June Flight Simulator Update

Hello, pilots! As June comes to a close, our simulator world is just beginning to blossom! I have begun using X-Plane 11 exclusively for flight training. The simple fact that the simulator doesn’t crash to the desktop is reason enough to celebrate this decision, but the beauty of the graphics of X-Plane 11 makes this a whole new experience! The flight characteristics are much closer to that of a real airplane. X-Plane 11 does not have all the missions and the extensive tutorials that Flight Simulator X has but eventually, we will create “situations” of our own. This will take some time but it will get done. If you have not experienced X-Plane 11 since your training began, I do encourage you to do so. Flight Simulator X is still available to use but it is not supported anymore. Fly at your own risk!

Another major change is we’ve added a third monitor. We now have a panoramic view from inside the cockpit. This has greatly reduced the need to use the TrackIR headset. With the addition of the instruments and the wider view, it is much more pleasant to sit at the simulator and fly. We still have some bugs to work out, but we’re getting there. Besides, it’s a computer, there will always be bugs!

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Our three monitor setup.

Finally, all the instruments for the Cessna 172 in X-Plane 11 are working properly. We are configuring the Baron 58 and that should be finished soon. After that, we will configure one aircraft at a time. Speaking of aircraft, X-Plane 11 does not have all the aircraft that Flight Simulator X has. We’re trying to establish a way to purchase additional aircraft to add to the collection. There are two on the priority list, the Extra 300 aerobatic plane, and the Gulfstream G-V Corporate Jet. Anyone who would like a specific plane added to the inventory, let me know and we’ll put it on our wish list.

I consider all the work and additions mentioned above as Phase II. Phase II is nearly complete. Now we can begin work on Phase III. In Phase III I hope to get a flight panel that resembles a real aircraft and get a rig made that will hold this panel independently of a table. This rig will also include a canopy to block the florescent lights so we can start to do some night training. Right now night flying, which is some of the best flying, is nearly impossible due to the florescent lighting over our heads and the glare it causes.

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The panel on our wish list.

Our Flight Around America has come to a standstill as pilots transition to the new X-Plane 11. I urge you to come out and familiarize yourself with X-Plane 11 so you can take to the skies and continue our journey. We’re stuck in New Mexico, that’s about ¼ of the way and we’re ½ of the way through the year. The math is off!  I would like to complete this journey by year’s end. If you haven’t seen X-Plane 11 and the new set up, try to stop by our open house on Saturday, July 15 from 2–4pm in the Anderson Room of the Morgade Library. You’ll get to see what the hype is all about and you will have the opportunity to speak to members of the public who may show an interest in joining us.

Great news! Our volunteer tutors have had their orientation and training them will begin soon. I will post a schedule that shows when the volunteers will be available and then start assigning those of you who have patiently been waiting for advanced lessons. These volunteers will also be available as coaches so if you want to come in and fly or take a refresher, you won’t have to do it alone. I will let you know when the training is complete. We’re making great strides in the right direction.

Once that training is complete, we are going to focus on Flight Club. Flight Club will be a monthly meeting where we will sit and talk about our simulator. We can discuss changes, situations we’ve flown, bring up ideas for challenges, have a guest speaker, and maybe some field trips to places like the airport, or an aircraft manufacturing company. These are all ideas in the making. I hope this club really takes off! (as always, all puns intended).

No new solo certificates this month but congratulations to N0904DB and N0823JG for graduating. Also, they are both either already enrolled or soon to be enrolled in real flight lessons. Way to go!

As you can see it has been quite a busy month, but I’m not done yet.

Happy landings, everyone!

George L. Seaman, Jr.
Flight Simulator Instructor
Robert Morgade Library idea lab
Martin County Library System
5851 S.E. Community Drive
Stuart, FL 34997
772-463-2895 (o)
gseaman@martin.fl.us
http://www.library.martin.fl.us
Martin County Board of County Commissioners

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Mid May Flight Simulator Update

Greetings, Pilots!

With all my other duties here at the library, I don’t get a lot of time to spend programming the simulator. I squeeze in a few hours here and there when possible. With that said, the new X-Plane is coming along great. Some more set up is needed as well as a few bugs to work out, or squash as I like to say. Aside from the occasional crash to the desktop, Flight Simulator X is almost done as well. Few minor additions and away we go.

This past Thursday I took the simulator to Plant City to attend MakerFest 2017. A rocky start parked on the Turnpike for 45 minutes due to an accident turned out to be a fabulous day. The simulator had so many people stop to try it out or just talk about it that we went six hours straight with only a few moments to relax. We didn’t even get lunch.

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Several libraries want to install a simulator of their own and one consultant thought it was such a great idea that she wants to learn more about using a simulator in a library setting so she can offer that to other libraries. I feel I’m going to get a few phone calls over the next several weeks.

If you walk to the back of the Morgade library and don’t see the simulator right off the bat, keep looking. We’ve moved it to the other side of the table. We’ve replaced the driving simulator with a gaming PC. More on that when the information becomes available. The driving simulator was moved to the Elisabeth Lahti Library where it will be put to good use.

Thanks to a few pilots, most notably N0915TT, our Flight Around America is in mid-Texas. We’ve got a long way to go but with school ending in a week, perhaps we can get more pilots in the “air” and get this journey rolling!

Congratulations to N0127CS, N0830LS, and N0904DB for completing their solo certificates! Well done!

I would like to wish a warm welcome to N0907CM, who started training two weeks ago, as well as N0726JG, N0529SW, N0330ZA, N1113ZH, N0427BC, and N1008ZZ who are all on the waiting list (the order listed is not the waiting list order). There are several more on the waiting list who will be greeted later.

That’s all for now. Happy landings everyone!

George L. Seaman, Jr.
Flight Simulator Instructor
Robert Morgade Library idea lab

Flight Simulator April Update Part II

April certainly was a great month for our flight simulator! No sooner had I installed our newly donated and awesome rudder pedals, two more donations were given to our simulator. N0915TT hand made a sturdy wooden base for our new rudder pedals. They are now safely and firmly attached to the mount. Much needed, thank you N0915TT!

Six Saitek Flight Instrument Panels and X-Plane 11 Professional was donated by N0711DW. This brings us up with the pros now! The panels allow us to read the instruments right away without having to look for them on the dash. Wait till you see X-Plane 11 in action! Oh my! It is simply stunning! The flight characteristics are more realistic than our current simulator. X-Plane is installed and the controllers are almost configured. There is a lot of programming involved but the outcome is well worth the effort.

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Just look at that! WOW!

As we speak, or at least as I type, N0915TT is traveling through Texas advancing our Flight Around America by another hundred miles or so. Not bad, thanks, 15TT!

The simulator will be down on Wednesday, May 17 and Thursday, May 18. We are bringing it to MakerFest 2017, a library conference of “Maker” technology. We will be showing other libraries our simulator and telling them how much it has impacted your lives. I’m looking forward to representing not only our library but all of you who have made this simulator such an amazing success.

Volunteer applications have been sent out to our volunteer flight coaches (still thinking up a name). Training will begin shortly.

Take flight, all and happy landings!

George L. Seaman, Jr.
Flight Simulator Instructor

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Flight Simulator April Update

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Greetings Pilots!

March was a busy month. Several non-simulator projects for the library kept me busy. BookMania! and a Disney trip that was planned long ago took up three of the five Fridays in March. Consequently, we only had 15 lessons for the month. I just negotiated a deal with my wife to book our future Disney trips Saturday through Monday from now on.

As most of you know, we started our Flight Across America journey on February 25th. Five legs have been completed and we’re approaching the Florida panhandle. I was hoping to be out of Florida by now. I’m calling on all FAA (Flight Across America, not the Federal FAA) pilots to get some seat time and complete a few legs.

Pilot N1008JB donated the most awesome set of rudder pedals.

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I had the opportunity to fly with them for about 15 minutes last week. I’m going to try to get more seat time this weekend and give them a real testing. Some aerobatics in the Extra 300 should do the trick, or maybe 30 knot crosswind landings perhaps.  Big thanks to N1008JB! We love them!

Our simulator was featured in the Stuart News on Saturday, March 25th. You can see the TCPalm article and photos here. The link is also listed below my signature. It was a great article and has brought attention to the simulator. I’ve had dozens of comments and a few new students. Thank you Xavier Mascareñas, of Treasure Coast Newspapers. Excellent job.

Speaking of new students, we are back up to five students on the waiting list. This doesn’t sound too bad, but we’re also on a 3 to 5-week rotation with some of you depending on the time slot. I’m graduating some students and will make room for the new ones shortly. We will get everyone! I just need you to enter a holding pattern for a little while longer.

This brings me to my last topic. I graduated a student last week and it was very sad to see him go, so I thought, what can I do to keep all my students involved regardless of training levels. I came up with a good idea, and I would like your input. FLIGHT CLUB! We start our very own Flight Club. The first rule of Flight Club is: You always talk about Flight Club. The second rule of Flight Club is: You always talk about Flight Club. Got it? Good.

This is where I need your input:

  1. When is the best day to have Flight Club? Obviously Saturday works best for most, but not all. Sunday is an option but it would have to be at Blake and we don’t have the simulator there.
  2. What is the best time? Morgade is open until 5:30 on Saturdays. Mornings may not be the best with youth sports, golf, boating, and fishing in the mix. Afternoons might be a better option.
  3. What do we do at Flight Club? We can talk about our adventures. We can learn tips and tricks about the simulator. We can plan future events. We can have guest speakers from people in the aviation field, like the Sheriff’s helicopter pilot, or a representative from Pratt & Whitney, etc.

What are your thoughts? Since all your email addresses are blind carbon copied, I will be the only one to see your response. I’ll compile all the ideas and we’ll get this Flight Club off the ground! Remember, all flight puns are intentional!  ☺

Thanks for your time and especially your passion for flying!

Happy Landings, everyone!

George L. Seaman, Jr.
Flight Simulator Instructor
Robert Morgade Library idea lab
Martin County Library System

Paparazzi Photography Lecture

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Join Terryl Best Lawrence in the 3rd of this four-part photography series for Paparazzi: The Art of Public Exposure, @ the Hobe Sound Public Library, Saturday, March 18, 2-3:00 p.m.

Terryl Best Lawrence is a professor at Digital Media Arts College, Boca Raton. This Chautauqua South event is sponsored by the Friends of the Martin County Library System.

Pinhole Photography @Hobe Sound Public Library, March 11, 2017

On Saturday 3/11 we had two great students from South Fork High School present a program on Pinhole Photography at the Hobe Sound Library. If you are unfamiliar, pinhole photography is a lens-less type of photography where a light-proof object is turned into a camera. These cameras can be made from virtually anything; it just needs to be light tight. Through a small opening (aperture) light passes through the pinhole camera and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box.

Check out a couple of the pinhole cameras in the image below. One was made from a tea box and the other from a book.

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In the below image, you can see how a setting in iPhone was able to invert the photo taking it from a negative to a positive.

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Do you enjoy photography, have an interest in movie making, want to learn how to make the most of the technology you use in your day-t0-day life? Check out Martin County Library System’s idea labs! Idea Labs are spaces to create, connect, and explore through technology. Check it out today!

Flight Simulator Update-March 8

Flight Around America Takes Off! (pun intended)

Experienced flight simulator pilots have begun our Flight Around America journey. The flight simulator now has a book of flight plans to go with the logbook. I was going to provide maps with each plan but the printing cost to the library is too high. I’ll create a shortcut to a website that I got these maps off of so they can be examined for elevation obstacles. We don’t need to worry too much at this point. Once we get closer to Texas then it becomes important.

I ran flight 1A to get things started. It was a lot of fun. I had horrible weather to deal with at Sebring. Visibility was about 5 miles, ceiling was down to 1500’. Once I got past Okeechobee it rained the rest of the flight. Pilot N0411MS successfully conducted flight 1B which was Sebring to Tampa. Thanks 11MS!

Happy landings, everyone!

George L. Seaman, Jr.
Flight Simulator Instructor
Robert Morgade Library idea lab