Big News! Sim Performance boost!

I have managed to secure replacement FS PC’s for all three sims!  The old Core2 Duo’s bite the dust, to be replaced with nice near-new (and done very little work) i7’s.  This may lead to the Skyhawk going FSX/P3D with TacPack for much shooting happiness!

New Skyhawk Instructor Console

I am involved in parting out an ex-Air NZ ATR 72-500 Simulator, and scored the Instructor Console for my sim.  The unit contains two 17″ touchscreens, an aviation clock/timer, audio panel and speaker, plus some useful push buttons for Pause and Flight Freeze.  I am sure I can find uses for more of the buttons!

Today is Old School IFR day

Today I re-located the Arrow and Skyhawk to Christchurch, from Ohakea.

First up I took off in the Arrow in pretty awful weather, and headed South flying old fashioned IFR, via Ferry, Cape Campbell, Kaikoura, Woodend, then visual from the New Brighton Pier, around the city and in to Wigram for a touch and go, circuit and landing.

The awesome South Wairarapa coast.  From Robin Corn’s Wellington scenery

Turning short finals for a touch and go, runway 03 Grass, Wigram

Then later this evening, after having fun (well, hung-over fun!) flying IFR in the Arrow, I decided to do the same in the Skyhawk.

The weather at Ohakea had improved dramatically, but from Wellington South it deteriorated rapidly!  This time the route was via Paraparaumu, Wellington, Kaikoura, Eyrwell, Burnham, then ILS02 into Christchurch,  Challenging crosswind approach and landing, ending up with the stick all the way to the left on the roll out to stop it toppling over!

Magnificent weather at Ohakea in the morning… this was just about the time I was taxiing out in the Arrow!

Cruising along at FL310, M0.85 and such a strong crosswind from the right (North West) the flightpath vector marker is right off the left side of the HUD!

Old School… like I said.  Good old enroute chart for the trip down the East coast

And finally, the big Nor-West crosswind on approach!

All in all a pretty great days flying.  I had no reason to bring the Sims South today… and who knows where they might head next!

Worth the wait

After more than 15 years the Skyhawk finally has ejection seat cushion covers! I built the seat back in 2001/2002, and it has been used in 3 different sims, yet it has never had cushion covers!  Today, in a weird twist, while I worked on jobs around home my darling wife Jenny sewed the two covers out of some O/D fabric I bought at Army and Outdoors a while ago. Looks pretty sharp, just need to paint the seat pack, and add some stencils.

More Comms work

Another evening of experiments and testing.  I now have a rough “fold back” happening in the Skyhawk so that pilot and instructor can talk on open mics, then by activating a push to talk (from either cockpit) both mics transmit to the other sims via TeamTalk.

Now we have pilot and instructor in the Skyhawk, pilot in the Arrow, and the Laptop upstairs in the ManCave…

TeamTalk v5 is an awesome, light weight VOIP/Conferencing package which works really well, and has features which really work for my sims!

BearWare – Home of TeamTalk

Comms system check

Nathan and I spent some time this afternoon repairing, configuring and testing headsets and helmets in the Arrow and Skyhawk sims. The Skyhawk pilots helmet needed a bit of rewiring and re-soldering, but is now working well.   Sadly my GA headset adapter didn’t work, only providing a “buzz” when the mic was touched. Swapped the headset and adapter out with my old faithful PC headset and it all worked beautifully.

Final testing was successful, with Skyhawk pilot and instructor as well as the Arrow pilot all being able to communicate well.  Nathan and I went flying and tested the system in “action” 🙂

The helmet also got some TLC and a clean, and had the visor cover removed.  Without the cover it looks a bit like an Alpha, so maybe it will stay like that… not sure

Skyhawk Compass and Clock

Fabricated out of styrene sheet and acrylic offcuts, with laser printed graphics stuck on.   These are only dummies for now, but the clock will work…. I have a clock mechanism on it’s way from China.  The clock will be literally “just a clock”, not linked to the sim, and without a stopwatch function.  At least I’ll know what the real time is 😉

A little sunrise mission

It was a nice evening for a quick anti-shipping mission.  HMNZS Canterbury was once again the prey, and as ever the weather was her friend.  I would really like a radar in the Skyhawk which would show stationary targets….   Visual searches are so hit-and-miss!

The A-4 prevailed in the end 😉

In the beginning

“Timehop” popped up this memory today…

That was day 2 of the frame build, on the original layout bench used for the 737 development at work. So much history in this photo 🙂