Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shutting down

I'm stopping my FG/JSBSim work for a while, maybe a long while.  I need a break and have lots of work coming up anyway, so I won't be posting anything here, and won't be updating models.  Grab them while you can because the hangar goes off the air in early December.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Moving soon

My ISP, cox cable, has decided to stop hosting their customer's websites, so the hangar will be moving when I can find a suitable replacement host.  Just as a backup here are links to the aircraft in the hangar:

Mirage IIIC
Precious Metal


Bear 360

Models by others:


AI Models:


Saturday, October 22, 2011

B-377 HowTo

The latest version of the B-377 project contains some basic instructions for operating the airplane (see the howto.txt file). I'm still trying to fine tune the engine/prop/systems code, but the result is getting close to right.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Boeing B-377 conversion

I've started a conversion project of a Boeing 377 model originally made by Greg Pepper, et. al., and hosted at the great Cal Classic website. The model is brilliant, and I hope I can do it justice. It's far more detailed than a model I would make. Many thanks to Tom Gibson at Cal Classic for permitting the FlightGear/JSBSim conversion and CC re-license.

The exterior is mostly complete. Needed are: cowl flaps, texture-mapping of flaps, wing leading edges. The interior is barely begun, but it's going to look great once the textures are applied.

The model is flyable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New project started: The Bear 360, from Bear Aircraft. Much of it is produced in Russia by Yakolev, and the engine is a Vedeneyev M-14P, 9-cylinder radial.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Had a chance to fly the one-of-a-kind, retro painted A-320 this weekend.  This paint job is the early-70's "friend ship" style.  It's fun to see the usually jaded employees pointing and taking pictures (like me :).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

FlightGear gravity for AIBallistic

In my 2.4ish code the AIBallistic code is mixing metric gravity with English units for vertical speed and buoyancy (someone's ready for that NASA job!). The result is that bombs (and other things) don't fall fast enough, and some things, like drag 'chutes, are falling up now. I started to make adaptations in my models, but now believe it's best to keep the models as they are, awaiting a future fix.

Since my code is close-to-but-not-quite 2.4, I'm wondering if anybody else is getting the same results with official 2.4?

UPDATE: The bug is still in the current GIT repository, so it's probably in 2.4 as well.

UPDATE: I'll fix the bug locally and leave the models alone (line 862 of src/AIModels/AIBallistic.cxx). I'll still call them "2.4" compatible. Sorry, but I don't have time to make another category of models to match the buggy code. I'll post the fix details here when I get back from my trip so you can rebuild your FlightGear with it.

Drifting on carrier deck

With FlightGear 2.4 I find that my models drift to the right and rotate to the left slowly. This is with the wind turned off. Is anybody else getting this? Note that my build is not exactly 2.4, but is from GIT within a few days of the 2.4 branching.

UPDATE: I've traced this to the "over-g" system, so I'll be commenting out this system until I can get it working again. The F-4J model has this change and is now updated for FG2.4.

Monday, August 22, 2011

F-84G version 0.1

The Thunderjet, version 0.1 (very alpha) is posted. It flies, and it looks like a Thunderjet, but is otherwise unfinished. The above screenshot from FlightGear shows Scorpio's tail above the F-84's canopy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

F-84G project

Beginning of an F-84G project. It'll be a while before I get much farther along, since I have a lot of FG2.4 upgrades to do in the hangar.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More updates, B-17F and DavePack

The B-17F had developed some bugs, which are now fixed in the latest version and with the newest DavePack. The bombs should work correctly now. I also changed the way I control contrails in multi-engine airplanes. The single controlling property is still used (.../generic/int[5]), but now it contains a "binary counting" style of operation to represent which engines are running. Eventually I'll convert the two-engined models over to this system. As it stands, the system is limited to four engines.

Monday, August 8, 2011

FG 2.4 updates

DavePack and the A-1H model are now updated for FlightGear 2.4. The Skyraider now has a couple new effects, blue exhaust flames which appear at high manifold pressure and low sun angles, and yellow gun muzzle flames. They are a bit experimental yet.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


1. The Precious Metal racer is now at version 1.0
2. In a few days I'll be updating everything to FG version 2.4
3. I've been sidetracked with OS problems
4. It'll be a while before I can get back to new project development

Monday, July 25, 2011

Precious Metal v0.8

Added are: Rudder and elevator finished and animated, spinner size increased, number 38 added to both sides of vertical stabilizer.

To do: Gear animation, and finish adding painted items to fuselage and tail.

Any idea if the props are featherable in the real airplane? I think it's uncommon for the prop to be featherable in a single engine airplane, but this airplane has so much propeller that it glides like a brick at idle power.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Precious Metal nearing completion

Skipped ahead to version 0.7, with the addition of main gear, exhaust stacks, rear sides of props are painted black, and number "38" added to wing texture. Not much left to do: gear animation, tail surface animation, fuselage textures.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Precious Metal update, v0.5

Version o.5 is posted. This one has working flaps and ailerons; outer gear doors (not yet animated); new nose shape; new exhaust stacks started; wing fillet; clipped wing tips with winglet; engine tweak (rpm limit now 3200).

Precious Metal update

Version 0.4 is up, with a better instrument panel arrangement, including new RPM and MAP instruments. The engine and prop files have been tinkered with a lot, trying to get higher speeds. It's been an interesting process, and the main lesson learned is that you have to slow the props down to keep the helical tip Mach from eating up all your power. I've slowed them to 1500 rpm, and I'm still getting a helical tip Mach of .913. I'll try slowing the props down a bit more. Here's a screenshot showing relevant parameters during a high speed run.

Word: don't pull more than about 30 inches of MAP for takeoff or you'll overspeed the gear for sure.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Precious Metal update

I've switched the textures in Precious Metal over to DDS format, just as a test. The textures aren't big enough to give me any feedback on performance, however the size difference is interesting. I've heard there might be problems rendering these on a Mac, so I've kept the old textures around in case I need to revert.

The torque problem has been fixed using an idea from Ron Jensen in which a torque opposite to the engine torque (moments/l-prop-lbsft) is added to the FDM's roll section.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

S-3B update

Version 0.6 is up, with windshield wipers working on pilot's side ("d" key), refueling probe ("f" key), hook geometry improvements, wing texture, wing folding geometry.

Friday, July 8, 2011

S-3B update

Updates include: flaps and slats, and the bottom edges of the fuselage are more rounded.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Precious Metal flyable

Precious Metal is now flyable, with most of the instrument panel in place. The great amount of torque is annoying, but I hope to get that fixed within a week. Still lots of work to do, but the model is already very sharp looking.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Precious Metal

I saw a photo of this unlimited class air racer and just had to make one. It's a highly modified Mustang with contra-rotating props. Work is in the very early stages, so no pre-release yet.

EDIT: More work done, so the 0.1 version is in the hangar, projects section. Note that there shouldn't be any torque (or very little anyway), so that needs to be fixed.

S-3B update

The Viking progress continues. The airplane is flyable and passed the sea trials. Still quite a bit to do. I'm calling it an S-3B, but it might turn out to be an S-3A. Markings are for VS-32, and will be the older two-tone, high-visibility scheme.

The engine spool-up time is very long, so you have to plan ahead in the landing pattern. Final approach to carrier at about 110 knots looks good for a gross weight of 30,000 pounds.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

B-17F v1.0

The B-17F, version 1.0 is posted. Bombardier view is view number 8 (it's easiest to get to it from cockpit view by using Shift-V). The "pipper" is set up for a release altitude of 30,000 ft, speed of 160 knots, and no wind. You'll have to increase your flight visibility in the environment settings in order to have adequate time to make course adjustments. The screenshot above shows the view of KSFO with default visibility.

In the future I'll add some wind, drift, altitude and speed adjustments, and some autopilot switches and release button to the bombardier's panel.

Of the eight bombs I dropped only two made it to the ground, but they scored well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

B-17F about ready for v1.0

Updates to the B-17F include: finished the waist gunners cabin, added waist guns, added porthole "window" to ball turret, drew in aft fuselage entry door, redid bombardier's cabin. There are still some things I want to do, like finishing the nose plexiglass, adding a bombardier's view with bomb sight and autopilot controls, giving the crew some texture.

The next update will be version 1.0, although it won't have all of the above.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lockheed S-3B Viking

FlightGear user "Bravo" requested an S-3B Viking model, and offered to help with the textures, so I found a Rick Sasala model, originally made for FS2000/CFS2, that could be converted. Initial conversion for FlightGear is done, and after borrowing heavily from the A-3D model it's flyable. Still gobs of work to be done. Version 0.1 is in the hangar in the "projects" section.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Skywarrior update

The A-3 Skywarrior has been updated, to include working fuel dump and air refueling, chrome shader on engine, some surface and texture changes. The new version is named A-3D, rather than A-3. It's a bit of a hybrid, with the old tail guns combined with newer sealed bomb bay containing fuel tanks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

B-17F Update

The B-17F now has contrails, set to start at 25,000 feet. The bombs now exit properly, thanks to Ron Jensen's suggestion for getting the bomb intervals using a different method. The bombs still have a collision problem after exiting the airplane. I've also tweaked the flight control trim settings a bit, and increased the minimum prop blade angle, which should give better thrust response.

Am I the only one who gets blue cloud decks?

P-47 Texture Update

Textures have better panel lines now, thanks to Lanny Chambers. The new ones have more "pop".

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

P-47D update

New Thunderbolt version posted, with updated textures and some semi-transparency added to more of the canopy frame.

Monday, June 13, 2011

B-17 "Liberty Belle" crashes near Chicago

The B-17 bomber "Liberty Belle", owned by the Liberty Foundation, crashed near Oswego, Illinois on Monday. All aboard escaped.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yet Another B-17 Update

Lots of texture updates, including weathering. Modded the engines to add cowl flaps (non-functioning). Added the window at the rear of the fuselage upper blister (radio man's window?). Changed prop texture, adding logo on front of each blade. Changed bomb bay door property so that they operate over multiplayer.

ToDo: Bombardeer's station, pilot shapes/textures, more guns, contrails, wingtip vortices, fix bomb issues, finish waist gunner's stations, flap textures.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

B-17 Project Update

The Super Fortress model has been updated to version 0.95. The cockpit instruments are mostly complete, the bomb bay doors operate (key is "d"), and the bombs come out in sequence (except for bomb #2, which refuses to leave). Unfortunately the bombs often collide upon leaving the airplane. I hope the bad behavior of the bombs is fixable.

Machine guns fire, however they spray bullets all over. Lousy gunners :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TF-104G project

This is a conversion of a Massimo Taccoli model. It was previously released in my old hangar as version 1.0, however that model is lost, so I'm starting again at version 0.5 (beta).

B-17F update

Updates to the B-17F project include: revised VRP, gear length, propeller animations, tail wheel steering, fuselage texture, starboard gunner's opening location.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The P-47D is now at version 1.0. It's designed to work with FlightGear 2.2 (code from this year), but it might work on older FlightGear versions as well. It comes with two 500lb bombs and a 75 gallon centerline drop tank.

Ground handling is difficult, due to poor visibility over the nose and due to plenty of torque. After landing it's a good idea to switch to external view to help stay on the runway. Be careful with the brakes - tap the brakes to slow down. A good final approach speed is 120 knots with full flaps (this helps keep the runway in sight).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

P-47D almost ready

The P-47D model is almost ready for release. Version number is now 0.9, and the model is complete except for some handling tweaks, especially ground handling, and a couple CAD and texture adjustments. This is a former AlphaSim model, and now wears the livery of Colonel Bud Mahurin's mount when he was with the 56th Fighter Group in 1943/44. The model has a semi-transparent bit of forward window frame to aid in seeing the runway on landing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Bone Yard

Is there anybody reading this who has write permissions to the FlightGear wiki? I've noticed that Kent Esbenshade's hangar, The Bone Yard (link can be found on this page), is not listed among the third party hangars. I think a lot of people might be missing out on Kent's great models.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

AH-1 and newest FG snapshot

Does anyone know if the AH-1 Cobra model from the hangar works with the latest snapshot release of FlightGear?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

DavePack update

The sounds used by the Super Tucano models (the AT-29 and A-29B) are now in DavePack, and the DavePack version number for FG 2.2 is now 4.8. Both Super Tucano models are also updated. Every released model now has a FG2.2 update. I never thought this day would arrive!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

BAK-12 barrier

The BAK-12 model is now updated for FG2.2, although it might also work in FG2.0 or older. The package contains an example AI scenario file that you can use to add two barriers to runway 21R/03L at Nellis AFB. Just place the scenario file in your AI directory, and invoke the scenario file in your preferences.xml file. There is also a readme file included which explains all this.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Crash-detect System

Most of the models in the Hangar use a "crash detect" system, which monitors height and g-load, and freezes the FDM when parameters are exceeded. Usually I set the limits to -1 foot and 9 g's. While adapting all the models to FG 2.2 standard lately, I noticed that many of them were failing to ground trim properly at start-up. The models flew fine thereafter, and you wouldn't have noticed this unless you routinely run FG with a console window open in order to observe the warning output. Thomas Kreitler discovered that the default FDM integration algorithm ("Trapezoidal") was causing this, and switching to another algorithm, "Adams Bashforth 2", fixed it. I'm now changing all crash detect system files to set "Adams Bashforth 2" as a default.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Break for flying

Took the F-4J out for a spin tonight, and someguy came out to fly in the F-4N. Here's a shot of someguy landing aboard the Nimitz, and a shot of the F-4's parked on deck. Full size shots are here: Landing, Parked.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I finally have the Hawker Typhoon ready for its 1.0 release. This is a great looking model by Alpha Simulations, and is set up for FlightGear 2.2.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bullets impacting tracers

Due to a change in FlightGear recently, many of the airplanes in the hangar have had a problem where the bullets sense an impact soon after leaving the barrel. I believe the problem is caused by the bullets impacting the tracers. I've solved it here by moving the bullet starting location 1 ft laterally to give it clearance. All aircraft being upgraded to FG2.2 standard should be fixed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Parking brake light

As part of the upgrades to FG2.2 standard, all aircraft will get a parking brake light, and all aircraft will have the brake set at startup. A reminder: on aircraft with catapult capability you don't need to release the parking brake prior to launch. The launch command (Shift-C) will release it for you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cobra ready for testing

If you'd like to try out JSBSim's helicopter capabilities within FlightGear, a simple AH-1S model is now available at my hangar. Please read the readme included in the package for information. This model is built for FlightGear code from about February or newer, and JSBSim code from March 10th or newer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chopper testing

Testing new FGRotor and FGElectric mods, using Alpha-J's AH-1S model. It seems to fly right, but I'm no chopper pilot, so can't tell for sure. The JSBSim FDM uses a rotor governor system, designed by Thomas Kreitler, and the standard FlightGear throttle-slider-controls-collective feature. There are also key bindings for the rotor brake and clutch. I also added a kill switch that cuts power to the rotor, in order to test the free wheeling unit and autorotating behavior.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I've been working with Thomas Kreitler, author of the rotor code in JSBSim, to add some things that will make autogyros possible, so here is the start of the first autogyro for JSBSim/FlightGear. This is the Calidus, a 500 kg MTOW aircraft, with an 8.4m rotor, powered by a Rotax engine spinning a 172cm propeller. More on the real Calidus here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

AT-29 Super Tucano

The AT-29 model has been updated for use in FlightGear 2.2. Updates include: parking brake light, fixed nose wheel steering, fixed contrail trigger.

Is there anyone out there who would like to redo the texture? The current one has "the jaggies" (it was blown up from a smaller texture).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Propeller P-factor

JSBSim has had the framework for modeling P-factor for some time now, but it's up to the modeler to provide the value (in inches per radian). This is the distance (in inches) that the propeller thrust vector is offset horizontally due to angle of attack (in radians). I've figured that a value of 0.79*D is a good approximation, where D is the propeller diameter in inches.

What this means in practice is that the Skyraider thrust vector will be offset about 2.5 inches to the right at 12 degrees of alpha (final approach alpha).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yet more DavePack and Skyraider updates

DavePack now has a slip indicator instrument, which the Skyraider really needs now that I've tweaked the P factor and spiral slipstream up a bit. I also changed the armament, adding SUU-11 minigun pods (4) in place of some CBU-25. I also removed the centerline Mk-82 bomb to save some weight.

For takeoff remember to release the parking brake. Advance power to full. The airplane will track straight until about 80 knots, at which time it will need some right rudder. At about 130 knots you'll break ground, at which time you'll need to add some right aileron as the left wing dips. Climb at 160 knots.

For landing, lower wheels when below 200 knots, and lower flaps when below 130. Fly final at at least 110 knots. Cut power over the threshold to land at about 90 knots. Don't stand on the brakes, or you'll end up in the position depicted above.

Monday, January 24, 2011

SkyRaider, A-1H

I've added a parking brake light to DavePack, which all the models will eventually have. It's especially important for the tail dragger airplanes, since they'll flip over on their nose easily if you try to take off with the brake set.

The new DavePack and A-1H are posted, both meant for FG2.2, although they might still work with FG2.0 (I don't know, and won't be testing for it).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

FlightGear 2.2 Support

I'm running FlightGear code from about mid-December, which is probably close enough to the upcoming 2.2 release to start building for 2.2. The B-17F project now has two versions, one for FG2.0, which I will no longer be working on, and one for FG2.2, which will continue to be developed. Eventually I'll have FG2.2 versions posted for all models.