Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) - We're really sorry about Microsoft Flight

Seriously tempted by this now that it works on a wider set of planes, but it’s definitely not as good value at the retail price and I’m a little worried about possible conflicts between AAO and Mobiflight. Think I’ll wait till 2024 comes out and see how the whole compatibility situation shakes out.

I’d also still have to use the X-Touch on GA planes for the FMS and Comms knobs, so it’s not like I could just switch fully over.

Yeah, the retail price is a lot more than I paid on KS.

Looks like WinWing is releasing an equivalent for $99/$129.

I love my WinWing HOTAS hardware, and while their customization app has a horrible UI, the MiniFCU isn’t super-easy to customize either. (Luckily I found a great generic profile on Flightsim.to.)

I suppose it depends on whether it (ie the displays) will be addressable by something like Mobiflight or if you have to use the Winwing software. Seems much more likely that it will work with more planes if it’s the former.

So for anyone exploring the Caribbean update, there’s a killer deal on a pack of airports in the area:

$20 for $127 worth of add-on airports. I picked it up and the ones I’ve checked out so far are really nicely detailed. The whole pack is the same price as FeelThere charges for their Bermuda alone. No duplication from the airports included in the world update.

Woah, the SU15 glass cockpit optimisations look amazing. Good job WT!

VFR approach to LFLJ earlier today:

Had to go around and take the chairlift

Nice!

I’m still pootling about with FSEconomy. I’ve settled into a routine with it now where it’s just my chill out game. Still have to take a few months break now and again though.

Woah, that’s some nice snowy scenery. Looks almost like a photograph.

That’s because it is.

I just watched the 787 video @Ginger_Yellow posted a few weeks ago, and I was impressed how the pilot (a real 787 pilot) mostly managed the cockpit with his mouse. Maybe he has a stick or yoke or something, but if so, he wasn’t relying on it much. If and when I reinstall MSFS, I’ll have to think about whether I want to clutter my room with my yoke, pedals, radio stack, etc. Maybe one can enjoy it with a more minimalist setup?

Also, he made it looks so easy to follow the flight path. When I do that with a big jet, I’m in full panic the whole time, lol.

Pretty sure he uses a Honeycomb setup, but I don’t think he’s mentioned any button box type hardware that I know of, other than the MiniFCU, which I don’t think he had when he did that video.

It’s definitely possible to do most things with mouse and keyboard, though I would definitely want a joystick or yoke for control surfaces. It’s just immersion and a bit of convenience you’re giving up by not having other hardware, really. It’s really nice to have physical rotaries instead of fiddling with the mouse.

I just had something interesting happen on a flight. I’ve was flying the Cessna T207A out of Billings, Montana. While climbing to cruise the engine loses power. Not all power, but it’s suddenly running at just 20 inches on the manifold pressure (the top of the green zone is 30). I play with the throttle but it does nothing. I can see the control moving in the cockpit but even cutting the throttle does nothing to affect the engine. I can adjust prop speed and mixture and those have their intended effects, but my throttle seems frozen. Perhaps literally as it was below freezing. I hit the carb heat but it does nothing. I switch between tanks but that’s not it. I try the emergency fuel pump and nothing. That’s about all I can think of. So, I guess I need to bring this thing down.

I start poking at the GNS 530 to find the nearest airport but the only thing closer to KBIL is a little unlit dirt strip. Since I have enough power to keep my altitude and even climb a bit I just head back to KBIL to give me a nice long runway. The built in ATC really needs a “emergency, I seriously need to land now” option, but again I’ve got the power to fly the pattern. The problem is going to be actually landing, since I can’t reduce engine power.

As diving and picking up speed is going to be a problem, I come in at a really low glideslope angle. I can still work the prop and mixture so I slow down the prop to reduce speed. I get it just under flap speed (103kt) and gradually deploy full flaps to give myself as much drag as I can. On flare I take advantage of the long runway to float just off the pavement and then pull back the mixture to reduce and then cut engine power. I float for a bit longer before I slow down an touch ground. Somehow I actually pull this off for a really smooth landing.

This was my favorite landing ever.

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Still don’t know what happened. If it was a failure, cold weather effect, or even a bug. I’ve tried killing my engine as if it was a failure to see if I can land somewhere, but this was new and unexpected.

Cool story! So does MSFS have random engine failure now? I don’t remember that, but I may have had it turned off.

Getting closer…

https://www.beyondatc.net/pricing

Seems like premium voices could get pretty pricey. Luckily that’s not what I’m most interested in.

I bought FSHUD a few weeks ago and am reasonably happy with it. BATC looks interesting, but even the base price is a little high. I don’t really care about the premium voices too much.

This won’t be a day one purchase for me anyway. I really need to see how the whole thing actually works once a few thousand people kick the tires on it. They’ll fiind all the scenarios it falls apart.

As an aside, V1 Sims had a fun GA stream yesterday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYRnA1FuKuo

If it works as well as it seems (and continues to do so in and isn’t rendered obsolete by MSFS24), I’d be happy to pay the price.It would be the biggest possible leap in immersion for me other than flying VATSim, which isn’t going to happen.

Yah, I am going to go on a rant here about Vatsim.

Vatsim is bandied about as the “if you want real ATC, just go on Vatsim” option as people talk about AI ATC. Now, I kinda see where they are coming from. However:

  • At a base level, ATC coverage is spotty at best. It is rare to get complete coast-to-coast coverage in the USA.
  • At the same time, it’s common for like just LA Center to be on for that region. Under them off the top of my head is KLAS, KPSP, KLAX, KSAN, KONT, KSBA, KLGB and likely a host of other large airport. Just getting clearance can be a PITA.
  • Add to that people who miss radio calls, which as much as people admonish that you need to pay attention and not like watch YouTube, it’s not uncommon for me to be looking at a chart and hearing “AMERICAN2806TURNRIGHTHEADING225DESCENDANDMAINTAINFL230” while the controller just spits it out. Then they get mad when they have to repeat.
  • And, what amuses me is when people say “Use the Vpilot audio setting and check if you are in the green,” vPilot is the only VOIP program I have ever used where you can’t actually test what you sound like. So, you get people who are in the green but boomy. Pretty much every night I am amazed what the heck people are using for mics. Even work calls when people are using laptop speakers and mics don’t sound nearly as horrid as many Vatsim users.
  • And, the “just get good on vatsim” folks have silently added “and on someone else’s time.” I keep sayng: the only way to not be ‘that guy’ on Vatsim is to be ‘that guy’ on Vatsim a lot. However,
  • Dang it, flying into an event or a busy airspace where you just aren’t comfortable on Vatsim is a horrid idea. Add to that, people who have no basic idea how to fly their plane. I am guilty of this so I can’t complain to much, but wow.
  • Vatsim is just a product of its own success. There are way too many pilots and not enough controllers. Controllers having enough of people and just dropping is something that happens. Or. they just uncork on pilots.

So, yeah, things like BATC or some sort of AI ATC is a fantastic solution. Especially coupled with FSLTL.

I much prefer Pilot Edge to Vatsim. Pilot Edge is a paid service, but you get what you pay for: ATC coverage at every airport in the Pilot Edge covered area. Alas, that area is limited to the western US, but that’s still plenty of territory. They have an elaborate certification program. I’ve never been so nervous as when I flew a pattern around a Grand Canyon airport for my first cert. They also have fly-in events and such. Those keep pilots and atc very busy.

The best thing about a service like Pilot Edge is that it made me speak, helping me get over mic fright. But I guess BATC lets us speak too, right? That feature alone may get me to reinstall MSFS. I just dunno if I want to haul out my yoke and pedals yet…