Website update

Sine moving to the new server I have lost the email functions the site used to have, and I’ve been too idle to figure out the issue… I also had to close down the ‘leave a comment’ option since I was being continually spammed. Tonight I managed to fix the Comments part of the equation, by adding a ‘reCAPTCHA’ function, hopefully that will keep the spammers at bay!

More 2020 Musings

As I alluded to in the last post, I have had a serious re-think on what I will be doing with my sims. Notable is the separation between VR and physical cockpits.
The other major change is about adding more structure to my sim-building, by creating a Task List for each sim, plus the ManCave, and having a scheduled evening each week to ‘work’ on the tasks. So, Tuesday is now Sim-Work night. I’ve had a couple so far, and made some good progress on getting ’58 up and running in FSX with TacPack/FSX@War/CCP/FSCAI. It feels good to have a bit of a plan, rather than just doing a bit here and there as time allows.

TacPack + FSCAI testing

I now have 4 Task Lists roughed out, and the first task on each identified. Part of the new plan is to continue on a task until completion, which is not something I’m good at!
I plan on posting some sort of on-line task-list to show what I am up to… but that’s to come later. For now my priority is the re-activation of ’58, but as an FSX sim. Tomorrow I hope to get Nigel’s TA-4k configured with weapons and usable, then it’s on to hooking the sim up to it’s PC and configuring inputs! Very exciting.

Sim Tech Support

Tonight I got all of Nikolai’s sim parts together for a final run-through to make sure everything was running properly before he takes it all home…

After getting everything setup again, and a couple of test flights by my trusted co-pilot it was all ready to ship off, with Nick’s F/A-18 cockpit, to it’s new home!

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.

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.

Graphic Design

While sitting on a plane recently I thought of a great gift for a couple of my plane-nut mates…. I thought about making a custom boarding pass, and having it printed on a coffee mug….

I started off by scanning my boarding pass from a recent flight for the layout, then replacing all the text with custom text boxes for easy customization, and finally adding some snazzy logos and a secret barcode. The barcode was generated using an online tool, and if anyone ever scans it, well… there is a message there 🙂

This was a proof of concept, and I am really pleased with the result! Now the question is: What next?!

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 🙂