Browse Author

Calum Martin

Website Admin. I have been an avid fan of Flight Sim since the release of '2000 and have been developing my love for aviation ever since. Currently working for a UK airline, I have the knowledge and experience to really deliver an excellent aviation community. Although no real life flying experience, I have a good understanding and always learning more and more.

Developer Month: Vatsim and Cross the Pond Interview

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Vatsim has been a staple of the flight sim community for quite some time now. For years, people have used it as a means to create even more realitsic flying thanks to the professional controllers that use the network as the air traffic controllers. Throughout the year, various events take place to test the skill and knowledge of both pilots and controllers. No event is bigger than Cross the Pond (CTP) and we were lucky enough to speak to a few of the event directors to pick their brains.

Both Marc Eijkens and Frans Zwarts from Dutch VACC were kind enough to talk to us to give you some more insight into the planning and preparation for an event as large as CTP.

Of course, there’s so much more to learn about Vatsim, so we’ll be sure to cover it in the future.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started with Vatsim?

Once upon a time I did selection for real air traffic controller. After some exams I was not elected to participate with the new group starting that year. So I said the dream farewell. But I discovered VATSIM and their vACCs. So I began to control on VATSIM as a Delivery controller. Nowadays I have the responsibility to communicate with the outside world as PR manager.  

Tell us what your typical day is usually like during the Cross the Pond event?

Getting up. Having a look on the weather for a forecast which runways to expect that day. That morning we will receive the last briefing for that day. Of course enough to drink and eat, however due to all the razzle dazzle during the event there is no time for drinks.

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Developer Month: Orbx Developer Misha Cajic

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Orbx developer Misha Cajic has been working hard now on creating Santa Barbara for flight sim. Although announced last year, things have moved on slower than he liked. That comes down to changes in his life and his work-life balance. All of this information he detailed below.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

I was originally an avid young simmer just like many others, and a huge fan of Orbx and was always totally mesmerised by scenery design. So back in 2011 when the opportunity arose for some beginner scenery designers to do some freeware Aussie scenery with OZx, I jumped onboard in the hope of learning a few things about the craft. I never imagined I would end up joining them, but that’s how it kind of just happened.

What interests do you have outside of Flight Simulation?

Recreational flying of course – I just got my sports license mid last year – as well as travelling, coding (just started to learn this and having a ball), and a casual interest in many other things, especially physics and the universe.

Tell us what your typical day is usually like.

Currently my life is dominated by university, so my typical day is filled with that. Otherwise on the weekends or weeknights I’ll hang out with mates, go flying, or just relax at home and do a bit of casual work when I’m feeling the creative buzz 🙂

Favourite snack and why?

Guacamole on toast, it’s just so smooth and tasty. I eat a plantation of avocados every week.

Santa Barbara looks to be your biggest airport yet. What challenges have you faced with creating this scenery?

Absolutely the main challenge has been simply managing my time. As usual, I completely underestimated the amount of time the project would take, considering I’ve been travelling for the past half year and didn’t really have my mind on the project. If the project was smaller I would’ve had the motivation to finish it much sooner, but I’m hoping to get it out as soon as I can. It’s really shaping up to be a spectacular scenery.

With a limited number of airlines operating into the airport, how do you sell this product to the flight sim community?
This airport actually has the most airlines flying into it out of any of the sceneries I’ve created, so I’ll be selling it in much the same way as I did the rest of my projects. The main crowd it’s aimed to is definitely the GA crowd, as it’s always been with me, but the guys that like to fly the smaller CRJs and Boeings/Airbuses are more than welcome to join in and fly either existing routes or make up their own 🙂
What drew your attention to creating Santa Barbara?
It has a spectacular location and architecture, particularly the main terminal area. I was also looking to get out a scenery that people could use as a base for their flying in SCA. Plus I love palm trees.
Are there any interesting features in Santa Barbara you can share with us and the community?
I’m hoping to include animated jetways at the terminal, something that has been requested a lot by the community. I’ve also modelled the interior of the terminal in great detail. Aside from the airport area, I’ve included all the Channel islands national park islands off the coast, where there are a few pretty cool little bush strips 🙂

When scenery development gets tough, how do you continue to motivate yourselves? The main thing would be just looking at the results of previous projects – I know that if I continue to apply myself I can have those same beautiful, scenic results that so many will enjoy.

Who’s your biggest inspiration in the Flight Sim community?

29Palms and FlightBeam always blow me away with their products, and I love to just crack them open and study how they did their magic. Within Orbx, I’d say Jarrad Marshall – His product pics always have my jaw on the floor.

If there was one thing you wanted to see developer for Flight Sim, what would it be?

A detailed Aeroprakt A22 Foxbat LSA – This is the plane I fly in real life, and it’s such a versatile yet simple aircraft, with insane STOL capabilities.

Favourite add-on (that’s not your own!)?

Even after 4 years, I still gotta say Skiathos from 29palms continues to hold this position. Everything about that scenery is sensational.

How do you balance your work life and home life?

With great difficulty, especially now with university. I can’t say I ever really planned out the way I worked or had a balance, it was always either a lot of work and nothing else, or a lot of home life and no work. I would like to find a balance now, however.

Any hints on what’s to come after your next project?

I genuinely haven’t a clue – there are a couple of things I’m finishing off still with Orbx, but after that I might move back to some smaller projects – they’re just far easier to manage, which is what I need now.

Where do you see Flight Simulation in 10 years time?

With all the new VR and AI technology being developed, flight simulation could well and truly be a fully immersive virtual reality experience within 10 years. Especially with all the new development on sims, you only have to look at how much other games have progressed in the last 10 years to see that that kind of progress is inevitable. I will be more likely that not specialising in AI and VR technologies in later years of my Computer Science degree, so I might have a lot more to say about it then 🙂

Anything else you want to add?

Just want to add a quick thank you to anyone who has ever bought any of my products or even just downloaded my freeware scenery and spread the word over the last few years. Scenery design genuinely changed my life, and every single aspect of my life was affected by it to some extent. I have no idea where I’d be now or what I’d be doing without it, and even though I’ve had to slow down, I hope that I can bring more products for you all to enjoy over the coming years!

Lockheed Martin Confirm Attendance at FlightSimCon 2017

The official press release is below. Basically, the team at Lockheed Martin have confirmed they will be in attendance to FlightSimCon later this year. They will be joined by other key names in the community including Aerosoft, Dovetail Games, FSFX Packages and more. Members of the Lockheed team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Of course, we hope they’ll also show off more of their future products, especially considering their “next major release” will be this year. I can only imagine what the questions will be…

Not only that, but we’ll be there as well with plenty of opportunity to ask questions, get a drink and pick our brains!

You can sign up NOW for your attendance to FlightSimCon 2017. We’re pretty sure this will be the biggest and best event yet, with more and more people being announced all the time.

Let us know in the comments if you’re coming.

FlightSimCon is North America’s largest annual aviation and flight simulation conference. This year, the event takes place on June 10 & 11 at the Sheraton Hartford Hotel at Bradley International Airport, just outside of Hartford, Connecticut. Prepar3D is pleased to announce we will be represented at the event and are participating in a panel discussion with fellow flight simulation developers on the first day of the conference.

FlightSimCon is designed for aviation and flight simulation enthusiasts from across the United States and around the world. Now in its fifth year, the event includes opportunities to meet exhibitors, try out products and simulator setups, and interact with a series of interesting and diverse speakers. For simmers who use Prepar3D, the event offers a great chance to meet the developers of your favorite P3D products, and to chat directly with representatives from Lockheed Martin.

Registration for the 2017 event is now available at www.flightsimcon.com. For just $60, attendees can get full, 2-day access to the conference and all events. Discounts are available for students, student pilots, and groups.

As the event approaches, the conference’s initial list of exhibitors includes Aerosoft, Boston Virtual ARTCC, Dovetail Games, EasternHops, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, FS Flight Control, FSFX Packages, GoFlight, IVAO, Javiator, Just Flight, Noble Flight Simulation, MidContinent Airlines, Orbx, PILOT’S, QualityWings, Seattle Virtual Air Traffic Control, VATSTAR, VATTASTIC, and Vaughn College. Exhibitors are being added regularly as the event approaches. The newly-released speaker list for the conference includes pilots, flight dispatchers, military personnel, home cockpit enthusiasts, and flight simulation developers.

Throughout FlightSimCon, attendees will have the opportunity to win great giveaway items from Big Fat Simulations, David Clark, ImagineSim, and JustPlanes.com. The conference will also feature a complimentary social event on Saturday night, sponsored by Private Jet Class Sponsor Orbx Simulation Systems.

To see the full list of sponsors, exhibitors and speakers—and to register for the conference—head to www.flightsimcon.com. Registering online in advance of the event is strongly encouraged, and offers substantial discounts from on-site registrations. We encourage attendees to like FlightSimCon on Facebook or follow the conference on Twitter for the latest updates.

Vidan Design Billund X (EKBI): The FSElite Review

Developer
Vidan Designs
Publisher
Vidan Designs
Price
€18.19
Version
1
Provided by
Vidan Designs
We want to ensure that you make the most informed decision you can. We will always put the Simmer First as per our Community Charter. When reading, please use of Review Guidelines to help you understand how we review products.

Danish airports are some of the most popular in the flight sim community. Thanks to the beautiful terrain, challenging and varied weather as well as a huge variety of routes available. Various developers have created some masterpieces for some of Denmark’s biggest airports, yet some of the more mid-range airports have been left relatively untouched. Billund is one of those airports, and lucky for us, Vidan Designs have stepped up to the plate to create the Lego-founded airport.

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Developer Month: FSLabs A320X – Bringing Work Into Simulation

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

I personally work for one of the biggest airlines in the world. That particular airline uses the Airbus family exclusively for their entire operation, which makes things super easy to learn and remember. Of course, this means that when it comes to flight simulation, I’m always looking to see what add-ons recreate that feeling of being at “work” all the time and I have a good feeling when something is or isn’t accurate.

You can imagine then, my appreciation for FSLabs who have worked tirelessly over the past few years to bring the community the most realistic and in-depth Airbus aircraft to date for flight simulation. There’s no question that the level of detail in the systems surpasses anything else in the market to-date and the immersion from the sound and modelling is exceptional. I spoke a little about sounds from the A320X during my first impressions article, and even now, I still agree with what I wrote. I don’t believe any other aircraft brings me closer to ‘work’ than what FSLab’s A320X does.

Why would I want to simulate work? I enjoy my job and my passion is and always will be with aviation. And if I’m honest, flying an aircraft isn’t simulating ‘work’ per se, it’s simulating where I work. This is important to me and for my simming style because instead of saying something is immersive because that’s what I believe to be ‘immersive’, but instead with this aircraft, I know if it’s immersive. I think this is why I’m so drawn in by this product. I am so used to working with these aircraft that I know every chime, every crunch and every screech. This is why sound is so important to me and the guys at FSLabs have taken the time to pay close attention to it.

This is why I have chosen FSLabs to be another one of my developers for Developer Month. Not just because they have nailed the immersion factor for this incredible aircraft, but also because they have worked so damn hard on the aircraft over the past 6 years and haven’t given up. There has been plenty of criticism surrounding their lengthy development process and the time between FSX and P3D versions. During the development things changed, were improved and their communication to the community got better and better. The team are actively addressing issues via their forums and other support channels, whilst also keeping us informed of what to expect next.

No development group are perfect and aren’t without their faults. Sometimes it may take a little longer to get back to you, but I know they work hard on ensuring that the product works as intended eventually.

I imagine developing the most technically impressive Airbus aircraft for our simulator has been no easy feat. They have admitted that “development” started over several times, using new techniques and procedures to make the product we have today. Undoubtedly there are still a few issues and areas in which can be improved, but for me, this is a solid, stable and fluid aircraft – one that will be used for years to come. The team are committed to not resting on their laurels and continuously improving their product to an even higher standard. Another reason why they’ve one of my top-picks. People also seem to forget that they also created FSLabs Spotlights during this time as well as provide a few updates to their Concorde series, which just highlights their thoughtfulness towards the community.

Sorry this is short and sweet this time. If you’re not sold on my love for the A320X yet, maybe check out my first impressions article? If that doesn’t help, just hold on a week or so and I’ll have another ‘impressions’ post followed by a review in the coming weeks. Please make sure you give FSLabs the love they deserve for working so hard for the community over the past 6 years!

 

More Flightbeam Minneapolis (KMSP) Previews

Mir from Flightbeam was kind enough to show off some new shots of his upcoming Minneapolis scenery package. This time, he wanted to focus our attention to the SODE jet bridges he’s worked hard to include. Due to the nature of the complexity of the jet bridges, there won’t be a CTRL+J option. Not sure why this would be an issue considering that the use of SODE is completely free. If you don’t want to install SODE, you’ll have the option for static jet bridges.

Not only that, but he also confirmed that the airport will be going into beta testing in the next couple of weeks, with a release hopefully not too far behind.

Touchdown Zones

Finally, Mir couldn’t resit another shot, but time of the touchdown points of the runway. He has said that lots of “research and hand painting” has gone into these section to make them look extremely real. Not only that, but they change specularity in realtime depending on the colour of the sky! How awesome!

You can check out this month’s previews below. Don’t forget, in February, Mir showed off some great shots too.

 

As soon as we hear anymore, we’ll let you know.

Developer Month: TOGA Projects Interview

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

TOGA Projects stopped by FSElite and talked a little about their most recent product ENVTEX. Alongside how the team started, there’s also some great content in terms of their personal lives! Don’t forget, you can read our ENVTEX review here.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

It is a long story but I will try to summarize a bit: I started flight simulation about 10 years ago with FSX, I didn’t have a great computer at that time and I went back to FS2004 that I have enjoyed for more than 8 years, 2 years ago I started to move again on FSX for beta testing purposes for a well-known aircraft developer and last year I definitely moved to P3Dv3. I still have all of them installed though.

During the 8 FS9 years, I created a lot of textures for my own use and even created a freeware package called “Full Environment 9” to compensate the lack of new add-ons of the old but gold FS9, and the idea of a complete environment rework for several simulators slowly came to my mind.

During that time, flight simulation got me into a real passion for aviation and I became a real pilot. I got my ATPL and CPL in 2014 in a small ATO but unfortunately didn’t find a job quickly and I had to move forward in my personal life. Not meaning I have abandoned the idea to get into a 737’s left seat!

As Steve Glinel, a friend, and I were creating repaints, I decided to create “TOGA projects” in summer 2015 to share our creations. After that William Musculus joined us to provide more repaints and I decided Envtex in the beginning of 2016, for personal reasons Steve and William couldn’t be involved in the development of this project so we searched for a good developer and Florian came to help us creating the user interface.

Currently we consider more TOGA projects as a community hub than only a development team, as we have several “teams” focused on different things. We are 2 in the development team, Florian and I, 3 of us are creating repaints and freeware contents and our Beta team now counts 6 members that I would like to thank again: Brandon, David, Enzo, Louis, Steve and William. We also received the help of Jannie Roelofse and William Bithrey.

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iBlueYonder are Looking for Beta Testers

We know the Flight Simulator community is always growing and with a range of simulators and options always growing, beta testers are becoming more and more important. Beta testing is important as it allows a select group of people to try the product and put it through its paces before being released to the general public. If this sounds like fun to you, then iBlueYonder may have a job for you!

With the new version of Heron’s Nest due for release soon, the team are looking for 5 new testers to help make sure the product is ready for release. You can see their criteria below, but this will be a great chance for those looking to find their feet in the flight sim community.

  • Own more than one version of the sim – targets include the original FSX/Acceleration, FSX Steam Edition, and Prepar3D v1, 2, or 3.
  • Have previous testing experience (not absolutely necessary, but nice to have).
  • Take testing seriously, but be willing to have a little fun with it, too.

If this sounds like you, drop me a comment [at this link] so we can talk. If you don’t meet the above criteria, but feel you’d be a great tester anyway, let me know that as well.

Don’t forget, you can read our exclusive interview with Bill from iBlueYonder here as part of Developer Month.

Developer Month: Soarfly Concepts Interview

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Soarfly Concepts are a relatively unknown developer who has worked on various projects in the past. Developer Month isn’t just about those developers who are regarded as ‘popular’, but also to highlight the hardwork of the smaller ones who are very much part of the community.

Read our interview from Mark Piccolo from the developer who gives you some great insight into both a freeware and payware model!

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

Well Soarfly Concepts started out just me, creating my own little additions to airports, I added a few things to Avsim Library and eventually I added a team member and over time started taking scenery requests.

Me and Dan have been using Flight Simulator since the early 90s. The very first scenery released by Soarfly Concepts was a fictional airport, the Thames Estuary Concept. We don’t sell payware for a source of income it’s simply there as a method of support so we can buy things like higher def ground images and design tools. Not a lot of people know this but we also offer a free service to other devs like making installers, models and beta testing.

What made you decide you wanted to develop for Flight Simulator and why?

I have always been a massive aviation enthusiast and the idea of making my own airports in flight sim was just too good to pass up. I discovered ADE by Scruffy Duck and learnt how to make 3d models.

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Just Flight and Real Flight Shop – More Products Available to Download and Buy

Aeroplane Heaven Hawker Typhoon

Just Flight and Real Flight Shop are proud to announce Aeroplane Heaven Hawker Typhoon.

With it’s high power engine and capacity, the Hawker Typhoon became one of best ground attack aircraft in WWII.

You can buy from RealFlightShop for around $22. Remember to use your exclusive FSElite discount code found on the right.

 

Just Flight Miles Hawk Speed Six – For FSX and P3D

Are you an air racer? The Miles Hawk Speed Six was built in the 1930s and 1940 as a sturdy, light weight and efficient light aircraft. Aeroplane Heaven perfectly model this aircraft with a visual feast and easy controllability. You perform various aerobatic maneuvers with it’s great performance in your simulator.
Just Flight and Real Flight Shop are proud to announce the release of Miles Hawk Speed Six.

You can buy from Real Flight Shop for around $16. Remember to use your exclusive FSElite discount code found on the right.