Monday, October 31, 2005

What was he thinking!!?? Part 2

A buddy of mine at work mentioned an aircraft trying to take off on a roadway in Louisiana, and I just had to see it. Here it is for your enjoyment. Anyone trying to pull a stunt like this #1) shouldn't have run out of fuel and #2) should have made sure the road was completely clear of obstructions, *especially* a semi truck and ambulance. Speaking of the ambulance, good thing it was there, as I'm sure the pilot had a few bumps and bruises after that "ride." Unbelievable...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Autodesk has heard our voices!

Borrowing a bit from Steve Lacey's blog, There is good news (for now) for Gmax, as the deadline to download and activate the program has been extended beyond the proposed November 1 date.

We have heard your feedback and are formulating a revised transitional plan – in the interim we are again pleased to announce that we will continue to availability of Gmax for current active users.

This is certainly great news! I'm *hoping* that they are even going as far as developing a *new and improved* version of Gmax that will be able to run on Windows Vista. We're all in a "wait-and-see" mode for now...

Monday, October 24, 2005

A future "must-have" utility for FS 2004 ... you heard it here first!

While browsing the many FS forums this evening, one forum thread at AVSIM caught my attention. A gentleman named Matthias has publicly released a beta of a new recorder/replay module for FS 2004. WOW!! I gave this beta a go mere moments ago, and I am floored at the smoothness of playback (recorded at 1/4 sec) and best of all, inclusion of animations!! AI aircraft are also visible as well, adding to the whole experience. I managed to record a 5 minute video, flying a default 172 around Chicago, and the total file size was less than 100 kb!

I invite anyone to give Matthias' beta a trial run ... I'm willing to bet it will give the same results to you!

Bravo! Bravo!


Friday, October 21, 2005

Always check your tie-downs...

I found this interesting story this morning at Aero-News.Net:

Pilot Hurt By Runaway Plane
Fri, 21 Oct '05
He Was Hand-Propping The Luscombe

It's a danger we all face anytime we try to hand-prop an aircraft -- but this time, the danger was very real for a Paradise, CA, pilot whose plane got away from him.

The 1946 Luscombe was tied down Thursday when pilot Gilbert Ferrera tried to start it by cranking the prop by hand. The plane started alright -- then broke free of one tie-down and started to move in a circle, according to witnesses. Ferrera grabbed the wing, but wasn't able to hang on. He then tried to grab the plane's tail and was knocked to the ground as the Luscombe continued to rotate around the one tied-down wing.

Friend and fellow pilot Dave Harmacek was trying to help. He, too, was knocked flat as he tried to hold onto the runaway plane's wing.

"We was out cold," he told the Chico Enterprise-Record. The Luscombe's other wing broke free of its tie and the aircraft sped over an embankment and down an incline, flipping over in the process. A crane was dispatched late Thursday to retrieve the aircraft.

Ferrera was rushed to a local hospital where he was treated and released. Damage to the classic single-engine aircraft was described as "moderate."


Guess that goes to show even an old '46 aircraft can be strong enough to break a damaged tie-down. Whodathunkit?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My current "shuffle"

Borrowing from a clever post I saw, I thought I'd give a small dose of the songs I'm currently shuffling with my Windows Media Player, in no particular order:

Photograph by Nickelback
Lucky Man by Emerson, Lake, & Palmer
Livin' Thing, Do Ya, & Turn to Stone by ELO
Ride My See-Saw by The Moody Blues
Dreamweaver & Love is Alive by Gary Wright
No Promises, Hey Little Girl, Great Southern Land, & Street Cafe by Icehouse
Abacab, Keep it Dark, & Another Record by Genesis (all on the Abacab album)

There are many more, but that's a small snapshot. Most wouldn't think that a 31-yr old would enjoy listening to a bunch of "older" songs. Now looking at the list .. Nickelback is the only recent release .. haha. More to come later!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

- Boshears Fly-In -

N204WT at KDNL

The sky was Carolina Blue and the air crisp. Roy and I departed KGRD around 10am or so and headed due south to KDNL, Daniel Field. It's only about a 20 minute flight (when you're cruising at 165 kts) so we contacted Augusta Approach about 5 miles out from the field for traffic and advisories. They informed us of several inbound aircraft for Daniel, and we quickly started panning the sky for them. Once we had the field in sight, we called approach and they cancelled radar service. There were about 4 inbound aircraft that we saw, one of which was a old Bell Huey (which we later found to be giving rides). Two were ultralights, and one was a Cessna 150. We quickly outran the 150 in the pattern, passing it on the downwind leg for runway 23. Roy's Twin Comanche takes a pretty good roll out to get slowed down, as we usually set her down around 90 kts.

We taxied into a parking spot as directed by a bunch of volunteers wearing day-glow orange hats. After securing the aircraft, we decided to do some walking around before the crowds appeared. There were surprisingly a lot of general aviation aircraft on static display, and I even saw a Cessna Skylane with a G1000 avionics package. Very impressive!

The airshow began around 1pm or so, with parachutists dropping with the American Flag and the singing of the National Anthem. We saw a lot of good performers: Gary Ward, Firebirds, Gene Soucy, and Manfred Radius. For most of the show, Roy and I stuck pretty close to N204WT, as Roy was often bombarded with statements such as ... "you won my aircraft!" ... or " did you win that!?" It's a one-of-a-kind aircraft, for sure!

The show was over around 4:45pm and the police quickly began hearding the crowds toward the exit (I've never seen this before at an airshow). It was a nice thing, though, because it made it really easy for us to get out of there and not worry about hitting anyone. Around 7 aircraft were all lined up to depart the field, and we were last. It didn't take very long though, as they launched one aircraft every minute or so, giving us just enough time to do a proper run up.

The flight back was uneventful, aside from the glaring sun staring at us when we were making our approach into runway 27. Thirty minutes later, the aircraft was refueled, towed, and stored back in it's home in hangar 49 ... whew!

Thanks for allowing me to tag along, Roy! It was a great day!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

What does it take?

What does it take to create an aircraft from scratch to being something simulated within Flight Simulator? A tremendous amount of patience!! A lot of people ask me often how I do what I do ... so I thought I would outline a bit of the workings of my favorite thing in the world, creating aircraft for MSFS.

First and foremost, an aircraft has to be selected ... duh. That sometimes isn't as easy as a task as one would think. There are many things to consider: Do I have access to this particular aircraft? Will the owner(s) be agreeable to the idea of having the aircraft picked apart and recreated? Will the buying public find it to be a worthy addition to their virtual hangars?

Okay, next is approaching the individual with the aircraft and explaining what you want to do with their aircraft. I consider this a fun challenge. I usually show him/her several screens of what a project looks like in Gmax to help explain how 3-D models are made. Often I'm asked if I work directly with Microsoft (I wish), but I quickly let them know that I'm working with Dreamfleet that does Add-On enhancement aircraft for Microsoft's shelf product.

Okay, so the owner is gung-ho on the idea ... great! Now, time to start picking apart the aircraft. No, not literally, but almost. On a typical project, I'll photograph every detail imaginable, and I mean everything! On my current project, I know I have taken at least 750+ photographs. Everything from nuts and bolts, rivets, to every instrment gauge. It takes several hours, and several memory cards to accomplish this.

Another important aspect for starting a project is to obtain technical drawings. To create something 3-D from nothing, at best you need 3-views. These offer a "guide" to getting the basic shape done correctly. I say guide because they are often inaccurate in the finer details, such as window shapes, etc. That's why I carry a trusty tape measure! Yes, I crawl over the entire aircraft with a tape measure ... and you can't get more accurate than that!!

Data ... Data ... Data! You can never obtain too much on the aircraft. The single best source of this is the POH (or Pilot Operation Handbook). Guys who do flight model work drool when they get their hands on the POH, or a copy of it. I do my best to get this info into the right hands as early into the project as possible.

Actually building the aircraft ... It's done piece by piece, just as if it were done in the real factory. Simple geometric shapes are "reshaped" into fuselages, wings, elevators, you name it! I comare it to molding clay. Patience is required! I learned the patience for this by assembling plastic aircraft models when I was young.

Well, almost time to head down to Augusta.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What was he thinking??!!

If you haven't already heard earlier this week, a Cessna Citation VII disappeared from St. Augustine, Florida this past Saturday night, and appeared the next morning in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Well, a commercial-rated pilot has been arrested in connection with what they're calling a "joy ride."

Even more entertaining is the fact that he had 5 passengers along with him! Definately wins the "what was he thinking??" award for this week.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Congrat's to Roy!

I just got a message from Roy stating that he passed his Commercial written exam!! Congratulations Roy! Everytime I have seen him the past month, he has been toting that sample exam book around ... and it appears that all of his studying has paid off!

Now all you have to do now Roy is pass that check ride!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Looking forward to the weekend

I just spoke to a good friend of mine, Roy Wilbanks, and he's going to be down at the Boshears airshow in Augusta, GA this weekend. If I can talk my wife into going, I plan on attending on Saturday. It looks like there should be some good flying demonstrations there.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Inaugural post

The current trend of "blogging" has peaked my interest in the whole scheme of it. I've never been much of a "journal writer," dating back to the days in high school when it was a requirement of many English classes...blah!

But now, I think it can be a fun way of putting some history in print of events that I've had the pleasure (and will have the pleasure) of experiencing.

I am a chemist by trade, though I haven't touched the stuff much at all since leaving the University. I work 2nd shift at my company's private trucking terminal. I manage schedules and drivers, some twice my age. That is my day job ...

But my passion is creating advanced and highly detailed aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator. I have always had a love for aviation, ever since being knee-high to a grasshopper. My dad is a huge reason for this, as he always carried me to area airshows. His favorite aircraft of all time is the P-51D Mustang. I would have to agree that it is at the top of my list.

I am currently doing design work for Dreamfleet, led by Lou Betti, a very talented panel artist. Though I cannot go into details of my current project, I am very excited about it, and through the project, I have gained a very dear friend!

I shall try to be active at posting here as time permits...