• Interview With Keith Paine

    Interview With Keith Paine FS2004 Developer

    Conducted by Dominic Smith


    Keith, when did you start developing for flight simulators?

    I started using Metasequoia as it is a freeware program and one that related very easily to the FMS (Flying Model Simulator) developed by students at a Swiss university. I was at that time (2003) coming up to retirement and was making flying models. I was also making a hash of flying them, I might add! Computers had arrived at work about four years earlier and AutoCad Light was in use in my office as was Drawing Office, so it was a natural progression.

    Keith Paine     Keith Paine     Keith Paine

    Could you tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?

    My first model for FS2004 was naturally of my father's Percival Proctor, one which took some time to complete and was published at FlightSim.Com (I think around 2008). The next model was of my uncle's Miles Hawk Speed Six in its 'bubble canopy' version as well as in its current pre-WW2 guise. These were published at Classic British Files (now Britsim) and I was mentored by Leif Harding. This learning curve made me aware of the shortcomings of my original Proctor, so a major re-work was made and the old version was removed.

    I find that there are very few three-view drawings that I can trust, so having been a draughtsman I download as many photographs as I can find, and choosing appropriate views, I scale them in AutoCad eventually creating my own three views. These are then measured so I can create a Gmax shape that is dimensioned, rather than use the 'normal' method of pulling polys to meet a shape in the background. This means I can also create the correct airfoil profile, assuming of course that the profile is a known standard (the internet is very useful here!).

    I then try to create a FDE that I hope recreates the characteristics of that particular aircraft, but that can be subjective and sometimes needs translation from documents found on the internet. I occasionally buy 'Pilots Notes' and photographs on CD and use technical notes and flight reports if they are available.

    What do you consider to be your best or most popular work?

    It's very difficult to decide but I suppose as I'm always learning and trying to better myself each time, it has to be my last project. I think my most popular was my Miles Falcon Major (according to the downloads on FlightSim.Com).

    Keith Paine     Keith Paine     Keith Paine

    Keith, what do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?

    Once the airframe starts to look near enough complete, the next part of the journey is to try and find any available flight reports on the aircraft's handling and performance characteristics. This information is then used to create the Aircraft.cfg and .air files. This can take many very short flights and a lot of time understanding the effects of some of the changes. After that, it's just the texturing, which (I have to say) is not one of my best areas as I'm not a good artist, but I hope, with each model created, that I improve.

    What have been your favorite projects?

    My favourite has to be my Gloster Meteor U16 as it is as near as I can get to the radio/autopilot control/logic of the real thing, i.e. one can fly it using just the mouse to click on the control buttons, no joystick needed. The keyboard can help a bit though. I did this project following on from my Jindivik, as I was head of Engineering Development at RAE Llanbedr (later DTEO/QinetiQ) for 19 years which was where, of course, they were operated.

    I am very proud to have the praise of Shipping & Airlines for their comments on my DH90 Dragonfly and Civilian Coupe which I managed to photograph at close quarters last year. Many thanks for their assistance.

    Keith Paine     Keith Paine     Keith Paine

    What software packages and tools do you use in your developing?

    Here is my rather large list: AutoCad, Gmax and Paint Shop Pro 7 for the modelling, then AirED and Air File Manager for the flight dynamics. Test results are from Herve Sors' AFSD. I also use FSUIPC, Jerry Beckwith's FDWB, Martin Wright's DXTBmp, Peter Reynold's XML editor (highlights syntax errors), Gmax Makemdl plugin and of course Notepad. This is necessary for creating the .xml code for the instruments.

    Tags: keith paine

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