Friday, November 30, 2018

Prepar3d V4.4 Compatibility Statement

Lockheed Martin has just released Prepar3D version 4.4, which introduces, along with a plethora of improvements, Phisically Based Rendering. PBR will only work on objects specifically compiled for it - old content will not change: it is still compatible and will show exactly as it did before.
Before upgrading to P3Dv4.4 please beware that:

- The update will disrupt VRS Tacpack compatibility. This means that if you upgrade to v4.4 you will not be able to use weapons, radars, sensors and loadout manager on my planes. Functionality will be restore as soon as VRS updates Tacpack to support P3Dv4.4: no action will be required from your side, just install the new version of Tacpack when it will become available.

- The update will remove any Beechcraft/Textron related default content (e.g. the Carenado Bonanza) so you may want to make a copy of those aircrafts before upgrading. 

Apart from the issue with Tacpack, everything else seems to work fine on my aircrafts. On my system, the update seems to provide a slightly better drawing distance and slightly sharper rendering of photoreal terrain. Also, enabling the SpeedTree functionality does not have the big impact it had before on my system (but I guess this is more important for helo and bush pilots). Anyway, here is a quick report of the compatibility of my current payware projects:

EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON: Works fine, no issues. However until Tacpack is updated, you will not be able to use weapons, radar and sensors. The loadout manager also will not work. Note that you can change the default loadout by modifying the payload on the stations - see the WEIGHT_AND_BALANCE section in the aircraft.cfg for details and the exact weights you need to apply (note that weapons will not work in any case).

E-2 HAWKEYE / C-2 GREYHOUND: They both work fine, no issues. The radar on the E-2 will also work as it is based on the FSX/P3D radar and not on Tacpack. Tacpack functionalities such as carrier navigation and IFF will not work - but you would not need them without VRSTP in any case.

SIAI MARCHETTI S-211 / AERMACCHI M-345: All the models work fine. You will not be able to fire weapons without Tacpack. However you will be able to use the configurator since, on these models, it is not Tacpack-dependent.

F-35 LIGHTNING II: No issues for this one too but for the Tacpack functions. Weapons, DAS, TFLIR, TWD, HMD and the configurator will not work. The TSD screen will work as it interrogates the FSX/P3D traffic database (does not depend on Tacpack) - as for the Eurofighter, you can also load the aircraft manually (but weapons will not work in any case). The STOVL functionality will work fine :-)

Also, as some of you have asked in the past, here is a quick recap of the compatibility of the freeware projects:

USS AMERICA - Works fine. Aside I am releasing 1.00 soon(ish).

AERMACCHI MB-326 - This has never been updated to 64bit techology: some of the code will not work. You will have issues with weapons loading and custom sounds. Works fine if you use it for VFR flights.

T-45C GOSHAWK - This does not rely on anything but XML, so no compatibility issues. You'll need Tacpack to fire the weapons.

S-3B VIKING - This one has never been updated to 64bit technology: some of the code will not work. Namely you will have issues during in-flight-refuel (you will not be able to receive or give fuel) and fuel tank capacity will not match the configuration. Also, no weapons or configurator until the next Tacpack update.

F-14D SUPER TOMCAT - This one has never been updated to 64bit technology: some of the code will not work. You will encounter some discrepancies in the fuel capacity, also no custom sounds - and then of course no weapons\radar functionality without Tacpack.

FREEWARE F-35 (OUTDATED) - This has never been upgraded to 64 bit since it has been superseded by the payware version: same issues  STOVL functions will not work.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

C-2 Greyhound - E-2 Hawkeye Release and Paintkit

The C-2 Greyhound / E-2 Hawkeye package is finally available for purchase at SimMarket!
This is the link to the product page:

The paintkit for both aircrafts is also available for download from my Google Drive, here is the link:

If you create an awesome livery please leat me know!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

E-2/C-2 Beta 2 (Release Candidate) Post

This post is meant as repository for infomation and bug reports on the Beta 2 build. The purpose of Beta 2 is to check that the bug fixes and the new features applied to Beta 1 have not caused any unintended side effects and the installer works correctly.
Please note that not all of the bugs in the Beta 1 have been addressed or solved - but any bug left should be a minor glitch that may be addressed by a patch at later stage.

The list of bugs and changes addressed can be found on the old beta 1 post - HERE

The current (and almost complete) product manual can be downloaded by clicking HERE

Basically I'd like Beta testers to check that there are no catastrophic issues with the product or the installer.

- The plane now embraces a cold and dark approach. Spawning the A/C on the ground will turn it off (meaning the engines will be switched off, the systems will be switched off and the parking brake will be set). Control+Shift+R sets the Aircraft in a "ready to start the engines" state. Control+Shift+O shuts the aircraft down.
- The plane now "enforces" the use of the MAX RUDDER switch as in the real deal. You will get a MASTER CAUTION alert if it is not ON (2°-6°) above 150 kts and OFF (20°) below 130 kts
- The flight model has been COMPLETELY reworked according to suggestions coming from real-world pilots. It should be more challenging to fly.


- The MAX RUDDER indication on the copilot side reworked to show actual rudder limiter status
- AOA indicator has now a white mark in the optimal area
- Added SHIFT+R key shortcut to toggle the MAX RUDDER switch.
- Caution and Warning lights conditions have been slightly reworked.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

S-211 for Aerofly FS2 - update to version 1.0


With thanks to Jan from the IPACS forum, here is a small update to the freeware SIAI-Marchetti S-211 model for Aerofly FS2. Apart from a general cleanup of the s211.tmd file and some improvements in the control.tmd file, the important thing is that the update introduces a much needed damping effect to the main landing gear - generating a much better behavior during touchdown.

Version 1.0
-Included improvements in to the tmd files provided by Jan-Hendrik Hanuschik from the Aerofly FS 2 forum
-Minor tweak to the external model to fix speedbrake actuator

Model can be downloaded from the sidebar or by clicking HERE.

Friday, November 2, 2018


While debugging the E-2/C-2 Package I have discovered a nasty bug in the TACAN system that affects also other planes… so I took the chance for a quick update to the F-35. Here are the details of the update:

Version 3.53 - 02/11/2018
- Fixed major bug in NAV1/TACAN frequency conversion causing generating incorrect TACAN channels in some instances.
- Fixed bug preventing NAV1 frequency tuning once a TACAN channel has been entered
- Fixed graphic glitch in MFD TSD1 screen
- Fixed minor graphic glitch in BFI Baro setting window
- Updated Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A livery
- Added F-35C VFA-147 Argonauts USN livery
- Fixed wrong entry in F-35C configuration file



The update can be dowloaded from the sidebar or by clicking HERE.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


The E-2/C-2 project is close to completion, and given that this 2018 is slowly approaching to its end, I though this was a good time to share my current projects for 2019.
But first, let me thank you once again for your continues support to my projects - you enthusiasm and appreciation for what I do is much appreciated!

So, let's start with the easy things...


As usual, I'd like to keep my projects up to date whenever here is what I am working on:

SIAI S-211 - A small patch is in the works to fix a couple of minor glitches. I am also looking to add a couple of liveries, a (much requested) smoke system and some sort of aiming support for weapons release (at least for the HUD-equipped versions). At least the glitches will be fixed before the end of 2018.

F-35 LIGHTNING II - Minor fixes to the BFI and MFD, possibly new liveries. The patch will be for P3D versions only. Release is planned before the end of 2018.

EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON - Also for this one, fixes to minor glitches are planned. I'd like to rework some aspects of the cockpit model too...but I am not sure I can find the time. Release date TBD.

F-14D SUPER TOMCAT - Although this project was "closed" years ago, I've been working on a P3Dv4 version to provide full 64 bit compatibility and AO support. I am not sure when (and if) it will be ready, so release date is TBD.


If you follow my Facebook page this is hardly surprising, but my next project will be the TA-4J. The scope is to deliver a high quality rendition of this aircraft. By similarity there is some chance that the project scope may creep towards the inclusion of the TA-4F and/or the A-4F...but at the moment the focus in on the TA-4J.
With the current pace, a Beta version may be ready in spring 2019.
Lead Platform is Prepar3D v4, but with backward compatibility to FSX:SE in mind.
Also, the model will be built with provisions for an easy export to other platforms.

External model of the TA-4J in P3Dv4.3... it is already 50% complete.
Very early look at TA-4J cockpit… it will require months of work!


I have been following the TX competition quite closely - and I have to confess that, technically, my money was on the T-50. However, for a number of reasons, seeing the victory of Boeing/SAAB design was hardly surprising.
I have been working on a T-X model lately, although at the moment, the information about the cockpit and pilot interface is insufficient for a reasonably accurate simulation. Provided that more information will become available in time, the T-X project should be available before the end of 2019.
Lead Platform is Prepar3D v4, but with backward compatibility to FSX:SE in mind (but chance is that the MFD may be too complex for FSX...much like it was for the F-35).
Also, the model will be built with provisions for an easy export to other platforms.

Early picture of the Boeing T-X in P3Dv4.3


As much as it is hard to admit it, I think that FSX is now technologically outdated, and its popularity is declining (albeit more slowly than most people predicted). And, while P3Dv4 is a good step forward, unless Lockheed Martin pulls a rabbit out of the hat with new shaders or a better rendering pipeline, chance is that P3D will follow. 
Continuing to support FSX is getting harder and harder, as basically you cannot use the new features of P3Dv4 if you want to maintaing backward compatibility - and developing multiple versions requires a lot of effort - especially if you are a small developer like me.
For these and other reasons, in the past years I have been closely looking at other platforms and made a number of experiments.
Still, at least for the TA-4J, I'll continue supporting both FSX and P3D as main development platforms. Then we will see.


Unknown to most users, XP11 has a number of limitations in the aicraft modeling which make the conversion from FSX/P3D to XP11 not trivial (see the document I have published some time ago). Also, in terms of avionics, XP11 has almost everything you need for civil aviation...but not much for military planes, especially if they have digital instruments, MFDs and HUDs.

Anyway, I am moving forward with the conversion of the Siai Marchetti S-211, which feels at home in XP11, and, in 2019, the TA-4J. Given their avionics and cockpit features, they are relatively easy to convert.

I have been experimenting with the conversions of other aircrafts, too… but at this time I have nothing to announce.

The SIAI S-211 Flying in XP11 - it is almost just needs some work on the cockpit but it is already flyable.


While it is not much popular, I really like this sim for VR, sightseeing flights. Its excellent frame rate and high-resolution photoreal terrain make it the ideal showcase of my HTC Vive when friends come and visit me.
Unfortunately, with the current status of the SDK, developing aircrafts for this sim is very time consuming.
This is why I have recently released the unfinished S-211 for free lately.
I am not sure I'll have the time do other projects in future, but I'd like to, and then may be IPACS will improve the SDK. We'll see.

The SIAI S-211 in Aerofly FS2


The question I have been asked most in 2018 is, "Aren't you looking at DCS? Why don't you convert your planes for it?"...well… of course I've been looking at DCS. Below is a picture I took in an early attempt to convert the Eurofighter Typhoon to this platform.
However, the big problem with DCS is that it does not offer a "middle ground" either do simple mods (and rely on default functions) or you'll have to model each system on your own - which is very time consuming.
To develop a "decent" (and I am not saying "good" - by "decent" I mean FC3-level airplanes) you still need to assemble a good team, and it still requires a lot of work.
I am looking at different strategies for this, but, at the moment, no one is really a convincing way to move forward.

An early shot of the Eurofighter Typhoon in DCS - Don't hold your breath, at the moment it is just a test and may never become an actual product.

...and that is not all. Back to FSX/P3D I have a number of other small projects on the drawing board… which include an MQ-25, the final release of the USS America model and the "pro" version of the T-45.
Also, I have been looking at making the M.C.72 as a divertissment, and I have been discussing cooperations for a number of other interesting projects - which I cannot disclose right now. The main problem is that I do not have much time - and, at the moment, quitting my real life job to only this is not an option...