RNZAF Texans on their delivery flight


Well they’re on their way. The first two of an eventual fleet of 11 trainer aircraft in the form of T-6 Texans are on their delivery flight to Whenuapai in New Zealand. Pretty exciting times for RNZAF and great fun for kiwi simmers. Time to break out that IRIS Texan model and get virtually airborne. Aviation News have a post this week re the news and route as the machines pass through the UK:

Two Royal New Zealand Air Force T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft arrived at London-Stansted Airport on 2 August 2014 on their delivery flight. Tom Gautier was there for GAR. The first Saturday of August saw the arrival of two of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s brand new training aircraft. The announcement that the RNZAF would buy 11 T-6C variants of the Texan II was made on 27 January 2014, by the Minister of Defence, Dr Jonathan Coleman.

There’s an Air Force PDF publication that makes for interesting reading with an article on the history of the purchase. Check it out over at airforce.mil.nz

“The $154 million package includes ground simulators, classroom and computer-based training packages to complement practical flying experience in turbo-prop T-6C
aircraft. The T-6C has a proven track record in service with other militaries, and meets the NZDF’s performance and safety standards. “The new system is expected to be operational for the first  trainee intake in early 2016. It is estimated it will produce up to 15 graduate pilots and 12 Qualifying Flying Instructors per year over the next 30 years,” Dr Coleman said.

VirtuaCol Saab 340/2000 release


If you’re a fan of turbo-prop airliners and running FSX you will no doubt be missing the Saab 340 options of old under FS9/2004, especially given the history of operations in NZ and current usage in Australia with Rex and the like. Although there are the FFS and FFG options the payware FFS model doesn’t work in FSX and neither vendor are around these days for updates or support. Razbam are supposedly working on a new model which will be great when its released but in the mean time you might want to look at the payware release from VirtualCol this week. This colombian outfit have a number of products in this sort of sector, and to be fair they are at an entry level fidelity, we’re not talking PMDG sort of quality here. The price is set to suit though and I picked up this release from them earlier in the week and am pretty happy. Check out the screenies for yourself, hopefully I’ll do a detailed release some time soon…

see the VirtuaCol product page

FSLabs A320 Beta Test Applications


An Airbus fan with a little time on your hands? You might wanna get on over to FSLabs and put in an application for their Beta test team, looks like its gonna be a great product assuming they ship it before everyone’s already bought from the competition?

It’s hard to believe that it’s now been a good four years since we started developing our A320-X for Flight Simulator – time flies! Every day that goes by, every time we check a new piece of code into our source control system, every new piece of 3d modeling that fits into place, we are a tiny step closer to finally giving you the fruits of our labor, so you can also enjoy what we believe will bring flight simulation to a new level. For that to happen, though, we need your assistance – you’ve been consistently asking for this and we believe that we are now at the point in development where it’s necessary to expand our beta test team.

see the forum post

A350 visits Auckland


Plane spotters have really had a good run lately in NZ. Sounds like an excellent turnout to see the lovely looking and briefly visiting A350 which was in Auckland this week. Mike Condon has posted some great shots of the machine on the tarmac and taxiing for departure. Was a 23L lift-off so a little trick to get shots I imagine. On the simming front, has been suspiciously quiet re the A350, there was an early announcement from AFS Designs who are known for models that are on the lesser detail end of the spectrum, surely there’s an announcement from one of the big guys soon?

As “Airbus 305″, F-WWYB lifted off Auckland’s runway 23L at 1658 into a strong (and cold!) southwest breeze for its direct flight to Santiago, Chile following LAN’s Airbus A340 over the same route which had departed around 20 minutes earlier. It was great to see such a large number of aviation enthusiasts braving the elements to catch its departure!

see MRC blog post for more pics

Pacific Islands Simulation: Nagasaki airport


The Pacific Islands Simulation guys have been hard at it lately, some real top notch releases and at a very reasonable price. Latest announcement is a new Japanese airport in the shape of Nagasaki. This one is definitely a long-haul option for Pacific simmers, and with a decent level of pay-ware either out or in the works for Japan it makes for a great simming base for a few legs. Check out the screenies and follow the action in the Pac Sim forums…

Folks, we are near the tail end of development and here’s just one shot from afar showing progress work. Note that once we complete RJFU, we will start work on the adjacent Omura (OMJ) airport. OMJ is by design, and from history, part of RJFU and was (and still is) in use before RJFU was built in 1975. In FSX, Omura is part of RJFU and has ATC services from RJFU. Runways 14/32 (RJFU) and 36/18 (OMJ) are serviced from RJFU tower. There is no ICAO code listing for Omura within FSX so don’t bother checking. In real life, Omura is currently used primarily by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force helicopter squadro

see: http://islandsim.com

Orbx NZSI SP3 released


Pretty extensive looking service pack released this week by Orbx for their NZSI New Zealand South Island payware scenery. If you don’t own this or VLC as an alternative you really must check it out. The service pack has loads of goodies, key hilights an update to the Christchurch airport, and night lighting now using the FTX Global style 3d lights.

This third patch for FTX New Zealand South Island delivers new and updated content, most notably the new night lighting system, and fixes a number of issues posted by users or discovered by our team members. It is for both the DVD and download versions of the original retail release of ORBX FTX NZSI.

Godzone FSX Hawke’s Bay preview


If you haven’t caught wind of Robin Corn’s awesome new project get on over to his website and check it out. Basically its a subscription based release of photo scenery + placed autogen for various parts of New Zealand. The initial release was for some south-central South Island and now there’s some preview shots following of his next region, Hawkes Bay, in the North Island. Looks fabulous…

Here’s some shots around Hawke’s Bay with FTX Oceania active, but with ‘use Orbx trees’ unticked. This gives a better appearance of the vegetation within the photoscenery area, while retaining Orbx vegetation outside the area. For those who have VLC installed, it will show the proper NZ bush textures, as well. I’m about half-way through the autogen placement for the first part of this scenery, and it really is looking nice…