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Daily News
by Gail Helmer

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Friday, December 22, 2000

Season's Greeting!
Please note that there will be no updates over the Holidays, I will be back on Wednesday, December 27, 2000.

Everyone here at COMBATSIM.COM wish you and yours a Happy Holiday Season!

Twas the (Aviation) Nite B4 Xmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
While peak gusts from three two zero reached 39 knots.
I sank behind the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably upon my butt.

When over the radio, there arose such a clatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Asked for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked out his transmission so lively and quick,
I could have sworn that the call sign he used was "St.Nick".
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Sure that it was only Horizon's late Dash.

Then he called his position, and there could be no denial,
"This is St. Nicholas One and I'm turning on final."
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
A Rutan sleigh, and eight Rotax Reindeer.

Cleared for the ILS down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid! "What pills was he takin'?

Those last couple of fixes left the controllers confused,
They called down to the office to give me the news.
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa lands, could he please call the tower?"

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard "Exit at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
He slowed to a taxi and exited Three-Two,
As he came down the taxiway the sleigh bells' jingle grew.

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I had run out to him with my best set of chocks.
He was dressed all in fur, which was covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from Rotax Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropdusters belly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old fool,
And he kindly informed me that he needed some fuel.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his toes,
Led me to know he was desperate to powder his nose.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom with a sigh of relief,
And then picked up a phone for a flight service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
That with Rudolph, he could land in eighth-mile fog.
Next, he completed his preflight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell "Clear!"
And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for his clearance and squawk.
"After departure fly heading three two zero," the tower called forth,
"And watch for a Luscombe inbound from the North."

Then I heard him exclaim, 'ere he climbed in the night,
Merry Christmas to all, I have traffic in sight."

PC News
German Warbirds Under New Managment! has taken over the operation of the German Warbirds server from Netplayer had been operating the localized version 2.01 of Warbirds under license from IEN since 1998, with a dedicated server located in Germany. continues to offer the German Warbirds 2.01 free of charge (this includes download and full online play) and organizes historical scenarios and special events. The new German Warbirds website can be found at Warbirds

A background note for those that wonder why Warbirds is offered free: Netplayer had been offering Warbirds free of charge since 1999. This decision was made due to the difference between the localized version 2.01 and the newer US version (currently 2.76) and the generally higher cost of internet access in Europe.

F4Alliance MiG-29A Update and Video!
The F4Alliance released a video. "The Silk Man" has prepared a 3 minute full length video that can replace the standard Falcon 4.0 video found on the Falcon 4.0 CD and can be viewed when launching the simulation. The download is available at: SimHQ News

The F4Alliance has also announced that their second complete aircraft package, the MiG-29A 'Fulcrum', will be released Christmas Week 2000. This package will present the first complete DPRK aircraft modeled in Falcon 4.0 that can be flown by player pilots. The MiG-29A package features a high resolution, fully clickable, 2D cockpit with matching 3D cockpit and modified keyboard file to match the new cockpit, new skins (for the DPRK and Chinese), a MiG-29A sound package, and a new splash screen. An improved Automatic Device Switcher (ADS) is included to swap you in and out of your Fulcrum pit as you change aircraft to support the DPRK's push to drive out the foreign invaders. A MiG-29A readme is available at: SimHQ News For more information on the F4Alliance go to: F4Alliance Website

Thursday, December 21, 2000

Military News
Royal Navy to Get New Destroyers!
In a deal worth £1 billion the UK Ministry of Defence has awarded BAE SYSTEMS the prime contract to design, develop, manufacture, test and deliver the first three Type 45 destroyers for the Royal Navy.

Brian Phillipson, BAE SYSTEMS' Type 45 Programme managing director, said: "The requirements on this ship are considerable, and include a very sophisticated and comprehensive range of sensors, weapons and command systems, plus new standards of crew accommodation and an innovative all electric propulsion system.

New F-15 Aircraft Delivered to US Air Force!
The US Air Force has received the final three of 18 F-15C aircraft refitted with Raytheon's APG-63(v)2 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

"The AESA radar allows the pilot to detect, track and destroy multiple enemy aircraft at significantly longer ranges," said Chris Finnerty, Phantom Works F-15 AESA programme manager. "This has been a very successful effort in fielding the latest in advanced radar technology."

In addition to the F-15C AESA, Raytheon is developing AESAs for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Boeing builds for the US Navy, and the Joint Strike Fighter Boeing will build if it wins the competition for that program.

X-32A in First Aerial Refuelling!
The Boeing X-32A Joint Strike Fighter concept demonstrator aircraft has successfully completed its first aerial refuelling. Flying at 20,000 feet and 235 knots, the X-32A manoeuvred into the refuelling drogue and maintained its position below the KC-10 tanker.

US Navy Cmdr. Philip 'Rowdy' Yates, the US government's lead test pilot for the Boeing JSF program, said the successful flight validated the handling qualities required for the Navy air-refuelling task.

Boeing is competing with Lockheed Martin to build the JSF under a four-year US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps concept demonstration contract, while also defining the design for the operational JSF. A winner is scheduled to be selected in 2001.

Wednesday, December 20, 2000

PC News
GameSpy Buys Mplayer!
GameSpy Industries announced that is has purchased Internet games and entertainment service Mplayer from HearMe. According to GameSpy, the acquisition of Mplayer gives GameSpy access to a wider audience, including a much broader group of casual game players. In addition, Mplayer's strong ad sales group and business expertise was a factor in GameSpy's decision to purchase the company. According to Mark Surfas, CEO and founder of GameSpy, the decision to acquire Mplayer was made to give GameSpy new revenue-generating resources to maintain its position as the leading online game service for publishers, advertisers, and game players.

The consideration for the transaction is a combination of cash, a promissory note, and stock by which HearMe acquires a 10 percent stake in GameSpy. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2001. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

GameSpy is also acquiring Mplayer's recently launched, a game community site for tracking game play statistics and ranking, together with a license to the GlobalRankings(TM) technology. The agreement also grants GameSpy a license to the technology platform and patent portfolio behind the Mplayer game matchmaking and latency management technology and back end systems for serving and managing rich media advertising. Additionally, GameSpy will assume and manage the Mplayer content, marketing, and advertising partnerships.

Combat Mission Patch Released!
Big Time Software announced the release of as PUBLIC BETA Version v1.1b23 for Combat Mission. For more information and to get the download go to: Combat Mission

Space Empires: IV Patch 1.19 Released!
Shrapnel Games announced today that the much anticipated patch for Space Empires: IV is available. The Patch resolves several AI issues as well as adding Combat Replay ability. Download at their website: Shrapnel Games

Military News
Raptor Fires Sidewinder!

F-22 Raptor 4002 fires an AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile during a separation test at 40,000 feet Dec. 13. Flown at a 26-degree angle-of-attack at only Mach .4 speed (about 305 mph), the test flight demonstrated the Raptor's ability to operate at slow speeds in a combat environment and still maintain maneuverability. (Photo by Judson Brohmer)

Canada's Most Decorated Sailor Dies at 97!
Harry G. DeWolf, Canada's most decorated sailor from the Second World War, has died at 97. The retired vice-admiral died at his home in Ottawa on Monday. Born in Bedford, N.S., DeWolf left home at 14 to enter the Royal Naval College of Canada in Esquimalt, B.C., where he stayed for three years. He served in the navy for 42 years, rising to naval chief of staff in 1956. He retired four years later. During the Second World War, he was captain of the newly commissioned HMCS Haida, a Tribal class destroyer with a crew of 275.

The Haida regularly clashed with German warships in the English Channel. DeWolf once returned to enemy waters to rescue the survivors of the sunken Canadian ship HMCS Athabaskan. That mission was taken in the dark – and against orders. For that and other such exploits, DeWolf earned the nickname "Hard Over Harry." DeWolf received various awards for his service, including the United States Legion of Merit, the Norwegian Cross of Liberation and the French Cross of the Legion of Honour. A waterfront park in his home town of Bedford, N.S., was named the Admiral Harry DeWolf Park in 1992. Source: CBC News

Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Military News
Airbus Launches A380!
Airbus Industrie has formally launched the A3XX superjumbo at a news conference at its headquarters in Toulouse at 1330 hrs GMT today. The decision was formally endorsed by shareholders (EADS 80% and BAE SYSTEMS 20%)at an Airbus Board meeting this morning. It has been renamed the A380.

The decision comes after Airbus secured a total of 50 launch customer orders last week, when Virgin Airlines signed for six of the aircraft. The aircraft manufacturer had set 50 orders as its target when it announced the availability of the superjumbo earlier this year.

The double-decker aircraft, capable of carrying 550 plus passengers will cost over $10.7 billion to develop. European Governments (France, Germany, Britain and Spain) have offered 'repayable loans' for a significant portion of the development costs, a move which has caused Airbus competitor Boeing to cry foul, a cry echoed by the US Government, alleging that they amount to a subsidy, illegal under a US-European trade agreement. However, the European Commission has strongly rejected that view, saying the loans were " full compliance with the bilateral agreement with the U.S. on aircraft production". Full story at: Aviation Now

PC News
Panzer Elite Beta Patch!
Wings Simulations has announced that a Panzer Elite beta patch 1.08 is out. For more details and to download the patch, click here: Panzer Elite

First DF:LW 1-Star General!
NovaLogic, Inc. has promoted a Delta Force: Land Warrior player as its first General. Nick Huynh of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is the first player of NovaLogic's tactical first-person shooter to earn the rank of 1-Star General via NovaWorld 2. Huynh, 30, plays online as "~EM~][)A][)EATH" (DaDeath) and earned the rank after nearly 100 hours of play. For more info go to: Novalogic

Major Update Coming for Shogun: Total War!
Electronic Arts has announced an updated edition of Shogun: Total War that should hit store shelves next spring. Shogun: Total War Warlord Edition adds new units and structures, a new campaign, and a campaign-based multiplayer mode to the popular strategy game, which challenges players to conquer 16th century Japan through careful operational strategy and clever real-time tactics. In addition, the Warlord Edition opens the game up to potential expansion by releasing both map and scenario editors. With these two tools, users will be able to create new tactical maps and whole strategic campaigns for single- and multiplayer play. For more info visit: Total War

FlightGear 0.7.6 Released!
FlightGear version 0.7.6 is now available for download. The FlightGear Flight Simulator project is a free, open-source flight simulator project. The Flight Gear project is working to create a sophisticated flight simulator framework for the development and pursuit of interesting flight simulator ideas. For more info go to: Flight Gear

Monday, December 18, 2000

Call for Pilots: Independence War 2 Beta Testers Needed!
Infogrames is in need of quality pilots to help in the development of Independence War 2 : The Edge of Chaos. Infogrames has posted a request for beta testers on the official Independence War 2 Beta Test Web site. The space combat simulation game takes place in the 24th century, after a war between space settlers and the government on Earth has allowed a group of powerful corporations to take control of human civilization. Players assume the role of Cal Johnston, an escaped convict on a quest for revenge. The game incorporates adventure elements and resource management into a traditional space combat simulation, and it features a complete multiplayer mode in addition to an extensive single-player campaign. Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos is scheduled for release on the PC in April 2001. To see if you have what it takes to become a test pilot for the world's most advanced space flight simulator click here: Independence War 2

Conflict Zone to be Published by Red Storm Entertainment!
Due to Ubi Soft Entertainment’s recent acquisition of Red Storm Entertainment, Conflict Zone (formerly known as Peacemakers), will now be published by Red Storm Entertainment. Scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2001 for the Dreamcast and PC.

Conflict Zone (formerly known as Peacemakers), developed in France by M.A.S.A, is a classic real-time military strategy game with real-life consequences you’ve never seen before. You can choose to play as the softhearted ICP or the power-hungry dictators, but your highly sophisticated weaponry is no match for public opinion. This is what modern warfare is all about. You will still gather resources, build your bases and fight your battles, but gone are the days when you could “accidentally” firebomb a village of innocent civilians. Now you have television cameras trained on your every move and if citizens become outraged at your actions, the military’s funding will go down and soon, you could lose your command. Play either single player or multiplayer campaigns, but plan your strategy carefully…they’re watching you!

X-35C First Flight!
The United States Navy version of the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) demonstrator took to the skies on Saturday, Dec. 16, initiating a flight-test program that will focus on carrier-suitable flying qualities and aircraft performance. On October 16, at 9:23 a.m. PST, test pilot Joe Sweeney launched the X-35C carrier variant (CV) from the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics plant in Palmdale, Calif., and flew the plane for 27 minutes before touching down at Edwards Air Force Base. The aircraft climbed to 10,000 feet and accelerated to 250 knots (288 miles per hour). Sweeney, a former Navy attack pilot, cycled the landing gear and performed aircraft flying-qualities evaluations, including rolls, sideslips, and overall systems checks.

"As a former Naval aviator I'm picky about the airplanes the U.S. Navy operates. From the moment the wheels of the X-35C left the ground I felt right at home in the cockpit of our Navy demonstrator," Sweeney said. "The precision and ease with which the airplane handles and the performance that was evident gives me great confidence that the X-35 will demonstrate our team's ability to meet the Navy's carrier suitability requirements."

The X-35C is designed to achieve superior carrier-suitable handling qualities within a highly common family of JSF airplanes. Ted Spilman, the government’s X-35 program manager, said the flight represents an important step in creating a weapon tailored to each service but derived from a common platform. While the Navy variant is similar to the X-35A, which completed testing in November, the X-35C has special characteristics to meet the demanding requirements of carrier operations, with no compromise. Its specifications include a larger wing and control surfaces, the addition of ailerons and a special structure to absorb high-impact landings.

WWII Online The Movie! has released a Closed Beta Phase IV Movie Exclusives for WWII Online. Check it out at: Playnet.Com

Free Full-Version of the Original B-17 Flying Fortress Released! ,which provides free games, has announced they now have the free full-version of the old "venerable" B-17 Flying Fortress. The original B-17 Flying Fortress was released by MicroProse back in 1992. This 4.35 mb file can be downloaded at: Free Games Web:B-17

G-Sector 1.5 Released!, the free games website has announced the release of G-Sector 1.5. G-Sector is an arcade-style 3D action game. G-Sector is based around hoverboard combat--a hybrid between an "extreme game" and a third-person shooter. Players control the heroine Cyra as she hoverboards through futuristic cities and arenas. For more info, and to download go to: Free Games Web: G-Sector 1.5

Aces High v.1.05 Getting Closer!
HiTech Creations is getting closer to finishing Aces High version 1.05. This version is going to be a huge change to the game. Check out the latest screens at:HiTech Creations

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