Stephen

Helicopter Review : Bell 407 XP11 by Dreamfoil Creations

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Bell 407_Header.jpg

 

Helicopter Review : Bell 407 XP11 (Pro) by Dreamfoil Creations

 

It is always debatable on what is the best simulation in X-Plane in any category as there is never a clear absolute winner and so it is with helicopters as the field is by other standards small, is very and highly competitive. But without doubt and certainly with all the accolades it has received since it was released three years ago in 2014, then Dreamfoil Creation's amazing Bell 407 is certainly at the very top.

 

With this release the aircraft has been updated to X-Plane11 and is known as the XP11 in the version name, so this is an update on the older version, but also a new release in the fact that is a lot of changes and new features. 

 

So that means a new version does require a repurchase for the X-Plane11 version at a 5c increase to US$35.00, but previous X-Plane10 owners can upgrade to this new XP11 version for only $15. The coupon code for the discount can be found in the original Bell 407 invoice at the X-Plane.Orgstore.

 

First you will make the note that in the title above I noted (Pro). This is not an official title as I added it in myself. The reason behind that title is that Dreamfoil has taken away in this XP11 version the "rigid cruise" and "arcade mode" functions, or easy flight aids that helped entry and trainee or the just plain helpless helicopter wannabe pilots in the exchange of a new autopilot feature. This omission does now make the Bell 407 quite perfect in its flight dynamics, but the aircraft also does now require a lot more skill in doing so, the "Pro's" out there will revel in the aircraft, but unfortunately the lower classes will find it harder to fly without any crutches to help you fly around the delicate flight balance.

 

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The Dreamfoil Bell 407 was excellent before, but with its new X-Plane11 PBR shiny coat and lighting features, the 407 looks simply outstanding in any light.

 

Bell 407_Gloss 1.jpgBell 407_Gloss 2.jpg

 

The PBR lighting highlights the bodywork more and the detailing, glass is also more highly reflective and looks superb on the 407.

 

Internally the PBR really helps as well, making the interior even more plush and dynamic and now has interior normal maps for higher quality.

 

Bell 407_Head 5.jpgBell 407_Head 6.jpg

 

Any developer that crafted high quality external and internal textures really benefit from X-Plane11 PBR features as Dreamfoil does here, the cabin environment was excellent before, but in XP11 the 407's cabin is now simply mindblowing.

 

Bell 407_Head 8.jpgBell 407_Head 7.jpg

 

With this update you now have two versions as well, one with the original brown leather and now the new black leather on the "Black Goldy" and "Lighting Blue" liveries. Of course any smart user could adjust the other liveries to their interior choice in the object files.

 

Bell 407_Texture 1.jpgBell 407_Texture 2.jpg

 

Realism in the cockpit in X-Plane11 is awe inspiring, even better in the air.

 

Bell 407_cockpit 1.jpg

 

All the great features on the original 407 are also all still here.

 

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GPU (Ground Power Unit), Fuel Tank and fuel loading, battery access, and four opening doors with baggage compartment, What is new is that the actions on opening up the doors, getting inside the aircraft and other external items have been refined so all the actions can be done externally and with not having to open the menu each time, the menu is available externally as well if you want it by pressing certain areas on the aircraft (a circle).

 

The two door choices with the full (side) and standard glass has now a third option in a smaller frame window, the glass opens as well.

 

Bell 407_External 5.jpgBell 407_External 6.jpg

 

Low skid, High skid, baskets, Cineflex camera, sling hook, floats, cable cutter, frahm damper are all still here.

 

Bell 407_External 9.jpgBell 407_External 10.jpg

 

There is a great new feature in the aircraft ground moving electric cart.

 

This movable cart is controlled via your joystick. Press the circle on the nose of the cart to raise the aircraft, then control the speed and direction via your joystick...

 

Bell 407_electric cart 1.jpgBell 407_electric cart 2.jpg

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... and yes it is a huge amount of fun, better yet that it allows you to reposition the aircraft back to where you should have landed in the first place.

 

The rotors have had attention as well. The original rotor design was excellent, but in operation the look of the moving blades has been refined for the main rotor and a complete overhaul of the rear rotor to make it look more authentic and make better the rotor blur/shadow effect. It is also to look better with weather addons, but I found that the xEnviro environmental engine looked the same blurry condition, however this is an xEnviro issue not a Dreamfoil issue as it is the same on all propeller aircraft.

 

Bell 407_Rotor 1.jpgBell 407_Rotor 2.jpg

 

So the new moving blade animations do look really good in X-Plane11 when viewed in the default X-Plane simulator. They reflect far better on the aircraft in flight as well, and the shadow effects of the blades rotating from the cockpit perspective is simply excellent and real.

 

Flying the XP11 Bell 407

 

Bell 407_Flying 1.jpgBell 407_Flying 2.jpg

 

As noted the flying characteristics have had a lot of refinement for XP11. You need far more skill now to fly the aircraft with finer movements for control manipulation, forces are now slightly different and more finer and even closer to reality (the 407 was good before). Takeoff is quite tricky to get right, and landings are a real test of skill unless you have a lot of experience on these machines, there is now Improved airfoil drag curve, and now helicopter will cruise at a more realistic speed.

 

The NG has been recalibrated to match the correct rpm on various power settings and the MGT temperatures during start and flight should give you a more accurate reading. Fuel flow is more correct and the Frahm Damper now affects the flight model (you can have it on or off). Back on the ground the idle has been fixed and rotor shutdown won't keep on revolving for ever.

A new feature is the HeliSAS/Autopilot system. Basically an autopilot for the helicopter to take away the pressure of holding the collective and stick for long periods.

 

It is positioned below the main panel above the radio and is extremely easy to use, it is really just a set the aircraft and then set the HeliSAS to keep those settings. You can turn via changing the heading and the speed via the collective and there is also the VRT mode that works via using the knob to set your vertical speed on the V/S dial and ALT will hold your altitude. It takes a little getting used to, but it is very good.

 

Bell 407_Flying 3.jpgBell 407_Flying 4.jpg

 

Dreamfoil created the DreamEngine so you expect the sound to be good, and it is and improved great volumetric cabin sound, more tail rotor loudness and the main rotor sound is audible on the tail cam. Speed slap now requires a bit of distance to be heard and is not as vocal as before and you can hear the air ventilation sound coming out of the back outlets. But the overall sound feels far better and very realistic (it needs to be with an autopilot) so the sound is impressive.

 

The clever menu system is still there on the top-right of the instrument panel and the liveries are easy to select.

 

Bell 407_Menu 1.jpgBell 407_Menu 2.jpg

 

There have been those two extra black interior liveries added to the collection, but otherwise it is same one blank and ten set as before.

 

Bell 407_livery blank.jpg

Bell 407_livery blue.jpgBell 407_livery black:blue.jpgBell 407_livery blue:black:white.jpgBell 407_livery policia.jpg

Bell 407_livery green:white.jpgBell 407_livery cam.jpgBell 407_livery green:stripe.jpgBell 407_livery black.jpg

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Summary

The Bell 407 from Dreamfoil Creations was exceptional before, but the change to X-Plane11 has took the whole deal far higher again. In every area the aircraft is simply outstanding, flight, features, detailing, quality and I could bore you for hours with my feelings for this machine.

 

Great new features including the HeliSAS/Autopilot, Electric Cart, new interior and so on are great attractions here, but mostly this is a qualified conversion to X-Plane11 than just the additions in the package.

 

I do wonder though to drop the entry tools in the "rigid cruise" and "arcade mode" functions was a good idea. It does take the aircraft out of the bounds of trainees and helicopter learners, you have to be really quite proficient to fly this XP11 version, and even training and transitioning on the older XP10 version and then moving over to the XP11 version is still a large gap. I am not saying the time learning to fly this amazing machine is not worth it as because you are flying now the best of the best, but there is certainly a higher skill required to do so.

 

X-Plane11 delivers and requires a whole new level of immersion in simulation. This is the first helicopter converted specifically for the new medium and it shows, and boy does it show. This is a great step forward from already a very high standard, all you can ask is how much higher can you go...  this Bell 407 has to be as good as it gets.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Bell 407 XP11 by Dreamfoil Creations is now available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here :


Bell 407 XP11

 

Price is US$35.00

 

US$35.00, but previous X-Plane10 owners can upgrade to this new XP11 version for only $15. The coupon code for the discount can be found in the original Bell 407 invoice on your account at the X-Plane.Orgstore.

 

More Bell 407 details can be found on the original 2014 X-PlaneReview Release Review here: Aircraft Review : Bell 407 by Dreamfoil Creations

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11 (not compatible with X-Plane 10)
Windows, MAC or Linux - 64 bit Operating System
Joystick required for helicopter operations (No, you cannot fly it with a mouse!)
1GB VRAM Minimum - 2GB+ VRAM Recommended
Current version: XP11 v1 - Last Updated April 27th 2017

 

Improvements over the X-Plane10 Version

 
Features:
- HeliSAS/Autopilot implemented
- Deprecated "rigid cruise" and "arcade mode" functions
- Added blade tie system so each blade can be tied to their positions by clicking and dragging their tips
- New electrical cart for moving the helicopter on ground
 
Graphics:
- Added interior normal maps
- Improved gauges bar display visibility
- Removed _lit textures for 5 objects on interior
- Two variants of seat and interior textures that take advantage of PBR
- Cabin lights are now on their real place and using spill lights
- Framerate improve with obj optimized by removing ghost animations
- New 3D propeller for tail rotor
- Fixed rotor blur/shadow issue with clouds
- Improved pedal stop light logics
- Fixed small fliped quad on left side of headphone
- Fixed missing placards
- Added instruments glass
 
Sound:
- New skin for DreamEngine config window to match XP11 ui
- Added DreamEngine volumetric cabin
- Improved tail rotor loudness
- Main rotor sound might be audible on tail cam
- Speed slap now requires a bit of distance to be heard
- Added air ventilation sound to back outlets
 
UI:
- SmartLivery now uses X-Plane 11 thumb icons
- Added mouse scroll to manipulators
- Added ability to manually rotate the rotor from outside
- Added GPU external manipulator
- Added Garmin430 power button manipulator
- Added engine inlet/outlet/pitot caps can be manipulated individualy from outside without need to go in menu for adding them
- Moved external menu from nose tip to side of nose, this was necessary to add the pitot cap manipulator
- Improved SmartMenu icons visibility and interaction radius
- Improved battery compartment handling, it's not necessary to go on menu to open/close it anymore
- Improved doors external interaction, now it's possible to choose between go inside or just open the door
 
Flight Model:
- Improved airfoil drag curve, now helicopter will cruise at a realistic speed
- Fixed torque on ground with flight rpm, will display correct value now
- Improved landing gear adaptation during plugin start to avoid helicopter "drop" at ground
- Recalibrated NG to match the correct rpm on various power settings
- Fixed MGT temperature during start and flight should give an more accurate reading
- Improved fuel flow
- Fixed wrong idle speed
- Improved rotor slowdown during shutdown, will not keep spinning forever
- Frahm Damper now affects the flight model
- Enhanced lateral skid friction by plugin
 
Others:
- Clock now displays the Estimated Time from HSI
- Added shutdown command for starter switch
- SmartMenu commands can now be found on command list
- Organized and renamed commands descriptions for better organization
- Fixed the air conditioner switchs logics
- Fixed starter not disengaging during shutdown

 

Installation :   Download file size is 347.90mb to your X-Plane - Helicopter Folder. Installed file size is 792.80mb.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton
29th April 2017
Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
 
(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)
 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11r1

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: None

Scenery or Aircraft

- KEYW Key West International by Fletcherj (KEYW Key West International Airport V1.0 ) - X-Plane.Org - free

 

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