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Any real world pilots out there?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by kneedragon, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. I know there's one -Nickers, but there may be others. I just tried my hand at writing something I've never written before - a pilot's report / review of an aircraft. I'd be very interested in your opinion, even if it's just "Too long - didn't finish it."

    Thanks - Mike.



    I've had a flight sim (Flight Gear) on linux for a while now, but only recently learned how some rather basic stuff works - which makes it a whole lot more fun. So I've downloaded a shed-load of new aircraft to try out. One of them absolutely fascinates me, and I want to try and write a pilot's report about it.

    Now bear in mind, I've flown about five real aircraft in my life and never solo'd. I have flown a 172 and a 310, so I have some idea how the sim relates to the real world with those two.

    The aircraft I want to ramble about is the Beech Starship.


    The wiki will tell you all about it, I just want to talk about what it's like to fly. In a nutshell, it's very good, but there are some traps for new players, which, along with the UFO looks and the composite materials construction, and the inherent conservatism of the buying community this aircraft was aimed at, probably account for it's demise.

    In the sim (not in real life) the model has the centre of gravity set well back to get the behaviour seen in the real thing. That means when the aircraft spawns, it can fall backwards and overbalance, so you're sitting stopped on the main gear, looking at the sky, with the nose-wheel eight foot off the ground, and the props casually rotating through a good two foot of nice San Francisco runway. Oh well. Take a moment to set the altimeter to zero (done through the Equipment / Instrument Settings menu) then set the parking brake ('B'), and give a dab of power. Once the revs come up, it over balances and lands the nose, and then you can release the brakes and roll.

    On take-off roll, the plane responds well to rudder / nose-wheel steering. That's because there's plenty of weight on the nose wheel. That's because the thrust line is high, driving the nose down. There's not much drag or weight, and there's quite a lot of power, so watch the speed because it builds up pretty quick, and unlike a 172 or 182, it doesn't just float itself off at its happy climbing speed, you need to rotate.

    You can lift the nose at as little as 80 KIAS, but it's probably better to wait until you have about 110. There are several reasons for this. One has to do with controlling yaw while the main wheels are down but the nose is not. That's more an issue on landing - and it can bite you quite hard - but it can become significant in a crosswind take-off as well. I'll say more about this when I talk about landing, but right now, let's just say you want all the wheels on the ground, or all the wheels off the ground, because steering the plane once the front wheel is up is next to impossible.

    A word on climb-out. Don't be concerned about letting the nose come up 20 ~ 30 degrees. There is no power shortage and the Starship climbs like a homesick angel. Be prepared to use a lot of back-stick to make it happen, though. The high thrust line is trying to push the nose down, while you're trying to drag it up, and the result can be lots of back stick and sharp, choppy pitch control because you're fighting the trim. There is a heap of elevator / carnard authority, which is a good thing because you need it. There is also a very broad range of adjustment on the elevator trim, because you need that too. The trim is very effective - unlike many planes (models in the sim) that let you twiddle endlessly with the wheel and do very little, a small change in the pitch trim of the Starship does make a significant difference. If you can fight the power and the trim, then get to about 1,000 feet and come back to about 60% power and trim the 'ship. The mouse-wheel will do that for you. About 200 KIAS, 40% ~ 50% power and level flight is very easy. Suddenly you don't have to hold the nose up any more. Now, change power settings, and all bets are off again, and more power will push the nose down, less will see it climb. We're not in Kansas any more, Toto.

    Conventional light aircraft are fairly tightly speed coupled. That is, something like a c172, with elevator trim about in the middle, will sit happily at about 75 ~ 80 knots. Gain or lose 15 knots, and the aircraft will pitch up or down quite significantly. The Starship will do that too, to some extent, but the power-on / nose down thing hides it, and the neutral trim for higher speeds hides it too. Keep an eye on the ASI, because the speed can be quite different to what you think it is.

    The Starship likes smooth transitions. It can handle (and sometimes needs) large amounts of stick, but it doesn't like sharp, nervous, dabbing inputs. Pilot induced oscillations, in all three axies, are a reality, and to confuse the pilot, the natural frequency of the oscillations is quite different in the three axies. Pitch is quick and sharp, and this can cause serious problems at some heights and speeds. Roll is fairly slow and yaw is very slow. In addition, there is significant Dutch Roll in the event of sudden roll transitions, which couples to yaw, which can then couple to pitch - and yaw is slow and pitch is fast. In addition, the cockpit is a long way forward of the centre of gravity, so you get thrown up and down quite a bit when the Starship porpoises.

    To give some idea what all that means, suppose you mess up your turn from base leg to finals, and need to put a dog-leg in your finals. So over the middle marker you bank 15 deg left, and the nose comes up, and the yaw doesn't immediately start. You stick forward slightly, to stay on slope, and then the nose yaws left, so you level the wings, but the yaw over runs and the nose drops - just as you went forward stick. Now you back stick, correct with a little right bank, and the nose comes up, the plane keeps yawing to the left, the nose keeps going up, you forward stick more, then the pendulum comes back. The nose swings right, you level the wings, the nose drops hard, you stick back but it keeps going down, you're now over the inner marker, at full back stick, at stall speed, the plane wildly yawing and pitching, and your speed has dropped because of the fuss, so you go for power, and the engines drive the nose clean into the ground. Full back stick just saves you, but by the time the nose is level, you've gone from 90 KIAS to 160 KIAS, and you're half way down the runway. So you chop the power - only to have the nose shoot up 40 deg because you still had full back stick on.

    The point is not that it's bad - it isn't. It is different. It has some dynamics that are quite different to a conventional light aircraft - or a conventional medium twin. Once you understand those dynamics, it's quite a nice thing to fly - stunning in some circumstances, simply brilliant, but many of the reflexes you learned in conventional light aircraft have to be learned all over again.

    Burt Rutan and Beechcraft would tell you, you cannot stall the aeroplane. In straight, level, stable, low speed flight, that's true. The loading on the canard is significantly higher than the main wings, and eventually, no amount of back stick will hold the nose up. You add power, and it will simply push the nose down more. That's good, in a stall recovery exercise at 5,000 feet. Helps get you out of a potentially dangerous situation even quicker and easier. It's not so good when you are low and slow and the ground is coming up to meet you, and you desperately need power and nose up at the same time.

    The most frightening thing that's happened to me in the Starship, is a high altitude, high speed stall. The aircraft is prone (at some speed and altitude combinations) to a quick and violent oscillation in pitch. This can be a classic PIO, or it can be an AUTO PILOT induced oscillation. At FL400, at 220 (ish) KIAS, this can increase in magnitude, before you can disengage the auto pilot, to the point where you are getting flashes of all-red-screen, then all-black-screen, etc, etc. Then the main planes stall. Well, one of them does. Snap roll. Your ground speed at this point is over 400 mph, so there's no shortage of momentum.

    You know the 'craft is rolling, but you're blacked out, and the moment of vision you got before the G turned out the lights, gave you whirling sea and sky and not much indication which way they're whirling. So you go full forward stick, which does nothing for a couple of seconds, then gives you the briefest flash of a whirling artificial horizon, followed by complete red-out. So, you are now in a reversed or inverted flat spin, horizontally oriented, at about 375 knots true airspeed. Full back stick. No response for a while, then we're back to blackout. Hmmmm. Partial stick forward does nothing - it takes full deflection, and there is a pause before it works, but you have to get off it, and perhaps counter with a dab of full back stick, to kill the oscillation with the nose pointed vaguely straight ahead. At that point, you get your vision back, and you can start using aileron to control the roll, which is running at about 720 ~ 1,000 deg / sec... And by the time you get that under control, you are in a 550 knot full power 60 deg dive at about 7,000 feet. There is enough room to pull out, but you will have to black yourself out again to do it.

    It's a pretty entertaining 30 ~ 40 seconds. I can thoroughly recommend it to anybody who's bored, and thinks he can fly. The obvious thing to do would be hit 'p' for PAUSE, or 'v' for VISION (from behind, so you can see what you're doing) but the reality gap vanishes at moments like that and you're really in that cockpit, fighting for your life, and when straight and level flight is resumed you're sweating and breathing heavy and feeling like an idiot. But it gets very real for that half minute or so.

    Another trap for new players turns up in low speed or high G turns. You bank and yank, and the yaw is slow to get started. So it seems to pitch up, then down as the nose begins to come around. You go for more back stick to keep the nose up, and then funny things begin to happen. The rate of turn increases, the nose comes back up, but the climb and sink says bad things and control is sloppy in three axies. You've stalled. There's no buffet, there may or may not be an audible stall warning, there's no strong nose-down pitching movement, and some (sloppy) control remains. Low airspeed and rapid descent demand power, but even the high thrust line will not get it together for you, unless you push the nose down. If you have enough altitude to begin with, the engines will eventually drive you forward out of the condition, but that takes time and height. Once the aeroplane does start flying right, you suddenly DO get the nose down moment from the power and the thrust line. Confusing. Not the stall behaviour you learned in a c172.

    The great thing about a flight sim, is that you can do dangerous and crazy stuff right down on the deck where you have great visual cues about what is actually happening. I got into that mess at middling altitude a few times, and then ran into it while buzzing the tower at San Francisco International. (Good one, Maverick.) At 100 feet, around well know landmarks, you can actually figure out what's going on, with regard to direction of travel versus heading. Suddenly the soggy control and rapid descent syndrome made sense. If you know what's happening, you can deal with it.

    That's the challenge with the Starship. Knowing and understanding what's happening. Once you know what's going on, it's usually pretty easy to deal with.

    So, I must have crashed this thing about a hundred times, right? Actually, no. I've had some pretty hairy moments, and a couple of landings I'm less than proud of. I've finished my landing run well off the side of the airstrip a few times. I've had the wheels on the ground and realised I'd have to go around again a few times too. But actually crashed it? Not once.

    The trim does change dramatically when you put the flaps down. It goes nose down, and the more flap you use, the more nose down it gets. The stalling speed with or without flap, is not that different. With flap, you get a more nose down attitude, which gives a better view of what you're doing on approach and flare, and it creates a lot of drag, which is very usefull in landing such a clean, slipery aeroplane. Without flap, it just hangs there, flying down the strip ten foot off the ground, laughing at you. Wheels down creates some drag, but the flaps create more.

    The problem can be that with a nose down attitude, you need even more back stick to hold the nose up, and maybe not a lot more airspeed to do it, but certainly not any less. The wiki article cites 95 KIAS as stall speed. In the model, 95 is about as low as you can safely go. It's not the minimum speed at which the aeroplane will fly, you can get it in the air and keep it there at less than 70. The speed 95 is significant because if you need to go around, and you're still flying, and you wind on enough power to overcome the drag of the flaps, the high thrust line will push the nose down into the runway, unless you have about 95 knots aboard. And at 95, you need full back stick to hold the nose up. You also need to use about two thirds throttle, until you can crank in some of that flap, because full throttle will drive you into the ground. Less than two thirds, and the drag is such that you won't accelerate. (And therefore, can't climb.) And at that moment, when you'd like flaps which can retract in less than two seconds, you find these take about 20 ~ 30 seconds to come out, and about the same to go in. There is a reason they're so slow - it's because of the very large change in pitch - it gives the pilot time to react. But it can paint you into a nasty corner if you mess up your landing.

    Before I leave landings, two other traps. Wing-strike and steering. Another good thing about the flaps is that the aircraft touches down the main gear, and the nose wheel is quite low. That means you can get off all that back stick, and perhaps even go forward a little, and get the nose wheel on the ground right quick. Not elegant, and in real life it would probably not impress your passengers, but while that front wheel stays up, you can't steer. (And surprisingly - it does - you'd think that after needing full back stick to stop it heading for China by the shortest route, it'd crash down in relief as soon as it could, but once the main gear is down, all that changes. It hangs there, so you need to put it down. Gently, but soon.) So, while the front wheel stays up - you can't steer the aeroplane. The rudders and vertical stabilisers are only just rearward of the main gear, rendering the rudders completely ineffective once the main wheels are down. Differential braking might work in real life, but seems to be disabled in the model, at least at anything over a brisk taxi. Problem is, even a one or two mph cross wind, will catch the front of the aeroplane, and carry it off in whatever direction, meaning the rear will follow. Quickish. And not a damn thing you can do about it until the nose wheel is down. You let go the stick, the nose drops a bit, you get on the rudder to straighten up.... and veer sharply off the runway anyway. Playing back the replay, shows the nose dropped from (say) 10 deg up to 3 deg up, and stayed there. It even shows the nose wheel turning faithfully and uselessly, with the rudders, in the opposite direction. The other thing your replay may show you, is that an attempt to bank in the direction you wish to go, and dab the main brakes when only the down-side wheel is on the ground, doesn't work, and will result in wing-strike at quite low angles. (And yes, I know you shouldn't stand an aeroplane on one wheel, much less brake while doing it, but as a last resort, it will usually steer the damn thing where you need it to go. Not this time.)

    One last bug / trap / feature, and a work around. If you use the auto pilot (and it mostly is a beauty - it'd be a shame not to) then you do sometimes need to get out of it in a hurry. Now, I HOPE this is only a bug in the model, and not a quirk of the real aircraft, but ... The auto pilot seems to use the elevator trim, rather than the elevators themselves, to control the aeroplane. Depending on what was happening when you quit the auto pilot, the trim may be a long - LONG way out from where it needs to be. So much so, that level flight is impossible. So much so, that much frantic mouse wheel twirling still doesn't get you there anything like fast enough. The work around? Cut the power back to idle, and put the auto pilot back on, just for a second or two, them get off it again. You may have to do it a couple of times, but it will end up trimmed about right sooner or later. It's an awful AWFUL lot quicker than trying to wind on all the trim you might need.

    The avionics package is rudimentary and I don't like it. Whether it's an accurate representation of what's in a real Starship, I don't know. The main MFD is the artificial horizon and the speed and altitude tapes. It also has the likeness of the top of the compass wheel, but I'd like to see a bit more of that. The radio nav functions are all implemented in the right side MFD, and if you can muddle your way through their operation on the ground, in a known location, then it all seems to be there and work, but it isn't intuitive to use. In the air – it's hopeless. If you added a couple of adjustment wheels to the front face, just like the old gyro / slave compass / VOR it mimics, it'd be a hell of a lot easier. Trying to make it work through the flight sim menu system while you're flying, is horrible. By contrast, the similar system in the Citation X (another plane I like a lot) works a treat.

    The auto pilot, like most other things, is accessible only through the flight sim menus. I could live with that if there was a hot key to kill it quick, because sometimes you need to get out of it in a hurry. At some speeds and heights, it is as stable and dependable as a rock. At others, not so good. 200 ~ 210 KIAS at FL200 – not the slightest problem. 250 at FL250? Can have a grand mal, but not often. 200 KIAS at FL410? Use the roll / heading control, firewall the throttles (which you need to do to reach that speed / altitude anyway) and fly pitch with the trim. The stick is a bit sensitive, but a few ticks of the mouse wheel will work wonders. Do not try to use the auto pilot pitch control at the that speed and height, it will (auto) PIO and try to kill you.

    The reason to use the auto pilot, is that while the radio nav stack is bad, the route planner will drop way points and end points straight into the auto pilot, and off you go. What navigation? Are we there yet? My only real beef with it is that I like to tune into VORs and DMEs and ADFs and VORTACs and stuff as I go – partly for practice, partly to have a second strategy if the auto pilot dies, partly because of boredom, but mostly because I'm learning to fly, and that means learning to use all that stuff. Reading the theory and understanding what you've read is one thing. Doing it – in the dark, with one engine out, trying to look up airports that might be nearby, might be transmitting, set the navs and twiddle the dials and understand what the beast is telling you – that isn't the same as reading it and thinking how logical it all sounds. It takes practice.

    So it sounds like an endless litany of complaints. Thing is, once you know what the potential pitfalls are, and how to avoid them, or at least recognise them and respond quickly, the thing is a joy to fly. It's fast. It's (mostly) stable. It can fly quite slow or quite fast. It climbs and accelerates as fast, and flies as high, as most corporate jets. It doesn't quite have their cruise speed, but it's not far off. As long as you don't mess up your landing or take off, it can work with very little runway. It can generate surprisingly high G at very low airspeeds, and turn very tight, as long as you watch for the onset of stall and react quickly. You can loop or half loop and roll out straight off the runway – just like a jet fighter. You can roll inverted at 200 KIAS at 3,000 feet and pull through. I have both a P51D and a Zero in the sim, and while I haven't yet tried that stunt in either of them, historical sources suggest a Zero needs about 4,000 and a Mustang needs over 6,000. Anyway, you don't need to handle it with kid gloves, but it does like slow, smooth movements of the controls. Quick and choppy is not good. It does fly absolutely beautifully – it's just a bit different. It's very clean and glides superbly.

    Some vehicles are quite deceiving, in that what they look like doesn't tell you what they're like to use. The Starship is an honest injun. What does it look like? What do those lines say? Light, fast, stylish, different, unconventional, futuristic, smooth, unique, - hell, even the name is appropriate. 'Starship.' Tells it like it is.

    This aeroplane was conceived in 1980 with the intention of superseding the King Air. If you think about why flying geeks love the King Air – this was the plane that Beech planned to replace it with, that was better in every way. That should tell you something. It is a fantastic aeroplane, but it has teeth. Ten years of development and 300 million dollars still couldn't quite change that.
  2. Kneedragon,
    As a project in my Uni days (Aerospace Engineering), we set aside designs to emulate an aircraft, such as the Starship - an aircraft I particularly find sleek, efficient and as you said stylish.

    Doing it – in the dark, with one engine out, trying to look up airports that might be nearby, might be transmitting, set the navs and twiddle the dials and understand what the beast is telling you – that isn't the same as reading it and thinking how logical it all sounds. It takes practice.

    Mate, exactly the reason why a Multi-Engine IFR-Rated Pilot is involved in the most 'challenging' work. Multi-crew environments (2 or more Flight Crew) certainly assist in this manner, but I certainly remember my single pilot days, very fondly..any weather, any terrain, any time of day/night...THAT'S where a Pilot earns his/her pay and gathers life-saving experience.

    I flew the Beech Super King Air 200 for a former employer and as everyone states, it's one mighty fine, sexy machine ! A big Baron and a perfect stepping stone to the Saab340 I subsequently flew.

    Sounds like you're really onto it mate and it brings a smile to my face hearing your terminology in true aviation-enthusiast fashion (y)

    Enjoy your research on the Starship, a magnificent machine and all the best with your ongoing Pilot training :)
  3. I've had hands on, or semi hands on anyway, in a Baron, and that seemed nice enough. I had about 6h waddling around bankstown in the scouts c172, in (er..) 1975, and I chartered a c310N (and pilot) in 1980, and had about an hour hands on in that. I've also got about 6 h in gliders. The 310 was a hoot - those things rock! Getting out of a 172 into that is like stepping out of a clapped out bedford truck into a GT3 porker.

    Mate, I started learning to fly from Biggles books, when I was 5. That was 43 years ago.

    I think the joy of the King Air is only really evident after you've struggled with some piece of junk like the PA34-200T Seneca II, which can just drag its sorry little arse into the air with both engines screaming their tiny tits off. God help you if you loose one at 50 ft. At least the c310 will actually climb on one - as long as you've got good reflexes and a very strong leg.

    Here's my library.

    mike@kneedragon:~$ fgfs --show-aircraft

    Available aircraft:
    737-300 Boeing 737-300
    777-200ER Boeing 777-200ER
    A-10 Fairchild A-10 (YASim FDM)
    A-6E Grumman A-6E (YASim FDM)
    A6M2 A6M2 Zero
    A6M2-jsbsim A6M2 Zero (JSBSim)
    Citation-II Cessna 550 Citation-II
    CitationX Cessna Citation-X
    Dragonfly Moyes Dragonfly
    F-86f North American F-86 F Sabre
    MC-15 Colomban MC-15 Cri-Cri (YASim)
    MiG-15bis MiG-15bis (YASim FDM)
    NTPS Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23 ATF prototype (YASim FDM)
    RafaleB17 Dassault Rafale B Escadron de chasse 1/7 Provence
    RafaleT18 Dassault Rafale B Tigermeet 2008
    SU-37 Sukoi SU-37 type aircraft (YASim FDM)
    SenecaII PA34-200T Seneca II (alias for SenecaII-jsbsim)
    SenecaII-jsbsim PA34-200T Seneca II (jsbsim)
    T38 Northrop T-38
    X15 North American X-15
    X15-new North American X-15
    YF-23 Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23 ATF prototype (YASim FDM)
    ZLT-NT Zeppelin NT07 airship
    ZLT-NT-copilot Zeppelin NT07 multiplayer copilot
    ZivkoEdge540 Zivko EDGE 540
    a4 Douglas A4 Skyhawk (YASim)
    a4-uiuc A4D (A-4C) Skyhawk attack aircraft (UIUC aero model)
    a4f Douglas A4F Skyhawk (YASim)
    ask21mi Schleicher ASK 21 mi
    b1900d Beechcraft B1900D
    beaufighter Beaufighter
    bo105 Eurocopter Bo105
    c172p Cessna 172P Skyhawk (1981 model)
    c172p-2dpanel Cessna 172P Skyhawk (1981 model), 2D panel
    c172p-panel-only Panel only for IFR-training (Cessna 172P)
    c182 Cessna 182
    c182-2dpanel Cessna 182 (2D panel)
    c182rg Cessna 182RG
    c310 Cessna 310 (civilian) with 3D cockpit
    c310-yasim Cessna 310 (YASim)
    c310dpm-3d Cessna 310R (1979 model) with 3D cockpit
    dhc2F de Havilland Beaver - Floats
    dhc2W de Havilland Beaver - Wheels
    f-14b Grumman F-14B
    f104 Lockheed F-104
    f15 McDonell Douglas F-15 Eagle
    f15c F-15C Eagle
    f15c3d F-15C Eagle (3D Cockpit)
    f16 General Dynamics F-16 (3d cockpit)
    f18 F-18 Hornet Royal Canadian Air Force
    f183d F-18 Hornet Canadian Royal Air Force (3D Cockpit)
    fkdr1 Fokker Dr.1 (JS8)
    fkdr1-v1-nl-uiuc Fokker Dr.1 (UIUC)
    fokker50 Fokker 50
    j3cub Piper J3 Cub (J3C-65, 1946 model)
    lancair235 Lancair 235 (YASim)
    mibs FG video assistant
    nf104a Lockheed NF 104 A
    p51d P-51D
    pc7 Pilatus PC-7
    seafireIIIc Supermarine Seafire MkIIIc
    sopwithCamel Sopwith Camel 1F.1 (uiuc)
    sopwithCamel-YASim Sopwith Camel 1F.1 (YASim)
    sopwithCamel-v1-nl-uiuc Sopwith Camel
    spitfireIIa Supermarine Spitfire IIa
    sr71 Lockheed SR 71 Blackbird (YASim)
    starship Beechcraft Starship I
    typhoon EFA Typhoon
    ufo UFO from the 'White Project' of the UNESCO

    [edit] --------------------------------------------
    2 x 1,750hp turboprops, swinging 11' props, on a 13 ton MTOW. That'd get you from BrRel to V2 pretty quick.
  4. Impressive Library (y) !
    Thank God for rudder trim mate ! Not sure how I'd be able to stand after a session in the simulator, following OEI takeoffs/go-arounds !
    Five years of age seems to be the magical number - I started drawing aircraft (747-100/200's then) upon arriving home from Melbourne 'Tullamarine' visits (family/friends coming/going). Couldn't wait to put pen to paper and reproduce what I'd seen earlier on the tarmac. Two-three cockpit visits inflight as a youngster further cemented my childhood dream.
    After about 2yrs of nothing else but drawing these, I told myself I would one day fly a 'Jumbo' (this dream was achieved in 2003).
    I was given a final warning by my Year 11 English teacher that I'd receive a FAIL for any future creative essay involving aircraft. She'd had enough LOL

    Flew a C310 from the right seat on a Bank run - work colleague was nice enough to give me a feel. Nice machine. I later flew the C402C model....loved this, my first 'Cabin Class' twin.

    What's funny though is your mention of the Seneca II - my first M.E Endorsement was on the Seneca I...no comment !
    Twin Comanche was nice, Duchess good also (but a box ticking exercise with current employer to receive first Hong Kong registered aircraft 'Command', for licensing. purposes).
    The Baron was a dream to fly, followed again by the C402C.
    The Super KingAir200 - marvellous...not many turboprop aircraft will maintain FL200 comfortably on one engine at ISA+20, typical Northern Territory conditions. And...a turboprops Power Levers shall NEVER be placed in 'Beta' airborne....sssssh, I got to see just that, whilst at 20,000ft during my endorsement...words cannot describe this event !

    The Saab340 was exceptional, if not perfect ! Only downside being that due to its Swedish origins (ie, cold, winter climates), no airconditioning was installed in our models...resulting in profuse sweating whilst sitting at idle on a scorching hot Adelaide summer day ! Apart from that, similar praise as to the King Air.

    Next on the list, Dash 8-100/200/300 aircraft...beautiful aircraft whilst at the same time annoying to piston twin drivers in the circuit areas due to slow flap/gear extension speeds..a mighty fine short field capable aircraft and very professionally kitted out...this, a high wing version of the Saab..both very nice to fly.

    After this era came the Jet Age - B747-400 (4yrs), B777-200/300/300ER (4yrs) , currently A330-300 (~1yr)...
    Anyone who says they're not addicted to 'heavy metal' needs their head checked ;)
  5. There's some doubling up. You download a package for one aircraft and find there's three or four versions in it. Typically, the nice looking one flies a bit docile, but the YASim version is the instrument training version, with the 2d only cockpit, and you can't look up and out. There IS no outside view of the aircraft, only the scenery, but the flight model isn't dumbed down at all. The c310-3d is nice and easy, and good eye candy, but it doesn't fly much different to a 172. It's just faster. So give the c310-yasim a go. That's a whole new ball game!!! Flies just like the real one I remember. Lively, high spirited, quick handling - keeps you right on your toes. First take off and the bugger torque rolled beyond vertical just after rotate while I was looking for the gear switch - look back at the AH ... oh shit...

    The one I spend most time in was the c182 with retracts. Flies just like the 172 but it's shitloads faster. (Not that 140 is fast or anything, but it's a lot faster than the 172.) All the radio / nav stack is fully functional, most of the auto pilot is fully functional. I actually went and downloaded the KAP140 instruction manual from Honeywell. The simpler stuff works just the way Honeywell say it does. The NAV mode doesn't seem to work, though, and you can't just load in a string of destinations from the route manager. Shame that, but it's a better teaching tool as a result.

    The Fokker 50 is good fun, and I wanted something like that because I used to wrangle six one hour cockpit visits a year off East-West Airlines F-27s between Kempsey and Sydney, from the time I was 6 until I was 15. Flying a '50' in the sim is fun, but man - when it stalls on finals, it really stalls!

    The Beaufighter is because my grandfather picked up a DSO and a DFC and bar in one, straffing U-boats off the Scottish coast. When that didn't kill him, he married a motorcycle riding teenage rebel from the british aristocracy, and took her to live on a little sheep station near Orange. It only ran a couple o million head, so it was a little place. He gave her three strapping sons in three years, and then got multiple sclerosis, and that sure as hell killed him. All three boys were still in nappies at his funeral.

    The f-14 and the a-4 are because the father of a kid I went to school with was a Tomcat driver, but he'd started crashing on carriers in A4s, and had very fond memories of them. He flew one back from some sh*thole in nth vietnam onto a carrier deck after .50 cal surprise came in through the instrument panel, the head of the throttle, entered his left hand, and exited near his left elbow. He passed out twice before he got down, and they patched him up well enough that he went on to fly Tomcats, so I guess I can see why he was fond of the Skyhawk.

    The X15 is because ... 4120 mph, in the atmosphere, before man walked on the moon, at 1/3 throttle on the same rocket that would launch the lunar return module back up to the command and the service modules. Because when you look out the window and there are drops of yellow / white hot molten titanium running back off the leading edges, that's probably a sensible time to back off...

    The camel, because of Biggles. The DR-1 for the same reason.

    The Spit because it's beautiful, and because Tim's Dad flew one out of Biggin Hill.

    I just love aeroplanes. Always have. Before motorbikes, before girls... Spitfires and Mustangs are just the most beautiful things ever made by man. How can you look at those shapes and not be left breathless and awestruck? They kindled joy in the heart of a little boy, and it's still there.
  6. Damn, thats a lot of text... am just shy of my solo licence in hours, but the instructor deems me as capable and competent :p.

    Id also dearly love to do the courses to become a commercial pilot, but thats like $50k :p.
    Need to dredge just a little while longer...

    edit: havent done any night flying yet though... want a bit more daytime stuff first :p.
  7. I didn't read through all that stuff, but my hubby has his commercial licence. he trained in Canada but did not get his licence transfered over to an Australian one.
  8. I actually understood all of that, and have fond memories of PC sims and the C130 trainer I used to play on...
    One suggestion though: lose most of your commas to make it a more "flowing" read. The style you have seems to be "newspaper column" and that's OK, but doesn't suit such a long article.
    It's a problem I have too, but I find it helps to read the whole thing out loud before you're finished.
    Great content, and I'd read another with interest...
  9. I use hardly any commas when I write it, but then I read it back (sometimes mumbling), and stick them in to identify sub-clauses and component parts. I do sometimes re-write whole sentences for clarity, but I find the first effort is usually more concise and graphic. Subsequent revision makes it like caster sugar - more refined but less content. Unless there's a reason to adopt a particular style, I just say what I think and let the style emerge. I've found that very effective in writing fiction, but it gets me into trouble when trying to write something in strict conformance with an established style, because the lazy habit is hard to break.
  10. Same here, but I admit I haven't written anything for years now...
    I often find I've progressed through 2 or 3 different styles that way, but you're right about the habit!
  11. The last company I worked for has a P3C Orion simulator in Adleaide. I tee'd up a ride for a mate. After 2 hours of stooging around he looked pretty green but had a huge grin.He thought we would only be observing some aircrew going through the motions...'nah mate,you'll be in the left hand seat' (captains slot).
    I learned that the P3 stalls at 135kts clean and buffets before dropping the nose,she can scoot along at 400kts.
    She dont like knife edge flight,she dont do inverted too well..she will perform nice barrel rolls though.
  12. #12 kneedragon, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    Anything that can do 400 knots should be able to do beautiful barrel rolls.


    Note in particular the comments / history by the poster. This was 1955 and the aircraft was the prototype Boeing 707. The only operational jet airliner in the world, at the time, was the Comet.

    When my first efforts at flying a glider met with mixed results, the pilot instructor laughed and said the only person he'd ever seen, in about 15 years of introducing people to gliders, who'd got in and done it right first go, was a serving Orion pilot with about 4,000 h on type.

    The flight model of the one glider I have in my sim is very accurate about some things glider, but way too friendly about yaw and dutch roll. You fly a glider with your fingertips, in pitch and roll, lightly and gently and smoothly - and the full strength of your legs to point the nose left or right as required. The rotational momentum in those big wings is incredible.

  13. Dude, wait until you do your first solo! Shits all over any motorcycle experience you will EVER have!! I still remember mine when i was 16! Instructor got me to land and jumped out and told me to go do a circuit on my own. Was a saturday afternoon. All of a sudden the wind picked up and there was a runway direction change.....all hell broke loose. He jumped back in and said we will do it on monday. That Sunday was the longest day of my life!! I remember going to school first thing monday morning and doing a physics class, then my old man picking me up afterwards and driving me to the airport. Did my solo and was back in class after lunch. Very unable to concentrate after that. I remember STINKING of sweat in class for the rest of the day!! lol Best day of my life to date!!
  14. bambam_101,

    Hearing you mate ! 18 January 1990 was my 'First Solo' Day, at Westernport Aero Club, Tyabb, in a Cessna 152.
    Since then, of all the achievements I've been fortunate enough to have accomplished, realistically, none compare to this very special day. It's true what everyone says and I can vouch for this, nearing 21 years from that date !

    I wasn't attending Physics classes etc after my solo but the one thing I fondly remember, which is (?), definitely was customary back then was being met with the firemans hose...waterlogged on the walk up the path to the Flying Instructors Office for handshakes/logbook signing...