Saturday, 30 November 2013

Prepar3d v 2.0

This is not a news related to my sim, but this is a news about the entire world of simulation...

Lockheed Martin released a new version of their simulator: Prepar3d v 2.0.

Here is the product overview:

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Glass Cockpit

I'm back, after a few months...I was busy at work...

...just a little step forward in my Glass Cockpit construction...I got the front panel: now it looks prettier, but buttons and labels are still missing...

Here are some shots about the panel in "beta version"...

With the panel in front of the monitors, running software and positioning windows became a little more complicated.

So, I decided to write a little client/server application to run all the glass cockpit softwares and to set their position to match the holes in the panel. I wrote this application in c# language: there is a server module which runs in the glass cockpit PC and a client module which connects itself to the server through socket and sends commands to run glass cockpit software and to set their position sending x;y coordinates.

Nothing so complicated...if someone is interesting in getting a copy or the source code, please contact me by private mail.

Waiting for the next step...

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Andora Air Show 2013

Today I'm not writing about my Home Cockpit but I will tell you a story about aviation ...the real one.

We went by motorbike to Villanova d'Albenga airport and Marina di Andora, in Liguria, to attend the Andora Air Show 2013

Here is the story about the journey (sorry, only in Italian language):

This is a video about the Villanova d'Albenga airport:

And this is a video about the show in Andora:

And for last a lot of photos :)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Taxi lights installation on Learjet 45

I received some request about how I installed taxi lights on the default FSX Learjet45, missing on the original model, and so I decided to write this post.

I would like to specify that I followed this procedure I found on the flightportal website.

The procedure is quite simple: you have to download the effect file and the relative texture which you can find in this package - filename is FSX - Sirocco LT - a 132 ft concept motoryacht. This is a driveable yatch for FSX. After installation, we get the effect files.

These files are:

- [temp_path]/effects/fx_siroccogtx2_reflectors.fx to copy in [fsx_install_path]/effects
- [temp_path]/effects/texture/fx_siroccogtx2_light.bmp to copy in [fsx_install_path]/effects/texture

[temp_path] is the temporary installation folder of the package

Now, you need to edit your aircraft.cfg file, which you can find in the [fsx_install_path]/SimObjects/Airplanes/Lear45 folder

You have to add the following lines in the [LIGHTS] section of the file:

light.XXX=6, -37.1, -4.55, -2.2 , fx_siroccogtx2_reflectors,
light.YYY=6, -37.1, 4.55, -2.2 , fx_siroccogtx2_reflectors,

XXX e YYY must be progressive number, not used yet in the [LIGHTS] section

This is the complete [LIGHTS] section of my aircraft.cfg file:

;/Types: 1=beacon, 2=strobe, 3=navigation, 4=cockpit, 5=landing
light.0=3, -39.00, -23.6, -0.25, fx_navredm ,
light.1=3, -39.00, 23.6, -0.25, fx_navgrem ,
light.2=3, -63.63, 0.00, 9.20, fx_navwhi ,
light.3=1, -37.00, 0.00, -2.59, fx_beaconb ,
light.4=2, -36.97, 0.00, -2.62, fx_strobe ,
light.5=1, -63.05, 0.00, 9.75, fx_beaconh ,
light.6=6, -37.1, -4.55, -2.2 , fx_siroccogtx2_reflectors,
light.7=6, -37.1, 4.55, -2.2 , fx_siroccogtx2_reflectors,
light.8 = 4, -26.00, 0.00, 2.00, fx_vclighth,
light.9 = 4, -14.00, 0.00, 1.90, fx_vclight,
light.10=1, -39.00, -24.0, -0.25, fx_strobe ,
light.11=1, -39.00, 24.0, -0.25, fx_strobe ,
light.12 = 4, -30.00, 0.00, 2.10, fx_vclighth ,
light.13 = 4, -20.00, 0.00, 2.10, fx_vclight,

Here is the final output:

Many thanks to gattupuzzu user for the post on flightportal website

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Little Summer Update - Lights

Summer is not the best season to work on my simulator and so I have just a little update...

I worked on the taxi and landing lights problem...they doesn't work on the Learjet 45 in FSX ... just landing lights work as expected...

Reading this useful post on portal, and this other one on flightportal, I was able to run the taxi and landing lights.

Here there are 2 screenshots:

Taxi Lights

Landing Lights

In addition, always reading the post, I was able to light up "passengers' lights":

Here is a little video of a departure from LIRP, Pisa S. Giusto, which demonstrates my lights configuration.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Cloche holder

After a long waiting, I'm back with a little update.

Tired to used a stool as cloche holder, making Alessia happy, I decided to build the holder using the remained wood.

I take equipment and stuff and I'm ready to make some sawdust in the garage:

After a lot of cuts, the holder takes shape. So I assembled the pieces all together and I verified the dimensions.

Here is the result:

With the cloche:

Maybe it's all right...

So, I decide to make some tests to verify the calibration of cloche and rudder pedals.

I think something went wrong about rudder pedals ... my first landing was "just" strange...

Here is the video:

So I reconfigured and recalibrated cloche and rudder pedals and all went right. Using FSUIPC to set controllers, they must be disabled in the simulator settings...otherwise this is what will happen :)

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Startup Panel - New Version

Waiting to complete the glass cockpit panel with the cover, I decided to refine the software involved in the startup panel, just to make it more real...

So, with a little bit of patience, I wrote down some SIOC code snippet and what I got is:

In a few words, after pressing the engine start buttons, the engine start and fuel pump leds light up and, when the engine is running, the generator become active and START and FUEL PUMP leds automatically switch off.

I'm not so sure that the real procedure is the same as mine but now is certainly closer to the reality

Email me (marco(at) if you would like to get this SIOC code.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Ivao Stess Test Event - Our test flight

Waiting for glass cockpit panel, we wake advantage of an IVAO's event, the organization which manages online pilots and ATCs, to take a test flight with our home cockpit in alpha version :)

This event is the IVAO STRESS TEST EVENT: they potentiated servers and organized this event to test them in heavy load.

This evening we are three guys: me, Piero, my true copilot and "cobuilder", and Mauro, a curious observer and videomaker :)

We decided to fly from LIEO Olbia Costa Smeralda to LICJ Palermo Punta Raisi

This is the flight plan we prepared:


Cruise Flight Level: FL290
Cruise Speed: 0.7 Mach
Distance: about 300 nm
Duration: about 1 hr

Our callsing??? IFIRM76.

We expected a good ATC coverage but we found just one ATC, LIEO_APP, which followed our departure from LIEO.

For all the rest of the flight we switched COM1 radio on UNICOM.

We got some technical problem, due to a wrong setting for WideFS on the Glass Cockpit PC.

LIEO_APP assigned us runway 23 for takeoff, reaching it by taxing to hold point Alpha, via taxiway Mike

We were parked on the left side of APRON 1 and this was our taxi path:

ATC assigned us the LABOM5D SID (Standard Instrument Departure):

it expects, after takeoff, a little right turn heading 243° and then, 15 nm far from vor SME, an ARC DME 17 nm from vor SME to intercept R 187 vor SME towards LABOM, the initial fix of our flight plan.

LIEO_APP cleared us to 5000 ft, then to FL150 and then to our final flight level FL290.

Having a SID with an ARC DME procedure was very challenging for us. Maybe next time we'll be luckiest :)

Except some error on readbacks and except that I forgot to activate the Transponder after takeoff, the communications with ATC were not so bad.

The flight proceeded smoothly as we approaching LICJ Palermo Punta Raisi.

No ATC near here and so we kept UNICOM frequency.

So, we decided to use KAPIL2B STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route), which link the final fix of our flight plan KAPIL to vor PRS, the Initial Approach Fix:

On vor PRS we decided to land on runway 25, using ILS-Y instrumental procedure:

From vor PRS, we have to turn heading 048° and at 15 nm far from PRS we have to turn right to intercept the loc RAI and align with the runway 25 heading 245°.

Following the glide path on the chart:

we checked that the IF (Intermediate Fix) is at 15 nm from PRS and must be intercepted at 3800 ft.

Once intercepted, the plane will be aligned to the runway with the right vertical speed.

We didn't find any problem following the procedure and as soon as we landed, we noticed that just behind us there was another plane landing on the same runway...we were not alone...

So, we landed and left the runway taxing to the parking gates.

During the flight we found some problems on Saitek panels:

- autopilot locked and the HDG function was not available so we continue with manual heading;
- autopilot and radio module frequently lost the setting values; maybe a bug;

I'll try to find a solution for them.

Anyway, it was a wonderful experience; we expected more ATC but time we'll be luckier...

Here is the video of this flight:

Friday, 10 May 2013

Glass Cockpit assembly

Yeah, it's time to assembly the Glass Cockpit panel.

We started with the CAD project to get the right references e measurements.

We decided to fix monitors over the wood panel to build the definitive panel with holes for the buttons and leds.

And works begin...drawing on the wood the 2 monitors and relative holes for the fixing...

Two monitors assemblied:

Now the panel will be linked to the cockpit and all the cabled will be plugged...

Here is it...It works :)

Next step we will add the plastic panel with buttons and leds so we can complete the tasks

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Engine startup...

Finally, I assembled all the front panel and center pedestal...I pasted all the leds behind the relative plastic bezel, using silicone, and then, after one long day, I tested them all and then I pasted all the bezel at the panel.

Then I wired all together but, during my general tests, I had some unexpected problems :)

- the R IGN button doesn't work because of an FSUIPC problem, which doesn't recognize the keycode of ">" key. So I wrote to Peter Dowson, the developer of FSUIPC, and he told me that he will release shortly an update - "thanks Pete"

- FLAP 8 led doesn't work anymore...burned (but I didn't understand the reason) I teared it out, I took another one and I pasted it again with silicone...what a difficult position to work!!!!!

- SPOILER RETRACTED led doesn't work doesn't light up...a solder in the interface board is broken. So, I repaired it and all begins to work again.

Finally all works as expected, and there is less confusion than before:

And here is the cockpit to test...waiting for the other building steps:

Using the ready panels I can do a real engine startup procedure.

Here is the video:

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Center pedestal completed

Finally, all hardware arrived and so I'm ready to wire Startup and General panels.

With lots of patience, I studied all the links and, solder after solder, I was able to wire all of the objects, using the usual flat cables.

Here is the result:

What a mess, right?

But everything is connected "outside" through just two flat all of the wires will be hidden under the cover :)

To let the links easier between buttons/leds and interface cards (USB keyboard and Opencockpit card), I made simple interface boards, one for each panel.

All wired, power up...the panels take life :)

In the dark:

In the next step I'll do some tests about all the functionality.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Growing up...

Waiting for hardware to be used to wire the center pedestal, we fixed the front panel over the base...with the center pedestal till not connected.

Here is the result:

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Center Pedestal

Taking advantage of the Easter's holidays, I had time to going on with my project.

Some days ago, I got Startup and General panel

[see post]

and so I begin wiring buttons and leds.

I bought some electrical material to make things clean, and so I have to wait for them.

So, I switched to the phisycal work, and with Piero's usual help and supervision, we started to work on center pedestal:

And here is the final result, with 2 holes for the panels and one for the throttle quadrant:

And here is the complete center pedestal:

The next step will be the interfacing of buttons and leds...

The goal is not so far