New Repaint Created: FSP A340-300 Mandarin Airlines

I've created another repaint for the FSPainter Airbus A340-300. It represents the aircraft owned by China Airlines which is painted in their subsidiary Mandarin Airlines' livery, registration number B-18851. This plane is operated from Taipei to destinations throughout Asia and internationally. It also apparently flies charters to the Chinese mainland.

The colors of this aircraft have been matched to the AI Aardvark B737-800 available on avsim (
aia_mandarin_airlines_b737-800.zip). It also fits right into the China Airlines Summer 2007 flightplans created by dustEagle, which are also available on avsim (chinaairlines-cal-rochina-su07.zip).

Completing this took a little longer than I expected - mostly because I had to recreate the logo as vector artwork - but I'm happy with the results. Plus, now I can use that logo wherever I may want to in the future.

A couple of things I noticed while doing this:
  1. The FSPainter texture layout really leaves a lot to be desired. I've only done a couple of Aardvark paints and a few CDAI ones, but the difference in resolution is pretty substantial. The 3D model is OK, but there seems to be a lot of wasted space in the texture files.
  2. On the A330/A340 textures, the 2 fuselage sides are not exact mirror images of each other either - it's not off by much, but still...
  3. The window layout in the paintkit is incorrect. There aren't enough windows. That's why the titles and registrations don't match the pictures perfectly - there's no way to do it that I can see, short of creating an entirely new set of windows.
I'm sure it's been said before, but I think we would all use and appreciate a new set of widebody Airbus AI models. When those appear on the scene, the artwork I used for this repaint can be easily applied to the new aircraft.

Below is the full set of screenshots. The file is on Avsim: fsp_a340-300_mda.zip.

For some comparison shots, have a look at these photos on airliners.net (especially this one compared to the 7th in the list above).


Establishing a Baseline - Flyable Aircraft

As I wrote earlier, here is the list of aircraft I currently have installed as user/flyable aircraft. At this point the entire list is freeware, but I have my eye on several payware packages (primarily for the panels and systems), and I've downloaded a few other freeware models I haven't installed yet, so watch for updates.

The aircraft are listed in alphabetical order by type. I'll flesh out this list with details on what panels and sounds I'm using when I get some more time.

A300-600R - HNAC
A310-200 and -300 - HNAC
A319, A320, and A321 - iFDG
A330-200 and -300 - Project Opensky
A340-300 - Project Opensky
A340-500 and -600 - Simubuild (they're no longer around)

B747-400 - Project Opensky
B757-200 - Project Opensky
B767-200 and -300 - Project Opensky
B777-200 - MelJet

CRJ-200 - Project Opensky
CRJ-700 - PAD
CRJ-900 - Project Opensky

DHC-8-200Q - Dreamwings

F-16 Viper - Kirk Olsson

Fokker-70 and -100 - Project Fokker

MD-11 - iFDG
MD-80 and -87 - SGA

PC-12 - AFG

As you can see, most of these can be categorized as airliners. Judging from what I have installed and what I spend most of my time flying, that's my primary area of interest. As far as the default aircraft go, I think most of them are terrible visually. I do like the panels and the Garmin GPS that Microsoft has provided, however, and occasionally fly the Beechcraft Super King Air 350 and the Cessna Skylane 182. Tooling along around 100 knots at 5,000 feet while flying VFR over a good photoreal scenery is quite a different experience than planning and executing an 8-hour intercontinental flight at Mach .82 and FL390.

The F-16 is in there because it's nice to get from one place to another at Mach 1.2 sometimes (although I have a Falcon 4.0 Allied Force install for serious combat simming). I've got another couple of military aircraft packages on deck as well.

I installed the PC-12 because I have a certain level of familiarity with it. Pilatus makes great airplanes - have you seen the new PC-21? I saw it perform at an airshow in the Swiss alps and it was pretty impressive - after all, what would you expect from a turboprop with 2 ejection seats that can go 685 km/h and pull 8 G's?

New Repaint Created: AIA B727-100 US Department of Justice (Fleet)

I've created another couple of repaints for the AI Aardvark B727-100. They represent the two aircraft owned by the United States Department of Justice, registration numbers N113 and N530KF. These planes are part of the JPATS fleet (also known as "Con-Air") and are operated by the United States Marshals Service throughout the USA and internationally.

I found several pictures of these planes (1) (2) on airliners.net that I used to lay out the livery. They are basically the same - only the color of the wide stripes and registrations differ. Below are the preview shots; feedback and constructive comments are welcome.

Side note: These aircraft would also look pretty good as generic VIP/business aircraft - at least on the outside. The scenery in these shots is MegaCity Phoenix.

The file is on Avsim: aia_b727-100_usdoj_fleet.zip.



It took about 2 hours of work until I was happy with the results. The tricky parts were getting the colors right and lining up/scaling the fuselage stripes as they curve upwards in the rear of the aircraft. Tools used: Illustrator, Photoshop, and DXTBMP.


New AFCAD Created: KMZJ (Pinal Airpark/Marana, AZ)

Ever seen pictures of the aircraft boneyards? In addition to Mohave (KMHV) and Victorville (KVCV), there's a big one about 30 miles northwest of Tucson, Arizona. The Pinal Airpark is home to the Evergreen Air Center and has an assortment of planes parked in the desert awaiting their fate. Some are there seasonally, others are in long-term storage, and yet others will be parted out and recycled.

I've created an afcad with 130 parking spots arranged to closely resemble what I saw on Google maps at Pinal airpark. I also put together a traffic file to populate the airport with a selection of 125 AI aircraft I have installed. I made no attempt to match this to any real-world photos, but I think the list is pretty sensible. There won't be any A340-500 aircraft here, for example.

Each aircraft will do VFR touch-and-goes at Marana for 15 minutes two times during the week. These times were generated in Excel and are randomized for each aircraft. That will keep the traffic intensity to a minimum. By removing some of the flightplans, the number of aircraft can be reduced if there's a problem with frame rates.

Note that I didn't create any scenery per se - everything that's here was done with AFCAD 2.21. There is an Army helicopter facility on the north side of the field that I haven't tried to replicate... perhaps at some point in the future I'll put something together.

The file is on Avsim: afcad_kmzj_boneyard.zip.

Here is the full set of screenshots: