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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:38 am 
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We are proud to release a new Aircraft Factory product, created by Łukasz "Lucas" Kubacki, the Albatros D.III (Oeffag).

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FEATURES
- High resolution textures
- High quality, naturally animated pilot figure
- 3d gauges
- Six historical paint schemes
- Paintkit (to be released a bit later) as a separate download
- Detailed manual (http://a2asimulations.com/public/downl ... Manual.pdf)
- All the cockpit instruments are clickable
- Separate pop-up panel which enables wheel chocks and engine cover which keeps the engine from overcooling in cold weather

More information here:
http://www.a2asimulations.com/store/ind ... ucts_id=52

Scott.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:01 am 
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Hello,

first of all, I would like to thank Scott, Rob and Mike Puto for help, goodwill and ability to publish this little bird under the Aircraft Factory! It is a great honor to me and Tom who made the model to see the Albatros among such a great and detailed FS Addons!

I have been a member on the A2A Forums for some time, but please let me introduce myself. My name is Lukasz Kubacki, I am historian by profession. I work in the museum being responsible for creating exhibitions. But my great love is flightsimming. During the past years I cooperated or released some freeware addons for the FSX, like RWD-8, RWD-10, RWD-14, Mokotow Airfield and Puck Airfield.

The plane which this forum is about is a labor of love. We have been working on this project for almost two years (with some breaks, of course!) Although she is a simple plane, we tried to do our best to make the project detailed. Please spend some time reading the manual which is availble as a separate download in the A2A Store.
The Albatros D.III (Oeffag) was a licensed plane built in the Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1917 and 1918. During that period the plane received many changes and upgrades, mostly related to the engine and airframe. The model which has been released under Aircraft Factory was the latest one - pushed into production in mid 1918 being the best Austro-Hungarian scout on the Italian Front. Yes, the Italian Front! She had never seen any action on the Western Front, however, she competed with Italian, British and French planes.
Being able to reach 200 kph and 5000 meters in 20 minutes, the Oeffag D.III series 253 was among the best WW1 scout planes of the Great War. Powered by the 225HP Austro-Daimler engine designed by prof. Ferdinand Porsche was a real power horse of that era.

I hope that you will enjoy the package and there will be some great new repaints as I prepared the paintkit. Moreover, the Austro-Hungarian cammo schemes are just fantastic and very colorful.
If you will have any questions regarding the plane, I will be more than happy trying to answer them and to help you.

Best regards and blue skies!
Lukasz "Lucas" Kubacki


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:23 am 
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Loved learning those facts..thank you. 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:15 am 
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lucas wrote:
Hello,

first of all, I would like to thank Scott, Rob and Mike Puto for help, goodwill and ability to publish this little bird under the Aircraft Factory! It is a great honor to me and Tom who made the model to see the Albatros among such a great and detailed FS Addons!

I have been a member on the A2A Forums for some time, but please let me introduce myself. My name is Lukasz Kubacki, I am historian by profession. I work in the museum being responsible for creating exhibitions. But my great love is flightsimming. During the past years I cooperated or released some freeware addons for the FSX, like RWD-8, RWD-10, RWD-14, Mokotow Airfield and Puck Airfield.

The plane which this forum is about is a labor of love. We have been working on this project for almost two years (with some breaks, of course!) Although she is a simple plane, we tried to do our best to make the project detailed. Please spend some time reading the manual which is availble as a separate download in the A2A Store.
The Albatros D.III (Oeffag) was a licensed plane built in the Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1917 and 1918. During that period the plane received many changes and upgrades, mostly related to the engine and airframe. The model which has been released under Aircraft Factory was the latest one - pushed into production in mid 1918 being the best Austro-Hungarian scout on the Italian Front. Yes, the Italian Front! She had never seen any action on the Western Front, however, she competed with Italian, British and French planes.
Being able to reach 200 kph and 5000 meters in 20 minutes, the Oeffag D.III series 253 was among the best WW1 scout planes of the Great War. Powered by the 225HP Austro-Daimler engine designed by prof. Ferdinand Porsche was a real power horse of that era.

I hope that you will enjoy the package and there will be some great new repaints as I prepared the paintkit. Moreover, the Austro-Hungarian cammo schemes are just fantastic and very colorful.
If you will have any questions regarding the plane, I will be more than happy trying to answer them and to help you.

Best regards and blue skies!
Lukasz "Lucas" Kubacki


Thank you, Lukasz for such a beautiful model of the Albatros Oeffag DIII. Although I don't have Microsoft Flight Simulator, I play OBD's Over Flanders' Fields a lot. Have you ever given either it or ROF a try? Some of their aircraft models and skins are quite nice as well. Personally, I prefer ROF for the eye-candy and OFF for the campaign play and feeling of being smack dab in the middle of WWI, but both are worthy combat flight sims, IMO.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:58 pm 
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Hello,

Yes, I know both titles and I respect both developers a lot :) It is great that the WW1 has two very good titles. Thank you for your kind words!

Lucas

PS: If you will click on the link in my signature, you will see that I am a member of one of the biggest WW1 virtual squadrons. But the FSX is my love as well ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:29 pm 
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It's quite different seeing an Alby without the nose spinner. Took my a few seconds to try and figure out what was different than what I'm used to seeing. Nice looking plane tho. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:51 am 
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What a neat li'l airplane! Last night I took it for a scenic buzz around the mountains in northern Washington state.
Can't wait to see more paints for it. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:22 am 
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What a great job Lucas.
I'm not a FSX owner but I'm already a A2A customer and you're teasing me to buy both FSX and your amazing Albatros. S!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:34 am 
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Nice one. I like WW1 planes as well but there's very few of them for FSX. This also seems very competitively priced so I have very little excuse not to purchase it.

lucas wrote:
During the past years I cooperated or released some freeware addons for the FSX, like RWD-8, RWD-10, RWD-14, Mokotow Airfield and Puck Airfield.

I will check your previous freeware planes as well. They may have less years of work put into them since they're freeware but I'm still certain they'll be nice addition to the hangar as well. And those airfields are probably a must. These planes do benefit from good low-altitude sceneries and unpaved aerodromes.

These seem to be the two airfields you mentioned as they're done by you:
http://flyawaysimulation.com/downloads/ ... e-scenery/
http://flyawaysimulation.com/downloads/ ... x-scenery/

The first field is Jastania instead of Puck but Puck is referenced in the description: "Its strongly suggested to use this scenery with the Puck (EPCK) aerodrome by Marek “Warka Bear” Misiewicz, as both aerodromes will increase your flying experience in this area!"
Anyway, Jastania is some grass/mud/sand runway so it should be fitting for vintage aviation purposes as well. Pole Mokotowskie seems like a perfect place for D.IIIs and any old aircraft, just from the description. Couldn't find any screencaps, though.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:01 pm 
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I picked this up last night, the price really made the decision for me. Great little aircraft, and I think I'll be using it a lot. I took it for a short flight, did a few approaches and a touch and go, and then the engine sputtered and died on my return trip. I had my benzin where the druck should be, or something that lead me to not have any flow from the gravity tank. A typical A2A side effect clicked in... I felt a little quickening of the heart rate as I started flipping switches and got her re-started before needing to look for a corn field.

This package fits well with accufeel, and the open cockpit feature (I'm running the test version Scott posted in the forum). The flight model seems to have quite a lot of rudder sensitivity. Also it seems to be much more stable than I had assumed from a light airframe. It really just goes where you point it, not a lot of deviation or bouncing around. I have zero experience with WWI era planes, so maybe I'm just assuming characteristics that are simply untrue.

Outside model is beautiful, as can be seen in all of the screenshots. I wish they had thrown a few more pixels at the engine animation from the cockpit view. I do love that you see the parts moving though.

Great job! I'm really happy I decided to pick this one up.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:56 pm 
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blackhawks wrote:
I picked this up last night, the price really made the decision for me. Great little aircraft, and I think I'll be using it a lot. I took it for a short flight, did a few approaches and a touch and go, and then the engine sputtered and died on my return trip. I had my benzin where the druck should be, or something that lead me to not have any flow from the gravity tank. A typical A2A side effect clicked in... I felt a little quickening of the heart rate as I started flipping switches and got her re-started before needing to look for a corn field.

Sounds like you ran out of gravity fed tank. It's only a small tank. That, or you froze the carb (stock FSX feature) while reducing the throttle for descent.

The pressured main tank doesn't seem to require any pressure. Nor can I see pressure dropping on the pressure gauge if I switch engine driven pump to off. Or pressure increase in hand-pump mode while operating the hand pump. Everything is clickable, not everything is simulated. So I doubt it's "a typical A2A side effect" since this is not Accusim airplane. There's no plug fouling, fuel pressure gauge seem to act like an alternative rpm gauge regardless of selector positions.

But it's still good for it's price, and it holds onto what it promises. It also competes with NeoQB's DR1 for the best WW1 for FSX. (And that DR1 was made by the people behind Rise of Flight.)
Also, when everything is clickable but not simulated, it means you can fly it with zero expertize or alternatively fly it to the book. The difference is "only" that the game won't notify you in any way for improper engine management. Of course I like Accusim more when you get that feedback if you do something wrong but such modeling would add a few more years into the development.

blackhawks wrote:
The flight model seems to have quite a lot of rudder sensitivity.

I was also surprised by the amount of rudder authority. I expected it to be less sensitive, and that ground maneuvering to be more difficult / requiring full rudder in combination with more throttle for added airflow around the rudder surfaces. But it does retain control even at low speeds, with throttle set to idle. I can maneuver it while slowing down after landing - something I really wouldn't expect to be able to do.

blackhawks wrote:
Also it seems to be much more stable than I had assumed from a light airframe.

It's quite stable when flown nicely. If you put it to the limits, it shows the limitations of FSX flight modeling. When flown nicely (as one would expect to fly a replica, and FSX isn't a combat simulator) it seems quite fine. Except I would perhaps tone down the rudder effectiveness.

blackhawks wrote:
Outside model is beautiful, as can be seen in all of the screenshots. I wish they had thrown a few more pixels at the engine animation from the cockpit view. I do love that you see the parts moving though.

"Pixels" in "animation"?

There's a number of addon planes in FSX that have exposed valve train or spinning cylinders (rotary radials). Unlike the propeller, they don't get blurred even at high rpm. I don't even know if it could be circumvented somehow but I've not seen anyone addon maker done it. I put it under "limitations of FSX" category. You cannot determine the engine rpm by looking at the valves and pushrods, unfortunately. This animation has nothing to do with "pixels".

Where it could use more pixels is the top of the fuselage between cockpit and the engine. Because that's the direction you typically look out of the plane the most, and because it's so close to the viewer. The interior is high resolution and the windscreen frame seems to be extremely high resolution. The fuselage around the engine seems to be the same resolution as the wing surfaces and other parts of the exterior... but while low resolution is no problem for wings (because when you look out of the cockpit, the wings are at a distance) the low resolution nature really shows there, on the small spot just between the cockpit and the engine. Also, when you look outside and at the top wing's lower surface. The struts seem to disappear into the wing (don't have similar reinforcements as the lower wing have where the struts are connected). The lack of reinforcements at strut connections can be fixed for repaints - the low resolution of the part of fuselage in front of cockpit cannot.

But aside from those minor things, looks magnificent. And when flown nicely, it handles decently too. Haven't tried acrobatics or crosswinds yet. But I will, mostly just to check how big is the envelope and when the simulation "breaks", so that I won't exit the envelope of realistic simulation when I try to fly more seriously.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:35 pm 
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whiic wrote:
...when I try to fly more seriously.


I don't want to alarm you, but that may not be possible :D

Glad you like the plane too.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:54 pm 
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blackhawks wrote:
whiic wrote:
...when I try to fly more seriously.


I don't want to alarm you, but that may not be possible :D

Glad you like the plane too.

Keyword: "more".

I tried some stuff. The plane seems to have high need for rudder on turns (doesn't stay very coordinated with just added elevator to keep the nose on the horizon). It's about what I'd expect from this type of plane.

The rudder... it's truly borked. It's effectiveness is totally insane. If you apply full rudder and keep the nose up and wings level, you can reach almost 90 degress of skidding. You basically go where your wingtip points. The remedy is easy though: never apply full rudder. Either configure the input device to not give that much input, or fix the aircraft configs. When you can limit on how much you apply the rudder yourself, the unfortunate side is that you give up capability for fine tuning. I'd rather go fix the aircraft configs or tweak with input sensitivity. Latter of course having the problem of affecting other planes that don't suffer from super-efficiency of rudder.

Elevator is also quite effective but it doesn't feel as ridiculous as rudder. Elevator is way more effective than ailerons. That's the axis which it seems to be quite sluggish around while otherwise being even a bit too restless. I think the flight model might be the weakest link of this plane. Sounds samples are OK, and they're put together OK. There's no odd transitions between the samples. Textures are excellent. 3D model is magnificent. It's the configs that seem somewhat off. Even the propeller has too much inertia to stop spinning at the same time shut-off sound sample ends playing. It's a single value in the config - very easily fixed, yet very few addon makers do it properly. Maybe it would cause the engine to act erratically in use (such as being too responsive to increase in throttle) or something else why matching the prop animation to sound sample is secondary to devs.

Tried some crosswinds into "major thunderstorm" preset. Suspiciously easy to land due to unrealistically effective rudder. Also, upwind wing doesn't have much tendency to rise up. If I intentionally let the wingtip to touch ground, it seems the contact point of the wing isn't where it's supposed to be (wing submerges partially below ground). For all these reasons, I think NeoQB DR1 win with it's flight model, and remains my favorite WW1 addon for FSX. For all other aspects (graphics and sounds) it would be a tie. D.III does seem salvageable, though. Some could be fixed in plain text configs but I would like an official update for .AIR files and .CFG after the community has got familiar with the plane and listed their findings. It is not just salvageable but also WORTHY of being salvaged. I haven't seen many attempts at WW1 addons which I'd attribute with word "worthy" but this is one of them. A bugfix would definitely be worth it after a couple of years put into it to get where it is now, a half-step away from excellence.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:58 am 
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Hi Guys,

first of all big thank you for posting your opinions and general feelings regarding the plane. They are very helpful and once we will start thinking about some update, they will be very valuable.
Let me post some answers regarding your opinions and suggestions:

1. Starting from beginning - the EPCK, Puck base was done as a team effort. I made a photoscenery and autogen, Marek did the objects. For the Mokotow airfield, year ago I made a short presentation about this field and posted on the YT (just scroll to the mid of the movie to see the animations from the FSX): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ihEJgomoTc

2. Rudder. I always want to be honest with the customers. The key was to make this plane fully aerobatic. To be able to perform some vertical maneouvers like wing over or hammer head, I had to make the rudder more effective. When the rudder area/effectiveness were set to the original values, the plane was not able to perform any of the mentioned above.
I have been flying WW1 sims for over 10 years, being a VCO of virtual unit for about half of that time. So, while making a FD for this plane I also checked the equivalents of the Oeffag present in other sims.

3. When speaking of the elevator and ailerons, I must add that those areas were calculated and the real values were put into FSX cfg/air. The plane was very pitch sensitive from what I know and did not have a spectacular roll rate. The planes which had four ailerons, like British Camel, SE5a had much better input.

To be continued... Need to write about the propeller and other features of the plane.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:41 am 
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4. Propeller
I completly agree that statement. It has to be tuned and I need to work on that one. Any help or suggestions are welcomed :) In an exchage for help I can create a custom paintscheme or some historical one :)

5. Stalls and spins
Those WW1 planes had very low stall speed and the Oeffag Albatros was said to be a very safe and predictable plane. Mind you that when speaking about many WW1 planes we have to base on anecdotes and compare them with some facts based on the data we put into sim.
If we are talking about spins... Well, this element shall be also improved one day. I wish I knew more about the airfoils and .air files in general.

The plane has no Accusim, of course and is equipped with default systems. Of course she has some custom animations and we wanted to have all the levers and switches clickable.

Some hints:

- apply cover for a cold weather. Engine cover can be applied with the engine turned off and on ground. Same with the wheel chocks which are only a goodie for an eycandy. FS does not allow to install a parking brake only. If you install a PB, the brakes will be availble by default.
- Many WW1 planes were supported by the ground crew while taxiing on ground. She does not have a good ground handling, too. After the landing, the crews were "catching" the plane and stopping it, then turning left or right on the way to the hangar, etc.
- There is a small "cheat". The plane has a simple autopilot. Because she does it, I had to install some minimal trim, so the a-p could manage the plane in vertical. This is the second small "cheat" :) But both can be easily removed.

Anyways, If you have any suggestions or you wish to discuss some things related to the plane itself or WW1 aviation, please post that in the Albatros D.III forum section. Let's start posting on that forum :)

Best regards and again, thanks for your posts, opinions and suggestions, Gents!
Lucas


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