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Avsim Destroyed by hackers…Please donate!

For those that have been in the flight sim community, we all know that Avsim was one of the back bones that kept us all glued together.  It was a central gathering point for almost everyone from around the world for many years.  Now it’s gone.
Tom and crew plan to make a come back, but it will take a considerable amount of money to do so.  No amount of money can replace all the freeware files now lost that have been stored for who knows how many years, but maybe we can all help to get them started with a brand new site.  Please donate.
Here’s the link to the BBC article posted the other day:   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8049780.stm 
I’ve copied Tom’s press release from the PMDG page:
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
AVSIM Hacked


Tom Allensworth, CEO and Publisher of AVSIM, today issued the following announcement; "We regret to inform the flight simulation community that on Tuesday, May 12, AVSIM was hacked and effectively destroyed. The method of the hack makes recovery difficult, if not impossible, to recover from. Both servers, that is the library / email and web site / forum servers were attacked. AVSIM is totally offline at this time and we expect to be so for some time to come. We are not able to predict when we will be back online, if we can come back at all. We will post more news as we are able to in the coming days and weeks.


I have to tell you, it goes against my grain to solicit or allow donations without providing anything in return for your hard earned dollar/euro/yen or whatever. However, in the situation we are in now, any and all donations can help, if not immediately, then in the longer term. We will use your donations to help pay for any hardware that we need to purchase and any fees that we have to pay for technical assistance (that doesn’t get volunteered that is). We will always be in need of future hardware upgrades, software, etc., so if your donation is not put to use in the short term, I can assure you that it will in the longer term.

Tom Allensworth


As an Avsim news writer for a short time for Avsim and a long time member (who isn’t), we wish Tom and crew the best in getting the new site up and running.
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Chase Log 042509-1930CST

  I had to get up and running real quick for this short chase to the Kansas Speedway form my house.
We picked up the cell just after it passed the Kansas Speedway and did damage just south and west.  As it passed it quickly lost power and what you see here is just some pretty cool lowering and some slight rotation inside the main cell.  Maybe a weakening wall cloud can be seen.  Then we headed back to the house for a quick render.
Sorry about the quality.  Had to render from 1080i 1920 X 1080 to MPEG-2 and I got some pausing after each clip.
We’ll be out tommorrow we think for another round.
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Finally, She’s Up and Running…

…The ultimate Flight Sim rig…After 2 motherboard RMA’s and 8 months later, I finally got ‘Big Birtha’ going thanks to the main builder Joseph (my cousin).  It was a real trial to get this thing built.  The X48 chip set doesn’t like to run RAM higher then 1200 mhz.  My OCZ will run 1800 at 2.1 volts under warranty from the factory, just not on the X48 chip set.
All in all while running Vista 64 Ultimate, I have to admit it’s really stable without OC’ing it right now except for the 2 video cards.
Here’s the specs.  Sorry no 3d mark score yet.
Koolance Exos-2.5 CPU and 2 X GPU water blocks with 10mm tubing and UV reactive coolant.  The Exos-2.5 possesses triple 120mm fans and an extended heat exchanger for approximately 1000W of cooling capacity. Its powerful PMP-400 pump also better assists systems with multiple blocks, splitters, and other components that naturally reduce flow and pump pressure.
Belkin N1 Vision Wireless router
HP Officejet pro L7780 All-in-One Wireless
Whew!  There you have it!  Now on to the pics.  Sorry for the bad quality.


Here’s a couple more with the flash on.



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What the…?!?

We weren’t sure whether or not the tornado sirens were just being tested, if it was for real, or just a mistake today. 
Here’s what the weather service thought!  It must have been take your kids to work today at the SPC in Norman, OK.
Here’s a screenshot of all counties under a tornado warn in MO and KS.  Looks like severe weather season has arrived in a really big way!!
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Storm Chase Log 6-5-2008 Central Kansas

Central Kansas, Hyped up as a 20 year severe storm event, a bust?
The SPC (Storm Prediction Center) issued a high risk for a large chunk of Central Kansas as seen below.  A ‘high risk’ is the highest category issued.  A public severe weather statement for a major outbreak is made well in advance of the watches being issued.

Myself and my brother Marc decided this would be ‘the day’ of the year, or so we hoped.  Everyone was saying the best probabilities were up in South Central Nebraska, but we didn’t think we had enough time to drive up there and still make it back into town at a decent hour.  I had to go into work in the morning and couldn’t get out until about 1230 CDT.  My co-workers (Dan, Joan, and Mina) did an awesome job of getting me covered so I could take off.


It’s important to note that even though we are considered to be ‘trained spotters’ by the National Weather Service , we are still amatures and don’t condone chasing in general.  If you are interested enough to want to get involved, we encourage you to sign up as an E-Spotter .  This is also how we submit our reports from the field.  We are PLA414.
You should also check with your local weather service office for class schedules (usually prior to severe weather season).  Attend these classes which are usually held in your local community center and last for only a few hours.  They are free to anyone and then you will become one those ‘trained spotters’ you hear about.
We also recommend going on a few chases with one of the professional chase teams prior to going out on your own.
If you do decide that you want to actually go out and chase, please make sure you invest some money in proper equipment.  You don’t have to get too fancy, but you need to make sure you also have first aid gear in addition to weather spotting gear.  I’ll give everyone a break down and photos of what we are running a little later in this post.
If you’re a HAM radio operator you may also want to join SKYWARN.


Our local Kansas City NBC ‘Action News’ affiliate, KSHB Channel 41 (13 on Time Warner), Meteorologists Gary Lezak and Jeremy Nelson asked us to check in with them and leave our cell numbers before we left.  Here’s the first blog entry by me before we left on the NBC Action Weather Blog .  I’m username ‘pilotskcx’.


In this topic you can see when we finally left KC.  I must say that all of our local channels do a pretty good job, but the NBC Action Weather Team, Chief-Gary Lezak and crew; Brett Anthony, Jeremy Nelson, and Jeff Penner are hands down the best.  Their blog gets on average well over 200-300 replies on each topic because when they’re not on the air they are talking to their viewers on a regular basis.  In my opinion, they are actually doing a great service for all of us with their blog.  The weather team has taught everyone alot.  Thanks to the entire team and keep up the great work.
Sean Wilson from Blown Away tours was also on the chase just a little further South with KSHB’s Russ Ptacek.  Sean is KSHB’s primary chaser and is considered to be one the best in the business.   We had no idea he was in our area until we got back to KC and saw the 10 p.m. news. Now I don’t feel so bad about making the decision to go South from Salina instead of North, where we should have gone to begin with. 
We finally got everything loaded up and powered on.  We finally departed at 1335 hours CDT.  I’ll let the video show you how it went from there.  We shot the video in HD 1080i, 5.1 surround, 1920 X 1080 resolution in AVCHD1080i 16 X 9 format, with a cosumer level Sony HDR-SR11.  We will upgrade to a broadcast quality cam really soon.  I hope the video renders out ok for the web.
These are not the videos of tornadoes on the ground, etc., that everyone’s used to seeing.  We didn’t have much materialize to our dismay, so please don’t be disappointed.
Please accept my sincere apologies for my bad narration and mischaracterizations of just about every storm feature.   I forgot how hard it is to navigate, narrate, shoot video, and look outside all at the same time.  I think we need Sean Wilson, Gary, or Jeremy to go with us and point out features then quiz us every 10 seconds (hehe), until it’s second nature.
** Warning.  Very Large File Sizes, please allow plenty of time for buffering. **  To download ‘right-click’ and ‘save as’
All in all we were happy with the way our vehicle, hardware, and software performed.  We had a few hickups with Mobile Threat Net (probably the NWS feed) not refreshing the radar until sometimes 20-30 miniutes later…just as we got on the rotation…which made things really interesting, but no failures thankfully.
There were lot of reports for our area, but we didn’t see anything even close to what was being reported.  We think alot of people were getting overly excited and calling 911.  A Sheriff’s Deputy and Skywarn member even swore we just went through a tornado…hehe.  We told them we didn’t think there was one actually on the ground.
So, even though we didn’t catch any real funnels, the formations we saw were probably worth the trip, especially for our first out of area chase.  Maybe it wasn’t a bust after all.
Here’s a quick breakdown of our equipment:
Vehicles:  2008 Jeep Wrangler 4X4 4D Sahara with hard and soft tops.  "Only in a Jeep!"
               2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee LTD (Hemi) 4X4, Touchscreen-Nav-HDD.  Backup Vehicle.
PC:  Dell XPS M1730 (World of Warcraft edition . Marc’s choosing, don’t rail me about it!), 17" widescreen, Intel dual core 2.4 mhz, 2 GB Ram, Vista Home Premium, NVidia GeForce 8700M GT 1 MB VRam,  AGEIA PhysX.
Cellular:  Apple I-Phones (ATT&T) X 2, Sprint Mobile Broadband (GPS enabled).
Software:  Baron-Mobile Threat Net Plus (with XM SAT Responder Service & GPS), SWIFT WX (with GPS), Sony Vegas 8 Platinum.
Video:  Sony consumer level HDR-SR11 1080i 60 GB video with 10.2 MP still, Sony Vegas 8 Platinum, tripod.
First Aid:  Cintas Soft Trauma kit.  Dry chem fire extinguisher.
Pic1: Marc
Pic2: Inside the Wrangler
Pic3: Me



There’s probably more I forgot.

I hope everyone enjoyed reading about the chase!  We were sure tired puppies when we got back.  I’ll try and get together an essential weather link page soon.

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Have You Noticed—This Annoying trend!!



Let’s pretend for a second that you are at work.  Let’s say you work for Boeing as any old person.


How many times have you answered the phone and you say:


“Thank you for choosing Boeing, this is Jeff, how can I help you?” and then the caller says:

“Hi, how are you?”…And nothing else, they just sit there waiting for god knows what. 


I mean, what on earth is the purpose of that?  Am I supposed to be a mind reader?  Why are you wasting my damn time?


I’ve noticed this trend for the past couple of years now.  Maybe I’m from the old school, but I was taught NOT to waste people’s time.  You should tell them who you are speaking with and what they can help you with.


Does the caller really care how you are doing 8,000 miles away?  I seriously doubt it.  I surely don’t care about how you are feeling–generally–unless I can do something about it. 


Do you need a back rub or something or did you want to go ahead spend $80 Million dollars on that brand new Boeing BBJ (737 NG) that you’ve had your eye on for the last few years?  If so then I’d think you’d want to go ahead and get in touch with someone who can get your new plane on that assembly line as fast as possible.  Don’t you?


Here’s the other scenario that plays out the same way only in reverse at the fast food drive through:


You pull up to the order board…and the person asks, “Hi, how are you?”…right off the bat with no follow up, just dead air!


Now again, maybe it’s just me, but I’ve just pulled up to your place of business, tripped over the door on the way in and my wallet fell out, and you are only worried about how I’m doing?


That’s got to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.  What ever happened to:  Welcome to ‘Taco Bell’ what can I get for you?  Or at the very least, how may I help you?


You know what I’ve been doing when people respond with “Hi, how are you?


I just say: “AWESOME!!! GOOD JOB!! And keep on talking so they can’t say their next thing.  They usually get the picture after that.

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Adams S Returns to ACES

It’s good to see people coming back home!!
From the blog of Phil Taylor: 
Guess who’s back?

In an excellent piece of good news, Adam Szofran, late Terrain Dev lead of Aces, has returned to the fold. And we are glad to have him back!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming, I mean flying.

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Talking about Oshkosh: The Spirit of Aviation

  Owen Hewitt reminds us how important the EAA and Oskosh is to not only General aviation but aviation in all forms.  I can’t wait to take this journey myself this year…I’ve been saying that now for probably 20 years.

I watched the video and it is very well done.  I hope everyone will like it as much as I did.


Oshkosh: The Spirit of Aviation

EAA has produced a very professional 17 minute video capturing some moments from EAA Airventure in recent years. Harrison Ford narrates the piece entitled Oshkosh: The Spirit of Aviation and explores what makes Oshkosh the Mecca for aviators and aviation enthusiasts alike year after year. Like many mention in the video, AirVenture is something that every aviation enthusiast should experience at least once in his/her life. You will find no greater collection of people sharing a common love for aviation than there. I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended 4 times (2001, 2003, 2006, & 2007), and I cannot put into words the awe I have experienced each of those years. 


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Funny! Funny! Funny!

Everyone that’s ever worked on a ramp has a little dance they do for marshalling in and out aircraft at the gate.  Mine used to be a little baseball bat swing or golf club 9 iron swing to ‘hit’ them out of the ramp in the direction of the taxiway.
This video takes it to an entirely new level!
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