Sunday, July 30, 2006

This and that

Haven't had much time for flying this weekend. I spent a little time tonight in the Hurricane IId, mentioned in a previous post. I have to make a correction to that post: the sinking-into-the-ground problem I mentioned is not a fault of this most excellent model, but rather that I had duplicate scenery layers that caused interference.

This airplane is a real knuckle whitener. Check out this landing sequence-- I'm not sure exactly what went wrong, but I am lucky to have kept the plane in one piece. As I mentioned before, it is very wobbly on the ground. It needs the long legs to give the big prop clearance from the ground. I guess they could not space the gear any further apart, because that would put too much bending moment where the wings join the fuselage, in other words you'd be more likely to snap the wings off on a hard landing. Bringing this craft to rest after landing is like balancing a wheelbarrow full of bricks across bumpy ground.

This thing goes fast, too! I found I lost the airport a few times when I was flying the pattern, because I underestimated how far I went on each leg. Another factor which makes it easy to lose the airport is that I am flying out of a historically-rendered Hawkinge RAF base, which blends pretty well into the general Golden Wings textures of the surrounding areas. This is of course much more realistic than the default MSFS scenery in which airports stick out from the rest of the scenery like sore thumbs. By the way, I keep mentioning Golden Wings. In case you are unfamiliar with it, you can learn all about it here. It is a must-have if you love the old stuff.

After getting tossed around in the Hurricane I wanted something more gentle. Here is the Sopwith Camel, as modeled by Dave Eckert. In this bird, you will definitely not lose sight of the airfield when flying a small patter. This is a beautiful model, and really fun to fly.

Completely unrelated, except that it involves a simulated world, requires a computer, and is another time sink: Google SketchUp. You can get this for free from Google (there's a pro package if you pay the price). This is my rendition of my humble abode. This program is really easy to learn. I was up and running in no time. I put this scene together a little bit at a time, in between other household chores. Makes me wish I had time to learn scenery or airplane design for Flight Simulator.

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