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 🙂

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!

DCS 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