Flight Around America

Flight Club Debrief -18 November 2017

flightsimIn attendance:
N0915TT         N0723GS         N1121AP         N0411MS        N0726JG         N0923NC
N0426JG         N0529DG        N0814JC          and four guests.

Meeting Notes

  1. Flight Around America progress.
    1. We are now in Raleigh, North Carolina. We’re almost home! FAA will be ending soon. What an accomplishment!
  2. Structure of Flight Club
    1. I identified how our club will be structured like a civil or military flight unit. We will be known as a Squadron. A group of members assigned a task will be called a Flight. One or two members of a Flight assigned sub-tasks are Elements.
    2. The club leader will be the Squadron Commander. Other personnel will be given other designations as those positions are generated and filled.
  3. FAW (Flight Around the World) Postponed
    We are postponing Flight Around the World to give us time to evaluate the logistics, training, and scheduling of this journey. We are also going to determine if a journey in 2018 is feasible or if we should concentrate instead on advanced training for our pilots. Any pilots interested in getting involved are encouraged to contact me. We can use all the crew we can muster.
  4. Painting Your Airplanes
    During the meeting, I explained two of the most important things to remember when painting an airplane; layers and painting in Multiply mode. It was hard to do without a computer. I also realized that Flight Club may not be the best venue for this type of training. I am looking into the possibility of holding classes at the Blake Computer Lab where 10 students at a time can do this hands on. Please bear with me as I change focus and make both the meetings and the itinerary more interesting and effective.
  5. Saving your own logbook to a thumb drive (not supplied)
    Again I touched on an important subject without the use of a computer. The slides and screenshots I had did not successfully transfer all the data necessary to provide an adequate visual for this process. I will be providing instruction sheets soon so saving on a flash drive will be simple.
  6. Looking for task members
    I am asking for two or three motivated, driven pilots to help me in securing guest speakers for future Flight Club Meetings. In order to successfully market these speakers, they will need to be booked at least three months in advance. Do I have any volunteers? Not you, 15TT, you’re busy enough.

During the meeting, I mentioned that when I take on a project or a task, I will work with it and change it several times before I have it running efficiently and effectively. Flight Club is no different. Our first meeting was more of an informational meeting explaining the how’s and why’s of Flight Club. This past meeting was intended to share some useful information and answer questions pilots had. It didn’t work out as well as I had hoped so I will think good and hard about how to improve it. My apologies for boring some of you.

My intention was to make the club meetings informational yet simple, meaning no laborious setup of computers and projectors. I was certainly not wanting to move the simulator into the meeting room once a month. We may need to rethink how these meetings will be held to make them more interesting and interactive. I’ll work on that! Stay the course, it will get better.

Please do not hesitate to make suggestions, ask questions, or provide ideas for subject matter at future meetings.

Happy landings, everyone!

George L. Seaman, Jr. – N0723GS
Flight Simulator Instructor, Robert Morgade Library idea lab
772-463-2895 (o)–gseaman@martin.fl.us

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November Flight Simulator Update

Greetings pilots and guests. October was very busy. The future of the Flight Simulator is looking better and better. We had the first meeting of Flight Club, we added two new airplanes, we got FAA to Buffalo, and we test painted a Baron B58. The last post had the minutes to October’s Flight Club meeting. I will list the agenda for the November 18 meeting at the bottom of this post. First, the fun stuff!

Flight Around the World will be postponed until 2019. We have a lot to learn before we undertake that journey. Mostly, we need an aircraft that will fly long distances, otherwise, the journey may take much longer than a year. We added a Gulfstream G650 G650Corporate Jet. With a range of 7,000 miles, we should be able to fly around the world easily and in comfort. We will use 2018 to transition all interested pilots to multi-engines and jets. We’ll master navigation, fuel calculations, and flight planning next year.

MudryWe also added a Murdy CAP10 aerobatic plane to X-Plane 11. Quite a few students have an interest in aerobatic flight and we do have an aerobatic coach with N0926KS on board. Now we don’t have to switch to the old simulator software. It is a fickle little airplane and takes some concentration, but it is fun!

FAA is in Buffalo, as of this writing. We’re almost done. If you haven’t flown a leg and want to get involved, email me and I’ll arrange to have you sit with a coach to learn how to plan, fly, and log a leg of the journey.

Baron_58_15TT-1As you will see on the agenda for this upcoming meeting, we will be talking about painting your own airplanes. N0915TT and I tested painting X-Plane 11 airplanes and the results were outstanding. 15TT is very pleased with the outcome. You will enjoy learning how to paint your own scheme, or “livery,” and be able to fly your own airplane. Baron_58_15TT-2
If you don’t have a creative bone in your body, don’t worry, the Squadron will help you.

Please read through the agenda and try to make it to the Robert Morgade library to attend this club.

Flight Club Briefing, November 18, 2017, 2–3pm

Meeting Discussions

  1. Flight Around America progress
    We made it to Buffalo. Now we just have to fly down the coast and our journey will come to an end.
  2. Structure of Flight Club

    1. Squadron – We will be known as a Squadron
    2. Flight – A group of members assigned a task
    3. Element – One or two members of a Flight assigned sub-tasks
  3. FAW (Flight Around the World) Postponed
    Due to the logistics involved and the training required, we have decided to postpone FAW (Flight Around the World) until 2019. Our 2018 journey will be to fly the Gulfstream G-650 to every state capital in the United States. We need to name this adventure. This will give us time to train on jets and familiarize ourselves with the G-650. A special plane will be created for this so the fuel use and location progress will be saved. This plane should be used only for the journey. Other G-650s will be available to fly recreationally. Upon completion of this journey in 2018, we should be ready to fly around the world!
  4. Painting Your Airplanes: The First Step
    To paint your own airplane, you will need to know the basics of Photoshop or an image editing program. We will discuss using the idea labs to accomplish this as well as some alternatives to use at home. We’ll learn the three most important things to remember; paint with “multiply,” use layers, and save often!
  5. Saving your own logbook to a thumb drive (not supplied)
    We will discuss the procedure for saving your flights and logbooks to a thumb drive. You will need to provide your own thumb drive. These files are very small so a small thumb drive is sufficient. The library has a limited supply of 4GB thumb drives for sale for $5. 4GB is probably 3.5GB too much, however, but we do have them for convenience.
  6. Looking for task members
    It is time to start rounding up some guest speakers. We need a Flight (team of members) to look into getting a speaker for each of our 2018 club meetings.

Bring your stories, adventures, and ideas! We’ll see you on the 18th!

George L. Seaman, Jr.
N0723GS
Flight Simulator Instructor
Robert Morgade Library idea lab
Martin County Library System
772-463-2895 (o)   gseaman@martin.fl.us

Flight Club Meeting Minutes for October 2017

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Flight Club Debrief-14 October 2017-1400-1500hrs
The inaugural meeting of Flight Club was called to order at 1400 hours. In attendance were:
N0723GS -Flight Simulator Instructor
N0411MS -Flight Simulator Instructor
N0926KS -Flight Simulator Instructor
N0921AP -Flight Simulator Instructor
N0104DL -Flight Simulator Instructor
N0726JG               N0919RM                    N0923NC
N0823JG               N0519SM                    N0408JG                     N0528DG
10 guests were in attendance
Next meeting is Saturday, November 18 at 1400 (2pm)
Congratulations to N0919RMN0519SMN0408JGN0823TMN0915HSN0330ZA, and N0726JG for achieving their Solo Certificates. Job well done, pilots!
We began the meeting with a discussion about the purpose, vision, and goals of Flight Club. The Purpose is to inform people of various aviation-related topics. The vision is to keep our members inspired about aviation and the simulator. The goals are to connect with as many aviation enthusiasts as we can.
We briefly discussed the progress of the Flight Around America and how well it has been going the past several weeks, thanks in large part to N0411MS for his continuous efforts. Our short-term goal is to reach Chicago by Halloween. I just learned N0915TT is back in town so I have all the confidence this goal will be exceeded.
The discussion of a ranking structure brought up the idea of having assigned tasks instead of ranking officers. I think this is a great idea and I believe we can actually benefit from both. The idea of having a small group of members assigned to tasks opens up more opportunity for involvement for our members and eliminates the so familiar issues of having one or two people responsible for getting everything done. The task members can be guided and overseen by a corps of ranking officers so that they know support is there if needed. Flight Club will be structured like a Squadron. These groups of members assigned tasks will be called a Flight.
We discussed some of the topics for upcoming meetings. The following suggestions were well received:
  • Planning FAW (Flight Around the World).
    The original concept was to have FAA (Flight Around America) as a test for FAW. FAW was supposed to occur in 2018. With the challenges faced with FAA and the distance needed to be covered, we have decided to shelve FAW until 2019. In the meantime, we will have a geography lesson and visit every capital of all 50 states. This will give us time to train in the new aircraft we need to use when we journey around the world in 2019.
  • Saving your own logbook to a thumb drive (not supplied)
    One of the great things about flying a simulator is saving and reviewing your accomplishments. Unfortunately, due to the security protocols we have in place, nothing can be saved on the simulator itself. I have devised a way to save your logbooks, saved flights, and even special painted aircraft. All you need is a flash drive. I will have a How-To manual and video made in the future to help you with this.
  • Painting your own aircraft.
    This is the cool one! We will teach you how to use Photoshop to paint your own aircraft. Want a blue and yellow plane? No problem. How about a hot pink with white flowers? Easy Peasy! Don’t worry if you don’t have Photoshop. All branches of the Martin County Library System have at least one computer (PC or Mac) with Photoshop on it.
  • Using World Editor to accurately represent Stuart and Martin County
    World Editor is a tool in X-Plane 11 which will allow us to modify the scenery around Stuart and Martin County making the world we fly in more accurate. I’ve only touched on this but if there are volunteers wishing to learn this, I’m all for passing this on to someone to master.
  • Creating virtual airlines
    We discussed virtual airlines and how the role-playing aspect falls into place. Creating routes, forming schedules, assigning qualified pilots, it’s all part of Virtual Airlines. We also discussed VATSIM, the Virtual Air Traffic Simulation network. VATSIM has thousands of members either flying online or acting as Air Traffic Control for various airspaces around the world. This takes simulations to the highest level!
  • The purchase of add-on aircraft, scenery, and additional hardware.
    We do not have a budget for add-on aircraft, scenery, or hardware. We may accept monetary donations, however. If there is something we want, we simply put it on a request form and when the money is there, we get the purchase approved and place the order. If you see something that will enhance the simulator experience, please let us know and we will add it to the “wish list.”
Advanced Learning will be a big part of Flight Club. Whether it is a lesson during the club or setting up a one-on-one with an instructor, we want to learn more about aviation and share it with club members. Here’s just some of what is in the works for the future.
  • Mastering the GPS
    Flying an airplane manually is the name of the game, but creating a flight plan and loading it into the GPS so modern marvels can take you to your destination is really fun. We will show you how to do just that. Using free software, we can generate complex flight plans that will load right into the X-Plane GPS. Cheating has never been so fun!
  • Walk-through checklist (with add-on software).
    You have learned how to start up, taxi, take off, fly, and land the C-172 in Flight Club. A big part of flying is in the pre-flight. This is not covered in X-Plane-yet. With the purchase of an add-on software package, pre-flight can be simulated. From the walk-around to checking for condensation in the fuel, the preparatory work needed for a safe flight will soon be added.
  • Flight Planning-Calculating weight, balance, and fuel consumption.
    Pre-flight is great but it is not where you begin. Flight preparation includes paperwork. We will teach you how to create a flight plan, calculate fuel consumption based on weight, balance, and distance.
  • Creating videos for training purposes.
    A big goal for me personally is to create a video of everything we teach so students may view and refresh prior to practicing. They will also be available for instructors to go over lesson plans. Finally, they may pique the interest of potential simulator aviators who would join Flight Club.
The worst is over-business meetings. From now on we focus on our main objectives; fun and learning. Future posts will be detail oriented but much more interesting than this mush.
Thanks for your patience.
Flight Club is here!
George Seaman      N0723GS
Interim Flight Club Squadron Commander
772.463.2895
gseaman@martin.fl.us

 

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!

triplemonitors
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.

panel
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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Flight Simulator Updates

flightsim

Hello pilots!

I have three things to discuss today.

  • Updated schedule
  • The launching of our Flight Around America 2017
  • Volunteer Tutors/Coaches/Mentors/Instructors… whatever we’ll call them.

Thanks to the generous flexibility of some of you, I have managed to get the schedule streamlined. The new schedule is now current through to May 12. You can view it at http://martin.evanced.info/signup/list. Just enter your pilot ID in the keyword search box. Be sure to change the date filter to extend to May 12, otherwise your ID may not appear. I only have two families on the waiting list. Don’t be discouraged as you will likely move up sooner than scheduled because of some impending graduations from the program.

I’ve invited eligible pilots to a meeting this weekend to discuss how our Flight Around America (FAA) journey will take place. If you have not successfully completed the Solo Flight exercise, don’t worry. I’m working on each one of you to get to that point. Once you have your certificate, then you can join in on the journey. More to follow on that in another blog post.

I am selecting a few of you to be tutors/coaches/mentors/instructors to sit with advanced students and teach them a little more about flying, or to coach new people who stop by and give them a hand in getting off the ground. As soon as FAA gets going, I will concentrate on the volunteers. If you would like to be a volunteer and have mad flying skills along with a lot of patience, let me know. I’ll get you in touch with our volunteer manager for all the details.

To give you an idea of how popular this flight simulator program is, we’ve had 46 students since we first began lessons about 20 months ago (3 months were lost due to simulator problems). Fourteen have graduated and moved on, two have dropped out, three have taken a break from it but will be back when time permits, and the rest are either active students or waiting for their turns. One student has already flown across the US and is flying back. He’s the inspiration for our Flight Around America.

You are an amazing group of people. Your interest and enthusiasm is unmatched by any other program I’ve been associated with. This is truly unique. Although I don’t get to fly in those six hours I spend at the simulator every Friday, I get so much enjoyment watching you progress and learn something new every time we’re together. It’s truly the best job I’ve ever had.

Happy Landings, Everyone!

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