I'm a keen user of Microsoft Flight Simulator 98, and have used it to "fly" a wide variety of aircraft available as freeware add-ons to this product. Most of these additional aircraft come without any information about flight performance, in particular cruise performance. Another limitation of the current panels available for these aircraft (often these are panels automatically assigned by the Flight Shop converter program) is that the fuel flow gauges are often incapable of reading up to the flow rates required by the engines on a large aircraft, and thus stay pegged throughout flight: this makes flight planning haphazard, to say the least.
Using the Panel Software Development Kit (Panel SDK) released by Microsoft in November 1997, I was able to create a custom gauge for Flight Simulator 98 aircraft panels to solve both of these problems. It has a number of modes, pictured below:
|Fuel flow mode indicates the total fuel flow to all of the engines in the aircraft, in Gallons Per Hour.|
|Fuel economy mode indicates the fuel consumption in Gallons Per (nautical) Mile, based on Indicated Airspeed (IAS).|
|Range mode indicates how far the aircraft can fly, in Nautical Miles, at the current engine settings.|
|ACE Economy Mode indicates how much a pilot for the ACE virtual airline pays in fuel and implied maintenance costs for each mile flown at the current settings.|
To overcome the limitations of Indicated Airspeed in computing the various readings, the gauge can also use a speed indication from the aircraft's Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) if flying directly towards or away from a VOR.
The current version of the gauge is V1.2.0, dated 30-Dec-1997. To install it, download the ZIP file (26KB) and unpack it using WinZip or another program which understands long file names. Further installation and usage notes are contained in the enclosed ReadMe.Txt, which you can alternatively read on-line here.