It’s an addiction!

Since getting interested in Bridge Command, I have started messing with it…. it ships with a basic scenery of Santa Catalina Island, which looks ok, but really needed some textures to make it look better… a quick edit with some photo imagery, and it looks lots better.

Here we are steaming along the Northern side of San Clemente Island (which is just South of Santa Catalina). My textures don’t quite fit, so need a little more fettling to make the shoreline perfect. For a quick edit it looks quite good, and adds to the immersion nicely. Next, I’d like to try building a scenery from scratch, maybe Lyttelton Harbour, or Maybe Auckland?

Great Ship Simulator

During some googling around looking for some radar display images I stumbled on to the “Bridge Command” website, and found a neat ship sim. The biggest surprise was that this sim has an external Radar display, Multiple-PC display, and the ability to talk to a Chart plotter via NMEA data. And whats more; it’s free, open source!

Small test setup, with the main program running on my laptop, a second view running fullscreen radar on a second laptop, and finally the “Instructor Map” running on a small windows tablet.

737 Deliveries

A couple of cool deliveries today, both for the 737. First, I bought the captain’s side wall structure from N615SW, a 737-300 which was cut up at work, which will be used to form the side structure of my sim. I had always planned on making the sim modular, and was going to have to measure and construct a frame for the side wall, but when the opportunity to buy a real section came up I jumped at it.

The side wall will be mounted on a plywood or MDF base, with the linings attached, and a structure at the base to replicate the cable tray on the floor (which I also have the cover panel for)

The other delivery was from Aliexpress; the 10.1″ screen for my engine display.

The display was nicely packaged, and was very quickly and easily connected up for a test run. An old laptop provided the graphics, and it looks awesome. The display driver board is USB powered, and came with a USB cable, so very easy to power from the host PC. I hope to get the display installed into the panel tomorrow night for a test flight!

On this day…

I received an interesting link via Facebook, to a database of US Air Losses during the Vietnam conflict. I am a fan of the F-4 Phantom, and of course the A-4 Skyhawk, both of which featured prominently during the era.
The search function on the database was pretty cool, and after couple of sample searches, I entered my date of birth as the criteria, to see what, if any, aircraft were lost on that day.

Much to my surprise there was only the one loss, but it was a TA-4 Skyhawk, with the Tactical Callsign “PLAYBOY 45” and it was flying perhaps my favourite mission; Forward Air Control.
Why it’s spooky;
– The Skyhawk link is obvious, but even more so given that it is a TA-4, similar to my sim…
– The callsign “PLAYBOY 45”; “45” was my pilot number, which formed the basis of all my callsigns during my time with RAAFvirtual.
– The mission; FAC, my favourite, and one I’ve been working on lately in DCS!

If the Vietnam Air War is of interest, visit www.vietnamairlosses.com it is well worth a peruse.

737 Engine Display

After a bit of measuring, researching and pondering I have ordered an LCD panel for the Engine Displays. The range of sizes, aspect ratios and resolutions available is truely staggering, but I managed to find a screen which *should* be a near-perfect fit, a 10.1″, 1280×800 should do the trick…. watch this space!

I have been messing around with various versions of, and setting for Project Magenta’s EICAS display, and found an *old* version which will do just what I want…

This which is a compact 737NG upper-DU display, with a suitable bezel over the front, will work nicely as a substitute for a classic engine display.

Entebbe to Goma

Having a pilot seat in the sim is pretty cool… and a whole lot more ‘user friendly’. Tonight I flew one of the REFORGE flights down to Goma in the DRC.

I also took the opportunity to update the avionics software in the sim, which all worked perfectly.

The weather in Africa is challenging, with cloud and bad visibility appearing to be the standard.

Occasionally though, there were clear patches and the views were pretty spectacular!

After a low visibility RNAV arrival in to Goma I shut down for the night.

This ‘gap’ is the next to be filled. I have the software working for the engine displays, now I need to source an LCD panel which will fit the gap. I am only driving the left side display, the the right being a dummy. Once I have the dimensions sorted I’ll start rummaging around in my stash for a suitable monitor, or failing that it’ll be off to my favourite ‘Sim Supply’ store; AliExpress πŸ˜‰

CAMALUS version 4

‘Camalus’ is the server I use to run a number of services, including hosting my website. Today marks the (semi) retirement of Camalus v3, which has served well, but sadly has had it’s day. The new PC has gone online today, initially as a web and terminal server, and will eventually pick up all the functions of the current server.
The new PC is significantly newer, and higher spec than the previous machine and has dramatically improved performance of the website.

Operation Reforge:2019

Over the weekend I spent a little bit of time getting the pilot seat for the 737 working, and set it up in the sim to try out. To ‘properly’ test it, of course, meant a test flight… So in the spirit of remembering the RNZAF’s participation in the UN Rwanda relief mission I flew the 737 from Nairobi to Entebbe, where the airlift HQ for the operation was based.

Sitting at the gate in Nairobi

The weather was pretty good leaving Nairobi, but crossing Lake Victoria the weather deteriorated, with heavy cloud and reduced visibility at Entebbe airport.

In the descent over Lake Victoria.

About 40 Nautical Miles out of Entebbe, and well into our descent was the last time we saw the ground until we were passing 300ft on approach, so poor was the visibility!

About to capture the ILS

From the initial approach fix, all the way to 300ft was a world of grey. After touchdown it was a fairly long taxi to the cargo ramp, and the end of a successful test flight. The flight went well, but the seat didn’t. I will need to lift the seat an additional 30-40mm to make it the perfect height for me… that’s the next job, then I’ll probably need another test flight, but that’s for another day.