ysflight.com - From Author

12/31/2006 Return to Pittsburgh

I returned to Pittsburgh.  The two around-the-Oahu-island flight went well.  Taking off and landing at a class B airport was a very good experience for me.  The view of the ocean was nothing but magnificent.  I'm still writing an article for CaptainYS's Flight Log Book about the Oahu flight.  I'll upload as soon as I'm done.

For now, I've uploaded an article about the 12/11 flight in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

By the way, I reserved an airplane for a new year's day flight, but the weather doesn't seem to be cooperative   :-P

12/20/2006 On Vacation

I'm on vacation and in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Honolulu is a good place.  Clear sky, Blue ocean, and F-15 taking off from Hickam AFB.  And, there is a large Japanese population in Hawaii.  So, I can enjoy home feeling without going all the way back to Japan.

The main entrance to the Hawaiian islands is Honolulu International airport.  In the Honolulu International airport, there is a flight school called Washin Air.  Washin Air is one of the flight schools of Honolulu that offers a flight training tour to tourists who has never flown an airplane.  I went for the flight trainng tour when I came here for honeymoon.  Of course, I already had a private pilot certificate then.  However, I had not flown for several years and forgot a lot of things I learned in my training.  I somehow could take off and flew the airplane, but made a bad landing and I totally was overwhelmed by the ATC communication.  (So the instructor did the ATC communication.)

Nonetheless, the flight training tour gave me the strong desire to resume flying.  Occasionally, I met my current instructor after I came back from honeymoon.  That was really a miraculous timing.  I resumed the flight training, and I was checked out for Cessna 172 this year.  Now I can fly much more confident than before.

This time, I reserved two flights at Washin Air.  I will see how much I can do better than I did last time.  I'm looking forward to seeing my improvement through the two years of training.

Although I am much more confident in flying than before, Honolulu International airport is a much busier airport than Allegheny County airport where I'm regularly flying out.  The ATC communication in Honolulu International is more difficult than Allegheny County.  Also the airplane I will fly is not Cessna 172 that I'm regularly flying.  I will fly Piper Archer II.  So, still how good I can fly is not certain.  (At least I'm confident in coming back alive.)  So, an instructor will fly with me.  If I screw up with the ATC, I need to ask him to follow up  :-P

The flights are planned for 23rd and 24th.  I'll upload the details here.


I haven't updated since I said I was going to fly a cross-country.  But, I haven't crashed or have been missing in the middle of the flight.  I have been simply busy since then.  I got an urgent programming task end of November.  The type of the programming was something that I'm not very familiar with.  Usually I can just come up with an algorithm and then stream it to the computer through the keyboard.  But, this particular one was about making a GUI module using MFC.  It had nothing to do with the algorithm.  It was rather a search for the appropriate functions or classes for the purpose, which was not a creative thing at all.  My knowledge of MFC was frozen at MFC version 4.0, and it took a while to catch up the latest version.  Anyways, that task is almost over.  But, now I probably need to take over one project that was supposed to be done by a grad student.  So, it will keep me busy maybe for another two or three weeks.

By the way, the following movie is from the flight on Monday morning.  I flew to Franklin Venango Regional Airport (KFKL) to earn some cross-country time.  I flew there, did one touch & go, came back to Allegheny County, did 9 touch & goes, and landed.  (Click to play the movie)

By the way, I purchased a new laptop.  I have used the previous one (Dell Inspiron 4100) for four years, and I plan to use the new one at least for three years.  Inspiron 4100 was about 6lb and was not very light especially when I carry it for a trip.  This time, I chose Dell XMS M1210, which is 4.3lb.  It is small and light weight, much easier to carry than my previous one.

Although I got a new laptop, most of my work is done on the desktop PC in my office.  The new laptop is faster than the desktop PC.  But, keyboard, big monitor, etc. of the desktop PC give better working environment for me.  If the speed differs by more than two times, I will switch everything to the laptop, but the speed difference is not that much.

When I use both laptop and desktop PCs, file synchronization is always a headache.  Ideally, the newest working files should be in one location.  Let's say I edit one file on the desktop and forget about synchronizing it with the laptop.  If I then edit the file which is supposed to be same as the one on the desktop, I screw up.  If I store all working files on a external portable hard drive that is connected to whichever PC I work, I can solve the synchronization problem.  All working files are in one location and therefore there's no need for synchronization.  However, when I go for a trip, I need to carry the laptop and the external hard drive.  Although the 2.5 inch external hard drive is small, I need to cover it with clothes sufficiently for absorbing shocks, and it makes a troublesome fragile thing to carry.

So, here's my solution.  I purchase a spare hard drive for the laptop, and a hard disk enclosure that can make the spare hard drive an external USB hard drive.  First I put the spare hard drive in the laptop, make three partitions, and install the operating system in the first partition so that the laptop can boot from that hard drive.  Then I take the hard drive out, and put it in the enclosure so that I can use it as an external USB hard drive.  I copy working files to the other two partitions and carry it daily.  USB 2.0 drive is fast enough to use as a working drive.  I edit my code, write papers, and do all my work on the portable external USB hard drive.  When I go on a trip, I take the hard drive out of the enclosure, and put it in the laptop.  The hard drive now become the primary hard drive of the laptop with the operating system installed.  I don't need to carry any other hard drive.

The requirements for realizing this method is (1) the laptop is designed so that I can replace the hard drive easily, (2) installing the operating system to the laptop must be easy (some bad laptops only allows the user to put the system back to the factory configuration, and does not allow to install the operating system,) and (3) the external hard drive enclosure is stable (some poor quality ones gives disk error after disk error, making it impossible to use.)  Dell XMS M1210 satisfies the conditions (1) and (2).  I could easily replace the hard drive by unscrewing four screws.  Also installing Windows XP professional was easy.

The remaining problem was choice of the USB external hard disk enclosure.  I was using a two-year old enclosure that had been very stable.  However, the internal interface of the enclosure was IDE, while Dell XMS M1210's internal hard drive interface is SATA.  I needed to choose a new enclosure.  I searched the one with a good user review, and chose Vantec NexStar.3.  So far, so good.  I'm now gradually shifting my working environment to the new equipments.

11/26/2006 "Cloudy Pittsburgh" has been added in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book

"Cloudy Pittsburgh" has been added in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.  I'm going to fly a cross-country this afternoon.  The weather looks very good.

11/23/2006 New Version of 3D Dogfight Screensaver

New Version of 3D Dogfight Screensaver is ready for download!  Version up is free.  If you have already registered, you can use it with the same registration key.

I flew to Erie International airport today.  The air was very smooth, and the flight went pretty well.  I'll upload detail of the flight in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book in a few days.  For the meanwhile, I uploaded two movies of landing and take-off at Erie International airport.  (Click to play the video.)

11/20/2006 Burning USB 2.0 Interface Card

Two videos from the yesterday's flight.  Original plan was to fly to Erie International airport, but the weather prevented me from doing so.  I ended up with just flying around Pittsburgh.  I'll try again on the Thanksgiving day.  (Click to play the video)

By the way, I burnt my USB 2.0 interface card :-P  My PC's motherboard has some USB 2.0 interface, but I added a PCI USB 2.0 interface card to accommodate all of my USB devices.  Why don't I use a USB hub?  One reason is a PCI USB 2.0 interface card is actually cheaper than a hub.  Another reason is to gain data transfer speed by sharing USB devices with the motherboard and a PCI card.  Connecting two hard drives to the motherboard's USB ports is usually slower than connecting one hard drive to the motherboard's USB port and the other to the PCI card's port.  You can feel the speed difference clearly when copying files between the two USB hard drives. 

So, I was using a USB 2.0 interface card connected to a PCI slot rather than using a USB hub, until I connected a switching USB hub recently to share some devices with my wife's PC.  However, the USB hub was not a good idea after all.  My wireless mouse suddenly stopped responding.  I checked the connection and made sure there's no loose connection.  I then tried a different USB port, when I smelled a burning plastic.  I turned off the PC and checked the PCI card and found that the card was burnt.

<= Burnt PCI card
<= Close-up of the burnt port.

My investigation concluded that there was a short-circuit in the USB hub.  When I moved my wireless mouse, I noticed that the LED of my CH Pro Throttle USB connected to the same hub flickered.  In the end, my PC stopped recognizing the hub even when I connected it to one of the motherboard's USB port.

I ended up with losing five USB ports plus a USB hub all at once.  I was connecting SD card reader/writer, throttle lever, joystick, rudder pedal, printer, scanner, and wireless mouse to USB ports.  I also use a USB external hard drive occasionally.  The USB ports of the motherboard was overwhelmed.

I had no choice but ordering a new PCI USB 2.0 interface card.  I ordered a Kingwin USB PCI interface card and four USB extension cables.  It cost $29 including shipping and handling.  By the way, the cheapest USB PCI interface card sold at nearby Best Buy was $39, and a USB extension cable $19.  Isn't it too expensive?  My new USB interface card was only $7.80 but the user review score was high.  It is working just fine.  The order of my PC was finally restored.

<= My new PCI USB 2.0 interface card.  Cheap but working.


"Cross-Wind Landing Practice" is added in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

11/01/2006 On-board Camera

I did some touch & goes yesterday.  This time, I took a movie with my digital camera mounted on my tiny tripod bolted on a clamp.  I'm going to write some more about the flight in CaptainYS's Flight Log Book soon, but for the meanwhile, I uploaded two movies for download.  You can play the movies by clicking the pictures below.  10kt cross-wind was blowing from the left.  You can see that I was taking wing-low attitude to counter the cross-wind.

10/24/2006 Third Anniversary of Concorde's Final Commercial Flight

Photos from MCAS Miramar Air Show is available in the Airplane Photo Gallery.

Today is the third anniversary of Concorde's Final Commercial Flight, which took place on October 24th, 2003.  On that day, I was on the perimeter of London Heathrow airport.  As an airplane photographer, I wanted to take one beautiful shot of Concorde in the air.  Concorde was utterly magnificent.  Its technological breakthrough, continuous supersonic cruise for several hours with 100 passengers onboard, was an impressive achievement.  But, its beauty was also special.  Its wing, cockpit, everything was beautiful from all the different angles.  It was a great loss of the human history that this airplane was not mass produced.  I wish some day someone restore one of the Concordes sleeping in a museum and let it fly again.  Not have to be supersonic.  I want to see it flying again.

I've been thinking to add photos from my trip to London in October 2003.  But, I've also been hesitant because I feel it's impossible to fully express what I felt there.  The Concorde, not through a picture, but through my own eye, was totally beautiful.  I don't know the word (even in Japanese) that can express what I felt when I saw it.  It was not a Concorde resting in peace in a museum.  It was flying by its own wings.  It was more beautiful than any other airplanes I have ever seen, and probably it will be.  But, I also don't want to keep my pictures inside my hard drive.  So, I'll upload some of them sometime in the future.  Well, I've been thinking that way for three years and haven't done it.

Unfortunately, many of the pictures of Concorde I took in that trip was fingerprinted by a savage photo shop, which was in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh.  Luckily, the best shots were saved.  That incident was one of the reasons that made me decide to switch to a digital SLR.  The photo shop went out of business.  It's a fair punishment to them.  For the meanwhile, I post one 1200x800 image of Concorde, which was the first of the three consecutive landings of its final commercial flight.

10/20/2006 New Version of Concorde Screensaver Delux is ready for download!

You can now download the new version of Concorde Screensaver Delux (free)!

I have almost recovered from cold.  I'm writing a report of San Diego MCAS Miramar Air Show now.  For the meanwhile, I upload the quick photos (already one week old though) below.


I came back from San Diego.  San Diego is a city on Mexican border, much closer to the equator than Pittsburgh, and the temperature is mild through the year because of the ocean.  That's what I thought.  In reality, it was cold in San Diego.  It was ok until the Saturday show; it was cloudy in the morning, but the temperature jumped up as soon as the sun came out.  However, on Sunday it was cloudy and windy all day, and the temperature didn't go up.  I ended up with catching cold.  On Monday, I didn't travel much and took rest, and I seemed to have been recovering.  However, on Tuesday, Washington Dulles airport was cold, and I had to wait for six hours for the connecting flight due to weather delay.  My cold worsened significantly, and had to stay in bed for a day.  Now I'm feeling much better and writing this.

By the way, I stayed at Best Western Seven Seas.  I stayed at the same hotel when I visited the Miramar air show nine years ago, and the hotel was nice at that time.  But, I didn't like it this time.  I was supposed to be able to use high-speed internet connection.  But, for some reason, my PC couldn't get connected.  I tried everything I could imagine and was pretty sure that the problem was on the internet provider side.  So, I called the front desk and they sent a technician.  The technician didn't seem to know anything about the network.  He left a phone number of the provider's technical support and gone.  I called the technical support, but as I guessed, the support guy asked me to test what I have already tested, and the problem was not solved.  The problem is simple.  Bad maintenance.  I'll not use this hotel again.

So, I couldn't upload quick report from San Diego, but I'll upload pictures within a few days.  I confirmed that MV-22 Osprey is real.  I saw it flying.  That was awesome!  But, F-22 fly-by was cancelled with no explanation.  Does it really exist?  Isn't F-22 just a myth?  I guess I should try Langley AFB air show next year to see if F-22 is real or just a myth!

10/11/2006 Leaving Pittsburgh and going to San Diego for MCAS Miramar Air Show

New version of 3D Landing Screensaver and United States and Japanese Aerobatic Screensaver are ready for download!  Version up is free.  So, if you have already have a registration key, you can use the same key for the new version.  (Below are screenshots of U.S. and JP Aerobatic Screensaver.  Click to enlarge.)

By the way, U.S. and JP Aerobatic Screensaver once was really U.S. and Japanese aerobatic teams only, but now it includes British Royal Air Force Red Arrows.  I have already uploaded "Concorde Screensaver Deluxe", so it should be ready in a few days.  I'm working on "3D Dogfight Screensaver" now.

I'm going to leave Pittsburgh and go to San Diego tomorrow to see MCAS Miramar Air Show.  Blue Angels will perform.  And, MV-22 Osprey and F-22 Raptor will fly-by.  I've never seen those airplanes flying.  I'm looking forward to seeing them.  Also, an aircraft carrier U.S.S. Midway, which once was based in Japan, is open to public as a museum.  Last time I visited San Diego, I didn't have much time to see inside Midway.  This time I'll have enough time to see inside.

The below photo is a spectacular golden leaves of a tree behind my apartment.  (Click to enlarge)


Updated CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

About YSFLIGHT development:  After I released the update, I haven't received any report of not being able to select airplanes in the client mode.  So, I suppose the problem has been fixed.  However, the current program has a problem; the server freezes for a short time when a new client connects to the server.  To fix this problem, I feel that I need to disable connection from the older version clients.  The server code became messy because I had to write separate code for different version clients.  Also, the new features of the new version are not available in the client, and sometimes the game rule cannot be strictly applied to the client.  So, I guess probably in the next version, I'll disable connection from the older versions.

Actually, it's very rare to write networking code for my job.  So, YSFLIGHT development is a very good experience of network programming for me.  But, since I'm learning and developing at the same time, I cannot write the best code in one shot.  I try to gradually improve the program.  So, please give me time.  Thank you for your patience.

By the way, the screensaver updates will come soon.  The new version of "3D Concorde Screensaver Deluxe", "3D Landing Screensaver", and "United States and Japanese Aerobatic Screensaver" will be available for download soon.  Again, upgrade is free.  So, if you have already registered, you will be able to use the same registration key to use the new version.  The ground texture considerably improved the appearance.  I've uploaded the programs to the Vector Software Library, which is hosting my programs, about a week ago.  But, maybe the internal check is delayed due to computer virus attack against Vector Software Library that took place about the same time I uploaded my programs.  As far as I heard from them, none of my programs was affected by the virus attack.

I'm working on "3D Dogfight Screensaver" right now.  I've been planning to make "3D Ground Attack Screensaver" but, have not have time to write it.


Updated CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.


Updated CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

09/25/2006 Aftermath of Chicago Meigs Field closure

AOPA News:  http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2006/060919meigs.html

If you have been playing Microsoft Flight Simulator for long, you must have noticed that the default airport had changed in MS Flight 2004.  It is because Chicago Meigs Field was closed and is no longer exist.  Chicago mayor that time, despite all oppositions from the general aviation community + FAA, closed the airport.  You can read what happened next in the above link, but Chicago ends up with paying $1.6 million for penalty, which is of course paid from the taxpayer money.  Lessons learned: Don't vote for a mayor who closes an airport :-)

09/24/2006 YSFLIGHT Update File with Installer

I wrote yesterday "I wish I could prepare an automated updater, but I didn't have time to do so this time." but considering that there are so many YSFLIGHT users, from beginners to experts, I decided to write an installer for this update.  Please download the updater from the following URL (the same URL) and run ysflightupdate.exe, and follow the instruction.  If you have already replaced your executables, you don't have to apply this program.


By the way, if you do not want to use this update program, you have an option to extract and copy files manually.  If you rename ysflightupdate.exe to ysflightupdate.zip, you can open the file just like an ordinary ZIP file, and you can extract fsmain.exe and fsmaino.exe.  Actually, you can do the same for the YSFLIGHT installer.  If you rename setup.exe to setup.zip, you can extract files of YSFLIGHT manually.  (You need to re-construct directory structure when you extract the YSFLIGHT files manually, or you will not be able to run the program.)  If you install the program in your USB memory to carry around, or if you want to keep older versions, it may be more convenient to use the manual installation option than the automatic installer.

09/23/2006 YSFLIGHT Update File

I think I fixed the missing airplane problem of the latest version of YSFLIGHT.  Also, I think I figured the cause of the problem that some VORs are not shown and fixed it.  If I'm right, both problems comes up when the upload speed of the PC cannot keep up with the request from the server.  Actually, I couldn't reproduce the problem when I was testing by connecting between my office and my apartment.  But, I believe I fixed the both problems.

To install the update file, please download and extract the following ZIP file and overwrite the executables (fsmain.exe and fsmaino.exe.)  I wish I could prepare an automated updater, but I didn't have time to do so this time.


Replacing the executables on the server should fix the problem mostly.  I say mostly because if the server fails to send some packets within 2 seconds, the same problem will still occur.  If you don't run the server, you may not have to replace your executables.  However, I also made some modifications to the client so that the client is less likely to miss some packets.  I'm hoping I didn't put in another problem by fixing the above two problems  :-)  I thank all of you who helped me tracking down the problems.

09/17/2006 From Birmingham, Alabama  

I came to Birmingham, Alabama to attend a conference called International Meshing Roundtable.  From Pittsburgh, I changed an airplane once in Cincinnati, and in total it took about three hours.  (Obviously, I didn't fly by myself.)  The sessions will begin tomorrow, so I wanted to go sightseeing today, but unfortunately there's virtually nothing to see within walking distance of the conference hotel, and I don't have a rental car this time.  So, I decided to walk around and take photo of birds.  I expected that Alabama is sufficiently south to see hummingbirds, but I had no luck.  Instead, I saw some birds really looked like a blue jay.

Judging from its voice, wing pattern, and beard around the beak, I think it's a family of blue jays.

Below two photos are taken from the conference hotel.

By the way, when I changed an airplane at Cincinnati, I saw a mysterious picture.  If I see this picture without any captions, I have no doubt that I tell it's a picture of Pittsburgh.  The boat "MAJESTIC" on the left of the picture belongs to a sightseeing tour company of Pittsburgh.  Or, is the company a nationwide chain, and there are many MAJESTICs?  Is there such a place that is too similar to the view of Pittsburgh in Cincinnati?   If anyone living in Cincinnati is watching this, please let me know.

By the way, I have received several reports of a problem of the new version of YSFLIGHT.  When some additional airplanes are installed, the client cannot choose some of them even when the server also has the same set of airplanes.  However, the report was very confusing, and I couldn't make sense of what exactly was going on.  Now I believe the problem is caused by loss of packet.  If the new version YSFLIGHT is running a server, and a client is also using the new version,  the server sends the client the list of available airplanes when the client logs in.  If the client has an airplane that is not included in the received list, those airplanes will be hidden from the airplane selection screen.  However, if the client is running an older version that the server can accept, the client cannot recognize the list sent from the server, therefore all the airplanes installed in the local computer will be shown in the airplane selection screen, however, if an airplane that the server does not have is chosen, the server will reject the joining request.  So, I think the source of the confusion was mixing up of (1) when the client is the new version YSFLIGHT, some airplanes that are installed in both the server and the client are not shown in the client due to the packet loss, and (2) when the client is the old version YSFLIGHT, the client can choose whatever airplane installed locally, but the server may reject it.  By the way, (2) is normal.

If I upload a fixed version to the Vector server, it will take about one or two weeks.  Rather, I will upload a fixed executable to my web space sometime soon.  If my guess is right, by replacing the server, the client can use the current executable as is.  Please wait several days.  (I'm away and I don't have regular working environment here, and I can do just limited development.)  Thank you for your patience.

09/09/2006 Photos from Cleveland Air Show has been uploaded

Photos from Cleveland Air Show has been uploaded in the Airplane Photo Gallery.

YSFLIGHT 20060828 version is ready for download!

09/04/2006 Cleveland Air Show

So I went to the Cleveland air show yesterday.  As I guessed, the first day apparently was really rained out.  A person with an admission ticket for the first day of the show was granted a free admission for the second day.  I think it was a good decision.  The Cleveland air show is, in my impression, well organized and run every year.

Unfortunately, however, some of the planned flight demonstrations, including F-117, Spitfire, and F-4U Corsair, were cancelled.  Those airplanes were not even on the static display.  I guess they couldn't fly-in on Friday due to the bad weather.  The hurricane Ernesto hit the area really in a bad time.  Anyways, I'll upload more photos in the Airplane Photo Gallery.  Here are some quick photo report from the second day of the Cleveland Air Show.

09/02/2006 Cleveland Air Show Rained Out

I was supposed to go to Cleveland Air Show today.  However, the tropical depression Ernesto poured Pennsylvania to eastern Ohio.  Cleveland was no exception.  Probably, all the flight demonstrations were cancelled.  Just looking at static displays is not fun.  I decided not to go.  F-22 fly-by was scheduled for today.  The show will continue tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, but F-22 will not fly.  My second chance to see F-22 in the air was spoiled by the bad weather for the second time.  The weather should be better tomorrow.  I'll go there tomorrow.  If I take good photos, I'll upload them in the Airplane Photo Gallery.

By the way, pre-release test of YSFLIGHT is going well, and almost done.  I made two last minute changes to correct two problems (1) smoke is not drawn correctly in the flight record replay, and (2) the ammo will suddenly drop when the client stops for more than one second for hard disk access or whatever reason.  I probably upload the new version to the Vector file library, which is hosting my programs.  The program will be inspected by Vector, and then will become available for download in about two weeks.  I was originally planning to release this version in June.  So, it was delayed for three months.  Well, but one of the reasons why it delayed is because I was studying Direct 3D.  I think it is good for the future versions.

When I released the very first version of YSFLIGHT, I never expected so many users use my program.  Every time I release a test version, I receive so many reports.  The program is getting complex, but thanks to your help, I can track down and fix bugs quickly.  I really appreciate your help!  Please look forward to the new version coming within several weeks  :-)


Updated CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.


Updated CaptainYS's Flight Log Book.

08/14/2006 YSFLIGHT Server Testing

I'm running a YSFLIGHT server for testing.  Please visit here for details.


Photos from the Dayton Airshow are available in the Airplane Photo Gallery.

This year I have switched from a film camera (Pentax Z-1P) to a digital SLR (Pentax *ist DS2.)  The quality of the picture I get has improved considerably.  When I was using a film camera, I always wanted to use professional grade films, but due to high price and sensitivity to heat, I was using consumer grade films.  Now, my digital SLR gives me picture quality that matches professional grade films.  Also, the range of the digital SLR sensor seems to be much wider than a slide film.  I suffered from white-out, which kills all the details of a white airplane, however, if I adjusted EF, I often ended up with getting too dark pictures.  Now, with my digital SLR, I virtually have no such problem.  Also, I don't have to pay for developing films, and my pictures do not suffer from fingerprints of a savage photo shop employee.  Only minor drawback is its relatively slower speed of continuous shots.

Also, I started bird watching.  Carnegie Mellon University charges too much for a parking permit, so I park my car about 15 minutes walk from my office and walk through Shenley golf course, which is a part of Shenley park.  I carry my digital SLR with 500mm lens and take photos of birds while I walk through the golf course.  Hand-holding 500mm lens is prone to a shaky image, but a friend suggested to use a table-top tripod, and hold the camera so that the tripod stands on my shoulder.  It essentially adds an additional support, and reduces the camera vibration considerably.  I use the same technique when I take pictures of an airplane.  The newer model of Pentax digital SLR (K100D) is equipped with shake reduction (like other brands do.)  So, it must be more tolerant to the camera vibration.  I'm thinking about adding Bird Watching Photo Gallery in ysflight.com.

07/31/2006 Dayton Airshow Quick Report

I came back from Dayton airshow.  The weather was good, with a little haze.  However, the show was not as good as the show of the last year.  This year's show simply didn't have as many participating performers as the last year's.  Especially, far less civilian teams than last year.  The show was just quiet and boring until the afternoon session, which included F-16 aerobatics, AV-8B Harrier demo, AH-1 demo, and Blue Angels.  I don't know why the show organizer didn't invite more civilian teams this year.  I hope they recover the level of the past years in the next year's airshow.  I'll write more details and upload photos soon.


Live Skyward has been added in the Link section.  (I also deleted dead links from the Link section.)

From the Cockpit is renamed to CaptainYS's Flight Log Book, and I updated the content.

By the way, I'll go to Dayton Airshow on Sunday.


YSFLIGHT Test Version is available here.  Updates of the test version in general will not be posted here.  Please visit the test version web site for checking updates!  Thanks!


Photos from the Wings Over Pittsburgh Airshow are available in the Airplane Photo Gallery.

By the way, I'm planning to start test release for the new version of YSFLIGHT sometime this week.  Please come back to this page to check for updates!  I think I fixed all the reported bugs (although I didn't have time to reply to all the E-Mails.  If you sent me an E-Mail and haven't heard from me, yet, I'm sorry for late reply, but I'm trying to catch up.  Thank you for your patience :-)


The second day of The Wings Over Pittsburgh Airshow was not in as good condition as the first day.  It was hazy, and the airplanes in the photo were somewhat obscured.  I'll upload more details in Airplane Photo Gallery in several days.

By the way, I went for flight training this morning.  I wanted to practice cross-wind landings before flying solo.  The weather cooperated, and I had 8kt wind from left.  I also practiced right-traffic pattern that I did not so good last time.  There were some small things that I could improve, but I did pretty well.  I'm planning to go solo soon  :-)


The first day of The Wings Over Pittsburgh Airshow!  I tentatively upload some photos here.  I'll add a more detailed report in Airplane Photo Gallery later.


Photos from NAS Willow Grove Airshow is available in Airplane Photo Gallery.  (Including U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds!)  (One photo that I forgot uploading has been added.  Perfect timing convergence after Bomb Burst Upward.  2006/07/06)


I uploaded "Cross-Country Flight to Port Meadville Airport (GKJ)" in the my flight section.
By the way, Airplane Photo Gallery is temporarily off line due to power supply unit failure of the server PC.  Will be back online in a few days.


I came back from NAS Willow Grove Airshow!  The engine coolant of my crappy car apparently was leaking, and the engine was about to overheat, but, I managed to go there (by adding coolant every day) and come back :-)  I did not have an internet connection from hotel, so I could not upload pictures from there, but I have uploaded four photos.  Later I will upload more photos in the airplane photo gallery.

<- Click to enlarge


2006 Air Show Season starts soon!

I'll go to NAS Willow Grove airshow this weekend.  If I can connect to the internet from the hotel, I will upload some quick photos from there.


Flare - Touch Down has been added in the Flight Simulator Training section.


I figured out why the Direct3D version of YSFLIGHT was so slower than the OpenGL version.

It was difficult to find the part responsible for the slow speed because I needed to measure the time needed for some specific process very precisely, in sub-millisecond order, until I found a Win32 API function called QueryPerformanceCounter.  According to the Direct3D documentation, this function is useful for profiling Direct3D functions.  So, I wrote a short experimental program and tested the behavior of the function as follows:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <windows.h>

void main(void)
    int a,b;

    LARGE_INTEGER ctr1,ctr2;

    printf("Elapsed: %d\n",ctr2.LowPart-ctr1.LowPart);

    for(a=0; a<10000; a++)
    printf("Elapsed: %d\n",ctr2.LowPart-ctr1.LowPart);

    printf("Elapsed: %d\n",ctr2.LowPart-ctr1.LowPart);

And, the result of the program was as follows:

Elapsed: 5
Elapsed: 113
Elapsed: 3552292

QueryPerformanceCounter apparently measures time based on the CPU clock.  It's much more accurate than other time measuring functions like GetTickCount or clock functions.  And, it measures the time in real-time.  If it measures CPU time, the third output should be near zero.  But, it actually gave 3,552,292, which matches the base clock speed of the motherboard.  Hence, QueryPerformanceCounter measures in real-time.  The functions that measure CPU time is useless for this kind of purposes.

So, I measured the time that each frame took in both Direct3D version and OpenGL version of YSFLIGHT.  The result was as follows:

Direct3D OpenGL
* 59200
* 60289
* 59558
* 59797
* 59378
* 140402
* 167791

* 55467
* 55900
* 58811
* 59502
* 60013
* 59496
* 60019
* 59367
* 60031
* 142640
* 167863
* 55372
* 55687
* 56410
* 59506
* 60215
* 59402
* 59915
* 59472
* 60018
* 59634
* 142377
* 167050
* 59697
* 59291
* 60306
* 62647
* 56334
* 59435
* 60200
* 59752
* 59859
* 59357
* 60372
* 59504
* 59529
* 61090
* 58810
* 59664
* 59944
* 60237
* 58852
* 60116
* 59501
* 60411
* 59549
* 59875
* 59520
* 59909
* 59549
* 60699
* 58775
* 60127

The numbers are the difference of the clock count obtained by QueryPerformanceCounter, which is LARGE_INTEGER type.  Highlighted numbers in the Direct3D column indicate that once or twice every 10 to 12 frames, the Direct3D version takes more than twice longer time than other frames.  Also, other numbers of the Direct3D column are about 60,000, which matches the numbes in the OpenGL column.  It implies that if I solve the problem of the particularly slow frames of the Direct3D version, the speed of the Direct3D version should match the speed of the OpenGL version.

So, I further inspected exactly what function was to blame.  And, it turned out the drawing functions were not taking such a long time.  The function responsible for the slow frames was in fact IDirect3DDevice9::Present, which comes after all the drawing functions.  (IDirect3DDevice9::Present corresponds to the SwapBuffers function of OpenGL.)  This function transfers the image drawn in the hidden buffer to the window.  And, this function was apparently waiting for the VSYNC signal, which is fired once every 1/60 second.  Once every several frames, the scene was not drawn in time for the first VSYNC signal after the frame was started, and the function was waiting for the next signal, i.e., the program was not doing anything for precious 1/60 second.  Makes sense.

To disable the wait, D3DPRESENT_INTERVAL_IMMEDIATE should be set to the PresentationInterval member of the D3DPRESENT_PARAMETERS structure, which is given to the IDirect3D9::CreateDevice function when the IDirect3DDevice9 is created.  Actually, the Direct3D is sloppy, and the type of D3DPRESENT_INTERVAL_IMMEDIATE is D3DPRESENT, and PresentationInterval member of D3DPRESENT_PARAMETERS is DWORD.  So, I did not know for sure if I was supposed to substitute D3DPRESENT_INTERVAL_IMMEDIATE to PresentationInterval.  So, I searched among the sample programs, and I found some cases that indeed D3DPRESENT_INTERVAL_IMMEDIATE is set to PresentationInterval.  The documentation should explicitly tell that one of the value of the D3DPRESENT type can be set to PresentationInterval.  Relying on sample files is a very sloppy way of documenting.  Well, that's what I often do, but you know Direct3D is not a toolkit designed by a one post-doc researcher.  It should have been documented in much more professional way.

I found more sloppy documentations in the Direct3D manual.  It's not like a toolkit designed by the world biggest software company.  Microsoft should do a better job in writing documentation.  I can find a sample codes on the web when I get stuck, but I have no way to verify that the sample is doing the right thing.

Anyways, the slow drawing problem of the Direct3D version of YSFLIGHT is solved now.  It now gives equal or a little faster drawing speed than the OpenGL version.  It's good.


I thought I finished major part of the tasks piled up on my desk.  But, I've got some new stuffs to do, and got busy again.  Nonetheless, I went for a cross-wind landing practice, joined a bowling league, and am playing in the CMU softball league.  So, I'm kind of enjoying summer.

And, I added texture mapping effect to the OpenGL version of YSFLIGHT (on the left).  And, on the right is a screenshot of the Direct3D version of YSFLIGHT, which I'm working on right now.  Although it's very unlikely, I may need Direct3D for my work.  So I tried it.  YSFLIGHT is a good test case for me when studying a new algorithm or a new toolkit.

But, the Direct3D version is running slower and the graphics quality is lower with my nVidia graphics card.  It was a disappointment.  Hopefully it will run faster if I tune my program a little more (currently it is optimized for OpenGL).  The Direct3D version will probably be ready by the time Microsoft ships Windows Vista.


I was busy for about two months for miscellaneous things.  But, I finally got out of those pile of tasks, and now have some time to work on YSFLIGHT code again.  One of the things I wanted to make better was the airplane selection screen.  As the number of airplanes increases, it became difficult to move the cursor to the specific airplane.  So, I was thinking what to do.  Then I received a suggestion of adding a search box in the airplane selection screen.  That was a brilliant idea, and I did it.  [Screenshot]  In the next version, you can type Ctrl+F to type in some keywords in the airplane selection screen to search for the airplane.

Another frequently-asked request was zooming and unzooming in the tower/ILS view.  To address the request, in the next version you can zoom/unzoom by the mouse wheel in any view mode.

Also, I'm thinking about hiding low flying airplanes from the radar.  That may increase variety of the tactics you can use in the network play.  (One thing I'm worrying is that the resolution of the display may affect the survivability.)

I think I can release a test version in late July.  Please wait a little more :-)


Added an article about the flight training that I flew on Tuesday in the from the cockpit section.


I went for a flight training yesterday.  After four cancellations due to bad weather, I finally had chance to fly for the first time since March 4th.  So, I hadn't flown almost for two months.  I realized that I lost a lot of feelings during this period.  At least I'm alive, nobody was injured, and the airplane was not damaged.  But, I could land much better when I flew last time.  Well, the winter is over, and the weather in Pittsburgh will be better, and I'll fly more often, and I'll re-gain the feeling soon.

The yesterday's flight training gave me the 100th hour of my total flight time!  There's nothing special about 100 hour, but getting the third digits feels good :-)  And, actually it's Japanese long holiday ('til the end of this week.)  So, I run YSFLIGHT server open to public until May 7th.  IP address is , TOHOKU map.  The server resets every 6 hours.  Please feel free to log on and fly in it :-)

By the way, I'm working with the same PC.  So, periodically the server response may become slow.  It should be ok because the PC has two CPUs though.


Three waves of thunderstorm hit Pittsburgh yesterday.  The first one came around 4pm, the second 9pm, and the last one mid night.  The following pictures are from the second wave.  I used manual mode, ISO200, F9.5, and 15 seconds shutter.  I took about 80 pictures and the following four were the best ones among them.  In this time of year, Pittsburgh has a lot of thunderstorms.  If one comes at night, I have a chance to take photos of a lightning.


Avro Lancaster Bomber will be added in the next version of YSFLIGHT.


Here are some photos of the birds I took yesterday in Shenley Park.  Shenley Park is right next to the CMU campus.  I took them with Pentax *ist DS2 with 80-320mm F5.6 lens.


Screen shots of Hawker Hurricane, which will be added in the next version of YSFLIGHT.


New version of 3D Dogfight Screensaver is ready for download!  As usual, version up is free.  If you have already purchased the screensaver, you can use the same registration key for using the new version.  Also, if you have never downloaded this screensaver, you can download and try it for free.


When I was going to Keio university, I had lived without an air conditioner for seven years.  In the first year, I thought A/C was too luxury for an undergrad student and did not buy.  But, the summer near Tokyo was hard for me who was born in northern part of the country.  In the second year, I thought about buying an A/C, but also thought that if I bought one the endurance of the previous year will be in vein.  So, I didn't buy it.  And, the second summer was again tough for me.  In the third year, I thought about buying an A/C, but also thought that if I bought one the endurance of the past two years will be in vein, and did not buy again.  (the process had repeated for seven times inductively.)  When I talked with a friend about this experience, he called ma a seven-year fool.  When I moved to Pittsburgh, I purchased an A/C not to become n-year fool again :-)

Although the reason was different, I had been using 56k modem to connect to internet from home until the day before yesterday.  The reason was simple.  I was worried a bit that I'll not be motivated to go to the university lab if I get a fast internet connection at home :-)

But, finally I decided to subscribe a broadband service to home.  I had a choice between DSL and Comcast cable service, but I haven't heard any good thing about DSL, so I decided to subscribe the Comcast cable internet.

I called Comcast last week but I was told that they need to do some work to add a line to my apartment because I already had a cable TV service, and another line was needed for the internet connection.  So they sent a technician to my apartment.  I was curious how big a work he needed to do.  But, he just said that only thing needed was a splitter.  So, he left a splitter cable and gone.  I easily could add the splitter to the line.

Having a splitter cable for the internet connection, I needed to get a cable modem and register the modem to Comcast.  There was an option to lease a cable modem from Comcast, but it costs $3/month.  If I buy a $60 modem, it pays off after about two years.  So, I chose to buy , which is certified by Comcast.  Then I called Comcast again.  The person on the phone was about to say they were going to send a technician for setting up, but there's no point to pay nearly $100 for set up fee for something I can do by myself.  So, I told her I already have a splitter and a cable modem.  Then she added a billing plan to my account and forwarded me to another person.  That person was supposed to register the modem and enable my internet connection.

As soon as I told him my account number and phone number, he could recognize my modem from his terminal.  He detected my  cable modem.  He then configured my modem so that I could download automatic configuration software through the modem.  I downloaded the software to my PC and installed it.  I just had to type in some information for identifying my account, and the process was done pretty easily, it seemed.  But, at the very end, the software showed an error message, and didn't finish.  But the person on the phone told that he would do the rest.

Within a minute, he asked me to open Internet Explorer to see if I have a connection.  I tried to connect some web sites but didn't work.  Also MSN Messenger could not connect to the host.  But, ipconfig.exe showed that the computer acquired an IP address, and the DNS address.  I also tried to ping to one of my lab computers, and it worked.  So, only programs that didn't work were Internet Explorer and MSN Messenger.  The person on the phone said that the proxy server setting may be remaining on the computer and asked me to reboot the PC to erase the setting.  So, I did that, but still IE and Messenger didn't work.  Anyways, it looked like the connection was established.  So I said to him that I'll fix the problem by myself, and hanged the phone.

Then I checked network properties and tried some different settings for about 10 minutes.  Then I wondered if the problem was really a proxy server setting.  So I went to Control Panel -> Internet Options -> Connections -> LAN Settings.  Bingo!  A proxy server (actsvr.comcastonline.com:8100) was shown there.  Everything started working after disabling the proxy server.

By the way, Comcast also sells a Self-Installation Kit that includes network cables, set up software CD, etc.  But, I didn't really need it to get connected.  I already had a cable modem and network cables, and I could download setup software through the cable modem.

At that point, my PC was online, but my wife's PC was still not connected.  So, next thing I did was connecting a router.  My advisor gave me an old router for free.  It's Netgear RT311.  Apparently it was about five-year old.  But, it was supposed to have sufficient functionalities.  I expected that I don't really need to change settings of the router and just connecting a router between the cable modem and the PCs was sufficient.  However, it didn't work initially.  So, I once unplugged the router and did some search.  What I found was that Comcast apparently registers a MAC address of the PC to the cable modem, and the cable modem refuses a connection from any other PCs.  So I tried to use the MAC address cloning function of RT311, and let the router use the same MAC address as the PC.  Then it started working, and I could share the connection by two PCs.

One last problem was network port forwarding.  The router's web interface did not allow me to assign a port to one of the connected PCs.  I wondered if I could use such a functionality by upgrading its firmware.  I visited Netgear web site, and found firmware versions 3.20, 3.22, 3.24, and 3.25.  But, only one I could download was version 3.24, and other download pages were broken link.  Anyways, version 3.24 was newer than the current firmware, and the release note implied that version 3.24 has port forwarding capability.  However, after installing the 3.24 firmware, I could no longer use the web interface for the router set up.  When I opened, I was supposed to see configuration menu on the left frame.  Instead, it showed "Object not found."  I couldn't downgrade either because I download pages for all other versions were broken link. (P.S. 03/14 The broken links from the Netgear customer support page have apparently been fixed.)

As one last attempt, I went to the version 3.24 download page, and checked the URL for the firmware version 3.24.  It was ftp://downloads.netgear.com/files/netgear1/314v324.zip.  I tried to manually typing the URL and changed the last "324.zip" to "325.zip"  Luckily, it worked.  The file itself was on the Netgear FTP server.  After upgrading to firmware version 3.25, an old RT311 is working fine.

By the way, I went to work as usual today.  My motivation to work was apparently intact :-)


Added a new section "Flight Simulator Training."  First lesson is "Low Approach for Landing Practice."

Flying in a PC flight simulator is in some parts easier and in other parts more difficult than flying a real airplane.  If it has some different difficulties, why don't we practice differently from a real flight training?  I'll try to add more contents later.


I combined site updates and the From Author section together.  I suppose it makes the page frames simpler and better.  You can look at the previous updates here.


This page, From Author, has been moved from the ciel.me.cmu.edu server to @Nifty server.

Last Saturday, I went for a flight training.  I have some tendency to lower the nose too much when recovering from stall.  In fact, one of the textbook shows an illustration that implies that I need to lower the nose during the stall recovery.  However, I was told it was wrong, and I should lower nose to the horizon, but no lower than that.  So, I was going to correct my tendency in that training.  But due to bad weather, I couldn't go high enough for the stall recovery practice.  I ended up with doing only touch & goes.  But, it was a good cross wind landing practice for me.  I might upload more details in the from the cockpit section if I have time.  Anyways, I have 99.3 hours flight time (including dual, solo, and PIC time.)  I should cerebrate my 100th hour after the next one.

By the way, I purchased a new cell phone, Motorola ROKR, which comes with iTunes.  I just wanted to have a simple MP3 player feature, so iTunes was a little overkill to me, but it does what I wanted.  I realized that its 'screensaver' is just a GIF animation, so I changed it to the following picture.

And, I chose a picture of a sparrow I took with my new *ist DS2 digital camera at the observation deck of Tokyo Haneda airport:

So far, I'm happy with the new cell phone.

But, only I see two disadvantages.  One is its memory card location.  It can use a TransSD memory card.  If I could read/write with my SD card reader, it shouldn't be too frustrating to copy files.  However, to remove the memory card from the phone, I need to remove its battery.  The memory card slot is underneath the battery.  It's a bad design.  What's the point to have a removable memory card, if it is this hard to replace?  And, the USB connection is terribly slow.  If I don't want to turn off and on, removing and installing battery to replace an SD card, only option to transfer files is connecting the phone to a PC by USB.  But, the speed is apparently just USB 1.1.  So, it takes very long time to copy MP3s to the phone.  But, it's a one-time thing, and after copying all the music files that I want to carry, I don't need to go through this slow process again (until I want to carry some different set of music.)


I had been in Japan in January.  (I've already uploaded some photos from the trip here.)  I realized that I haven't updated this section for long.  It may be better if I combine airplane photo gallery, my flight, and this page.  I wish I had time to do some more maintenance of my web site.

By the way, I was driving to a mall called Waterfront for dinner yesterday.  To reach Waterfront, I have to go over a bridge.  The bridge has two lanes for each direction, but the bridge is now under construction for maintenance, and only single lane for each direction is open.  The road before and after the bridge has two lanes for each direction, so two lane traffic incoming the bridge needs to form a single lane at the beginning of the bridge.

With intuition, I was thinking that the traffic over the bridge must move slower than the traffic before and after the bridge, because the road is narrower.  It turned out that I was wrong.  The traffic was moving faster over the bridge than before the bridge.

I suddenly realized that it explains Bernoulli's theorem that tells that a fluid moving through a variable width pipe moves faster in the narrower section than in the wider section.  In fact, the theorem had been puzzling me because I thought a narrower section of pipe should give more resistance to the flow, and it seemed to me that the fluid should flow slower in a narrower section.

However, if you think about the traffic entering the bridge, cars from the two lanes needs to form a single lane, and when a car on one lane is entering the bridge, a car on the other lane needs to wait for the one entering the bridge.  It explains why the traffic before the bridge moves slower.  The traffic speed over the bridge constrains the speed of the traffic before the bridge, and the speed before the bridge is about half of the speed over the bridge.

A driver of a car tries to maintain a safe distance in front of and behind the car.  Similarly, a particle in a fluid maintains a distance from other particles by the force called Van der Waals force.

P.S.  I talked to a friend about this topic, and he told me that already civil engineers uses fluid mechanics technique for analyzing traffic.  So, at least my idea was right, apparently.

[2005]  [2004]

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