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Around the World in 80 Flights Review
31 replies to this topic
Posted 30 July 2010 - 12:51 PM
The real Electra was known to be somewhat unstable at high altitudes, that's actually why it had twin tailfins, to try and solve the problem. Clarence Kelly Johnson, the designer who took over work on the prototype suggested these after he joined Lockheed and did extensive wind tunnel testing on it, since the Electra originally had a single tailfin. He almost got fired because of that, as he contradicted the opinions of a lot of people senior to him, but he was vindicated, as the Electra did fly better than it would have done with just a single fin.As advanced as it was in terms of aerodynamics and as skilled as Kelly was, this was a fairly new field in designing aircraft. You can see that if you look at many Boeing aircraft from that same era, notably the B-17, of which, the early variants had a tiny tailfin, the later ones gaining a massive tail fin and huge dorsal fillet as designers got more au fait with understanding that you need a lot of vertical surface up in thinner air. The early B17s could make it up just as high as the later ones could, but they were appallingly bad bombing platforms, as they would wallow around all over the place with little directional stability.The Electra could indeed make it up to 20,000 feet, but as a passenger craft it rarely did so, since anything over around 10,000 feet requires cabin pressurisation for passenger comfort. One Electra variant was pressurised, the XC-35, but most of them were not, which means anything over 10,000 feet would have been fairly rare for an Electra carrying passengers. This means that even on half fuel, the Electra is on the ragged edge climbing up to high altitudes, it was this which makes Earhart's trip the challenge it in fact was, since she had to fly through a lot of crappy weather simply because the Electra could not easily make it over it.It wasn't really until the Lockheed Constellation came along that an airliner truly capable of climbing over bad weather and flying comfortably at altitude existed, and you will note that the Connie has three tailfins. The Connie was so fast and capable that it could fly across the Atlantic in WW2 and outrun enemy aircraft.Al
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Posted 30 July 2010 - 01:39 PM
Thanks again Alan for your detailed and competent explanation! Give me a Lightning any day, then! It's a twin with twin tail fins, it has enough autonomy and can easily fly above the 20000' with superchargers too, and still it's a Lockheed! Even a Hudson will surely fly better around the globe than this... Electra! I don't know: maybe I'm not cut for challenges. Let's see: my first flight was problematic as I went along at full throttle all the time and 50% mixture or more, wrestling with the AP I lost so much time I end up gliding powerless some 50 miles from Paris; on the second attempt all went smoothly enough, but I switched altitude to 7500' and full tanks (the take off was hair raising, but it's ok); after an endless taxiing at Orly (you're right, it can taxy very nicely, except it's hard to see where you're going, but this is about all tail draggers), I then took off for another smooth flight to Marseilles, again at 7500' (more than enough); on my last flight I learned not to ask for more fuel from those pesky truckers and all went well, except I discovered the high altitude instability of this kite: now you have given some useful confirmations about this, and I'm back to the engine point; as I landed at Sion I still had plenty of fuel, so possibly I should try to use a richer mixture at high altitudes, if I can gain at least 10 Mph more, and being able to make it to my next landing... The tale goes on. Cheerio!
Posted 03 August 2010 - 01:30 PM
I'm hooked by this long adventure, but I wasn't happy with the kite's colors, so while in Algiers before my next hop to Mallorca I rented the service of one indigenous painter for some bakshish and here are the results:I know it's a bit colorful and maybe I would get tired of it soon enough, but for the moment I enjoy flying her.If you like it, I've just uploaded it in the AVSIM Library: look for the Lockheed_L10E_ATW_Challenge archive!Cheers!
Posted 10 August 2010 - 09:19 AM
Here I am again: after the repaint I made some research about the L10E and I came to the conclusion this virtual model was underpowered indeed, so I delved into the aircraft.cfg and modified a few data regarding the engines; I've not touched anything about fuel load or consumption, so that may be still wrong...I've also added the option to select the fuel tanks as suggested by the good Alan in his review [number_of_tank_selectors = 2 ], so now I have the position Left and Aux, besides the Off: can someone explain how these works? I just use it on Aux presuming it will empty first the fuselage tanks: is this correct?After I implanted the more accurate Pratt & Whitney R-1830 configuration, I just made a relatively short flight in mission #22 Kilimanjaro - Mombasa HTKJ - HKMO, and now I was able to reach 20000' with a decent rate of climb, and just above the 100 Mph I was able to fly almost straight, so it seems the Electra can be more enjoyable for those who may like to give it a try I decided to post here the modified sections to the aircraft.cfg you can Copy/Paste into and replacing the relative sections and as usual I recommend to make a backup copy of the original, just to be sure; also keep in mind the red markers on the gauges are no more relevant:[General]atc_type=LOCKHEED atc_model=L10 editable=1 performance="Cruise speed\n185 mph 161 kts 298 km/hr\n\nEngines\nTwo Pratt & Whitney R-1830s\n\nMaximum range\n2800 mi 1,150 km\n\nService ceiling\n23,200 ft 7,071 m\n\nFuel capacity\n604 gal 2,286 L\n\nEmpty weight\n6,454 lb 2,930 kg\n\nMaximum gross weight\n10,500 lb 4,760 kg\n\nLength\n38.7 ft 11.8 m\n\nWingspan\n55 ft 16.8 m\n\nHeight\n10.1 ft 3.1 m\n\n" Category=airplane[Reference Speeds]flaps_up_stall_speed=65.000 //Knots True (KTAS)full_flaps_stall_speed=57.000 //Knots True (KTAS)cruise_speed= 168 //Knots True (KTAS)max_indicated_speed = 192.000 //Red line (KIAS)[GeneralEngineData]engine_type = 0 //0=Piston, 1=Jet, 2=None, 3=Helo-Turbine, 4=Rocket, 5=Turbopropengine.0 = 0, -6.89, 0,engine.1 = 0, 6.89, 0,fuel_flow_scalar= 1.15 //Fuel flow scalarmin_throttle_limit = 0.1; //Minimum percent throttle. Generally negative for turbine reverser[piston_engine]power_scalar = 1.000 //Piston power scalarcylinder_displacement= 130.71 //Cubic inches per cylindercompression_ratio= 6.7 //Compression rationumber_of_cylinders= 14 //Number of cylindersmax_rated_rpm= 2700.0 //Max rated RPMmax_rated_hp= 1200.0 //Max rated HPfuel_metering_type= 1 //0=Fuel Injected, 1=Gravity Carburetor, 2=Aerobatic Carburetorcooling_type= 0 //0=Cooling type Air, 1=Cooling type Liquidnormalized_starter_torque= 0.3 //Starter torque factorturbocharged= 1 //Is it turbocharged? 0=FALSE, 1=TRUEmax_design_mp= 47 //Max design manifold pressure, (inHg)min_design_mp= 1.0 //Min design manifold pressure, (inHg)critical_altitude= 7000.0 //Altitude to which the turbocharger will provide max design manifold pressure (feet)emergency_boost_type= 0 //0=None, 1=Water Injection, 2=Methanol/Water injection, 3=War Emergency Poweremergency_boost_mp_offset= 0.0 //Additional manifold pressure supplied by emergency boostemergency_boost_gain_offset= 0.0 //Multiplier on manifold pressure due to emergency boostfuel_air_auto_mixture= 0 //Automixture available? 0=FALSE, 1=TRUEauto_ignition= 0 //Auto-Ignition available? 0=FALSE, 1=TRUEmax_rpm_mechanical_efficiency_scalar= 1.0 //Scalar on maximum RPM mechanical efficiencyidle_rpm_mechanical_efficiency_scalar= 1.0 //Scalar on idle RPM mechanical efficiencymax_rpm_friction_scalar= 1.0 //Scalar on maximum RPM frictionidle_rpm_friction_scalar= 1.0 //Scalar on idle RPM frictionThese values IMO give the Lockheed a more realistic fly model, at least for the engines and climbing power, and from what I gathered these are the historical tech values related to that special E model.If i may go a bit off topic, I'm really disappointed by the scenery look you get in Africa: it seems all like the Sahara desert there, even around the Victoria lake: is there any addon to improve on this part of the World?I decided to take the flights at night, so not to get bored too much by the endless waste land, but there I also have the trouble of a very poor depiction of the ground, and a banded sky, both too light: it may be my LCD monitor as well, but over Europe or USA the night is not so moiré and blotched by false colors; I decided to give a try to the EMBserie and though it improves a lot on the looks of the day, in the night it's hard to find the right values (by default it's way too dark); in the readme of this hack it's suggested to use the video card driver to control Luminosity and Contrast instead (you can easily disable EMBserie using Shift+F12), but even so it changes dramatically from way to dark to way to coarse and psychedelic... This is a big trouble for me at the moment, so any good advice to improve on these aspects of FSX would be most welcomed! I'm using nVidia GTS250 1 TB VRAM.S!
Posted 19 August 2010 - 08:01 AM
Hi there!Apologies to Alan if this may drift a bit out of the Review feed back topic, but we're still talking about the Around The World in 80 Flights, and hopefully I'll be excused...First i'd like to correct myself in stating you should not care about the red marks on the RPM and Manifold gauges: these are still relevant for optimal cruising setting, but can be exceeded eventually on take offs. I've also noticed that using my new engines' configuration the prop pitch are now effectively working, a thing I didn't notice with the original configuration.At the moment I'm heading to Darwin: I've decided to fly mainly VFR, since flying ILS is most often quite annoying; I confess i use a lot GPS autopilot and accelerated time to cover long stretches, so when it comes to ATC ILS they start diverting you from your course sometime even 70 NM before the approach; in the case of Kathmandu it may have some sense, since the approach to the Valley may be tricky, and still ILS is very useful when flying in low visibility and towards an airfield without beacons or lights, but more often than not they make you turn here and there a few times, when the ILS vectors are just straight in front of you. I'm not a RL pilot, so I can't say if these are normal procedures (possibly they are); anyway I've also decided to fly in real time/ real weather and this IMO makes it all more interesting, challenging and adding a further immersion factor: i.e. it was a memorable moment after a quit night flight to land in Khartoum at dawn in the middle of a thunderstorm! The scenery looked wonderful in the contrasting light... Talking about scenery I noticed some awful lakes, rivers and airfields at wrong elevations: sometime they are above the ground while other times they are below it: surely an error in the terrain meshes.About the Real Weather challenge, my last few flights in the Far East have been a discovery: I crossed India in full Monsoon season, so the 'Sun City' of Jodhpur was my first experience with a landing in heavy rain in FSX! Then I also discovered how realistic this FS may be: above Thailand there were a few very challenging thunderstorms: I never imagined these can be so dangerous; my idea was that a thunderstorm was kind of throwing your kite here and there, but given enough altitude and power, just something you can deal with by corrections; actually I found myself at 18000' with RPM and MP suddenly going down low, as if there was no more engine power at all; to keep flying above stall I had to lose some 10000' and maneuver to turn around in clear spacing, where eventually the engines got back their power. I'm not sure if this was the effect of icing, or a combination of low atmospheric pressure on the MP: I would appreciate if some expert flier can explain this to me!Another piece of advice I can give is to download and install all the AFCAD and Scenery you can find before taking off for this long adventure: at least you would enjoy a little more about the surprising aspects you will discover when flying above the landscapes or landing in all those airports.All in all, this is still a very enjoyable addon: landing your vintage aircraft in those modern airports side by side with the most modern liners and business jets brings some satisfaction to me.Way To Go!Over.
Posted 04 September 2010 - 10:19 AM
I finally landed back to Farnborough! It was a long adventure lasted about a month, but much less than the 400 flying hours stated in the manual, even if this may depend on my VFR flying most of the time mostly at superior speed than the one in the Nav Log, although I always followed the same plan (just selecting VFR instead of IFR).As a reward I bestowed on myself I added a flag for each Nation I landed.So here are my own impression about this package: conceptually I can appreciate the underlying idea about kind of following into the steps of such a legend as Amelia Erhart, using that same aircraft she used. About the Electra besides the engines configuration I wrote about, you do need to get used to the undocumented features available: first of all the Autopilot as already noted by another user has some buggy depiction between the panel and the VC. I can't say if this was intended by the designers to simulate the experimental character of this device, but until I got used to the inverted representation of the switches, it was a tough wrestling that made me lose a lot of time and fuel. Hopefully the original device installed in the Electra had no such problems (of course she had no GPS!), so here are the correct combination you need to engage the AP for 1. GPS 2. HeadingIn fact I learned how to use the Heading function particularly when I flew in IFR and besides being more realistic as you have to fiddle with the actual AP device, you can cross reference your heading setting with the GPS, using this last as a sort of interactive map, and blindly following the Approach instructions when flying IFR on ILS.If I was happy to finally accomplish the challenge, I have also some critique I like to share: I would have much preferred the flying routes not just following the modern high altitude ones, but instead they should have been more detailed, particularly if the designers would had gone the further step and placed some way points to important landscape features: i.e. when you're taking off from Cairo you are told in the Manual (and even shown) there are the Pyramids, but if you want to have a look at them you have to find them well out of your departing route, and consequently you'll need to fly VFR or facing the insistence of the ATC to change your heading or altitude; there are many instances along the way when you would like to explore more of the landscape, and to find the exact spot where there should be some interesting features you are told in the manual, you have to pinpoint them in Google maps to have a glimpse of these. Of course the challenge here is to fly around the world in a museum aircraft so in the end you find yourself more involved in accomplishing it than in sight seeing. Talking about the challenge of flying this venerable kite, particularly in following the requested high altitudes, or if you happen to fly in RT weather with the occasional thunderstorm, rain, monsoon and the likes, remember to turn on your Pitot heat AND the Carb Heat (another undocumented feature you NEED to use): I suspect the lower levers depicted here were used to cool the radiators by opening the cowling flaps (this feature is disabled, I presume) and to direct some heated air to the carburetors to prevent their icing with the consequent loss of the Manifold pressure I was writing about before: these levers are not animated, so you would not know if you have them activated or not, but pressing the [H] key will immediately heat the carbs and you will notice it on the proper cockpit gauge as the needle will move up almost to the yellow zone. Also notice I enabled the second position for the fuel selector switch as suggested by Alan in his review.While flying Around The World in 80 Flights I encountered a few glitches and errors: as I mentioned I detected some mesh elevation errors when lakes or rivers are placed above the surrounding ground, or with a couple of landing strips placed below it: this happened mainly in Africa and Asia; these two vast continents needs some rework and more attention both for their meshes and for their texturing too, and hopefully some third party addon producer may take care of it. After a 13 hours flight from Hawaii to SF and in view of the airport FSX just vanished in a crash leaving no trace of this long and challenging flight: this is a really annoying aspect of this FS not having an automatic save function, so either you do need to manually save your efforts periodically or go the full way using the excellent and fundamental addon FSUIPC enabling its Autosave function there; I also made a routine of taking a lot of screen shots of my flights, always remembering to take one inside the cockpit showing the clock at take off, and one when on final: in this way if anything bad happens as FSX crashes, I can always have references to edit my log book with the proper entries using the free logbookeditor for that. As for the Scenery troubles I had some very low frame rates in two occasions: the first was landing and taking off from La Guardia NYC and the second on my very last leg towards Fainborough when flying above Heathrow and London (at night): please be sure you can fly on these Scenery without problem beforehand, and eventually lower your Settings accordingly.One last observation: besides the log book entries and eventual rewards awarded by FSX for the ILS/Twin Engines/Landings I would have greatly appreciated a form of reward or memento for accomplishing this flight around the world; even just some postcards would have been a nice finishing detail.Out