Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SIAI S-211 / Aermacchi M-345 Release, Manual and Paintkit

The SIAI-Marchetti S-211 package is now available for purchase at SimMarket! It will be available soon from other distributors, too.
The SimMarket page is HERE.

Aside, here is the link to the paint kit:
S-211/M-311/M-345 Paintkit
Note that the model has 3 visual variants: one for the S-211, one for the M-311/M-345 demonstrator and one for the M-345 prototype. You should use the template relative to the model you want to repaint.

Last here is a link to the manual.pdf (althout a copy of the manual is included in the package, in the S-211/docs folder).
S-211/M-311/M-345 Product Manual

There are few controls which are not documented:
- Clickling the rearview mirror will make it reflective (dynamical reflections supported in P3Dv3.1 and above)
- Clicking on the throttle friction (when throttle is at idle) will set the throttle to stop
- Clicking on the stick will make it disappear, and to make it re-appear you will have to click the pedal adjustment knob.

Last there is a small bug in the M-345HET so that you cannot set the CRS... will fix that in the first patch.

Friday, December 29, 2017

My current plans for 2018

First I'd like to thank you once again for your continued support through 2017 - this has been a great year for my flight simulation projects.

This has been quite a year for flight simulation in general, with the release of Prepar3D v4 and Flight Simulation World (finally 64 bit came to the offspring Flight Simulator X), X-Plane 11, DCS 2.1 and a increasingly growing presence of Virtual Reality helmets. Speaking of VR, IPACS released Aerofly FS2 which performs really well.

As for my projects, this has been the year of the release of the Eurofighter - which was a very complex, very time consuming project. I'd say it has been a (limited) success, as it sold about 700 copies to date. To me, it was also very important as it was my first release after the malware attack which caused the loss of all my source files.

So...here is what is on my mind (and my PC) for 2018 - of course this is all pretty much subject to change without notice at any time.

SIAI-S.211 / Aermacchi M-345

The Beta testing is progressing... a couple of nasty bugs popped up, while the rest of the issues so far are not very complex to solve. I should be able to release the package within January 2018.

C-2 Greyhound / E-2 Hawkeye

The initial concept of this project was to create a full "Greyhound/Hawkeye" package...but it turns out the commonalities between the two aircrafts are fewer than what I expected. So, I am currently rethinking about the feature list. The C-2 preliminary model, from a professional mesh, looks really good.

T-45C Goshawk 

Yes... I am remodeling the Goshawk, too. It is meant for a new "pro" version... I am working on a new, high resolution mesh which should be suitable for modern simulations. Looks good so far, but it will take quite a long time before it will be ready.

Other new projects

For the moment, I have dropped the MB-339 and T-50 projects. As for the first there is a group of developers working on it in Italy and their version looks good, while korean developers are working on the second one. In addition, public information on the T-50 is way too scarce at the moment.
Now, one plane I'd really like to model is the TA-4J... I am thinking about it. 
And yes, the S-3 AI tanker model is still unfinished... sorry for that.

Support for existing projects

Both the F-35 and Eurofighter projects have been updated recently to P3Dv4.1 through a patch on my blog. I have plans to update both installers, and improve both.

Support for other sims

At the moment, the only thing I have to announce is that the S-211 is being ported to Aerofly FS2 (and looks great and it is super smooth!). We'll see if it makes sense to port more planes. Also, support for FSW is being considered (but...the mdl and gauge files need to be recompiled, so it is quite a break from FSX/P3D).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Eurofighter Typhoon version 1.09 update and P3Dv4 compatibility

Here are two "patches" that will update the Eurofighter avionics and will also bring P3Dv4 compatibilty.

- EFAv109x32 is intended for use with 32 bit simulators (FSX SE, Gold and Acceleration and P3Dv1.x, 2.x and 3.x) - DOWLOAD HERE

- EFAV109x64 is intended for use with Prepar3D v4.x - DOWNLOAD HERE


To install the patch:
FIRST you need to install the latest version of the Eurofighter package in the simulator of your choice.
You can get it from your distributor of choice (SimMarket, FlightSimStore, FSPilot Shop and PCPilotShop). Current version is 1.08.
To do this you simple direct the installation folder to the MAIN folder of the simulator you chose.
Then you should take the relevant .zip file (either the 32bit or the 64bit version) and drag and drop it to the /SimObjects/Aircraft subfolder.
You will be notified that a number of files will be overwritten, and you should accept it at the prompt.


- Implemented XML FCS controls (based on Jimi's gauges, courtesy of Karl Meindl) - autotrim, g-limiter and Aoa limiter  
- Implemented new fuel management code (courtesy of Roy Holmes)
- Fixed minor bug in fuel weight display on MFD-3
- Implemented gangbar functionality in virtual cockpit
- Fixed minor bug in AoA Bracket display
- Fixed display condition bug by in STA 13 pylon when in VC
- Fixed model display bug in Meteor missiles when in VC
- Changed Low Height knob code so that is now operated by the mouse wheel and allows 10 ft increments
- Fixed bug that prevented route heading bug from showing while not in NAV mode
- Added afterburner notification to energy caret
- Added warning horn sound when canopy is moving

Monday, December 25, 2017

S-211 Beta Testing

As I normally do, here is a post to collect feedback from the S-211 Beta Testing.
Recipents of the Beta version please bear in mind that the main focus of the package is the SIAI S-211... the Aermacchi M-311/M-345 model is provided as a "bonus" as it was relatively quick for me to do it, and I thought it was a nice glimpse to provide a glimpse of the future of this machine...but, because of that and because the real aicraft is still in development, the M-311/M-345 has a number of artistic licences. However the main focus of the test should be the S-211.

The preferred method to provide feedback is by posting a comment on this blog, so that others can see it. Alternatively you can send me an email. I do not need to release it shortly, so it is not a time-trial...
Take you time - please do not send feedback before having logged few hours on this aircraft.
Below are drawings for the aicraft general arrangement, takeoff and landing procedures.

Last, if you find an issue please try to replicate it, be as accurate as you can and specify if it applies to the Whole package, to the S-211, to the M-311/M-345 or to the M-345 HET.

As I usually do issues are classified and color coded as follows:

RED - major issues that severely impact the fun, functionality and quality of the package

YELLOW - issues that have a significant impact on the quality of the package, but not deal-breakers

GREEN - observations, minor issues or resolved issues.

BLUE - comments, suggestions or request for improvements

Last updated: 13/01/2018

Visual Model:

EXT01 - Speedbrake animation too fast, should be 4s to extend and 2.5 to retract (currently 0.5s)
EXT02 - Oxy masks and helmets still visible when pilot figures are toggles (happens only in FSX) - FIXED, bug found in material definition so that it did not follow the animation of the skeleton. As side note, the error had no impact to P3Dv4.
EXT03 - Check position of rotation beacon light - As per flight manual, no rotating beacon is present. However, strobe lights on wingtips were missing and have been added.
EXT04 - Check position of rear light - Fixed position, was 0.1ft higher due to a typo in config.
EXT05 - Check color match of M-345 HET livery (wingtips should be red, grey tones slightly darker). Fixed 03/01/2018
EXT06 - Fixed minor bug preventing external lights to show in M-345
EXT07 - Request for option to animate helmet visor.
EXT08 - Added mouse areas to external model (only in P3D): ejection seat will toggle pilot figures, external cockpit handle now works, remove before flight flags can collectively be toggles (would be nice if it was done individually... a possibility for the future!)  

Virtual Cockpit:

VC01 - Missing ADI flag or GS indication on GS scale (S-211 only) - FIXED Added missing geometry and animation
VC02 - Missing GS indication on HSI (S-211 only) - FIXED Added Missing geometry and animation
VC03 - Missing G-reset button - FIXED, added missing button
VC04 - Check Anti-ICE and Pitot switches - FIXED "scale" issue preventing correct functionality in FSX (was OK in P3D)  
VC05 - Request to add stick removal option - ADDED AS PER REQUEST
VC06 - Check Master Arm animation - FIXED - Identified missing animation tag in MDL
VC07 - Request to increase functionality of UFC - PARTIALLY IMPLEMENTED
VC08 - Last digit of DME not working - FIXED - Identified bug preventing correct calculation of the animation of the last digit
VC09 - Wrong Self illumination light bitmap in M-311 / M-345 cockpits - Fixed, changed materials and completed the missing textures 27/12
VC10 - Canopy handle not clickable - Fixed, issue with trasform/scaling. Redone animation and applied to all models 27/12
VC11 - Check oil press gauge - Fixed, Redone animation
VC12 - Check hyd gauge - Fixed, redone animation
VC13 - Check ITT gauge - Fixed, redone animation
VC14 - DME digits bleed off the window (possibly wrong animation) - FIXED rotation axis issue 27/12
VC15 - Red VNE bug is incorrect (actually it is a leftover from another aicraft) - FIXED changed to 3D object and parametrized to LVAR
VC16 - Emergency Landing gear lever not clickable
VC17 - Parking Brake lever not clickable
VC18 - Wrong canopy rotation in M-345 model - FIXED (redone animation for M-345 VC model)
VC19 - Request to add scratches on the canopy
VC20 - Request to add seat firing handle pin
VC21 - Missing green light for neutral trim - FIXED 
VC22 - Armament panel switch not working - FIXED "scale" issue preventing correct functionality in FSX (was OK in P3D) 
VC23 - Check Warning Lights test condition (should be possible also with engine off) - FIXED
VC24 - Check link between switches and animations in external lighting panel.
VC25 - Some instruments are missing the backlighting in the S-211 cockpit. FIXED
VC26 - Missing OFF flags from ADI, backup ADI and Altimeter - FIXED
VC27 - Cabin Pressure gauge incorrect values - FIXED
VC28 - Fixed multiple issues with UFCP - now functionality is greatly increased.

Flight Model:

FM01 - Check max engine N2 (96%)? - Confirmed OK
FM02 - Check starting sequence - cold and dark does not seem to work. - FIXED Avionic toggle condition, mixture conditions etc. added click spot in throttle friction area to allow for throttle stop
FM03 - Check max gross weight for M-345 (the A/C is indeed heavier than the S-211) - Fixed MTOW: 9040lbs as per Leonardo datasheet.
FM04 - Roll rate is lower than the real a/c - Changed air file: now it is within 5deg/s from flight manual figure. 

Tacpack functionality:


Sound and other:

MISC01 - 345 Engine sound very quiet- REDONE sound package
MISC02 - 211 request to add flaps and gear sound (currently not featured in the package) - Added missing sounds

Monday, December 18, 2017

SIAI Marchetti S-211 Beta Testing Applications

First, thank you all for the interest you have shown to my SIAI Marchetti S-211 project! I know this is not a very popular aircraft - and frankly I do not expect this to be a big commercial success - but it is a nice jet, and I believe that its new incarnation, the Aermacchi M-345 has a very good potential.

Just to recap the scope of this project: the intent is to provide a reasonably realistic representation of the SIAI-Marchetti S-211 light jet trainer. The project features a realistic analog cockpit and flight model - and a visual model which is buit with attention to frame rates (I think it is essential in a trainer).
The package will also contain models of the M-311 / M-345 prototypes (inlcuding the Frecce Tricolori livery) and the M-345 prototype. These will feature the new digital cockpit which is being developed by Aermacchi. These "digital" models are kind of a bonus feature, as they information on these models is still quite scarce, but they should serve well as a depiction of the difference between digital and analog training.
This is a PAYWARE release - price will be in line with my previous releases.

Should you have some time to spare (say 2-3 hours at least) and should you want to help with the Beta testing phase, you can apply by sending an email to indiafoxtecho@gmail.com with:

- System specifications (no need to go in minute details, just CPU, GPU, RAM and OS)
- Which simulators you intend to test the S-211 on (FSX:A, FSX:Gold, FSX:SE, P3Dv2, P3Dv3, P3Dv4)
- Please specify if you own Tacpack and/or intend to test it in multiplayer
- Your knowledge/experience in real and simulated aviation
- Also, please include any special reason why you want to test this aircraft

...just to set the record straight (as I had some remarks in the past), non paid job (but you get to keep the test copy).

Also, the Beta test "slots" are limited (15-20 maximum) as in my experience it is the best way to test these products. I will pick testers with various skills, knowledge and system specs - so if you do not get in the Beta it does not mean that you "do not qualify"...it may be just because there are other testers with similar skills or system.

Last, the Beta will be released around Christmas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Aerofly Flight Simulator 2 - a quick review

If you follow my Facebook page, you know that, from time to time, I have been making some experiments with IPACS Aerofly FS2 flight simulator. 
This simulator has left the "Early Access" area on Steam and it is now available as a "finished" product. Since many of you are asking if it is any good, I thought it was a good idea to share my opinions - much like I did when it was originally released in Early Access.

Aerofly FS2 is the latest product from IPACS, a Swiss company that produced the popular Aerofly RC series (a series of radio-controlled aircraft model simulators) and Aerofly FS (their take on a full scale flight simulator). The original Aerofly FS was praised for its good performance, nice photoreal scenery and good visuals - although it failed to catch the attention of the vast majority of the simmers community.

The second iteration is in a much better position as its early version was released with native support of the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift right when these two headsets were gaining popularity - and due to its super-smooth frame rate, it quickly become popular within the niche of simmer who own a Virtual Reality headset. I bought it when I got my HTC Vive - and I was amazed on the smothness 
and graphic quality of the experience.


Although it only comprises fixed wing machines, the aircraft selection of Aerofly FS is second to none. There is something for everyone: starting from the Cessna 172 up to the 747-400 and everything in the middle, including two gliders  
(the ASG 29 and the Margansky Swift S1), twin-props (Beech Baron B58 and King Air C90), a business jet (Learjet 45 of course), unlimited acrobatic planes (Extra 300 and Pitts S.2B), warbirds (Corsair, P-38 and the Sopwith Camel) and military jets (F-15, F-18 and the MB-339 trainer). By downloading and installing the SDK you can also get the DR-400, while the Dash 8 Q400 is also available as free download (and it is probably the best Aircraft in terms of system modeling.
The visual quality is great and very consistent - by far the best default fleet of any simulator.
The flight models are less consistent - some are very good, some are just OK. Most of them will not be as accurate as the most demanding simmers would like, but in general they are acceptable and deliver a good "sensation" of flight.


Much like its predecessor, AFS2 takes the photoreal approach. The base scenery covers most of the West Coast of the United states and includes California, Nevada and Arizona - Colorado and Utah areas are available as free downloads, as well as a higher resolution version of the base scenery. The New York area and Switzerland are available at pay-for DLC (currently 14.99€ each). Orbx has released Innsbruck and Meigs Field, and will release Monterey shortly.

Sticking to the default content, if you are into photoscenery in terms of image quality it does not get much better than this, provided you download the high-res version (pretty big download...90 Gigabytes!!!). Flying over the Sierras or the Death Valley is AWESOME - the image quality is really good and the overall impression of realism is fantastic.

On the bad side, autogen coverage is sparse and inconsistent - some areas are well done and include buildings, some others have just trees - and some other have nothing. Also, there is no shader or mask for water - just the texture... which is disappointing.
Another bad thing is that not all the airports in the base region are included - for example Point Mugu NAS is not there. On the flipside, the default airports are nice and detailed (although generic) - much better than other sims.

Simulation and Graphics Engine

The Aircraft simulation engine takes a very interesting and powerful approach: the core of the engine is basically a rigid body simulator, which includes linkages, servos and dampers - and a number of aerodynamic and system features. It is much more complex and flexible than what most people think.
Its major drawbacks, at the moment, are the fact that it only supports fixed wing aicraft and that it does not support custom code for advanced avionics.

The environment simulation is one of the weakest points. No ATC, no traffic, weather simulation is basically limited to wind intensity and direction - there is a lot of work to do in this area. Also, at least for the moment, NO MULTIPLAYER.

The graphic engine is GREAT for three reasons:
- The performance is really good - you can easily exceed 120 frames per second on a decent machine, and it is definitely good enough for simming in Virtual Reality and 4K displays. Granted, this is also because there is no traffic, nor ATC
- The draw distance and image quality is INCREDIBLE.
- The shaders are quite good. The reflections work well, the glass shader is awesome and the day lighting is very good (I'd say it is the best around as it delivers a good, natural contrast).

Unfortunately the lack of water shaders and masks is a big drawback - and then the clouds are very basic and do not cast shadows. Bummer.

SDK and Third Party Support

Third part support is quite limited at the moment - basically there are just three Orbx airports (Meigs Field, Innsbruck and the soon-to-be released Monterey). They are awesome...and they really shine thanks to the smooth frame rates and draw distance. Innsbruck in particular is awesome. A short flight around this airport in VR in a Cessna 172 is incredibly immersive.

The SDK is quite powerful (it is the same tool used by the authors)...but also poorly documented. Developing or converting an aicraft is not very difficult...but requires A LOT of manual text editing. A LOT. On the other hand, once you get used to it, the process of converting an aircraft from FSX is straightforward and not very long (probably around 20 hours tops).

- Fantastic frame rates and overall performance
- Great selection of aicrafts with excellent visual models
- The high-res version of the base scenery is awesome
- Fantastic sense of immersion in Virtual Reality 

- No water masks and shaders
- Clouds are very simple and don't cast shadows

- no traffic and no ATC
- no multiplayer

In summary, at the moment AFS2 is quite a barebone simulator. There is just your aicraft (with excellent visuals and decent simulation) and there is a huge beautiful photoscenery (which looks AWESOME except for the water)...but this is delivered with an incredibly smooth frame rate and a fantastic draw distance. If that is enough for you, it is highly recommended. It is also highly recommended if you own a VR Helmet.
If you are looking for extremely detailed procedures, ATC or multiplayer, AFS2 is not your simulator (...yet).

The F-15E modeled by MilViz is part of the default aicrafts...and looks awesome. The cockpit looks great, but its functionality is limited. 

The Dash 8 Q400 is available as free DLC...and it is probably the best aicraft of AFS2 in terms of simulation...it may not be on part with the best of the best we've seen in other sims, but it is not bad.  

The draw distance and frame rates are amazing

Orbx Innsbruck is AWESOME - extremely detailed (same as the FSX/P3D version) but with the added bonus of the frame rate and image sharpness of AFS2.

The first attempts to export my SIAI S-211 in AFS2.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Here is an "interim" patch to solve the compatibility issues of the payware F-35 with P3Dv4.
In the long term, I'd like to release an upgrade version of the F-35 which will include a number of improvements and minor bug fixes... but at the moment I do not have the time for that.

The payware F-35 can be installed in P3Dv4 simply pointing at P3Dv4 main folder during the installation process. However, the F-35 uses some special x86 dlls which will not work in P3Dv4.
This patch will fix the outstanding incompatibility issues of the payware F-35 with P3Dv4, namely:
- STOVL functions not working
- Miscellaneous sound effects missing
- ICAWS audio alerts missing
- Miscellaneous issues with the fuel system


1) If you have not done it already, install the F-35 into P3Dv4 (just point to P3Dv4 instead of P3Dv4 when prompted to indicate the installation folder)

2) Take the "panel" folder contained in this .zip file and paste it in the F-35A folder. Allow files to be overwritten if asked (NOTE - to do this you must be an Administrator).
The operation most ONLY be done on the F-35A folder. The -B and -C version read the code from there.

3) ...that is it. To verify the installation is OK, just cause any event that triggers the ICAWS and hear the alert, or try the STOVL mode.
 Note that the STOVL green copyright notice will not appear anymore.

X64 Sound module and x64 Fuel Dump module are copyright of Doug Dawson
Maryadi, for the X64 STOVL module (see rcb-gauges subfolder for full readme on this module)

The patch can be loaded from Google Drive by either clicking HERE or from the side bar (payware section).