ATW – Back to Square One

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I did a classic mistake rarely tolerated in aviation. I started my around the world (ATW) flight with little or no planning, and got stuck somewhere in Africa. A little bit wiser, and with a new plan, I’m now back (at square one).

It so happened that while cruising at 35′ feet above Ethiopia I got an idea. I had a vanilla Prepar3D v2.5. installed that wasn’t really used for anything except some scenery and airport development projects, so why not use it as my ATW simulator, and use ONLY freeware addons. No ORBX, no Pilot’s FS Global mesh or weather, no PMDG or A2A – just freeware. And better yet, why not share the best of the best freeware addons with you all as I progress and test them out.

I’m now on my 6th leg and will start my dispatches soon. All the approved and appraised freeware will be showcased on a parallel blog I’ve created called P3D Freeware. Chek it out here: https://p3dfreeware.wordpress.com/

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ATW #1: Beirut, Lebanon – Cairo, Egypt

Beirut is the capital and largest city in Lebanon. The city is as good a place as any to start my around the world journey, but I picked the place because it has a very good freeware scenery of it’s international airport, Rafic Hariri International Airport (OLBA), made by Lebor Simulations. The same crew also offers vector scenery for Lebanon which is OK to install if you don’t have ORBX FTX Vector. They had started development of a Beirut X scenery, but after news of its development surfaced in 2013 things have been quiet.

For the first flight I’m heading off to Cairo flying a real world EgyptAir route using the default FSX Boling 737 (copied over from FSX) with FSND FSX-B737 Upgraded Cockpit by Alejandro Rojas Lucena, Garrett Smith, Stephane Verrando & Rob Barendregt, and Egyptair repaint by Paul Davies. I tried several freeware scenery offerings for Egypt and Cairo, but none of them were any good, so I’ll be using the default scenery for this trip.

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A Free Trip Around the World

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Freeware: P-3C Orion AI Aircraft by JAI, RNoAF repaint by Ray Parker, ENZV airport scenery by Andrew Thomsen and RNoAF Orion AI flightplan by yours truly.

This blog has gotten little attention lately, but family obligations have left me with little time to sim, and even less to blog the last couple of years. That isn’t going to change any time soon, but I’m starting a project that will give the blog a tad more focus for the next few months.

I’ll be doing a trip around the virtual globe using mostly freeware addons in Prepar3D v3.1. It would have been fun to use freeware only, but there are a few basic payware addons that I can’t live without:

  • ORBX FTX Global
  • ORBX FTX Global Vector
  • ORBX FTX Open LC Europe
  • Pilot’s FS Global Real Weather
  • REX Soft Clouds
  • FSUIPC

I rarely buy any payware these days (and I’ll get more into why later), but the above mentioned addons get my full support for a few good reasons. ORBX, Pilot’s, REX and FSUIPC have been in business for a long time. They make high quality addons that are simple to install and use, but most of all, they have been both willing and able to support Prepar3D while still maintaining compatibility with older versions of the ESP-based simulators.

It would have been nice if some of the functionality and graphic enhancements these addons offer were baked into Prepar3D as stock features. However, Lockheed Martin have shown very little interest in doing so and instead seem to focus and encourage third party developments for their simulator platform. Let’s face it, there have been only minor changes and improvements of geographical data (vector, mesh and land class), airport and navaid data, autogen and landclass textures and objects, ATC and AI traffic since Prepar3D 1.0 was released five years ago.

Buckle up! First flight starts tonight…