Times are changing and plastic is losing steam because of its effect on the environment. However, there was a time when it was just the opposite and when we praised the promising future (with good reason!) of plastic. Above you can see a photo of an old advertisement with a very different message than what we hear today. We even offer to teach you how to use plastic at home!
Below are a few Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (MFS 2020) screen captures taken during virtual flights.
Mont St-Michel is a very nice addition to the France virtual scenery provided by MFS 2020. Such great sites can be found in many places in the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 program, but many more are also available for free through the flight simulation community : they can then be downloaded and installed in MFS 2020, thus ever improving the overall experience.
The haze is quite present in the Los Angeles area and adds to the realism in the screenshot above. The FedEx livery comes from « Liveries Mega Pack Manager ».
The Icon A5 Kingfisher is seen flying along the Puerto Vallarta coast in Mexico. The scenery was hugely improved by John Lovell and is available through Flightsim.to. But it will require 5 GiG on your hard disk!
The picture above shows a small part of the Burbank Bob Hope airport (KBUR) modelized by Orbx. The screen capture was taken with the X-Box drone. This drone is a fantastic addition to what is now available to flight simulation enthousiasts when comes the time to bring back souvenirs from a flight.
Enroute to Iqaluit (CYFB), the jet just got out of the cloud deck and some rime icing is still visible on the nose and the wing’s leading edge. That evening, there was a sigmet reporting high level turbulence and it is exactly what I experienced during the flight, using REX Weather Force 2020 as a weather engine.
I’ll be back with more flight simulation screen captures soon. Meanwhile, have a good virtual flight!
A few years ago, I started a collection of postcards related to aviation that include people, so as to show not only the different cultures but also the fashion and sometimes the habits of people during the last decades. Postcards can be as much a photo as a commercial design.
The collection, still in development, covers all continents. Below are some samples; the other cards can be found in the section “People in aviation postcards” of my website.
March 30th 2021 edition.
I have reviewed and edited my list of the Orbx freeware and payware airports, with runway description and airport elevation. It includes most airports that were created up to March 30th 2021. The list does not include the airports made by commercial partners.
The addition of airports is based on what Orbx releases on its “Orbx Release Announcements” section. There are airports for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (MFS2020), X-Plane, P3DV4+, AFS2 and FSX. There are a lot of airports in FSX that were improved over a long period by Larry Isenor and Neil Hill to add a human touch, hangars and aircrafts.
Payware airports often come with secondary, smaller virtual airports included in their package. The data is included in the list.
There are several airports included in the older Orbx regions on the west coast of USA that are not shown here. So the list is not perfect, but it does help the flight simmer. For the rest of the planet, the list is pretty accurate.
You have access to a free download PDF file on my website.
Before winter 2021 officially ends, here are some photos taken around the MNBAQ (Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec) while there is still snow on the ground and on tree branches. In the spring of 2021, the Museum hosted the exhibition by British painter J.M.W. Turner.
The architectural design of the MNBAQ, in combination with the contrast between the blue and yellow tones, caught my attention. The scene is partially framed by two trees. The passerby in the center adds a touch of humanity.
The photo above was taken during the “blue hour“, near the MNBAQ. The citizens have deserted the park and are back inside, as shown here with the building in the background, with almost all its floors now lighted.
I considered it important to include the nice trees around the museum in all three shots.
The Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is an extremely interesting product. Microsoft is taking advantage of the satellite imagery offered by Bing, which allows the flight simulation enthusiast to fly over the world almost like in the real life. With the addition of live weather and air traffic in real time, the immersion is incredible.
To download the game’s 128 gigabytes using my current internet plan, it took fourteen hours. I still remember when I bought a hard drive that could hold 30 megabytes of data: it was a computer revolution!
Of course, the game requires an adaptation. We are far from the old FSX platform. It goes without saying that you need a high-performance computer. But a new and very positive aspect of this simulator is that you can now use an X-Box controller as an in-flight camera, with the addition of a rudder and a steering wheel for more reality. This camera offers incredible possibilities and the additional X-Box controller becomes essential.
As with anything new, there are some glitches. Personally, I have been using the CH company products for flight simulation for many years and the new MSFS 2020 has had problems recognizing the functions of CH products. Many virtual flight enthousiasts have had the same problems. So here are the links below that allowed a neophyte like me to solve the problems.
The first link leads to a video without words, which shows you the procedure of how to map your CH flight controls on the MSFS 2020.
A second video of interest is also available. Its author uses a slightly different method, but it is super easy to understand and allows you to acquire additional knowledge if you want to map your CH rudder and control column correctly.
A third video gives you access to the CH company products. There you will find the links that allow you to print a representation of your CH flight controls. This will allow you to find which number is associated with a specific command control. You can then remap the controls to your taste and keep a record of all the modifications you made.
In the screenshot above, you might recognize Quebec City, with the restaurant Le Concorde in the distance on the left, followed by the Edifice Marie-Guyart, a part of the Plains of Abraham, the Château Frontenac, the Price building and the lower town.
Have a good flight!
Even though World War II is over and the armistice was signed in 1945, four Japanese soldiers continue to hide on Lubang Island in the Philippines, awaiting official orders from their superior to surrender. They have been forgotten there in the jungle and continue to survive as best they can, dodging the patrols that have gone looking for them to tell them the war is over. They continue to accumulate information on the island for the intelligence services, hoping to be useful when a possible Japanese landing takes place that will drive the Americans out of the island. Years pass and there will be only one Japanese soldier left, Hiro Onada, who will finally surrender in 1974, thirty years later!
The book is a lesson in survival in a hostile environment. The discipline and resourcefulness that are required to survive and ensure their safety is extremely impressive. Onada, even as he gradually sank into an alternate reality, shows a remarkable tenacity.
Here is a passage that shows the reality of the jungle. I translated it as best as I could: “[…] There are also a lot of bees on the island. Huge swarms fly in the bushy areas at the foot of the mountains. I saw some that were thirty meters wide and a hundred long, flying here and there with unpredictable changes of direction. If we encountered one of these swarms, the only thing to do was to go back to the woods or, if we did not have time, to cover our heads with the canvas of our tent or our clothes and lie down on the ground. If we made the slightest move, they would attack. We had to breathe as gently as possible, until the swarm had passed. “(P.216)
In 1957, bombardments in the neighborhood reassured them that the war continued. But these were military exercises by the Philippine Air Force, not an American attack.
Onada et Qanon
As the years pass, there will be countless opportunities for those soldiers to realize that the war is over. They even had access, for a while, to a radio. It did not matter: whatever was read, heard or discovered by chance was, according to them, only the fruit of disinformation from the enemy.
On reading this real life story, it is possible to make a connection between Onada’s testimony and a follower of Qanon: both cannot accept defeat and believe in an almost divine mission. As Onada himself put it so well: “At that time, Kozuka and I had developed so many fixed ideas that we were unable to understand everything that differed from them. If something did not fit our vision, we interpreted it to give it the meaning we wanted “(p.192).
When a person is gradually made to believe in an alternate reality and decides to cling to it for their mental or physical health, or both, the same conclusion remains: regardless of the evidence, the rhetoric or the new realities that will be presented, that person will continue to persist with his line of thinking. It will take some dramatic event in his life for him to decide to change course and come back to a more objective reality.
Have a good read!
Title: Au nom du Japon
Author: Hiro Onada (translated in French by Sébastien Raizer)
Edition: La manufacture de livres
© Hiro Onada, 1974. Reprinted in 2020 for the French version.
The book “J’étais le pilote de Hitler” tells a true story that was originally published in 1957. The 2020 French edition, presented and annotated by Claude Quétel, improves our understanding of Hans Baur, one of the founders of Lufthansa in 1926, Hitler‘s personal pilot, but also a high-ranking Nazi SS officer and a close friend of the Führer.
The information offered by Hans Baur is of great interest. Early in Hans Baur’s career, the pilots doing what he did were called aviation pioneers. At the time, planes contained virtually no air navigation instruments that could assist a pilot flying in difficult weather conditions. The Alps are tricky to fly through in good weather, so it gets a lot more challenging in bad weather and in a poorly equipped plane. If we add the freezing conditions, engine failures, cabins that are not heated and that are not equipped with devices providing supplemental oxygen to pilots, then there are flights that would be considered something like an “exploit”. This aspect of the book is therefore very interesting.
I also liked all of Hans Baur’s anecdotes about Hitler’s demands on him. Being a pilot for the Führer was no small task. Hitler had very high expectations regarding the performance and the punctuality of his personal pilot, and the latter certainly demonstrated extraordinary abilities to satisfy his superior.
Where we have to be wary is that we are still dealing with an SS pilot, who was a member of the Nazi organization before Hitler took power. We have to question his personal values and what he voluntarily neglected in his book. The regular massacres carried out during Barbarossa Operation in Russia, or the elimination of six million Jews, are not discussed, as the SS pilot maintains he was never involved in politics. He carried passengers without asking questions, but he had chosen Nazism as a political movement. When you are invited to Hitler’s table on a daily basis and are therefore part of his inner circle, it is clear that the Nazi represented by Hans Baur is speaking about more than piloting.
The experience in Russian prisons is described as inhuman by Hans Baur, who has been there ten years. He talks about the transport of German prisoners in cattle cars, very bad food, etc. But I couldn’t help but wonder what planet he lived on to denounce his condition as a prisoner while ignoring the treatment the Germans imposed on the Russians and all the people who were deported and massacred. The Einsatzgruppen were not altar boys. Moreover, Claude Quétel also questioned this remark from Hans Baur, adding that “although very harsh, the living and working conditions in the Soviet camps have nothing to do – as we sometimes read – with those of the German concentration camps.”(p.381).
There are also some inaccuracies and sometimes falsehoods that Claude Quétel does not hesitate to point out. Sometimes these are trivial errors resulting from poor memory. However, other important facts are downright inaccurate. As in this passage where Baur says that Hitler decided to attack Russia four weeks before the start of the war, which is not true. The conquest of the East and of more living space is specifically enunciated in Mein Kampf and is spoken of in a book written while Hitler was in prison in 1923 following a failed coup.
The book « J’étais le pilote de Hitler » is a very interesting book, one more about Nazi Germany. The history of Germany is fascinating and complex, from the time of the Holy Roman Empire to the present day. But it seems that it will always be the twelve years of the Nazi period that will achieve more success in bookstores.
Have a good read!
Title : J’étais le pilote de Hitler
Author : Hans Baur
Edition : Perrin
ISBN : 978-2-262-08168-3
During the turbulent times that United States is going through, it is appropriate to remember the Third Basic Law of human stupidity as defined by Carlo M. Cipolla : « Is stupid a person who causes a loss to another person or a group of other persons while not deriving any benefit for himself and possibly even inflicting losses on himself ». Losses can be of all kinds, such as a rapid decrease in the support network, a greater difficulty in accessing financial resources, loss of credibility or even possible civil lawsuits for inappropriate acts.
According to Mr Cipolla, « the destructive potential of stupid people depends on two main factors. First, the genetic factor […] and second, the position of power and eminence in society ». « Essentially, stupid people are dangerous because people have difficulty imagining and understanding unreasonable behaviour ».
To know a bit more on the subject : human behaviour.
A view of Mount Robson in 2014 on our way to southern British Columbia, bound for Kamloops. We were fortunate to see enough of Mount Robson as there are more and more forest fires in the summer in western Canada and visibility is often reduced.