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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:35 pm 
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... When Stuck at Home because Coronavirus.

Unable to go out and have fun doing aviation-related activities, some of us our spending more time getting our virtual aviation fix on flight simulator programs. I've been a simmer for many years, but I find myself spending more time at the joystick lately than in quite a while, and I'm spending the money I would usually drop on bad, overpriced restaurant meals in NYC on new airplanes and other add-ons.

Although I seem to collect all kinds of aircraft obsessively for my sim, I mostly fly vintage and warbird types, and I thought it would be fun to explore all of the places we talk about on this forum, including ones I'm familiar with in real life, and ones I'm not. So I set about scouring my memory and sites like funplacestofly.com (a great resource in its own right) to compile a list of airports, airfields and bases to serve as point-to-point destinations or as waypoints on cross-country flights. Initially they were places I just reckoned would be warbird- or classic-friendly airports to visit, but I ended up including airports that have static museums on site, military bases, and some private strips where you wouldn't want to drop in unannounced. After covering North America, I went through most of western Europe, which was a little more difficult to research.

This spreadsheet lists airports that have something to do with historic aviation. Most of them host a museum or a collection, and many are the sites of well-known air shows and fly-ins. There's a tab for North America and one for Europe. Each record includes ICAO airport code (easiest way to search in the sim scenario setup), where the airport is, what the historic aviation attraction is, and which parking space to choose (from the Prepar3d or MSFS drop-down list) to get closest to the attractions site. NOT TO BE USED FOR REAL WORLD FLIGHT PLANNING.

My spreadsheet is available for download here.

Here are a few visual examples of places in the spreadsheets. Not all of these are to be found, or looking like this, in the stock Prepar3d or MS Flight Sim. Some airports that would be essential to a classic airplane enthusiast are not there at all, including Old Warden and La Ferte Alais. Luckily, good free add-on sceneries are available for these that even supply airshow trappings and static aircraft.

Most of the airplanes you see in these pictures are installed and flyable in my sim. I use an add-on called WAMA (Where Are My Aircraft?) which keeps track of where I park my planes and makes them visible when I'm flying something else or just looking around.

In Everett, Washington (KPAE), I have lined up a few relevant types on the site of FHC, including a peek into the future.

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For the most part, even tiny strips are represented in some form in the simulators' databases, even if they are lacking in detail. The sims basically start with the whole government database of airfields, then add detail to the ones the developers thought worthwhile. I was pleased to find that if you want to drop in on Chris Prevost, the structures at Sonoma Valley (0Q3) are actually pretty well populated.

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From here, you might cruise out to Stockton (KSCK), where of course I've parked Tanker 062 and given it a twin Beech for company.

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And if you're touring California, you have to drop in at Chino. I've populated the ramp in my install with some types typically to be found there.

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I'm still filling up the Planes of Fame ramp at Chino with relevant types. My KCNO is enhanced with an add-on scenery for the airport, but it still doesn't do much of a job of reproducing the air museums.

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Back east, I base 4 or 5 vintage types at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome (NY94), enhanced by an add-on, sharing the field with the Aerodrome's own planes (as they appeared in the early 2000s when this add-on was done). Rhinebeck is a challenging field, and you have to stay out of the way of a New Standard that is usually in the pattern.

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Another fun vintage-friendly field not far from where I really live is Merritt Field (4PN7) in Pennsylvania. The first time I dropped in in my Spartan to check it out, all I found was a bare dirt strip with nothing around. So I searched and found an add-on that gives it a little atmosphere.

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In the middle of the country, there are of course many options. Yet another add-on contains a quite nice representation of Wittman Field (KOSH), including EAA's museum and Pioneer Airport, which is actually a different ICAO airport (WS17). Here are some things that would be nice to see flying out of the museum again. I took this screen shot before I had located a "Marge" skin for my P-38; that has now been rectified, and "Nellie Ann" relieved of duty!

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Meanwhile, over in Europe, it's always an airshow day in my sim's version of Duxford, thanks to a detailed add-on.

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And a couple of the Flying Bulls await their next gig outside their distinctive hangar in Salzburg (LOWS).

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To explore some of these airports, when I download a new addition to the hangar that "belongs" someplace, rather than just placing it there, I ferry it from my home airport at White Plains. I do it in short stages so I can practice landings and see as many fields as possible. Yesterday I dropped this off at Reading (KRDG). If only it were really that easy!

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I also recently bought a P-51D package and have downloaded over 80 paint schemes for it, including most of our favorite restored warbirds, which gives me a lot of Mustangs to distribute around the country. Right now I'm ferrying Cripes A'Mighty 3rd ...

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... to Fantasy of Flight in Florida (FA08), represented by a quite detailed add-on airport. In this photo, the Duck and B-26 were flown in by me; several other aircraft are provided as static objects to dress up the place.

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Anyway, if you're a simmer, download my spreadsheet and see if you like it. Feel free to suggest airports I've missed. I was going to do a tab for Australia and New Zealand, but it seems like there's just three or four sites there that we keep hearing about, so I'm not sure it's worth the trouble.

If you're not a simmer but are intrigued, there are a lot of good deals to be had online right now, as vendors have started COVID-19 shut-in sales. You can get Microsoft Flight Simulator X Steam Edition on Steam for $6.24 right now, rather dated but still a great deal, with a zillion add-ons available. Mind you, you aren't really going to have much fun with flight sims until you invest in some hardware - at a minimum a good joystick, and really also rudder pedals, a head tracker, and a yoke if you like the big or civilian stuff. But as long as we can't get out much, it's a good time to try it.

We have some simmers who frequent this forum, including at least one mod developer of some renown, and I'd like to hear what all of you are doing with your sims during the lockdown. If anyone has any questions about my setup, planes, airports, or other mods, I'll be happy to respond, to the extent I can remember where I got everything.

August

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:49 pm 
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I didn't see this post until now! I saw your post over on the A2A forum the other day. I, CAPFlyer, John Terrell and Dudley Henriques are over there also.

I've been simming for quite some time also. These days I fly A2A's stuff almost exclusively but I've got a few other freeware and payware airplanes. I recently discovered the Harpoon that I'm assuming you have there, and was impressed with it for a freeware plane.

I have a few paychecks worth of Orbx scenery but somehow I'm still always flying in the boring midwest. I did start a trip from IN down to South America at the end of last year and will still be working on that for several months. I'm flying the Bonanza so it's taking quite a bit longer than I'm used to, my around the world trips have been in the B377 and Mustang. I'm about 30 hours into my South America trip and have just reached Columbia. I've been busy with other stuff since I've been off work and have only had time to do one long flight, but I've been at least flying short flights in other aircraft a couple times a day. I landed in the P-40 at Meigs just a few minutes ago.

What scenery are you using for Fantasy of Flight?

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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 4:31 pm 
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Hi Greg,

Thanks for your reply - I didn't see this either until now! I don't know how you check in on Wix, but I usually use the "View new posts" link. I guess that link doesn't give you new posts in all parts of the forum, though - maybe just in the Hangar? So it is hard to catch new posts in the simulator area unless you specifically look here.

Anyway, despite the small audience and difficulty of seeing these posts, here is another update on my enforced-shut-in flight simming activities.

I've been trying to set up "tours" for groups of my airplanes in order that I always have missions that need flying, and get to fly different aircraft, and see new airports and scenery. My first idea was to try to replicate the Collings Wings of Freedom tour, which must be the most extensive warbird touring schedule. I tried to figure out their fully itinerary for 2018, the last year they flew the full tour, which is more difficult than you might think. The entire tour itinerary is never posted all in one place, because they are still nailing down dates late in the year after the first part of the tour is in the past, and have slid off the Collings web site. By googling various cached Collings pages and local news stories about the tour, I was able to pin down about 90 of the 109 stops they made, which was enough to launch my own tour. Here's the lineup of planes I assembled to retrace Wings of Freedom 2018:

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B-17 by A.F. Scrub (it's on my to-do list to edit the skin for more interesting markings)
B-24 by Virtavia
B-25 by RCS Panels
B-26, A-20, A-26 by Milton Shupe team
P-38 by Milviz

They're in formation for this portrait, using an add-on called AI Tracker X, which can take over any of your aircraft and fly them in formation. I'm actually flying each stage of the tour individually in all of the airplanes, obviously not in formation.

You can see I doubled down on bombers for this version of the tour. I selected the P-38 as fighter escort because it is also flown with a yoke, so I can fly each stage without swapping out my flight yoke for a joystick.

By the way, the other apps I'm using for this tour are:
P3D v4.5 the basic simulator
TrackIR for head tracking
Joy2Key for mapping extra functions to my gamepad and joystick
Little Nav Map for flight planning and moving-map navigation
ActiveSky for real-time, real-world weather
WAMA (Where Are My Aircraft) for keeping track of the aircraft on tour stops

It's hard to manage more than 6 or 7 planes on one tour, plus it gets repetitive flying the same stage over again more times. But I wanted to tour more planes! So I decided to have separate tours, using the basic Collings iitinerary, but starting at a different point in the national circuit, so that they go around the country like horses on a carousel. So while the bomber group above will start from the real Collings starting point in Florida, my Wings of the Navy tour will start from the west coast. Specifically, I chose the defunct navail air base Alameda in San Francisco Bay, which is abandoned by still usable in P3d4.5. Here are the airplanes:

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PB4Y by A.F. Scrub
PV-2 by Shupe team
FM-2 not sure of author
F4U by Milviz
SB2C by Wolfi
SNJ by Warwick Carter

I have been collecting Canadian aircraft for P3D, and doing my own repainting when necessary, so I wanted to set up a couple of Canadian tours. I worked out a roughly 50-stop coast-to-coast tour from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland. To keep the group sizes manageable, I decided to have one group fly it west-to-east, and the other east-to-west, crossing somewhere in the middle. My eastbound team consists of aircraft operated in Canada. I had to repaint most of these to make them suitable.

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Liberator by Virtavia
Ventura by Shupe team
Kittyhawk by Iris Simulations
Hurricane converted by A.F. Scrub and others from an old Aeroplane Heaven product
Sea Fury by A.F. Scrub although I think I will switch to the Flying Stations one
Harvard by Warwick Carter

The westbound flight consists of aircraft flown by Canadians in overseas combat theatres.

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Boston by Shupe team
Mosquito and Beaufighter by Dave Garwood
Spitfire by RealAir
Tomahawk and Mustang by A2A
Corsair by Milviz

This is actually one of my favorite flights as it contains 4 good payware airplanes plus 3 exceptional quality freeware ones.

And then I put together a relatively unwieldy formation of Canadian jets. These will fly the route with fewer stops, since they cover ground more quickly and need larger runways.

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Vampire and Banshee by Rob Richardson (the Banshee should be an F2H-3 rather than a -2, but it completes the set, so I just avoid looking back at my tail dihedral)
Sabre by A.F. Scrub (I have done a bunch of RCAF skins for this)
CF-100, 101 and 105 by Alphasim/Virtavia
Zipper by Sim Skunk Works (this one is a handful!)
F-5 by Tim Conrad
F-18 by Microsoft

Meanwhile, back down south, I am putting together some other, smaller tours. One is for a group of golden age classics, which I'll fly around in a circuit of mostly turf fields in the Midwest, including must-stops like Creve Coeur, Blakesburg and so on.

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Robin not sure of author
Staggerwing by Alabeo
Stearman by DG Seeley
Waco UPF-7 by Tim Conrad
Waco SRE by Paul Clawson
Spartan Executive by Shupe
Vega and Trimotor by Microsoft

I will be putting together an Army fighters flight, a Korean War flight, and a propliners flight, which I'll eventually post here. The only other one I've completed is my Axis of Evil flight:

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Stuka by Milviz
Bf 109G by Flight Replicas (this is especially challenging and fun to fly)
Macchi and Fiat by IS4Gs
Raiden by Tim Conrad
Shiden by A.F. Scrub

Is that enough planes and flights to keep me busy during the quarantine? NO! Those are only the North American tours. I'll be putting together formations and itineraries for other countries and regions around the world.

August

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Last edited by k5083 on Wed May 06, 2020 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 5:21 pm 
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