Ultra-Realistic Flight Simulation

Vendors sporting X-Plane at Airventure

At Airventure, there are hundreds of exhibitors trying to sell their products.  Some of those products really need to be demonstrated, like Precision Flight Controls for instance, they make excellent simulator hardware like yolks, radio stacks, etc.  When they set up a demo rig, they use X-Plane to run their sims so that you can get a good idea how it feels!  While I was at #OSH14, I tried to find everyone who was using X-Plane and get some pictures of their booths!

Here are the photos with the websites below!

https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1ongMC

Day 5 – Chillin’ on the lake

Day 5 – The Seaplane Base

The seaplane base is one of the most commonly missed spots at AirVenture, I think that is because it is a bit out of the way from the main show grounds and where people generally hangout.  It is about 10 minutes by tram (from the vintage barn) to the stop where you grab a bus then it is another 15 or so minutes to your destination.  The moment you step off the bus,  it’s like you’re a thousand miles away in some island paradise.  A whole world away from the golf shirt clad sales people, heavy jets and crowds.  After the bus ride, it’s a short hike along a beautiful wooded path to the main area.  If the main grounds are like an amusement park, the seaplane base is like summer camp.  It’s all a lot less dressed up, and because of that, you can get the lovely relaxed vibe that everyone enjoys.

As relaxed as it is, there is still a lot to do!  From watching arrivals from a shaded adirondack chair, grabbing lunch or checking out the very few vendor booths, you won’t be bored.  They also offer a nice tour of the planes anchored in the lagoon on classic pontoon boats.  I couldn’t believe that boat rides were free with a gentle request for a donation of $3.

When a plane is due to fly, a skiff will tow it to the dock where the pilot and passengers will load up and motor out into the cove for takeoff.  People crowd the shore to watch flight operations.  There is plenty of room for everyone to get an excellent view and photos.  We saw a variety of planes from the tiny SeaRey and its larger cousin the Lake Buccaneer, a brand new Husky on floats and a vintage Cessna 195 on floats.  Of course there were plenty of the more common Cessna 150, 172 and 182 on floats as well.

The whole environment is so friendly.  Word is that if you ask nicely, there are plenty of pilots happy to take you around the pattern in their water bird.

Do yourself a favor and put the Seaplane base on the top of your list of things to do at Airventure.  You will if you go on Monday or Tuesday, you will probably find yourself there again on Thursday or Friday too!

Let us know how you like it!

Thomson

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Day 4 – Bell 47 Ride

Day 4 –  The Bell 47s!

 

You know the old TV show M.A.S.H.?  It’s a classic.  It also made the Bell 47 super recognizable.  Here at AirVenture, there are 4 of them that take people on short tours of the show from the Pioneer Airport (right behind the museum).  Unlike most of the other rides you can take here in Oshkosh, it’s not super pricey, about $50.  The tours aren’t very long though, approx. 5 mins, but every second there is something interesting to look at!  From the endless campers in Camp Scholler to the C-17 on display on the Boeing Plaza.  Don’t be dissuaded by the short duration of the flight – there is nothing like Airventure from the air.  More than 40,000 camp sites at Camp Scholler.  10,000 airplanes parked all around Whittman Field.  Everything that flys is on display here.  You’ll walk 10 miles a day to take it in by foot (no kidding).  The Bell 47 will show you the entire scene and blow your mind in just a few minutes.  I was warned not to take too many photos and just enjoy the flight.  I opted to photograph the scene for you, maybe I need to take a second ride tomorrow and just drink it all in!

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Have fun!

Thomson

Day 3: The EAA Museum!

Day 3 – The EAA Museum!

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One place that you hear about quite a bit at AirVenture is the EAA Museum!  I really missed most of the interesting things that it has to offer the last two years but this year I’m glad to have visited.  The awesome thing is, is that your wristband from the show provides admission, no extra charge.  It has incredible one-of-a-kind pieces of history, from a homebuilt project that was led by Paul Poberezny, the founder of the EAA, to the X-Prize winner Spaceship One.  (Sorry for the iffy photography, the lighting is really hard.)  The complete history of flight is represented – one of my favorites was the cockpit of the Rutan Voyager – amazing stuff.

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With almost every exhibit, there’s a informative video that you can queue up to learn more about what you are looking at.  Even though the display floor isn’t super-hanger-sized, they know how to pack it in!

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All the history is cool and all but it my mind, the kids area is just the best!  There are all sorts of interactive displays that really make you understand what is going on with the science of flight.  For example, hang-glider sim that you actually get in and control the glider trying to land on a specific target. A hot air ballon sim with the same idea – control the balloon and land on a spot.  A control tower area to look out over Pioneer Airport and a really cool half-scale model of a F-22 Raptor (It’s still huge!) with a cockpit open to climb inside.  Another highlight is a full-motion WWII fighter sim that you can take for a spin for $6.  Snap rolls really will spin you upside down and threaten your lunch.

Catch a bus near the main gate for a quick ride the the museum.

Have fun, and let me know what the coolest part for you was, over on Twitter!

Thomson

Day 2: The Ultralight Runway (The Fun Fly Zone!)

Day 2

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The Ultralight runway is one of the only places at AirVenture where regular pilots can actually fly during the event!  I had no idea that most pilots who fly here park their planes and don’t fly them again until it’s time to leave.  The fun fly zone is just a small grass strip at the far south end of the airport.  There are so many different types of flying craft in the fun fly zone.  The ultralight runway is where you can watch fixed wings, powered canopies, rotorcraft and auto-gyros (which are super cool to see fly).   In addition to ultralights, there are also some light sport aircraft that get to join the fun.  Around the strip, some of the ultralight manufacturers have booths set up incase you would like to learn more.  If ask extra nice, you might be able to snag a ride for a small fee. ($35 for one if I remember)

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The whole ultralight area gives out such a family vibe!  Whenever the flying starts (usually around dawn at dusk due when the wind is quiet), the announcers climb up to the roof (deck) of a small reviewing stand.  They are super knowledgeable about all the aircraft and the pilots-you can tell that they are genuinely having fun!  Spectators fill the stands and also the fence line around the runway.  The announcer narrates flight ops describing the aircraft and interesting stuff about the builder/pilot.  Each pilot takes turns flying the pattern so everybody can enjoy lots of take offs and landings.

I caught some of the rotorcraft ops this afternoon.  Can you imagine flying a helicopter you built from a kit?  Amazing!

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It’s just so much fun to see all these different contraptions flying around.  One of my favorites are the powered-parachute backpack!  It’s basically a propeller that they put on like a big, really weird backpack that has a canopy overhead.  They are super quiet and looks like an absolute blast.  Had there been a tandem, I would have begged for a ride!

Even though it’s a ways from the center of the action, it’s pretty easy to get to.  Just hop on a blue tram headed south, and you’ll be there in no time.

Have fun and tell me how it was over on Twitter!

Thomson

Day 1: Things you gotta do at AirVenture

This week at EAA AirVenture, everyday I will be posting an staple activity that you simply must do before you leave!  This is my third year here and every single time I come, I find something new to me that I totally missed before.  My goal with these posts are to give you a heads up so that you can get the most out of your visit, or start making a plan for the future.

 

Day 1 – Monday

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A classic event at Oshkosh is a visit to Fisk Approach!  They’re super nice over there,  as long as it’s not too busy, there should be a controller happy to answer your questions.  At Fisk they take all the traffic coming in over the railroad tracks and give them instructions for entering the pattern at KOSH.  The really crazy thing for pilots is, that Fisk is much too crowded a frequency for every pilot to read back all the instructions they receive, instead, they ask you to “(type), rock your wings”.  This can be a little confusing at times but usually, it works out very well.

Fisk Approach is only about 15 minutes away from the airport, but it can be hard to find sometimes.  Here’s a google map to help you along the way.

Have a great time at Fisk, let us know how it goes!  BTW, they really like the muffins from Big Apple Bagels…

Thomson

Xavion Brings a Real-World Airplane Down to 10 Feet Above the Ground

Engine failed? There’s an app for that.

The video below was taken by Austin Meyer, creator of X-Plane and Xavion, the iPad app that helps real-world pilots fly safer. It shows off a feature coming soon to the Xavion app—the ability to not just guide a pilot down to a landing, but to actually fly the plane itself down to about 10 feet above the runway!

In the video, you’ll see Austin’s iPad guiding a crippled RV-10 down to safety… without human intervention. The iPad is running a development version of Xavion talking to a Tru-Trak autopilot over wi-fi. Xavion, running on the iPad, can take over the airplane in distress and guide it down to safety!

This feature will be available in Xavion in the near future, after we’ve tested it a few hundred more times in a handful of airplanes.

X-Plane 10 is coming to Steam

If you’ve been waiting for X-Plane to be sold on Steam, you’re in luck—it’s coming soon!

We’re currently testing the X-Plane 10.25 update internally, and plan to release it within the next 10 days. The version 10.25 update contains a few changes necessary for X-Plane to work with Steam, so once it’s ready, X-Plane will be available on Steam.

Then, going forward, X-Plane 10 and all “final” updates will be available on Steam. Pricing will be the same as it is on our site.

We’ll post back here when it’s officially available for purchase!

10.30 Beta Coming Soon!

The first beta for 10.30 is coming up shortly! Austin has promised an extraordinary  list of new features!

He would also like to you check out this new helicopter for X-Plane!

 

See you guys later!

Thomson

Xavion Mobile Device Saves Pilots!

Consider two pilots, one flying a Lancair-IV and the second piloting a Cherokee 140, both while under instrument conditions with no autopilot, and each with a complete loss of attitude instruments.  Read on, discovering how they survived their experiences …

A Lancair-IV without a functioning autopilot entered the clouds, leaving the two people on board depending on two EFIS displays for aircraft control.  Both EFIS displays suddenly went blank, giving new meaning to the term “blue screen of death.”

We  might expect the loss of both souls on board.  But no fatalities occurred.  No accident occurred.

Owner and pilot Lin Hough had just flown into IMC at 17,000’ when both displays went completely blank.  The Xavion VP-400 backup display “performed perfectly,” allowing Lin to continue his flight safely.

Lin commented, “The VP-400 mounted in my Lancair rolled right into action.  I was almost level at 19,000’ when my displays came back.  I didn’t have a functioning auto pilot, which added to the intensity of the moment.  The outcome without the VP-400 might not have been survivable.”

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