Entebbe to Goma

Having a pilot seat in the sim is pretty cool… and a whole lot more ‘user friendly’. Tonight I flew one of the REFORGE flights down to Goma in the DRC.

I also took the opportunity to update the avionics software in the sim, which all worked perfectly.

The weather in Africa is challenging, with cloud and bad visibility appearing to be the standard.

Occasionally though, there were clear patches and the views were pretty spectacular!

After a low visibility RNAV arrival in to Goma I shut down for the night.

This ‘gap’ is the next to be filled. I have the software working for the engine displays, now I need to source an LCD panel which will fit the gap. I am only driving the left side display, the the right being a dummy. Once I have the dimensions sorted I’ll start rummaging around in my stash for a suitable monitor, or failing that it’ll be off to my favourite ‘Sim Supply’ store; AliExpress 😉

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.

Operation Reforge:2019

Over the weekend I spent a little bit of time getting the pilot seat for the 737 working, and set it up in the sim to try out. To ‘properly’ test it, of course, meant a test flight… So in the spirit of remembering the RNZAF’s participation in the UN Rwanda relief mission I flew the 737 from Nairobi to Entebbe, where the airlift HQ for the operation was based.

Sitting at the gate in Nairobi

The weather was pretty good leaving Nairobi, but crossing Lake Victoria the weather deteriorated, with heavy cloud and reduced visibility at Entebbe airport.

In the descent over Lake Victoria.

About 40 Nautical Miles out of Entebbe, and well into our descent was the last time we saw the ground until we were passing 300ft on approach, so poor was the visibility!

About to capture the ILS

From the initial approach fix, all the way to 300ft was a world of grey. After touchdown it was a fairly long taxi to the cargo ramp, and the end of a successful test flight. The flight went well, but the seat didn’t. I will need to lift the seat an additional 30-40mm to make it the perfect height for me… that’s the next job, then I’ll probably need another test flight, but that’s for another day.

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?!

Skyhawk update

It has been a while (seems to be a common theme) since I did anything on the Skyhawk sim… tonight, with a few wee software updates and other fiddling around I got the sim up and running, in DCS with the VSN Hornet. This was to prove that I could get the sim running using my combination of software and ‘mods’

This is the VSN Hornet, running in the sim, with Maverick TV feed working 🙂

It’s been a while

I have not spent much time on any of my sims of late, the classic ‘real life has gotten in the way’ line applies here. The 737 in particular hasn’t been flown in ages, last time I started it the Cockpit displays computer wouldn’t start. Last night I decided it was time to get it running and go for a quick flight.

The startup fault was quickly tracked down and resolved then the sim started up happily.

All back up and running

A quick night flight around the Manawatu and a successful landing certainly helped blow the cobwebs away. I am looking forward to getting the seat finished and installed so I can do some more flying.

New Sim for the ‘Stash’

I am always on the lookout for sim software to add to my collection, and recently while browsing Trademe I stumbled over one of the more obscure items on my ‘wish list’; ASA OnTop IFR Proficiency Simulator.
This is no flashy simulation game, this is a serious training tool… therefore it doesn’t have pretty graphics or sound, what it does have are accurate instrument panels and aircraft performance for 10 different aircraft. It even has detailed simulations of the Garmin GNS430 and G1000 (although it calls it a G1000 ‘like’ display)

So far, apart from unpacking it and quickly installing it to have a look I haven’t done anything serious with it. I have a grand plan to build a 32bit PC (its old remember) and set it up as a desktop training thing in the ManCave….

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 🙂