Winching 350kg of external cockpit display into position
Friday, 6 November 2020
Antony's Devon 737 project update progress report - you may recall a posting in January this year.
Having take delivery of a sawn off 737-200 cockpit and installed it in a shed, the work began to convert the cockpit into a 737-800.
The pictures below, before and after show how well the work is progressing. The detailed work flow is incredible.
The overhead, MCP and all the instruments, twin yokes and complete pedestal are all installed.
The motorisation of the throttles is still work in process (requiring a cannabilised cordless drill motor), the J-seat runners are ready to install.
The current picture shows the cut ends of just one of the original Boeing wiring looms, no longer needed. The wiring and connectors to the hundreds of separate cockpit gauges, switches indicator lights etc etc are all ready to connect. Programming them all to interact with flight sim might take just a minute or two after lots of thought.
The current work is focussed on raising the 350kg collimated display to mate up with the cockpit windows after which the displays can be connected to the wiring and the aircraft fired up for the very first time, with everything alive.
Lots on the work list to do, surround sound system and the coffee machine in the galley, for example.
So much easier to build a cockpit from commercially available modules ready to install in a preformed shell or a plywood look-alike.
Anthony wanted the challenge, a discovery path that made him very aware of the detail differences between a 737-200 and 737-800 body shell, most of those challenges now resolved - brilliant.
Sitting in the cockpit makes one realise the level of sophistication involved in designing and building an airframe. This one has found a perfect retirement home in very committed and industrious hands.
Perhaps not so easy to sleep at night as one comes up with solutions to tantalising problems, but the support from internet friends and resources is amazing.
What better hobby?
We will update the Blog to report progress.
Monday, 14 September 2020
We are about to explore two newcomers to the genre of passenger immersion add-ons, and by way of example, allow me to use a well known ground handling add-on which adds tiny animated figurines to your airport aprons.
Yes folks, this may well become your happiest flightsim moment or your very worst nightmare, and that’s because Jekyll and Hyde personalities are about to be given to your Lilliputian marionettes - not only can they walk, but now they can talk, and not only that, they now have an abundance of spirit along with excess attitude too.
We don't often give a second thought to those fare paying peeps in the back, sometimes referred to as "self loading cargo", and we've never been particularly worried about whether they are clasping a drink in their hands or clasping their hands together in prayer. I would venture that this is because simulator pilots have enough to do up front with their procedures, checklists, briefings, and sterile flightdecks.
And yet the following packages aim to increase the flight crew's workload by adding this new dimension. Now, not only must we contend with iced fuel lines, busted engines, and bird strikes, but the thorny issues of malcontent passengers, troublesome hen parties, missed connections, disillusioned club classes, and buoyant stag party groups is quite literally knocking on our (locked) flightdeck doors.
In the past, Gold braided Captains have paced up and down the aisle to meet and greet their passengers, to provide reassurances, and as airline ambassadors to politely drum up further business. If it wasn't for passenger loyalty, then furlough or severence might have been but a flight or two away. Today, however, it is your job to keep to your company schedule, and to provide smooth rides with silky landings. You may even need to keep the peace or dish out some discipline.
Each package handles the actual experience differently, but in essence, you must keep an eye on the comfort levels, enjoyment, and overall satisfaction of your customers by ensuring, for instance, that boarding doesn't take too long or that you avoid delays and bad weather.
Amongst other things, you'll get to hear cabin announcements and deal with irksome people and maddening circumstances. In short, you'll face the very same awkward situations as seen in many of those fly-on-the-wall airline documentaries that no doubt we have all witnessed.
So then, my advice as a seasoned expert is twofold; first, I would say to you to neglect your passengers at your peril, and second would be to expect the unexpected....
Self Loading Cargo by Lanilogic Technology Solutions
This seems to be a particularly comprehensive and immersive package that supports all major flightsim Windows based platforms, and is available today at a low pre-release price of £12.99. Future updates will be free of charge, and there exists a busy SLC Discord community as well.
- Self-Loading Cargo simulates each passenger on your aircraft individually - so every decision or action you make affects each person individually.
- In real life some people are more anxious than others, and equally some people are happier than others. They can be happy and anxious, or sad and chilled out. Or somewhere right down the middle.
- If something goes wrong, or a passenger gets frustrated, their happiness and anxiety levels at that point in time will be used to determine their reaction to whatever is happening.
- This ensures that no flight is the same! And just as in real life, you could be the best pilot in the world - but some people will still find reason to complain. Welcome to Self-Loading Cargo. The Personality Simulator.
- Your Flight Rating Is Continously Calculated As You Fly; right from the off, your flight rating is determined using the passengers individual personalities and feelings as a guide - they'll react to events on the ground, things you do while flying and how well you land - right up until they leave.
- Reacts to buttons and switches in your simulator (dependant on developer support).
PACX is another very comprehensive package created by the authors of the delightful TFDi Boeing B717, and comes with countless WAV files, scenarios, and events possible.
This is another very detailed multi flightsim platform Windows-only package, and one that is equally immersive. The cost is $29.99 but a discount has been promised for 2019's Cyber Monday. Check out the linked video below to see first hand what this can bring to your simulated world.
Here's how TFDi describe the PACX Experience...
- PACX offers a variety of systems to provide a realistic in-flight and post-flight experience.
- Various incidents ranging from minor reseating delays to severe medical issues can happen. It is up to you to handle them properly. This may mean you simply expedite the flight, or you may have to make an immediate diversion. The choice is yours.
- Extra announcements for customs declarations on international fights and Wi-Fi usage information for Wi-Fi equipped aircraft increase the immersion.
- Automatic and realistic handling of in-flight service by the flight attendant make the flight feel alive.
- Interaction can be initiated by pressing the appropriate in-cockpit controls on select third party aircraft like the TFDi Design 717, Quality Wings 787, PMDG 737NGX, PMDG 747 QOTS II, and PMDG 777.
- Career mode allows you to rank up and vary your passengers according to airline parameters.
- Awards can be earned for activity, on-time performance, and more.
Just to be clear, ground handling add-ons are not required, I was merely suggesting that those animated figures were given, courtesy of SLC or PACX, personality.
Friday, 11 September 2020
Not all add-ons are compatible with Vulkan and Metal. In particular, when Vulkan and Metal are enabled, 3-d drawing callbacks and map drawing callbacks are not sent to plugins.
If an add-on appears to not work correctly, you can disable Vulkan and Metal and restart X-Plane.
Needs update from developer to work with Vulkan/Metal:
- Aircraft using DreamEngine Sound
- Bandicam (prevents sim launch)
- Ground Traffic
- Flight Factor A320
- Flight Factor 767
- Flight Factor 777
- JAR A320
- JAR A330
- JCS Talon T38
- ToLiss A319 & A321
- X-Aviation Torque Sim Pocket Rocket
- XPRealistic Pro
Saturday, 5 September 2020
All pilots have to do is create their own flight plans, then join the group on TS3 & JoinFS, and of course obediently comply with all instructions given by our experienced ATC officers!
Every now and then, however, we might list a “Bullseye!” flight which differs from standard flights as only the arrival airport is presented, leaving pilots free to choose their own departure airports from literally anywhere, be it around the corner or around the globe!
Think of these as normal Tues/Thurs flight nights but without the departure phase, which also means that ATC services will be available only for the arrival phase.