Sunday, October 08, 2006

Windows Strikes Again

Recently I flew with a longtime friend who wanted to do some approaches. He explained beforehand that he had been flying strictly VFR for several months and thought he might be a bit rusty. The flight confirmed the rust prediction. He wanted to make a trip to Rapid City, SD (KRAP), so decided to schedule a sim session.

He normally flies a Piper Dakota, a fixed-gear Cherokee with a 235 hp engine. I configured the sim for a fixed-gear C182, figuring this would be close in speeds and performance to the Dakota.

About 45 minutes into the sim session, strange things started happening. First symptom was a loss of power, followed by loss of vacuum, then electrical failure. I was baffled. I hadn’t specified any systems failures, and a check of the malfunctions page confirmed that everything was supposed to be working.

With apologies, I reconfigured the sim as a trusty C172, the most commonly used model in the sim. Again, about 20 minutes or so into the flight, the same set of symptoms occurred.

I was both perplexed and unhappy. This had been my friend’s first introduction to the sim, and it certainly did not live up to his expectations. I called Elite support and left a message detailing the problem.

Elite support called back in about an hour. Yes, they had seen the problem and knew what it was. It was not an Elite software bug, nor was it a hardware bug. Instead, it was a Windows problem.

Wonderful Windows XP had struck again. In its “father knows best” mode, Windows decided to put the USB hub into energy saving mode. I was directed to the proper spot to turn off the option to put the USB hub into energy saving mode.

So far it hasn’t happened again. Once again however I find that I really resent the hubris on the part of Windows to think that it knows what is best for my system.

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