FPV Flying

I’ve planned to get my PPL (private pilot license) after I start working because it’s just so fun to be able to fly around. Just take a look at Austin Meyer’s blog, one of X-Plane’s developers. He flies around in his Columbia 400 to meet customers or to have lunch at his friend’s place! How cool is that! Read his blog entries, they are highly interesting and very adventurous!

But of course here in Malaysia it’s not the same. How many of our friends have landing strips at their place? And we’re more connected by roads than airports. Furthermore, the cost of owning a private plane is high because of our currency. So the next best thing for now is FPV.

FPV stands for First Person View and it is a new way of piloting RC (remote control) planes. Instead of controlling your aircraft from the ground and watching a speck in the sky, video headsets of the FPV will put you right in the cockpit, giving you the feeling that you’re flying the plane in the cockpit and not from the ground. The advantage of using FPV is that if you crash your plane, you don’t die. Reminds me of the movie Surrogates. Watch the videos below and you’ll get the idea.

FPV allows you to fly to places out of your normal line of sight. You can fly behind buildings and still know where you are. That means you can fly to places where you normally won’t. With FPV we can also fly better formations because you can accurately judge the distance between you and the other plane. And dogfights will become a whole lot more interesting! Continue reading

Space Shuttle for iPhone

Let’s face it. The chance of you going to space and piloting the Space Shuttle is almost nil, unless you are an air force pilot who’s lucky enough to be included in the space programme. Even our every own part-time model angkasawan (spaceman) didn’t have the chance to fly it. He only managed to make some teh tarik and play congkak while in space.

So this is the next best thing: Space Shuttle from Laminar Research, the same guys who brought you X-Plane 9.

There’s obviously only one space shuttle to choose from.

Several missions to choose from on the mission page.

6 seconds till lift off…

And we have ignition!

With 2 solid rocket boosters and three rocket engines on the shuttle in total generating over 6 million pounds of thrust (a 737 engine generates about 22,000pounds), it takes about 8 minutes to reach space at Mach 23, or 27,650km/h.

After the solid rocket boosters have been jettisoned off, the shuttle runs on the fuel from the main tank until it finally separates from the shuttle when it is empty.

In this game there’s hardly anything to do during launch and in space. The launch is totally automated. Docking with the ISS however is a nightmare. I still can’t do it.

Docking with the ISS.

The fun part is the reentry. Traveling at such high speeds, you need to make sure you can slow down enough to come in for the landing at the runway.

Preparing for re-entry.

Mainly I rely on the PFDs for the re-entry.

Approacing Edwards Airforce Base.

Flying in with the HUD.

And flaring for landing. I crashed this flight by the way.

This app sure does give you the feel of piloting a Space Shuttle and going into space. Not something you’ll get to do on your normal flight simulators. Space Shuttle is available at the iTunes store. Continue reading

Beverly's Fund Raiser

Normally people raise funds by doing dangerous or ridiculous things. I mean, we all enjoy watching people suffer to a certain extent. So naturally, when Beverly told me she’ll be waking up at 6am on a Sunday (yea I know, I’d rather be force fed poison) to do yoga to raise funds for charity, I know it’s going to be good.

No, she won’t be doing this for two hours. That’s too easy.

So what sort of suffering and misery (besides the waking up at 6am on a Sunday part) are you donating for? Well, basically she’ll be doing “108 Sun Salutations”. It’s a yoga thing and I have no idea what that means. But if you do the maths, one Sun Salutation requires 12 moves. 108 Salutations will then require 108×12=1296 moves! And all that in 2 hours! And trust me, yoga is not easy. Try climbing into a fuel tank of a 737 and you’ll know what I mean.

For all that, she’ll be raising funds for the NELUNE Foundation. The NELUNE Foundation is a not-for-profit charity that supports children, adolescents, adults and their families to cope with the impact of cancer by providing emotional support, care and post-operative medical aids that are not covered by government or private funding.

Beverly blogs at me-carbs.xanga.com

So if you want to help her achieve her goals of raising AUD500 by 15th of November, and make her do her 2 hour yoga on a Sunday morning, just click here and donate to her fund! You just need a credit card.

Beverly will be doing her 108 Sun Salutations at The Esplanade, Riverside Dr, Perth at 6am on SUNDAY, 15th November 2009. Feel free to drop by and support her if you’re in Perth! All the best! Continue reading