July 10, 2022

Have been enjoying doing patterns at the Blair Atholl airstrip that has been brought up to snuff by SAC Designs. The elevation of the strip is around 300 feet, but if you do left-hand circuits from runway 12, climbing to between 3,000 and 5,000 feet, you can pass between some impressive peaks. Turning left heading 015 over Killiecrankie, just before the cluster of Meall Uaine (1,968 ft), Meall na h-Aodainn Moire (2,076 ft) and Ben Vrackie (2,759 ft), you keep Creag Eallaich (1,669 ft) on your left. Then, after around three nautical miles, turning left heading 315 passes you between Carn Liath (3,198 ft) and Meall Dail Min (1,758 ft). Continuing between Elrig (2,034 ft), Meall Reamhar (1,853 ft) and Carn Dearg Mor (2,155 ft), you turn left heading 210 to follow Bruar Water down the glen, between Craig Bhagailteach (1,614 ft) and Meall nan Loth (1,463 ft), to the River Garry, slowly descending to around 1,500 feet. Finally, (assuming you have Orbx’s Great Britain North scenery) you can either pass directly over or just beside the 15th-century Blair Castle and south of the 19th-century Lude House, which owns the airstrip.

April 19, 2022

I recently completed the first leg of my Interstate 40 coast-to-coast route, departing Depue (6CA8) and flying 130 miles east to Needles (KEED), near the Arizona border. Los Angeles Center was online, so I had VATSIM along for the ride. The entire planned route can be viewed here.

Passing through Clipper Valley
I-40 on the left
Coming up on Needles Airport

March 10, 2022

Just over a week since Sim Update 8 (I think I have my numberings below correct now). I haven’t used the sim much over the last month or so; struggling to focus on i) picking somewhere in this wide world to fly and ii) doing something productive while there (such as executing thought-out flight plans). I don’t like just flying around aimlessly. I should probably get over that. Will plan to use Random Flight Generator more often too.

I gave one of the four Cessna 172 mods (the Angle of Attack) from bagolu a go last night. Suprisingly no conflicts occurred and it was a pleasant flight around Zurich. I also now have the Monster NXCub from GotGravel, so will give that a try soon. I’m heavy on the single props again now!

I ditched the Google Maps mod a while ago. I’m happy with the stock terrain now that I’ve added filters in GeForce.

January 9, 2022

What’s new in MSFS world?

Sim Update 7 has come and gone. Definitely a lot smoother in-flight and around the menus. I’m still having cursor issues inside the cockpit, a head-scratch-worthy issue since it has been brought to Asobo’s attention several times.

I’ve been trying out the Discus 2c glider, not least because it’s free. I usually just use these kinds of craft around the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, but will give it a try in the Swiss Alps next.

Speaking of the Fylde coast (as I was with the Forest of Bowland bit), mgk07, on flightsim.to, has made a few mods that add sandbanks to coastal areas. A simple thing that adds more realism.

Staying on dot-tee-oh, I’ve added to my I-90 coast-to-coast flight plan with a U.S. Route 20 coast-to-coast flight plan, which has been well received thus far. I’ve started doing it myself, and I’m currently in Arco, Idaho. I’ve also made a route that follows the Lancaster Canal.

December 17, 2021

PuffinFlight has been busy. Not content with adding VFR objects around the globe, he has now created an add-on that makes fireworks appear in any town or city with a population of over 50,000. The size of the fireworks display increases with the size of the city too. For New Year, for example, the fireworks will appear after dark, around 8.00pm local time in the sim, with a larger display happening at midnight. At Disney World and Disney Land, they happen daily between 9.30 and 9.45pm. He has also added them for the various holidays around the world, including Independence Day and Bastille Day. The only downside is that there is no sound accompanying the displays. A sim limitation, not one of the developer’s.

November 22, 2021

Another genius has been at work. derekhe has developed a mod that replaces the relatively old Bing Maps tiles in the sim with that of Google Maps, which are much more recent and updated more regularly. The data is streamed directly from one of three Google Maps servers, and the rapidity at which the tiles load (viewable in a command window that has to remain open while the sim is running) as you look around in the sim is astounding. The differences in cities are subtle; it will be much more noticeable in the countryside and rural environs. I can vouch for the improvement in water scenery already.

In other news, last month’s Sim Update 6 butchered the sim for many users, largely because of UI glitches. It hasn’t been too bad for me, other than the cursor flickering periodically when interfacing with the cockpit. The weather improvements (METAR ingestion into live weather, as Asobo described it) are impressive.

One thing that has finally been fixed (for now) is navigation lights on VATSIM aircraft. We can now cruise the skies (somewhat) more safely.

I’ve deleted two (edit: now three; the Super Hornet was uninspiring) of the five aircraft that came free with the GOTY release: the Pilatus PC-6 Porter didn’t do much for me (and it’s another single prop, of which I have more than enough) and the VoloCity drone, which I didn’t try and likely never would have. I wanted to delete the Aviat Pitts Special S1S as well, but I wasn’t allowed to. I’ll keep the CubCrafters NX Cub and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet for now (edit: she gone).

November 16, 2021

One of the life’s struggles with the sim is keeping track of released updates to the third-party aircraft in my hangar. This morning, I decided to take stock, and discovered my CRJs, Working Title CJ4 and Jabirus were all in need of a refresh. Once in a while I get emails alerting me to updates for the Bird Dog, but that’s it. At least now Aerosoft and SimMarket have released apps, similar to that of FlyByWire’s, to assist in this task, but others still have some work to do.

Edit: the Just Flight Arrows and Warrior were also updated the next day.

November 14, 2021

It’s hard to beat those times when you notice the sim and SkyVector are in sync. The clouds were low enough to not really hinder VFR flying, but it’s nice to see the information match up. I was southeast of Bakersfield here.

November 1, 2021

Tried a couple of free scenery packs this morning – one for Edinburgh and one for York. They are both very good, but the latter is very hefty in size, so I’ll keep it only as long as I have a decent chunk of storage space left.

Other than that, I’ve just been picking away at my I-90 coast-to-coast flight plan. I reached Pete’s Airport, in Dexter, Minnesota, yesterday, which is the halfway point of the trip. Had a great couple of legs during the sweep around the south and west of Chicago on Saturday. It was before Cross the Pond got fully underway, so ATC wasn’t all that busy. It worked great: I started with Chicago Center, was passed to Chicago Approach for a while, before going back to Center.

October 9, 2021

Sim Update 6 is ten days away. Here is a list of what may or may not be fixed.

September 14, 2021

A couple of scenery packs have piqued my interest. Firstly, a Landmarks of New York City upload has added the following POIs:

  • One World Trade Center
  • Old Yankee Stadium
  • Ravenswood Power Plant
  • Arthur Ashe Stadium
  • Louis Armstrong Stadium
  • Queens Zoo
  • Queens Center Mall
  • Unisphere at USTA facilities
  • 53 West Building 53
  • 432 Park Ave Building
  • Chrysler Building
  • Citigroup Center
  • Empire State Building
  • Flatiron Building
  • Hearst Tower
  • Madison Square Garden
  • Metlife Building
  • New York Times Building
  • The Plaza Hotel
  • Radio City Hall
  • Times Square
  • The Waldorf Astoria Hotel
  • 220 Central Park South Building
  • Central Park Tower
  • Woolworth Tower Residences
  • Three World Trade Center
  • Four World Trade Center
  • The Oculus at World Trade Center
  • One 57
  • Solow Building
  • Trump Tower
  • Trump World Tower
  • United Nations Headquarters
  • One New York Plaza
  • 25 Water Street
  • 55 Water Street
  • Verizon Building
  • 111 West 57 Street Building
  • Hudson Yards
  • The Vessel at Hudson Yards
  • Olympic Tower
  • One Manhattan Square
  • One Vanderbilt
  • One Manhattan West
  • Bank Of America Tower
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • 56 Leonard Street Building
  • 60 Wall Street

Also, after a four-month break, senecadriver has updated his Downtown Los Angeles scenery to make it compatible with recent World Updates, and it’s nothing short of excellent. These are the POIs included:

  • Wilshire Grand Center
  • 801 S Grand
  • 825 S Hill
  • 888 S Hope
  • 1000 Grand
  • Apex the One
  • Atelier
  • Aven Apartments
  • Circa LA
  • Evo South
  • G12
  • Hope and Flower
  • Level Los Angeles
  • Met Lofts
  • Metropolis Towers
  • Other Various DTLA South Park Buildings

General Los Angeles Area updates:

  • Venice Pier
  • Hollywood sign
  • Mount Lee

September 9, 2021

Well, World Update VI has come and gone. Many were complaining that several bugs still exist, but this update was never going to deal with the majority of those. My two current gripes are i) the white dot still remains on the screen for those using an Xbox or PS4 controller and ii) the Garmin NXi appears to be broken. I expect a hotfix in the coming days.

43 airports were added in the applicable countries of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Added in that Asobo didn’t include them in the base game; several were subsequently added by modders, however. I removed those, with the understanding that Asobo’s versions are superior, but will include third-party updates if they’re continued with (one – Wuppertal – already has been).

With the update, I look forwards to visiting the cities that have newly received photogrammetry: Bielefeld, Braunschweig, Frankfurt, Konstanz and Wuppertal in Germany; Graz and Vienna in Austria; and Basel in Switzerland. Interesting POIs include the Brandenburg Gate and Freiburg Minster in Germany; and the Grossmünster in Zurich.

August 27, 2021

Installed Orbx’s New Zealand terrain mesh today. With a 10m digital elevation model (DEM), it is a definite improvement on the default, but one wonders how long it will remain so. Hopefully only until Asobo puts an Oceania World Update in the mix.

August 24, 2021

The Grob Tutor T1 was released in the last 24 hours by Iris Simulations. I watched Tipperary’s own TwoToneMurphy’s review stream of it. He gave it 6 out of 10 in its current state, and I’d have to agree. Unfortunately, it’s another single prop in an already saturated single-prop market. It’s $20, but I think $15 would be a more reasonable price for it. It’s right-hand flying in the cockpit, if you like that kind of thing.

A release that has intrigued me, though, is the Caproni Vizzola Ventura from Mario Norega Designs. A light jet-powered plane that has a service ceiling of 25,000 feet and a maximum speed of 260 knots. It’s only $11 too.

August 18, 2021

Installed my second city/area scenery from Orbx — their London City Pack — since it was 50% off.

August 8, 2021

A few days after the second hot fix now, and things are mostly in decent shape in the sim. The FlyByWire A320 and CRJs still require some work from the relevant devs, but I’ve been rotating between the CJ4 and Pipers over the last few days.

Navigation lights of other aircraft currently don’t work, which is a bit of a buzzkill for night flying. Someone has made a temporary fix, but unfortunately the light flashes are square.

I’m going to up graphics settings to find the new sweet spot after Asobo’s refinement of the sim in Sim Update 5, but will be aiming to maintain 30 frames per second.

Finally, a new livery for the Warrior and the Arrow has been procured.

August 4, 2021

Asobo issued their first proper acknowledgment that one of their updates was entirely substandard and admitted that “there is some feedback that needs to be addressed”. They apologized for the gap in communication in the days since the update, the rumored reason for which was given by Working Title – that the Asobo devs had been out of the office since its release.

A hot fix is due to be released on 6 August or 9 August. A fix for the constant crashes-to-desktop many are suffering from isn’t due to be remedied, Asobo says, until World Update 6 on August 24.

A non-exhaustive list of the planned fixes can be found here.

August 3, 2021

Today I downloaded Orbx’s Great Britain Central scenery (payware, $14) after partaking in a group flight, hosted by TheFlyingFabio, which originated in Liverpool but took in Blackpool, Manchester, Sheffield, York, Whitby and Newcastle. Its impressive offerings:

  • Uniquely modelled lighthouses and piers
  • Stadiums
  • Famous castles, manor houses and ruins
  • Bridges
  • Churches and cathedrals
  • Masts, radomes and military base installations
  • VFR reference points

Towns and cities included:

  • Manchester
  • Liverpool
  • Leeds
  • Media City, Salford
  • Sheffield
  • Blackpool
  • Newcastle