F421 Sea Trials

After a *significant* refit, Canterbury today headed out on Sea Trials before being put back to work.

Canterbury seaming slowly out of the Harbor on her way to her Sea Trials

Back in April the PC running as my pseudo-ship sim died, leaving Canterbury effectively out of service.  Over the past weekend I built and configured the second i7 PC as a combined ship sim and Terminal Server, meaning that today F421, HMNZS Canterbury set sail for the first time in 3 months.

It was nice seeing Canterbury working again, and it marks a significant step in upgrading the entire sim network, with the addition of the Terminal Server to help reduce the number of full-size PC’s needed to run my sims.

Dodging traffic on the way out of the harbor

Torn between sim versions!

Since getting FSX:SE running nicely on the Arrow sim, I got all excited about running newer FS versions….    but tonight I ran and configured FS9….
Now I’m torn!  newer versions look very pretty, especially with Orbx scenery installed, but I have so much “invested” in fs9..  I just cant decide!  So for now, at least, the two versions are going to be running side-by-side.

I have 3, possibly 4, i7 PC’s to employ in my sim network, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how best to utilize them;

  • TA-4k sim, as the main FS machine, running both FS9 and FSX/P3D.
  • Arrow sim, FS machine, also running both FS versions.
  • Terminal Server/F421 sim Machine.  The local user will run FS9 as the Canterbury (complete overkill for naval ops!) and will be running Terminal Services for my Thin Clients, plus any other remote access applications around the house and ManCave.  I also plan on using it for DCS:World and VR.
  • *IF* the 4th i7 is a goer, I will make it into a dedicated Terminal Server/F421 sim, releasing the 3rd PC to be a sim/VR machine.

Recent software “finds”

Over the past few weeks I’ve come across some useful software…

  • One of the problems I seem to have in my sim network is clocks getting out of sync, causing issues with login scripts and file date/time stamps.  So, after a bit of searching, and testing I found NetTime which runs as a service in any version of Windows.
  • I’ve been experimenting with FSX/P3D, and found a really nice multiplayer tool which offers similar features to ibnet, including complex animations, lights and smoke effects.  JoinFS uses SimConnect to inject the multiplayer aircraft into the session, allowing AI to continue functioning..


Arrow accidental upgrade

I was planning on upgrading the sim PC for the Skyhawk, but got distracted and ended up getting the new PC up and running for the Arrow!

  • FSX Steam Edition
  • FTX NZ Scenery
  • FS Real WX Lite for Weather
  • FSUIPC4 and GA28R.dll from Peter Dowson
  • Modified version of Carenado’s PA28R Arrow
I really like the “colour” of NZ with FTX’s scenery. This is the South end of the Port Hills.
Just an “arty” photo of the panel, with the port hills in the background…
I *really* like this shot. Shut down at the CAC ramp.

After a quick “test” flight around Christchurch, a little FSUIPC tweaking, and some tinkering and it is all working remarkably well!  Next step is to do some graphics tweaking to maximize performance, then it will be time to start exploring NZ again!

Nothing like a deadline to add some motivation

And it’s true!   Tomorrow night I have some friends coming to fly the sims…. and the ManCave was is a real state!  The Skyhawk had it’s throttle out, awaiting installation of a new throttle , the Arrow had no pilot seat… and there was *CRAP* everywhere, stacked on every available flat surface.

So, tonight was a huge working night on the sims, and finally a big tidy up of the ManCave.

I mounted the new Thrustmaster TWCS throttle in the left console, which meant removing the left side outer skin, removing the old throttle and it’s associated wiring, then re-positioning the panels behind the throttle, to match the new footprint.

Since I had the drill out I figured I might as well finish off the mounting for the Gear and Hook panels, by attaching them permanently.  I also finally screwed down the aft end of the left side console and tidied up a bunch of cabling where it runs out the front of the panel.

With it all screwed back together and the outer side panels in place (the first time they have both been on the sim at the same time in years!) I thought I might as well fit the insulated lining on the right sidewall.

An ‘Arty’ shot of the HUD with the wall linings and Hook lever in the background

Next the Arrow got some attention; since it will probably be flown tomorrow I figured it probably needed a pilot seat, as the 737 Pax seat is just leaning on the wall next to the sim, so not a whole lot of use.   A couple of blocks of 4×2 and some long screws and it is a little more secure.  Though it is still not the right height, it is certainly better than it was.

The final part of the evening was getting all my ‘IT’ ducks in a row, so to speak.  at some point in my tidying I had inadvertently disconnected an Ethernet cable, effectively isolating the skyhawk sim, and server from the rest of the network, and the outside world. 

With all the issues sorted, it was time to bed the sims down and call it a night.

Looking pretty sharp after an evenings attention. Roll on tomorrow night!



Well that does it!

A few events in the past month or so have conspired to bring forward the big PC upgrades in the sim cave!

First the HMNZS Canterbury PC died…. leaving Canterbury stuck in the middle of the Pacific… next, the TA-4, running old old Windows XP, wont run some of the cool LUA scripts I’ve been writing…..

So!  Now I have one of my ‘spare’ i7’s plugged in and about to be configured with a shiny new copy of Windows 7, and my now well developed FS9 build….  With any sort of luck I should get the thing running over the next week or so…  More to come as it develops!

Radar Cursor Scripting

Tonight, being stuck in a hotel room, I spent some time writing a LUA script to manage the radar cursor control in the Skyhawk.  Though the Thrustmaster software allows you to set the mini-stick as a mouse control, I decided to manage the input myself.  This allowed to constrain where the cursor could be slewed, which will save the cursor from disappearing off the display (as it does now!)

Small Panel mod

I have always planned on replacing the “HUD Repeater” on the left DU, well today I finally did.  This is the LH MFD/ADI from the SimScape F-16 Block 50 panel.  Next I plan on integrating their MAP display into the RH DU for when in NAV mode.

ATC Sim service visit

It’s been a while since I last visited the sim, and it has run into a couple of issues recently, so it was time for a visit.

The primary issue was FSUIPC mixing up the 2 BU0836X controllers.. making the sim un-flyable..  But, after some messing around, and re-configuring it was all up and running.

After a bit of tweaking, Luke took it for a test flight and we are up and running again!