iMac user “Billy” Bargagliotti began his X-Plane career because, “I never did like Microsoft Flight Simulator. I have an iMac and they forgot us! Also, Microsoft just isn’t real enough.” Billy is an Instrument rated Commercial Pilot in Single Engine Land, Single Engine Sea, and Multi Engine Land aircraft, and also a Dispatcher. He is a retired Principal Systems Analyst, having worked at the computer center at the University of California San Francisco.
With his technical background one might guess Billy’s favorite part of X-Plane is PlaneMaker. He commented, “I am building very odd, but real aircraft, and some that look hopeless. All my test flights are done using autopilot for consistency and all aircraft do full ILS Category III landings when possible.”
Billy’s X-Plane “work day” for the past 10 years starts at 1:00 or 2:00 am and ends around 7:00 am. “After all, I am retired,” he adds. Last Thanksgiving on the first day it was available he downloaded, , version 10.11. He said with confidence, “I knew it would work and trusted that it would be improved in a very short time.” He sometimes uses version 9.7 to convert older aircraft not available in the newer X-Plane versions.
Billy gleefully explains, “My first project was to convert an existing B-52 from the eight old original engines to modern GE-90-115 engines. When I had visited the Wright Patterson Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, my docent was a retired GE engineer. I shared my idea with him and he thought it was doable so I tried it in PlaneMaker. I had really fantastic results! Imagine a B-52 that can go from the USA to Afghanistan without refueling! What I built was incredible. I sent the docent a copy and he verified all my designs saying I was absolutely correct! This made me feel very good.”
The four main scenarios criteria Billy considers for aircraft projects are: (1) Nobody has made the aircraft before; (2) The aircraft was planned and then cancelled by a committee; (3) It was built and flew but the crew perished on the first flight; and (4) The design looks cool and should fly, but never did. Billy then added that he thinks he can fix all of the above.
If Billy were X-Plane King for the day, he would negotiate a deal with the makers of AC3D, an excellent 3D program. He would then promote it in the X-Plane store to bring those communities together and in turn that might unify technical support of both products. He said that this would be a big task, but doable, and very likely profitable. Billy obviously knows how to think big and accomplish difficult tasks!
In conclusion, he notes, “X-Plane just gets better and better. The programming staff members are quick to acknowledge any faults and just as quickly correct them. X-Plane is the ultimate in reality, not just another game, but a system driven by real aerodynamic science… now, of course it is a game, but after all, life is a game!”