I need a place to talk about some of my interests without cluttering up my other blog and web site which are devoted to photography and old cameras. So, this is it.
My current obsession is Google Earth's Flight Simulator, which I only recently discovered. The 3D graphics and the interactive possibilities seem astounding to me. To kick things off, I thought I would start by sharing an aircraft image which I created to work with the GE Flight Simulator. The download (T-6 Texan.kmz) is available from my web site.
The KML script that powers the T-6 Texan was developed by Amir B and featured in a posting at the Google Earth blog. His script is accompanied by a nice selection of plane images which include a bit of animation, and work very well. I thought it would be nice to make my own, so I photographed a detailed model of the classic T-6 trainer and manipulated it in Photoshop to be a drop-in replacement for Amir's ME-109.
To fly the T-6 Texan you will first need to download and install the current version of Google Earth as well as the above T-6 Texan.kmz file. Double clicking the kmz file will run Google Earth and display the plane in the center of the screen.
Start the animation by clicking on the button above the slider bar at the top of the page. Then, type in a "Fly To" destination and press Enter to zoom there. To start the flight, click "Tools/Enter Flight Simulator", or Ctrl+Alt+A. At that point you will be offered the option of two types of aircraft, an F16 jet or a prop-driven Cirrus SR22. The performance characteristics of the T-6 Texan are similar to the SR22, so that is the one I usually choose. Click your mouse on the screen at the start of the flight to obtain control, then move the cursor left, right, up and down to navigate. The PgUp and PgDn keys control the throttle.
Additional instructions for using the Google Earth Flight Simulator are linked in the posting cited above.