United Island Hopper across the Pacific


Fascinating article on Airchive.com this week about a trans Pacific Ocean route serviced by United (formerly a Continental service) all the way from Los Angeles to Guam via the Marshal Islands and a few other planned and un-planned stop-overs along the way. The entire route spent on 737s with connecting options at the Guam end of things onwards to South East Asia, China and Japan. Sounds like a bit of a marathon but most Simmers I imagine would be happy to endure it in real life. Heck, I think I’ll have a crack at it in the PMDG this weekend :)

How about flying on a 737-800 across the Pacific Ocean, westward from Honolulu to the tiny spits of sand which make up the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. It is a 15ish hour travel day which could be completed in 7 on the nonstop to Guam. But for the people living and working on these remote atolls, the United Island Hopper represents their primary connection to the outside world. It is one of the last true “milk run” flights operating in the world

read the entire article here

New Delta Airlines Pacific route (Seattle – Hong Kong)


Fancy emulating some new wide body US airline long-haul flights across the Pacific? Well you might consider a few legs in and out of Hong Kong now that Delta have established a new route pair right across the ocean from Seattle to Hong Kong…

Hong Kong is merely the latest. The Chinese hub is the ninth international destination in the carrier’s burgeoning Emerald City crown, and the last in its most recent expansion drive abroad. In the past year Delta has added service to London, Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo-Haneda. The four come in addition to previously existing service to Amsterdam, Beijing, Paris, and Tokyo-Narita. In total, the expansion has resulted in the carrier injecting well over 2,500 international seats per day into the city.

see the original article at Airchive.com


Just Flight Canberra PR9 bomber review


Flightsim.com have just published a detailed review written by Bill Stack of Just Flights Canberra PR9 bomber. This model is the photo reconnaissance (PR) variant of the Canberra so technically not one operated by RAAF or RNZAF as far as I know, however it’s pretty close, looks nicely modelled, and Bill’s review is generally positive so this could be well worth a look if you’re hankering for some post-WWII bomber action. Heck, you could even simulate some Malaysian campaign sorties in this bad boy…

Simulating flight in this venerable aircraft with its modern avionics is a special treat. Its unique cockpit and performance characteristics make it unlike any other stock or addon aircraft for FSX. Appearances inside and outside are accurate and detailed. The manuals are comprehensive and beneficial.

read the full review here

Boeing puts 787-9 Brakes to the Test

Very interesting video here direct from Boeing as they complete the Brake testing of the new 787-900. Amazing to see how far they push things, you expect this given the obvious safety implications of something going wrong with the braking system, but wow they really do test things to the limit. Wasn’t aware that the tires had an auto-deflate mechanism built in during over-temp conditions, you see a demo of this near the end of the video.

1,500th 747 comes off the production line


Wow, you gotta be impressed about this much heavy iron being pumped out of one company. The 747 has been around for a long time now but she still looks as impressive when you see one as the first time you every caught site of a jumbo.

Boeing has delivered the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line to Frankfurt, Germany-based Lufthansa. The milestone airplane is a 747-8 Intercontinental, the 14th one that Lufthansa will incorporate into its long-haul fleet. “Reaching this milestone delivery is a testament to the capabilities of the airplane and our commitment to continuous innovation,” said Eric Lindblad, 747 vice president and general manager, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

As much as I love the aircraft for some reason I just never got around to buying the payware PMDG model, just don’t seem to fly that many long haul legs, which I guess is strange for a Pacific simmer as we have plenty of long haul options :)

PCAviator Virtavia discounts


If you’re into military simming with a Pacific connection and don’t already have every piece of Virtavia kit available then take a nosey at PCAviators Virtavia sale this week. Some substantial discounts with lots of airframes that have RNZAF or RAAF connections, such as: F-111, C17, Chinook, Caribou, Blackhawk, Seasprite, V-22 Osprey (seen on manoeuvres in Aussie recently) and WWII era or war-birds stuff like the Blenheim and Harvard.

see: http://www.pcaviator.com.au/store/home.php?cat=736

New CLS 742/3 repaints from ARNZ


Long time modeller and expert repainter Jon Murchison of ARNZ has released a couple of lovely new repaints for the new CLS 747-2/300 for FSX. These more or less coincide with the 1.5 update recently and go with his ANZ textures released previously. Most Pacific simmers I’m sure will be well aware of his repaints, how he is so productive is anyones guess :)

see: http://www.flightsim.co.nz/repaints/aircraft/CLS/Boeing%20747-200%20HD

Alabeo PiperSport review at AirDailyX


Kenneth Kerr has published a great review of the Alabeo PiperSport, better known down-under as the Czech Aircraft Works (CZAW) SportCruiser. Lovely looking aircraft and lots of these on the Pacific registers so this is worth a look.

The PiperSport is my kind of aircraft! What I mean by that is this. If I could afford my own aircraft right now, it would be something like this. I sincerely believe that LSA in the USA, and in Canada Advanced ultralights, are the future of General Aviation. Sure, if you intend to take the family across the country then you might still want a Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft or modern day Cirrus, but if all you want to do is have flying fun, the lighter alternatives just cannot be beaten. In my mind LSA (Light Sport Aircraft) is Lovely, Sexy and Alluring!

souce: http://www.airdailyx.net/alabeo-cruz-pipersport/

CaptainSim 777 release v1.4


CaptainSim have a business model they’ve followed a couple of times now where custom

ers are invited to buy pre release versions to fund the completion of the project. Essentially you receive a visual model with panels and systems that flesh out over subsequent releases and have bugs hopefully ironed out over time as the final release approaches.

I bought into the program for the 777 and although it has a lovely external model and what looked like a decent cockpit it wasn’t without its issues, even after the initial v1.0 release.

I’ve personally experienced ridiculous cockpit panel behaviours/responses, start-up sequences that were just random, climb-outs that were comical, LNAV and VNAV tracking that was diabolical, FMC/CDU and MCP weirdness and a whole bunch of other highly irritating stuff. This was despite following published procedures for de-installing/re-installing between releases and initialising the aircraft by placing at CS recommended starting airports and states otherwise the damned thing would lose the plot.

So you could say I wasn’t holding out much hope for this latest v1.4 release. Imagine my delight when after a cold-n-dark start-up and IFR leg from Hamilton to Wellington (yes I know, hardly typical) the ruddy thing behaved FLAWLESSLY !!!

Well… close enough…

  • pre-flight, FMC setup etc all went fine (although this was ok for me previously too)
  • start-up sequence went well, I dig the panel, it’s nicely done, good level of detail, interactions seem to be subtlety improved
  • taxi and handling are great, the thing looks good and feels big but seems to move accordingly on the tarmac
  • take-off roll and climb-out were fine, I was running a light load so was pretty sporty but not stupidly supersonic like previous releases have been for me
  • LNAV and VNAV tracking were bang on, this has been weak in the past in my experience
  • on approach to Wellington the TOD and general descent profile behaviour was bang on, really pleased with that
  • LOC capture was smooth without any wild redirection to align and GS capture and tracking went well all the way to finals
  • AP and AT off and hand flying to touch-down felt very good, responsive but still felt like a heavy aircraft as I guess it should
  • touch-down, reverser’s, spoilers, auto-brake, roll-out, and taxi-to-gate all went swimmingly

The few niggles I had weren’t show stoppers…

  • at start-up Cranking right starter resulting in left-engine start
  • C-N-D default is still to have all controls hydraulic valves isolated, you have to use the pesky guarded switches right at the back of the overhead to enable Yoke/Pedals (is this realistic? does PMDG do the same?)
  • De-selected one of the Generator drive switches and no combination of selections would re-enable it, the whole flight was fed from the other generator

Overall I’m a happy camper. After a few more legs I’m sure I’d be at the point where I could recommended this for the budget concious amongst us

Real Tonga leasing Chathams Convairs while MA60s out of action


Another real world item via the 3rdLevelNZ blog, this time relating to the dreaded MA60 in Tonga and an interim solution in the form of Chathams aircraft. Might be time to break out Greg Peppers CV580 for some Pacific simming :)

Real Tonga confirmed that the 50-seater Convair arrived in Tongatapu yesterday afternoon from New Zealand, and made its first flight to Vava‘u, where it remained overnight. Real Tonga’s Chief Executive, Tevita Palu said, “we are bringing in the aircraft to provide immediate back-up for our MA60 services between Tongatapu and Vava‘u.

source: http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.co.nz/2014/06/whats-air-chathams-convair-doing-in.html

There is a flyable MA60 AI model out there for the Sim but looks a decent payware model is unlikely given how much real world bad press these are getting lately.