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YS FLIGHT SIMULATOR Ver. 20120701 (for Windows, Mac, and Linux)

[Click here for year-2013 posts]


Last flight of the year and test-shooting Olympus E-5

I flew for the last time of the year on 12/23.  I just took off Beaver County airport, flew to Allegheny County airport, then made a few circles over Oakland area taking pictures of Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh downtown, and came back.

This time I took my new digital SLR, Olympus E-5 with me.  Olympus E-5 is unfortunately the last line of Olympus digitla SLR.  Due to a scandal followed by a financial break down, Olympus lost power to develop a new digital SLR camera.  Which means, sooner or later, I will not be able to upgrade my camera body.  But, I often walk into pollen floating area to take pictures of birds, that requires the best anti-dust capability.  I was sick and tired of dusts sticking on the image sensor.  No other SLR cameras have the same level of anti-dust capability like Olympus digital SLRs.

But, if you are thinking about buying a mirror-less camera, mirror-less cameras of Olympus are supposed to be using the same anti-dust technology.  Also, I heard that Panasonic is licensed the technology for their mirror-less cameras.  I definitely recommend Olympus and Panasonic.

(Read more)

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YSFLIGHT Progress Update

I have ported more than half of the graphics code for OpenGL 2.0 / ES 2.0.  Theoretically, if I finish porting everything to OpenGL ES 2.0 and write I/O functions, I should be at least able to compile and run YSFLIGHT on iOS.  Writing I/O with all touch interface is another challenge, but finishing with graphics is one big step toward YSFLIGHT for iPhone and iPad.  I have one and half obstacles to go.

Also I have added some visual effects.  (Read more)


Victory in a Bowling League!

I'm not a good athlete in general.  I have Judo black belt, but it's just the first grade.  I'm not strong at all.  If someone attacks me, I will run, rather than fighting back.  But, bowling is only one sports I am good at.  I bowl twice a week regularly.

Actually, bowling requires physics thinking.  Maybe it is similar to golf.  You need to think much more than other sports to make a good score.  I suppose that's why I can do better than average in bowling.  I am not a good athlete at all, but I can cover a little bit by thinking.  It would really be fun to make a bowling section in this web site, YSFLIGHT.COM, but so far I haven't had time to do it.

In this season, I had been bowling in two leagues, Young Adult League on Saturday and Monday Night Doubles on Monday, both in Forward Lanes.  In Monday Night Doubles, I finished the regular season with 204 average.  It was my first time to break the barrier of 200 average.  However, I bowled 144 in the first game of the play off and lost miserably.  That depressed me for a few days.  Today, I was able to do revenge in the Saturday league.

I don't remember exactly what score I had today.  I remember I started off with 213 in the first game of semi-final.  I think I had 190 or so in the second game, but the oil on the lane was ground off.  I was adjusting my position but was getting closer to the edge of my comfortable zone.  So, I used my old ball, which doesn't hook as much as my new ball, and I made 180 or so, and the team moved on to the final.

In the first game of the final, I remember I had 170 or so, but other team members bowled very well.  Especially, one team member who had about 130 average made 208.  My team had the first game.  The second game was a close match.  The opponent team was maintaining several pins lead until the very last frame.  (Actually this league is not a serious league and gives away big handicap to the lower-average teams.  Our team had to start with more than 70 pins behind, and had to make up the gap to win.)  In the end, I was the last bowler and needed seven pins or so to win.  I made a spare and then 9 pins, and the team won the first place!  My last score was 203 by the way.

It gave me the third trophy (bowling pin) of this league.  It was a very nice victory.


Night Landing Practice & Touch and Go on a 15ft-wide runway

The day is getting shorter and shorter.  I used to leave my office early and flew an hour or so.  But, if I do it now, it is well likely that the last landing becomes a night landing.

I wanted to be ready for night flying.  Although I was confident, I haven't done it for more than two years.  I asked an instructor to fly with me, and flew three night instrument approaches and two stop & go landings.  Two stop & go plus last full-stop landing give me three night landings to the full stop, which the Federal Aviation Regulation requires to practice preceding 90 days if I want to take a passenger for a night flight. (Read more.)

(YouTube video)

(YouTube video)


YSFLIGHT Progress Update

After spending hours during Thanksgiving break, I finally am able to draw and rotate F-22 Raptor in iOS Simulator using OpenGL ES 2.0! (Read more)


A Bridge Too Far?

There is a big bridge called New River Gorge in West Virginia.  It's far south from Pittsburgh.  I don't know how long it takes to get there if I drive.  This bridge is, according to Wikipedia, is the third largest steel arch bridge in the world.  My understanding is that it excludes cable-supported bridges.  Golden Gate Bridge is obviously bigger, but that one is in a different category for this competition.  This bridge is famous for annual bungee jump event from the bridge.  Also, an aerobatic airplane has flown underneath the bridge in the past.

I was thinking that it would be nice to see it from the above.  I was talking with my friend who got his private pilot certificate last year to fly there once.  However, every time we planned, the weather was bad in here in Pittsburgh of in there, or both.  We had to cancel all the time.  The bridge was becoming "a bridge too far" for us.  (Read more....)


Uploaded photos from the San Francisco Fleet Week air show.

I visited San Francisco to watch the Fleet Week air show early this month.  It was really an airplane-fan's heaven.  I never imagined there was such a luxury of eating nice sea food and watching Blue Angels within walking distance from the hotel.  The picture below is from the air show.

If you look at the close-up look, you can see the image behind the airplane is distorted.

This phenomenon is explained by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.  According to his famous equation, E=mc2, the energy and the mass are equivalent.  Therefore, when an object accelerates, it gets kinetic energy, and at the same time, it gets heavier.  This Blue Angels solo airplane accelerated so much and the mass became heavy enough to distort the space-time around the airplane, and it distorted the light passing near the airplane.  It is called the gravity-lens effect.

Which is not true.  Don't believe it.

(Read more.)


Uploaded photos from Waukegan air show

Within a week from Cleveland air show, I took Friday off and came to Chicago.  About one hour drive to the north of Chicago is an airport called Waukegan.  I came all the way from Pittsburgh to go to the Waukegan air show.

It is relatively a small air show compared to Dayton or Cleveland and was beyond my driving distance from Pittsburgh.  The reason why I came to this air show was mainly because a long-time YSFLIGHT user is working as a professional pilot out of Waukegan.  He saw my post of Dayton air show this year, in which I talked about why A-4 Skyhawk is my second favorite airplane.  My best favorite is Concorde, by the way.  And, he contacted me and said the particular A-4 Skyhawk I saw in Dayton this year was based at Waukegan and was scheduled to fly in the Waukegan air show this year.  Although it was in the semester, it was not too impossible to make a short trip to Chicago over the weekend.  To see the practice flight, I took Friday off and headed for Chicago.  (Read more)


My GPS stopped working all of a sudden yesterday, and I almost gave up on it.  But, I sent an E-Mail to Garmin tech support anyway to ask for repair quote.  I got an answer quickly, and they say it's going to be a fixed-rate repair at $175.  I almost made up my mind to invest another $700 for a new unit.  I'm happy to pay $175.

In my past experience, when an electronic device broke, almost always a tech support replied that the repair will cost more than buying a new unit.  In fact, because of those memories, I was surprised that my 2008 Macbook Pro was repaired at just $300.  But, maybe it's a trend now.  I'm so happy to get it fixed at $175.

But anyway, I realized that I was so reliant on GPS now a days.  To be able to come back in case of GPS failure, I made up my BVI survival chart. (Read more)


My portable aviation GPS is dead....

I had been using portable aviation GPS, Garmin GPSMAP 96c since April 2008.  Although the unit was old, it had adequate functionality.  It even shows the flight path for IFR approaches.  It helped me shoot VOR-8 to Lancaster, in which I shot an approach in actual IMC without an instructor.

But, today, when I turned on my unit, the unit could not acquire satellites.  It only found GPS #46, but later it didn't lock on to any satellite at all.  I used it for 4.5 years.  I invested something like $600.  I burnt about $133 per year.  I wished it to work a bit longer.  Now I am asking Garmin for the quote for repair, but I am also looking into a new GPS unit.


Uploaded photos from Cleveland Air Show 2012.  Below is the almost-perfect shot of F-18F high-speed pass.  If only had I captured the nose....  If I trim the right side of the picture, it looks not too bad, but if I had the entire nose in the picture, it would have been my once-in-lifetime sort of picture.  I guess that's the difference between a professional photographer and me.


Fall semester begins

Wow!  Time flies!  Already a month passed since the last update.  I was busy getting ready for the fall semester, and now it has started and I was even busier.  That's why I couldn't update here for a while.

I am teaching an introductory C++ programming course again.  This time, I have 78 students.  Many of them are from outside Mechanical Engineering, and even one from the University of Pittsburgh.  It's so nice to give a lecture in front of such a big audience.  Actually, it's my dream come true.  I never imagined I was going to teach C++ programming, although just an introductory, to the students in CMU.  It's so much a fun.  I feel that way every year.

No matter how busy it is, nothing stops me from going to air shows.  I visited Cleveland air show on 9/2 and 3.  Hurricane Isaac was approaching the area, and the forecast didn't look good at all.  Despite the dreadful forecast, it was just cloudy on 9/2 and sky clear on 9/3.  I will write more about it when I have time.

And, on 9/8, I went to Waukegan, about 1 hour drive to the north from Chicago for an air show.  Canadian Air Force Snowbirds flew an impressive aerobatics in front of the clear blue sky.  My first purpose was to see an aerobatic flight of A-4 Skyhawk, based at the airport.  Unfortunately the flight of A-4 Skyhawk was cancelled due to an fatal accident that took place a week before the air show.  No, A-4 Skyhawk didn't crash.  But, the A-4 pilot was in the same formation that the one airplane went down.  In there, a long-time YSFLIGHT user and a very experienced pilot friend helped me a lot, and it was the easiest air show I have been to.  Also, I was able to get an autograph of the A-4 pilot.  That was a blast!  Also I got my best shot of A-10.

Believe or not, I scaled it down, but I didn't trim this A-10 picture.

Today, I flew from Beaver.  Nothing special, but I just wanted to go flying.  I had some headache last night.  So, I didn't know if I could really go, but my headache was gone when I woke up.  The sky was clear and the air was smooth.  I made five landings, and two of them were almost zero-shock landing.  One of them was just a little crooked.  I should have applied a little more right rudder.  But, there was almost zero shock.  I need to be able to do it every time.  I took the picture below from 3000ft (MSL) over Forbes avenue + Murray avenue.

By the way, I am subscribing a Japanese aviation-fun magazine.  And, in the latest issue, I saw an article talking about C-123 Provider "Thunderpig" based at Beaver County airport.  I never imagined someone from a Japanese aviation magazine comes all the way to Beaver County airport!  The Air Heritage Museum, which is keeping the Thunderpig, recently received a F-4 Phantom II.  I took pictures of it today.  I suppose they are going to restore and put it on the static display outside their hangar.


Photos from Willoughby Lost Nation air show

Uploaded photos from 2012 Willoughby Lost Nation air show.


Hummingbird Month!

It's Hummingbird month again!  I am posting some good shots from the first week of the month.


Actually, YSFLIGHT 20120701 Version was already available.

Well, I was feeling strange because I didn't receive any notification from vector.co.jp and download.com.  But, As I checked today, the new official version was already online.  I don't know where the notifications are gone.  (Or have they stopped sending a notification when the program is available online?)

Some of the bugs that are not too serious for flying haven't been fixed yet, but I wanted to make a stable official release so that everyone can use.  Thank you very much for everyone for helping me debugging new features.  I continue work on the left-over bugs.  So, please give me some time to fix them.  And, my focus now is updating the Scenery Editor.  I appreciate your feed backs!

Uploaded Dayton Air Show 2012 (Last part - the 2nd day)

Since heat haze prevented me from taking a crisp picture of A-4 Skyhawk, I came up with a counter measure.  Which is simple.  Just walking 20 or 30ft closer to the front line when A-4 Skyhawk takes off.  If the distance to the subject is the same, disturbance from the heat haze becomes the maximum when you are shooting horizontally or lower.  It is because the heat haze is the result of the turbulent air close to the ground.  The effect becomes less if the subject is closer to the camera because there is less turbulent air between the subject and the camera.  If I move forward by 20ft, I will be closer to the A-4 Skyhawk, and the angle I look up the airplane will be higher.  So, it could ease the blurriness from the heat haze and help taking a crisp picture.  The question was if it makes a visible difference, but this was all I could come up with. (Read more....)

Uploaded (Almost) Perfect Landing

Once you become a pilot, the quest for the perfect landing begins.  After practicing enough time, you will be able to land with a nicely nose-up attitude on the main landing gears.  That is good enough to keep the airplane from damage.  However, it probably is not just me who is working hard to be able to land a super-smooth landing with zero shock of touch down.  (Read more....)

YouTube Video from this landing

Actually, I've been taking pictures of Hummingbirds, but

I think I did enough updates today.  I'm going to post some pictures soon!

Oh, actually, I also need to upload Minimalist's C++ OpenGL Programming Template for Mac OSX.  I have made modifications necessary for XCode 4.


Uploaded Dayton Air Show 2012 (Second part - the 1st day)

I drove all the way from Pittsburgh to Dayton to see A-4 Skyhawk in the air.  It took 40 minutes from the hotel in Springfield to the air-show parking.  To make sure we get a good parking spot close to the gate, we left the hotel a little before 7am.  We got there at around 8:20am.  We saw surprisingly few cars.  The forecast was predicting record-breaking 102F on that day.  Maybe many people stayed home to avoid extreme heat.  We took some rest in the car and then walked to the gate around 9am.

In these days, I keep track of what focal length I used in every air show for each airplane.  I use this data to better configure my camera.  Jet fighters and attackers are fast.  It is nearly impossible to adjust the focal length on the fly.  To take advantage of the focal-length data, I needed to shoot pictures from the same location as the past air shows.  I came to the same spot as the previous years and opened the camping chair.  At that time, the temperature was already 102F and going up.  It was going to be a hot day.  (Read more....)

F-16 of Misawa air force base crashed over the Pacific ocean off the coast of Hokkaido island yesterday.  I was worried about the status of the pilot, but the pilot was rescued.  Losing a F-16 was a bad news, but the rescue of the pilot was a great news!  (CNN.com)

I flew from Beaver County airport for landing practice today.  I flew 1.5 hours and did 18 landings.  I haven't practiced touch & goes intensively for a while.  It was a good practice.


Uploaded Dayton Air Show 2012 (Prologue)

As an annual event of my family, we visited Dayton Air Show this year.  What I was looking forward to the most was A-4B Skyhawk demonstration.  I have a special emotion about A-4 Skyhawk.  It is difficult for me to say which is my favorite airplane because every airplane has own story.  But, I would say A-4 Skyhawk is probably my second favorite airplane following Concorde.  I had desperately been wanting to see A-4 Skyhawk flying, not as a static display.

Why A-4 Skyhawk is special to me goes back to when I was a senior-year high-school student back in 1990.  I then was trying to write my own flight simulator with a 80386 PC.  I was studying 3D graphics on my own.  (Read more....)


Uploaded photos from Mid Atlantic Air Museum.


Uploaded photos from Latrobe Air Show 2012.

Latrobe Air Show 2012 was held at Latrobe Arnold Palmer airport, just 45 minutes drive from my home.  It is a nice cross-country destination from Beaver County airport, and I have flown to this place several times.  In the most recent one, I shot an ILS approach in actual IMC for the first time there.

I visited there one day before the show to see practice flights.  NOTAM (NOTice to Air Men) indicated that the airport was going to be closed from noon to 4:30pm for the air show practice.  My plan was getting there early, taking pictures of Blue Angels flying in, and then watching the full show practice. (Read more)


Lost Nation Air Show

If you heard a conversation over the radio between a pilot and Allegheny County (KAGC) control tower a few weeks ago like:

(Tower) Helicopter traffic below you.

(Pilot) Traffic insight.  Is that Apache?

(Tower) I believe so.

(Pilot) Cool!

That was me.  AH-64 Apache was flying along Monongahela river west bound.

I have visited Lost Nation Air Show today.  The forecast was predicting cloudy with scattered thunderstorms.  The sky stayed scattered to broken despite the depressing forecast.  The biggest attraction was supposed to be Brazilian Air Force Smoke Squadron, which was cancelled unfortunately.  Nonetheless, I saw rare airplanes flying.

I'm going to upload other pictures when I am done with Dayton photos.


Re-trying Reading

I had to cancel Reading flight last month.  Instead, I flew with my pilot friend to Reading just to visit the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum.  Maybe flying there once can be a good preparation for the next year anyway.  This time, I flew from Beaver to Reading, and my friend flew the return flight.  (Read more)


A-4B Skyhawk flew in Dayton Air Show!

I'm yet to finish organizing photos from Latrobe air show.  But, I visited Dayton Air Show for the last weekend.  In the record-breaking heat, I finally saw A-4 Skyhawk flying!  Actually, I have been wanting to see it flying for long long time.  A-4 Skyhawk is my second favorite airplane next to Concorde.  It indeed was a balanced beautiful airplane!  I'm going to write why A-4 Skyhawk is my second favorite when I organize other photos, but for now I uploaded two best shots of A-4 Skyhawk I took in the air show.

By the way, I'm almost done with YSFLIGHT Pre-Release test.  The new official 20100701 version will be ready for download soon.


Latrobe Air Show Practice Session

Yes, Blue Angels flew a full-show practice session over Latrobe Arnold Palmer airport today.  I was there all day and saw all the practice flights.  Following two pictures are my most successful shots of the day.  I'll go to the real show tomorrow.


C++ Coding Standards

There are two types of researchers.  One always looks for a new trend and jumps on one after another.  Now a days, many trends come and go.  There should be no shortages of new trends.  This type of researchers are good for a professor who advices Ph.D students.  Once a new trend comes, a Ph.D student can work on the topic, and the student writes a good Ph.D theses and graduates.  Happy ending!

The other sticks on one topic.  This type of researcher never stops until the solution of the problem is found.  This type of researcher could be the one who solves a difficult problem with a paradigm-changing solution.  However, this personality is often maniac and socially deficit.  There can be a problem as a researcher, too.  It is ok if the problem he/she sticks continues to be an important issue.  But, very often if something is not solved for long time, someone else comes up with a work around that un-necessitate the problem itself.  The solution to that problem then could become useless.  But, good news for this type of researchers is time goes around.  Something that once thought useless could suddenly becomes a jewel in the field.  We never know what's coming in the future.

Me?  I am obviously the latter type.  My research advisor gave me a research topic called unstructured all-hexahedral mesh generation for my Ph.D thesis.  Since then, even after finishing my Ph.D, I am going after the solution to this problem.  This problem had been intensively studied late 1990s, and nobody found a definitive solution.  There is a solution for simple cases.  But, that solution does not work for many realistic cases.  I found a solution that works pretty well when the input is a thin-walled solid last year.  I earned a Paris trip with that discovery and filed a patent on it.  But,.... if only I had come up with this solution 10 years earlier!  So, you can see that I am a typical maniac researcher.  Well, I think I'm not that unsociable, so you can call me a sociable maniac.

In fact, I stick on many things rather than getting bored of.  I am trying to be a better skilled Cessna-172 pilot.  I also try to be a better photographer (tomorrow I go to see the practice sessions of Latrobe air show!)  I am regularly practicing bowling.  My goal is to throw a perfect game at least once in my life.  Not during the practice, I want to do it in a league game.  Luckily I made so-far my best 289 in the third-position decider in a league.  I thought I hit the pocket in the 11th shot of that game, but one pin stood and destroyed my dream of a perfect game!

But, more than everything else, I am trying to be a better C++ programmer.  There is no way I can be the best programmer in the world.  But, I want to be way above average professionals.  I need it for my research.  When I come up with a new idea, I need to be able to implement and verify it.  The idea without implementation is useless, at least in the engineering research.

Many trends had come and gone.  There were many trendy programming languages, Perl, Java, C#, HTML5, Ruby, Flash, and so on.  Do you remember VRML?  Do you know VRML 2.0 tried to include a control mechanism in it?  We just wanted to have a common data format.  But, someone in the VRML 2.0 people took a wrong turn.  Adding the control structure made it unnecessarily complex.  What was supposed to be a common data format became a programming language that is very difficult to write a parser.  And, what's worse, its control mechanism was tiny and useless.  There was no way for me to write YSFLIGHT with VRML 2.0.  So, extra language complexity achieved virtually nothing.  That's how (I think) VRML 2.0 was sank into the history.

Some of these trendy languages are still popular.  Others we don't hear any more.  What's common about those trendy languages are that they are all interpreter languages.  Interpreter languages cannot go beyond the wall of the interpreter.  If the interpreter does not allow your program to access something deeper in your computer, your program may not be able to achieve your goal.  People claim that's why interpreter languages are secure.  Then, why we have been seeing a lot of Java and .NET security updates?  First thing I do after installing Adobe Reader is disabling Java for security!  I think neither is more secure than the other.

While trendy languages are spawn and disappear, C++ has been staying strong.  Its usage is getting relatively less, because many trendy languages are used for lighter purposes.  But, C++ is fundamentally different from those trendy languages in that C++ can do everything that the trendy languages can do, and it can do more.  You may have to write longer code in C++, but there is no wall that blocks your purpose.

PC hasn't changed essentially since long time ago.  We have 4-core, 8-core, and may have 256-core CPU in the near future.  But, the CPU is still reading instructions from the memory and executing them one at a time.  Unless this changes, C++ will stay strong.  In fact, C++ matches my personality.  I rather learn something that lasts longer than study bits and pieces of new trendy languages that may disappear in a few years.  I have tried to study Java many times, but it never helped me solve my problems.  My motivation didn't last, and a few Java textbooks are just lying in my bookshelf doing nothing.

So, what I wanted to talk here is about the book called "C++ Coding Standards".  One of my former colleagues recommended this book to me last year.  This book is about how the C++ program should be written.  I agree with some of the suggestions and may not agree with others.  But, I took some suggestions and am using those rules for my new programs.  There are a lot of less-than-ideal coding in my code, especially those from when I was using Visual C++ 5.0.  That time Visual C++ did not support all the specs of C++ (even VC 2010 doesn't support all specs either), and I had to give up writing in the way I wanted.  When I see those old code, I am tempted to re-write them with the new rules.  But, obviously I don't have time to go through all of 400+ thousand lines of code.  So, I do it only when I need to modify my old code for adding new functionalities.

When he recommended this book to me, he said that there are a lot of things that used to be thought a good way that is no longer considered good.  C++ stays the same (at least backward compatible).  But, the way of writing should change taking into account the computer-science researches.  I agree with that.

He was the best programmer I had ever directly worked together.  Yes, I have seen many better skilled programmers than myself.  But, all of them, except him, were behind the podium or behind YouTube, and I didn't have a chance to talk or work with them.  Working with him was a very valuable experience for me, and I ask him to give an invited lecture in my class every year.

That book just came to my mind.  Just wanted to let you know especially if you are a graduate student in an engineering school and need to write C++ programs for your research.  (It would be even nicer if you order one from the link below!)



Anxiety of Windows 8....

I have downloaded and installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my Virtual Box.

Honestly, the new user interface called Metro is useless for me.  I want to disable it.

Well, Metro can do what iPad can do.  It will be good for watching movies sitting on a sofa.  That's all it can do.

But, I use PC for writing C++ programs, technical papers, and presentation slides, and therefore it is utterly useless unless I can use multi-window.  I need to open a command prompt, my own program, a text editor, a picture editor, and Word or Power Point.  All of these need to be open simultaneously.  In Metro environment, I can keep only one app open and need to switch between apps.

Imagine a dark day that I need to do everything in the Metro environment.  Let's say I run my experimental program and see the result.  Then, to write a technical paper about the result, I need to switch to Word, instead of keep them open side by side.  So, I will need to write on a scratch paper what I see from the experiment, then I switch to Word to type up what I wrote on the scratch paper.  It is what I was doing when I was using DOS.  From the developer point of view, Metro is as bad as DOS.

Will Microsoft Office Metro-nized?  If that happens, Word and Power Point will be totally useless.  I will need to think about using a different program.  I have been considering to switch back to LaTex, but I was so used to Word drawing tools.  I was taking very unpleasant infamous Ribbon interface only for that reason.  But, if Word and Power Point are Metro-nized, those programs will be useless.  I will be forced to switch to something else.  That might be good for me after all.

We had a good reason for multi-window.  We needed multi-window environment.  I don't want to go back to DOS equivalent.  I want to uninstall Metro, if I am forced to use Windows 8.

After using Windows 8 Consumer Preview for 30 minutes or so, I had a grave feeling and closed my Virtual Box.

Will Microsoft sell Windows 7 after Windows 8 is available?  Can I install Windows 7 on a PC that comes with Windows 8 by default?  Windows 8 can do what iPad can do.  But, it will not be good for work.  Honestly, I wish Windows 8 not to become available forever.

Why is this Windows 8 getting good reviews?  I wondered and realized that everyone is only saying Windows 8 is as good as iPad.  So, Windows 8 can do what iPad can do.  But, Windows 8 may be equally incapable as iPad.  Who writes a technical paper on iPad?

Oh!  I was forgetting the original purpose.  I meant to test if I can run YSFLIGHT on Windows 8.  I'll test it later.


Cancel Flight to Reading

I woke up at 6am and looked outside the window to see beautiful blue sky.  It was a perfect flying condition in Pittsburgh at the moment.  But, the low-pressure system that was staying over Canada chose to pass through Pennsylvania today.

As of 7am, a line of storm was observed over the shoreline of lake Erie and was moving south with the low-pressure system.  Of course, the storm gets dissipated while moving over the dry ground, but I never know how much weaker it gets.  A line of storm could make a wall between Reading and Pittsburgh, and if I fly to Reading, I may get stuck there for a day.  If it was going to be just cloudy, I would be happy to fly IFR.  But, this time showery rain is forecasted, which may get worse to become a thunderstorm that could tear the wings of a Cessna 172 mid air.

I tried to fly-in to Reading air show last year, and had to ditch the flight.  I didn't have chance this time again.  I can try again next year.  I really wanted to see B-29 "FiFi" flying, but this time I chose to be on the ground wishing to be in the air. 

Update: I have regretted the decision of no-go many times in the past because the weather didn't turn out as forecasted.  But, this time, Pittsburgh area was struck by a thunderstorm around 5pm.  At 6pm, when I would have taken off Reading, Reading airport was under heavy thunderstorm.  If I decided to delay the take off by an hour, I would have taken off Reading at 7pm and would have been over State College around 8pm, when I would have flown into another thunderstorm.  This time, the decision of no-go was right.


I'm supposed to fly-in to the Reading Air Show tomorrow, but ....

After flip-flopping several times, the forecast for tomorrow in Reading seems to be a good weather for an air show.  But, Beaver Falls weather doesn't look promising.  As of 2:24pm, weather.com and intellicast.com are predicting isolated to scattered thunderstorms through the day, all the way to 9pm.  Accuweather.com is predicting showers at 3pm and 9pm.  Aviation Weather has not yet published the forecast for that far future.

The predicted wind for the return flight is headwind 20 to 25kt.  If I am able to take off at 6pm, I will arrive at Beaver 8:30pm.  The sunset time at Beaver will be 8:48pm.  However, the cloud cover may make it dark even before the sunset.  Although my favorite approach is an ILS approach, Beaver County airport doesn't have ILS approach.  I will need to shoot a VOR approach if the cloud is low.

I am confident in night flying.  I have shot VOR approach in rain once.  So, I should be able to handle each one of these.  But, shooting a VOR approach in rain at night will be a challenge.  If the wind gets stronger as the shower passes the area, I may have to land on a wet runway with cross wind, which I believe I can handle.  But, I'm not so thrilled to do so.

What doesn't make sense to me is the prediction of thunderstorms.  The center of the low pressure system is in Canada, and the cold front associated with that has already passed the area yesterday.  It is almost over the east coast.  The temperature is not too hot.  I doubt it is hot enough to cause strong convection.  How come scattered thunderstorms can grow in this condition?  Well, the forecast is predicting that the storm will be away later at night.  I may delay the departure from Reading to be back when the weather is calm.

If it appears to be difficult to come back tomorrow, I will cancel.  It is always said "It is better to be on the ground wishing to be in the air than to be zin the air wishing to be on the ground."


My Macbook Pro is back!

Wow!  I'm again impressed by the Apple support!  I got my Macbook Pro back today.  I left this laptop at the nearby Apple store on Saturday, and it was fixed and came back in three business days!  I am happy to pay $310 + tax for fixing it.  Now I have my home working environment back.  I am thinking to buy an Ivy-Bridge Macbook Pro sometime next year.  The new line of Macbook Pro is expected to be announced in two weeks, but I would wait a few months so that Apple can fix hiccups related to new chipset and CPU.  I really need my late-2008 Macbook Pro by then.

By the way, I was overlooking an article of Engadget.  Looks like new ThinkPad X230T Tablet PC will be ready in June.  It is a good news for me.  I am honestly sick and tired of seeing all of toy tablets.  iPad and Android tablets are good for reading something that already exists, but not good for making something new.  I need something that I can use for my research work.

X230T is 0.2lb heavier than I wanted, but I guess I cannot ask for any better tablet PC.  Unless other PC manufacturers make a real (not a toy) tablet PC, I'm going to order a X230T it this summer, just in time for my teaching season.


Mayday!  Mayday!  Mayday!  My MacBook Pro gone!

I ended up destroying my MacBook Pro (15'' Late 2008 model ).

I opened it up to blow dusts off.  When I closed the cover and pressed the power button, nothing happened.  It was not the first time to have a dead out-of-warranty laptop.  In the past, I received a quote that is more expensive than buying a brand new laptop.  So, I was expecting to get $2,000 quote, but anyway I took it to a nearby Apple store.

An employee there did some tests and said "Looks like the logic board needs to be replaced.  It's going to be $310 + tax."  Is that it?  Really? Isn't it $3,100?  It was indeed $310. I asked to repair with no hesitation.

I never expected that they replace a motherboard of a 4-year old laptop for $310.  I think it's the cheapest off-the-warranty repair I have ever seen.  I was impressed.  It's going to take a week for them to send it back to the repair facility and get it done.

By the way, I have been taking rock-solid backup of my source files.  There was no damage in my programs including YSFLIGHT source files.


I thought I was going to have spare time to do pre-release test of YSFLIGHT after finishing all the paper reviews.  The reality didn't turn out that way.  But, a paper due first week of June is almost done.  I finally should be able to start pre-release test next week.  I am hoping to get the new official release version by mid June.

By the way, Saturday night bowling league (Young adult league).  I purchased a new bowling ball for the new season.  It didn't arrive by the first week.  I'm going to use it from the next week.

I was getting average of 190 or so with my old ball.  My goal is to push it up to 200 with the new ball.  But, my new ball hooks a lot sharper than my previous one.  Until I get used to it, I am getting lower average like 150.  It hooks much more means I can shoot faster ball.  But, I am not good at throwing a faster ball.  So, I need practice.

I also bought two pairs of new chocks.  I am planning to fly in to Reading air show next week.  I need to bring my own tie down.  I will bring some vinyl ropes, but I don't know if there is a hook to tie my rope.  If not, I am going to use my new chocks.  Reading is about 2 hours from Beaver by Cessna 172.  But, I wouldn't fly unless the forecast is flyable all day.  I don't want to get stuck there.  So, I don't know if I can really go there yet.

Some day, I own my own airplane resting on these chocks.  It's not an unachievable dream!

I flew from Beaver (KBVI) to Clarion (KAXQ) today.  Man!  It was hazy.  I could see the airport 6 or 7 miles away, so the visibility was more than twice of the minimum VFR.  But, despite the forecast that was predicting sky clear, scattered to broken cloud layer prevented me from going up above 3500ft.  After doing one touch & go at AXQ, I wanted to do a low approach at NARDO.  But, as I flew toward Rock (9G1), which is right next to NARDO, the cloud was getting thicker and visibility lower.  In that visibility, I didn't think low approach was safe.  I gave up and flew back to Beaver.  The forecast wind at Beaver was variable at 5kt.  It was supposed to be a weak to no wind.  I ended up dealing with straight 10kt cross wind gusting 14.  My personal limit now a days is cross wind 15kt.  It was a good practice condition for me.  I did three touch and go and landed.  Other airplane landed before me was missing taxiway C, which was connected at the middle of the runway, and turning at taxiway D.  I tried to make taxiway C.  Well, I missed that, too.  Maybe there was some tail wind.  I felt the airplane faster than usual when i rounded out.  Also I felt a good up draft a little before runway 28 threshold.  I have video recording.  I am going to review it later.

Clarion airport.  It was very hazy today.


First sighting of a Hummingbird.  I spotted a Hummingbird in Schenley park today.  At this time, no orange Jewel Weed has a flower, so I don't know what they are feeding on.  I'm going to upload photos in "Birds (and Animals) around Carnegie Mellon University (and wherever I visited)" when I am able to take a good picture.


Have been busy for a while.

I was extremely busy for the past a few weeks.  Sorry for not updating YSFLIGHT Test Version for this period.  I was hoping to start pre-release test early this month and make it official by the end of month, but it is delayed.

What happened was I received two paper-review requests, immediately followed by two more review requests.  I had four papers to review on top of my programming tasks.  In addition, reviews for my journal paper came back.  It meant that I had to revise my paper and re-submit.  And, now the deadline for the next conference paper is in 1.5 month, the first week of June.  I need to finish programming for that paper, too.  I wish I could finish it early this month, but I totally had no time for that.

So, essentially I was buried under the research papers.  Although it has long been said that the quality of a researcher should not be measured by the number of publications, we are still evaluated by the number of publications.  To build a research career, I cannot avoid publications.

Another thing that kept me busy was inaccurate (if not bogus) bug reports of my program, not YSFLIGHT but the program that I have been writing for my job.  An extreme was the case that a data-repair function was tested against a clean data.  Sure, this function does make no difference because the data didn't need to be repaired!  Why the hell should it be evaluated as function-not-working?  Isn't it funny?  I was wasting time to respond to this type of reports.  There were four real issues though.  It did some good.

But, I am done with four paper reviews.  Revision of my journal paper is almost done.  So, my work load will get back to (somewhat) normal soon, hopefully.


Uploaded Shooting an ILS approach through an overcast cloud.

I flew a short cross country with a friend.  He has a private pilot certificate and is preparing to get an instrument rating.  To do so, he needs some cross country time.  If he flies alone, he would end up flying a lot of short cross countries.  But, if I fly one leg, and he flies the other, we can fly long cross country flights for the same price.  That has been a plan.  But, this time, the forecast was predicting rain to the later afternoon, and we decided to make it a short cross country to be sure to come back before the rain starts.  (Read more)

(YouTube Video)


I have uploaded some bird photos that I took when I visited Hawaii in January.

Last time, I carried 320mm tele-photo lens with Pentax K100D.  The crop factor was 1.5, which makes 480mm film-equivalent.  This time I took my 200mm telephoto + 2x tele converter and Olympus E-30.  With its 2x crop factor, it is equivalent to 800mm F7 lens.  My primary target was Red Crested Cardinal, which I saw here and there while I was walking near Waikiki beach.  However, this time I didn't see many.  I wondered if the population of Red Crested Cardinal declined since I came last time.  (Read more....)


Planned Cherry-Blossom Watching Flight, ended up with watching Cherry Leaves.

I have been volunteering aerial photography of cherry blossoms of Pittsburgh North Park.  There is a non-profit organization called Pittsburgh Sakura Project, which has been planting cherry trees over the years there.  I thought it would be nice to take aerial photos of the cherry blossoms of the North Park every year so that the growing number of cherry trees is recorded.  According to my wife, it is my rare opportunity of doing something useful by flying an airplane, and for me, it is a perfect excuse to go flying.  Last year, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom on April 21.  Though, the trees were still young and small.  I was expecting more spectacular view this year.  (Read more...)

(Photo taken by my wife in the back seat)


Booting Late 2008 MacBook Pro from an eSATA external hard drive

I'm primarily using late-2008 15" MacBook Pro at home.  It's getting old and relatively slower than the most recent PCs, but it performs all right.  I am mainly using 32-bit Windows XP on it, and I boot it in Mac OSX when I want to compile and test my program on Mac OSX.  I'm also studying iOS programming, too.

I like Windows XP because I can reach most of the items with a few key strokes.  In Windows 7, I need to either type keyword, confirm Windows 7 finds the right item, and then press enter even when I know exactly where it is.  Or, it is sometimes quicker to just use mouse than keyboard.  Either way, I need to look at the monitor.  I could do most of those things without even looking at the monitor in Windows XP.  Now, I always need to look and confirm.  It is very inefficient compared to Windows XP.  It's ok as a toy.  But, not good for serious work.  Honestly I don't like Windows 7.  I expect that I will be disgusted by Windows 8.

Nonetheless, 32-bit operating system is becoming another frustration to me.  I decided it is time to install 64-bit Windows 7 in my MacBook Pro.

I thought it would be straight-forward to install Windows 7.  I tried to install it in one of my spare 250GB HDD with Boot Camp.  Installation went smoothly, and I tested for any obstacles in transition from Windows XP to Windows 7.  I found a solution to most of such issues, but I could not solve one critical issue.  It turned out the ExpressCard slot of MacBook Pro was disabled in Windows 7.  It is impossible to use an eSATA external hard drive through an ExpressCard.  After searching for the solution on the web for several hours, I concluded that there is no solution, and Apple has no intention of fixing it.

Unless I can use eSATA connection (excluding eSATA via USB 2.0), it is useless.  The hope of installing Windows 7 in my late-2008 MacBook Pro looked fading.  (Read more....)


Renewed my best 3-game series Bowling score

I made 258-244-224 that add up to 726 in Young Adult League of Forward Lanes on 2/25.  My previous 3-game total high was 713.  That brought me to the second from the bottom of the Honor Roll board of the bowling alley.  I used to be hanging at the bottom of the score board.  I moved up by one row.  On that day, I made only two miss shots.  If it were not for the two miss shots, I would have been up by two rows.  The below photo is the Honor Roll board of Forward Lanes as of 3/3.


YSFLIGHT Test Version

You can download a test version of YSFLIGHT from here.  As always, I haven't gone through pre-release test yet.  So, it must be unstable, and some functionality are not complete.  If you are interested in helping me finding bugs, please download and try a test version.

C++ Sample code for playing a WAV file with Pulse-Audio API in Linux

Implementation of YsWavFile class in the previous version was too sloppy.  I made it better.  Actually, I needed Resample and ConvertToXX functions actually work to use it with ALSA.


Sample C++ program that plays a WAV file with Pulse-Audio API in Linux

To prepare for YSFLIGHT Test Version, I was compiling YSFLIGHT on Ubuntu 11.1.  Then I noticed that the sound effect is gone.  Ubuntu 11.1 no longer support OSS, which YSFLIGHT was using for sound effect, and now its standard audio API seems to be called Pulse Audio.  So, I tried to use Pulse Audio API to play sound effect.  First I searched for a good example.  I expected to find something like a WAV file player sample, but I didn't find a good one.  The official Pulse Audio web site gives a sample of synchronous play-back, which is not suitable for sound effect of a flight simulator.  You don't want a program to stop every time you hear something.  So, I went in to the reference manual and wrote one example by myself.

If you are having a similar problem, it may help you.  (Click here to go to the download page of C++ Pulse Audio asynchronous play-back example.)


Strange linker error when compiling 64-bit Mac OS X binary and solution.

I got a very strange linker error when I tried to compile 64-bit binary of YSFLIGHT for Mac OS X.

ld: in /Users/soji/ysbin/macosx64/lib/libfsguicore.a(fsgui.o), in section __TEXT,__text reloc 334: local relocation for address 0x0001C802 in section __text does not target section __const

It took a while to understand (in fact I never fully understood) what this error means.  Luckily I was able to find the solution (or workaround) for this problem.  If you are having the same problem, this might be a solution.


YSFLIGHT Progress Update

I missed my target of starting test phase by the end of January, but I am really close.  Another thing I desperately wanted to add was a virtual air traffic controller.  I finished a preliminary implementation.  At least the ATC will guide you to the final approach course in the next release.  (Read more...)


Captain YS's Flight Logbook - First Flight of 2012 over Hawaii

I am working in Pittsburgh for Carnegie Mellon University.  Of course I am getting paid in U.S. dollars.  Now, Japanese Yen is super expensive against U.S. dollars due to a strange currency market dynamics.  Japanese economy is no better than U.S. economy now.  There is absolutely zero reason for Japanese Yen to get this expensive.  But, this crazy Yen-Dollar rate makes it very expensive for me to visit my friends and families in Japan.  So, this time my parents came to Hawaii, and we also went there to spend a few days together, instead of us going all the way back to Japan.  (Read more....)


PNG Encoder and Decoder in C++

Fixed a bug based on a bug-report from the user.  Thank you for the good catch!


Happy New Year!

Thank you for your continued support for YS FLIGHT SIMULATOR and YSFLIGHT.COM.  I wish you the best of luck in year 2012! 

Click here for the posts from year 2011.

400th Flying Hour

It's from the December, but I reached my 400th flying hour on December 24th.

YSFLIGHT Progress Update

In the upcoming version, an aircraft carrier can have a ski-jump flight deck like HMS Invincible.  Below is some screenshot of AV-8B Harrier taking off from HMS Invincible.  This same data structure allows a ground object go over a bridge.  A ground object cannot have multiple-storey structure (like a parking lot), but it can be achieved by stacking up multiple ground objects.  I haven't tested, but theoretically it is possible.  Also, an airplane can come out of an underground bunker, climb up a slope, and take off from an elevated runway.  (Read more...)

[Posts from year 2011]

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