Sunday, April 21, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

...Unrelated to the post, but I always add a here is the S-3 model so far. Hopefully it will be flyable in October/November or so. 

Browsing on the internet, and looking at the emails I get, I believe it is worth to write down an FAQ post which will hopefully cover some of the most recurrent questions. So, here we go:

Your aicrafts don't work and crash my computer! Why?

In 99% of the cases is because you are using an unsupported version of FSX. My projects require either FSX:Acceleration or FSX:Gold Edition (which is basically FSX SP2+Acceleration in the same box).
My projects will not work correctly or at all with out-of-the-box FSX, or with Service Pack 1 or 2.

Wait, but isn't SP2 the same as Acceleration minus the additional planes, sceneries and missions?

No, it is not the same. Acceleration has some additional, hardcoded features which may make Acceleration aicraft incompatible with other versions of FSX. Aside, some of my projects are aliasing assets from the stock F/A-18 Hornet in the Acceleration package.

I can see you planes in the game but the MFDs are not working...why?

Same as above - Acceleration (or Gold) versions of FSX should be correctly installed. Some of my projects are aliasing the MFD code from the stock Hornet in the Acceleration package. So, cases are two:

1) you do not have Acceleration package installed but the aicraft does not crash (I believe this is the case of the current T-45 version)...if it is so, FSX does not find the Hornet code so leaves the MFDs blank.

2) you are sure you have Acceleration installed, but still MFDs are blank. In this case you need to check the default Hornet MFDs. If they work, also the T-45C or F-14D ones should. If stock Hornet's MFDs do not work, you may need to reinstall/repair Accerelation which may be corrupt. I've seen several users with corrupt Acceleration installation (not caused by my planes) which lost MFD functionality.

This problem is anyway limited to the T-45C and F-14D, and should not affect the F-35 (and the S-3) as they do not rely on external code. This may change in future, as I may want to write new code for the T-45 and the F-14. Please note however that all the projects require Acceleration.

Can I use your planes in Lockheed Martin Prepar3d?

Answer is yes *BUT*... In terms of functions and functionalities Prepar3d expands on FSX:Acceleration. So my planes should load and be compatible. But Prepar3d does not include the stock F/A-18 Hornet, so the current F-14D and T-45C will show blank MFDs.
If you have a valid installation of FSX:A, you can fix this as follows:
- Navigate to your main FSX installation folder, and then in the Gauges subfolder.
- Locate the FA-18.dll file (which is the file that contains the Hornet MFD code) and copy it
- Paste a copy of that file in the Prepa3d/Gauges subfolder

Do not ask me to provide that file. This would break the EULA and I will not do that, sorry.
F-35 should work fine in Prepar3d - no action required.

Your F-35 is nice and everything... but it cannot make short takeoffs and landings! Should I buy a separate module or what?

The freeware installation of the F-35 is perfectly capable of making STOVL flights. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY ANYTHING. Please read the manual or look for tutorials on youtube! I know nobody does read the manual. I am an engineer, which means I don't. BUT the manual is there for a purpose: you can find it in the /docs folder of the F-35A installation folder. There are some conditions for the STOVL module to work and load, but if you do see the green message when you load the F-35, everything should be OK. If the message does not show, please read the manual.

Now: assuming the STOVL mode is correctly loaded (green message appears) here is some essential information which IS in the manual, but anyway...

- Only the F-35B (I believe the community nickname is converging to "Bee" for this version) is STOVL capable. It may sound obvious but it seems it is not, so make sure you have a -B version loaded. On the -B version, the HOOK/STOVL button activates the conversion.

- You must be below 240kts to activate the conversion. If the a/c is not able to convert because of its current attitude/speed or anthing, the conversion is rejected.

- On pressing the button the aicraft converts to "slow flight" mode: that is controls are the same of any other aicrafts. This mode is used for short take-offs, and for approaches prior to HOVER mode conversion. This is NOT the vertical landing / takeoff mode.

When you are is "slow flight" mode, you can convert to HOVER mode only if your TOTAL weight is below 40600 lbs (like in the real deal). You may want to activate an FCS portal in the MFD - once you are in slow flight mode, you will see an "HOVER" indication. If it is RED you are too heavy, and you may want to DUMP fuel. When it turns CYAN, your weight is OK and you can convert by clicking the HOVER indication itself (NOTE this is not like the real thing - in the real thing you would click a button on the throttle).

- Control scheme in HOVER mode changes and is somewhat like an helicopter. See the manual for details.

Is there a good scenery for Eglin AFB? 

Not that I know of. There is a payware photoreal that covers the area, but it is not that good and not worth the money IMHO. I made my own with FSET, but I have never adjusted the runways nor placed much autogen. I am improving it from time to time, but I am not sure I will ever release it publicly.

Can you PLEASE do (insert name of your favourite aicraft here)?

Unfortunately I do not have much time for FSX and that will not change in future. So my bandwith is roughly 1 new aircraft every 8-10 months (best case) + upgrades to the existing fleet. Sorry...but I have a job and a social life.


Austin Howard said...

Beautiful job on the S-3 so far!

Varun Krishnaswami said...

My favourite plane is all your planes. Also I do wish the day will come when I can actually learn from you on how to make these planes. Even I do not have time so its ok for now. But hopefully in the future.

Rafale mirage said...

Hi Dino,
Thanks for all these comments, I think it's good to refresh memories from time to time as I note that people on the Internet tend to have a short memory ;-)
For me, the job you do is so great that a new bird every 8 to 10 months is more than enought. Take some time with your familly, that's the most important thing we have on earth, especially by these difficult times.
On my side, I am waiting for the Tacpack updates :-)
Have a good time


Esteban Jeannin said...

my aircraft is f16 fihting falcon

Grabby said...

Hi Dino,

suggestion for the next update,virtual hud aoa indexer on c version.

Bye Grabby.

Varun Krishnaswami said...

Uhm Dino, I have a question about the F-35B. Is it possible to do a proper VTOL take off?? Also when I go into hover mode why does the weapons bay open up with the nozzle??

Dino Cattaneo said...


Real F-35B is not designed for VTOL operations, although it is probably possible if weight limitations are respected.
In the sim, you should unload fuel so that the total weight is below 40600lbs - then you can select the hover mode on the ground and take off vertically.

Weapon bays doors open, as in real life, in hover mode beacause this configuration provides more lift (much like the "streaks" of the AV-8B)

Dino Cattaneo said...

...meanwhile, at NAS Patuxent River...

Varun Krishnaswami said...

But Dino, the F-35B does do VTOL with its weapons bay closed right. Also I know that you have to keep fuel at a low level to do VTOL but it won't engage when you are on the ground, it only happens in mid-air, so all I am able to do is STOVL not VTOL. If your able to do it can you please tell me how its done?? Thanks

Dino Cattaneo said...

Well, as far as I know (and as far as I can tell by the recently released video) the real F-35B can do the a Vertical Take Off and Landing (of course).
weight has to be withing the limits and inner bay doors are opened automatically.
This is the very same in FSX - you have to go in AIRCRAFT->FUEL AND PAYLOAD and reduce the fuel so that the total weight is below 40600.
Now, just engage the STOVL mode, and then select the HOVER mode. Pull back on the stick and it lifts...than, you can disengage the HOVER mode and the A/C will gain speed and fly in the slow flight mode...once above 120-140 kts you can disengage STOVL mode and fly freely.

gonzalo orellana said...

How to engange STOVL Mode?