RT@faasafety.gov – “Boing! A Landing Safety Tip”

Thought I’d “retweet” this – From FAASafety.gov:

Boing! A Landing Safety Tip
Notice Number: NOTC2677

When an airplane contacts the ground with a sharp impact it tends to bounce back into the air. The airplane does not bounce like a rubber ball. Instead, it rebounds into the air because the wing’s angle of attack was abruptly increased, producing a sudden addition of lift.

The corrective action for a bounce is the same as for ballooning and similarly depends on its severity. When it is slight and there is no extreme change in the airplane’s pitch attitude, a follow-up landing may be executed by applying power to cushion the next touchdown, and smoothly adjusting the pitch to the correct landing attitude. When a bounce is severe, the safest procedure is to EXECUTE A GO-AROUND IMMEDIATELY.

Do you want to know more? The Airplane Flying Handbook and other FAA manuals are available here.  Or head on over to FAASafety.gov and click on the Resources tab and select Notices.  It’s a huge site with tons of information for new and old pilots alike.

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Come see Flying’sCool! at the Westford Apple Blossom Festival, May 14

Flying’sCool will be at the Westford Kiwani Apple Blossom festival on Saturday, May 14, 2011 in Westford Center, Westford, MA. Come on over, take a test flight, and see what Flying’sCool is all about. Our tent will be near the Roudenbush Community Center tents from 9:00 am till 2:00 pm. Get more info here.

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It’s Official! – New spring term Flying’sCool classes offered at Roudenbush Community Center, Westford, MA

Saturday classes have been changed. The Saturday Classes will now start on May 21, 2011.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to fly a plane?  Attend Flying’sCool! and see!

The Roudenbush Community center in Westford, MA is sponsoring Flying’sCool! classes May 17 – June 18 (See Schedule below).  You’ll experience the thrill of flight in the comfort of a classroom without your feet ever having to leave the ground.

Each student gets hands-on experience using a state of the art flight simulator with life-like controls, flying a variety of aircraft.  See what it’s like to take off, navigate to another airport and land,  and whatever you want to do in between.  While exploring the world, you’ll learn:

  • How planes fly and how to control them
  • How to navigate (in a realistic, recognizable environment, find your street!)
  • Basic Aerobatics
  • About weather and its affect on flying
  • An introduction to interacting with air traffic control
  • Multi-player functionality in Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • But mostly your job will be to have fun flying!

Each session consists of 5 1-hour classes, with 10 minutes of instruction, and the rest of the class with the students flying in the flight simulator*.

Class size is limited, so sign up today!

*Actual flight time per student will depend on the number of students in the class.  Each class has two simulators, and class size will typically be 4 – 6 students.  Students not flying will have other activities available while they wait.

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Cessna C414 Procedures

I was recently going through what people are searching for when they find my blog, and I noticed somebody was looking for Cessna C414 procedures.

Well, as I noted previously, one of my favorite things to do in FSX is fly in multiplayer mode with the Cape Air virtual airline at Boston Virtual ATC.  In real life, Cape Air flies Cessna 402C’s.  Unfortunately, nobody has created a C402 addon for FSX yet.  The closest addon plane is the Premier Aircraft Design C414, so Cape Air Virtual asks you to use this plane for operations in their network (they also offer a paintkit for the default Baron).  The C414 is basically the same plane as the C402, except it has a pressurized cabin (hence the smaller round windows instead of the larger square windows on the C402C). 

Premier Aircraft Design is an excellent and prolific FS freeware aircraft addon site.  I highly recommend visiting them and getting any airplanes they have which might interest you.  I have a link below to the version of the plane I use that includes the Cape Air paintjob for the aircraft for use with Cape Air Virtual Airlines.

As far as procedures for the plane go, an excellent reference for flying the C402C can be found at http://www.9kpilots.com/, a complete reference of Cape Air’s flight procedures for their pilots.  For FSX, here are the checklist and reference files I use for the C414 (these files go in the aircraft folder for the C414 in FSX – more on that in a post I’m working on for later).  Or you can download the full aircraft I use for FSX here – C414.  To install the plane, just unzip the “Cessna 414” folder into your …\SimObjects\Airplanes folder in your flight simulator directory.  I’ve included many of the files from Cape Air’s flight procedures website in the “Manual” folder inside the aircraft folder. 

P.S. I’ll go over this in more detail later, but, never install your FSX program into the “program files” or “program files x86” directory.  I highly recommend installing it to the root directory of your disk, or, even better, if you have multiple disks, install it to the the root directory of your second disk.  This will help you avoid some of the UAC problems you’ll encounter with Windows Vista or Windows 7, especially if you want to install addons, and will also improve performance somewhat.  While XP doesn’t have the UAC issues that Vista and Windows 7 have, it’s still a good idea to do this for that operating system as well.

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What’s the difference between FSX Deluxe vs. Basic?

Flight Simulator X: Gold EditionBefore we get into the details of the answer to this question, my recommendation is – If you’re looking to purchase a copy of FSX, the only version you should consider is Flight Simulator X – Gold Edition.  At a typical price of $28 US or less on Amazon.com, it is really absolutely the best choice.  It contains both FSX Deluxe AND the FSX Acceleration expansion pack, which itself updates FSX to the latest version (Service Pack 2 (SP2)), and adds many other additional features, including new aircraft and new functionality, such as the ability to race your friends online land on aircraft carriers.

So, what’s the difference between the Standard and Deluxe editions of FSX?  From the Wikipedia article for FSX:

Flight Simulator X was released in three editions: Standard, Deluxe, and later Gold. The Deluxe Edition incorporates additional features, including an on-disc software development kit (SDK), three airplanes with Garmin G1000 “all glass” avionics, and the ability for the player to act as Air Traffic Control (ATC) for other online users with a radar screen.

The Deluxe Edition features 24 aircraft compared to 18 in the Standard Edition; 45 high-detail airports compared to 40; 38 high-detail cities compared to 28; and 51 structured missions compared to more than 30.

In particular, FSX Deluxe adds the Garmin G1000 avionics to the Cessna 172, Beechcraft Baron 58 twin, and to the Mooney M20M Bravo.  It also adds the Grumman Goose floatplane, and the ability to fly the Maule Orion bush plane.  The Acceleration addon also adds the P-51D Mustang Racer (with the ability to recognize damage if you overrev the engine), the Agusta Westland AW101 rescue helicopter, and the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet Navy jet fighter.

Check out the Wikipedia article for even more detailed information on the differences between the two versions and what the Acceleration addon pack adds.

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See Flying’scool! at Young Eagles, Stow, MA – August 13, 2011

Are you age 8-17, and would you like to experience what it’s like to fly a real plane? Do you have a child you think might be interested?

Then c’mon out to Minuteman Airport in Stow, MA on Saturday, August 13 from 9 am to noon to participate in the next Young Eagles event and get a chance to take control of a real airplane with the help of some local pilots. No need to sign up ahead of time, but get there early to make sure you get a spot. Continue reading

Posted in Events, Flightsim, Young Eagles | 2 Comments

“What do I need to run Flight Simulator?” Chapter 2

In this chapter, I’m going to continue the discussion about how to choose components appropriate for use with Flight Simulator for either a pre-built computer or a computer you are planning to build. As a reminder, don’t forget to check out FSSetup.com for a complete summary of everything you need to play. And don’t get too worried about what computer will work. I’ve used Flight Simulator successfully on $300 to $2000 computers. Just remember, the faster the CPU and the more graphics memory you can afford, the more performance you’ll get out of Flight Simulator. IOW, the more scenery you’ll be able to see, and the less likely you’ll notice pausing or see blurred scenery the faster you fly.

I happen to prefer to build my own computers.  That way I can choose the components I want, and typically build it for less than I could purchase a similar pre-built computer. As part of preparing for my latest class, I recently put together a desktop computer, and I’ve listed the components I used below. Whether you plan to purchase a pre-built computer or to build one yourself, the following list of components can help guide you in purchasing the computer that’s right for your needs and budget.

For purchasing computers and parts, I use two main sources; Newegg.com and Microcenter.  Newegg is online only, and Microcenter has an online presence, but also has stores across the country, with one here in Boston on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Which source is better than the other? I tend to go by price, though sometimes component availability or convenience plays a roll as well. Make sure to check both for low price; for instance, Microcenter sold the CPU for $200, while Newegg sold the same CPU for $280, but Microcenter didn’t even carry a similar graphics card at a comparable price. I’ll also search other sources as well, but I trust both these stores, they have excellent return policies if something doesn’t work or you don’t like something, and I’ve found it pretty hard to beat their prices.

Component Product Price Vendor

Motherboard Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $189 Microcenter
Continue reading
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Airshow Season is Coming!

Looking for the next airshow?  It’s not always easy but your best bet is to keep your eye out and do an occasional search.

I regularly use these sites to find them:
Atlantic Flyer Monthly – www.aflyer.com
Milavia.net Airshow Schedule

Every year starting in May and running till November, the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum in Rockland, ME hosts events about every other weekend with live airshows of a variety of aircraft from WWI aircraft and earlier to modern jets and automobiles, plus lots of visiting aircraft.

Not to mention going to airport websites in the area, like:
Hanscom Airforce Base, Bedford, MA
Boston Portsmouth Air Show at Pease, Portsmouth, NH featuring the USAF Thunderbirds
USAF Thunderbirds Schedule
US Navy Blue Angels Schedule
Rhinebeck Aerodrome – A great seasonal weekly airshow/museum featuring WWI era aircraft

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“What do I need to run Flight Simulator?” Chapter 1

This is the most common question I get whenever I do an event.FSSetup.com  To cover this, I run a website just to answer this question at FSSetup.com, which gives an excellent overview of everything you’ll need on one page.   But I thought I’d expand on the subject a little more in this blog as well.  Given the huge range of options and users’ needs, this will be an ongoing subject.

Soo…, to kick the discussion off; at a basic level you’re going to need several things:

Microsoft Flight Simulator Software
-Flight Controllers – Yokes, rudder pedals, etc.
-Flight Simulator Addon Software – Freeware and Payware

Flight Simulator Software
The lastest available version of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator series is Flight Simulator X (FSX). Since its release there have been 2 service packs released and an addon. My recommendation, if you are going to purchase the software is to get Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Gold Edition. That way, you don’t have to worry about applying the service packs. FSX Gold Edition contains the “Deluxe” version of FSX as well as the “FSX: Accelerator” addon, which brings the software up to it’s latest service pack level and adds a bunch of other features as well, such as another helicopter, a P-51 Mustang racing plane, and a Northrop Grumman F-18 Super Hornet with carrier landing capability, more missions, and several other features. It typically costs less than $30US these days.

The Computer
This is the hardest part of the question to answer.  Continue reading

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Flying’sCool! is Back!

Well, all is good in the world.  Life is settling down, and I’ve finally got some time to start Flying’sCool! back up again.  I recently got a call from Ellen Wright at the Roudenbush Community Center in Westford, MA.  She thought Flying’sCool would be an excellent addition to their lineup of community education classes for kids and adults. So it’s looking like the first classes will be starting up in mid-May and running through early June.

So I’ve been spending the last month or so wiping away the cobwebs and getting my systems up and going again.  In fact, I’ve just finished up building a new computer setup, but I’ll talk about that in a later post.

Now that I’ve got a little time (Danny’s hockey is winding down, work is settling down into a routine of sorts), it’s been good to get some flying in again, albeit the virtual variety.  Just spent the last few nights tooling around online putting in some hours flying for Cape Air Virtual Airlines, out of the Boston Virtual ATC multiplayer site. What a blast! I love being able to interact with real, live, very professional ATC people and practice my IFR procedures. It’s nice because Cape Air’s main planes, the Cessna 414, are very simple to fly. So it’s not like you have to take the time to prepare for flying any big iron. Just hop in and tool around.  You can even fly the default FSX B58 Baron for them, too.  The real Cape Air flies Cessna 402C’s, a close cousin of the 414, but, unfortunately, nobody has taken the time to make a 402 yet for FSX.

Even if you don’t feel like your ready for IFR flying, Boston Virtual ATC is a great place to fly VFR and try maybe some flight following with the ATC folks to get your feet wet speaking the lingo.  Just spend some time listening to the other pilots out there, read through their extensive but very readable tutorials and documentation, and you’ll be on your way.  There are even people there who will share your cockpit with you to help you learn.  One of the very cool features of FSX is that you can, over the internet, share your cockpit with anyone who also has a copy of FSX and the plane you are flying, and they can control various systems of the plane while you fly (radios, flaps, etc.), or you can turn the controls over to them and you can sit back and relax and watch them fly.  All in all, Boston VATC is a great all around place to go in the evening to relax.

Anyway, I’ll be trying to blog here extensively, mostly about Flight Simming and getting around in and setting up the software.  Hope to see you again!

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