Monday, January 22, 2007

Moving to Windows Live Spaces

I've decided to move. I recently discovered Windows Live Spaces, a community portal run by Microsoft. So, please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds to:

I'll keep the blogger site up for archive purposes - I don't want to lose any of it, yet I don't want to move all of it over to Spaces.



Saturday, January 20, 2007

More blogging goodness...

Thanks to Paul for the head's up... Mike Singer has now started blogging, and he's got a good start with his site. I also stumbled upon Hal's new blog site - Great to see you back, Hal!! Love the pictures you've posted! It seems that everyone is jumping ship from the technet blogs to the Windows Live Spaces, and I can see why. The Live Spaces seems to have a lot more features available.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Want to see where FSX was developed?

Brett was kind enough to take a few pictures showing the building where ACES developers created FSX, among other things. Have a look...

Speed & Angels

I found this interesting documentary that follows two Navy pilots, Meagan and Jay, on the road to becoming fighter pilots. It centers around the now retired F-14 Tomcat and looks to be a must-see for Tomcat fans. Below is a brief abstract of Speed & Angels:

In 2003, Director Peyton Wilson entered the world of U.S. Navy fighter pilots. Thanks to unprecedented access granted by the Navy, Peyton captured and created the most intimate film ever made on fighter pilots. Epic High Definition aerial footage and stunning cockpit photography provide a dramatic backdrop for the larger story of fighting for your dreams.

Inspired by the passion of two young Navy officers she encountered, Peyton followed Jay and Meagan as they chased their childhood dream of becoming naval aviators flying the F-14 Tomcat. Their two and a half year journey takes them through dogfights in the Nevada desert, night landings on aircraft carriers off the Atlantic coast, and eventually to the biggest challenge young officers face: wartime deployment to Iraq.

What begins as a story of realizing a childhood dream turns into a story of fighting for one's life and career as Jay and Meagan face the realities of war.

Based on the original concept of producer F.A. Chierici, Speed and Angels is directed by Peyton Wilson.

The DVD goes on sale January 30th for $19.99 USD. Be sure to check out the preview videos and photo gallery.

Better late than never...

Thanks to both Jon and Nick for this, as I have been deep in the development trenches... Brett "Mavyryk" Schnepf has now began to blog a bit about things related to Flight Simulator ... and now Train Simulator. Brett also speaks of what he calls the "The Ronnie Van Zant School of Mynygmynt." You see, Brett is a huge Lynyrd Skynyrd fan. How he approaches his job, has been influenced in some way by a Skynyrd song... Thus, the RVZ School of Mynygmynt is born. Brett gives a taste of this radical thinking's worth the read!

Glad to see you around, Brett!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Congratulations Bell 206 for 40 great years!

Who knew when in 1967 that Bell Helicopter delivered its first two Bell 206A helicopters that the series would be around 40 years later, being produced as strong as ever? Bell Helicopter announces today its 40th anniversary of the Bell 206, a helicopter that is near and dear to my heart! Upward and onward Bell 206!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Is Flight Simulator useful to real world pilots?

es! Microsoft has published a page devoted to explaining exactly how and why Flight Simulator (namely FSX) can be very useful for real-world pilots. Have a look here: Information for Real World Pilots. Bruce Williams, a former member of the development team that brings you Flight Simulator, now a full-time flying instructor, has written an article backing up the validity of Flight Simulator being used as a training aid. Bruce has even gone as far as writing a book on this topic.

The hardest thing I tend to encounter is someone who is a real-world pilot taking me seriously as a flight simulator developer. I've been in the flight simulation arena for quite a few years, and believe me - the technology in FSX may not be FAA-certifiyable for logging hours, but they're not far off the mark!

As Av-Gas prices continue to rise, I hope that many of you who are skeptical give another look at PC desktop simulation as a very economical way to enjoy aviation in another means. There are already thousands around the world who enjoy it - there's always room for many more!

New scenery tool from Abacus ... and it's FREE!

Abacus has just released a clever utility for creating scenery using existing FSX library objects (and there are many to be discovered). It's called Scenery Shortcut, and it is being provided as a free download! I'm not much of a scenery person, but I can certainly see the value behind using this utility to populate areas in the sim that are a bit scarce.

Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing the hot air balloon "flying" near my favorite flying locations, and with this utility, I could make that happen within minutes! The product page gives a great tutorial on exactly how to perform this, and also shows some working examples created by the program's creator, Peter Jacobson. Great work Peter & Abacus!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A day in the life

A great video featuring the Bell 206 JetRanger III I made for FS 2004 showing a day in the life of the News 4 chopper!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Congratulations Clemson Tigers

Congratulations to the Clemson Tigers basketball club on their 87-76 victory over N.C. State tonight, tieing their all-time best season start set in 1987-88. They still remain the only undefeated team in Division I. If they keep up their winning streak, March is going to be a fun month. Go Tigers!!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Virtual Thunderbirds "Smoke On"

I just ran across one of the most professionally developed video productions of multiplayer flight simulation I have ever seen courtesy of the fine folks at the Virtual Thunderbirds. Here's the press release and download information:

The movie is called 'Smoke On'. It's a 50 minute demonstration of online formation flying by The Virtual Thunderbirds using a modded Lock On: Modern Air Combat flight simulator game.

The Virtual Thunderbirds began in the spring of 2004 with a group of flight simulator enthusiasts, and it has since evolved into what it is today. Many of the pilots selected for the demo team are real world aviators with thousands of hours of jet experience, both military and civilian and they range in ages from 23 to 52.

Kris “Lawndart” Langdell created this incredible video showcasing The Virtual Thunderbirds. Kris is also a member of the The Virtual Thunderbirds and in real life, he is a professional pilot, flying the Embraer 145 for Mesa Airlines.

The movie is 1.2 gigs in size. The movie contains essentially an entire High Show (about 38 manoeuvers) from multiple angles and cameras and additionally; start-ups, taxing, a long intro sequence and approx 8 minutes of extras after the flying portion of the show is over. Total time: 49 minutes and 54 seconds (in its current format).

Anyone who has enjoyed watching the real U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly will certainly get a kick out of this video. Fantastic work, Kris!