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What a ride!

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What a ride!

Postby Thorsten » Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:19 am

Someone fixed the X-15 FDM, so now the engines actually start. Time to seriously test the high-altitude visibility modes of Local Weather.

Just after release from the carrier at around 36.000 ft:

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After igniting the rocket engine, initiating a climb for a high-altitude flight profile.

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The climbing angle is quite steep, I am aiming for some serious altitude:

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Still under thrust, passing 85.000 ft where the Blackbird is at home:

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Earth is slowly vanishing - there's some culling operation in place which prevents to get more view range than that.

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Flying ballistic, the top of the arc is reached at 270.000 ft. Not much to see of the terrain from that altitude, but the atmosphere effects are nice - we're clearly in space at this point. Aircraft doesn't react to anything I do.

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So now comes the tricky part - I am basically falling down from 270.000 ft and there won't be much control till below 100.000, so it's simply down to trying to stabilize the aircraft as soon as possible:

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After some very exciting maneuvers, we're back at around 30.000 ft gliding over Edwards AFB - nice and long runway for us. The X-15 glides like a brick, so we lose altitude rapidly and come in fast.

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And prepared for touchdown with about 240 kt airspeed at this point. Without a braking chute, a very long runway is just what we need :D

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Not quite the Vostok, but I think 270.000 ft are quite decent, and the seamless transition in and out of the atmosphere is quite something. Here's a plane worth spending some more work with (3d cockpit,...) - the environment can keep up!
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Re: What a ride!

Postby 172 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:47 pm

Nice one, Thorsten! Glad to read in the ML your local weather can keep up :D
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Re: What a ride!

Postby MyName » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:54 pm

The X-15 should have a reaction control system to allow control at such high altitudes, but apparently this is not simulated.
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Re: What a ride!

Postby Sealbhach » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:32 pm

Interesting pics. The landing gear looks a little strange though.

.
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Re: What a ride!

Postby Hooray » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:39 pm

MyName wrote in Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:54 pm:The X-15 should have a reaction control system to allow control at such high altitudes, but apparently this is not simulated.


Yes, this is one of those things that could be easily simulated using a couple of lines of Nasal code. Basically, all you'd need to do is changing the orientation of the aircraft. But that would obviously require the FDM to support handing off computation of these parameters during a certain phase of flight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaction_control_system
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Amer ... ot_systems
http://www.bobholland.com/me/xlr99_files/x15-2.pdf
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Re: What a ride!

Postby airzona » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:47 pm

Thorsten wrote in Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:19 am:Someone fixed the X-15 FDM, so now the engines actually start.


That's awesome. Where did you download that model? The one from the /download/aircraft-v2-4/ page still doesn't work for me.

Thanks much!
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Re: What a ride!

Postby jentron » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:55 am

MyName wrote in Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:54 pm:The X-15 should have a reaction control system to allow control at such high altitudes, but apparently this is not simulated.


I looked into the RCS on the NF-104 and realized it would call for an extra joystick since, as I understood it, that aircraft had a secondary stick for the reaction system.
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Re: What a ride!

Postby someguy » Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:17 am

Sealbhach wrote in Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:32 pm:The landing gear looks a little strange though.

The X-15 actually had skids for main gear, not wheels.

Image
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Re: What a ride!

Postby kyokoyama » Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:37 am

Amazing pictures, as always!

Now, if only the X15 could be deployed off of an aircraft (or maybe even an MP aircraft?) like reality, too...
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Re: What a ride!

Postby jentron » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:10 am

Hooray wrote in Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:39 pm:
MyName wrote in Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:54 pm:The X-15 should have a reaction control system to allow control at such high altitudes, but apparently this is not simulated.


Yes, this is one of those things that could be easily simulated using a couple of lines of Nasal code. Basically, all you'd need to do is changing the orientation of the aircraft. But that would obviously require the FDM to support handing off computation of these parameters during a certain phase of flight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reaction_control_system
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Amer ... ot_systems
http://www.bobholland.com/me/xlr99_files/x15-2.pdf


JSBSim has controllable liquid rockets. The thrusters and engines can be placed anywhere on the aircraft and turned to arbitrary orientation angles. There is no need for NASAL. The trickiest part would be figuring out how to control them. As I mentioned before, I believe the NF-104 had a separate side-stick controller. Perhaps we could come up with a way to switch the primary joystick/mouse input back and forth between the RCS and conventional flight controls.
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Re: What a ride!

Postby jentron » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:26 am

kyokoyama wrote in Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:37 am:Amazing pictures, as always!

Now, if only the X15 could be deployed off of an aircraft (or maybe even an MP aircraft?) like reality, too...


You could use JSBSim's external forces to either
  • tie the aircraft to an MP aircraft, but that might be more of an elastic tow rope than a solid metal connection
  • lift the X15 up to an altitude and accelerate it to a given velocity...
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Re: What a ride!

Postby Johan G » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:35 am

It seems like things get better and better. :D

Nice screen shots, by the way.
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Re: What a ride!

Postby Thorsten » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:50 am

JSBSim has controllable liquid rockets. The thrusters and engines can be placed anywhere on the aircraft and turned to arbitrary orientation angles. There is no need for NASAL. The trickiest part would be figuring out how to control them. As I mentioned before, I believe the NF-104 had a separate side-stick controller. Perhaps we could come up with a way to switch the primary joystick/mouse input back and forth between the RCS and conventional flight controls.


I guess the solution from Orbiter would work just fine - define a key to toggle between RCS and conventional controls (and display somewhere what system is on at the moment).

I have to say though, what I miss most is a proper cockpit. External views are spectacular, but what you actually see during the flight is just the HUD (which always reminds me of the UFO). Since the HUD doesn't offer all the info I want, I have in addition several small windows open, among them fuel reserves and a property browser with velocities open to read Mach number.

Simulating the actual deployment would be a nice bonus, but it doesn't add so much to the flight experience - it's not like you could do anything before launch, unlike in an aerotow situation you're just hanging there. One could however structure it like 'stages' and take the way Vostok is done as a guideline, i.e. in the first stage one is actually flying the NB-52 and the X-15 cockpit is just a particular view, after triggering a stage switching the NB-52 is 'discarded' (or replaced by an AI model - it's maybe fun to see it vanishing as the rocket engine ignites) and the view changes to the X-15 cockpit and all the aerodynamics is changed and we go from here. This must be possible, because Vostok's aerodynamics changes quite drastically from the full launch config to the re-entry of the capsule.

Another thing which might be worth thinking about is painting the skydome below the horizon not in uniform haze but with some denser cloud images projected to account for geometry as extracted from space photographs (if there are any GPL compatible shots... not so many people can do them...).

Anyway, I think it's a very interesting plane, we don't need a new rendering engine to enjoy it and its cockpit and systems are seriously in need of some attention 8)
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Re: What a ride!

Postby chris_blues » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:09 pm

Beautiful pics!!!

Where did you get this plane? From git-fgdata?
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Re: What a ride!

Postby Thorsten » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:27 pm

Yes, the plane is FGData from GIT.
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