Tuesday, May 6, 2014

New Project Announcement: Aermacchi MB.326 (and derivatives)!

The most frequent question I am asked about my Flight Simulator project is by far "Can you do a good model of [insert favourite plane here]?"
F-4, F-16 and EF-2000 are the most recurrent requests, by the way.
Well, I think I had already clarified that my next project (after the S-3B Viking, I mean) will be the Aermacchi MB.326.
If you follow this blog or read my facebook page, you will surely know why: some months ago I had the chance to fly in the beautifully restored Aermacchi MB.326E owned by Renzo Catellani and I completely fell in love with this great machine.
Another reason why it seems to me a great choice is that so far I have mostly made U.S.Navy models, and I have neglected the aeronautical heritage of my own country.
And a third reason is that it has been a huge commercial success, and the aicraft has a huge base of worldwide fans.

For those who did not know (from Wikipedia), the MB-326 is a light military aircraft designed in Italy. Originally conceived as a two-seat trainer , there have also been single and two-seat light attack versions produced. It is one of the most commercially successful aircraft of its type, being bought by more than 10 countries and produced under licence in Australia, Brazil and South Africa.It set many category records, including an altitude record of 56,807 ft (17,315 m) on 18 March 1966. More than 600 were built.

The model will be developed according to Flight Simulator X: Acceleration SDK, and will be compatible with Prepar3d.
The base model will be, or course, the Aermacchi MB.326E, which is a two-seater armed version (6 underwing hard points). Starting from this base model, it should be relatively easy to:
- convert it to an ealier unarmed version (i.e. the original MB.326 design)
- create a single seater attack version (such as the MB.326K)
...and, well, it is also true that many parts are common or similar to the MB.339, so may be this will come sometime in the future.

As for the weapons, my plan is to support the Tacpack and include all the relevant weapons that will be available (not many at the moment... MK.82, additional guns and rocket pods).

In terms of time frame, I will first release the S-3B Viking (full release may take a couple of months)...so do not expect anything before the next winter.

Here is how it looks in Prepar3D at the moment (boy the cloud shadows are really something!)...
..and here is yours truly in control of the real deal :-) ! 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

T-45C Goshawk Update to Version 2.61

IMPORTANT! Shortly after the release of version 2.60, I was notified of a bug due to the fact that the wrong panel.cfg was packaged with the build. I have fixed the problem, repackaged the files and uploaded version 2.61. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Here is another update to the Goshawk - I have packed several modifications and improvements I have been working on from time to time in the past few months to keep the T-45 on par with my recent releases.
The biggest changes are the Virtual Cockpit (which now features 4096x4096 textures and the addition of several missing details) and the fact that I have added LAU-68 rocket launchers which are functional in the Tacpack environment (a Tacpack configuration manager is also provided).
Training bombs are still not working as they are not supported by Tacpack.

Here is the full list of changes:
- Enhanced virtual cockpit texture resolution
- Added missing details in virtual cockpit
- Fixed instrument night lighting
- Miscellaneous minor tweaks to aicraft.cfg
- Added digits and Mach reading to airspeed indicator
- Added digits and baro reading to altimeter
- External loads are now triggered by station weights, token weights are as follows:
  110 lbs on central pylon to make baggage pod appear
  225 lbs on a wing pylon to make practice bombs appear
  250 lbs on a wing pylon to make LAU-68 rocket launcher appear
- Added loadout configurator (requires Tacpack)
- LAU-68 rockets are now working in Tacpack. To fire a rocket:
  1) Activate the configurator (SHIFT+4) and select rockets (note this can be done anytime
  in single player, but may be limited by host settings in multiplayer)
  2) Once airborne, select the A/G Master Mode (MENU->STRS->A/S)
  3) Select one RKT station
  4) Fire through Trigger key in Tacpack
  NOTE: Fire mode is always RIPPLE (cannot be selected), DEP Reticle is almost a gimmick...
- Added following keyboard shortcuts
  MASTER ARM - "Control+A"
  WEAPONS RELOAD - "Shift+Control+W" (subject to host settings)
  MASTER MODE NAV - "Shift+Control+1"
  MASTER MODE A/A - "Shift+Control+2"
  MASTER MODE A/S - "Shift+Control+3"

Download from the side bar as usual.

Friday, May 2, 2014

F-14D Tomcat updated to version 2.30

After the deployment of the latest version of my Tomcat, an important bug was identified bug in the A/A Radar Slaved Launch code. The bug affectes the latest version(s) of the Tomcat, and while it potentially affects all the weapons, it has catastrophic effects on the Phoenix which is not able, in many instances, to lock on the radar target.
So here is yet another update to the F-14D, which is now promoted to version 2.30.
I took the chance to fix some other minor defects. Download link from the side bar as usual.

May 2nd, 2014
- Fixed bug in the Tacpack code which prevented AIM-54C missile seeker to achieve a lock on L&S target
- Fixed minor bug in the Multi-status indicator (station 8B did not report the Ready/Selected status for AIM-54 missiles)
- Clean up of Tacpack code
- Added HYD PRESS animated needle in Virtual Cockpit
- Added AIM-54 in STA1B and 8B in Virtual Cockpit
- Fixed in-flight refuel ration while using Tacpack

Non-Tacpack users can gracefully skip the update as it (almost) have no impact for them.