Flying Flight Simulator

Sky-High Adventure with the Macintosh, Amiga, & Atari ST
by Charles Gulick

Chapter 19

Don't undertake advanced R/C until you are relatively skilled at flying the beginner modes set up earlier. (I don't know why I bother to say that when I know you're going to try it, relatively skilled or not.)

In advanced R/C you'll fly a scale model that is considerably more sophisticated than the model you've flown before. It's faster, more demanding, and capable of full prototype performance, including stunts. (The low-speed R/C trainer is not designed for stunts.)

In this chapter, I'll show you how to “kit-build” the model I call the R/C Cessna 182-S—the S stands for both sophistication and stunt capability.

The easiest way to build the 182-S is to start with the basic plans of the model you already built. Recall R/C TRNR TEST. Unpause and turn the aircraft in place to a heading of 027 degrees.

Next, access POSITION SET because you're going to move to a completely different location. Set the aircraft at NORTH 17302.526, EAST 5251.7254, and ALT 0.0. Put the tower (you) at NORTH 17302.401, EAST 5252.0000, and ALT 440.0000, and then close the window.

When you set parameters like these, the tower parameter is usually misconstrued by the simulator. So, before you do anything else, reenter NAV and POSITION SET and be sure the tower altitude is within a foot of 440. If it isn't, re-enter 440.0000 and again close the window.

Note that, at present, your elevator is trimmed as it was for your R/C trainer (from full up, five quick downs in Amiga/Atari and three notches down in the Mac). Trim the 182-S for takeoff with five additional quick downs in Amiga/Atari and two additional notches down in the Macintosh. Thus, the total takeoff trim for the 182-S is, from full up, 2 × 5 qd in Amiga/Atari and five notches down in the Mac. Whenever you save an on-the-ground R/C situation, use these trim settings, and your model will be ready for takeoff.

Next, open SIM and PARTIAL PANEL. Turn on ATTITUDE, and leave AIRSPEED and ALTIMETER on. Turn off TURN COOR and VERT VEL. The three instruments in the top row should be the only ones now on.

Close the window. Drag the instrument panel down to about half its present height. Then, continue to nudge it down until only the very tops of the numerals 140 and 100 on the airspeed indicator are visible. The attitude indicator and altimeter will also be partially visible. The idea is to shrink the panel as far as possible and to leave only enough of the three instruments on the left side to be able to interpret their readings. Notice on the right side of the panel that the compass, tachometer (RPM), and engine gauges are intact.

With this panel arrangement you'll have no trouble interpreting the airspeed indicator, attitude indicator, or altimeter. Together with the compass and tachometer, these three instruments give you vital information about the model's configuration and direction, compensating for the lack of ground references that you have with actual R/C flying. An R/C enthusiast can judge a flying model's relative speed, attitude, and altitude by ever-present ground references. In the simulator, you can see the ground only when the R/C model is too close to it to make useful corrections or when the horizon is very far away, as in the case of viewing the “dot” from your ground control position.

Now, drag the main display down and right until it meets and fills all the screen above the instrument panel.

You have successfully built the Cessna 182-S R/C model. Congratulations! Take a look at your plane from your control position. Isn't it a beauty?

The 182-S is equipped with tiny sensors that register the model's airspeed, attitude, altitude, heading, and engine rpm. This information is transmitted to a small panel on your R/C control box (at the bottom of your screen), enabling you to fly the plane much as if you were inside it. Because it flies at almost three times the speed of your beginner model, the Cessna 182-S can do everything the prototype Cessna can do. But we still have to fit the 182-S with some special gear.

Open VIEW and set the spot plane behind the aircraft at a distance of 200 feet and an altitude of 20 feet. Then, close the window, and take the spot plane view. If the display does not fill the screen, drag it down, as you did the main screen, to the top of the abbreviated instrument panel. As in the R/C trainer model you built, the spot follow feature is available for the 182-S, but the view is from the rear rather than from the side.

Finally, you'll mount a special miniature video camera on the model to the rear of the wing. (I told you the 182-S was sophisticated.) To mount the camera you'll use a special window that you haven't used before: the second three-dimensional window. I've been saving this for a special application, and the 182-S is it. Access the window on the Mac with the OPTION key and on the Amiga/Atari with function key F2, and drag the window to the upper left corner of your screen. Then, click at the bottom right corner of the window and drag the display down and across so that it fills the entire space above the abbreviated instrument panel. Now, take a rear view. This is the mounted camera's default setting, but you can point it in any direction with your regular view keys. The camera also has a zoom lens. And in Amiga/Atari it also responds to the panning keys. Try some of these features, and then reset the panning feature, set the zoom to 1.00, and return to the rear view. Close the camera window by pressing twice the same key you used to open it.

Return to the naked-eye view at your control position. You and your model are in California at a custom R/C flying field—complete with runway, taxiways, control tower, and pilot shop, all exactly to scale. Isn't this something?

You can fly anytime you wish—even at night—because no residential areas are nearby. The noise of your engine won't disturb anyone.

Before you do anything else, set the season to spring, and set the surface winds to a depth of 5000 feet, from a direction of 250 degrees, and at a speed of six knots. Then, close the window. Save the situation as R/C AIRSHOW 25 because radio-control buffs from all over the world put on competition airshows at this field. You'll want to practice R/C flying here, and you'll probably enter a show yourself one day.

In order to determine exactly where you are, turn on your map. Drag it up to the top left corner of your screen. Then, click at the bottom right corner of the map and, holding the button down, expand it to a full-size display. The detail is phenomenal. Zoom through a few notches, and then zoom to the widest possible angle that includes the most geography. (You can set up the map like this anytime you fly R/C and leave it expanded. But the map size and location, unlike your other screens, cannot be saved and recalled, so you have to reset it when you recall.)

Open NAV and set the map to NORTH ORIENTATION. With this setting, all points of the compass are the same as on an ordinary map (viewed north-at-the-top), so the + sign indicates only where you are, not the direction in which the plane is pointed.

At the speeds your 182-S can fly, you'll have difficulty knowing where you are at any given time, so some study of this map can be very valuable. The spot follow feature and your on-board camera will help immensely if you have some idea of what you're looking at.

The airshow field is in Livermore, California. (In fact, it duplicates the real Livermore Airport with uncanny precision.) The field is south of Interstate 580 and at the north-west corner of the Livermore metropolitan area. Note that Livermore is shaped like an arrowhead. Zoom closer and study the relationship of the arrowhead and the threshold of Runway 25, and then set the zoom to minimum again. (The minimum zoom in the Mac is .5, and in Amiga/Atari .25, so some of the detail described below will not be visible to Mac pilots.)

West of Livermore, shaped like a rough-hewn arrowhead, is the metropolitan area of Pleasanton, California. The “Pleasanton arrowhead” points directly away from the airshow field. The highway it points to is Interstate 680, which is at an approximate right angle to I-580. At the intersection of the highways is the town of Dublin and more of the Pleasanton metropolitan area. The mountain west of I-680 is the Sunol Ridge. Suffice it to say that if you're flying the model in the west quadrant and see the highway intersection or if you're getting close to a mountain, it's time to turn and head east.

At the extreme north of the current map display are two mountains that are part of the Black Hills range (only a portion of one mountain is visible in the Mac version). If you're flying the model in the north quadrant and get close to these two mountains, it's again high time to turn your model around.

Other than the distant Maguire Peaks, the only landmark to the south is San Antonio Reservoir. Avoid flying that far, but if you do, at least you'll know it's time to turn north when you see the reservoir. At the western extremity of your map display is, of course, San Francisco Bay. If you see it closer than at a great distance (it's about 20 miles from the field), you'll get the Airshow Booby Prize. At the eastern extremity of the map-display area is a fork in the highway where I-580 meets I-205 and heads south. That fork is also a sign of being out of range, so use I-580 westward to guide your model back to you.

Now, zoom in two notches (Mac, one notch) or until the mountains virtually disappear and you can see the practical extremities of the area in which you'll try to fly your R/C model. Interstate 580 and the arrowhead of the Livermore metropolitan area, together with the field, are the focal points of the area. Enough said. Reset the map to AIRCRAFT ORIENTATION, and get your mind turned around. Then, decide whether you want to leave the orientation at AIRCRAFT or at NORTH, whichever best suits the way your mind works. Personally, I use NORTH to get geographically acquainted with an area and AIRCRAFT to fly it.

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