Stephen

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  1. It notes... "If you already have purchased the A350 XWB from FlightFactor then go to your account at the X-PlaneStore and update to v1.4.3." in the review? SD
  2. If you read the updates you will find the answer: News! - Aircraft Updated to X-Plane11 : Airbus A350 XWB v1.4.3 by FlightFactor SD
  3. X-Plane11 As Laminar Research's X-Plane11 is getting nearer to its release, then it is warranted that articles, posts and items related to the X-Plane version have a home or place on X-PlaneReviews... so here it is. X-PlaneReviews will cover the the version in depth with features and articles allowing you to get the very best from X-Plane in this new generational version. So check back here often to see what is new in X-Plane11. X-PlaneReviews
  4. No sorry that doesn't work? The only way to lower your altitude is to dive the aircraft (but that gains you speed?) switching off the "Arti-Stab" just does nothing? SD
  5. News! - Aircraft Released! : PA31 Chieftain 350 HD Series by Alabeo Another twin from Carenado/Alabeo within the month. This is the Alabeo version of the PA31-350 Chieftain which is a stretched version of the lovely PA31 Navajo that I really liked from the middle of last year (2016), review is here: Aircraft Review - PA31 Navajo HD Series by Carenado So I will be interested to compare this larger (or Chieftain sized aircraft with no pun intended) with the quality of the Navajo. One instant difference is that this Chieftain has the G500 instrument package compared with the older dial panel on the Navajo. X-PlaneReview's liked the G500 instrument package as well (we like a lot of nice things!) that was first on the recently released PA34 Seneca V, and if you want to take a peek at that system then read the review here: PA34 Seneca V by HD Series by Carenado Features include: Alabeo G500 2 different models: commuter and standard Custom sounds Volumetric side view prop effect High quality 3D model and textures. Blank texture for creating your own designs. Accurately reproduced flight characteristics 64-bit compatible. FPS-optimized model. SuperManipulator scroll wheel support Alabeo/Carenado quality is part of the deal, and so you won't be disappointed. Included: 6 hd liveries 2 different color panels 1 Blank texture Normal Procedures PDF Emergency Procedures PDF Performance tables PDF Reference PDF Note the two separate versions in - commuter and standard. Technical Requirements Windows XP -7-8 (or higher) or MAC OS 10.8 (or higher) or Linux X-Plane 10.40 (or higher) i5 (or equivalent) 2.5 GHz - 8GB RAM - 2GB Video card 495MB available hard disk space The PA31 Chieftain is flyable also in X-Plane11, that is "flyable" and not configured as X-plane11 is still in it's beta phase. The PA34 Seneca V is available right now from Carenado... ______________________________________________________________________ The PA31 Chieftain 350 HD Series by Alabeo is NOW available! here : PA31 CHIEFTAIN 350 for X-PLANE NOW AT CARENADO Price is US$32.95 Notes: For WINDOWS users: Please ensure that you have all the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables downloaded and installed (click here) CARENADO G1000 DATABASE (MUST BE INSTALLED). Images & Text are courtesy of Carenado© Developer site : Carenado.com ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 22nd February 2017 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews
  6. Very interesting aircraft, Only note is that when you lower the throttle it doesn't descend? It just stays up there even with the "Hover" switched off... SD
  7. News! - Aircraft Updated to X-Plane11 : Airbus A350 XWB v1.4.3 by FlightFactor FlightFactor have updated their Airbus A350 XWB aircraft to be flyable in X-Plane11. The note here is flyable or compatible and not a totally configured aircraft for the new X-Plane version as the simulator is still within its beta stages (XP11b11 at this article). But flyable or usable is still a very nice place to be. We saw a very nice and more complete upgrade to the A350 v1.30 just back in July 2016, and right there and then it felt like a completely new aircraft than the earlier predecessors. Here again with this version v1.43 you see a solidness that was missing in the earlier releases of this Airbus aircraft, it usually came off second best compared to the Boeing designs of B757/767 and the B777 Series. But now it is a very though machine and becoming very mature as it ages. Again the FMC is still not a full total replication of a FMS (Flight Management System) like on the B757/767 and in this case the SID/STAR component is still missing for now, but it is coming, I swear it is. FlightFactor put a nice shine on to the A350 in the last update, and in XP11 the aircraft looks amazing. The exceptional lighting of X-Plane11 is bringing aircraft alive in realism and put that factor together with highly detailed aircraft and the results are stunning. Version v1.4.3 notes are: v1.4.3 - added xp11 compatability - Introduction of popup screens - Terrain on ND now available - support of custom earth_nav.dat files. Not a big update list, but you do feel there are more improvements than listed that have been addressed under the skin. The complex sets of monitor screens that is unique to the A350 flight deck has had some slight changes. Popup screens The OIS (Onboard Information System) side (and center) menu screens, were... let us say "a little buggy" in the original release of the A350 XWB. nothing really wrong but the effects of using the huge X pointer was a bit hit and miss. The problem was making out the screen active areas and the outer panel not active area, but all the issues have now been resolved, but to give you a secondary option, you now have a new menu (options) selection that allows you to switch into two modes. The new item is the MFD control that has two options "Wheel+Popup" and "Touch Screen" Default is "Touch Screen" that still gives you that enlarged X pointer. But the newer selection in "Wheel+Popup" will freeze the X Pointer and when you want to make a selection the pop up window comes up and you can only use the standard hand (finger) selector for choosing items on the menus. (sorry the hand selector does not show in the images). It does make selections easier and quicker, but you do have a full pop-up screen every time you want to change a menu item. Another new feature is "Terrain on ND" which is a radar terrain map showing on the Navigation Display. It is like the unit on the Boeing 757/767, but none adjustable. Sea is noted in blue, and you have terrain data details on the right. The ground profile is also shown on the vertical display on the lower part of the Navigation Display. Aircraft data in X-Plane11 In X-Plane11 the Navigation data system has had a complete overhaul. One of the changes is that the usual "Custom Data" or navigation data details is now missing in the main X-Plane root folder. Developers now have to supply the actual aircraft with the data to include Navigraph and Aerosoft Navdata Pro with navigational data. To allow the A350 to fly in X-Plane this data has now been included within the update v1.4.3 Note the excellent click to complete checklist system, green for completed checks and blue for not covered checks. Cockpit is now very refined with lots of nice touches and details. Note the working rear FMS unit and left - right pilot flying selection. Cockpit night lighting is now excellent, lovely place to be on a long overnight flight. Liveries supplied are: Blank, House/Qatar, Airbus House, Airbus Carbon, Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and United are the default liveries There are sets of 10 other liveries you can purchase from different regions of the world including Oceania, Africa & Middle East, Asia, Atlantic, Europe 1, Europe 2 and Pacific. Summary Developers are caught at the moment with X-Plane11. Fix up the aircraft and the details change with a sudden new beta update. But we are well along the beta path now and an RC is on the horizon soon anyway. Personally I have found X-Plane11 in basic form extremely stable, so creating a compatible X-Plane11 aircraft is not going to go seriously out of whack anytime soon, as this excellent A350 in X-Plane11 shows. This update is just that in a compatible and flyable aircraft for X-Plane11, but the new "Terrain on ND" is a very nice and useful feature to have as well. The A350 from FlightFactor is becoming brilliantly good now, and is starting to fulfill its potential as one of the great aircraft to fly in X-Plane, and there is still more to come. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Airbus A350-900 XWB Advanced from FlightFactor is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store: Airbus A350 XWB Advanced Price is currently US$ 49.95 Livery packs at US$10 for ten liveries are available here: A350 Liveries Include: North America, Oceania, Africa & Middle East, Asia, Atlantic, Europe 1, Europe 2 and Pacific. If you already have purchased the A350 XWB from FlightFactor then go to your account at the X-PlaneStore and update to v1.4.3. Requirements: X-Plane 10 (fully updated) or X-Plane 11 Windows - Mac - Linux - 64bit Operating System Required 1Gb+ VRAM Minimum, 2Gb+ VRAM Minimum. 8Gb RAM Version : 1.43 (last updated February 10th, 2017) Release Review : Aircraft Review : Airbus A350 XWB Advanced by FlightFactor Support forum : FlightFactor A350 XWB _____________________________________________________________________________________ Updated by Stephen Dutton 13th February 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
  8. Scenery Review : UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport & City by Drzewiecki Design The tales of the "Arabian Nights" is intertwined with the feel and place of Baku in Azerbaijan. The Arabian Nights stories are also originally known as the "One Thousand and One Nights" and the tale of a ruler called Shahryār, Ruiling in the 8th century over Persia he is shocked to discover that his brother's wife is unfaithful; discovering his own wife's infidelity has been even more flagrant, he has her executed: but in his bitterness and grief decides that all women are the same. And so Shahryār begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning, before she has a chance to dishonour him. Running out of Virgins then Scheherazade, the vizier's daughter, offers herself as the next bride and her father reluctantly agrees. On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it. The king, curious about how the story ends, is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins (and only begins) a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion of this tale, postpones her execution once again. So it goes on for 1,001 nights. With the translation into English of the tales of Scheherazade, is the stories you have heard at school or watched on Disney including Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, The Seven voyages of Sinbad and many others. Over time the images that are created by these stories are also imprinted on your conscious including a golden city in the desert, a fort with flags adorning the turrets and huge men with massive curved scimitar blades or Shamshir swords standing guard and at the whims of their rulers, Persian might at the central crossroads of the world. History is a place to create and to visit, but overall to feel a time and a certain imagination of a world now long gone. But in Baku, Azerbaijan it is mixture of everything, first is that Arabian Night feel as there is an actually a real fortress still sitting out there in the sands of time, but now surrounded with glitzy new age glass sparkling towers as notes to our modern era. The bazaars are still full of goods as they were in the days of the Silk Road trails, as Baku was a major stopover point in the travelers journeys from East to West. Its culture was created on the countless back and to invasions by the Persians (Iran) and the Russians over the centuries, until Azerbaijan had its independence in October 1991 after the Soviet collapse. Oil is the main growth profit creator, but tourism is also huge business and the city is now wanting more a lot more, European more, Chinese more, American more as the new Dubai of the new world order. No I am not working for the Azerbaijan tourist agency but you can see the attraction of a place to fly to that is such a kaleidoscope of contrasts, and only a few hours flying from central Europe. LOWW - Vienna to UBBB Baku - First Impression So the best place to start our review of Baku was in Central Europe, and Schwechat LOWW airport in Vienna (Wien) in Austria. AXDG has done a nice job of Schwechat and their latest version 1.1.1 now has working boarding gates. The distance between central Europe to Baku is around 1,500nm, or 3-1/2 hours flying time between points. You can easily fly a single aisle A320 or B737/B757 or Twin-aisle B767 but I am using the A330 by JARDesign as it is the right size and speed for the leg. The early morning traffic jam means that the departure from Schwechat is slow, "I'm burning fuel waiting here". Once clear of the traffic we can stretch the A330's legs, altitude to FL356, and .m84 means we go high and fast. The route covers Hungary, then Romania and then a third of the flying is over the Black Sea. (google maps) Until you hit the coast at Georgia and then finally Azerbaijan with Baku on the eastern side on the Caspian Sea. It is far from being a boring flight, with the Romanian Carpathian Mountain ranges (left) then the coastal lands of Romania (right). The arrival in Georgia brings up the magnificent Greater Caucasus Mountain ranges that you follow all the way over to Baku. It is a spectacular arrival. You slip out over the Caspian Sea to arrive from the south as Baku is set out on a peninsula. You do a large circle curve around to GOBUS which is the southern approach STAR that give you access to runways 34 and 35, but note that most charts note RWY35 as RWY36. Baku City itself is 20km southwest of the airport, and you can see on the horizon the distinctive buildings of the city. The Drzewiecki Design scenery comes with the option of using either of two sets of ortho images of which one version is 8m/pix in detail of photoreal coverage (with mesh) for the whole country of Azerbaijan and most mountain ranges nearby. I choose not to use the lower resolution, but the standard one and it is visually perfectly fine without the framerate hit of the far more detailed version that is more usable in the VFR rule role of flying around Azerbaijan, but that option is there if you want to do that. The photoreal images do make for a spectacular arrival, but they are flat. And because Azerbaijan is way out of the area for a detailed OSM (Open Street Map) data there is very little default autogen to give you a 3d aspect of the scenery, fine from above but the scenery can be flat on the ground. Heydar Aliyev Airport is positioned just slightly inland from the coast, but visually it is a great approach. I am using RWY35 which is on a slight angle to RWY34, so you have to be careful that you get your lineup with your chosen runway correctly, it can be slightly confusing from a distance. You cross over the Mardakan Highway (Airport Rd) on the final's and it makes a visual working treat. To the right there is a large Silk Way maintenance hangar and other infrastructure and on the left the old and new terminals give you a distinctive Islamic feel. Runway and taxiway detailing and marking is first rate, I really liked the dusty sand look on the taxiway edges. But it is a fair taxi back to the terminal area from the top of both RWY 34 & 35. There is a slight feel emptiness around the airport but there is a little and very good static aircraft like the great IL76's, but once in the terminal area itself and at the gates you are pretty well on your own. My gate (12) sits as part as the impressive new Terminal One that replaced the original Soviet era terminal, it is all glass and steel and very well replicated by Drzewiecki Design but the gates are not animated, which is real shame, there are vehicles in the scenery, but they are not animated either. Overall it was a very impressive flight and and a very immersive scenery at UBBB that gives out a really "you in a very different place" feeling, so my first impressions of UBBB are excellent. _______________________________________________ UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport IATA: GYD - ICAO: UBBB 16/34 2,700m (8,858ft) Asphalt/Concrete 17/35 3,200m (10,499ft)Asphalt/Concrete Elevation AMSL 3m/10 ft Heydar Aliyev Airport sits out there like a mirage in the desert, of which it is in a way. It is extremely well done, but you have to take the flat images as part of the deal, but because the detail in the images are so good, it isn't really an issue. Formerly Heydar Aliyev was called Bina International Airport by the name of a suburb in Baku. On March 10, 2004, the airport was renamed in honor of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, the third President of Azerbaijan. The airport is located 20 kilometers northeast of Baku, connected to the city by a modern highway, which was put into operation in 2008. It is the busiest airport in Azerbaijan and of the Caucasus. The airport serves as the home base for flag carrier Azerbaijan Airlines and its subsidiary AZALJet as well as freight carrier Silk Way Airlines. (wikipeda) Everything hubs around the two central terminals, and they are both excellent with not only fine detailing but a lot of the airside fill with carparks with 3d cars and great tree and fauna arrangements. Terminal 1 The four-level engineering concept of Terminal 1 was developed in July 2010 by Arup company, with a tricorn shape and semi transparent roof. The total building area is 65,000 square meters and the interior was designed by Turkish company AUTOBAN which has a series of oak-veneer 'cocoons'. Terminal 1, commissioned in April 2014, has twelve (A1 - A12) aerobridge equipped gates. The terminal is designed for 6 million passengers per year and it currently serves up to 3 million passengers per year. This terminal is a fantastic designed reproduction, detailing of the structure is outstanding and with no doubt a lot of work has gone into recreating this building. It would be interesting though to see all that glass with the new X-Plane11 reflection feature, but it is very well done... and not only the outside. The interior of the terminal is just as detailed and highly walk-aroundable. A great introduction to Baku. Gate detail is fantastic, but empty? It all feels a bit "Just built and the airport not yet opened". There is some gate service vehicles and cargo pallets throughout the scenery but not overwhelmingly so. Terminal 2 Terminal 2, serves serves only domestic flights, was completed in 1989, and has 11 gates (B1 - B11) Very Islamic in design than the newer T1, but very much more in keeping with the areas character. No internal/external design like with T1, but very well detailed around the terminal structures. Older style airbridges are also non-animated. Control Tower and Entrances The airport has a very distinctive control tower that has been well reproduced here. Tower detailing is excellent including the internal control room. There are also two very distinctive airport entrance posts that are also perfectly recreated. But the "Tower View" above is an "Epic Fail" as it is positioned somewhere in the middle of a carpark? Central Area The airport's entrance to the terminals is to the right filled with hotels and administration buildings Highlight is the excellent Sheraton Baku Airport and there is even a Mosque for prayers. There is a huge amount of remote (empty) parking space on both sides of Terminal 1, with a VIP reception on the eastern side. Cargo Terminal There is a huge Cargo/Logistics Terminal at UBBB, and it is a great destination for all the haulers. Local freighter Silk Way dominate, but this area is the best and mostly lively in the scenery. Opposite the Cargo Terminal as we saw on our arrival via RWY35 is the Silk Way maintenance hangar and a private jet or executive parking area. The modeling of the maintenance hangar is again very good and this area is highly usable as well. There is another large maintenance hangar mid-field behind Terminal 1 and various other designed and placed buildings, but there is more of Baku just on the horizon... Baku City Drzewiecki Design has designed most of the major icon buildings of Baku for the scenery. Items included are the Bibi-Heybat Mosque, Baku TV Tower, Government House, Flame Towers, Heydar Aliyev Center, Maiden Tower, Caspian Waterfront Mall, Baku Crystal Hall and the outlandish (still being built) Cresent Hotel Complex. There is also a load of stadiums, highrise buildings and complexes. It works very well from the right angle and height (below left) but closer to the ground it looks quite empty and flat with a few buildings on the plate look (below right). Drzewiecki Design has done a good job to fill in as much as they could do, but you just miss that autogen filler to give the full scenery that complete 3d look from every angle. The whole point is that it Baku looks good from a distance and for arrival and departure, and for that this city scape works very well. Azerbaijan Airports Spread around the scenery are a few light basic airports from Drzewiecki Design that cover the area of Azerbaijan. These airports are just mostly small GA airports but they are handy in exploring the country. These airports cover: UBBL Lenkoran (In X-Plane as UB10?), UBBG Ganja, UBBN Nakhchivan (upper row), UBBQ Qabala, UBBY Zaqatala and UBTT Zabrat (lower row). All are in great positions and a few in really picturesque locations... but. All the airports have significant problems? Five have runways that are over 6000m long? and one with dual major runways in the middle of nowhere? Another in UBBG has trees on the ramp? So they all look ridiculous, which is a real shame as they are highly usable? Only Zabrat has a normal runway and is also visible from UBBB Baku. Lighting Lighting at UBBB is passable, or to put it another way "it won't win any lighting and special effects awards this year". There is enough fill to get around the airport and park, but the original Flight Simulator night textures do show and are basic. Terminal 1 does look good thankfully, and is usable. Terminal 2 is passable. The Sheraton is mostly in the dark, but the Cargo ramps are well lit and are usable at night... just. Approach and Runway lighting is good, but the taxiway lighting is only on a few of the main routes, and it is very easy to get lost with a wrong turn and be stranded. A map is required to navigate at night and don't take that wrong turn! Baku City Again the Flight Simulator textures do show, but they not too bad. The autogen fill in between the 3d objects though is greatly missed. Services Baku is certainly different for your flying, but its position is not too far from Europe and you can easily cover Turkey, Greece and that general eastern Mediterranean area as well. Russia to the north is also a great way to go. AZAL and Azerbaijan Airlines dominate (both the same airline) and they fly as far as New York, London and Bejing in China. There are a lot the Eastern Bloc and a few Russian Airlines but not as many Russian as you would expect, but WIZZ and S7 are highly visible here as is Turkish Airlines. European Airlines are thin on the ground with Lufthansa the only airline with a regular service. Cargo Silk Way Cargo is the main user of UBBB and is based here, but it is a busy cargo hub for Cargolux as well and Iran Air Cargo, and the destinations cover a lot of ports both east and west including Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Frankfurt and surprisingly a lot of rides to Milan. Flight Simulator to X-Plane conversion This scenery by Drzewiecki Design is also available for FSX, MFS 2004, Prepar3d besides X-Plane. There is no doubt the conversion factor and in areas it shows the sceneries heritage, but that is fine as overall it is a great scenery for X-Plane. But the FSX to X-Plane conversion is poor? And really annoying in the fact that most of the items required to make the scenery X-Plane compatible are just so very easily done... so in this aspect it is noted as lazy. There is no X-Plane11 Airport layout? You can select your airport runway and ramp position, but not from the layout section? And that aspect is really needed here. No X-Plane animations in Vehicles or airbridges? There is no built in ground routes so you can't use xLife or the default X-Plane static aircraft or ATC? and there are no ground routes for WorldTraffic either, so all this together makes it a pretty staid place to be. The laziness is expanded to the poor tower view and the super long runways in the extra airport sceneries that renders them useless. X-Plane lighting is thankfully is just passable but not brilliant. And working autogen around the airport and Baku City would be a serious bonus with so much flat Ortho textures. In other words the conversion to the X-Plane platform here is minimal at best. Summary Although the above X-Plane features are poor in this scenery, it still delivers a great destination and a very interesting place to fly to and use. From that aspect it is good scenery, it feels very much like Aerosoft's Keflavik Airport when you are here in look and use and that scenery is one of my favorites. The modeling where it is good like Terminal 1 is excellent, and overall the modeling is very good and UBBB certainly delivers on what you want in a great destination and only a few missed flourishes could have delivered an outstanding scenery for X-Plane. But you do get a lot of scenery for your money, so there is a lot of value built in here. So are you willing to travel to an outpost on the modern day Silk Route, and feel the real Arabian Night tales in today's environment. This Drzewiecki Design is a great scenery to feel that aspect and it is a good scenery to go somewhere different and explore an opening up area of the X-Plane world just beyond Europe and the Middle-East. Flying to and using UBBB Baku is another great tale to keep Scheherazade from her fate, and another story and a great destination to add a very different dimension to your X-Plane flying life. ______________________________________________________________________ The UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport & City by Drzewiecki Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : UBBB Baku Airport and City XP Price is US$23.00 Features Extremely detailed model of UBBB Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku UBBB with 3D people, high quality static aircraft, up-to-date airport layout Advanced interior modeling (Terminal 1, tower, Silkway hangar) with native HDR lights Baku city with hundreds of custom-made landmarks with night textures 8m/pix optional photoreal coverage (with mesh) for the whole country of Azerbaijan (~80.000km²) plus ~8000km² of Iran, ~7000km² of Armenia, ~6000km² of Georgia and ~11.000km² of Russia (we followed mountain ranges and other geographical features rather than political borders) Lite models of Lenkoran, Ganja, Nakhchivan, Qabala, Zaqatala and Zabrat Custom-made UBBB airport charts included Requirements: X-Plane 10 fully updated (any edition) or X-Plane 11+ Mac, Windows or Linux 2Gb+ VRAM Video Card 1GB HD for Installation ______________________________________________________________________ Installation The download package is 836.40mb And there is four folders to be installed in your "Custom Scenery" Folder and must be in this order... 000 Drzewiecki Design Library (Installed 32kb) DD Baku XP (Installed 3.43gb) DD Baku XP Documents (Installed 3.3mb) ZZZ Baku XP Terrain (Installed 25.5mb) Windows version comes with a .exe installer with the option to install the 8m/pix terrain. For Mac users the notes are: "If you wish to remove the photoreal terrain of Azerbaijan, navigate to the : X-Plane\Custom Scenery\DD Baku XP\Earth nav data\Without_Azerbaijan_phototerr ...folder, copy all 3 folders that are located there, go one step "up" in the folder structure, to the folder: X-Plane\Custom Scenery\DD Baku XP\Earth nav data ...and paste the 3 copied folders into that folder. This will remove the photoreal terrain. You can easily turn it back on by unpacking the product's ZIP file and overwriting the whole DD Baku XP folder." Documents: DD Baku XP Documents Baku XP MacLinuxInstall Baku XP MANUAL UBBB CHARTS (charts are quite basic in two airport layout charts and two ILS runway approach charts) These UBBB charts are better: http://uvairlines.com/admin/resources/charts/UBBB.pdf ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 15th February 2017 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews 2017 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 11beta11 / Checked install in X-Plane10.51 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : Headshake by SimCoders Plugins: : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 Scenery or Aircraft - Airbus A330-243 by JARDesign (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$60.95
  9. Simulator Modifications : Project BetterSky A lot of users like to mess around with the inner engine room of the X-Plane Simulator to further enhance or to create things that will extend the usability of the simulator. This is the creative element at work and pretty well what X-Plane in its form is all about. Personally unless it is an addon that won't get into or change the inner basics of the actual Laminar Research settings and files then I really won't want to go messing around under da hood. Yes I use a lot of addons and plugins, but mostly only the really tried and tested ones, and because of the testing and the reviews do require the standard system as a set benchmark to see anything abnormal of the subject under the spotlight. Winter Texture modifications do replace core X-Plane assets, but the MOD system allows for a quick switch over the the standard assets in a keystroke like when you are ready to do say update or do a review in a very short space of time using the standard assets. It gets messy as well if you start using a lot of different modifications, and you will find your system suddenly behaving quite abnormal with all those different changes, most modifications do work very well in a single instance, but together can also create complexity and can interfere with each other... in others words slow down the efficiency of the simulator. If one total aim that I strive for above all the other factors in X-Plane is in all its glorious complexity is just simply its performance and efficiency. But the one area in non-advancement of X-Plane and in mostly X-Plane10 has been the Weather. The release of X-Plane10 brought with it Austin's "Little Puffs". A great idea to created 3d clouds, but it also created a framerate monster killer in the process, it worked but not very well and as other areas took away Laminar's attention as it was mostly resided into the "Too hard basket". Yes over the years there has been refinements, but the overall system needed a larger makeover and not just a "fix it up" approach. Laminar Research has noted that for X-Plane11 they are right now doing a lot of refinement to the visual weather system in X-Plane, and not before time. Over the years then it was up to the twiddlers and creative souls to try to come up with a better solution. So there has been hundreds of Sky enhancement packages that mostly and usually focus on X-Plane's sky colors and clouds, these sets have created almost a wide spectrum of results and mostly in the horrible and gaudy aspects that sometimes made you think you were flying on Mars and not the blue orb of Planet Earth. A few years ago the weather situation changed for the better with Sundog's Sky-Maxx Pro which was the first really good Environment Engine, then at the end of 2016 came xEnviro's excellent Environment Engine that I simply endorse for anyone using X-Plane, as it has changed my flying aspects completely. But the addon cost and certainly for xEnviro is high (but you get what you pay for) and for a lot of users they run their simulations on a budget. So here is an interesting project called "BetterSky' that does actually deliver on what is promises to do and above all it is free. First a note in that BetterSky does change your default files deep into your system's file structure. But it does this with a LUA script and a program called Flywithlua. Yes, yes, yes messy internal stuff, but the results are favorable and the results now in v1.1 is showing a lot of promise. The visual effect is a big step up from the current standard X-Plane look, and it comes with the same framerate hit that already have. The project is more focused on X-Plane11 because the new mist or hazed view makes the feel a bigger advantage than in X-Plane10. The images are mightily impressive, and also fixes that banding (bug) problem we currently also have with the XP11 betas. We are yet to see what Laminar has in fixes for the visual weather look in coming, but here is a fix now that can make a difference to your flying. I could bore you senseless with exciting images that I have seen and created since the release of X-Plane11 and with the combination of running xEnviro in creating an environment of sheer realism. The point I am making is that I have experienced the rewards of great simulation with the weather component working effectively and it is looking like 2017 is (finally) turning out to be the game changer in the weather area of X-Plane. So we now have happy skies ahead, and certainly give BetterSky a go if you can't afford the payware option, it at least gives you feel of how good your flying really can be.' The BetterSky site is here : BetterSky And there is an excellent forum to follow here : X-Plane.Org XP11 BetterSky Released For Download, tools and user information then go here : BetterSky 1.1 All images and details are provided courtesy of BetterSky _____________________________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 10th January 2017 Copyright©2017: X-Plane Reviews
  10. I think it is a heater panel to clear that glass area of mist or ice. SD
  11. I am going to assume you mean the HD AlpilotX scenery for North America? It doesn't really matter what scenery is in there as Bella Coola comes with a large swath of area anyway, but it should easily fit in with the HD format. SD
  12. Aircraft Review : PA-34 Seneca V HD Series by Carenado In one form or the other the Twin-Engined PA-34 Seneca has been in production since 1971 and that is now 46 years of continuous sales and development. The Seneca was developed as a twin-engined version of the Piper Cherokee Six which was a very popular aircraft of the late sixties. The prototype for the Seneca was a Cherokee Six that had wing-mounted engines installed and still retained its original nose engine. The prototype was flown as a tri-motor aircraft in the initial stages of the test-flying program, but the nose motor was discarded for production. Still in production there are over 5000 of these twin-engine PA-34 Pipers now built. This is the latest release by Carenado of the Seneca Twin. It is not the only Seneca by Carenado as there is already an original Seneca ll version the 200T which is the mid-seventies version of the aircraft. This V or Five version is the current version of the PA-34 and it comes with the G500 glass cockpit system and not the olde world clockwork cockpit of the Seneca ll. We will look at both aircraft soon. To get a feel of the new Seneca V I took a short passenger delivery trip from the Gold Coast to Ballina/Byron, Australia to deliver a few cashed up visitors to the area, and yes I am running this review in X-Plane11. Don't worry as I have run the same flight in X-Plane10 so nothing is amiss and there isn't and this aircraft is noted as compatible with X-Plane11 and is pretty what to expect when X-Plane11 goes final. A small note is that this is in XP11b9 and I am currently finding it very stable after a lot of testing and flights, not totally perfect yet, but the basics are very good. Detailing is exceptional, and the X-Plane11 PBR gives the the Seneca V aircraft a really nice added gloss. But realism in detail has never been higher, note the louvre grills on the engine housings and the door hinges and lock, the riveting is well... riveting in the pure detail of it all. Externally the Seneca V isn't that much different than the Seneca ll 200T which had the Lycoming O-360 E series 210 hp (157 kW) at 2800 rpm, as this V version has the Continental IO-360RB which is almost the same name but a different engine which produces 220 hp (164 kW) at 2600 rpm and that is the significant difference as the engine housings are very different on the Seneca ll as shown below. You do feel the evolution of time though between the 70's Seneca ll and the current Seneca V, small things but the V does feel far more modern as the windshield is now one piece and not the two separate panes with a central bar, and the nose is not quite as pointed. It is only around 144kms to Ballina Airport from Coolangatta and so you get there very quickly if by the scenic coastal route. Takeoff and cruise around 170knts is quite comfortable in the V, but landing is a bit more tricky and in comparing the Seneca ll it is very much the same deal. I found my joystick a bit notchy, so small inputs are the go. But the real focus is on the throttle for landing. Stall speed is noted as 61knts (113 km/h, 70 mph), but you have to be aware that it comes in with a crash or a very sudden loss of lift. So 90knts - 80knts is the lowest fail safe zone on approach with full flap, less than that and you are falling quickly and using 100knts until full flap is a good idea as well. And so you have to hunt the throttle to keep the aircraft airborne and find that right speed to let the aircraft down at a slowish rate, get it wrong in the flare and you will bang down on the runway with a crash, it took a few landings to perfect the approach and flare (using the pitch slightly (up and stall) is a good trick for controlling the last of the descent). Menus Standard Carenado menus apply here, with the usual three tabs on the lower left in C, O and A. C is Carenado or really "Views" with "Field of View" and two sound adjustments. O is for "Options" including opening Co-Pilot door, Passenger door, Luggage door and front baggage compartment door. I like the detail in the front compartment, really well done as if there is a little space to put your bags. Static elements are in the 'hardly worth the effort" zone with two cones and a few pitot covers and flags, You see the differences here on the older Seneca ll with a lot more on show including the excellent baggage. Other selections here include the scroll visualization choice, window and instrument reflections and the choice of changing the liveries without going to the main X-Plane menu. Our passengers delivered and it is time to return to Coolangatta. If you are still sitting on the fence on if X-Plane11 will deliver, then enlarge the images below and look at the detail, as a new era of realism has now been born. Cockpit and Cabin Carenado's new Garmin G500 navigation system dominates the panel, and a very nice installation it is as well and I personally like it better than the bigger display G1000. Backup instruments are to the left and lower with a OBS direction pointer and twin sets of engine dials are excellent, with a high switchable information panel above. Equipment upper panel includes a Garmin 347 audio panel, a S-Tec Autopilot, Two GNS 430 GPS units. Lower panel are an old Bendix-King KR87 ADF and a Garmin GTX 327 Transponder/Time unit. There is a very nice if basic pedestal unit and rudder pedals with under panel alcoves are highly detailed. Roof mounted Lighting and Electrical switchgear is well done but very fussy to use on the lights with three way switches. Nice blue lighting looks cool but ineffective. Looking hard at the pedestal you notice there are no trim wheels attached? They are both mounted deep between the front seats, beautifully done, but awkward to use... A pop-up screen would help here. Cabin is leather luxury, quality detailing is "want to touch" real, you are amazed that this sort of detailing could get better, and it does... look at the really small detail like seatbelt webbing, clasps and the leather seating folds and it is beyond good. Fold out table is in Veneer. Rear luggage bay is empty but very well presented, and the window blinds work. To see the differences and period changes let us look at the Seneca ll. The Seneca ll panel is padded and filled with dials and switchgear 70's style compared to the clean modern look of the V. The cabin in here feels daggy and used, and you can almost smell that old aircraft worn tired aroma and want to remove those tired crappy curtains. G500 I am not a big fan of the push button Menu style modern instruments. I find I am more head down looking through pages of menus than setting the instrument to the action of what I require. That said I like the G500 as it does the setting adjustment better than the G1000 units. The unit has two screens with the Artificial Horizon and Heading rose with Speed and Altitude tapes and bank guide on the left screen, and the Navigation display on the right screen. The G500 also pops out for ease of use. Most of these Gamin units use the left hand knob to change settings, but on the G500 it is easier to use because the main items in HDG (heading), CRS (course), ALT (Altitude), V/S (Vertical Speed) and BARO (barometer) are buttons down the left hand side of the display. And so making the adjustment easy as selecting the item you want and then adjusting it with the lower knob. Sometimes you wonder if that new ideas are really better than the old ones as this system works very well compared to fiddling with the G1000 menus. There is the ADF 1/ADF2 and VOR1/VOR2 pointers that is selectable from the menu. They are both extremely thin and I am not sure if effective in this need to look down and gather information quickly mode, but they are at least available. Navigation display is very good, but the zoom is not very close for local airport flying, zoom out and you get those unused blank tiles showing and it is still slow and jerky when turning quickly. The DCLTR (declutter) is good and you can also bring up a compass rose on the moving aircraft on the map to help with directional headings. A note in that to use the Carenado G500 or the G1000 units you have to download a separate data folder that is deposited in your main X-Plane root folder, it is a hefty download at 870mb that expands to 3.63gb when unzipped and installed. Autopilot The Seneca V uses the S-Tec (now Genesys) Fifty Five X Autopilot. The system is well intergrated into the aircraft's systems, with a centre panel main unit and above the G500 is a situation display and the unit pops-out from the "A" menu tab. It works well. Only note is that you have deselect ALT to move higher or lower and then reselect ALT when you have reached the required altitude. One slight annoyance is that the AP switch is right over on the Co-Pilots side? I can use a joystick buton to turn off or on, but a stretch if you don't have that setup and actually finding the switch? A nice feature is a six position selectable information panel that gives you details on: TEMP, FUEL, INST (engine read out), ELEC, TIME/DATE and %PWR (Engine power outputs). the panel will pop-out for ease of use. Arrival at YBCG Passing over Terranora and a sighting of the coast means we are back on the Coast or the Goldie as is is sometimes called. Like on the Seneca ll those huge engines spoil the view and make looking down quite hard, there is only a small area between the panel and the window frame that you can use. I fall into the circuit over the water that gives you a hard left to hard left and along the beach to YBCG's RWY 14. You aim at the Currumbin Highrises on the beach but the bigger boys in the Jets use the Burleigh Heads Highrises further north for the same job and at only a 1000ft to get the approach right. Tugun Hill and Tugun below makes this approach exciting, you come in low and fast over the forever complaining residents, flaps are three stage and don't give you that nasty lift feel if you get down around 100knts. Tugun Hill makes you give a slight steep slope angle into YBCG, but as noted earlier I found I took a lot of runway before settling the Seneca V easily and far and right down past the usual touchdown zone, but you need to be as slight as you can to get that flare and wheel touch right and perfect. Ground View Back on the GA line and you can admire the aircraft's (and Carenado's) wonderful design work. Bad panel and glass gaps are now non-existent, we are simply now getting brilliant design, and X-Plane11's lighting effects brings us closer to perfect reality. Power off and the excellent reflections on the displays are highlighted. Lighting Internal lighting is very good with lots of great spot lighting in the rear. The rear spot switches are hard to find as they are low and facing the passenger on a panel, and not on the roof in the usual position. There is a very strong spotlight over the Co-Pilot's door, that helps in boarding... Panel lighting looks good and is adjustable, but the blue roof switch lights are not very effective. It doesn't help in that the switchgear is three way awkward, with "off" in the middle hard to find? And the landing lighting (outboard) can be made to flash. External lighting is good but not brilliant. Taxi light is quite weak, and so are the outboard landing lights. Liveries One blank (white) and four American with two Brazilian liveries are provided, but well done but not much choice and nothing really special here. Seneca ll A few notes on the original Carenado Seneca ll that is also available. For its age in X-Plane (it was the very first Twin I reviewed) the old girl scrubs up very well in X-Plane11, it is a nice companion to the more modern V and has that clockwork panel and a great side electrical/starter panel. The only visual note is the forward gear doors don't close. But before you send off a nasty telegram to Carenado it is not actually a Carenado issue but a Laminar Research X-Plane11 bug issue and all early Carenado's are affected as is my beloved A33F. So a fix should come soon as X-Plane11 heads towards final. Summary Nice, Nice, nice. There is a lot to like here if you love Twins as the Seneca is one of the all time great and successful Twin-Engined aircraft of the world. You are probably bored by now at the accolades thrown at Carenado, but give credit due here as the detailing is just so good and so well done and it shows how far we have moved on since the earlier Seneca ll in that level of sheer design. It is with those HD quality textures (4096 x 4096) in size with 422 pixels / meter texture deep and that is detail, that is a lot of detail. It is a thoroughly more modern aircraft to fly as well with the well intergrated G500 unit, and from the user angle wise I think is better than the more menu focused G1000. The ADF/VOR pointers are a bit on the very thin side, and they have gotten all the earlier gremlins now worked out, so it is a now nice bit of kit. Great Autopilot and Information panel features this aircraft is a sub 1000nm distance hauler. It is slightly tricky to land, and has great sounds (a little too quiet in the cockpit though) but overall it one of the best Twins out there. The Seneca V also flies well in X-Plane11, as I saw no issues and thoroughly enjoyed myself flying in our new realm, so it is certainly XP11 ready. The Seneca V is a General Aviation Classic, and you can now own one (if a brilliant simulated version) of this aircraft, quality and thorough design is also part of the deal, so it is a very nice addition to your X-Plane hangar. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the PA-34 Seneca V HD Series by Carenado is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : PA-34 Seneca V HD Series Price is US$32.95 Note: If you purchased the first release 1.0 version then redownload from Carenado to v1.1, as a few details have now been upgraded. The original Seneca ll Is also available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore: Piper PA-34 Seneca II Price is US$27.95 Seneca V Special Features Carenado G500 compatible with X-Plane GNS430 (included) Optimized for XP10.5x - X-Plane 64 bit required All-new sound architecture Volumetric side view prop effect Features Carenado G500 GPS Terrain Awareness map mode Different declutter levels Advance menus and cursor with scroll wheel, click/hold or /drag Crisp, vector-based water data Pop-up windows can be resized and moved around the screen Pristine scroll wheel support FPS-friendly terrain map Original Seneca V autopilot installed HD quality textures (4096 x 4096) 422 pixels / meter textures 3D gauges Original HQ digital stereo sounds recorded directly from the real aircraft 3D stereo effects, such as outside sounds entering open windows. Customizable panel for controlling window transparency, instrument reflections and static elements such as wheel chocks and turbine inlet/exhaust covers. Realistic behavior compared to the real airplane. Realistic weight and balance. Tested by real pilots. Realistic 3D night lights effects on panel and cockpit. ______________________________________________________________________ Requirements : Windows 7+ (64 bit) or MAC OS 10.8 (or higher) or Linux - 64bit Operating System X-Plane 10 fully updated (any edition) - 64bit mode 3 GHz processor - 8GB RAM - 1Gb+ VRAM - 2Gb VRAM Recommended Windows users: Please ensure that you have all the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables downloaded and installed. CARENADO G1000 database must be installed Current Version: 1.1 (last updated Feb 5th 2017) ______________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download is 392mb which is unzipped to your X-Plane folder at 478.00mb. Documentation : includes Carenado G500 PDF PA34 Emergency Checklist PDF Normal Procedures PDF Performance Tables PDF PA34 Quick Reference PDF Recommended Settings PDF Aircraft checklists are provided, but no overall aircraft manual. ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 8th February 2017 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews 2017 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 11beta9 / Checked install in X-Plane10.51 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : Headshake by SimCoders Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic US$29.95 Sceneries: - YBCG : Gold Coast International v1.0 by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free - YBNA - Ballina - VOZ Australian Scenery by Barry (Bazza) Roberts (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  13. Looks like you have C++ Redistributables missing. If you use Windows they ALL have to be installed. SD
  14. The packs are created for a specific engine already on the aircraft, if the the developer adds in a new engine variant then BSS will usually add a new sound pack for that engine into the package or create a new one, but the engine has to come with the aircraft from the developer. SD
  15. Behind the Screen : January 2017 Well, rested and a head full of ideas, you are ready to take on another year of X-Plane madness and an exciting one at that with X-Plane11 now becoming uber reality… well once all the bugs are finally worked out. But just days into 2017 and most of your enthusiasm has already been burnt and your are rolling your eyes around your head in pain and despair and by the end of the month you can’t believe how hard a month could have been and all that new energy is now already long exhausted. It wasn’t a bad month per se. In fact it was totally contradictory to the statement above, but it was certainly trialing and energy busting… ... so welcome to 2017. I hit the boards and came back to the computer days early with the release of beti-x’s sublime Bella Coola scenery in Canada. It was just to good a scenery to not tell you about it, my feeling is that the best scenery of the year gong has already gone and in the very start of 2017 at that right now and not at the end of it, it is so brilliantly good and at that price a real bargain as well. But my best intentions was that I wanted to start out with X-Plane11 with a totally new and clear slate. With X-Plane10 it had to a point became very unwieldy and totally messy system and that was not without trying to keep some sort of organisation about the whole package. But just too much over the years had been just thrown into the “Custom Scenery” folder and there was plugins galore and a read of my log.txt then you would have banished me to a place just south of the North Pole for complete years of isolation on being able to do any messing up of anything ever again. So X-Plane11 was to become a clean sheet, a new start and a lighter log.txt of beautiful efficiency and professionalism… well that is the general idea and to a point I have already kept to that mantra and to the time of refining my main X-Plane organisation layouts (meaning folders) to the best and clearest definition of a purest of systematic structures… in other words “keeping it all very simple”. X-Plane11 in the folders already looks lovely and organised but how long will it all last, for not for very long is my guess but I will try harder this time as the need for my own efficiency and the loss of time tracing bugs. The updates came quickly and already three weeks in and we at beta 8, and it is all looking quite remarkable. I waited patiently until the New Year before starting to configure and use the new application because there was no point in doing that earlier, and that was a wise thing to do. You do want to look around your new home and settle in but reviews are required and X-Plane10 was the work horse still to get the correct results, but once the later beta’s kicked in I was drawn ever closer to the newer sexier way of flying. xEnviro I noted at the end of 2016 that 2017 was going to a really different look and change for X-Plane, and yes certainly the new X-Plane11 application delivers that look and you feel that in spades but it was a fate situation that at the same time that X-Plane11 came newborn into our world another seismic shift happened as well with the release of a new environmental engine in xEnviro. Let me be clear in that I have never been a great fan of addon environmental aids. I like the default system to be as basic as Austin and Ben’s newborn code. And when running xEnviro for the first time I was not completely taken with it either and almost disregarded it as another maybe also ran and a big cough at that price. But something this time just made me give it a few more tries and then you get the spine tingling feeling that this was going to be something beyond really special and in our X-Plane world it would be life changing. First let us be completely evident on somethings about xEnviro. It is in a way a backward step, in that the system is 2d and not 3d (there are 3d objects in there, but not the main cloud formations). It is still buggy as it caused a lot of stress over the last month, and restrictive in ways when you create reviews with only the current local weather available. It crashed a lot early on as well with JARDesign plugins causing havoc (I updated the wrong ones or simply put the same unadjusted ones straight back in again). It crashes badly if your internet is not connected or if xEnviro goes off line (I live in Australia so update midnight time in Europe is midday working time for me), and this last one brings up the question of what if xEnviro does go off line or they simply close down, we would need a backup just in case or even a connection to the current X-Plane weather data to keep it running. You also have to set the settings panel to work for you and not against you, winds need to be adjusted and so does the cloud darkness and a lot more twiddling. But the advantages with running xEnviro and the effect it has on X-Plane and when certainly paired with X-Plane11 is simply remarkable. Personally I think Laminar Research should buy the lot and make it the standard weather engine in X-Plane and simply be done with it. And I really feel for the Mac users that can’t access it’s charms yet, I hope that situation changes soon. Once used xEnviro; it is very, very hard to go back to the basic X-Plane default clouds and weather engine even with the X-Plane11 misty soft focus look. It all feels bland and basic after the wonderful formations you have now adjusted used to, and in a bonus it turns X-Plane10 into soft focus X-Plane11 and X-Plane11 with that soft focus already in there is just another world again. Then there is the biggest salvation… framerate as the plugin is completely separate from the X-Plane engine and there is no effect on framerate, okay a little in high-density periods but nothing that crucifies and fries your GPU until it begs for mercy like the current default cloud system does. Although the so called “mist” look of X-Plane11 made us divide into two camps, it soon became very apparent it was a very realistic look, and this effect combined with X-Enviro really lifts the look and feel to a whole new level of involvement and realism and that is the aim of the game. So yes within a very short time our X-Plane view of the world has changed quite significantly, xEnviro brings real world weather to your flying and you are also expected to to up your game in matching real weather situation, either with bad crosswind runway approaches/departures, fog (fog is really good) and changing enroute weather patterns. Because the weather is this close to real you do need another feature built in to the plugin to give you weather details for departure and arrivals. You are a bit blind of the weather conditions and can be caught out as you don’t know what those conditions are until you are faced with them. Winter Textures But for atmospheric flying and views then January was simply overwhelming in it’s delivery. I added in with XP10 my winter textures as well and that just added in more to the ride. Winter textures are great but there is a hole in a few sceneries that need fixing. In most payware sceneries the ground ortho textures are part of the scenery, so with Winter Textures activated you get a green patch in the middle of the whiteness. I do wish more scenery developers would provide winter textures with the scenery as an option, but they don’t so you find a fix. I created a batch action in photoshop to process the hundreds of texture files, you have to convert to png from dds, to use it in photoshop, but can’t convert it back again to dds. You can with Laminar’s Xgrinder tool, but you can’t automate it to cover the hundreds of files but only with a one on one process which takes too long (even the batch auto takes 20 minutes) but the results are worth it. Putting the adjusted winter files up on the X-Plane.Org is also a no go as it contravenes the developers copyright. I started this process last year, but this year reorganised the file structure and in the way the MOD (JSGME) tool does the replacement work of the files, and fine tuned the process to create the winter style files efficiently. It works very well but it is restricted to only the ground textures and not the buildings, but it looks and works very well. Another slight with Winter Textures is that the ground textures for the default autogen is still in full spring bloom, so you get patterns of green in the background white. In time of course X-Plane will intergrate the seasons better into the simulator with X-Plane11, but the developers will still have to provide the extra winter textures to make it work. When done like with beti-x’s remarkable Bella Coola which has replacement textures it is a winter wonderland spectacular. So it works when done well. X-Plane11 But back to X-Plane11… Like I mentioned my adoption of X-Plane11 was rather slow and you would think doing what I do that I would be the very first one in there to pull it apart. But the world today is a very different place than in my youth as with software the first out version is never completed, I rarely now buy any new Apple iPhone on release but a year behind as then it is all sorted and fine tuned and that most certainly is the case with X-Plane except with sceneries, and that is absolutely certainly the case with X-Plane11. This is highlighted even more because getting in first would be giving out the wrong information and the least everyone needs right now is well the latest buzzword in “Fake News”. But some impressions are worth noting. First X-Plane11 is good, and to the point of being very good. You are seeing a sort of professionalism now coming into the simulator. X-Plane was always early on a clubhouse enthusiastic experimental sort of occupation and the idea that anyone can come and build and then fly their own aircraft. And certainly don’t get me wrong as that is still the foundation and heart of the simulator as it’s name reflects that vision. But this aspect can also create a problem in that these clubby people don’t really like things to change and although they highly welcome new people you still have to conform to their old fashioned out of date ideas. Tradition is to be respected but mostly in any area of life or business is that if you have that out of date mentality you will wither and die. As a human race we hate change, we like things the way they are “thank you, very much”, and I am one of the worst one for that. But we live in a world of change and if not our world will die or in this case the one thing we love the most is in our own simulator. Could you really live with Flight Simulator or an X-Plane that stopped evolving now ten years ago, yes the fringes of FS are still very vibrant but the core is static and very, very old. Many users see X-Plane11 as the dumb down of the simulator. A flashy intro with wizz-bang graphics to select our aircraft and sceneries, and the real horror of taking away our detailed settings that kept us twiddlers happy and contented for hours. But use the new simulator and those early disquiets quickly disappear. In reality the old x-plane set up panel was a mess or just plain pre-millennium basic. In X-Plane11 you really now have a lot of choices and the quick drill down for more of the more detailed choices in the interface to quickly and speedily do the set up of what you want. The really annoying thing with the older version was that you mostly had to start the simulator to make the changes and then reset everything for what you actually wanted, were as the X-Plane11 version is a one stop shop, go then fly. There is no doubt a lot of time, money and research into how to make the very best interface for X-Plane has been done by Laminar Research and beyond those flashy graphics it is a solid system. My horror like most to the dumbing down of the graphics page menus was to simply want it all back. But again use it. My twiddling was usually to the negative and not to the positive in most cases, in other words my efficiency went backwards and not to the better with my constant to and throwing of the settings, and in most cases I kept a preference copy to get me back to the default point I should not of changed in the first place. But the totally overall point of both areas changed above is the sheer change in the speed of not only the loading and starting of X-Plane, but the efficiency of how it runs. As Ben Supnic notes, just to have one setting of the very inconsequential settings like traffic and trees is that they can be really be made to be more focused and aligned for ultimate processing and in other words better processing with your computer and that results in a far better framerate. Speed is the key here and not the dumbing down of the simulator. Speed to start up and select what you want and to get you flying more quickly and the efficiency of the simulator working for you and not fighting you is what X-Plane11 is all about. See you all next month Stephen Dutton 1st January 2017 Copyright©2016: X-Plane Reviews