Category Archives: Recommendations

My recommendations for virtual gliding or flight simulation in general.

Flying a cross-country task in company with AI gliders in FSX

So what do I do if a UK Virtual Gliding Association (UKVGA) multiplayer (MP) event is conducted at time that is not suitable for me? The obvious answer is to download and install the task and then fly it offline at a more convenient time. I can then analyze my IGC logfile captured with the sim_logger FSX add-on and compare my average speed  and on-task time with the other club members who participated in the event. The downside to this that I don’t have the other participating members as company while flying the task.  However, sim_logger has an option to replay multiple logfiles as AI aircraft. Since UKVGA members are encouraged to post their flight reports with attached IGC logfiles, I can download these and replay them simultaneously while flying the task offline.  This simulates flying with the other members in real-time, although I do miss out on the TeamSpeak chat that is an obvious advantage of flying online in MP events.

To demonstrate this, I made a video of my attempt to fly the UKVGA “Camphill Task 8”, which I selected from the extensive range of tasks available on the UKVGA forum.  The video is a full flight recording of around one and a half hours, so I have split it into two parts to make uploading to YouTube easier.

YouTube video example flight – PART 1:

YouTube video example flight – PART 2:

Replaying IGC logfiles can be activated by storing the logfiles downloaded from the UKVGA forum in a sub-folder below your saved flights with the same name as the task flight.   Then you have to enable the replay option in the sim_logger menu if it is not already enabled.  The sim_logger add-on will then load and replay all logfiles in that subfolder synchronized correctly with your local sim time.  You can then launch either before, during or after the AI gliders and fly with them on the cross-country task, albeit without being able to communicate with the other pilots using the TeamSpeak chat facility.

Due to the way FSX renders AI aircraft, the replay is not always perfect in every respect.  For example if you see a replayed glider with the landing wheel down on the ground before launching and then later encounter that same glider after the pilot has raised the landing gear, the wheel may be still displayed in the down position because you were not present to witness the wheel being raised. Also for FSX Steam Edition users like myself, you may find the sim_logger default settings cannot be changed by editing the supplied .ini file. So the replay option will always be enabled by default , which can be annoying in some circumstances but you can always disable this option for the current flight session by using the sim_logger sub-menu in the FSX Add-ons menu.  Nevertheless, in my opinion, the advantage of being able to fly in company with the other gliders outweighs any minor irritations like those mentioned.

Obviously, flying MP flights online is the best option if the event time and date is suitable but if you cannot join the event for whatever reason, flying the task offline at a more suitable time using sim_logger to replay the IGC logfiles of the other participants is the next best option.

I highly recommend the sim_logger add-on for FSX to any virtual cross country soaring enthusiasts wanting to record and analyze their flight and also to those wanting to simulate multiplayer events when flying offline by using the sim_logger replay option. For more information about sim_logger go this link: sim_logger by Ian Forster-Lewis

 

Getting A2A Cessna pre-flight inspection to work with EZDOC camera add-on

As I have mentioned elsewhere in my blog site, I am interested in a lot more than just virtual gliding when it comes to flight simulation.  In recent years the graphics, sound and the credibility of systems and flight modelling of aircraft models for FSX and P3D have improved beyond anything that I ever anticipated. I never cease to be amazed at the success the add-on developers are achieving in breathing new life into FSX.

Three outstanding examples in the GA light aircraft class in my FSX hanger are the A2A Simulations models: the Cessna C172 Trainer, the Piper PA20-180 Cherokee and the Cessna C182T Skylane. The pre-flight or walk-around feature included in all three of these models adds significantly to the perceived realism and immersive experience and I use this unique feature on every flight.

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Unfortunately, the pre-flight inspection feature of these three models does not play well with the popular EZDOC camera add-on. Ever since the C172 was released there has been discussion in the A2A and other forums and several “fixes” have been suggested but all seem to involve compromises.

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Wolfgang Piper’s gliders for FSX

DG-600-17

Glaser-Dirks DG-600-17 for FSX by Wolfgang Piper

Without the incredible collection of vintage, classic and contemporary gliders provided by Wolfgang Piper and his helpers, virtual soaring enthusiasts like myself would be faced with  a dearth of glider models to choose from.   These models are freeware but many of them match the quality of payware models and they just keep getting better with recent new releases.  So if you have the slightest interest in virtual gliding, take a look at the incredible range of models available at: Wolfgang’s website

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Rolladen-Schneider LS8-18 for FSX by Wolfgang Piper

 

A few of my favourite models from Wolfgang’s collection are:

Schleicher ASW 27 B Very competitive for racing events
Rolladen-Schneider LS8-18 No flaps – good for beginners but still a very competitive 18m class racer
Schleicher ASH 25 Extremely challenging but very convincing flight model. Outstanding L/D ratio for those extra big blue holes between thermals.
Schleicher ASW 20 CL-J A jet powered motor glider – very versatile
Schleicher ASK 21 Nice 2 seater training model – no retractable gear to worry about
Glaser-Dirks DG-600-17 See my YouTube test flight below
Schleicher ASG 29 Nice 18m class racing glider

 

YouTube Test Flight – DG-600-17

Recently I made a video of my test flight of the Glaser-Dirks DG-600-17.  It is a short flight from McBride (CAV4) to Valemount (CAH4) in British Columbia Canada using the outstanding Orbx FTX Northern Rocky Mountains scenery.  It was mostly ridge running with a little bit thermal soaring and a relaxing long final glide, giving me time to appreciate the scenery. It does not get any better than this unless you are fortunate enough to go soaring in the real world.