Tuesday, May 26, 2015

VSKYLABS 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' RC Setup Panel

VSKYLABS 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' 2015 New RC panel introduction (26.5.15)

One of the most important goals of the 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' 2015 project is to make the RC simulation in X-Plane more accessible for RC pilots who are used to fly the designated commercial RC simulations nowadays.

Take a look at this video, demonstrating the easy access for X-Plane setup features, allowing you to setup the simulation easily for best RC simulation training. The setup is also functional in-flight and changes could be made during flight, without the need to pause the sim, or to deal with X-Plane's various setup windows.

This panel is not complete and additional changes could be implemented until the final package is ready.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Easy Handling & Orientation Training feature

VSKYLABS 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' 2015 news (20.5.2015):

This is a brief 'News' update, revealing some more features of my 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' 2015 project for X-Plane 10 flight simulator.

* Having the development running even faster than planned, release of the VSKYLABS 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' 2015 is expected to be around mid August 2015.

The 'Easy Handling and Orientation Training' Feature:
One of the most thrilling features I've implemented in my 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' RC models is aimed for beginners. A known and frustrating matter for a beginner RC pilot is that once he or she hits the throttle, their flying, living RC model's 'Event Log' is growing rapidly, and each second that pass makes the spatial situation and conception more complex, mainly due the very low orientation and handling skills. 

What I've decided, is to give the pilot a choice of 'Freezing' the model, up in the air, at a desired point, while all the physics is still running. The model will fly but will not lose height nor change it's position. It is possible to select a desired point of view, and start practicing orientation, especially when the model flies inbound (pointing at the pilot). 

Because the physics is still running, it is possible to practice some handling aspects as stalls, spins, single engine operation and more.

Once decided, the model can be 'released' and set free to the skies! (see video below).

Until next time :)


Here is a video, demonstrating the 'Easy Handling and Orientation Training' feature:

In addition, Here is a short video showing some cuts from the (long) process of tuning the 'Fun-Factor' of the package :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

VSKYLABS 'Scratch Built RC Legends' Development Report 30.04.2015

VSKYLABS 'Scratch Built RC Legends' Development Report 30.04.2015

Crosswind handling demonstration
Here is a new short video showing handling trials of some of the models within the package, this time dealing with cross-wind performance evaluation.

X-Plane's physics is amazing, showing a very realistic model airplane behavior, especially when simulating larger-scale models. One of the Key design aspects in my RC model airplanes for X-Plane is it's Drag/Thrust and Drag/Weight ratio. It's a long and demanding process for each model, but as the numbers are getting right throughout the process, suddenly, the model "comes to life". This is a great moment, when it actually feels like flying...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

VSKYLABS RC F40&Countach

VSKYLABS RC Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Countach LP500

General information:
This is an advanced R/C modelling of the Ferrari F40 and the Lamborghini Countach LP500. Car size is scaled down to 40%, making this a large RC type vehicle (both in size and weight). This project began as an experiment, and ended as an addictive toy!

Both models are simulated with a Four-Wheel-Drive physics, which allow the models to be controlled at over-steering or 'Drifting'.  Physical performance was stretched to it's limits with X-Plane, to make these vehicles look and feel like real 'Drifters'.

How it's made?
Well, X-Plane doesn't have wheel-drive propulsion systems, so each one of the wheels is actually a Jet-thrust-engine (!), located at the contact point of the wheel and the ground (just like in an ordinary car - the traction points are the small contact areas of the wheels and the ground). Stabilization is made by lift surfaces (!), which are invisible, and their job is to push the car into the ground while moving fast, or while power is applied.

Wheel friction coefficients are set up with high values. This is mainly for matching a smaller-sized wheel friction to real life behavior, and also for easy braking: idle the throttle and the car behaves as if you are using the brakes.

Here are some things you'll have to consider when using these vehicles in X-Plane:

  • I recommend using an RC type Joystick controller for quick and accurate control inputs (It's a scaled-down car so it moves fast, quicker response than in a full-scale car is needed). 
  • Use External views for Ultra-Fun experience :).
  • Wheel-friction is different on different surfaces in X-Plane, much more than you might expect. I recommend you to try different surfaces and choose your favorite.
  • The cars are tuned up for best realistic performance on asphalt or concrete surfaces.
  • Over-steering (or 'Drifting') is an art. It's a balancing act and controlling it is done by small but rapid inputs of steering and power.
  • Remember that this is actually a Jet-powered car, so once your velocity vector is pointed up and you apply power, it will get airborne. When the car jumps of the ground, in any reason, throttle down and let it get back to the ground...

Have fun! 


Older video clip:

Monday, April 27, 2015

VSKYLABS 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' Development Report 27.04.2015

VSKYLABS 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' Development Report

I've been working on the 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' 2015 project for quite some time now, and wanted to share some more information about my favorite project in X-Plane Flight Simulator.

In this post, I'll write a bit about the RC model airplanes of the package. In the future I'll talk about the RC flying site, 'RC-CITY', which is an interactive and challenging playground for RC pilots.

Flight model:
I'll make this one short. It's the most realistic, PC-generated, Giant Scale RC flight model you can find on Earth in the year 2015. Sure, It's not the real thing, but it gets so close.......!

Stretching the flight model in an aggressive landing:

Level of detail:
My projects are intended mostly for my own personal use, curiosity and fun. I wanted to create a real 'substitute' for building and flying RC Model airplanes, so my approach was like as if I'm building a real-life Scratch Built RC model, Inside out (well, almost...). I have a lot of real life experience in actually building and flying Scratch Built RC model airplanes, so it was very intuitive: first thing I did is to do some research, trying to find out which model airplane I would have built as a real life project. After seeing the DH.88 in action, I learned some of it's building plans which were available in the Internet (from Foam to Giant Scale), and decided to start my RC project with this magnificent airplane.

The structure is made with 3D design software (!), instead of balsa and plywood, so some parts of it were very easy to model, while others were modeled as if I'm really building this plane (engine nacelle, nose-cone, fuselage compartment, cockpit compartment, and some of the visible openings in the wings/tail). I decided to model the engines, and even the control servos of the throttle, ailerons, rudder and elevator. Building the structure was a real 'scratch-built' project...

One of the 'test-pilots' of the DH.88 was Austin Meyer. He is the creator of X-Plane flight simulator, a real life pilot and aircraft builder and developer, and an RC pilot too. It was a real thrill for me to get his remarks and notes, and I learned a lot from him about X-Plane's aircraft developing standards. His personal point of view about my evolving model was really helpful and I really enjoyed the interaction with him :)

I used the same building method for the P-38, and created two highly detailed Giant-Scale RC models. It was also important not to make these models too "shiny and perfect". This is not how real RC model airplanes should look, so my models have dents, bends, scratches, oil stains and some other damage (although they ARE nice and shiny!)

Model Airplanes within the package:
Apart of the DH.88 and the P-38, I built more scratch-built giant scale models which are a thrill to fly: the Grumman Skyrocket, the de Havilland Canada DHC-2, and the ERCO Ercoupe. Gathered with these are an improved models of my F-22, SU-33 and the VSKYLABS 'Greyhound'. I intend to reach a number of at least 10 highly detailed giant scale RC models in the 2015 package.

Package release:
Somewhere around October 2015. I'm not sure if I'll make this one a completely freeware addon, since it consumed, consumes and will consume a lot of hours of development. This is something I'll have to think about...

Here are screenshots of some of the Model Airplanes which are a part of the
VSKYLABS 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' 2015:

In the next report of the VSKYLABS 'Scratch-Built RC Legends' 2015, I'll write about the flying site and the features of some of the models (such as FPV). So...stay tuned!

Saturday, April 25, 2015



This is a 'Turn Performance' flight model, designed to explore and match the turn rate performance of the actual 'Kfir' aircraft in X-Plane.
It Is an X-Plane 'Kfir' maneuverability demonstrator.

(Scroll down to read aircraft facts and flying tips for X-Plane flight simulator)

In general:
The current flight model of the VSKYLABS IAI 'Kfir' TC-2 gives a general perspective of it's real turn performance, based on it's Turn Performance Diagrams at 5,000, 15,000 and 25,000 feet. The 'Corner Velocity' was the main goal of achievement (actual performance diagrams of the 'Kfir' are attached below, for your use).

Corner Velocity:
In simple words, 'Corner Velocity', which also called 'corner speed' is the minimum speed at which maximum G can be obtained (at full engine power). Fly faster than it, and you can instantaneously pull to a maximum and even over-G turn (and lose energy in the process). Fly slower, and pulling all the way, will get your turn rate to drop rapidly, so the bad guy will gain angles as you'll lose energy.

Flying in the speed of 'Corner Velocity' is a good tactics in a dogfight. You are maneuvering at the best sustained turn rate of your aircraft, without losing energy, flying the air-combat geometry, and at the same time, you have the potential to 'go for the kill', or make defensive maneuvers by pulling harder into the maximum G or highest turn rate zone (which is usually not a sustained situation because of drag and thrust to weight ratio issues). 

For example, the corner velocity of the F-4E at 15,000 feet and maximum thrust is just above Mach 0.8, and it can hold up to 7G's sustained turn (depending on it's configuration) without losing energy. It's turn rate in this condition would be ~14 Degrees per Second. The corner velocity of the 'Kfir', at the same altitude is around Mach 0.7, but it's turn rate would be ~16 Degrees per Second. So, at 15,000 feet, the 'Kfir's' turn rate would be slightly higher, and it's corner speed would be slightly lower than the F-4E. I will discuss Dogfight tactics in another post :)

X-Plane flight performance note:
The VSKYLABS IAI 'Kfir' TC-2 flight model was tuned to match it's turn performance, but to do that in X-Plane, engine thrust had to be changed into higher values, and there are some changes (in the 'backstage') to the wing area and thickness, which are not visible and not affect it's delta-wing handling characteristics. These changes had slightly affected the accuracy of some non-drag consuming zones in it's flight envelope, but, all in all, and based on my experience, it's a good 'Kfir' maneuverability demonstrator. (Supersonic flight characteristics are not covered in this version, yet...).

Here are some performance charts for the 'Kfir C-7',
which is quite similar (the C-7 was a more powerful version):

The IAI 'Kfir' variants:
(I gathered this information with the help of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Kfir C.1:
Basic production variant.

F-21A Kfir: 
25 upgraded Kfir C.1 aircraft were leased to the USN and USMC for an aggressor role and were designated F-21A. These aircraft had been modified and included canards on the air intakes. These canards greatly improved the aircraft maneuverability and slow speed control, and were adopted on later variants.

Kfir C.2:
An improved C.1 that featured a lot of aerodynamic improvements. Changes included "dogtoothed" leading edges on the wings, small strakes under the nose and a larger sweep angle of the canards.

Kfir TC.2: 
A two-seat training variant developed from the C.2. It has a longer and lowered nose to improve the pilot's view.

Kfir C.7:
Vastly modified variant. Most if not all C.2 aircraft were modified to this variant. It included an improved J79-GEJ1E engine that offered more 1,000 lbs of thrust at full afterburner (and as a result increasing the Maximum Take-off Weight by 3,395 lbs), 2 more hardpoints under the air intakes, better avionics such as the Elta EL/M-2021B radar, HOTAS configured cockpit and inflight refueling capability.

Kfir TC.7:
A two-seat training variant developed from the C.7.

Kfir C.9:
Proposal for Argentina powered by Atar 9K50. Cancelled. Later developed as South Africa's Atlas Cheetah.

Kfir C.10:
A variant developed especially for export. The most important change is the adaptation of the Elta EL/M-2032 radar. Other changes include HMD capability and two 127×177mm MFD's. This variant is also known as Kfir CE ( Ecuadorean version ) and Kfir COA (Colombian version).

Kfir TC.10:
Upgraded version of the TC.7 for the Colombian Air Force.

Kfir C.12:
Upgraded version of the C.7 for the Colombian Air Force, a C-10 without the Elta EL/M-2032 radar.

Kfir Tzniut: Reconnaissance version of the C.2.

Flying tips (real life...and X-Plane):

Take off:

  • open full 'dry' power.
  • apply afterburenr after ~5 seconds.
  • rotate the nose up at ~150 knots.
  • at ~170 knots pull up a bit for clean take off.

After take off:

  • keep the nose up at ~15 to 20 Degrees for initial climb.
  • positive rate of climb, brakes, gear up.
  • let the aircraft gain altitude and speed in a shallow climb angle.
  • at 300 Knots you can retard the throttle back to full 'dry' power.
  • accelerate to ~400 knots for the climb and cruise (at higher altitude maintain Mach 0.85).
  • at or below 250 knots, retract the landing gears.
  • flying speed in the pattern - not less than 190 Knots.
  • start the final at 190 Knots, and bleed the airspeed to 170-180 Knots.
  • Final at ~5 degrees, use the HUD and the Velocity Vector.
  • engine to Idle when 'crossing the fence', and a gentle flare.
  • apply brake-chute, brakes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

VSKYLABS Boeing 'Bird Of Prey'

VSKYLABS Boeing 'Bird of Prey'
(VSKYLABS FICTIONAL stealth fighter version) 

The Boeing Bird of Prey was a black project aircraft, intended to demonstrate stealth technology. It was developed by McDonnell Douglas and Boeing in the 1990s. Funded by the company at a price of $67 million, it was a low cost program compared to many other programs of similar scale. It developed technology and materials which would later be used on Boeing's X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle. As an internal project, this aircraft was not given an X-plane designation. There are no public plans to make this a production aircraft. It is characterized as a technology demonstrator.

Design and development (Boeing prototype):
Development of the Bird of Prey began in 1992 by McDonnell Douglas's Phantom Works division for special projects. The aircraft's name is a reference to the Klingon Bird of Prey warship from the Star Trek television series. Phantom Works later became part of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems after the Boeing–McDonnell Douglas merger in 1997.

The first flight was in 1996, and 39 more were performed through the program's conclusion in 1999. The Bird of Prey is designed to prevent shadows and is believed to have been used to test active camouflage, which would involve its surfaces changing color or luminosity to match the surroundings.

Because it was a demonstration aircraft, the Bird of Prey used a commercial off-the-shelf turbofan engine and manual hydraulic controls rather than fly-by-wire. This shortened the development time and reduced the cost significantly (a production aircraft would have computerized controls).

The shape is aerodynamically stable enough to be flown without computer correction. Its aerodynamic stability is due to the same mechanisms found in canard aircraft such as the VariEze, the lift normally generated by the canards being provided by the chines (which therefore keeps the nose from sinking). This configuration, which can be stable without a horizontal tailplane and a conventional vertical rudder, is now a standard in modern stealth unmanned aerial vehicles such as the X-45 and X-47, tailless aircraft which use drag rudders (asymmetrically-used wingtip airbrakes) for rudder control.

The aircraft was made public on October 18, 2002, and was later put on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Specifications ( Boeing Prototype ):

General characteristics:
  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 46 ft 8 in (14.22 m)
  • Wingspan: 22 ft 8 in (6.91 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)
  • Wing area: 220 sq ft [5] (20.4 m2)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 7,400 lb (3,356 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5C , 3,190 lbf

  • Maximum speed: 260 knots (299 mph, 482 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,100 m)

VSKYLABS stealth fighter version

VSKYLABS fictional version of the BIRD OF PREY:
The VSKYLABS fictional version of the BIRD OF PREY aircraft is different from the
authentic prototype version. The stealth fighter version is heavier, has two non-afterburning engines. It is an aircraft carrier fighter equipped with an arresting hook and rigid landing gears. The original VSKYLABS stealth fighter carried two drop tanks, two air to air missiles and a single guided bomb.

The current version of the aircraft has a refurbished flight model, and it's default configuration is 'clean' (without any external payloads/weapons ect.). Reason for that is a very poor handling and performance qualities, mainly because of it's wings and fuselage layout of the original design, which are not suitable for adding payloads ahead of the Center of Gravity of the aircraft. Further more, the aircraft is flyable without the cannards, but with it's original weight only, which is very light.

The BIRD OF PREY stealth fighter uses all moving cannard surfaces. Their "job" is
to produce extra lift and trim on heavy configuration, and to make it more agile
and controllable at low airspeeds.