About Us

Glad to say that for nearly two years it is "us" (well kind of) again after my previous copilot without command decided to take a different airway in life. My new copilot is not presential either, she is not much a fan of computers. Stewardesses are most welcome :-).
Not for Real Navigation !!!
First of all, in real life I am not a pilot! I would have wanted but instead I chose to be an engineer. I wanted to specialize in Avionics Design but that was not offered at my university, anyway, I do not regret my choice or the opportunities my parents gave me. Yes, I get a sense of nostalgia when I look up at the skies and see an aircraft, or watch a cockpit photo.

Before you read any of the virtual adventures as a virtual pilot on this blog, I would like to point out that even though I try to simulate it as realistically as possible, the data presented in my blog/site is not suited for real life navigation! so I am not liable for any damages caused to you or by you should you use that information for real life navigation/flying!.

As a kid I read a lot about aviation history and even studied my father's private pilot course book (in English). With him I also learned the basics of flying theory because we used to go every Sunday to fly R/C (Remote Controlled) aircraft, I had a small Cessna.

So, I am not a pilut, huh? Well, back in 2007 I ran into a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 at a store and I bought it. I had previously tried the 2002 version years ago but computers were not that powerful and I was disappointed at the simulation capabilities.

Anyway, with FS2004 I was impressed and accumulated a lot of freeware add-ons that were more challenging than the default aircrafts. My plan has been to build a cockpit of my own (hopefully a Boeing 737-800) and eventually buy more professional aircraft simulations (payware) of my favourite planes (see My Hangar).

It didn't take long before I was so much into the simulation that I decided to buy some simulation hardware. I started with CH Product's Flight Sim Yoke USB and their USB Pro Pedals. Nothing like replicating the airplane with some more realism. The pedals were in my opinion a must for proper control of the aircraft during taxi and after touchdown.

Later on I acquired a SAITEK Throttle Quadrant which I configured to have two levers for two engines (one disabled when I flew single-engine) and the 3rd lever for flaps. The extra buttons for engine starts. My primary motivation was to have two levers to practice some single engine failures on dual engine a/c. That after trying once FS Passengers and damaging the flaps of the Boeing which caused the a/c to try to continuously veer to the left. At that time I had no throttle quadrant and I was unable to counteract that with asymetric thrust. So I bought the throttle quadrant.

And then (oh my! is it going to stop?) I bought to pieces from the Go Flight inventory, their Boeing 737 EFIS and MCP PRO modules. The 1st I have not been able to use in any a/c yet, need special software. The second is a wonderful pice that I can use in most a/c with autopilot.

About less than a year after I started with FS2004 I was enrolled as a Beta tester for the Microsoft Flight Simulator X. This was a wonderful experience both as amateur and tester. When I finally got a powerful PC to replace my aging system, I have been able to really use FSX with full settings, I just love the 3D virtual cockpit and no longer use FS2004.

In my last job I had the pleasure of having two colleagues that were also flight simulation enthusiasts. One of them actually had a private pilot license and had flown dual engine General Aviation aircraft. We also had the fortune that nearby I discovered a static full Boeing 737-800 simulation, we used it 3 or four times and had a wonderful experience. Now we are planning to visit another full B738 simulator (this time full-motion) in Brugge.

My current setup
The figure on the left shows my current setup. Both computers are connected via high speed ethernet router which gives access to internet. There is some folder sharing between the two so that I can share information (flight plans and so) from the main computer to the laptop which has the communications center and IVAO client GUI.

The laptop is old and slow (Celeron processor) and has Windows XP SP3. It runs the IVAO network monitor (The Eye), TeamSpeak for voice communications with ATC, the IVAO Pilot Client GUI and my "flight bag" which consists of a browser with my Virtual Airline's PIREP submission page which is needed during the flight. It is also  my source of information of traffic, active ATC's, electronic charts -unless I have them printed- and any other important documentation. The main PC was recently replaced and is an Intel i7 3770 with Windows 7 Home Ultimate 64-bit with 4GB of memory and a 1GB video card. I have only one monitor, I hope to have more but I am busy with more important things right now. My previous Intel DX58SO and i7-920 had to be discarded due to damage.

Then my full set of instruments are shown there too. Enough to have good realism but not all the instrumentation I want to have, but as I said, there are more pressing issues in real life at this moment.

    Motherboard: ASRock Extreme 4
    CPU:  Intel Core i7-3770 at 3.40 GHz
    Power Supply: Cool Master M620  (620 Watts)
    System Memory:  4GB DDR3 (PC3-10666) at 1333 MHz
    Video Memory: 1 GB (dedicated, in-card)
    Video Card: ASUS (nVidia chipset) GeForce GTX285
    Audio card: built-in (formerly Sound Blaster Extreme X-Fi, 7.1 capable)
    Audio system: a cheap 2-speaker set :-(

More Simulation?
Well, it was only natural that the simulation would get me itching for more! so In all these years I have done some experimental programming with interfacing (programmatically) with MS FS9 & FSX using their SDK.

I have also done some (unrealeased) add-on scenery for FS9 (FS2004) for Contadora Island airport (Panama). Obviously FSX is the present and the future, because of that I have spent quite some time developing add-on scenery for FSX with my current projects being those of Lord of Wings Flight Simulation.

Yes, I hope to one day build a full simulator. I want a Boeing 737-800 but lately due to the time I spent developing add-on scenery and regained an interest for VFR. As a result I have rekindled the love for the basics and have been "flying" more and more with the little aircraft such as Cessna Skywahk 172, Cessna 208 Grand Caravan, Beechcraft King Air 350. Also with some larger a/c of the turboprop category such as the excellent BAe J4100. For that reason, I am now also itching for building a home cockpit for one of those.

Online is more fun
After spending quite some hours with FS2004 I found out I could also fly online with traffic from other "virtual pilots" and even with realistic air traffic controllers. Not the real ones but much better than the built-in ATC of MSFS.

For that reason I joined both IVAO and VATSIM although I have not logged any flight with VATSIM yet. Now I have more than a 270 hours (May 2013) logged on IVAO. There I have done a bit of ATC (16 hours) as well, but I prefer to act as a virtual pilot.

In addition, over the course of the years, I have joined several virtual airlines. However, at this point I am only active in one that offers the best statistics; as I like to remember people we do have real lives to live, some virtual airlines kind of expect you to put them first over real life.