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Alphasim C-17 Globemaster III repaints

For no reason in particular, some repaints of Flight Simulator aircraft I worked on last month.  The very detailed original textures were created by Pierre Lherheux and Phil Perrott of Alphasim, for their C-17 Globemaster III product.

For the Charleston bird I modified Alphasim’s 62AW/McChord textures, creating the Charleston tail flash, updating the tail code, and re-positioning the aircraft and wing identifier from the lower nose to the upper nose, just below the cheek window.  This repaint is based on aircraft 07-7182, assigned to 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston AFB, South Carolina.

Repaint of Alphasim C-17 Globemaster III for 437th Airlift Wing (Charleston AFB).  Scenery is Palu/Mutiara Airport, Indonesia

Repaint of Alphasim C-17 Globemaster III for 437th Airlift Wing (Charleston AFB). Scenery is Palu/Mutiara Airport, Indonesia

Tail detail showing Charleston tail flash with crescent moon and palmetto.

Tail detail showing Charleston tail flash with crescent moon and palmetto. Scenery is Elmendorf AFB, outside of Anchorage, Alaska.

I also modified the stock Alphasim Canadian Forces paint scheme slightly.  For the CF repaint, I modified all aircraft tail codes / identifier codes to be rendered in the appropriate Canadian Forces font.  (Actually, the font predates the CF and is the same as that used by the former RCAF.)  I also added the missing aircraft identifier on the lower nose, and created versions for all four CF aircraft (177701 through 177704).


Repaint of Alphasim C-17 Globemaster III for CF aircraft assigned to 429 (Transport) Sqn, 8 Wing, CFB Trenton. Scenery is Lake Simcoe Regional.

Tail detail showing 177704 tail code.  Scenery is Lake Simcoe Regional.

Tail detail showing 177704 tail code and 704 identifier on starboard wing. Scenery is Lake Simcoe Regional.

Both repaints are available at AVSIM.com and FlightSim.com, but you will of course need to have the original Alphasim package first.

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CYKA Kamloops


One of the grand things about flight simulation is that you can fly gear that you wouldn’t normally have access to, and visit unfamiliar places you might not ordinarily be inclined to go.

Even so, I always get a little uneasy flying through mountainous terrain.  I think that’s largely because of two factors.

First, my home province in real life is largely flat.  In Ontario, aside from parachuting and soaring/gliding areas, there isn’t an awful lot of stuff you can run into at four or five thousand feet.  At that altitude CFIT just isn’t going to happen.  West of Saskatchewan, though, at four or five thousand feet you can still run into dangerous stuff like… well, land.  Hard, rocky, vertical-slab-like land, commonly referred to as mountains.

Second, one of my first experiences with simulated mountain flying taught me a hard lesson.  About a decade ago I had sim-flown from Tacoma up into the Alaskan panhandle.  I  was being radar vectored toward an airfield by Anchorage Center, that position being manned at the time by an honest-to-goodness USCG pilot who had accrued real-life flight hours in that very area.  I had some Alaska charts on CD but was feeling lazy and didn’t fire them up to have a look.  Bad move.  That sim-controller—whose word I trusted utterly, owing to the sterling reputation of his service and his own familiarity with the locale—unintentionally vectored me into the side of a mountain.  No kidding.  It demonstrated the need for one to be intimately familiar with the sectionals and approach plates before one gets anywhere near the destination.  This is what you would do for a real flight, and although you can get away without it in the sim world, why train yourself to have a bad habit?

So with those two things back of mind, I always have a bit of trepidation flying into hilly places.  And Kamloops—which is ringed by mountains, with only a few narrow river valleys allowing an approach to the city—is all but guaranteed to raise the spectre of that first mountain experience.  Sure, in the picture above it doesn’t look all that bad; gently sloping mountains and foothills, right?  On an approach plate it looks a little different.


That is what Kamloops looks like in the eyes of a pilot that doesn’t typically have to deal with mountains.  A six thousand foot asphalt runway surrounded by inconvenient orange walls of death that one should try not to run into.  (Keep in mind there is a not a single hint of any thousand-foot terrain variance in the CAP4 [Ontario] approach plates.)  The minimum safe altitude in a 25 nautical mile radius is only a couple thousand feet below the 10,000ft/250kt speed restriction.  The localiser is offset a few degrees from the actual runway angle, because otherwise it would be a tad too close to a meeting of machine and mountain.  Best of all, there are little beacons lit up at night to show you roughly where the mountains are.  All turns have to be completed within the limits proscribed by the beacons or you stand a good chance of being strawberry jam on the side of a hill.  Keeping within the narrow band of beacons is relatively easily done in a small single-engine GA plane, less so in a multi-engine turbine-equipped aircraft.  The night circling procedure specifically cautions pilots unfamiliar with the area against attempting anything of the sort.

What makes an airport like this scary is that there’s not much room for error.  As you leave the initial approach fix, the surrounding terrain will gradually creep higher than your altitude.  If you suffer an engine or equipment failure, there is not a lot of other flat land around as a good forced landing site.  If you have to go around, or the winds do not favour the relatively straightforward Rwy 26 arrival, you will have to circle around (verrrrrry carefully).  And let’s not even think about what would happen if the weather closed in and the approach went down to minimums.  No thank you.  I’d be thinking about the alternate long before I got down to decision height.

Anyway, fun place to land in the simulator.  Not sure I’d want to try it in real life.

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When taking down real airliners isn’t enough

…some moron has to go after the pretend ones, too.

Sky Blue Radio is an internet radio station catering to the flight simulation community.  They operate both as an ordinary Shoutcast station, and as an in-sim station too.  With the help of a little applet, you can tune a specific frequency in your FS aircraft’s COM2 radio and receive Sky Blue Radio’s music stream within the sim.

This is what Sky Blue Radio’s site normally looks like:


This is what it looks like now, after some Jew-hating fool hacked it:


I had no idea Jews controlled the flight sim world, too.  Where can I send a donation to the sim-Mossad?

Things That Make You Go “Hmmm”

  • A friend graciously offered up free tickets to see the musical Rent over the Easter weekend.  Wanda and I went, and it was basically science fiction to me.  Am I the only guy on the planet who had a hard time grasping this retool of Puccini’s La bohème?  And no, I’m not talking about the LGBT bits.  We have a gay roommate and, subsequently, a certain exposure to the lifestyle.  I mean the whole attitude around starving bohemian artistry and refusing to pay rent being better than having a job and actually paying your rent.  And paying for necessary medicine.  And food.  And having something leftover to donate to charities.  Like the chorus of homeless guys living in the vacant lot next door.  And so on.  You can have a real job and not sell out, you know.  It’s called “volunteering” or “hobbies”.  You can do your bit for the pet cause du jour and still have money to pay the bills.  Most adults learn how to find purpose in life without rejecting every person, job and itty bitty thing that threatens to compromise their ideological purity.  Those that don’t are lonely, bitter and broke.  There’s a lesson in there, somewhere.
  • How many Canadians have to die suspicious deaths (Dominic & Nancy Ianiero, Adam DePrisco, Josh Iwasiuk, Chris Morin) or be incarcerated for a couple of years without trial (Brenda Martin) in Mexico before somebody at DFAIT posts an official warning?  Call me old fashioned, but vacationing in (and especially moving to, in Martin’s case) a corruption-riddled country where citizens and visitors do not enjoy the presumption of innocence is just plain ludicrious and foolhardy.
  • Over the past seven years I have logged more than 2,200 hours of FS2000/FS9 simulated flying time in a single aircraft type—the C-17 Globemaster III.  That is a lot of time to spend flying a particular type of pretend airplane—and not bad, considering I have a day job.  Real ATP-rated pilots take about five years to accrue 2,000 hours of flying time.
  • J.L. Granatstein’s short but insightful book Whose War Is It? should be required reading for generations of Canadian high school kids.  Toss out those mouldy Cold War-era Gwynne Dyer tomes and pick up something that makes logical sense.  In this book he draws a persuasive “Big Picture” of how and why Canada ought to ditch nagging do-nothingism and resdiscover practical realpolitik.
  • Almost pulled the trigger on a new LCD TV and home theatre system.  The deal-breaker was that I could not locate an audio system that has both a Blu-Ray player and a reasonable price tag.  That and I have to furnish a soon-to-be-empty guest room, plus find convertible ottomans that can double as occasional tables.  In the budgetary war of function (furniture) versus flash (cool toys!), function usually wins.  ALSO: Why, in a “wireless” home theatre setup, is it only the rear speakers that have no audio cables?  Why can’t the front and woofer communicate wirelessly, too?  I understand they can’t be totally wireless because they still have to draw power from an outlet, but come on.  What is the technical impediment to a fully wireless sound setup?

CFB Trenton to Inuvik/Mike Zubko Airport

I had been involved with a certain simulated air traffic network for about twelve years, and recently decided to get back in the saddle.  Also joined a “virtual airline” specialising in Canadian military aircraft, as that is the closest I am likely to get to actual flight deck time in a CC-177.  I’m going to log my sim-time here, just to keep tabs on places I’ve been so far.

snap0146 snap0136 snap0163

Departure Airport: CYTR
Destination Airport: CYEV
Aircraft Type/Tail: CC-177 / 1777702
Fuel Consumed: 100,650 lbs. (approx)
Hours: 6.1
Tasking: Transporting Supplies to Inuvik, Northwest Territories for current operations taking place there. Supplies include general equipment, medical supplies, clothing, and 6 Military Personnel; 2 Avionic Technicians, 2 Mechanical Engineers, 1 Flight Engineer, and 1 CF Doctor.
Remarks: Very strong winds at Trenton on departure (from 290 gusting 24-26 kts). Crosswind component was 19kts—within max tolerance for takeoff. If we’d left a little later with the winds gusting up to 34kts (crosswind component 24.8), it would have been dicey—within a hair’s breadth of the limit.

Quiet, uneventful flight to Inuvik/Mike Zubko. Nasty 100kt headwinds over Orillia had me thinking about hunting for more favourable cruise conditions at another altitude, but they eventually abated and dropped down to 50-60 for the remainder of the flight.  Made 8,000fpm tactical descent to approach altitude for visual Rwy 06 arrival.


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Fortunae Nihil

The natural function of the wing is to soar upwards and carry that which is heavy up to the place where dwells the race of gods. More than any other thing that pertains to the body it partakes of the nature of the divine.

— Plato, Phaedrus, 370 B.C.

snap0002CC-177 nearing downtown Toronto in evening snow squall.

Okay, it’s official.  I’m in love with Flight Sim again.  I forgot how awesome this thing could be once all the third-party stuff is installed and everything is tweaked within an inch of its life.

snap0001CC-177 virtual cockpit (from aircraft commander’s seat).

This is the FSD International C-17 with a CF 8 Wing / 429 Squadron paint scheme.  The Toronto scenery is stock FS9 with some significant enhancement by Flight Ontario and Ultimate Terrain.

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