Saturday, May 30, 2009

F-14D Beta 2



GREEN - Issue identified and solved, or any alternative could make the things worse

YELLOW - Issue identified, but fix is either beyond my knowledge or too difficult/time consuming for me

RED - Issue open

NOTE: This issue list is compiled according to testing feedback, either comments on this post (preferred) or e-mail, but inlcude also things I've found myself and comments seen on the internet. The status indicator is my evaluation on the situation on my current build, which is, of course, newer than the Beta 2.
Visual model:

  • Wing sweep happens at much higher speed than the real plane (CLOSED: custom XML by Paolo Oriani provides flap intelock)
  • Maneuver/auxiliary flap behaviour is incorrect (CLOSED: see 1)
  • Nose probe vane is not in 3D (OPEN - unsure if it possible to fix in a reasonable time)
  • Nose probe animation glitch - nose probe animation trigger mixed with JDAM visibility trigger (CLOSED - fixed in model build 30)
  • Right slat animation glitch (CLOSED - fixed in model build 30)
  • Dihedral angle missing (CLOSED - geometry changed in model build 30)
  • Burner special effect peeks throught the engine nacelle (OPEN - .fx diameter reduced, but still visible depending on video card settings)
  • Abrupt nozzle animation (CLOSED - alternative solution evaluated but caused visual interference with the a/b)
  • Landing gear animation glitch - one part of the gear was not animated properly (CLOSED - Fixed in model build 32)
  • Landing gear animation / contact point issue - main gear sinking into runway (CLOSED - recalculated contact points "by the book" - still not perfect but much better. As side effect, catapult kneeling is less pronounced)
  • Tail "root" was missing heat exchanger detail (CLOSED - added as texture in model build 34)
  • Crew access ladder not correct (CLOSED - added new ladder geometry courtesy of Paolo Oriani).
  • Fuselage strakes too thick and tall - (CLOSED - reduced thickness and height of the strakes in model build 34)
  • Tail root geometry too thin (CLOSED - replaced tails geometry in model build 37, new geometry courtesy of Paolo Oriani)
  • Upper/lower fuselage section do not blend smoothly (CLOSED - reworked fuselage shading in model build 37)

Virtual cockpit:

  • Some MFD buttons are not working (OPEN - Reason unknown - XML code seems correct, same MFD works if compiled alone, this prevents seeing fuel status on one display and set HSI/ILS mode on the other)
  • HUD declutter/preset mode controls missing (CLOSED -Added in model build 18)
  • Several buttons/switches not working or incorrectly mapped (OPEN - for some I did not have time, others are just mistakes - please highlight the most annoying ones)
  • Radar altimeter missing (Closed - 3D Radar altimeter added to cockpit build 19, however it only shows approximate values)
  • Autothrottle not working (OPEN - Reason unknown: XML code seems correct... I can't tell why it is not working)
  • Cannot operate from "cold and dark" condition, nor it is possible to switch off everything (OPEN - Need to write a FSX checklist and make the model comply with it)
  • Pitot heat control missing (OPEN - Will add it)
  • Electrical power switch location (OPEN - Tomcat relies on external power before engine start-up. Unsure on where to place a switch for that - currently mapped on Generator Reset switch)
  • Backup ILS behaviour odd. While backup ILS activates correctly on NAV1 frequency (not linked to HUD mode), glideslope indications are not correct (CLOSED - Animation sequence was incorrect. Fixed on model build 20)
  • Misplaced texture on the HUD support (CLOSED - fixed on model build 20)
  • Gauge incorrect readings / behaviour:
  1. Total fuel quantity
  2. LT/RT aux fuel quantity
  3. VSI (odd behaviour around 0)
  4. LT/RT engine display
  5. LT/RT engine nozzle position
  6. LT/RT engine oil PSI
  7. Pressure altitude
  8. Hydraulic pressure

Flight model:

  • A more accurate approach speed has brought incorrect stall conditions. CLOSING - After evaluating different solutions, I was not able to find the right compromise between power on approach, maximum speed and proper stall speed. At present, I am keeping the correct maximum speed and close-to-correct power-on approach speed. Stall conditions seem still incorrect: very high AoA and very low speeds. While no proper stall occurs at the right speed, the lift decreases significantly...and I've introduced some roll-instability as the Aoa increases (not as strong as it should be in real Tomcat). So, there is definitely room for improvement but I think the flight model may be acceptable for release.
  • Toe brake effect too strong (CLOSED - As reported by Tomcat pilots, toe brake is now strong enough to hold the plane at full MIL power but cannot hold it when a/b is engaged)
  • Overpowered approach (CLOSED -At present a 130kts, flaps out, spoiler out approach requires power to be mantained. I'm not sure I can do better than this without reworking the model).
  • Maximum speed with latest flight model (CLOSED - latest flight model exceeds the allowable maximum speed of Mach 1.8)
  • Load stations / weight balance incomplete/incorrect (CLOSED - Fixed / completed aircraft .cfg)


SpazSinbad said...

Many thanks for the Beta 2 improvements. My main concern is the flight model in what I would guess would be a realistic approach configuration. At around 30% fuel indicated by weight there is too much engine power available at this weight at LOW RPM. The RPM needs to be almost at IDLE to get the aircraft down on the runway at this weight using the AoA indexer at Optimum Angle of Attack. This is disconcerting.
At a full fuel load with extra heavy crew at Opt AoA (with consequently higher approach IAS) the Engine RPM is perhaps more realistic but still over powered in my opinion in this landing configuration.
My opinion would be that at a realistic landing weight the aircraft needs some power ON to be able to land at Optimum Angle of Attack (at whatever airspeed that is). A carrier approach is a POWER ON approach rather than a 'Power at Flight Idle approach'. I'm hoping there is an easy fix for this condition.
Otherwise I've not done any testing other than fly in the circuit. The controls and flight behaviour otherwise appear to be very realistic. It is the overpowered engine that is an issue in my opinion.
Of course the model looks great and your wonderful work is much appreciated. AND there is FUN landing such a big aircraft at Flight Idle. :-)
If anyone is interested in a largeish .WMV video of a landing on a runway one can be posted on FileFront.
And thanks for the hard work of Dino and all concerned.

Vlad said...

SpazSinbad, a video would be largely appreciated. I really wish to see how far Dino has gone from when there wasn't even a Virtual Cockpit in place. :D Thanks!

SpazSinbad said...

This 66Mb 5 minute video is a standard MovieMaker2 rendering of a 3.5GB FRAPS .AVI file at high quality, so the quality of the screen display is much reduced in this .WMV. Please laugh at my approach, however I was flying at MAX FUEL with heavy pilots to attempt to have power on during the approach. Sadly by messing around it started high with a long engine idle - with last minute RPM engagement - as seen on the video. My interest was to make a quick video demo and not to make a perfect / edited video with only the good parts to be seen. Oh and I do take off with the hook down (for steady AoA indexer) / speedbrakes out and full flap so that there is less to do when usually I'm doing FCLP at a much lighter fuel weight of around 30%. The wind is a strong westerly down runway 26 at NAS Nowra, NSW Australia. The glidepath for an A4G on this runway would have a mirror but here using the ILS it would just show 4 reds to be about correct for a visual approach. This runway has a pronounced dip to the middle then it rises again, giving a strong illusion. The scenery is Google Earth. I like the robustness of the TOMCAT as it cuts the grass short of the runway. Many an aircraft has crashed on this runway (in real life) due to the strong downdraught created by a gully at end of runway generating strong adverse effects.;13829732;/fileinfo.html

Vlad said...

Firstly, the pattern was pretty nice. Got to see the bird, that's what mattered. That was a pretty low approach and you touched down exactly on the keys. Very nice job indeed.

[To Dino] A few things I noticed:

The AoA indexer is glitching when tries to show below 0 degrees, I'm sure it's a quick xml fix.

Also, the brake effectiveness seems to be set too high. I think if you lower it to about .6, it would be more realistic.

SpazSinbad, thanks for the video. Hope to see more of such content in the future. Looking forward to your version of the Tomcat! Great work!

SpazSinbad said...

Thanks for kind comments but I think I touched down short of the runway which would be disastrous. :-) The wind is maximum at 35 knots straight down runway without turbulence. However with full fuel load (totally unrealistic) I doubt whether the TOMCAT could pull up so quickly. Agree the brakes are too effective. For example they hold the TOMCAT at full burner which is also probably not possible. For example above about 90% RPM the Skyhawk brakes could not hold it during takeoff runup. (An engine check was done at 85% briefly which put a real strain on pilot legs to hold it on the brakes - then to full power etc.)

From the beginning of the straightaway the engine is at IDLE in that approach in the video. RPM picks up at the point where the throttle is seen to move.

More (KAHU Skyhawk A4K & Goshawk) testing videos are in the video subfolder pages at:

blackbird said...

The main landing sink into the deck or runway on takeoff or landing but only when compression is not happening, that is, at full extension of the gear.

Agreed that brakes seem too strong.

Javi said...

I had little time this weekend for some serious testing. I focused on testing it with my new Nimitz and I´m having very good performance on my rig (Q6600 overclocked a t 2.7Ghz, 4GB, Nvidia 8800GT Windows Vista 64). The FPS on the deck are around 45 in external and 40 in VC (all sliders set to high or very high). In DX10 I get +5 fps in both views. The visuals are amazing!! I would say this is the most detailed fighter VC in FSX yet, simply awesome !!!

My only suggestion would be some more external cameras to behold this beauty from other angles (I love those cameras attached to the fuselage in Top Gun :)

ScimmiaSpaziale said...


can't wait to fly the Tomcat from the deck of your new Nimitz... screenshots look amazing.

Beta 2 already features a robust increase in drag coefficients, which seems still not enough to get rid of the overpower condition. I am increasing the drag of flaps, spoilers and gears even more...and eventually derate the engine.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I cannot achieve the F-14D's top speed of 1,544 mph.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...


While 1544 Mph is often cited as F-14 top speed, I found no conclusive evidence that this should be regarded as actual top-speed for the depicted model - and most pobably refers to a "clean" tomcat - BTW I've read claims of Tomcat flight test above Mach 2.6...

IMHO, the rationale for checking the flight model top speed is:

- Identify proper NATOPS configuration (page 4-2). Closest one seems to be 2C3

- Identify maximum allowable Mach for the given configuration (NATOPS 4-6) which would be 1.8 over 40,000 feet

- Check if the model can fly faster than that speed. I confess I've tested it with a early flight model but things may be changed.
At 40000 feet, speed of sound decreases to 660 mph (or 573 kts) which would bring us to 1188 mph or 1031 knots.

This, however is the maximum allowable speed - not the maxium speed. The operating limitation, AFAIK, is due to the possibility of intake ramp malfunction above that speed.

To me, if you can go above the allowable speed the flight model is OK. Will check.

Todd said...

No pitot heat switch/anti-ice inop: While doing some storm chasing in the Tomcat experienced loss of airspeed indications with no change associated with change of anti-ice switches and saw no pitot heat switch. I was able to repeat the same loss of airspeed indications flying the T-45 in the same area and was able to regain airspeed indications with pitot heat switch activation and repeat loss of indications with pitot switch in off position.

blackbird said...

The battery switch on the right side VC area is covered by a red safety cover that is not animated. The actual switch cannot be seen.

blackbird said...

Is the instrument to the top left of the left MFD working correctly. This is probably known for several weeks. I think this is called a "standby attitude indicater".

ScimmiaSpaziale said...


As for the "battery switch" this is a temporary placement... I'm not sure where should I place a switch for the electrical power during startup, as AFAIK the Tomcat relies on external power before the engines are started...

As for the attitude should work correctly. Please report if there is any flight condition in which it does not report a correct attitude. VOR/ILS bars have been tested and were working fine in a very early build - but have not been tested again since then.

blackbird said...

Sorry, didn't write clearly, the "standby attitude indicater" works fine but the yellow lines seem to be for ILS but do not seem to work when ILS is working on the MFD and HUD.

ScimmiaSpaziale said...


The yellow "lines" are indeed for VOR/ILS tracking. I've tested them on an early build by using the NAV radio instead of the HUD and they were working. Not sure I can link them to the HUD operation, but they surely should work with the radio. I'll double check.