Thursday, February 4, 2010

First flight of the fifth real F-35

The fifth F-35 prototype BF-03, landing after its first flight.

While I am struggling to find the time to complete and pack the Beta version of the virtual Lightning II, in the real world the fifth F-35 had its first flight. It is the BF-3 (that is the third STOVL prototype), and as you can see from the picture, it is completely painted in dark grey - which I assume it will be the standard livery for all the prototypes.

So, since the AA-1 has been retired, now there are four F-35s flying: AF-1 (CTOL), BF-1, BF-2 and BF-3. BF-1 and BF-2 are currently in Patuxent River and are undergoing a series of test flights that will culminate in the first actual STOVL flights - see for some cool hi-res pictures and additional details (including videos of the first lift-fan in-flight engagements).

As for the FSX projects... well, as I said I am struggling to find the time to work on it.
For those who are curious, the major differences from the beta will be:
  • an updated visual model with more detailed 3d geometry (especially in the landing gear and refuel receptacle aeras) and more detailed textures - with slightly different coloring.
  • a better flight model - with special thanks to Roberto Leonardo who provided some substantial tweaks to the .air file. The plane has now a more realistic turn performance, and a more "neutral" behaviour, in attempt to emulate the effects of an advanced FCC/FCS system.
  • more VC functionality: it is now possible to change the functions of the four areas of the MFD by picking from the menus on the bottom. At present, HSI (with map mode), RADAR/MAP (with terrain mode), FCS modes are working (but do not expect anything too fancy - I've extensively reused FSX code for those) - ENGine, (mock) WEaPon, COMmunication, ICWS and FUEL modes are planned. SWAP and MENU button should be functional, too.

The MFD functionality is the thing that needs more work... may be 10-12 hours. Hopefully I will complete it in the next weekend.

Last I need to apologize again to anyone who has sent me an email in the past few days - my email is working but I did not find the time to reply, even to messages that are quite important for the project.


schmooze13 said...

Progress sounds good!
Just wondering, would you be able to tell us how much of the cockpit is functional, as in switches that do something or stuff like that?

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

As soon as I have complete the Beta I will produce some documentation - which will include cockpit functionality.

By the way, the F-35 does not have many switches... Man of the few "physical" (i.e. non-touchscreen) switches are working - but I've taken some artistic licence here and there (like replacing the emergency electrical panel with a light switch panel)...

schmooze13 said...

Aaaaaa I see. Thanks for that!!

man i hate spammers >:(

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jake said...

lol i have a random question for you how do you know what the F35 will fly like ? and please keep us posted on whats going on scant wate to buy this aircraft

ashley said...

Aparently it underperforms. Slow turning, slow rolling. But quite speedy.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

@ Ashley and Jake

Most of the issues with the flight model have been resolved.
Speed, roll and turn behaviour in the latest build are much improved - but I still need some more time to complete on the cockpit functionality. Once it is done, I will release a Beta version to the testers...

ashley said...

Lol, I thought jake was talking about the real thing.. :P

ScimmiaSpaziale said...

Lol - Well, yes, maybe! I read the comment very quickly... But these were actually some of the criticism I received from the Alpha... :-)

Anyway, I promise an update on the VIRTUAL F-35 soon. For sure I will make some screenshots and post them tonight. I am sorry for the lack of updates, but it has been a busy period for me.

Robby said...

@ Jake

Piacere di rileggerti :-)
Naturalmente siamo tutti impazienti, ma prenditi il tempo che serve.
E se hai bisogno di una mano non farti problemi.