Friday, December 30, 2005

TrackIR - WOW!

This has to be the single most immersive hardware enhancement for MS FS - I am floored at the incredible performance of the TrackIRTM 4 Pro. I am kicking myself for not joining the bandwagon sooner - but I'm glad that I waited for the latest model.

The sensor itself has a very tiny footprint atop my 20" CRT monitor (LCD's just aren't the best for graphic design). The only problem I see long term is that I'm going to have "hat head" as the trackclip requires use of a baseball-type hat to attach to. I'm believe the exaggerated motion of the brim helps in translating small movements of the head into large movements in the TrackIRTM software, so that's a decent trade-off - I do like to keep eyes on the screen while flying.

I was also delighted to see that Naturalpoint is based in Corvallis, Oregon. I worked there long ago in the summer of 1998 in HP's Inkjet business group as an intern. Awesome place!!

It appears this post has inspired others to take the TrackIR plunge!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

TrackIR is on the way!!

I am excited! Tomorrow, I should be visited by the FedEx man who will be delivering my brand-new TrackIRtm 4 Pro! There is an excellent review/comparison of the TrackIRtm 4 Pro and the unit it replaces, the TrackIRtm 3 Pro with Vector Expansion at SimHQ. Naturalpoint also has a page describing the differences between the new and old unit. Since this is my first TrackIRtm, I believe this was the best time to jump in and get one. It looks like the new unit is superior in many ways, and that was the suggestion of the reviewer.

Since I design for MS FS, I'm especially excited about the complete 6 degrees of freedom that is usable. Reading the review at SimHQ, there are many flight sims that do not - oh well - all the more reason to fly using MS FS!

Here's a great video showing what TrackIR looks like in FS.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Congratulations Roy - 100 Hours achieved!

As of today, Roy Wilbanks has surpassed 100 hours as PIC of his Twin Comanche!! I was lucky enough to have joined him on today's flight. He is (and has been for some time) working on getting his twin engine IFR and Commercial pilot ratings, and has invited me along on many of his sessions with his instructor. The flight today was comprised of two ILS approaches into Greenville Downtown and one at Donaldson Center (which, has a tower now - I didn't know that until today). Upon returning to the Greenwood area, we practiced a maneuver called "following the railroad" which was the most fun I've had in an airplane to date! I won't go into details, but it involved flying at extreme bank attitudes - some even at 90 degrees!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Great video - Harrison Ford: Just another pilot

While surfing around some of my favorite aviations sites, I happened to run across this great video with Harrison Ford, the current chairman of EAA's Young Eagles program. It's worth a look!

Saturday, December 17, 2005's best of 2005 - Vote for the Bell 206!

The German Flight Sim website has posted their ballot for voting on the very best enhancement of MS FS 2004 for this year. I was delighted to see that the freeware Bell 206B I released back in early spring has qualified for the voting. A vote for the 206B would be greatly appreciated!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

NakedMVP - Has moved!

Nick Whittome, also known as the "nakedmvp," kindly informed me of an address change of his blog's URL. It is now: and his RSS feed is: Update your RSS aggregators accordingly! That is all!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Going through the photo archives, I found...

click for larger old picture taken at EAA Oshkosh in 2001 when I met Hal Bryan for the first time. I believe (but don't quote me) the gentleman to Hal's right is Caleb Cha - at the time a member of the test team. His name is in the FS 2004 credits, so I'm confident in saying that he's still on the team - Hal, correct me if I'm wrong there!

I know the ACES team is very busy, as there has been little activity on each respective members' blogs for a couple of weeks. Hal was gracious to take some time and give a great post about an anniversary that is near and dear to his heart. For those who have been fortunate to have met Hal, whether it be at Oshkosh or AOPA, his passion is equally evident for the product he helps mold. Hat's off to you for being the passionate man you are!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

DreamFleet Partners with Flight Scenery!

Flight Scenery took the FS world by storm with their incredible Rhode Island scenery package in the spring of 2005. Finally, FS pilots could enjoy highly detailed and accurate scenery that was also very frame rate-friendly. "A miracle?" You ask. Not all all, just the talents of brothers Stéphane and Patrice, who know precisely how to create ultra-detailed scenery that does not cause a great performance decrease on your computer.

This outstanding work did not go unnoticed at DreamFleet, and after a recent meeting between DreamFleet's Lou Betti and these talented brothers, it was decided that the companies should work together in the future.

Does this mean that DreamFleet is getting into the "scenery business?" Well, we really cannot answer that right now. Let's just say that DreamFleet and Flight Scenery have some exciting things planned for the future.

To start, you will see Flight Scenery's products available for sale at the DreamFleet Web site, and also see DreamFleet aircraft for sale at the Flight Scenery web site. All products will utilize the convenient and reliable Flight 1 e-commerce wrapper, that allows for product download prior to purchase, and there will certainly be much more to follow in the future as our two companies embark on this exciting new venture!


My comments: I am very excited about this partnership, as I too was fortunate enough to meet with Stéphane and Patrice - these are very sharp individuals who are doing some remarkable work with scenery in FS. I'm looking forward to working closely with Stéphane as he is the man when it comes to modeling.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Dreamfleet Baron awarded Gold Medal!

The Dreamfleet Beechcraft B58 Baron has been reviewed by AVSIM staff reviewer Bert Pieke and has been awarded 5 stars and has been given the gold medal for excellence in flightsim design! Congratulations to all of my colleagues who shaped this fantastic representation of the Baron.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Chandelles, Lazy 8s, & Eights on Pylons

Roy is studying for his commercial rating, and needed to practice chandelles, lazy 8s, and eights on pylons in a single engine, as these are not required maneuvers in a twin. He rented a Cessna 150 on Wednesday, and was kind enough to invite me along. Everything was going well until we got to the end of the taxi way for the engine run-up. While checking the magnetos, one of them was not affecting RPM at all. We radioed back to the FBO, and they suggested coming back in to have it checked out. It turned out that one of the magnetos was remaining "hot" at all times, as you could not cut the engine by switching to the off positon. That flight was grounded until it could be fixed. Since we were already at the airport - Roy invited me along with him for a short flight in the Twin - and off we went!

Roy called me again this morning, and said that there was a loose wire causing an improper grounding of the magneto, and it had been fixed. So, off I went to meet him at the airport. The 150 is certainly a different animal from the Twin Comanche. At one point, Roy wanted to see if the stall horn was working (which we eventually found it to not be so) and we were climbing at a grand total speed of 38 MPH - then the left wing dropped. For a moment there, it almost felt like we were in a helicopter! He did his practice maneuvers around a few water towers over the big city of Hodges and then headed back to the airport for a few touch-and-gos. It was great fun for sure!