Saturday, 30 December 2017

Monday, 25 December 2017

X Plane 11 : Carenado King Air B200 : Landing Practise

As time passes landing technique is developed and hopefully improved. A greater understanding of the aircraft and its systems leads us to analyse the subtleties of each phase of flight, and in this video we're looking at the process of practising the hardest phase of flight - landing.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

X Plane 11 : Carenado King Air B200 : Tutorial 6 Shut Down

Now that we've started the aircraft, completed a flight, and landed, it's time to shut the aircraft down.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

X Plane 11 : Carenado Beechcraft Baron 58 with REP : Toulouse to Barcelona

We're going to be skirting the Pyrenees and the micro state of Andorra as we journey from Toulouse to Barcelona.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

X Plane 11 : Flyjsim Dash 8 Q400 : Tutorial 4 Takeoff, Climb, Cruise & Autoflight

Final preparations are made before we depart. With those complete we takeoff and climb to our cruise altitude. In this video we look at the flight director and the autoflight system.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Saturday, 9 December 2017

X Plane 11 : Flyjsim Dash 8 Q400 : Tutorial 3 Flight Management System

The aircraft has been started, and it's now time to enter a flight plan into the Flight Management System. This might seem daunting at first, but in fact it's a simple procedure, once you understand the basics of the CDU interface.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Approach Charts & ILS

After arrival at the destination airport, we transition to an approach chart. These charts can seem quite daunting at first, but the basic principles are quite simple, once the organisation has been decoded. But the charts themselves won't land the plane. To do that we use ILS.

Friday, 1 December 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Nice to Genoa Sestri

After taking the stock Cessna 172 west from Nice to Marseille, we take the Airfoillabs 172 east from Nice to Genoa Sestri.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

X Plane 11 : Carenado Beechcraft Baron 58 with REP : Tutorial 2 Runup Takeoff Cruise Climb & Cruise

The aircraft has been started and prepared for taxi. Now in the hold short position we continue with engine runup, before taking off, climbing to the desired altitude, and setting the aircraft up for cruise.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

X Plane 11 : Carenado Beechcraft Baron 58 : Tutorial 1 Normal Startup

The natural step to take after learning how to fly and operate the single engined Cessna 172 is to add the complexity of a twin engined setup. And what more natural progression could there be than to transition to the Beechcraft Baron.

And what better Baron to fly than the Carenado version, matched with Simcoders Reality Expansion Pack, which adds greatly to the depth and enjoyment of the aircraft.

This is the first part of a three part series. In this part we learn how to start the aircraft and prepare it for taxi to the active runway.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

X Plane 11 : Carenado King Air B200 : Tutorial 5 Normal Landing

Now that we know how to start the aircraft, taxi, takeoff, and navigate to our destination, it's time to learn how to land.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Tutorial 7 Flight Planning with the Garmin 430

Planning a flight can seem like an overwhelming task. Navigating from one point to a distant point while following a complex flight plan is simple when you understanding the basic principles. In this video we plan a flight from Nice to Marseille, using charts, and the Garmin 430 to follow the route created.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Reference Avionics System

The radio stack in the Airfoillabs Cessna 172 is quite powerful. But it's also not well documented. In this video we look at the individual units that make up the avionics. The autopilot in particular will become very important as we undertake IFR flights.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

X Plane 11 : Cessna 172 : Tutorial 6 Traffic Circuits

The practise of flying circuits, or traffic patterns, is very important. A circuit combines several techniques that comprise a standard VFR flight. And practising these techniques in a co-ordinated manner is a step towards a complete controlled flight. When you have completed a circuit you can then also complete a flight from a departure to a destination airfield.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Tutorial 5 Shut Down

You have arrived at your destination. The main gear touches down and the nose wheel follows, and speed is reduced as the aircraft exits the runway. You then begin the shut down process.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

X Plane 11 : Flyjsim Dash 8 Q400 : Tutorial 1 Startup

A first look at the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400. The startup procedure expands on some basic concepts learned with the King Air B200, but does so with an airliner. The next video in the series will cover pushback and taxi.

Monday, 10 July 2017

X-Plane 11 and PAPI lights

I have found it difficult to use PAPI lights in X-Plane 11. The lights are somewhat useable at night, but during the day it's very difficult to read them.

You can adjust them by editing the lights file:


BILLBOARD_SW        VASI3                    1.8    -0.9     0.5    0.5    1.2    1 6 0    0    0    0    1           

In my case, I have changed 1.2 to 12. I'm still experimenting with it, but I feel it has made a difference.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

X Plane 11 : Cessna 172 : Tutorial 3 Normal Takeoff

The objective of this series of videos has been to develop a thorough understanding of flight. The series so far has touched on the routine; preflight, engine start, taxi, and engine runup. Now that we have reached the beginnings of flight itself more complex subjects will be covered. That increased complexity starts with takeoff itself, and the aircrafts left turning tendencies.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

X Plane 11 : Carenado King Air B200 : LEBL Barcelona Landing

I quite like the B200. I would like it a lot more if it was a true study sim, but even so, it's interesting to contrast a twin turbo prop with the single engine Cessna 172.

This landing is not by the book. I would need to look through the data I have on the aircraft for that. Instead this is a look at using the pitch and power technique on a straight in approach. The video ends with a tour of some of the Barcelona taxiways and surrounding scenery.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Landing bug in X-Plane 11

I have been finding it difficult to flare the Airfoillabs Cessna 172 on landing. The aircraft would either plant it's nose down firmly, or pitch up far too much. Holding it at the correct controlled angle was an issue.

Apparently it's a common problem with the interaction between wing the downwash and the horizontal tail. A single component of the calculations required was missed. The fix is due in the next major update, probably 11.1.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 27 : UFC Part 1 of 3

The Up Front Controls are the interface to the F-16s systems. Using the ICP and DED the jet can be configured to efficiently carry out its assigned mission. While the UFC can at first appear intimidating, in time using it becomes second nature.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : LFMN Nice Cote D'Azur Circuit

I'm following up on straight in landings with circuit - or traffic pattern - practise. This exercise improves takeoff handling, climbout, and general aircraft handling. It also gives a greater context to landing the aircraft.

Monday, 19 June 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : LFMN Nice Cote D'Azur Dusk Landing

X-Plane is well known for its night lighting, and in this video a straight in landing at Nice takes us into a dusk environment in which the lighting begins to produce its stunning effect.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Tutorial 1 Preflight & Startup

Preflight in the Cessna 172 is brief. An external inspection of the aircraft and its flight surfaces, a check of oil and fuel. But in reviewing these items we gain a greater understanding of the aircraft, which will help when we begin to familiarise ourselves with more complex aircraft.

With preflight checks complete, we can start the engine, set instruments, and prepare to taxi.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : LFMN Nice Cote D'Azur Landing

I have resisted the pitch and power technique for some time. I'm not sure why I have been so resistant. The technique is without doubt much easier to use. Pitch and power has no real reference point, at least none that is easy to conceptualise during the approach and descent.

The runway numbers are my aim point. As I reach them I roundout, reducing power. I'm still a little lacking in the flare. I might need to use full flaps to find the right speed to raise the nose at stall speed, and therefore not risk climbing. More experimentation and practise required for the completion of the exercise.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

X plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : LFTZ St Tropez Hard Landing

A fairly hard landing at St Tropez. An awkward and perilous approach.

X plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : LFMD Cannes Mandelieu Landing

Quite a good landing at Cannes. The aircraft lost a little lift close to touchdown, but I managed that and brought it down correctly, and close to centre line.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 26 : Bullseye

The concept of bullseye is quite simple when you understand the basic idea. Bullseye is simply a reference point from which bearing, range, and altitude at a specific point are derived.

This video covers the basics of bullseye, and describes its practical application to improve situational awareness.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Parco Naturale Regionale delle Alpi Liguri

A great advantage that X-Plane 11 has is its more open nature. You don't have to spend vast amounts to make it look good. There are still items that require investment, but for every tool or resource that must be paid for, there is so much more that is available for free.

This video is a short scenic flight that illustrates the combination of free and paid content.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Reference Engine Instruments

A study level aircraft requires a thorough knowledge of all instruments. It's particularly important to understand engine instruments, and to monitor them through all stages of flight.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

X plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Genoa Sestri LIMJ Landing

I dedicated a few days to practising landing the Cessna 172. I have previously practised landing the stock 172, so the behaviour of the sim surprised me. I wasn't expecting the amount of movement in pitch and roll. That made landings particularly challenging.

I now believe a bug of some kind was introduced after a recent sim crash. X Plane 11 appears to be quite vulnerable to "collateral damage" when it has an issue. A re-install of the Airfoilabs Cessna 172 seems to have fixed it, and the aircraft is much more manageable in calm conditions.

This approach and landing was recorded before the fix. But even so I'm quite content with it.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Tutorial 2 Taxi

Preflight is complete, the engine has been started, avionics set up. With those steps complete it's time to taxi to the active runway.

The mixture is first leaned for maximum RPM, and once holding short the magnetos are tested, and the aircraft prepared for takeoff.

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Reference Davtron M803 Digital Clock

The Davtron M803 digital clock is an easily overlooked part of the cockpit. It does have some useful, if not critical, functions, however. These are not completely implemented in the AFL Cessna 172, but the basic features are, and these are detailed in this video.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

X Plane 11 : Airfoillabs Cessna 172 : Reference Primary Flight Instruments

I was hoping this would be the second in a series of videos covering the Airfoillabs Cessna 172. A bogus copyright dispute on the first means this will precede it.

The aim of the series is not just to learn to fly the Cessna 172, but to educate myself thoroughly on all aspects of flights. This will be a detailed and complex series. But at the end of it I will have a much clearer understanding of things that I either already have some grasp of, or no grasp at all.

I hope that viewers might also take something from this series, whether or not they wish to join with me in the journey to master the Cessna.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Falcon 4 BMS Reference : FCR Ground

The FCR has a great deal of ground functionality. An overview of its capabilities is given in this video:

Monday, 24 April 2017

DCS A-10C Tutorial 9 : Laser Guided Bombs

The A-10 was designed to operate "in the weeds", at low level, where its armour protects it from AAA threats as it carries out its CAS role.

But it can only deliver payloads onto targets safely from altitude. And it's this role that we explore in this tutorial - the delivery of laser guided bombs from above 15,000 feet.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

History : Laser Guided Bomb Development 1960-72

The development of laser guided bombs begins with the development of the laser itself. A solution looking for a problem, inventive minds in the military quickly found important avenues to explore with the new technology.

In this video, I explain the initial exploration of the technology, how it almost came to be discarded, and how ultimately the military use of laser technology was developed, implemented, and tested in the heat of battle.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

DCS A-10C Tutorial 8 : Mk 82 LDGP & AIR

There are so many advanced weapon systems in production and use that it's easy to overlook the simpler tools that are available, and that perform the less glamorous roles.

The Mk 80 series of bombs are a hugely successful line. They provide the backbone for some of those more advanced systems, but in this video we look at the most basic item in the range, in its most basic use. The Mk 82 LDGP and AIR, using CCIP and CCRP.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 25 : AGM-65D Maverick quick boresighting

The AGM-65 can be an intimidating weapon. The requirement to boresight the D model before use with the TGP might seem an onerous task. But the reward of swooping down to devastate a road column with a swift succession of missiles makes it well worth the time spent on the procedure.

A previous tutorial covered the complete boresighting procedure, as described in the BMS training manual. And that is still a procedure that's worth understanding. That tutorial also covers certain elements in greater detail.

In this tutorial a quick boresighting method is demonstrated. This minimises the workload required during the fence in phase of flight, while ensuring that weapons are properly prepared for use.

The Training Engagement files are available in the video description, therefore if you would like to practise this technique simply download and unzip the file, and follow the included instructions.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

TSW CSX Heavy Haul : First Thoughts and Review

There has been so much said about the release of Train Sim World, CSX Heavy Haul, and so much of it extremely critical, that I thought I should add my initial thoughts on the title. I explain what I like about it, and what I dislike, including elements that I hope will be improved on with future patches.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

TSW : CSX Heavy Haul : Early morning service

I decided I should have a look at Services. And what better place to start than the first one?

I'm still feeling my way around CSX, but I couldn't resist adding rain, which is very well done, both in the internal and external views.

It's also impossible to fault the character models, at least in terms of appearance. I would like to see them being active and performing useful tasks. For example they could handle radio communication, which is missing in general. That would add a huge amount to the sims immersion.

I did notice the frame rate dropped significantly. I'm not sure why that should be the case, given the lower draw distance, or at least, what should be a lower draw distance. But there's definitely a difference in the frame rates I'm used to with it. But it's also the case I was on a different part of track.

I'm looking forward to being competent enough with signals to record a full video.

TSW CSX Heavy Haul : Helping Hand scenario

You either love or loathe train sims.

It might be stretching the term, but one of the most popular simulations of recent years must be Euro Truck, which, when you think about it, is a similar concept. You go from one point to another, following correct procedure in a rather untaxing way, and deliver something.

Train Sim World is the successor to the Train Sim series. If you're familiar with it you already know the premise of TSW, and its first module, CSX Heavy Haul, and you know how this series will develop. A snapshot of a particular line, its relevant engines and rolling stock.

In CSX Heavy Haul we're transporting freight on Sand Patch Grade.

This video covers the first scenario, Helping Hand, and is quite a straightforward run to collect rolling stock.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Falcon 4 BMS : Iron Fortress Mission #6 : 1st DPRK Inf Bde

The action is brief. The landing is questionable.

This is the sixth mission in the Iron Fortress campaign. I'm not promising much from it. I wanted to look at an escort mission and this is just that. Although it isn't full of breathtaking moments that will have you on the edge of your seat, I learned some important lessons.

I returned from the mssion with one "damage" and no "kills". However my wingman had four victories. Why the difference? He spotted a group of MiG-19s low, while I didn't.

I learned to better manipulate the FCR. I learned to work smarter with AWACS to locate hostiles. And with those lessons learned I would hope that in time I will be the one returning with four kills.

Monday, 13 March 2017

X Plane 10 : Carenado King Air B200 Southampton to Le Touquet

This is a flight I have had planned for a while. I would have done it much sooner had it not been for issues with the X-Plane 11 beta.

The weather is real time, and clouds are generated by xEnviro. That presents a second issue, because the conditions approaching Le Touquet are frequently poor, as was the case for this flight.

As much as I did prepare for this flight, I could have prepared better. In particular it's vital to check weather conditions at takeoff and approach. If conditions are poor on approach then you must either accept and be prepared for a full IFR approach, choose another destination, or simply not use xEnviro.

Because I didn't plan the journey as thoroughly as I should I had to improvise on approach.

Falcon 4 BMS : Iron Fortress Mission #5 : Sunan Airbase

In this mission we're part of a larger effort to target the DPRK Sunan airbase.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

X Plane 10 : Carenado King Air B200 Southampton Dusk Approach and Landing

I wasn't intending on posting an approach video. I had wanted to record a complete flight from Southampton to Le Touquet. And that will still happen. But for now I'm still working on landings.

There are a multitude of problems with this approach and landing. I struggle to line up on centre line, and I'm below glideslope on final. At least I don't have the two white and two red PAPI lights.

I decided to create this video because, for all of the failings contained therein, I wanted to share the process of working on landings, and I thought it was visually interesting enough to justify it.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Falcon 4 BMS : Iron Fortress Mission #4 : Sinch'ang-ni Bridge

In the fourth mission of the Iron Fortress campaign, we're tasked with an attack on the bridge at Sinch'ang-ni.

Monday, 27 February 2017

DCS A-10C Tutorial 7 : Hydra 70 Rockets

While the GAU-8 Avenger cannon is the iconic A-10 weapon, the Hydra 70 rockets the aircraft can also carry should not be overlooked. These flexible weapons not only have a useful anti-armour and anti-personnel punch, they can also provide battlefield obscuration, marking, and illumination.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Falcon 4 BMS : Iron Fortress Mission #3 : Incheon Steel Mill

In the third mission of the Iron Fortress campaign we've been briefed on an attack on the Incheon Steel Mill. Enemy CAP aircraft are expected in the operation area.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 24 : Mission Planning and Situational Awareness

If the first part of the process of learning Falcon 4 BMS as a study sim includes everything from starting the aircraft to landing it, the second part must be using it effectively in combat.

And to do that missions must be planned on the ground, and situational awareness maintained in the air. Without these two skills a mission cannot be executed efficiently.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Falcon 4 BMS : Iron Fortress mission #2

We continue the Iron Fortress campaign with an OCA Strike.

X Plane 11 : Carenado King Air B200 LFAT Approach

It's commonly accepted that landing is the most difficult part of a flight.

The process of learning, and practising, landings is therefore of vital importance, and in this video I look at the various approach and landing phases as I familiarise myself with the King Air B200.

Behind every good landing is a thousand flawed approaches.

DCS A-10C Tutorial 6 : GAU-8 cannon and Litening TGP

The A10's cannon is its trademark. You can't think of the aircraft without hearing its distinctive sound.

In this video we'll look at the weapon itself, how to use it, and how to integrate its use with the TGP.

Falcon 4 BMS : Iron Fortress mission #1

This is the first time I've looked at the Falcon 4 campaign in any detail.

If you're familiar with flight simulation, and in particular combat flight simulation, you're almost certainly aware of the Falcon 4 dynamic campaign. It's probably the reason the title is still not only popular, but continuing to be developed.

I'm not attempting a quick playthrough. I won't be making changes to tasking. The only changes I will make will be to basic flight plans.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Thoughts on a farewell to iRacing

I went through a final iRacing uninstall tonight.

It's a final uninstall because the three month membership that is due to expire at the end of this month was intended to be another look at the sim after a year away from it. I had been a member for about five years before that break.

I decided not to renew for two main reasons, and I think those reasons are a cogent argument not just for leaving, but also for not supporting the sim in general.

In the past I have defended iRacing in terms of cost. You could never argue that it wasn't expensive; it has always had a high subscription fee, and high DLC costs. Assetto Corsa has highlighted the latter.

But you could reduce those costs through sales, participation credits, and bulk purchases.

Of course, sales, credits, and bulk purchases, are still available.

However the Black Friday deal, which was necessary to bring the subscription down to a minimal level, has been reduced from a 50% to a discount. And that's on an increasing subscription fee.

That rise can only be justified if the simulation itself is moving forward. But what core improvements have really been made in the last five years? You could argue that the track surface model has improved, and that dirt is in development.

I have no interest in dirt, so whatever happens with that doesn't matter to me. The surface model hasn't made that much of a difference.

What does matter, are the things that iRacing have discussed, even announced, but which haven't been implemented, and sometimes even just quietly forgotten.

When moveable cones were added, iRacing stated that was a precursor to a new damage model. That was about five years ago. The new interface that was periodically showcased - what happened to that?

Endurance racing, without a day/night cycle. Formula One cars, without different tyre compounds.

The simulation is missing so many features that would make it a true, fully rounded, simulation. And there is no sign that will change in the forseeable future.

What has changed, what iRacing has without question improved upon, is DLC. The quality and turnaround time for new cars and tracks has improved considerably.

But what is that, but an opportunity for iRacing to continue to develop revenue?

The title itself simply isn't keeping up with DLC production. iRacing has become a DLC factory.

What is keeping it going is current members invested in their historical content purchases.

I'm one of those members invested in the service. But I won't continue to ride that revenue train.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

DCS A-10C Tutorial 5 : ILS Approach and Landing

You can use TACAN to help locate the runway. It can be thought of as an ILS approach without the glideslope.

But the glideslope becomes more important in bad weather, or at night. With the glideslope we can become established on the correct descent, with a high degree of confidence.

In this video we look at how to set up and execute an ILS approach.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

DCS A-10C Tutorial 4 : TACAN Approach and Landing

You need to know where to land.

That might seem obvious, and the obvious solution, when dealing with modern military aircraft, is to place a waypoint, or steerpoint, on the airfield.

But even so, that doesn't set up an approach, it merely puts you above the runway.

TACAN provides a reference point that you can work from.

In this video I explain how to prepare and use a TACAN approach. In a previous video I explained how to tune to a particular TACAN channel. Here I explain how to use a bearing to the TACAN to set up an approach.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

X Plane 11 Tutorial 4 : Carenado King Air B200 VOR Navigation and Autopilot

Navigation can appear daunting at the outset.

But like most things, once you understand how it's done, the process is simple. And that's certainly true of VOR.

In real world flight VOR is being gradually replaced by GPS. And there are good reasons for that to happen. But there is something particularly satisfying about planning a VOR route, and executing it in an efficient and predictable manner.

We have learned how to start the Carenado King Air B200, and how to taxi and takeoff. In this video we continue from where we left off, following the published takeoff procedure, and we will then turn the aircraft over to the autopilot, having set the navigation parameters.

X Plane 11 Tutorial 3 : Carenado King Air B200 ATC Startup

The first look at startup covered a non-ATC situation, and therefore avionics were turned off after the engines were started, and the generators were online.

But when working with ATC it's important to request permission from ATC before starting the engines. How do we use the avionics without generator power? With the battery.

In this video I explain the process of filing a flight plan, requesting clearance, and permission to start the engines. It should then be simple to integrate these steps into a complete startup.

X Plane 11 Tutorial 2 : Carenado King Air B200 Taxi and Takeoff

The learning process continues with the Carenado King Air B200.

Now that we know how to start the aircraft, it's time to taxi and takeoff. The X-Plane 11 beta is, as its name suggests, still a work in progress, and therefore elements of the process are subject to change, most often in a subtle form.

The aircraft now rolls at idle power - which is another good reason to remember to set the parking brake before starting the engine. Whether or not this is realistic is open to discussion.

Taxi is simple - once the wheels start to move maintain a reasonable taxi speed and, of course, know where you're going. The HSI also displays ground speed for reference.

Takeoff is more of a challenge. The aircraft doesn't seem to want to roll straight, and a careful dance on the rudder pedals is required to maintain centre line, or as near as you can manage.

Power also lags noticeably, so it may take a while to quickly find the right level, but as the aircraft doesn't require much runway, it doesn't hurt to take your time building up speed.