Canadian author Brian Peters has written a new fictional book called "Hypersonic," a thriller about greed and organized crime in the airline industry.
In the book, TransGlobal Airlines has joined the battle of domestic airlines as an aggressive and dynamic company. When it adds to its fleet the world's first hypersonic passenger jet capable of trans-oceanic Mach 6 flight, its popularity and stock skyrockets. Events begin to unfold on the ground as well as in the air. Blackmail, murder and greed entwine forcing the president to confront the airline's dark and secretive past.
The book's author was born into an Air Force family and joined the Air Cadets at age thirteen, where he gained his glider pilot's license. Brian has had a number of short stories published in literary journals and periodicals, but Hypersonic is his first novel.
Learn more about the author at the Brian Peters Website, where you can also find some of his short stories and get a glimpse of his future works. You can order the book directly from the author, or through bookstores (ISBN 1-4196-1785-0).
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Podcasts are hard. Harder than Blogs which are harder than Web pages which are harder than forums and newsgroups. The difficulty lies in the commitment required of the content creator.
Posting to a forum requires little to no effort. You don't have to think much about it if you don't want to. Or if you can't. Sure, there are some great aviation forums with valuable content, but there is a lot of dribble mixed in too.
Maintaining a Web page is a greater commitment if you want visitors to find you and return. Most (but not all) types of sites need a periodic freshening of content. For the Webmaster, that takes time and energy - the more the better.
Blogs are like forums, except you are usually the only poster and you need to keep up a steady stream of mostly intelligent thoughts or information that at least a few people find interesting. Anybody can start a blog - see Thirty Thousand Feet for a giant list of aviation blogs - but it's hard to put out a good one, and it's harder to keep one going strong. More than a few start with great intentions, then fall by the wayside.
Podcasts are hard enough because of the additional technical requirements of sound recording, mixing, and editing. But to be good at it, you have to keep doing it over and over and over. And you have to do it well. Maybe not as well as broadcast or satellite radio, but that's the benchmark people will compare you to. For these reasons, the list of aviation podcasts is fairly short.
But I do love aviation podcasts and I listen to them almost every day. (Since Howard went to Sirius Radio, and I don't yet have satellite in the car, I mostly listen to podcasts on the commute to and from work.) My usual routine is to fire up the Dell Axim X50v pocket PC in the morning, let it connect to the wireless network at home, and run my little RSS program, PocketRSS. This downloads my favorite RSS feeds and also the podcasts I subscribe to, most of them aviation related. Then in the car, I listen either through the built-in speaker in the PDA mount, or broadcast to the car radio with one of those transmitters that plugs into the headphone jack of the Axim. I find MortPlayer a great app for playing podcasts because of the way it can build a playlist from the mp3 files in my "podcasts" directory.
As for aviation podcasts that are produced regularly, I like these:
- Aero-News.net - This is a great source for daily aviation news. It's professionally produced, or it sounds like it to me. In addition to the "daily news," they have special features. I really liked their ANN Special Feature: Zero-G Flight 01.12.06 which takes you through one of those "astronaut training" weightless rides you can buy. I think they're three grand. Might be worth it after listening to this podcast!
- Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase! - Betty is a flight attendant and she takes you along for the ride. Episode 11, Serendipity, contains some entertaining stories about "moments in life that are not easily explained."
- Fly With Me - This podcast is by an airline pilot and it comes out about monthly. It's well done and you get some insights into the world of airline crew. I usually listen to this one first if I have a bunch in my playlist.
- FlyingPilot.com - This is a fairly new addition to my favorites list. Besides news, he provides aviation history and science pieces. Kind of "how things work" stuff.
- PodAsia - Matthew Holden - This podcast is put out pretty much weekly by an Australian who lives in Singapore but travels all over the world for his business. The aviation angle is more from a business traveler perspective, and Matthew is quite the character. He' a very entertaining guy and I love listening to him. He's hinted at future projects, and I don't know what those might be, but I have the feeling I'll be interested in them. He's always got good "pod-safe" music mixed in.
Those are a few of my favorites. See my list of aviation blogs and podcasts for more, and let me know of any others I don't have listed.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
The following is exerpted from a press release. I don't normally do press releases here, but Thirty Thousand Feet has a fairly large Flight Sim following, so here goes:
Popular flight simulator program “Lock On Modern Air Combat” is among the first software products to upgrade its software for eMagin Corporation’s new Z800 3DVisor.
The software offers improved 3D graphics and settings to take advantage of the 3DVisor’s 3D stereovision and built-in headtracking. “The 3DVisor offers a whole new level of immersion for flight simulation,” said Jim Mackonochie, of The Fighter Collection’s Military Simulation Division. “Lock On is known for its combination of stunning graphics advanced flight dynamics and broad range of flyable aircraft. The 3DVisor amplifies the playing experience, taking you right into the cockpit and letting you look around instead of scrolling with a joystick or mouse.”
Lock On is a product of software developer Eagle Dynamics and The Fighter Collection; it is published and distributed by Ubisoft. The program lets users fly a variety of combat aircraft in “the most graphically rich, audio-intense game environment ever created for a combat flight simulator.”
Built on the eMagin’s proven OLED technology base, the Z800 3DVisor provides full-color, 360-degree, 3D stereovision through its state-of-the-art head tracking and SVGA 3D OLED microdisplays. With stereo earbuds and a noise-canceling microphone, the 3DVisor enables multi-player scenarios with “radio contact” or group training scenarios, as well as individual scenarios. In addition, the Z800 requires only USB power to deliver these capabilities.