Out with the old, in with the…old?

Bring out your prophecies!

2012 is here. Happy New Year everyone! Whatever your beliefs for how this year will pan out (*cue eery music*), there’s no doubting it will be an exciting one. Even more so for me, as I bid farewell to an old friend, the B17G “Joker”, which proved a very handy B17 Flying Fort’ to cut my flying teeth on in Flight Simulator X.

The Joker (not to mention old-time military training videos such as this and this) certainly taught me a lot regarding how-to (and how not-to) fly and maintain a B17 in virtual sim-land ; I never managed to actually crash so that could be considered a feat in itself, but if I had a dollar for all the blown oleo struts, spark plugs with “signs of detonation”, burnt-out generators, bent cowl-flaps, frozen landing gear motors and engines on fire (deliberate, mind you) I experienced, well, let’s just say I’d probably very nearly have enough cash for a real B17 (not really, but one can dream).

Alas, the Joker has now been decommissioned, but it was certainly a wild ride while it lasted.

Onward and upward…

So what will replace the old Joker? Well, another A2A Accu-sim B17! I’ve always enjoyed the colour silver, but somehow I could never get into flying a silver B17 Flying Fort’, for whatever reason; I always leaned towards the Olive Drab colour schemes. Not this time though…for here I present the Silver Queen…(apologies it’s raining in some of these shots…the weather was a bit haphazard at the Boeing field when I took these). These pictures hardly do justice to the excellent paint scheme on this aircraft, but here’s a taste anyway…

New-old stock

Ahhh, but what’s the difference between this plane and your old Joker I hear you say? And what caused you suddenly taking a liking to a new, silver, B17? Well, for one thing, the paint job on this aircraft is simply something that has to be seen to be believed. And for another thing, I am starting off with a ‘clean slate’ with this aircraft. For all intents and purposes, this is a plane that could be considered ‘new-old’ stock…a once pristine silver airplane which has unfortunately (or fortunately) sat weathering in the elements, its once-gleaming silver now tarnished and discoloured somewhat…only to be enjoyed now. Almost like a fine wine which has sat gathering dust and cobwebs in an attic or basement for years…never drank from, but well seasoned all the same.

That’s right, there’s 0.0 hours on this ‘craft right now as far as the Accu-sim hangar is concerned, and right now each one of those 36 cylinder walls in those four engines are likely gleaming in all their cross-hatch glory (virtually, of course). I intend to continue my flying career in FSX by seeing just how frugally I can fly this plane, without breaking anything; nice and easy will be the order of the day. What random niggles, anomalies (or dare I say, failures) will this fine wine have in-store for me I wonder?

In any case, to my benefit will be all the experience I have gained from flying the previous Fort’ (the Joker, of course). The Silver Queen has been delivered to Boeing Field with 100-odd gallons of 100-octane Av-gas in each of her four fuel tanks. There she sits, until I conjure up the courage to fly her on her maiden voyage (perhaps wait until it stops raining…).

Hang on there Cap’, you forgot your logbook…

To keep track of the maintenance to be performed on this aircraft, I have developed an Excel spreadsheet which details all the consumable and repair-replace items. Fuel is also included as a consumable item. As things break or need renewing in sim-land, I will record these down with dates as to when I performed the work…the next obvious step from here would be to locate the real-world $$ figures (or close enough to) for each part, then I could have simulated almost everything there is to simulate…aside from banging my head on a low frame upon entry into the cockpit (though I’m sure that too can be arranged for…).

Blue yonder anyone?

Watch this space as I provide updates on how my time with the old Silver Queen goes. It should definitely be an interesting journey…

Credits

I can’t close without giving credit to the very talented artists and developers behind all of this…I know I’ve given credit to these guys before, but it’s the new year, so why not give them around round of applause…

Of course, Microsoft for their Flight Simulator X, but also A2A Simulations for their B17G Flying Fortress with the astounding ‘Accu-sim’ add-on which ensures that not only are flight dynamics and physics modelled, but also the myriad of aircraft systems (electrics, hydraulics) as well as random failures, engine and accessory wear and tear, the list goes on….

And last but definitely not least, is ‘Warbirds’ from the A2A Simulations forum, who developed the excellent ‘Silver Queen’ repaint you see here, as well as the beautifully weathered and worn cockpit (version 2) repaint, also on display.

Note: the Silver Queen skin is currently in development and should be released by Warbirds very soon. Stay tuned to the A2A B17 forums for more news on this (link no. 3 below). Otherwise, the worn cockpit can be had at link no.4 below. Enjoy! And thanks again to Warbirds for creating these excellent repaints!

Some handy links:

1.  http://www.microsoft.com/games/flightsimulatorx/

2. http://www.a2asimulations.com/

3. http://a2asimulations.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=29

4. http://a2asimulations.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=26975