sight, first leg is almost in the books. We accept the package and quickly resume our travels. My stomach is already growling. I’ve heard there is a little cafe that makes a great burger in Stewart. We’re back in the air and made our way across Duke Island and the Revilagigedo Channel. We’re now entering the canal. At this point in our flight we experienced a bit of turbulence as we crossed the channel. But all seems smooth for now. Besides my stomach rumbling, we’re in no hurry and making great time. This second leg is obviously made longer since we didn’t go direct. But hey…I’m on vacation and the weather is amazing. So are the views. At this point in the flight I’ve switched the auto-pilot off and just enjoying hand flying the aircraft along the canal. The air is nice and smooth. I begin the descent into Stewart and the ride gets pretty bumpy and choppy. The approach is an easy one. But at this point in the flight I’m feeling some pretty gnarly cross-wind action. Each time I think about taking a screenshot, I’m reminded I need to concentrate. On the ground, safely….not too sure just how hungry I am at this point. But I’m sure once I park up and walk around a bit I’ll feel better. Just spoke to the guy in the yellow shirt. He landed about 10 minutes before I did. I swear I saw him kneel down and kiss the ground just a minute ago. LOL It was a fun approach and landing. I’m thankful for rudder pedals. Time to go find that $100 hamburger now. That older gentleman sitting down over there will take the package from me. It’s been a fun, short and very adventurous flight. Looking forward to the return later this afternoon, then it’s back in the Boeing 738 and back to Sea-Tac. Thanks for reading! JT Credits If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane. You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket. Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here. Flight Simulator: Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1) Aircraft: A2A Cessna 182 Airline: n/a ATC: VATSIM Airport Scenery: Orbx Ketchikan (PAKT), Orbx Stewart (CZST) Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx NA Pacific Northwest, NA Pacific Fjords Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4) Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24, SkyVector Note: If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons. Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links. The post A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E3 appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  16. 1 point
    I'll get you at break mate🤣
  17. 1 point
    As I often say, unless you’ve had your head under a rock the past 48-72 hours, you’ve certainly heard about the BIG flight sim news. No, the biggest flight sim related news to break over this past weekend didn’t come from the halls of FSExpo19. As the curtains were all about to close on what appears to have been another extremely successful FlightSimExpo, Microsoft (yes…Microsoft) was making an announcement waaaaay over on the other side of the country, at the hugely popular E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles that they were returning to the flight simulation market in 2020 with Microsoft Flight Simulator. My Initial Reaction The first I heard of this was on Sunday afternoon. I was kicked back in my lazy boy recliner and saw a Facebook post stating something about a new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. My first thought was someone’s made a YouTube video and in true “click bait” fashion titled it that way and all it will end up being is P3D with a ton of addons. But….but…much to my surprise that was not the case. The Website In addition to the E3 announcement, Microsoft has a fancy website and an “Insider Program” already setup to support the announcement. On this website it states, “Microsoft Flight Simulator is the next generation of one of the most beloved simulation franchises. From light planes to wide-body jets, fly highly detailed and stunning aircraft in an incredibly realistic world. Create your flight plan and fly anywhere on the planet. Enjoy flying day or night, and face realistic, challenging weather conditions”. The Video Watch this video on YouTube. Take a Deep Breath and slowly Exhale…… Here’s what we know so far. Not much! It appears Microsoft Flight Simulator will release sometime in 2020. It appears it will be available for both XBOX and Windows 10. It appears (based on the info available) the video was “captured in real-time 4K”. In the grand scheme of things this really isn’t enough information to even warrant talking about it, yet here we are….talking about it! You literally will not find a single flight sim community NOT talking about it. It’s everywhere…yet what we know is…not much! Opinions, Opinions… In addition to not really knowing much (at this stage) about this new Microsoft Flight Simulator everyone has opinions. Yes, this includes yours truly. Of course I do! Simply, you can’t have been involved the hobby as long as I have and not have an opinion or three. I’m human…I do and I’m going to share a few of my thoughts with you. Whether you care to read them, agree with them is up to you. Here goes…. Negative Nancy There seems to be a lot of criticism from some regarding the opinions and comments made by others with regards to this announcement. A lot of what I’m reading which would fall into this category is being made by those who have only been involved in this hobby 5 minutes. They weren’t around a decade or more ago to read/hear about all the things Microsoft Flight Simulator was to become. They weren’t around when the hype surrounding Microsoft Flight could be cut with a knife and the giant sucking sound which occurred when all the excitement evaporated when reality set in. Most who will read the words I’ve written can be grouped into the hardcore flight simulation community segment. We’ve all grown up through the various iterations of the wonderful Microsoft Flight Simulator product and were all equally let down when it became no more. Yet, we tightened our laces and settled into one of two courts with that being Prepar3D and the second being X-Plane. Some are successfully straddling the fence of both and there’s a small segment which have stayed behind with FSX or FSX Steam Edition and yes, as funny as this may sound….a portion are still stuck on the FS2004/FS9 island. But regardless, we all shed our tears for what was Microsoft Flight Simulator and we’ve moved on. So yes, we have a right to our opinions and we have a right to be somewhat skeptical of this new project. Niche Community You’ve often heard myself and others talk about what a niche community we have. It’s true! The flight simulation community isn’t as big as some might want to make it out to be. While competition is a good thing, over saturation isn’t so much. Can our community support three major flight simulation platforms? I’m not so sure, but could Microsoft have a trick up their sleeve? I Love History As previously stated, our community is small compared to other popular “gaming”communities. While many of us don’t consider our flight simulation to be a game, by the way it’s not…it’s a simulator. We still get compared to other communities. Anyway…. Despite the fact there are a few other simulator options out there, the two major players at this point in time are Prepar3D and X-Plane. Before we dive too deep in discussing these, let’s take a minute or two for a history lesson. Microsoft released FSX in 2006 and FSX Acceleration (SP2) a year later 2007. Microsoft sold the intellectual property (IP) including source code for the commercial use side of FSX SP2 to Lockheed Martin in 2009. Lockheed Martin released Prepar3d v1 in November 2010. Microsoft released Microsoft Flight in February 2012 (the same year the Mayans got the end of the world wrong). In 2014, Dovetail Games announced a license agreement with Microsoft to distribute Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition. FSX : SE was released in December 2014. In 2014, Dovetail Games also announced their plans to develop a “next generation” flight simulation product further developed on Microsoft’s technology and bring this to market in 2015. However, Flight Sim World wouldn’t come to fruition until 2017. In April 2018, Dovetail announced Flight Sim World development would be closed. In a nutshell, while Flight Sim World was supposed to be the next generation flight simulator product developed on Microsoft technology, the end result wasn’t what the hard core flight simulation community wanted or needed. Will Microsoft Flight Simulator Take Flight Again? With the history lesson out of the way, I’ve gotta say that from what I see in the 1 minute and 44 second trailer…I’m amazed, I’m impressed and I’m highly, highly optimistic. Let me repeat that…I’m highly optimistic! But as I stated earlier, what we actually know beyond what our eyes are taking in just isn’t that much. For example…. What about our current add-ons which have been developed for FSX/P3D? Will they work? Who knows. However, if I were to take a really big guess (and that’s all it really is at this point) I would say NO! No, our current add-ons won’t work. Especially not right out of the gate. The next question folks will ponder is, will it cost to get current add-ons for the new sim? We just don’t know. But let me say this about “our current add-ons”. I constantly see complaints (especially in the FSX/P3D communities) about the fact that P3D is just a rebranding of sorts of FSX. While it is, it also isn’t. Meaning, Lockheed Martin have done some really awesome things to make P3D v4.5 what it is today and P3D v4.5 is truly lightyears from FSX. But…..but…I firmly believe in order for us to truly turn that corner and reach a point that we can say “THIS…THIS RIGHT HERE…Is the next generation flight simulator”, well….we’re gonna have to say goodbye to all those ancient and archaic add-ons we’re so desperately trying to hold onto. Enough is enough. Having said that, (again because we just don’t know much at this point) will 3rd party scenery actually still be needed? Of the scenes depicted in the short trailer, are we looking at default? If so, dang…that’s impressive for default scenery. But my guess is, out of the box Microsoft Flight Simulator will have some heavily detailed areas and others not so much. But again…we just don’ t know. The information available today does confirm we can fly anywhere on the planet. So most likely this will be just as inclusive as FSX was. But does this mean every airport, every city, every town will be modeled? Again….we just don’t know. Of course, there is speculation some data might actually be streamed into the sim as one flies along. But at this point we really just don’t know. But visually impressive/immersive scenery is only part of the equation. The hardcore flight simulation community will also expect the same impressive/immersive experience in the aircraft as well. At this point in time, there’s no evidence proving or disproving this important fact. Bottom line and this is just my opinion. If (and that’s a really big IF) Microsoft Flight Simulator provides us both the visuals and the level of immersion we have come to expect from Prepar3D and X-Plane, then I believe this could (at some point in the future) live up to being called the next generation flight sim. But can our little community support a big three concept? The Ace in the Hole Several years ago I discussed at great depth the confusion surrounding a topic that I’m going to bring up once again. This topic is possibly…the ace in the hole that Microsoft needs to have any success. Obviously, success might simply be “If you build it, we will come”…back. But as I pointed out earlier, it’s gotta be done right. An arcade game isn’t what we’re looking for. But back on topic… Could Microsoft actually force a change in how Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D is sold? What am I talking about? Of course, I’m talking about that 800 lb. Gorilla sitting over there in the corner called EULA or End User License Agreement. Reflecting very briefly on that history lesson from a few moments ago, in 2009 when Microsoft sold the commercial side of FSX to Lockheed Martin the intention was P3D would not be marketed as “Personal Consumer Entertainment” software. However, nothing has prevented individuals like myself to purchase, download, install and use P3D v1, P3D v2, P3D v3 and now P3D v4. While we can make every attempt to pick a few words out of the existing P3D EULA which gives us a right to use the software (training, simulating and learning), the very bottom line is many of us are using P3D for “personal consumer entertainment” purposes only, which is exactly how we all once used Microsoft FSX. My fear is the right set of attorneys in the right courtroom could argue that Lockheed Martin is operating outside of the agreement established by Microsoft. Hey, if an individual was able to sue a fast food establishment (and win) many years ago because the hot coffee she ordered through the drive thru in which she accidentally spilled on herself, then certainly anything might be possible here. Bottom Line We simply don’t know much! It looks dang good and if done right, it could be a success and win many of us back to the Microsoft family. This will especially be true depending on Prepar3D v5. Which like MSFS, we also don’t know a lot about. As more information becomes available, I’ll certainly provide my opinion along with everyone else. But just remember…I have my opinions and you will have your opinions. These may be the same, may be similar or might be completely worlds apart. But at the end of the day, they are just that. Opinions! Until next time… Happy Flying! Jerry The post Microsoft Flight Simulator appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  18. 1 point
    Before I get too deep in the weeds with this blog posting, let me first start off by saying a BIG THANK YOU to every single VATSIM member. Regardless if you are a pilot, ATC, supervisor, management, technical development team etc. Thank YOU! I say this because I believe the success of VATSIM is down to each and every one of US. Regardless of how many years you’ve been a member, regardless of how many hours you have accumulated on the network and regardless of your position within the VATSIM network….VATSIM is and always will be successful because of each and every one of us. Secondly, I do want to call out a few individuals. These are folks I personally didn’t know until recently. But in some way over the past 48-72 hours I’ve interacted with via Facebook, Discord or my own blog site and helped me get everything going so I could participate in the Sunday session of the Audio for VATSIM test during FSExpo19. These individuals are: Matthew Ciafarani, Aidan Stevens, Mats Edvin Aaro and Gary Oliver. Finally, if you missed the previous blog posting which I detailed all the issues/frustrations I experienced in attempting to get started titled “Audio for VATSIM – FSExpo Beta Bust”, then take a few minutes to bring yourself up to speed and also read the comment left by Gary Oliver. The issues which prevented me (and several others) from joining in on the Saturday testing are explained in Gary’s comment and are all certainly understandable. I earn my living in the IT world and yes…”Stuff” happens. I want to once again state for the record that I didn’t write the FSExpo Beta Bust post as a way to “hate” on VATSIM. I believe it was well received by VATSIM management and serves to document my experiences. That’s it! Audio for VATSIM By late Saturday evening I had finished up my running around, completed the chores on the “honey do” list (guys you know this has to be a priority) and settled back in the lazy-boy with a movie in the DVD player and the wife happy. With the help of the folks mentioned above had access to both the Audio for VATSIM (AFV) Discord server and the AFV website. I had the updated vPilot client downloaded and pretty much everything set. The main testing on Sunday was scheduled to begin at 1330z (7:30 AM MT). I woke up around 6:30 and made my first stop the coffee pot. Nothing ever really happens until I receive my first application of java in the morning. With coffee in hand, I proceeded down to the man-cave and powered on the Beast Mark V and the other PC’s I use for flight sim. My flight sim setup is a little more complicated as I run other applications in a networked setup to offload some of the CPU processing where I can. Anyway, I quickly got the AFV vPilot client installed, configured and installed a brand new Southwest 737-800 livery for the event. New Southwest B738 in the Heart livery. Parked at KMSY. The Big Easy I decided to fly the same flight/route which I had signed up for on Saturday. I loaded up Prepar3D v4.5 and the PMDG 737-800 in the Southwest Airlines “Heart Livery” at the Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, Louisiana (KMSY). While I didn’t have any ATC at time of departure, I did have company on the ground with an Air Canada Airbus at the nearby gate. Pushback complete and ready for taxi. I completely forgot about voice UNICOM, but went ahead and typed my intentions out via text. It wasn’t until I got airborne that I heard another pilot speak on 122.80. I must say, if everyone remains on their best behavior, then voice UNICOM will be awesome. Southwest Flight 1066 wheels up Making our left turn to join the departure route. Mississippi river and Lake Pontchartrain in the background. Once I reached my cruising altitude of FL350 and out over the Gulf of Mexico, I was able to tune into Atlanta Center and could hear through my own headset the new “Audio for VATSIM”. I was blown away. AFV Benefits There’s more to the new Audio for VATSIM than what meets the eye EARS. Of course the major benefit has been a long time coming and I’ll discuss more about this in a minute. The two images below represent those who (at the time) were connected to the beta VATSIM server where the FSExpo AFV tests were being conducted. I had just departed from KMSY (climbing through 17,000 for FL350) and you can see my audio range is represented by the red circle around my aircraft position. These circles essentially represent our VHF transceiver range. Upon reaching my TOC (FL350) my audio range is much greater. With regards to voice UNICOM, I’ll only hear other pilots which fall into my VHF radio range. Likewise, the same applies to picking up ATIS reports. While I initially had my reservations about voice UNICOM, after more thought on the subject I believe it will be a good thing in the long run. Yes, it will get abused…but I also know that VATSIM will hold those who abuse it accountable. While voice UNICOM does slightly break the immersion for those who fly commercial jets, our level of immersion is also broken anytime we fly today with out constant ATC coverage. Voice UNICOM will certainly be a major benefit to VFR flight, of which I certainly hope to do more of. ATIS Audio I’ll let you in on a little secret. For the past several years I’ve actually loathed the ATIS audio. I stopped “listening” to ATIS audio a very long time ago. This doesn’t mean I don’t pickup ATIS info, I just preferred to either receive it via text in vPilot or grab the text info from VATSpy. I know it’s an age thing and I know my ears are paying me back from that Van Halen concert back in the late 1980’s. But wow…what a concert and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world. But I digress…. Yea…my hearing isn’t what it used to be and the ATIS audio of the past was most like listening to the adults speak on Charlie Brown. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, have a listen to this. But I’m really pleased to say that with the new audio codec, ATIS audio is very pleasing and easy to understand. Here’s the ATIS info from Mickey Mouse International…err, I mean Orlando International Airport. Watch this video on YouTube. Let your ears be the judge I recorded a short segment of my flight once I reached Jacksonville Center airspace. In the span of approx. 7 minutes, 30 seconds you’ll hear several audio transmissions between ATC, myself (Southwest 1066) and several other pilots. These were all flights arriving into Orlando KMCO during the early stages of testing on Sunday morning. Watch this video on YouTube. What do you think? While there was one pilot with much lower audio levels than anyone else, I could still make out what he was saying. I believe once the new Audio for VATSIM becomes the new normal and everyone has a chance to adjust their audio levels, this new system will truly enhance all the wonderful things about flying in a multiplayer ATC environment. For me, this is the very best thing to happen to VATSIM in its (and my) 18 year history. While I’ve been amazed at what my eyes have witnessed over the years, the lack of a truly powerful and supportive audio system has been been a major let down. The team responsible for developing and bringing the new Audio for VATSIM into reality deserve very accolade we can give them. Audio for VATSIM will propel the VATSIM network well into the future and beyond. The Million Dollar Question! When? As we know, the testing which took place this past weekend during FSExpo19 was not the only testing held for the new audio system. However, this weekends event was by far the largest. From both what my ears experienced as well as what I’ve read on their Discord channel…I don’t think we’re very far away from having AFV into full production. However, at this particular time there have been no firm announcements. We can only speculate if we’re just days/weeks away, more than a month or ???? I have a feeling we’re closer than we might think. Well, that just about brings this posting to a close. I will have a few blog posting updates this week (pending I find the time to write them). I plan to document my thoughts on a few newsworthy items of recent and will be digging through all the info I can find on product news from FSExpo19. Until next time… Happy Flying! JT The post Audio For VATSIM–OMG appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  19. 1 point
    Before I get started, I want to make clear my intentions as to why I’m writing this particular article. While I’m clearly disappointed, I place blame towards no one. Like many in the flight simulation community, my time can be limited at the best of times. As an IT Manager, I often work 45-50 hour weeks (and I call that an easy week). The time I carve out for my hobbies (and I have several) also has to share space with the time I spend with my family and often I’ll sacrifice sleep to fit in a flight. After all, I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead. Audio for VATSIM FSExpo test I first learned about the planned large scale Audio for VATSIM beta test which was being held in conjunction with FSExpo a few weeks ago. I even discussed it here. I was excited. As an individual who has been flying on the VATSIM network since the beginning and someone who has accumulated over 2000 hours (and I realize that’s nothing compared to some other folks), I’m curious to see/hear the future of this wonderful multiplayer platform first hand. I was looking forward to writing about it and had even planned to record some snippits of the audio so you all could hear for yourself, just what we have to look forward to. If I’m not mistaken, I learned of the FSExpo AFV test via a Facebook post on the VATSIM FB page. The announcement was a accompanied by a fancy graphic (see below) and the graphic linked you to a webpage which had been especially created just for the event/testing. Last weekend (1 June), the organizers of this even opened up the availability for anyone who was interested, paying attention etc. to go out and book slots for this event. Those who were successful at booking a slot would automatically be entered into the beta and could experience the new Audio for VATSIM system. I set aside some time last weekend and promptly when the time arrived, I booked my slot for early Saturday morning (12:20z 6:20 AM MT) from KMSY to KMCO (New Orleans to Orlando). It’s all about the details As a guy who truly understands “details”, I read everything I could on the AFV FSExpo website. The VATSIM team made it clear that “Routing information would be available 6-12 hours before the event”. I also read through the list of FAQ’s. (posted below) What is this thing? Beta testing of our new Audio For VATSIM solution of course! We’ll be live at FSExpo beta-testing and demonstrating our new solution, book a flight to join us! Who can book a slot? Any VATSIM member in good standing can book a slot! You DO NOT need to have already participated in a beta test. All who book a slot will be added to the beta. When is this going down? June 8th and 9th. Check the home page for a fancy little countdown! Where can I fly? You can book a slot between any of the event airports listed on the bookings page. The live portion will be taking place at FSExpo in Orlando. Do I need to be at FSExpo to participate? Nope! You can fly at home in your pajamas! Why are you guys doing this? We want to give you, the membership, an opportunity to experience what we’ve got in store and give us valuable feedback so that we can deliver the best voice solution possible. Can I have a refund? Nope! Nothing in the FAQ’s or on the website mentioned anything about how/where to get the software for the beta nor did it state anything about joining a special Discord server. On Friday evening (the eve before the event), I kept checking the website and even as late as 10:30 PM, hadn’t received any email regarding the routing or anything else. Since I had got up at 4:30 AM that morning, I was pretty exhausted and went to bed just after 10:30 PM. I set my alarm for 5:00 AM Saturday morning and figured and hour and 20 minutes would be enough time to pour some coffee down my throat and get everything setup. Cockle Doodle Doo No, I don’t have a rooster. But the alarm went off as planned and I got up and proceeded downstairs to the coffee pot. Like a good coffee pot, it had already warmed up the water and all I needed to do was insert the K cup and pull the handle. Within 60 seconds I’d have a cup of strong, black coffee. Ahhhhhh…OK the day can begin. I grabbed my laptop and pulled up my email client. I had a total of six emails from VATSIM which had arrived just before midnight. (see below) The first one (booking confirmation) while only received today, should really have been received last weekend when I booked the flight and the other five emails are just duplicates of each other and instructing me of my route and a link to pre-book the flight. Dancing in the Dark I’ll admit, I honestly wasn’t entirely sure how this beta test event would work. While I assumed I would need to download/install something…I also thought that it might be possible that the VATSIM folks in some “behind the scenes” process and based on my VATSIM PID could route my connection to the beta system. Like I said…I didn’t know and I remind you of the FAQ above, nothing there stated anything which could be helpful in better understanding this. #BLAMEAIDAN Things really didn’t start to go sideways until I attempted to pre-file my flight plan via one of the above 5 emails and the embedded link they contain. When trying to pre-file, I received a pop-up error stating I wasn’t logged in (even though I was) and the hashtag of #BLAMEAIDAN. I’m Not Alone I don’t think I’m alone in my confusion. In the days leading up to this event, I saw many posts on the VATSIM Facebook page asking “how will we be informed” and all replies more of less stated an email will be received 6-12 hours before the event. Nothing was ever mentioned about Discord. Bottom Line I’m not upset….no, really! I’m not. Many of the VATSIM folks working on the beta replied to my Facebook post and offered their assistance. However, by this time it was already 15 minutes past my departure time I realized I wouldn’t have time to install the beta client and get my flight all setup again and also fly it (assuming there would be delays etc.) and also meet my Saturday morning commitments. Instead, my reason for writing this is A. to document my overall experience in exactly what I encountered in the days/hours leading up to the event and I suppose B. to also set my mind (and anyone else) who feels they too were very much in the dark on exactly what to expect and when to expect it. I have a feeling (through no fault of those wanting to participate) that not everything went off exactly as planned on the VATSIM side. My hope is this Audio for VATSIM test today during FSExpo is 1000% successful and I hope that the timeframe of when AFV will become reality for ALL is very, very short. The old audio codec needs to be put out to pasture and soon. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful Saturday. Until next time…. Happy Flying!!! Jerry P.S. If you are still reading (and I hope you are), don’t forget to come join my new Flight Sim Helpers Facebook community. The goal with Flight Sim Helpers is to …..well….HELP those who might need it. The flight sim hobby has been very good to me and I’m just wanting to give something back. Also, take the time to bookmark the Flight Sim Helpers website where many helpful FAQ’s are being added with more to come. The post Audio for VATSIM–FSExpo Beta Bust appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  20. 1 point
    Great to hear you have stepped up to continue the site @River. Looking forward to help in any way I can.
  21. 1 point
    Now that's good news😊 Welcome the new boss😉 Must get back to putting the links back into my videos😁 Looking forward to working with you.
  22. 1 point
    Hello Ladies, Gentlemen and Children of all ages… I truly appreciate all who take the time to read the content I publish in written format on my blog site. I realize the written word is so prehistoric in terms of all things new media. After all, we have podcasts, vlogs, livestreams etc. But the old blog site continues to received many thousands of visits each month and I very much enjoy writing and sharing…so thank you all for taking the time to read the ramblings of a middle aged man. Pay special attention to the subject line and notice the use of the word “My”. This list hasn’t been compiled using some scientific method to include every single payware aircraft available for P3Dv4. It’s just my very own Top 10 list of my favorite payware aircraft for Prepar3D version 4. Yes, I own each of these and try to fly them on a regular basis. The operative word in that sentence is “try”. I’ll explain that later. Let’s get started with MY Top 10 Payware Aircraft for Prepar3D v4. Honorable Mention – CaptainSim 757 I’ve opted to list an 11th listing which I’ve thrown into the honorable mention category and it somewhat pains me to do so. In my long history of flight sim and my nearly as long history of payware aircraft, I’ve had a somewhat contentious relationship with CaptainSim. But I so much adore the Boeing 757 that when no other options were available, I plopped down my hard earned money and purchased their rendition of the aircraft. While I had a terrible, terrible, terrible (did I say terrible) experience with their version of the 777 and I still believe their 777 flies like a brick, CaptainSim has come along way to improving the 757. While I don’t agree with their pricing strategy, CaptainSim (at this time) is the only option for a 757 in P3Dv4. #10 – Carenado C208B Grand Caravan with Cargomaster Expansion Pack While Carenado may not be known for developing truly study level aircraft, usually their attention to detail in producing both a beautiful aircraft and one that handles well in the air is good enough to give me several hours of fun. The Carenado C208B Grand Caravan with the Cargomaster expansion pack was perhaps my 2nd or 3rd purchase from Carenado and it remains one of my favorite aircraft to fly. I enjoy loading it up in the Fedex livery and doing some Caribbean island hopping. While I own a variety of Carenado aircraft and soon plan to add their latest release of the ATR 42-500 series aircraft. I think this one will also be a fun plane to fly around the Caribbean in. #9 – Carenado Fokker 50 Just like I stated with the Carenado Grand Caravan, the Fokker 50 is beautifully detailed and flies well. This aircraft has made the list due in part to the fact that I’ve flown on this same aircraft so many times between London City Airport and Antwerp, Belgium. Unfortunately, when my wife and I were in Antwerp last summer (summer of 2018) the airline, VLM shut down operations just after we landed back in England. Talk about timing! So now we’ll most likely go by rail via the Eurostar which will be a brand new adventure I’m sure. #8 – Majestic Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 I would suspect this aircraft would rank much, much higher on other’s lists (if they were to compile one). There are a few reasons why this aircraft ranks where it does on my list and it really has nothing to do with the aircraft itself. You’ve heard the saying…”It’s not you, it’s me” right? So I was a bit late acquiring the Majestic Bombardier Dash-8 Q400. When I did purchase it, it was for P3D v3. Soon after purchase my life got busy (as it sometimes can do) and I never really got around to learning the aircraft. Then when P3D v4 came out, I tried to upgrade but that was during the time when the FlightSimStore was having their issues which I discussed here and again here. I finally managed to secure the upgraded version of the Q400 for P3D v4. I’ve just not dedicated the time required to learning this awesome aircraft. Perhaps if I can learn to fly this beauty properly, she would rank much higher on my list. But until then….here we are! #7 – QualityWings Boeing 787 Dreamliner This is one aircraft which in the real-world I’ve yet to have the opportunity to fly. The 787 ranks lower on my list simply due to the fact the other seven are more of a favorite than this one. While it took the team at QualityWings a mini-lifetime to bring this beautiful aircraft to Prepar3D v4, it was worth the wait. With the recent updates, the QW Dreamliner is truly a dream to fly and one I do enjoy flying every chance I get. Now before I leave the subject of QualityWings, I truly wish they would hurry up and bring their Boeing 757 to P3D v4. As soon as they do, I’ll purchase it and drop the CaptainSim in a heartbeat. #6 – PMDG Boeing 747-400 v3 (Queen of the Skies II) While it only took me a few minutes to jot down ten aircraft (11 if you count the honorable mention), it’s now getting down to the truly difficult part. Really from the Dreamliner all the way down to the #1, it really all boils down to just how frequently I fly these aircraft. As I truly love the immersion experience the flight simulation hobby gives to me, I also enjoy simulating real world flights. It’s just really, really hard to consider flying the magnificent Boeing 747-400 on a two hour flight. But then again…there’s always cargo operations. The Boeing 747-400 will always be a very special aircraft for me. In my lifetime, I’ve flown on several. The first was on a United Airlines when I flew from San Francisco to Tokyo. I’ve since flown on a British Airways 747-400 another three times with a fourth coming up this summer when my wife and I will once again travel across the pond from Denver to London Heathrow on the British Airways 744. While she’s starting to get really long in the tooth, it’s still the most magnificent aircraft I’ve ever had the chance to fly on. #5 – PMDG Boeing 777 I recently counted the number of trips across the pond (US to UK) which I’ve completed in my life. That number is eleven with my twelfth crossing coming up later this summer. The Boeing 777 holds a special place in my heart (and on this list) as it was in an American Airlines Boeing 777-200 that I made my first transatlantic crossing back in 2001. It was this trip which introduced me to my beautiful wife. Since that first trip, I’ve flown on British Airways 777 several times before they began using the 747-400 on the Denver to Heathrow route. Of course, the 777 ranks here for much the same reason as the 747. But I do tend to fly a lot of domestic Fedex routes and they are always fun to fly. I truly love this aircraft. #4 – FlightSimLabs Airbus A320/A319 Longtime and regular readers of my blog postings will certainly recall a time where I actually said I would never own the FlightSimLabs Airbus aircraft. A few months later I changed my mind and wrote about the reasons for changing my mind. I’m grouping the FlightSimLabs Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft together as they are very much the same aircraft, just slightly different variants. Both are awesome to fly and both get taken out of my virtual hangar from time to time for shorter routes when I want to simulate flying for American, British Airways etc. While I’ll always stand firm in the frustration felt with their earlier business practices, I firmly believe they have turned that corner and this team of developers are doing some really awesome things. I look forward to their A321 variant and will add it to my virtual hangar upon release. #3 – Milviz DHC-2 Beaver I absolutely love flying in the wilds of Alaska with this awesome looking and equally performing aircraft. An aircraft like this allows me to appreciate the shear beauty of the wonderful Alaskan scenery and with the float plane variant, there’s no place I can’t go. Just as it says on the Milviz website, the DHC-2 Beaver embodies the ‘can-do’ attitude that’s made this iconic bush plane a symbol of hard work for nearly 70 years. #2 – A2A Cessna 172 The finest study level general aviation aircraft available for Prepar3D v4 (also for earlier versions and FSX) which you’ll find on the entire interwebz is the A2A Cessna 172. I’m really not sure you can call yourself a flight sim enthusiast unless you own this aircraft. While A2A also offers (and I own) the Cessna 182 and Piper Cherokee 180, the Cessna 172 is aircraft I truly love to fly. I will often load it up at Centennial Airport (KAPA) which is only a few miles from my home and office and fly around the Denver area. #1 – PMDG Boeing 737 There’s a reason why both #1 and #2 on this list also appeared in my “Top 5, Must Have Add-ons for Prepar3D v4” article I wrote last fall. I must also admit that while I do very much enjoy flying low and slow in the above mentioned A2A Cessna 172, my main flight simulation passion is and has been for a very long time with jetliners/tubeliners. As it happens, the PMDG Boeing 737 happens to be my favorite, my go-to and my workhorse aircraft of choice and for many reasons. First, versatility. This aircraft can practically go anywhere pending you account for fuel usage. As it’s popular with many different airlines, you’ll find a wide range of liveries available to simulate your favorite airline. It’s also a really easy and forgiving study level aircraft to start with. I can literally load up P3Dv4 with any variant of the PMDG 737 and within 10-15 minutes I can be taxing toward the active runway with everything running/programmed and ready for flight. Last, but certainly not least….the PMDG Boeing 737 is easy on frames which means you don’t need to have as powerful of a PC to still be able to enjoy a payware, study level aircraft. Final Thoughts Well, there you have it. My Top 10 plus an honorable mention just for the heck of it. Really with the exception of the #1 (PMDG 737) and #2 (A2A C172) the other listings could just about fall in any other order. Meaning, they all are top-notch payware aircraft and a whole lot of fun to fly. When asked, or even when I’m not asked…I always recommend both the A2A Cessna 172 and the PMDG Boeing 737 to those who are just starting out in flight simulation. As previously stated, both are truly awesome aircraft and both will give you that “As Real As It Gets” experience. I think I’ll work on a “Top 10” Airport Add-on list next. Stay tuned… Until next time… Happy Flying!!! Jerry The post My Top 10 Payware Aircraft for Prepar3D v4 appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  23. 1 point
    Welcome to the first series and first edition of “A Pilot’s Life” Storyteller Series. For more context on what this storyteller series is about, please read Return of the Flight Sim Storyteller. This will bring you up to speed and set the stage for this first edition. Commercial Break LOL OK….I figure this is as good a place as any to plug my new Flight Sim Project, Flight Sim Helpers. Flight Sim Helpers is my way of giving back to the community which has been so good to me for over 35 years. The concept of Flight Sim Helpers, is to help those who are just starting out in the wonderful hobby of flight simulation. However, regardless if you are brand new or a seasoned veteran, all are welcome. I’m actually hoping to recruit others who are knowledgeable in FSX, P3D and X-Plane to serve as moderators and subject matter experts. If you are interested, please let me know. For now, please visit and join the Flight Sim Helpers Facebook Group and also check out the Flight Sim Helpers website. Thank you and I’ll now proceed with the story. Present Day Once again I had an overnight layover in the Bay Area. This time at SFO. I enjoyed a nice steak at the hotel in celebration of my new promotion. Looking at my schedule, I’m due to fly back to Seattle then out to Salt Lake City and then back up to Ketchikan, Alaska. Oh…my favorite. But I need to get through the next few days first. The crew shuttle picks us up at our hotel at 4:30 AM sharp. It really feels like we only just arrived. But I had the rest required by the FAA and anxious to get back to sunny Seattle (NOT). It’s been raining all up and down the West Coast of the US the past several days. We have a great crew with us today, so we expect no issues. Of course I’m dreaming of my next promotion which will finally have me at the rank of Captain. But I’ve gotta grind it out from 212 XP up to 650 XP for this one. But XP points do come a little quicker with each promotion. As a comparison, at FO I earned just a little over 5.0 XP on KSEA to KOAK. However, with Sr. FO on the flight from KSEA to KSFO, I earned almost 8 XP. As soon as I get paid (end of the month), I’ll purchase a mobile phone which will earn me a 10% XP bonus each flight. Flight Details This morning my captain and I will be operating Alaska flight 1737, non-stop service from San Francisco to Seattle. Our flight is scheduled to depart at 6:00 AM from gate 52B. Our planned fuel for this morning is 16,720 lbs and our take-off weight is 148,143 lbs. Our cruising altitude will be FL360 and we have a block time of 2 hours, 9 minutes. We anticipate departing from runway 28L. Flight Plan: TRUKN2 DEDHD DCT RBL DCT LML HAWKZ7 Walk Around As Sr. First Officer, it’s my job today to conduct the walk around inspection of our Boeing 737-800. This is the first flight of the day for this aircraft and the bags and cargo haven’t arrived yet. Almost done, checking all lights and this aircraft is looking good. Here Comes the Bags Obviously we can’t go anywhere without our passengers and all their bags. Time for push-back With our passengers, bags and a small amount of cargo loaded onto our Boeing 737-800, it’s time to close the doors and push back from the gate. The skies are looking a bit rough this morning, but we expect no departure delays this morning. After a brief taxi, we have arrived at runway 28L. ASA 1737 is wheels up and on our way to Sea-Tac. Making our right turn and headed east towards OAK. The obligatory wing shot. Making our way along the SID or Standard Instrument Departure, just a slight chop as we continue our climb. We’ll keep the cabin crew in their seats a bit longer, but reports are smooth skies above FL200. It’s complete cloud cover as we make our way through northern California and into Oregon. At FL360, we can relax a few minutes before we need to start planning our descent and arrival into Seattle. Monitoring a thunderstorm as we cruise above Portland. As we begin our approach and descent into the Seattle area, a little drag is required to meet the speed restrictions of the STAR or Standard Terminal Arrival Route. Runway 34C is in sight. No auto-land required today. The Sr. First Officer has control. I think it’s going to be a beautiful day in Seattle today. This makes a nice change. Clear 34C, Cross 34R and taxi to the gate. Note the other Alaska B738 which arrived just before us. Parked at the Alaska terminal Sea-Tac. I’m due to report to another aircraft and Captain for a rotation down to Salt Lake City and back in the Boeing 737-900. Since I only have default scenery for SLC, I will return with my “A Pilot’s Life” Storyteller Series in a few days for my trip to Ketchikan, Alaska. That’ll be fun. Until then… Happy Flying! Jerry Credits If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane. You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket. Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here. Flight Simulator: Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1) Aircraft: PMDG 737-800 Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA) ATC: VATSIM Airport Scenery: KSFO FlightBeam, KSEA Drzewiecki Design Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx NA Pacific Northwest, NA Northern California Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4) Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24 Note: If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons. Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links. The post A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E1 appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  24. 1 point
    TFDI Design released their brand new PACX or Passenger and Crew Experience add-on application for FSX, FSX SE Prepar3D (v1-v4) and X-Plane (10/11) on Friday, 31 May. I had been hearing about this add-on for a few months and in recent days (leading up to the release) the drums began beating louder and I must admit that I was intrigued and looking forward to adding this to my flight sim experience. Before I start this product review. Please allow me to get the fine print out of the way. The product I am reviewing was purchased by me and for my own personal use. I receive absolutely no compensation of any form (cash, credit, discounts, promises) for reviewing this product. I have not contacted, nor have I been contacted by the vendor to provide this product review. The opinions expressed (good or bad) are my own, your mileage may vary. Within 15-20 minutes of the initial release of PACX, I had completed my purchase, downloaded the installer and started the installation process. I wish I could say that PACX installed error and trouble-free, but I’d be lying. It was anything but trouble-free. Living On The Edge As I discussed before, my greatest fear is having my entire Prepar3d setup literally destroyed by one developers poor application installation technique or design. I must admit that at one point during the PACX installation, I began sweating and I’m sure my wife thought I had hit my thumb with a hammer as my vocabulary dipped into the realm where generally you only find sailors. But in the end it all worked out. Well…mostly. Lack of Documentation and Early Access Unfortunately, in the early hours of the PACX release there was absolutely no documentation. Nothing…Zilch, Zero. The TFDI Design team has stated this was by design as they suspected there would be changes made to the application based on initial feedback. Sorry Charlie…this is no excuse! PACX is super simple in its design and functionality. However, not every flight simmer is at the same level of experience when it comes to these things. The TFDI team should have included at the very least a one page “Quick Start Guide” just to fly over the specifics of the application. But they chose not to do this and I believe this to be very poor judgement on their part. PACX has been released as an Early Access product. Which typically means it will change and evolve over time. This also means there will be many additional issues/bugs flushed out in the process. When developers release products in an early access release state, they depend on their customers to report and document issues to the best of their ability. Think of it as a partnership between customer and developer. Installation Issues This was my very first purchase from TFDI Design. While I’ve been eyeing their Boeing 717, I’ve been so busy flying other aircraft that I just didn’t feel it would get any use. So as I was noodling around their website searching for my download, I noticed they had something called the TFDI Design Add-On Manager. I’m a HUGE fan of add-on/download managers and have been working on an article which I hope to release at some point in the future. So I downloaded the TFDI Design Add-On Manager only to find that was a waste of my time. The PACX application is stand-alone (WHY???) and not managed via their add-on manager. Again I ask WHY???? Finally I found the PACX download and life was starting to look up. Briefly! Like any other flight sim add-on, I kicked off the installer as admin. Normally it all goes smoothly. But as the installer began doing its thing, I began to experience issues. The first issue caused a Windows BSOD (blue screen of death) related to C++. Once I rebooted and kicked off the install again, it breezed through the C++ install but then attempted to install FSUIPC 5. Keep in mind I’m an FSUIPC Fan Boy and believe EVERYONE should not only use FSUIPC, but also OWN IT! FSUIPC is one of the oldest and longest supported add-ons for FSX/P3D out there and it does so much. Anyway, as I already had it installed I would have desired that PACX recognize this fact and just skip attempting to install it. But oh well…can’t have everything. But then more drama. PACX then attempted to install FSUIPC 4. FSUIPC 4 is the 32 bit version of FSUIPC for P3D versions 3 (and older) and FSX. I absolutely, positively DO NOT have any of these simulators installed on my system and absolutely, positively DO NOT have a need for FSUIPC 4. But PACX still tried to ram it down my throat. Why???? The workaround is to just cancel out during the FSUIPC 4 install attempt. Otherwise you’ll receive errors as FSUIPC 4 will not detect a 32 bit version of any sim installed. Again, just cancel out and all will be fine. Burning Through Activations and the first HotFix Gotta love hotfixes! Unfortunately, the TFDI Design team only allows us 3 activations. Between the previous mostly unsuccessful attempts at installing PACX, I had burned though my three allowed activations. So when the TFDI Design team had released their first hotfix update, I was unable to apply it and had to open a ticket through the TFDI website and request my activation count be reset. While I understand the reasoning behind limiting the number of activations, I’m really not sure why it’s necessary to require the license to be re-inserted when applying a patch. Most other add-ons don’t require this. So if this is going to be required each time, then TFDI needs to reset our activation account prior to the release of these patches. However, you can easily check the amount of activations you have left in the client area of the TFDI website. Giving Credit where Credit is Due The TFDI Design team had reset my activation count within 15 minutes of me submitting the ticket. So good for them as it appeared they were on the ball. In addition, the team was also very responsive in their support forums as well. Unfortunately, many of us all experienced the same issues but not all were able to get past them. Did someone order a sunroof? As I began to recover from the unsuccessful installation attempts and get things pointed in the right direction, I loaded up an Alaska Airlines PMDG 737-900 flight from KSEA to KLAS. I loaded up all my accompanying add-ons, started vPilot for VATSIM and then kicked off PACX. Much to my surprise, once the flight attendant began speaking a giant hole opened up in my PMDG 737 flight deck just above the captains seat. Before – All normal. No Hole. After – Boom! Did someone say sunroof? The giant window to God didn’t prevent the PMDG 737 from functioning and while I had plenty of oxygen, I just couldn’t get over the fact my immersion was 1000% blown from this experience. So I posted this issue on the forums, went to bed. I’ll admit….I wasn’t very pleased with this purchase (at this time)…but was willing to allow a brand new day the opportunity to restore my faith in TFDI. Hello Saturday Managed to get a good nights sleep and woke up fairly early. I headed downstairs, fired up the gaming machine and with coffee in hand, grabbed my laptop and tuned into the TFDI Forums. I was hopeful I might find a solution to my sunroof problem. While I didn’t find a solution (at least one that would permanently address the issue) another simmer had experienced the same and told me what he did to resolve. Basically the hole which appears has something to do with the HUD. After realizing this, it did make sense because the HUD is no longer there. The workaround is to go into the PMDG 737 FMS, go to PMDG Setup > Aircraft > Equipment > Next Page until you see HGS Installed. Set it to NO, then back to YES. This will magically repair the hole and allow for maximum immersion to return. Do you have to do this for every flight????? No, as of Sunday 2 June, the TFDI Design Team released another PACX patch (0.9.2.0) which has resolved this issue from occurring. What the heck is PACX Anyway Jerry? Yes, I realized I’ve been rambling on discussing all the struggles I had and really haven’t explained what this add-on is all about. PACX is Passenger and Crew Experience. Basically it’s an updated version of FSPassengers (if you are familiar with that older add-on). As the name implies, PACX simulates the overall flight experience of both your passengers as well as the crew. In addition, it allows for direct communication with passengers and dynamic, varied announcements. You can read more about all the features of PACX from the TFDI Design website. General Use As I stated before, PACX is a fairly simplistic in operation and actually quite rich in functionality. When the application is running, it will look like the image below. There are various settings you can customize by clicking the gear icon. For example, I had to increase the volume and also set it to never auto disappear. As I use multiple monitors in my sim setup, I just have it displayed on my third monitor where I have other applications such as A Pilot’s Life, ActiveSky, ProjectFly etc. To get started with a flight click Start. This will bring up the “Start A Flight” dialog box. Enter in the departure ICAO, Arrival ICAO, Time to Departure, Flight Time, Cruise Altitude and Flight Number. Select the aircraft type from the drop down menu and customize the passenger account via the slider. If your aircraft is equipped with Wi-Fi you can tick that box. Not entirely sure what that does, but I love Wi-Fi access on a flight, so why not! But this would have been where a nice one-page quick start guide would have been handy. Click OK to begin. Depending on what other add-ons you might be running (GSX for example) you might need to tweak the time to departure slightly. GSX tends to load passengers and cargo really slow (in my opinion). I’m still trying to figure out the right time to use. As you are flying along, you can click the Airplane icon for a current status. It will show your expected arrival time and passenger satisfaction. The expected arrival time will be determined by how accurate your time of departure and flight time entries were in the setup screen. I love happy passengers! Upon landing at your destination, you’ll be presented with this report after you press END on PACX. Looks like one of my passengers was “quite thirsty”. You can also upload this report which will be stored on the TFDI Design website. From the TFDI Design website, I can see my total stats and my uploaded flights. Clicking on View for my first flight I can see all the details. Final Thoughts Despite the struggles I experienced in installing PACX and the issue with the 737 sunroof (now fully resolved), I’m actually impressed and excited about the future of PACX. I’m hopeful that the TFDI Design team will continue to develop PACX and enhance it beyond what it currently is. I’d love to see tighter integration with the aircraft where PACX will recognize the use of the PMDG seatbelt sign switch versus also having to toggle it from within PACX. Also, as PACX will also allow 3rd party application support, I’d love to see an integration between A Pilot’s Life and PACX. Obviously, I’ve spent just a small amount of time with PACX and as of this writing, have only completed two flights. But I do see myself using PACX to add extra immersion to my flights. While these types of applications are not for all virtual pilots. I believe PACX to be worth the investment if you would like to add Passenger and Crew Experience to your flights. The TFDI Design team have proven to me they are a serious team of developers doing great things for the flight simulation hobby. I look forward to watching this small company grow and further develop awesome add-ons to further enhance our experiences. Just a reminder, The product I am reviewing was purchased by me and for my own personal use. I receive absolutely no compensation of any form (cash, credit, discounts, promises) for reviewing this product. I have not contacted, nor have I been contacted by the vendor to provide this product review. The opinions expressed (good or bad) are my own, your mileage may vary. Thanks again for reading this review of the Passenger and Crew Experience (PACX) by TFDI Design. If you haven’t already, I would love your support in my efforts to grow a new flight simulation community called Flight Sim Helpers. Please visit and join the Flight Sim Helpers Facebook Group and bookmark the FSH website. Thank you! Until next time…. Please sit down, buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the flight. Jerry The post PACX by TFDI Design – A Review appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  25. 1 point
    Unless you either have no clue what VATSIM is, don’t use VATSIM or have been hiding under a rock for nearly two decades, you know the audio codec which VATSIM has been using is truly the weakest link of the entire VATSIM system. While I absolutely love flying on the VATSIM network, in recent months I’ve almost preferred not to have ATC controllers logged in and just let us pilots announce our intentions on UNICOM to avoid the awful VATSIM audio. While most ATC positions seem to have OK sounding audio, the majority of pilots out there simply DO NOT! A new audio codec system has been needed on the VATSIM network for a very long time and I believe the future looks sounds very good. Audio For VATSIM OK…you gotta love how we love to acronym everything that has to do with technology. Audio For VATSIM (AFV) was first announced a few years ago. Or at least, VATSIM acknowledged the need for an updated audio system and audio codec a few years ago. I’m not exactly sure when the powers that be at VATSIM actually kicked off the project, but we all were able to hear the results of a test conducted late last year (26 September) and released in the form of a YouTube video on 26 September. During the first 25 seconds, the video includes the poor audio we’ve had to endure from 2001 – 2018. Then the video spends the remaining time showcasing the new Audio for VATSIM. Watch this video on YouTube. I’m not sure when we can expect the new Audio for VATSIM to become available for all virtual pilots. The past several weeks VATSIM has been conducting various small scale testing sessions and from all accounts, these sessions have been very positive. There is an upcoming large scale test being planned to take place on 8th & 9th June where anyone who manages to pre-book a flight will have access to AFV beta during this event. The pre-booking system opens tomorrow (Saturday, 1 June at 1900z) and I’m sure these slots will go fast. You can learn more and book your slot here. Again, I’m not sure when VATSIM plans to flip the switch and implement AFV for all. If I were a betting man, I would suspect it will happen sooner rather than later. I believe POSCON will be providing an update during FSExpo. I wrote about POSCON last year. You can read those postings here and here. I’ll be honest, I haven’t really followed the POSCON news since I wrote those articles. I believe a lot of the drama is over and I look forward to hearing their news during FSExpo. Until next time…. Happy Flying! JT The post Audio for VATSIM appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  26. 1 point
    As most will already know, the new REX Environment Force add-on was released a few weeks ago. Over the course of this article I’m going to share some opinions, show some evidence and basically discuss how I moved from the Envtex/Envshade products to REX and what my overall impressions are. Spoiler: I’m happy as a pig in mud! If anyone tries to tell you the industry built around and supporting the flight simulation hobby is dead, dying or even stagnant…..they are wrong. In addition, if anyone tries to tell you the industry supporting Prepar3D is dead, dying or stagnant….They too are WRONG! The level of creativity coming from our 3rd party developers is very much alive and kicking. The proof is certainly in the pudding and boy does this pudding taste good. I’m Getting Old I can’t remember much about the selection of add-ons available for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 (FS9) nor my direct involvement with them. When FS9 was the sim of choice, I was super busy traveling and had many irons in the fire. But I do know (at least for me) with Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) and certainly through each of the iterations of Prepar3D I’ve owned (P3D 2.x, 3.x and 4.x) I’ve literally poured hundreds of dollars down the ole proverbial rat hole in an attempt to achieve maximum eye-candy. It’s truly a constant struggle and balancing act as I explained in a recent writing titled “Flight Simulation – The Struggle for Balance”. Choices & Decisions In the area of visual add-ons to help stimulate your visual senses, there’s a lot of choice out there. This is certainly the case for Prepar3d version 4.4/4.5, slightly less for earlier versions of P3D and FSX. But still a lot of choice in this category of visual enhancing add-ons. There was a time (not too long ago) where I pretty much believed they all did just about the same thing. Of course, each camp will have their fanboys and each will have their haters. Remember, “haters gonna hate”, right? I’ve honestly tried them all…well, most of them. For the record, as I pointed out in a recent article titled, “Shaders – What’s the big deal?”, I haven’t tried Tomatoshade. While there are plenty of Tomatoshade fanboys singing its praises…there are many others who are sitting in the corner crying because something catastrophic happened to the their sim. I discuss some of these pitfalls here. Yes, yes…ABSOLUTELY YES…I agree that most who are sitting in the corner crying either didn’t read the “destructions” or have/had some other issue going on which became a bigger issue when they attempted to implement a product they didn’t understand in the first place. Bottom line for me, I just don’t like Tomatoes LOL and I guess I’ve never taken the time to fully understand and embrace its use and full potential. Anyway….I digress. Should I Stay or Should I Go… You know how I like to intermix popular 80’s music lyrics into my writings…I had my own decisions to make and I spent about a week reading the accounts from others and literally drooling over the images I was seeing as a result of this new REX Environment Force add-on. However, I kept flying with my previous setup using Envtex/Envshade along with ASCA/ASP4 and closely comparing what I saw on my own screens versus what others were showing in their screenshots. The results/comparisons were almost night and day differences. I couldn’t resist and I shelled out my hard-earned money and purchased both the new REX Environment Force and also REX Sky Force 3D. These were on sale in a bundled deal direct from the REX store. Out With The Old… and in with the new. While REX Environment Force states it supports and will work along side all add-ons, there’s always a risk. I also truly wanted to see exactly what my sim would look like with only the REX products installed and without Envtex/Envshade etc. So the task I set out to accomplish was to remove Envtex/Envshade from my sim without blowing a hole in P3D as a result. I said a quick little prayer and got to work. Step 1. Removing Envtex/Envshade I had done my research and had read accounts from others who had done the same thing I wanted to accomplish. The first step was to restore the original P3D textures. This is easily done from the Envdir program by clicking the Restore button. This process re-installs your old textures from the backup made when you first installed/configured the Envdir/Envtex/Envshade programs. Step 2. Delete P3D Shader Folder and start P3D After restoring the P3D textures in the above step, I located my P3D shader folder (located under Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D. Just delete the entire folder. Launch P3D and in the process P3D will add a new shader folder and will reset shaders. Step 3. Install REX Products I installed and activated both my new REX Sky Force 3D and Environment Force products. While REX Sky Force has a built in weather engine, I wanted to continue to use Active Sky. So once Sky Force was installed, I simply deactivated the real-time weather function in Sky Force. Step 4. Reinstall ASCA If you’re using ASCA (Active Sky Cloud Art) with Envdir, you’ll want to reinstall it as it will error when it can’t locate certain files related to Envdir. Step 5. Read, Read and Read Both the REX products have comprehensive documentation found in the .pdf files which accompany both products. If you’re anything like me, you want to get going as soon as possible. But I would encourage you just the same to do some reading about these products, their settings and how to use them. But hey…I get it. Step 6. Launch REX products before P3D I know there are various schools of thought on this. But it’s just a habit I’ve been doing for many years. I first launch REX Sky Force, then REX Environment Force, then ActiveSky (ASP4)/ASCA and then finally P3D v4. Step 7. Fly and enjoy…. Obviously some configuration is required with the REX products. But the real beauty of REX Environment Force (EF) is these tweaks and changes can be made while P3D is running. So you can choose if you want to run EF in auto mode or in manual mode and tweak to your heart is content. I’ll be honest, I’ve done a bit of both and will play around more in the manual mode. But here’s a series of screenshots I captured on a recent flight from Miami down to St. Maarten. Taxing out to the active runway (08R) while watching a company 738 land on runway 12. Blasting out of Miami. The weather is perfect for testing the new REX products. Beautiful clouds and water textures. The PMDG Boeing 737-800 decked out in the American Airlines livery. This is my favorite add-on aircraft. Getting ready to punch through the clouds. One of my favorites. Just another minute before we fly over Maho Beach and land safely at Princess Juliana International Airport. I love this approach and landing. Well there you have it. I’m truly pleased with the experience I’m getting from the new REX Environment Force and REX Sky Force products. I’ve used REX products in the past. Specifically REX Soft Clouds and the older REX Texture Direct. While I moved away from these older products for something better, I believe the best at this time is these new REX products and I’m happy to be a REX Customer once again. Until next time… Happy Simming! Jerry The post New REX Environment Force appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
  27. 1 point
    I participate in two different hobbies which in the past have always promoted good will towards mankind. The first is amateur radio (ham radio) which brings likeminded radio/electronics enthusiasts from around the world where we find each other on the airwaves and use our common interests to bridge the issues that divide us. In this hobby, I’ve talked to fellow hams all over the world. From someone a few blocks away all the way to hams in England, Japan, Australia, China, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq and Israel. We exchange our thoughts, ideas and our dreams for a peaceful and better world. In my over 10 years of being an FCC licensed amateur radio operator, I’ve never heard anything other than positive vibes regardless who is talking and regardless of where they are talking from. Years ago, the flight simulation hobby was just like this. VATSIM, IVAO and the internet in general has brought many of us from differing cultures together for a common interest and that is aviation and flight simulation. Last week on one of the Facebook groups I belong to, a fellow flight simmer posted a series of screen shots he had taken from his flight simulator to showcase a flight he had recently enjoyed. The pictures showed an aircraft from the Israeli airlines El-Al. The image was simply celebrating the history of Israel. The image, nor the typed message from the original poster didn’t contain any hateful, hurtful or political remarks. Yet, just a few minutes after it was posted….several members began sharing their hateful, spiteful and dangerous comments. Thinking back to the immediate days after September 11, 2001….VATSIM shut down their network to coincide with what was happening in the real world. I was extremely proud that something which is just a hobby, made the decision to also cease operations during the timeframe where no other commercial aircraft was flying around the world. I received messages from fellow flight simmers who also were members of the same virtual airline I was flying for at the time (American virtual Airlines) offering their condolences for the tragic events that took place that day. Some of these fellow members were from the Middle East. They realized this hobby has no place for hate and political BS. We just want to fly our virtual aircraft. Our world and our hobby is not the same as it was on the 10th of September 2001. The internet and social media has unfortunately created a mass of “keyboard warriors” who spew their hate, spew their political agendas and their absolute ignorance. I’m not being naïve about this, I’m simply saying that this hobby doesn’t have room for this behavior. The good news???? The admins of this Facebook group did quickly act, they shut down the post and they banned those who were spewing their hate towards the El-Al photograph. I’m a fan of all airlines and while I mostly fly American Airlines, Southwest and British Airways….I also simulate operations for airlines such as Emirates, Etihad, Royal Jordanian, Gulf Air and YES…I also fly El-Al from time to time. I’m not planning to stop and I’m not planning to stop sharing screenshots of these flights. If this happens to become the new norm (and I don’t think it will), I’m not sure I want to remain participating (at least not publicly) in the hobby any longer. For the most part I realize the overwhelming majority who participates in our hobby will agree with what I’m saying. However, there is that old saying which reads, “a few bad apples can spoil the entire barrel”. So I hope you’ll join me in ensuring the bad apples never make it into the basket. If while on social media you see the type of behavior I’ve described, say something…report it. I’m not suggesting you act the same way (two wrongs don’t make a right), but stepping in, reporting it and I’d even go so far as insisting the admins do the right thing and place temporary or permanent bans on the offenders is really the only way this can be stopped. Next week I’m going to discuss the struggle for balance between between performance of the sim versus maximum immersion. The following week I’m going to give an overview and some tips if you are planning to move away from Envtex/Envshade to the new REX Environment Force. Then if nothing happens, the week following I plan to share with you my “Top 10 Payware Aircraft for Prepar3d/FSX”. I hope you’ll take the time to read. Until next time… Be Kind to each other…. Jerry The post Political Division–No Place in our Hobby appeared first on PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES - And Farming Too!. View the original article...........
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