Feature: For The Love Of Flying
By Ron Blehm
February 22, 2012
Here I was looking at several days of rest following a week in hospital; what better to do than a little simming to get one's strength back? But I wasn't sure what to fly or where. I was surfing around and found the Just Plane's YouTube Channel and came across some videos featuring the EMB-190. What a smart looking aircraft! I immediately went to the file library at www.flightsim.com and started my search finding the AI Aardvark version with many repaints and the Premier Aircraft Design version as well. I downloaded both and immediately checked their numbers versus the real aircraft. Then I took a test flight which is described in a recent Head-2-Head article.
Finally I settled on keeping the AIA version in my hangar because I liked how it flew a lot better. It seems to me that this size airplane should handle like my wife's minivan as opposed to my uncle's 1969 Chrysler New Yorker (both about the same weight but what a different drive!). I made some additional tweaks to the AI aircraft's CFG file as noted below:
max_gross_weight = 110000 empty_weight = 56070 reference_datum_position = 0, 0, 0 empty_weight_CG_position = 6, 0, 0 empty_weight_pitch_MOI = 3172439 empty_weight_roll_MOI = 2262183 empty_weight_yaw_MOI = 3337024 empty_weight_coupled_MOI = 0 max_number_of_stations = 9 station_load.0 = "250.0, 41.0, 0.0, 0.0, Pilots" station_load.1 = "510.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, Crew" station_load.2 = "8160.0, 11.0, 0.0, 0.0, Coach 3-10" station_load.3 = "8160.0, -10.0, 0.0, 0.0, Coach 11-18" station_load.4 = "7140.0, -30.5, 0.0, 0.0, Coach 19-25" station_load.5 = "8000.0, 20.5, 0.0, 0.0, Forward Baggage" station_load.6 = "4000.0, -27.5, 0.0, 0.0, Aft Baggage" //0=Piston, 1=Jet, 2=None, 3=Helo-Turbine, 4=Rocket, 5=Turboprop engine_type = 1 fuel_flow_scalar = 0.500 min_throttle_limit = -0.12000 engine.0 = -1.94, -13.25, -2.53, engine.1 = -1.94, 13.25, -2.53,
I also added some wing and window views:
As you might expect, an AI aircraft lacks a lot of the details and eye candy of most other designs but often that means they are easier to repaint and in the end I ended up with over thirty different liveries on my EMB-190! Now, let me say a word about details. I don't fly with some "Liquid Nitrogen-cooled Quadzilla Super Computer", I have a very modest dual-core family-run PC that handles FSX pretty well - not great. This is okay with me as I view this as a FLIGHT simulator not a, "Look at the flowers by the fence" or "Notice the prawns on the food cart" simulation. If you like details and need them in your version of FS, more power to you! You'll see that the wheels, for example, have ... well, SIDES (below, left) but again, I usually fly from the cockpit and then watch the replay from a spot view and I generally am able to overlook some of these things (below, right). At least the wheels roll. Ahhh, but they don't TURN which could be irritating to some.
Anyway, so my new-favorite airplane lacks some eye-candy; it flies great and to prove it to you, I decided to fly some of my favorite FS approaches in real weather. I hope that the following pictures will show you that simple AI aircraft can make viable sim aircraft worth having in your hangar:
1- An evening approach into a snowy Tromso, Norway
2- A foggy morning approach to Karachi, Pakistan
3- A windy day in Palma de Mallorca
4- The challenging DME approach to Samos, Greece
5- A typically rainy day in Portland, Oregon
6- A clear, cold, winter's evening into Tehran, Iran
7- The narrow approach to Merida, Venezuela
8- A challenging, hazy approach into Quito, Ecuador
9- The RNP approach to Juneau, Alaska
10- Another RNP approach into Queenstown, New Zealand
11- A hairy approach into Manila, Philippines during an ensuing Typhoon
12- The Tai Kak approach to Hong Kong
13- A lazy, hazy evening approach into Beirut, Lebanon
So really, it doesn't look too bad to me (unless you are going to look REALLY CLOSE) and I like how it handles, even in some tricky weather. The Autopilot works great, the auto land is very accurate, you can add-on any great panel and sound package and suddenly you have this great new plane in your hangar!