OpenScope – ATC Simulator

I like simulators; almost any type of simulator…. In the past week I’ve led a flight of F/A-18 Hornets on a training mission, driven a Kenworth T900 Truck through the mountains of Washington State, driven a GP7 hauled freight train over Donner Pass in the snow and last night… controlled arriving and departing aircraft as ‘Las Vegas Approach’ in a very slick, browser based and FREE Air Traffic Control simulator..

OpenScope is a free, open source ATC sim which I found while reading another sim builders blog. At first glance it appears to be a quite simple ATC game, but as you explore it and learn what it does, it turns into a slick, and very absorbing simulation, It is not as in-depth as a full-on ATC Sim package, but for the casual simmer it’s pretty cool.

My first ATC sim was RAPCON back in 1989, which was by the legendary (in the ATC Sim world) Wesson Intl. Since then I have had, and played a few different sims, but as a casual ATC player, OpenScope appears to do everything I want, without being overly complex.
The open-source nature of OpenScope also means that I could build my own airspace for it….. but with the list of other, more important projects I have… I probably wont 🙂

Air Force Museum Wigram

I am very lucky to have the Air Force Museum on my doorstep. It is an incredible resource, with a genuinely impressive collection of aircraft and artifacts tracing New Zealand’s’ military aviation history. I enjoy visiting the museum, and take any opportunity to sneak away for a quick peek into our aviation past.

I have visited the museum a few times lately, mostly for research on my DCS paints… I love every single visit, finding something new with every visit. I am lucky, that Nathan, my 8 year old son, loves the visits too. Next time I’ll shoot some photos of the ‘interactive’ exhibits 🙂

Friday Night is ‘Flight Night’

Andy visited the cave tonight to sample VR for the first time.  He flew a variety of aircraft in FSX/Fly Inside before switching to DCS:World.

For a final giggle, being that he rolls his eyes when I talk about my various sims, I put him in a Kenworth in American Truck Simulator!  Never shall he scorn me again!  I suspect I’m in trouble when Andy goes home and tells his wife he’s buying a VR headset 🙂

While Andy was flying I fired up the Arrow for another flight around Korea.  The weather was still pretty awful, so it ended up being an IFR return to Osan.  It was nice flying over unfamiliar scenery, having to use charts and navaids to navigate.

After Andy left for the night I did a little VR flying; taking the Bell 206 from Christchurch over to Okains Bay on the Peninsula for a great night-flight.  VR in FSX is amazing at night, with really vibrant lighting effects.  The moon reflecting off the Pacific Ocean looked fantastic, and the moonlight bathing the cockpit as a really cool effect.  I look forward to more helicopter flying in VR!


I had a great first night of Multiplayer in VR tonight (Thanks Lewis!)

Playing “Follow the Leader” through some cool terrain on the way back to base

After a lead change and rejoin…..

And the final cruise back to base. I got way too busy after this to take any screenshots. Must map an easy to find button to “Screencap” 🙂


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..


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!