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Everything posted by Stephen

  1. 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
  2. Ask and you will be served by the Gods on high... Beta16 is now out , but wait for Beta17 for a cleaner beta. Dev blog release notes are here... X-Plane Release notes
  3. Moved from wrong forum: With X-Plane 11 I have noticed a surge in power when moving the Throttle, Prop and Mixture controls. I move the controls in a forward motion, not much happens then I get a surge of power. This makes in very hard to control the aircraft. Is this an issue with version 11.00pb15? Is there any way to fix this in any settings? Thanks, Topflyer68 All thrust ratios and engine performance is changed in X-Plane11. If the developers have not adjusted their aircraft to the new parameters then they will be wrong. Beta16 is supposed to be a final lockdown of engine performance so most developers are waiting for those settings to go final... Sd
  4. Aircraft Update : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro v1.30 by Rotate The McDonnell Douglas MD-88 has been upgraded to v1.30 and now comes with the added Pro moniker. The better news is that this version by Rotate is also compatible or "flyable" in X-Plane11. It is to be noted that the update v1.30 is for X-Plane 10.51, but changes have been accommodated so it will fly in the current X-Plane11 beta and a final X-Plane11 version of this aircraft will be released when X-Plane11 goes final. There are a few quirks in flying the MD-88 in X-Plane11 of which are to be expected, but nothing that gets in the way of flying this excellent airliner in the new version of the X-Plane simulator. The v1.30 update is also very significant because it covers a lot of areas that brings the aircraft up to the almost a more complete systems coverage, and that is where this release is basically aimed in the focus on systems and the switchgear that are now active. The changelog for v1.30 is quite extensive (bottom), and visually there isn't much difference as everything is mostly in the aircraft's operations than new features. However that doesn't mean this upgrade doesn't make a big difference to the aircraft because it does. Although this v1.30 update is aimed at X-Plane 10.51, this overview of the update is in X-Plane11(beta15) as if any aircraft that was made for the new features of X-Plane11 it is this MD-88, it always looked sensational before, but now it looks and feels like it is from another world again in X-Plane11. The added PBR (Physically Based Rendering) shininess and harder shadows gives the aircraft a very different definition. The aircraft being from another era looks sublime in the right light as many areas give off that great metallic feel that is created by PBR in metalness. Metal and shininess was one of the real challenges before PBR, but not now and you can see the real advances in X-Plane11 in this area on the MD-88. The leading edge is just beautiful, as are the paneled wings. The engines which are also upgraded here in v1.30 to JT8D-219's (21,000 lbf) look very authentic and note the worn metal detailing with the thrust reverser doors in the open position. v1.30 Focus The Rotate MD-88 has had a lot of comments since it's debut in that externally it is extremely very good with those huge dense textures, but very light on systems and switchgear. Over the last year and through the recent updates there has been a lot of attention to these minute items but in v1.30 this area has been the update's main focus. So now almost every switch and dial is active, everything now has a job to do. That also means a lot of time setting up the aircraft from cold and you will need your checklists to get it all done. To help you out the sounds have been upgraded as well to reflect the use of these smaller items. But to note that the sounds are at this point only relevant to the X-Plane10 version and not the X-Plane11 version as X-Plane11 has a completely new FMOD-based sound system. This system has been noted as complete in beta15, but developers have not yet being given access as the tools are not yet compete, but the intergation of the FMOD-based sound will be certainly extensive and the new sounds will certainly come very quickly to this v1.30 in a very short time. The menu system in X-Plane11 makes it easier to activate the GPU and the doors, than the older (but still there) way of on the FMS. This feature is handy for starting up the APU without ant power to the aircraft and you can now also watch the doors in action as you select them. This menu selection was in X-Plane10 earlier, but it was more difficult to use. With PBR you get a reflection on the dials and they look like they are actually lit but they are not, but there is a difference when you turn up the backlighting. With the panel power up, the Avionics are not lit. To save you an hour or so looking for the Avionics power switch it is because there isn't one? The displays only have to have their brightness turned up, via the two knobs on the panel and the FMS knob on the FMS panel. It is also now important you get the IRS "Align" mode correct as well in v1.30. It has to be done in the correct order on the FMS, if not it won't align or work. On the now aligned flight displays note the two alerts in "G/S Fail" and "LOC Fail", These alerts are now on most of the time unless the G/S and the VOR frequencies are active. FMS (Flight Management System) is comprehensive and on the surface looks the same as the earlier versions. Fixes also include for ARINC424 instructions and the changes for the missing X-Plane10 Avionics in X-Plane11. But the system has had a big overhaul in the internal code, we will see more later of these features in the review. Overhead (OVHD) panel is now highly active. Small items like resetting the Flight-Recorder Voice-Recorder and testing the volume are workable as are overhead tests for Fire, GPWS, Windshear, CSD, IRS-2, Ground Service Bus, Audio panel and Fuel Heat. More significant in v1.30 is the new long system list in that that far more areas are now represented. Fuel Heat is simulated, CrossFeed valve works, Pump logic improved, All fuel burn logic now accounts for APU, AC and Anti-Ice bleed use. More includes complete engine fire detection and extinguishing is simulated, Hydraulic system improved, flight surfaces hydraulic dependencies and Rudder Travel functionality, Airfoil and Tail heat logic and Annunciators, the Brake Temperature indicator and testing, and so are the Brakes and reverser hydraulic dependencies with Custom Auto Brake Systems, and most the of the accumulators now including the Brakes and Reversers accumulators are also simulated. Ditto the aircraft environmental systems when the engines are running, they are all now also adjustable and switchable. It is a big long list, but it brings the "Mad Dog" alive like nothing else did before. KRSW to KATL My usual service route is between South Florida and Atlanta, and that is the service I am flying today. There is a lot of small differences between the X-Plane10 version and the X-Plane11. Not large but significant. One is the very different engine thrust parameters that has thrown a lot of developers out into the deep end. It also mean almost all the original thrust calculations are now not valid. You fly very differently in X-Plane11 than you do in X-Plane10, that is made more aware when you go back to the older X-Plane version on how quite simplistic it was. From a cold startup, or even on a service turnaround there is a large amount of setting up to now to do. In the manual there is the full sequence to start up and to make sure all the buttons and switches are all in the right positions, there is simplistic checklist as well. But nothing here beats time in the seat and learning with your own notes to over and over again to get it all right. You can set a lot of the flying parameters ready on the ground like Speed, NAV (FMS navigation), Altitude and Vertical Speed (V/S). The knobs are very authentic, but the speed setting can take time to adjust as you need many mouse moves to get to the higher speed settings, once there though it is not an issue in flight. Everything armed ready should be visible in the FMA (Flight Mode Annunciator). DC bus electrics need to be set right and running correctly, loads generated are now very authentic. A nice touch is the power to the panel is temporary lost as the electrics switch over from one bus to the other. Setting the "Trim" computer has always been a bit of a minefield for newcomers on this aircraft. But there is a set of tables to get the right selection and nothing beats just a little bit of practise and learning to get it right. This aircraft is full of alerts. So your aim is to do a full fight without sending them off and that is harder than it looks. Two in particular are a pain "On Ramp" and "Altitude". Get a setting wrong like your flap position and off it blares "On Ramp, On Ramp... " but gradually you keep it quiet. The other in "Altitude" is actually not as big an issue. It goes off if the aircraft is below the set altitude, and just sitting on the ramp can set it off if the airport is set below sea level. Just make sure the altitude is set above your current altitude and it won't go off, of course a none set altitude can set it off but that is what the alert is actually there for. The newly adjusted thrust feel is brought to your attention straight away from the moment you get rolling.... or try too? All brake work has to be manual by pushing the button to release or lock with the brake on the tiller. You do still get the regular braking action, but the aircraft won't operate correctly unless to set the position to off from the pilot's seat... this is another X-Plane11 characteristic. Now you can feel the thrust differences as you taxi to your departure runway (RWY06). The MD88 is nice aircraft to taxi, lots of feel and adjustment through the throttle to get the right movement speed. Rotate around 162Knts + 10 and up comes the gear. You now have a decision to make? In v1.30 the FMS now controls the bank speeds, so if you select the NAV option the aircraft is restricted to only turn at 10º bank if the wheels are up and your flaps are stowed away, and this is to make sure the aircraft does not stall at slow speeds. The problem with this is that if you have a tight 90º turn after departure, then the small bank angle can take you seriously off your flightplan, and then give you a lot of adjustment in resetting the aircraft back into the right flightplan heading (banking this way and then that way). So your choices are to keep the flap down (and your speed) or do the turn manually before setting the NAV into operation. From the first moment I saw the features in X-Plane11. There was no aircraft I wanted more to fly in the new version of X-Plane than this Rotate MD-88. And when I did, I wanted nothing more then than want everyone else to fly it in X-Plane11 as well. If any aircraft was created to fly in X-Plane11 it was this one. With those mega massive HD 4K 4096 x 4096 and 350 pixels/meter texture sizes (livery size is 190mb on average) and so the quality is overwhelming, but it is the way the aircraft interacts with the new PBR lighting that is also stunning. You feel almost every panel and every rivet, it is a totally beautiful thing. Internally the X-Plane11 detailing is superb... Light and haze bounces off everywhere, but to focus on detail then you only have to look at the FMS body, totally authentic and beautifully reproduced. This sort of detail was a only dream a few years ago but now we are using and living in it. But back to the v1.30 update systems... The data in the aircraft's performance has been completely rewritten in v1.30. This is reflected into the PROG (Progress) pages on the FMS. Most of the changes have been on page 2 with a burn SCHED for N or A and the calculated remaining fuel. Other items are now highly detailed as well with VNAV predictions, time, fuel, ToC (Top of Climb), ToD (Top of Descent). Also economy (ECOM) target speeds allow you to set the best climb, cruise and descend speeds to get the best performance out of the flight The ToC and ToD targets are now also shown on the Navigation Display and a new and far better feature is the target altitude marker. The altitude marker is an extremely handy tool to set your altitude position at a certain place or fix on the flightplan via the vertical speed, mostly it is used to target the arrival altitude from your cruise level, but here it is a great companion to hit your ToC and ToD targets as well. This is an invaluable tool and one I use in collaboration with all my altitude changes to hit position targets... In other words I love it. Detail in the Navigation Display is now very detailed, but very adjustable in allowing what you want to see and what you don't, but the DATA detail is excellent. Excellent cabin is not changed in v1.30, so maybe a little adjustable lighting would be nice... Window view is one of the best in the business, you can select both forward or rear of the wing and still get an excellent view. I personally like rear of the wing to look at the flap animations. Let us be clear, the MD-88 is not called the "Mad Dog" for nothing. This is a very physical aircraft to fly, watch a few online videos of pilot's wrestling with the Yoke and Rudders would make to think they wouldn't climb in there ever again. But the opposite is true, in that it is the physical nature of the aircraft that makes it one of the most enduring machines to fly and why it was and still is one of the most loved aircraft ever produced. Speed select is a quirk on these older MD's. The actual speed change selection from IAS to .Mach or the other way round is done via pressing the actual knob. But you have to select the actual speed zone you want to use with the autothrust via the two speed selection buttons in "SPD SEL" or "MACH SEL". Another quirk is that on pressing the speed knob it doesn't do a straight speed swap, so you have to change the speed zone, adjust the speed and then press the selection button. If you think that simply pressing the actual the "SPD" or "MACH" button to change zones then it doesn't work that way. KATL (Atlanta) is up and front, time to prepare for landing on RWY27R... but first. ... an small annoyance with the "AutoThrust" disconnect on the FMA (Flight Mode Annunciator) panel. Disconnect the ATH or Autothrust to take over the manual speed control for landing (working the throttles) and the "Throttle" disconnect warning comes on, fair enough... But you can't silence it? There are datarefs to simulate the reselection on and off (cycle) the autothrottle that duplicates the system on the real aircraft to silence the alert, but here it doesn't work, then disconnect the AP or Autopilot to land manually and then you have two blaring alerts in your face all the way to the gate? There is a "Reset" button right on the panel but it is not allowed to work and so it is an annoying and distracting quirk? Throttle response is quite different in X-Plane11, although this is officially still the beta stage. You can feel the smaller throttle inputs more as the MD Series is very light on the pitch with the CoG (Center of Gravity) point set so far behind you. I don't think there is any aircraft that demands as much throttle input,speed, balance and concentration on landing as the MD-88, put a crosswind in there and the "Dog" can make you seriously sweat. But Atlanta is clear today with only a light breeze. Finals... ... and keep that light nose pitch under control, it is far too easy to have a nose high landing. Reverse thrust and full power and control your line down the runway, then you are at taxi speed and a taxi to the gate is all that now has to be done. Job done. Summary Up front I am not going to deny my love for this aircraft, as I have mentioned the same in the past. Would that mean a biased review? In fact it is the completely opposite situation here as I have hounded the developers on even the smallest details to get the aircraft to be the best it could be for X-Plane. That is not for my own worth here, but because this aircraft contributes so much to the X-Plane experience and one that can deliver the sort of experience that makes X-Plane such a great simulator. The aircraft is not totally absolutely perfect, but then no aircraft is, as there is always another system, tweak or feature that could be added into the design. When Rotate's MD-88 was released it was the only DC-9/MD quality payware aircraft in X-Plane. But since there has been the new default X-Plane11 MD-82 and A.T.S. are releasing their MD-80 Series aircraft soon as well. So there is competition now although the default MD-82 is very basic. With this v1.30 though the Rotate MD-88 is certainly pushing well up now in its class, if not leading in the area. In X-Plane11 the aircraft is astounding, but you now have the working systems to back it up as well. Certainly not absolutely perfect as a few things would be nice to have like a "Weight, Fuel & Balance" page, or built in checklists or the nice to have cabin announcements that are standard on aircraft from the likes of FlightFactor or FlyJSim. Not for the novice now, but the is a great overall design and to a point reaching a sort of level of completion that would allow the developer to move on to say another variant (Freighter!) or a newly designed aircraft. I had a choice over the last Christmas/New Year break, as flying time was restricted to having a break from the computer, but there was the odd day to fly, and my own choice to only pick one and one aircraft to use... The choice was overwhelmingly this MD-88. It didn't disappoint, now available in X-Plane11 and with this added system deep v1.30 in my off reviewing flying time, it is still the only choice. Positives: Looks Brilliant and now has the systems to match the looks, "Just look at it", an overall personal favorite. Negatives: Still a few quirks, Sounds currently not same in X-Plane11 as X-Plane10, Not for the novice any more, tricky to fly as all "Mad Dogs" are. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Yes! the v1.30 McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro by Rotate is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro Price is US$59.95 If you already have purchased the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 by Rotate, then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and download the free v1.30 update. Developer Rotate - Rotate.Com Developer Support - MD80 - X-Plane.Org Note: included in the update review is JARDesign's excellent TugMaster Deluxe and Ground Handling Deluxe plugins, these add-ons are not included with Rotate's MD-88 aircraft package. But ALSO important to update both plugins for use in X-Plane11 as the older versions crash the aircraft. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Features: -> Precise flight model and fine tuned engine performance -> Developed with the advice and counseling from MD-80 licensed pilots -> Works great on all three platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux Custom Flight Management System (FMS) and Automatic Flight Route, departures and arrivals procedures (SIDs and STARs) Save and load route to/from text file Performance management, cost index and optimal altitude and speed calculation Custom VNAV. Climb, cruise and descend management with altitude and speed restrictions Takeoff and approach speed management Custom Navigation Display Improved autopilot with specific horizontal and vertical modes All EPR performance modes Flight Mode Annunciator Aerosoft NavDataPro (2014) included (for updated database third party subscription is needed) Detailed simulation of systems Power plant Electrical Pneumatic and pressurization Slat/flap controls with dial-a-flap feature Takeoff trim computer Customized alert and failures Hyper-realistic visuals Highly detailed 3D cockpit, passenger cabin and exterior model Normal and specular maps for enhanced detail Thorough HD day and night textures Accurate animations, including wing flex animation All external and internal lights\ Liveries: A set of ten ultra-high resolution liveries, including a paintkit Custom sounds 3D sound engine with stereo and doppler effects High quality multi-layered engine sounds Cockpit ambient and custom alerts _____________________________________________________________________________________ Requirements 64 bit operating system Windows Vista/7/8/10, OSX 10.8 and up, Linux Ubuntu 14.04 (or compatible) and up X-Plane 10.31+ (any edition) running in 64bit mode Processor: Multi-core Processor 3.3GHz 8 GB RAM -Hard Disk: 3.3 GB Graphics: 2GB VRAM (3 GB VRAM or more for best performance) Current version: 1.30 (last updated March 20th, 2017) File Download is huge 960.40mb CoG Table jepg: CoG Version v1.30 full changelog: - Custom LNAV guidance. - Compatibility with ARINC424 instructions. - CDU HOLD page with PPOS capability. - Complete HOLD functionality with entry pattern calculation. - Improved ND with curved transitions. - Improved VNAV predictions, time, fuel, ToC, ToD. - More accurate, wp to wp VNAV. - CDU PROG pages with pilot selectable waypoint. - Improved FGCP ALT logic. - Navigation Display marker for FGCP ALT. - Navigation Display and CDU MAG/TRU operation. - CDU RTE DATA page added. - New fuel burn logic, now accounting for APU, AC and Anti-Ice bleed. - Improved PERF page, now BURN SCHED N or A and calculated remaining fuel. - Sound set reworked. - Added CLB DIR functionality. - Added DES DIR functionality. - Added commands to FGCP ALT knob. - Fuel heat is now simulated. - Improved fuel pump logic, with feed by gravity at low altitude. - Fuel crossfeed valve is now operative. - Updated engines to JT8D-219. - Bank limit is now FMS driven in NAV mode. - CLR key timer for scratchpad clear function. - Pitch FD indication bar corrected in TO and GA. - Solved bug related to CDU paging. - Airfoil and Tail heat logic and annunciators now working as expected. - Complete engine fire detection and extinguishing simulation. - Brake Temperature indicator and test. - Custom Auto Brake System. - Overhead tests: Fire, GPWS, Windshear, Flight Recorder, Voice recorder. - Other overhead systems: CSD, IRS-2, Ground Service Bus, Audio panel, Fuel Heat ... - EOAP new alerts. The messages are now ordered correctly as they are triggered. - Added OAP annunciators. - Hydraulic system improved. - Flight surfaces's hydraulic dependencies and Rudder Travel functionality. - Brakes and reversers hydraulic dependencies. Accumulators are now simulated. - Other texture and light improvements. - Mousewheel support for X-Plane 10.50+ _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 17th March 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 11b15 and also used in X-Plane v10.52 and checked with current flight route and details Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : Headshake by Simcoders : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 Scenery or Aircraft - KRSW - Southwest Florida International by Aerosoft (X-PlaneStore) - US$24.95 - KATL - Atlanta International by Nimbus (X-PlaneStore) - US$23.95
  5. Aircraft Review : Pipistrel Panthera v3 by Aerobask One of the great satisfaction's of being a reviewer is seeing great talent mature. Many new developers come into X-Plane and have a huge amount of natural ability, but from a reviewers position it is in the many new introductions to the simulator that they have great ambitions for their future prospects are then hit with the realities of producing brilliant work. First releases are initially very good, but the novice will always be not totally aware of the smaller minute details of what goes into a fully formed product. So from the reviewers point of view you have to be critical and supportive at the same time, too much either way and the developer will think he really is number one were as in reality there is a long way to go, or the fact that being too harsh could make great talent walk away from a brilliant career and the loss therefore is for not only the future product for users to enjoy but the loss of talent to the simulation platform. But if the developer stagnates after a period of time, then the criticism will hurt, but the reality is that you should know by now on how the deal works, and the minute should have been addressed and absorbed, "picking on this or that" by critics is not the point here, as the point after the initial growth time is over is that is it now at a level that people do expect quality for their money, or the fact that "picking on this or that" means the product can be now that much better to deliver the quality the developer is capable of. Worse is the fact that for just a few extra weeks of fine tuning, it is in fact a "False Economy" in that the product goes out there to an audience that will quickly tell you it is not ready, and once the word gets around that the product is below expectations or just plainly not finished. Once that tag is on your reputation it is a very hard one to shake off, and some developers will never shake off a reputation badly gained just to get the product out there. That last 5% of the 100% of creating a product is the very hardest ground of all to cover, and more so as the aircraft and sceneries are so very complex today, get it right and you go into the upper echelons of being a must buy developer. In other words with every release you will be an automatic sale to the customer. It is called value for money. So what does this comment has to do with this review. Everything in fact as Aerobask is one of the really great talents that didn't fall into any of the above liabilities, and they prove what is required for greatness. Pipistrel Panthera v3 The Pipistrel Panthera is a great example of this. The first aircraft they released were very good, but they were all still a little slightly rough in some small areas. Version two (v2) showed more development and design, but more importantly Aerobask (then Harranssor) not only improved their actual modeling and design but started to explore new areas and developments to bring users another level of usability, functionality and most importantly that sublime quality of smoothness and feel to the ideas. And more importantly would not release an aircraft unless it was actually ready and they did not try to hit a locked in sales date, "it will be released when it is ready" is a good mantra. The major development we are talking about here is Aerobask's version of the built in FMS (Flight Management System) called "Dynon SkyView" and complimentary GTN 750 and GTN 650 systems. This system is not new as it was introduced on the v2, but back then it was a hybrid version with part of the default X-Plane GNS530 used as the navigation display and flightplan editor to supplement the GTN 750 and GTN 650. The Epic Victory from Aerobask introduced a development of the system yet again and a full avionics suite of the "Skyview - GTN 750/650"without the need of using the default GNS530 innards. With the Pipistrel Panthera v3 the system is again moved forward, but more internally than from the visual aspect, we will explain this later, but first let us look at the aircraft. When the original Pipistrel Panthera by then Harranssor was introduced the developer was at a disadvantage. Aerobask is a lover of composite aircraft, modern sleek and of very clean moulded lines. But in computer visuals these aircraft can come across as very bland or even cartoonish in appearance, there is no detail in soft clean shapes unlike the panel and riveting detail on 60's era aircraft. At this time of the review X-Plane11 is still in beta (b15) and the focus of this v3 release is in and only for X-Plane10.52. But the Panthera does fly fine in the beta, no issues for me except for an overuse of fuel. But the biggest benefit for Aerobask is the way that X-Plane11's PBR (Physically Based Rendering) shininess and harder shadows give these composite aircraft finally a feeling of reality, "oh it's so good" stunning and throughout this review you can see the huge benefits of what PBR brings to the simulator. If any aircraft have a huge visual benefit from X-Plane11 it is certainly Aerobask's designs. Earlier versions in X-Plane10 required that I had to use a lot of cheap lighting tricks to get something out of the blandness of the fuselage as shown below. But that is all swept away with X-Plane11... .... and there is better yet still to come! Aerobask have fine tuned the textures for PBR to match and it really shows. As the high quality 3D model has been totally reauthored with UHD 4K textures, Ambient occlusion, Specular mapping and PBR normal mapping (for XP11). For this review I set off from early from KLAL - Lakeland, Florida and headed out to KEVB - New Smyrna Beach Muni, but decided to carry on up to KJAX - Jacksonville along the eastern Floridian coastline. I was enjoying the great feel of the Panthera and the still newish feel of X-Plane11. I was certainly enjoying the aircraft, but I can't fly around up here all day as my fuel load is getting very low and that in X-Plane11 the Panthera does gobble up fuel at an alarming rate. Safer on the ground at KJAX... Let us now look at some "catch your breath images"... The realism is astounding, look at the light on the engine intake curves.. The panel design from the outside of the aircraft is just excellent, very, very realistic. The pilot shakes his head with your stick movement, but not much else and he can't seem to get a grip on the stick? As good as the panel is from the outside a closer inspection is overwhelming In the X-Plane11 PBR lighting it is just simply unbelievably brilliant, as the carbon matrix design is almost feel to touch. Cockpit detailing is excellent. All items are beautifully modeled with perfect textures and you can just feeeel everything is so nice to the touch. Top panel has sixteen in two sets of annunciators either side of the backup instruments of Speed, Artificial Horizon and Altitude. Lower panel has switchgear to the left that covers Power, Avionics, Fuel Pump, Pitot Heat, AP (Autopilot), A&C and AUX (GPU). Flaps and Climate Controls are to the right. Park Brake, Trim Indicator and Climate Control display are lower. All climate controls and systems are simulated also here. Key is used to start, just push the key to turn or use the manipulators. When you do start the engine throws out a lot of exhaust smoke and you have to work to get the idle right, it will churn a lot sometimes and you don't get that clean startup every time, very realistic. Cabin fitting out is exceptional, to note the detail then just look at the perfect chrome handles and seatbelt catches, are just perfect chrome. Dynon Skyview The Panthera comes with the two panel display version of the "Dynon SkyView" system. Pressing the aircraft symbol in the centre of each display will bring up the pop-up version of the panel, the panels are also adjustable for scale via the right hand lower corner. Yes we have seen these displays before, but there is a new efficiency to the activation and movements that shows the system has been upgraded, it is now far more fluid in operation as is Scroll-wheel support on lists, map, HDG, CRS, MDA, ALT, VVI... and more. Both screens are independent of each other and all can be configured to suit your preferences. Within each configuration you can select even parts of full screen views to cover the full spectrum. This includes a HUGE or massive Artificial Horizon with rate of turn indicators, speed and altitude tapes and heading rose (with Course (CRS) - double VOR 1 and 2 and Skyview - FMS pointers) in the lower portion of the screen. An Engine and Aircraft status block known as the EMS which can be positioned left/right or centre of the display and also the MAP/NAV screen. Personally I kept it all simple with just the main PFD in front of me with the EMS and the MAP/NAV screen shared with the EMS again to the right. The system is menu driven by the buttons below the screen. This is a great version, but menu driven tree and branch systems can be complex and time consuming to use. But the system does also give you a huge amount of options. There are a huge amount of selections on the Dynon menu driven interface, which selections are accessed by the lower row of buttons, or the two knobs (covering Altitude and Heading adjustment) on the left display and "Range" on the right. BARO - MDA - CRS (Course) - HDG (Heading) - ALT - VS - IAS - DIM, all use the knob as a selection tool with a centre push of the knob for selection and arrows for changing selections. It works very well but the arrows are a bit small, but overall I prefer the GNS500 version with just a row of buttons that simply do the same job without scrolling up and down in menus for your selection. Tree and branch navigation can be complicated, and so you have to write down the routes to the selections you want. Take for instance the Map Nav-Aid selections. You require four branch selections just to declutter your screen. First MAP then MAP MENU (again) then ITEMS and then your actual selections and do that while trying to fly and navigate as well? I just leave it on the "ITEMS" menu all the time so I don't lose them again in the forest of menu selections. You do wonder if the budget cuts to the FAA are really messing up with their jobs, how did this complex routing really pass cockpit ergonomics for user friendly applications... "god knows". Flightplans Creating and editing flightplans are very (very) easy and quick with this system, you can IMPORT and EXPORT standard .fms flightplans as well. The big in screen map help building flightplans, and editing or adding in extra Nav-Aids (waypoints) on to the plan is as easy as a select and click. Nearest (APT/VOR/DME/NDB/FIX) is excellent as is the search function and any selections can be directly inputted into the flightplan and Airways, SID and STAR (waypoint-based) fixes are supported. Overall very impressive. Menus There are two pop-up menu tabs on the lower left of your screen for "Options" and Weight & Fuel" "Options" covers two items for windshield and EFIS (instrument) reflections. "Weight & Fuel" covers static elements which turns yellow with the tag to add or hide the wheel chocks and the aircraft's parking flags. You have a fuel selector to add or empty the aircraft's fuel tanks (two), which is easy to use. Lower right is a clever system of adding in weight and passengers. click on a seat or bag and you can load either an adult or a child in the seats (any except the pilot's) and with the baggage select a bag from the menu. All the fuel, passenger and baggage weight is then calibrated on a display on the left to show you your actual aircraft weight. And it is all very well done and easy to do. I found that four people up is too much weight with a full load of fuel on board, and I had to leave the second passenger behind to get the two adults and their luggage in the aircraft. Rear left door is outlined, but doesn't open. External GPU (Ground Power Unit) is not on the menus but activated via the button "AUX" on the panel. This GPU is definitely required if you are setting up the aircraft for flight, certainly if programming in a flightplan, as the battery goes flat very quickly if the GPU is not attached. Review Routes : KJAX - Jacksonville to KLAL - Lakeland Then YBCG - Gold Coast to YBNA - Ballina On leaving Jacksonville I got another warning in two "Servo" failures and a dive into the manual and I was none the wiser, so a contact with Aerobask was in order, I couldn't takeoff with broken Elevator and Aileron failures now could I... These were not actual failures as it turned out, but just disconnected servos as the "AP" switch was off?, Switch now on and the warning went away, time to fly. Note the beautiful trailing link undercarriage, all the gear is extremely well made, but the nosewheel can be awkward to use at low turning points, it can stall you easily, and only a lot of thrust will get you moving again? You tend to taxi positioned just to one side as the glareshield is quite big and the view ahead a little bit restricted, it is worse at night looking for the centreline on approach or finding the middle of the taxiways, to which you tend to take a little bit off line. Sounds are all new as well with script-driven custom sounds with rain graphics and noisy sound effects, and yes it all sounds very good. Departure was fast... Is the Panthera "Twitchy", I personally don't really think so as it is more "nimble" or "touchy" then it could be that. But with the very light frame to the power ratio with this version in having the 260HP equipped Lycoming IO-540V, you definitely feel the light composite structure through the controls. So the inputs have to be small, slow and smooth, and those glider like wings are very effective and so this Pipistral is nothing like a C175 or the like. So my advice is just slow down and go smooth through any manoeuvres. Leaving the grip of the runway there is a significant drift to the left to be compensated for as the powerful thrust can take you off line very quickly, so you are very active in those first few moments of flight until you are used to the Panthera's handling and feel. Feel of course is everything here, but this is certainly a "feely, Feely" aircraft, but in a nice way. Landing is very touchy as well, you need to control the speed to descent as the window is small (Those wings?) too slow and they quickly stall and you lose height, so it is a very throttle control on landing... and a few practise landings to get it right. In-flight instrumentation is very good. with on the Navigation display note the good on screen data that covers ETE (Estimated Time Enroute), ETA (Estimated Time Arrival) Final and ETE, ETA Next. Garmin/Aerobask GTN750/650 System Centre panel is the aircraft's pièce de résistance! the GARMIN GTN 750/650 system or Aerobask's version of the system. As with the Dynon the panels both pop-up (press the right perimeter) and this is a nice bit of kit. You may say "I've seen this before?" and you would be right as you have, but not the more completed working version. Back in the day this was the original version. It was quite basic but this is now the full version of the system... To see the best effects of the GTN 750/650 we will head to the Gold Coast for a night flight down to Ballina. The GTN750 is the larger unit with a 6.9 inch TFT touchscreen display with icons to cover features such as : Map, Traffic, Terrain, Weather, Charts, Flight Plan, PROC, Nearest, Waypoint Info and Utilities with Services and System blanked out. The "Utilities" button covers : DALT/TAS/Winds, Flight Times and Checklists and Clean Screen with Trip Planning, Rain Prediction, Scheduled Messages blanked out. Top of the GTN750 unit is the radio section, with easy switching of frequencies, XPDR and COMM, NAV selection. It is very, very impressive and easy to use once you get used to it, but a little time is required to learn all the abundance of functions, mouse scroll is handy as well for volume and frequency changes. The GTN650 is smaller at 4.9-inch TFT display and has a few different options from the GTN750 Feature available include : Map, Traffic, Terrain, Weather, Default Nav, Otto Pilot (from the movie "Flying High" and yes I am that old) Waypoint Info and Nearest. Radio is situated to the right with the same built-in tuners. The system is very, very impressive, but to note that all the functions as listed on the displays have not been covered yet. You have a lot of power here at your fingertips, but the trick is to find the right combinations of all your tools to get the maximum ease of use from your flying. You will find a lot of functions in this cockpit doubled up or even tripled, the idea is find the best set up to cover your workload. To that effect I have the "Map" on the bigger GTN750, and the "Otto Pilot" ready on the lower GTN650 and just the Haeding and Altitude adjustment on the left Skyview display, simple and it works. Note the excellent flight plan leg with CDI selection below... Cockpit is nice at night but I can't find any screen brightness adjustment. External lighting is very good with the usual navigation, recognition and two landing lights on the main gear. The strobes are very good, but very bright and so not to be used on the ground. Panel can be completely dark, or you have two note pad lights to light up the instruments. In the rear there are two overhead spot lights. Remember the looking a little offset past the glareshield, here is the view at night... MAP function is impressive. Map choices include Arc or 360º and resolution. Other Layers include Terrain, Nav-Aids, Orientation (North or Heading) and Height. Terrain Terrain function is very detailed, but only when closer to the ground (the radar, not the aircraft)... ... the menu is same as with the Map. One of the most used layouts with the two units I like to use is the flightplan. You can have the usual flightplan on in the right hand side navigation display, but the GTN's are a great addition for excellent detail of you route with the route in the upper 750, and the CDI flight plan leg in the lower 650, it is a great layout for easy route visuals. Nearest and Waypoint Information is comprehensive, easy to use and very visual. There has been a lot of thought put into online support. Both for communication with PilotEdge (Connect/disconnect, TX/RX, COM1&2 volume control) and awareness for IVAO and VATSIM (connection status). TCAS is also supported for online flying with a "Traffic Information Service" (TIS) which is an advisory. There won't be much activity around this area tonight, but there are a few options on the traffic menu. Charts are good, but not very readable at full size, zoom in and they are then usable. PNG. files makes them easy to create and inset into the "Charts" folder in your aircraft folder. Weather and PROC (Proceed). The Weather just shows the levels of weather around you, but it is pretty basic, but the PROC is used like the "DIR-TO" or Direct-To a Nav-Aid or Waypoint, and can be used as a waypoint editor for the flightplan. For a small four-seater aircraft the Panthera has a lot of gear, it feels like there is more than the Space Shuttle used... Liveries Outwardly the liveries look the same as the original versions. But they have been all updated to UHD 4K and the detailing shows compared to the earlier textures. Eight liveries in all and the collection still includes the "Pink Panther" design Special Effects There are some great special effects. One is rain drops (left) that are excellent and look beautiful on the curved canopy doors. Fog (right) is in there as well. You don't know it is fogging up until it clears a little in the front view position, again really well done and I love these effects for their realism under the weather. When you park up, you take the key out and store it in the centre console... ... But the pilot stays in there? Why can't he go home after disconnecting the key... Summary I started this review with the point that to really succeed in X-Plane as a developer there is a continuous growth and upward scale of quality you have to deliver. X-Plane design is now extremely high, the quality in X-Plane11 with PBR is just simply enormous. Aerobask has joined easily that upper echelon of being a must buy developer. This aircraft and the others that will follow are simply overwhelming aircraft in design and features, and yes there is still more to come. The light and design of the aircraft will take your breath away, X-Plane11 is delivering and with aircraft like this you are now going into a higher realm of quality and realism, areas that you only dreamed of a few years ago. That realism while using and flying this aircraft is second to none (in X-Plane11) but the great attraction is that everything in the systems and the complex on board navigation and flight control (Autopilot) is that it has a seemless use and what coders call elegance in the coding in that it doesn't feel like it is a model or even a simulation... it feels real. It is to your best advantage to set up and use the systems to better your flying. Autopilot and Flightplan control is far better and simpler to use than the complex tree and branch menus of the Dynon units. Yes you have loads of functionality, but you can get lost just trying to find your way around all those menu settings. So set everything out for simple selection. Earlier owners of the v1/v2 Panthera from Aerobask can get US$10 off the updated v3 aircraft... see details below. There are no highlights here (well maybe the excellent GTN Units) as everything is good or brilliant, the designs from Aerobask are now trendsetters as much as Carenados are but in a totally different area. And flying the Panthera will challenge you as well... I could go on and on, but why... it is just brilliant. Positives : Almost everything! Beautiful design inside and out, realism in spades and incredible equipment packs. Negatives : Almost nothing, except letting the Pilot go home and learning all the complex systems and using them to your best flying abilities. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Pipistrel Panthera v3 by Aerobask is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Pipistral Panthera v3 Your Price: $34.95 Features In-house coded GTN 750 and GTN 650 with touchscreen and scrollwheel support: Exclusive multi-threaded and fps-friendly map and terrain display Map topography display based on actual X-Plane mesh data Terrain awareness display based on actual data Configurable map rendering TCAS with online flying support Airways, SID and STAR support (waypoint-based) Flight plan import/export compatible with stock XP10 fms format Built-in chart viewer - easily import yours COM support for PilotEdge (Connect/disconnect, TX/RX, COM1&2 volume control) COM awareness for IVAO and VATSIM (connection status) COM, NAV and XPNDR dialing pad Interactive checklists Resizable pop-ups Latest revision of Dynon Skyview with added scrollwheel support NEW! Scrollwheel support on lists, map, HDG, CRS, MDA, ALT, VVI, etc... Airways, SID and STAR support (waypoint-based) Weather map display on multiple screens and orientations TCAS with Traffic Advisory and Resolution Advisory Resizable pop-ups Dual compatibility XP10 and XP11, with PBR support Volumetric propeller (XP11) Enhanced and scripted 3D sound Compatible with GoodWay 5 Requirements: X-Plane 10.50 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux - Running in 64bit Mode 1Gb VRAM Minimum. 3GB+ VRAM Recommended on X-Plane 11 X-Plane 11: this aircraft requires GNS430 data from X-Plane 10, Navigraph or Aerosoft to be installed into Custom data folder. Previous Panthera Owners: If you own the prior Panthera v1/v2 versioion, you can get the new Panthera v3 for $10 off. The upgrade code can be found in your original Panthera invoice at the store. or you can request it at _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the Pipistrel Panthera v3 is 117.10mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 246.70mb . Key authorisation and a restart is required. You can use the Navigraph or Aerosoft navigation data with this aircraft or the built in X-Plane GNS430 data in your main root folder. Comprehensive set of documents covers all aspects of the (complex) avionics systems and flightplanner _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 23rd March 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 11b15 and also used in X-Plane v10.52 and checked with current flight route and details Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: personal added items in an office (okay demountable building and vehicles) - KJAX - Jacksonville International Airport 1.01 by ThePrivateer ( - Free - 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
  6. The MD-88 from Rotate is still my preference at this point as the B757 is not up to total X-Plane11 usability. The B757 is a very complex aircraft, it needs the rules to be steady to be adjusted correctly, it flies fine and is perfect in XP10, but X-Plane11 beta is just too flexible at the moment to get the best out of the aircraft in detail.
  7. Plugins - Goodway v5 Flight Planner Released If anything can show that you are a long time user of the X-Plane simulator, then it is the word "Goodway". The Goodway Flightplanner was all the rage back in the days of early X-Plane versions onwards from 2003 because it was A - good, B- easy and most importantly C - Fast. Goodway used line vector drawing and not the complex (online) maps to create navigation routes and then loaded them directly into the aircraft, so the flightplanner was not an external system but a built into X-Plane plugin, with all those benefits. By the end of the last decade the v4 Goodway was feeling a little out of date and was not updated to keep up with the advances in the simulator, so it became buggy and outdated. At the time the developer noted that there was a new version in v5 coming soon to clear away all the cobwebs and create a totally new modern version with a long list of new features, development went on for a few years and then the whole deal just sort of fizzled out. But here now is that newly released v5 Goodway flightplanner. It is still integrated in with X-Plane V10 and V11 64Bits in a plugin (no 32bit version). This means that all the tools offered by GoodWay are also still directly usable in X-Plane. I tried out the "Demo" version. Goodway v5 is downloaded and inserted into your X-Plane "Plugins" folder and will show up under the X-Plane plugins menu. There are 4 menu options in: Map Flight Plan Aircraft Preferences Aircraft covers the preferences for the aircraft's performance for Climb, Cruise and Descent (Goundspeeds) and Climb and Descent vertical speeds and finally the Flight Altitude, the preferences can then be saved, but you have to get them right and there are no .Mach speeds in there, or it crashes the plugin. There are a set of default aircraft settings you can use, so picked the default Boeing 737-800. Next you set up your (basic) route via IACO Departure and Arrival airports and the choice of two VIAs. And GoodWay will suggest VIAs that can match SIDs or STARs for airports, but it is not a perfect SID/STAR flightplanner, but notes suggest that this may come in a future feature when X-Plane11 has been finalised and sorted. One bonus of this Flightplanner is that it does list all the current Airports, VORs, NDBs and Waypoints (fixes) from the current X-Plane database. And this aspect and with the actual name titles makes it easy to find and select the current navigation data that is available, even if you are not using the X-Plane .fms flightplan system but programming your FMS system in a larger addon aircraft like the Flightfactor machines or Rotate's MD-88, and the flightplan and route can be seen (or is handy) in the your current window and not on a secondary screen or monitor. After imputing the DEP and ARR airports Goodway will create a very basic route and flightplan with TYPe, ICAO, VOR Frequency, Name (Airport or Nav Aid) TRK (track), DIST (Distance), ALT (Altitude) and Time to Nav Aid. The offical completed version looks like this... The biggest bonus is speed, Goodway was and still is very fast, but you have to wait if if it has to compute long routes. The MAP page is still pure Goodway. Top menu is the map selections including the Flightplan Tool and Search. Then a selection of (on/off) Airports and Nav-Aids. H (High) - L (Low) routes. Next set include N - Names (place), I- Information and F - Frequencies (VOR/NDB) and the final set of selections are for Show Aircraft, Show aircraft on route (if Active) and finally Flight Path on or off. Lower Tools include Hand (move map), Ruler, Area Zoom and Modify Tool (editor). Map zoom level +/-, Centre and Zoom and Zoom Aircraft. Preferences There is the preferences pop-up panel This panel shows your selections for Airports, Helipad, and Hydroport, and Show Rivers, Country (boundaries), Aircraft (yours), Airports (Fix), Smooth the Map? which is for very slow computers... and log flight path. Once you have created the basic route you can easily modify it to meet your current requirements. If you are an old user of the Goodway, you can smile again as you know how extremely easy it was to edit the flightplans and with an extremely fast speed if you were a master of it. The key tools are very easy to use between the Shift (duplicate waypoint), Control (move map) and Drag for waypoints and Define to select a work area. The old slight annoyances come back as well? first is that you have move to the first waypoint to duplicate it? And usually it was way off the map, and then you had to leap frog the duplicate waypoint back down from visual waypoint to visual waypoint to the first waypoint that you needed to select? Once there however then you can just then duplicate that waypoint for the ones you require that are now more close to it. More modern Flightplanners just allow you to click on the waypoint you want by selecting it. But a pro can create a edited flightplan in double quick time, for that Goodway is unbeatable. Low and High Routes are very well represented and again extremely useful when creating larger FMS flightplans (airways) for add-on aircraft as the routes can be scrolled to find airways that are not shown on over limited flightplanners. Vector design means very fast movement and scale, so scrolling is extremely fast and the whole world is easily available. But I used to have issues with the flightplan if it crossed over the dateline or the edge of the map, certainly with editing close to the edge of the map. I don't know if this issue is still there, but it was hard to fix at the time. Airport information is very good and frequencies are selectable. You don't get the airport display in the Demo, but the official one looks like this. Search for Airports and Nav-Aids is very good, with a wide source of selections. Currently you can export: X-Plane v10 : FMS and GPS X-Plane v11 : FMS, GNS 430, 530 and FMC (which requires to still manually enter the arrival and departure airports) But as noted it is excellent for in window/screen FMS route creation. A video is available to see the set of features and flightplanner use... Summary Considering the extensive time period between the last release and this v5 Release you do expect a more modern flightplanner. The v5 Goodway is not that different than the older v4 version all those years ago, yes there are new features, but in reality it is still really the same old Gateway. That is of course a bonus as well as a negative as it is a powerful tool to use as it is lighting fast to create routes or to find Nav-Aids or Airways. Editing is exactly the same and with the bonuses and negatives with that as well and the overall design is slightly old fashioned as well on icon design and layouts. The quirks are still in there as well, dragging the first point by point duplicate to a closer airport waypoint to create a SID drove me mad, and as there is also no topographical map, it is very easy to design routes that can fly you directly into mountains (there is still a black mark on a mountain in Victoria B.C with my name on it). Price is quite high at €25 Euros (US$26.75 Current), as very good as it is, it is still expensive with a lot of good flightplanners around (there was a €20 Euro introduction price but that period has now ended). I really loved the Goodway (in the past) and shred a few misty tears using it again here, but the point is would I front up that much for it again (sorry no upgrades from v4) as that is debatable. The Demo is really too limiting for me to make up my mind either, but for €15 Euros I would present my credit card as in many areas it is a very valuable route making tool. So the Goodway route creation tool is back for X-Plane... was it worth the wait? Positives: Extremely fast route building and editing tool, Built directly into X-Plane via a plugin, Good use for current default X-Plane FMC systems and excellent for route creation for FMS aircraft, New aircraft preferences must be correct, Older X-Plane pilot's will cry again as they use it. Negatives: Not that big a leap from v4, Still a few quirks that drove you mad then still do, No topographical mapping for altitudes, Expensive for a vector program and only one computer per license is permitted. ______________________________________________________________________ The v5 Goodway Flight Planner for X-Plane10 and 11 is Available from XPGoodway here : XP-Goodway v5 Flightplanner Price is €25 Euros (US$26.75 Current) Features: • Automatic creation of flight plans with X-Plane data (which may differ from the actual data you find on the internet or in some tools), • Using the performance of aircraft that you can also define yourself, the flight plan automatically recalculates, • Send the flight plan to X-Plane v10 standard instruments : FMS and GPS, X-Plane v11 FMC, GPS and GNS (430 or 530) • Follow the flight plan in a specific window that also allows you to adjust the radio frequencies and the OBS and Heading with a single click, • A map that covers the entire world and provides you with a wealth of tools for display, dynamic measurements and viewing and making or modifying flight plans, tracking your flight, • Detailed information about airports: Airports in blue print, ILS list, Radio, and all the details of each airport, you can also adjust the radio frequencies and ILS in 1 click. • Powerful search tool that will allow you to search for any beacon, waypoint, airport and even a city on the map. Installation The download package is 25.70mb and is 74.70mb when installed in your X-Plane "Plugins" Folder. Both MAC and Windows version provided. Registration and Authorisation key is required: Demo is free but limited. Documents: Manual in English, French and German is available from site. ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 13th March 2017 Copyright©2017: X-Plane Reviews 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 10 Global ver 10.45 / Checked install in X-Plane11b6 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : Headshake by SimCoders Plugins: : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 .
  8. Aircraft Update : Boeing 777 Worldliner Pro 1.9.5 by FlightFactor/Vmax The big twin Boeing 777 Professional Series from FlightFactor/Vmax has been updated to version 1.9.5. This update makes the B777 Pro usable in X-Plane11 (not yet fully XP11 compliant) but this update does cover the important changes of the jet engine thrust parameters that was changed in the X-Plane11beta12 release. Also with this update is the distinction now of completely separate aircraft versions of the aircraft for both _XP10 (XP10.52) and _XP11 and so you will have quite a few none usable aircraft now showing up in your selection menu. This multitude of versions are now going to grow prolifically as other developers follow this same trend and it is certainly noticeable here and certainly if you have the "Extended Pack" because there are four variants that is now doubled up to eight and four of those are not usable in either X-Plane application. These separate aircraft versions could start to fill up your menus very quickly unless there is compromise found to distinctively allocate the versions of aircraft to the acceptable platform application. The new changelog notes the changes: 1.9.5 - split xp10 and xp11 files - added a fix for xp11 beta engine issues (temporary) However flying the B777 Pro you do feel far more items than on the changelog were attended to, to bring the aircraft to an X-Plane11 usable flying condition. It flies very nicely thank you very much, and the big smile on my face says "I'm glad to have you back", and certainly the option to be able to use the aircraft in X-Plane11 is a very big benefit as well. Those X-Plane11 features help any aircraft, but the B777 Twin looks very good with it's shiny new skin. Everyone would feel the Boeing 777 cockpit is a slightly darkish place with all the browns, but X-Plane11 and the new PBR (Physically-Based Rendering) feature does now bring in a lot of life and dynamics to the whole space. The "Extended Pack" includes four versions (below) of the Boeing 777 Worldliner, and the standard version includes the above Boeing 777-200LR. Boeing 777-200 LR Boeing 777-200 F (Cargo) Boeing 777-300 ER Boeing 777-200 ER Not a big update by any means, but at least the aircraft is usable in X-Plane11 until the whole new X-Plane11 version goes final. Go to your X-PlaneStore account now to update to the new 1.95 version (It may note the older v1.94, but it is actually the v1.95) and if you would like to purchase the Boeing 777 Professional Series packages then the details are set out below.. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The 1.95 update is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Price is US$59.95 - Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional Price is US$84.95 - Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional - Extended Pack - Designed by FlightFactor (Philipp and Ramzzess) and produced by VMAX The 1.92 update is free to all users that have purchased the Boeing 777 (Pro and Ext) Series. Just go to to your X-Plane.Org Store account and log-in to download. Features Fully Functional FMS - Plan your routes like a real pilot Custom designed Flight Management Computer, integrated with other plane systems Custom programmed LNAV logic for terminal procedures Custom designed Navigation Display Tterminal procedure database with RNAV approaches and transitions VNAV managed climbs and descends Takeoff and approach speed calculation Custom autopilot modes for autoland Optimum cruise performance and step climb calculation True-to-life radio navigation with procedural-, route-, and navigation support auto-tuning Custom programmed FMC navigation using GPS-, radio- or inertial navigation with individual position errors and management of actual and required navigation performance Magnetic, true and polar grid course reference Alternate airports, diversion and arrival management Ground proximity warning system using real sounds FMC can be used on external touchscreen or tablet, optimized for the new iPad Incredible 3D modeling - the best eye-candy Amazing virtual cockpit with crisp details - Dynamic reflections Custom 3D sounds and Announcements Add-ons: Push-back truck, Fuel Truck, Passenger bus and Emergency slides ... On-Screen Menus: Configuration and loading menu, Quick Zoom Requirements X-Plane 10 Fully updated or current X-Plane 11 - 64 bit required Windows, Vista, 7 / 8/ 10 (64 bits) or MAC OS 10.10 (or higher - OSX 10.9 will not work), Linux Ubuntu 14.04LTS or compatible (older versions are not supported) 4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM (1GB VRAM Recommended)- 1Gb available hard disk space Current version : 1.92 (last updated January 25, 2017) Note: For this update to work correctly on Windows, you need to install the Visual Studio 2015 redistributables, which you can download here: _____________________________________________________________________________________ Developer Site: facebook Dev Thread : _____________________________________________________________________________________ Technical Requirements: Windows XP , Vista, 7 / 8/ 10 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.7 (or higher), Linux Ubuntu 14.04LTS or compatible (older versions are not supported) X-Plane 10.30+. 32 or 64 bit (64bit recommended) 4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM (1GB VRAM Recommended)- 1Gb available hard disk space Current version : 1.95 (last updated 13th March 2017) Update Review By Stephen Dutton 14th March 2017 Copyright©2017: X-Plane Reviews
  9. News! Early Preview : Phenom 100 by Carenado Early facebook images of Carenado's next plane project is Carenado's first X-Plane jet with the Phenom 100! Jet aircraft from Carenado have been in the works for quite awhile and also available in FSX/PrePar3d for quite a few years now and there is actually two version in the Phenom -100 and -300 Series. But no doubt the coming release will make the wait worth it, for the Phenom comes with a full G1000 avionics suite as well, and is a HD Series (High Definition) Aircraft. As the FSX version is also noted as US$39.95, it could be also the most expensive Carenado released in X-Plane yet as well. It might be a good idea to start saving now, no actual release date or detailed aircraft features are yet available, but my guess is a release around Easter. Images are courtesy of Carenado© Developer site : ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 13th March 2017 Copyright©2017 X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews
  10. Aircraft Review : PA-31 Chieftain 350 HD Series by Alabeo Only back last year in August 2016 I sampled Carenado's Piper PA-31 Navajo. It didn't take long (about 10 minutes) for the aircraft to become a firm favorite in my hangar and I have flown it constantly ever since. It is just one of those really sweet aircraft that fits your flying like a glove. So I was pleasantly surprised with the announcement of another variant on the Navajo in the big brother (or sister) the PA-31 Chieftain. The Chieftain is the stretched version of the Navajo B with more powerful engines and counter-rotating propellers to prevent critical engine handling problems.The fuselage was lengthened by 2 ft 0 in (0.61 m), allowing for up to ten seats in total. Also variants of the Lycoming TIO-540 developing 350 hp (261 kW) were fitted to the Chieftain (this version), with an opposite-rotation LTIO-540 installed on the right-hand wing; MTOW was increased to 7,000 lb (3,175 kg). After certification was achieved for the PA-31-325 in May 1974, and production commenced in the 1975 model year. In the Navajo review I flew the aircraft from YBBN (Brisbane) to the new YBWW (WellCamp) by Toowoomba, Queensland, and well I thought why not fly the Chieftain on the same route and see how they both fare. You can see the extra length of the Chieftain, but it is deceiving at first, more noticeable is the bulkier engine housings with their overhang of the rear of the wing. Quality wise and design thoroughness you can't tell the two aircraft apart, both excellent. Which one is the Carenado... the first one, but it doesn't make any difference really. Menus Carenado provide you with three tabbed menus on the left lower screen. A ) is for the pop-up Autopilot panel. B ) Is the standard Carenado views, Field of View and Volume panel. And C ) is the Options panel. There are certainly great options. The usual Static elements are again odd. You can have your wheel chocks but only with the aircraft hand puller on the nose? What if you just want to chock the aircraft until you fly again. No engine inlet or tags either but you do get wing cones. One feature is a really great one in two types of versions. The "Standard" wing version gives you the door and an opening luggage door (but no luggage?) Select the "Winglets" tab on the Options menu and you get not only a lovely set of modern winglets, but a change in configuration with a single door door (no luggage door) and two extra seats in the rear with some beautiful teardrop windows to look out of known as the "Commuter" version There is a nice luggage compartment in the nose as well. Aircraft panel work is excellent, note the very well done screw and rivet work. Interior The Navajo had a club seating layout (below), but the Chieftain (above) is totally forward seating. At first glance the seating looks old, but they are actually not, but black leather, and they are the sames seats as well but because of the darker colour they look very different. The all dial Navajo dark grey panel is on the left, with the brighter cream Chieftain panel on the right, the Yokes are a cream colour as well but the same style. So the panel is totally familiar, but are slightly different in layout. Obviously the biggest difference on the Chieftain is the included Garmin G500 navigation system like which was included with the Seneca V a few weeks ago, unlike the Seneca V though the system is only installed on the pilot's side of the panel. Overhead switch panel is identical on both aircraft as is the pedestal. Power switches are left and right down.... The main power only turns on the Artificial Horizon and Heading rose with Speed and Altitude tapes and bank guide on the left screen. To switch on the avionics and Navigation display the switch is quite hard to find, as it is small and situated lower centre panel. On start up I found the G500 screens are dull and very hard to see. This was caused by the Instrument Reflections option, and for the clarity of this review I turned them off. The dullness was the worse in X-Plane11, but they were also still quite dull in X-Plane10 as well. Instrument Panel It is a pretty fully equipped instrument panel. Pilot's side is of course dominated by the G500 navigation system, with just backup analog dials in Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon (with built in Turn Coordinator) and the Attitude Indicator down the left side, but there is no Vertical Speed Indicator. Also added in is a VOR (2) localizer indicator and ADF pointer. On the Navajo there was a VOR2 pointer, but way over on the right hand side of the panel, but here it is now missing altogether? The Co-Pilot gets the full analog suite of instruments. It is a very impressive set of kit with Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator on the top row, Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial and Vertical Speed Indicators second row.The rest of the right side panel are gauges for pressures in gyro, fuel, oil and cylinder head/oil temperatures, Volt meter, flap selection and indicator. The oxygen supply system is set out below, and it is all almost identical to the Navajo layout. Centre panel is again identical to the Navajo which has at the top a very nice set of annunciators and below are four dials that covers both engines, Manifold Pressure, RPM, EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) and engine fuel flow. Equipment stack is very good and again totally identical to the Navajo. Standard issue Garmin 347 audio panel is top left with the X-Plane Garmin GN350 GPS system below. Then there are a set of three Bendix/King units in one KR87 TSO ADF unit that is hard to adjust, and two KR 64 VOR/DME speed and range sets. Right stack includes a Bendix/King KX 165 TSO Comm/Nav (VOR2) tuner and a Garmin GTX 320 transponder. The weather radar is a Bendix/King and comes with a manual that notes you can adjust the range and radar angle, but I couldn't do any adjustments accept to turn it on, test and adjust the brightness. Left side panel is a fuse box, with main power and voltage switches set below. Right side panel is just another fuse box. Lower pedestal is the S-Tec Autopilot, three way trims, fuel panel with emergency fuel shutoff, crossfeed switch and inboard and outboard tank switches. You have that same blue overhead light and upper panel lighting which is the same as the Navajo, but the dial lighting here isn't as over saturated as the Navajo version and looks far better. Flying the Chieftain Starting is easy in fuel pumps on and hit the side of the rocker switch for the engine you want. Keeping them running however is another matter again. Welcome to the new world of X-Plane11 and its highly refined engine dynamics. Even in X-Plane10 and for most Carenado/Alabeo aircraft they all seem to idle quite high, and you need to adjust the mixture to get some semblance of "holding the aircraft back, like you do a snarling dog on a leash" Here it is magnified, but you can find some sort of balance between engines running and not running. But you also have to let them warm up now before actually slowing them down to idle. Once done and still with a fast idle then you can fly. Another jolly that Austin Meyer has added to X-Plane is front suspension movement under power or braking. So combine a high idle with a pulling at the lease aircraft with constant braking and you get a very nosey bouncy wouncy taxi ride. These items will of course be fine tuned in time (we hope). The two 350-hp engines over the Navajo's 310-hp gives you more uumph down the runway and you feel that extra power even though I am quite heavy at 6150lbs, but still a quarter under the Max weight of 7045lbs. Rotate is around 110kts... Once in the air and you don't really notice the difference too much from the Navajo, slightly heavier and slightly faster the Chieftain is, but not too significantly to notice, they feel very much the same aircraft. The Chieftain will climb as well. The Navajo climb rate was 1500fpm, but I had no trouble in achieving 1800fpm and the gear (with excellent sounds) makes a dramatic fold-up into the aircraft. Cruise speed is I found just under 200knts. noted speeds are 207 knots (383 km/h (238 mph)) econ cruise at 20,000 ft (6,100 m) with a range of 1,011 nmi (1,875 km (1,165 mi)), Max altitude is 26,300 ft (8,015 m) Very nice. Climb hard and turn, The Chieftain is nice under your command and unlike the Seneca V the engines don't foul the view. I am a big fan of the Garmin G500 system. It is exactly the same installation as it is in the Seneca V and so you get the same benefits here in like the easy selection of: HDG (Heading) - CRS (Course) - ALT (Altitude) - V/S (Vertical Speed) - BARO (Barometer) and adjustment for each selection via the large knob. Unlike older Carenado/Alabeo aircraft you can't now select different cursor modes, so you always get the green coloured choices as you move your mouse over the knobs, selection is tight as well, and in turbulence it can become a bit of a game just to change your heading? The font size is also a bit small but it a replica of the original G500, so I wonder how these things passed a FAA test... ADF and VOR2 pointers are very fine and hard to read (zoom required) but handy on the display, but overall you get a large amount of information on this very well sorted system from Carenado. Navigation display has a great DCL (DeCLutter) and in turns the map rotation is now far smoother and keeps up with the turn. The G500 also pops-out and can be resized and moved along with the default X-Plane Garmin GNS 530 which is the larger of the two standard gps systems. A neat trick is too use one map mode on the G500 for long distance range viewing and the shorter range distance for more current detail on the G530. The S-Tec (Genesys Aerosystems) Forty Five X autopilot is situated behind the pedestal. There is a pop-up from not only the autopilot itself (click to pop-up) but also the A ) menu tab option, although I found the menu tab option a bit "hows your father" in sometimes it worked and in other clicks it didn't? The same in both XP10 and XP11. Overall I prefer the older AP version in the Navajo, completely basic and easy to use, this S-Tec had smaller buttons and you had to be very careful in setting the V/S as 10 as it could be 10 or 1. The autopilot situation is shown on the centre panel display. The AP activation switch is also a little twiddly and hard to find even though it is centre panel and right in front of you (yellow arrow)... I start my descent into WellCamp (YBWW) over Toowoomba. Note the excellent Australian autogen by Chris K (Australian Pro) it is excellent and quite a perfect representation of the city. The airport itself is just beyond the city but partly hidden by two hills, and once past I turned southwest to fall into a circuit landing for RWY12. Note the great terrain (in yellow) demonstrated on the navigation display. Three postion flaps (Off (0º) - 15º - DN) don't give you much lift if you get the speed under 100knts, and drag is controllable with only a little extra power inputs. "Whoa!" as an almost perfect landing is ruined by a last minute sudden gust of wind, it is gusty out here today as the whole flight was with the seatbelt's sign on and a lot of turbulence to make my passengers nervous. I corrected, but the wrong two wheels hit the ground first, and more worrying murmurs from the rear... The Navajo was also noted as being very twitchy in the wind as well, and so it feels like a common trait amongst the Navajo Series. YBWW's main runway is long... really long at 2870 m long by 45 m wide and I used a lot of it to slow down and to try and not hit the early brakes so I don't start nosy bouncey movement too much. It is nice to be back at WellCamp, as the airport is very nicely modeled by fhvanhal. Setting up to return to Brisbane gives you a moment to admire the excellent panel, and there is a switch on top of the excellently covered glareshield that does nothing, but you try it anyway. Return to YBBN No hanging around I want to get back to Brisbane. So once the doors are closed and the engines started and tuned to idle, I'm "going". Funny thing is you need a fast idle to cover the long distance to the end of the runway... My reason's for rushing back to YBBN are valid, as there are storms brewing over the dividing ranges. Storms in Australia are not to be sneezed at or taken lightly, as they are fast moving and very deadly in the mid-afternoons when the cold coastal air hits the inland heat.. Lighting Internal lighting is very good. The panel is the same colourful patterns as the Navajo, so at night they are both very similar, except for the G500 displays. The blue overhead lighting is here there as well, beautiful light in the dark, but the rear door version is missing, and neither does the "No Smoking" sign work. As noted the roof dials are not so over saturated here and looks far for the better for it. Rear cabin seating has overhead spot lights, but you can't turn them off? I don't know if this is a Carenado to Alabeo difference, but not being able to switch them off or on is a bit rich. It is quite dark in the cabin, but very atmospheric. Wing (left) lighting is good, and you have one landing and one taxi light. Red beacon tail light didn't work? Over Redcliffe it is time to get ready for landing... RWY 14 is quite tricky to find, as there are no visible landmark or runway lights to lock on too under VFR rules. It is the houses and the far set back location of the runway lights in daylight that make it tricky, but soon I have a bearing. Slow and low... But this time I get it right, but the headwind helps. Job done and a just a wrap up of the aircraft to be finished... Liveries One blank and six liveries are part of the package. All are good and HD quaility. Most liveries have this hard worked and worn chipped paint look that is highly realistic. Summary If you liked the Navajo then the Chieftain is very, very similar, certainly to fly as they are almost identical, but for a little more weight and slightly more speed. If you put both aircraft on the ramp and said pick one, and only one then I would still pick the Navajo, but the problem with that equation is that the Chieftain has more to offer in the G500 avionics, extra seating and the conversion to winglet and those extra two seats... So overall the Chieftain is the better choice, and the aircraft is far better suited to the flying I really like to do with short distance commuter work and island hopping, and the trip out to WellCamp is perfect for this machine and the role it has to be used in. The rest is a no brainer. Carenado/Alabeo quality and everything else means you get a great aircraft. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Positives: Great design and that famous Carenado/Alabeo quality, Great sound, versatile aircraft, great to fly but tricky in crosswinds and great avionics and equipment. Negatives: Not much, but some items like none operating lighting buttons, average or no versatile static element choices and tricky taxiing speeds. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The PA-31 Chieftain 350 by Alabeo is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : PA31 Chieftain 350 Your Price: $32.95 Special Features Commuter and Standard Part of the HD Series High quality 3D model and textures . 4K textures Two version of the PA31- Chieftain High-Definition Aircraft Features Alabeo G500 GPS Volumetric side view prop effect High quality 3D model and textures. Blank texture for creating your own designs. Accurately reproduced flight characteristics SuperManipulator scroll wheel support Custom Stereo Sound Stereo Sound System Custom PA-31 sounds Comprehensive documentation Normal and emergency procedures Performances table Carenado G500 documentation Requirements: X-Plane 10 fully updated - X-Plane 11 Windows or MAC OS 10.9 (or higher) or Linux. 64bit Operating System required 2GB+ Video card Current Version: 1.0 (March 7th 2017) Important! For WINDOWS users: Please ensure that you have all the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables downloaded and installed (click here) For all: CARENADO G1000 DATABASE (MUST BE INSTALLED). _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the PA31 Chieftain HD Series is 350.60mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 440.60mb. Key authorisation and a restart is required. There is Normal and Emergency procedures (checklists), excellent sets of performance tables,references and G500 and Autopilot manuals. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 11th March 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews 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 11b13/14 and also used in X-Plane v10.51 and checked with current flight route and details Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 Scenery or Aircraft - YBWW - Brisbane West Wellcamp 1.1 By fhvanhal (X-Plane.Org) - Free - YBBN - Brisbane Airport 1.0 by tgd - (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  11. News! - Upcoming : Panthera 3.0 HD and Eclipse 550 NG by Aerobask Aerobask have announced the coming release of their Panthera 3.0 HD and Eclipse 550 NG. Developers are reluctant to release aircraft lately as the unreliability of the X-Plane11 beta and don't want to just deliver X-Plane10 aircraft and then redo all the work again for X-Plane11... catch22. But the work does go on regardless and they are all out there wanting to move forward. Both the new versions of the Panthera and Eclipse will come soon with a sophisticated avionics built in for X-Plane developed by Lionel : 2 Dynon Skyview, 1 GTN750 and 1 GTN650. Here is a list of the coming main features: Accurate flight model built by X-Aerodynamics according the real datas (for Eclipse 550). Accurate display. The resolution matchs the real instruments. Touch Screen Operation FPL SID/STAR procedures Moving-Map with several resolution available to save the FPS according the CPU/GPU Terrain Map COM/NAV/Transponder managed by the GTNs Charts Advanced TCAS (works with AI aircrafts, IVAO, VATSIM, Pilot Edge) Interactive Checklists PBR textures for X-Plane 11 But note that a lot of new X-Plane11 features will also be part of the packages and both aircraft will be X-Plane11 compatible when released! There is also a video available to show how the GTN 750 system works with the built in charts feature... Important Note! With the major thrust changes in the X-Plane11beta 12/13 Aerobask have released patches to update their older products to accommodate the changes, these are: Here are the links: E1000 -> Victory -> Fokker Dr.I -> ViperJet -> These patches will allow you to use current Aerobask aircraft in both X-Plane10 and X-Plane1 until a formal release is posted of the simulator. Expect all products to be current before Easter, although there is no release date on these aircraft, but that is out of everyone's hands for now. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 7th March 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
  12. Aircraft Review : Airbus A350 XWB Advanced by FlightFactor Of all the battles for supremacy in commercial aviation then nothing is going to compare with the twin engine market. It already has been a ding-dong battle between the Airbus A320 Series and Boeing's 737 Series and between them they have racked up thousands of sales, ongoing now is the next generation in the A320neo and the 737max to battle it out over the next few decades. A size up in aircraft category is also very complicated, as each manufacturer in Airbus and Boeing are both trying to lock in certain sizes in what is known as the "Big Twins" of the market. The Boeing 777 Series in dominating the market in replacing the veritable Boeing 747 has been very successful, but as airlines move away from the large hub and spoke model and back again to the original point to point services, then what was bigger is now not always better. Point to point markets demand very economical and high frequency services and to fit tightly the 200-350 seater markets, known as long and thin. The Airbus A330 filled this market, but its range and now being an old aircraft by today's standards and is also uneconomical, it's problem is that the -200 version has the range at 13,400 km (7,200 nmi) but is in the 250 seat market in a two class layout, the -300 can reach 300 seats but its range is restricted to 11,300 km (6,100 nmi). So one or the other don't fit. Boeing's solution is the 787 Dreamliner in 7,850 nmi (14,500 km; 9,030 mi) for the 250-300 seats with the -800 version and sweet spot 8,300 nmi (15,400 km; 9,550 mi) 280-330 seats with the -900 version. That slots the B787 nicely below the Boeing 777 and the coming 777X and fills the market. For Airbus it has been a two pronged attack to find an aircraft to fit below the A380 and go head to head with the Dreamliner and even the lower hanging fruit of the older 777's. Their solution is the A350-800 with 275-300 seats at 15,300 km (8,260 nmi) and the -900 at 14,350 km (7,750 nmi) with 280-350 seats, and the -1000 to cover the 350 - 370 seat market over the same 14,800 km (7,990 nmi) range which is B777 territory... and to just make sure to fill in all points just below the A350, the A330 will be updated to the neo (New Engine Option) to bring that aircraft up to date and competitive. To change things around and make life interesting the -900 version has been produced first to fill in the gap above the B787-800 and go head to head with the B787-900 and the -1000 version will be next for first flight to go for the B777 replacement sales of the earlier built and well into service aircraft. After the nightmares of the A380 development. Airbus could not want to have any problems in getting the A350 into service and quickly and as efficiently as possible. The timetable was tight, but Airbus in a way played it safe in using the tested, tried and true components from the bigger A380 and not going for a full composite fuselage like Boeing did with the Dreamliner. The results was an almost perfect first flight that was on time and date, and a testing program that ran almost like clockwork, the aircraft received its type certification on 30 September 2014 and the FAA certification on the 12 November 2014, and it is expected to meet its EIS (Entry Into Service) with Qatar Airways due 13th December 2014 with the first commercial service on the Frankfurt - Doha route in mid-Jan 2015. At this point the -1000 version of the A350 with a 15,600 km (8,400 nmi) and the 350-370 seats range is due next as the -800 version has stalled with the A330neo option filling in the gap quicker. Cathay Pacific expects to take delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000 in February 2016. The biggest battle confronting the A350 XWB is it's in service performance figures. Naturally the A350-900 will go almost head to head with the B787 Dreamliner in many markets, but the Dreamliner has a major advantage in it has a 20% reduction in fuel costs. Take this ANA Seattle-Tokyo leg for example as a 747-400 needs at least 136,000kg (300,000lb) to make that trip. The smaller, leaner 777-300ER needs nearly 100,000kg. But the Dreamliner, the only needs 63,500kg for the same Pacific crossing That is less than half of the B744. Yes they are in some ways different sizes of aircraft but the Dreamliner still has a notable 20% operating cost advantage. And those figures will certainly note the end of the B747's reign once the larger A350-1000 and B787-900 become more prominent around the ramps. The B787 does certainly have an operating cost advantage, but its still weaking 98.3% despatch reliability is going to be Airbus's number one target of the EIS of the A350 and its subsequent in service reliability and more importantly also meeting those high % percentage operational savings will only then mean a full order book or the success of the A350 XWB program. FlightFactor Aero No one doubts the quality of FlightFactor aero aircraft. Their Boeing 777 and 757 aircraft have been hugely successful and clever in the extension of the different variants in the "Extended" packages. The surprise was the change to another manufacturer in European Airbus in their next project which is this Airbus A350 XWB. Another challenge was the fact that Airbus aircraft are very highly intergrated with their Fly-By-Wire and Flight Control Laws, the two Boeing's were very good if not excellent in their flying characteristics, but the Airbus is completely a very different animal and only a few developers can or have been able to duplicate these complex systems for the X-Plane simulator. The best is Torsten Leisk that contributed to the QPAC Airbus A320-232 and Peter Hager's Airbus A380 Series, and here the flight laws and associated airbus fly-by-wire systems have been used in this FlightFactor A350 have been created and enhanced for this next generation of aircraft. In other words you fly the A350 more closer to philosophy and laws of flight than any other Airbus aircraft yet developed for X-Plane. FlightFactor aero have also with this aircraft created a new category or have split their product line into two separate types of aircraft in professional models (i.e. B777 and B757) and now another in the “advanced” version in that pro models have like lighting effects, particles, menus, high HD 3D graphics, textures and totally fully functional cockpits, and the "Adv" versions are noted as not so in depth but are still as hard to fly as the real machines. But in all but most cases here this "Adv" aircraft is still a very in depth simulation and the aircraft delivers more on flight and systems than most other aircraft in this price range and category, in this case you will not or never feel wanting there is something or a lot missing in the operation of the A350-800. Design wise with the aircraft power off the A350 XWB is very well designed and developed. detailing outside and inside is excellent, but I found the modeling slightly dark and more so inside. Airbuses have a very bright but grey corporate look about them and it is hard to get any directional light in here to lift the gloom a little. That is not to take away the excellent design work on show here. It is first rate and the best you can have today in X-Plane. Detailing abounds... look at the ailerons with no hydraulic pressure to support them... they all droop down. Why bother doing that? but this is the sort of detail you have around you, and excellent it all is. A start up will give you standing figures around the aircraft, this gives any ramp a busy feel and is well done. The A350 aircraft is a hard aircraft to model in the fact there is not that much information available except what Airbus gives out with their promotional material, there is no official documents and no in service details to gauge how the aircraft performs or is configured to everyday airline use. Remember FlightFactor would have started this project with even less data than what is available now. In that context they have done remarkably well, but we will have to forgive if in a few areas (and certainly in performance) that the numbers can be slightly off until the official ones start to drip through. Same is to be noted if a few things are missing or slightly wrong with the modelling. On the surface it looks absolutely perfect and very well detailed. Some small items look slightly odd at first in the fact the rear bogies are positioned front down and not rear down as with the B747 hanging undercarriage system. It is correct and so you can be sure if items like this are correct then other details are to. But close up the undercarriage here is surpremely well done, you expect a lot from a design of this price range and the A350 XWB does not disappoint. Powering up the A350 XWB Nothing will really work until you give the aircraft power if you want the full immersion of starting from cold. On the overhead (OH) panel there are two main and two backup power battery buttons. With power supplied you then need to set the ADIRS (Air. Data Inertial Reference System. ) which are three switches top left of the OH panel. Unlike some Airbus (JARDesign) aircraft there is only a short time frame for the ADIRS's to align. You have to tell the ADIRS the current position of the aircraft. This can be done two ways with the easiest by pressing the "Force Align IRS"on the "Options" page on the menus and that will align the aircraft to the its current position and start up the ND-Navigation Display. The second option is to select the FMS (Flight Management System) on the rear of the center console (it pops out) and insert your current airport (LFBO) and your destination airport (FAJS) in the FROM/TO box. This will then ask you to "Align IRS" and set up the alignment in that option. A350 XWB Displays The A350 comes with six large display screens. (left to right) Capt Outer OIS (Onboard Information System) - Capt Inner EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) which has the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and the ND (Navigation Display) - Center Up is the ECAM (Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor) that includes the ED (Engine Display), SD (System Display), Permanent Data, Mailbox and WD (Warning Display) - Center Lower is the MFD (Multi-function Display) which displays the same information as the two outer OIS's - both right displays are a mirror of the Capt's Inner EFIS and and outer OIS for the First Officer. The Lower MFD function is the same as both the outer OIS displays These three info displays also have a "Cross Pointer" (on the real aircraft displays) that can be aimed to select functions on the screens, some areas on the screens can also have direct input from the keyboard when required. There is another selection for Mouse Users that have scroll wheels... You can select "Manipulate" to scroll, or "Zoom Only" to use the mouse for normal selections. I use the standard single click mouse select way. (the scroll is set in the "Manipulate" state when you start up). You also have the choice to have the FlightFactor Crew visible all the time or just from the outside view The Lower MFD and the OIS displays can be changed around on both the Capt's side and the F/O's side, not only in their actual position but the inner screens can be switched around as well with the buttons on the pedestal. Noted as "Capt OIS on Center" to move from the outer OIS to the center display and "Display Cycle" to move the smaller split screens around on any of the displays. This makes it very versatile for having the right screen where you need it, I liked the Flight-plan switched around on the right side next to the PFD, and all the panels "pop-out" for ease of use (visually) if you need that function and selection. Display Menus The MFD and OIS displays have a lot of menus, almost overwhelming in detail and far too many to do in absolute complete detail here... but we will cover the main areas. Top left are the main seven menu selections in: (Options) - Ground Service - Weight and Fuel - CAB(in) Announcements - Users Guide - Charts - Options. We start with the "Options" page that it is not related directly to the A350 but the noted FlightFactor options. You can set the speed you want the simulation to go at in "Time Flow", Difficulty Level, Structural Limits, Baro selection, Default Trans Altitude (direct input), ILS Auto Alighn on start up, Draw lines and Flushing option to default, Auto Pause, FCU Font, MFD Control (the pop-up screens) Mouse Wheel (Scroll) and Auto Helper. Other menu choices are "Auto Cockpit set up" that does all the hard work for you in setting up the aircraft, "Force Align IRS" (see above), "Jump 100nm" and "Jump to next Waypoint" both of these options require the flightplan to be loaded in the FMS. You can adjust the overall sound levels and save all these "Options" settings as default for future use or use the "Restore" to the default option settings. Ground Service: The menu is split into three selection pages in: Doors & Hatches - Ground Equipment - Pushback. Doors & Hatches - Pushback There is a big menu screen that will open and close all the aircraft's doors and cargo hatches. Just select the door you want to open via a tab on the menu. All doors and hatches open and close with a very vocal sound that can be easily heard from the cockpit. You can also "Open" and "Close" all doors and hatches in one selection. The "pushback is very good and simple to use... You have the choice of either to "Push" or "Pull" and selecting one of these will call the tractor and hook it up ready for use. Brakes off and the you can steer and use your throttle to control the tractor. Ground Equipment Ground service covers all the equipment attached to the aircraft or servicing the aircraft on the ground. The first left column is all the equipment available to service the aircraft (return to that in a sec..), The second centre column is the power provided to the aircraft in two GPU's (Ground Power Units) that can be accessed on the OH Panel and required if you don't start up the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) on-board and either one or the other power source is required to set up the aircraft. The High-Pressure Unit (ground cart) is used to start the engines (or you can use the APU) and can have the AIR or Air-Con to cool the aircraft. Third or right column is the Maintenance Items (not available with this version). You can select "Stairs" to put a set of stairs at each front left side doors, Or press "Plane at gate" to put a single set of stairs on the rear left door. You wish you could select each door on the left for a stair as the two at left front feels like too many or simply have one at the front and one at the rear, but you can't. The rest of the ground equipment is a smorgasbord of vehicles and equipment... available are - Chocks, Passenger Bus, Fuel Truck (required for loading the fuel), Luggage Loader, Air-Conditioning unit, ULD Train and a Cleaning (Food?) Truck. All these items make it a very busy area around the aircraft and certainly give a great turnaround service feeling to the simulation. Weight and Fuel Here you have three menus that cover both Passengers and Fuel to be loaded (or is loaded) on the A350. First in "Passengers" you have an excellent menu to select passengers/cargo and set the aircraft's weight. You have four classes to select from and choices of cargo containers "96" Pallets and "LD3's". There is the simple option to select either Light-Middle-Heavy loads that fill the aircraft in one or the other configurations and load your preferences, you can clear the aircraft in one selection as well. Selection of "Fuel" can adjust your range which is handy because even with a light pass/cargo load can still mean a long range is required between certain long distance point to point flights. You can also cover all the other variations like with contingency and alternative requirements. Then you can load the fuel (Fuel Truck required to be attached) and you can see the loading from the ECAM displays on the flightdeck. When done you will have your correct final aircraft weight and see the fuel distribution. Third is "Cabin" where you can adjust the lighting and check out the trash and water levels. CAB (cabin) Announcements You will have a great time playing with the cabin announcements for your passengers in the rear cabin. There is a lot of choice, but the announcements are very low and inaudible sometimes? Just select what you want announced and press the play button as many times as you want to and annoy them. The cabin is very well appointed and designed in those four classes and the A350 has a great bar and passengers!... a few anyway in the first two classes, and you certainly notice the XWB (Extra Wide Body) of the aircraft with all the space inside. Users Guide There is a great built in users guide, that is a manual as well. It is also provided in a .pdf version if you like me use it on an iPad. The User Guide is very highly detailed, with the best way to set up the A350 in X-Plane with features and settings including the (plugin) "key" settings in the X-Plane "Keyboard" menu. For the biggest part though the manual (Users Guide) concentrates on the A350's systems and details, but there is no item by item descriptions on start up or instrument adjustments. A good companion to the user guide is a full checklist selection, that goes through every item to checked off or needs to be (you just have to know where they are), and itemises each selection as you work your way through the highly-detailed checklists. I recommend to study them to understand them all before using them in a current simulation, if not you will spend too much time sitting on the ramp working them and the positions of where everything is located. Charts You have Jepperson charts on your OIS, these are .png images of each chart page and that means you can't just drop in a .pdf downloaded from the internet. There are instructions in the aircraft folder on how to create your own charts and how to insert them for use... Charts provided are for airports: EBBR - EDDF - LGAV and LZIB. Options is the main menu... MCDU The MCDU (Mulifunction Control Display Unit) is positioned at the rear of the pedestal, and as noted it pops-out for convenience. The MCDU is a quite a simple but powerful affair on the A350. It is certainly not as comprehensive as the FF B777 or B757 versions which are replicas of the real FMC's on the Boeing Aircraft. It is noted that the later "Professional" version of the A350 XWB will have a full working Airbus MCDU. But you are not lacking here in the required basics. In fact it is quite clever in mating the real MCDU to this X-Plane slanted version. The bonus is you can load an already created X-Plane .fms plan from your current flight-plan folder and the MCDU will take care of the rest. You may sometimes have to do the odd join-up in clearing out any F-PLN DISCONTINUITY's to complete the flight-plan and have to also create your own SID/STAR's but I found these items easy to do and sometime far easier than spending hours trying to match up the correct SID/STAR to start or end a flight-plan. I found it just easier and faster to get the damn chart and input the fixes directiy. INIT You load in a .fms plan on the INIT page via the RK1 (Right Key 1) " F-PLN gives you your Flight-plan and you can scroll up or down through the fixes and Nav-aids. You can add in the "Overfly" (waypoint) preference if you want to as well. And input any speed/altitude constraints on the route. And you use the "Scratchpad" for input. You can see the flight-Plan on the OIS if you switch the displays around and it is excellent there for following the progress of the flight. The centre fix of the Flight-Plan will show on the ND (Navigation Display) if the NAV switch is set to PLAN. DIR DIR-TO (Direct-To) you have the direct-to option and the MCDU give you a list of options PERF You can insert your performance constraints in v1,vR and v2 and select your TRANS ALT in Transition Altitude. Thrust reduction/acceleration altitudes and temp FLEX that not must be below the outside air temperature OAT. PERF pages include: Take Off, Climb, Cruise, Descent, Approach and Go-Around. Like noted the MCDU is quite comprehensive where it really counts and gives you quite a lot of control over your performance, so the pro's will not be lacking in their ability to input their own constraints and performance tables. Ditto for the learners of this style of FMC in that it is also extremely easy to set up and fly this aircraft and learn the basics on how MCDU/FMC's work differently from a standard X-Plane FMC. It is well worth filling out all your MCDU data and complete in your preferences in every "single" box. Not only for the obvious in the way the aircraft performs, but also that the data is reflected on the MFD/OIS displays. You can't stress here enough of the importance of the pref data in the way it affects the flight of the aircraft. There are not a lot of entries by comparison to aircraft of this nature, but every data entry is important in the way the aircraft's performance at takeoff and the in the landing. You have a huge selection of data available from your OIS or MFD displays, In many ways it does mirror what is on the MCDU, and you can input directly into any of these data pages and load even your flight-plan. But the MCDU is quicker as you can do the same inputs on different pages that the MCDU will do once, and you could actually miss a page because there is so many. The Menu is the same as the MCDU buttons in: F-PLN - PERF - Fuel & Load - WIND - INIT, sub-menus cover a myriad of items about performance and your GPS positioning, radio settings, waypoints and fuel. It is really a nerd's heaven in cockpit management. Your Flight-Plan is one of the best features to monitor. You can select and install it just like you do in any X-Plane FMC (using the MCDU as noted is quicker) But it is the amount of information displayed that keeps you happy in the small hours. And also gives you the biggest note that will actually be there and still flying in the wee small hours? It is important that you set up your X-Plane "Time&Date" slider in how you want to do the flight... Living in Australia I will set my T&D to early morning or Zulu time to fly in the day. But as all you long-haulers know, the time you leave is calculated to the time you arrive, and here the A350 gives you an advantage, because it not only notes your time at every waypoint on the route but your actual arrival time! And here it is a mind-numbing to bed late 02.28 am in to the next day (or night), more cleverly is that it adjusts as you fly, so if you adjust the speed or have bad headwinds then the time will change to reflect that. So on one flight I lost 9min ETA in a speed change. You have to note that the actual time does not sync to your T&D until wheels up, which is slightly annoying, but once in the air the information is priceless including an update of your fuel load at arrival. It also notes your full distance and each waypoint distances. So you can see the importance of giving the aircraft all and more importantly the right data for the flight, the more data entered then the more information you get back. A350 Cockpit Except for the six display layout which is really the extra two OIS screens on each side, the panel and instrument layout is pure Airbus, If you know the layout of one and even the A320 layout then everything here will be in exactly the same place or position. The only item that is different is the Braking selection in "Autobrake Armed RTO" is a button press for take off and for landing you only have to adjust the braking action to the runway conditions. The PFD is the standard display with Speed and altitude tapes and V/S (vertical speed) on the right, The artificial horizon with turn indicator and landing ILS bugs are also standard issue. The PFD has the noted Auto-Pilot modes, alpha protections and flight director bars and in the lower section is the trim and flap position. Next is the ND (Navigation Display) with LS-VOR-Nav modes and ARC and PLAN and standard zoom adjustments. On the OH (Overhead) the aircraft comes with full systems in Top to bottom, Fire, Hydraulics, Fuel, Electrical, Air-Conditioning - Bleed, Anti-Ice and APU-Lighting, I recommend to read through the comprehensive manual on all the aircraft systems, because they are very well detailed. The center ECAM gives you a full display of all the systems and warnings, visual displays cover: Engines, Doors, Wheel, Fuel, EL/AC, EL/DC, Hydraulics, F/CTL, APU, Bleed, Cond (Air) and Press. All systems are functional and superbly reproduced in the center upper display. All pure airbus. The only real disappointment is that you can only fly from the Capt's side? you can't switch or control the aircraft from the F/O's side? and you miss that functionality. The Autopilot (AP) panel is standard Airbus, but you can only select one item at a time on the ND, you can have your Waypoints or your Nav-Aids but not together. The A350 also has the new X-Plane function of "Pull" or "Push". You can have the aircraft in "Selected" mode "pull" or manual selection or "Managed" mode "push" or automatic by the AP. Just make sure you know which mode you are in. The NDB/VOR selection for the MAP display is here in yellow. Central pedestal has the Radios, but it is in the MCDU that you set the frequencies for the VOR and ILS Nav-Aids. The ECAM selection buttons are here as is the flap selector in five selections: 0 (retracted) - 1 (1+F) - 2 - 3 - Full. There are 12 slats, 4 Flaps and 2 droop nose devices on the leading edge. Speed brake lever that is quite notchy to select the "Armed" position, so make sure it is engaged on the WD. Engine start is under the throttles to select engines IGN START (1 or 2), The throttle levers are really well done and have all the airbus modes A/THR - FLEX - TO-GA zones. The Reverse Thrust (toggle) is set either as a key or joystick activation on the X-Plane setting "thrust_reverse_toggle" (not "thrust_reverse_hold" like I usually do). To use you pull the throttles back to idle on contact with terra firma, then select the REV toggle (button or Key) and then throttle up to provide the REV thrust. Then Back to idle when required and re-key to disable the REV-THR. This system gives you great flexibility on how much thrust you want to provide for the REV thrust. Undercarriage actions and animations are first rate. But you have to get the landing right with those forward tilted bogies, the point the rear wheels touch if you get it right should be level with the runway, but it is not as easy as it looks, and they will trip if you get the first set of tyres on the tarmac before the rear set. (on a side note, you have to contact correctly... if you touch down too lightly the thrust reverse doors don't operate?) Lighting The internal and external lighting is first rate. The cockpit is a nice place to be for any period of time. It is not that highly adjustable with no moving focus lighting, but still very good with a spot light directly over the pedestal which is very handy. I found a nice sweet spot in just showing the edges of the panel with the overhead lighting as you get a dark panel with just bright buttons and displays with the setting of the overhead turned right down. And lighting in the footwells which most developers don't do. The reflections are very strong (but very good), but that requires an adjustment of the lighting to see out or landing at night. External lighting is excellent. Nose (known as take-off lights) and Wing landing lights and Taxi lights, There are very good Runway turn off lights and Wing scan (Ice) lights that light up the leading edges of both wings, both strobe and logo lights can be set to auto or manual on/off and in the right livery the logo-tail light looks excellent. The rest are the standard Nav and Beacon lighting. The cabin lighting is adjustable via the OIS menu "Cabin"and it is very good, but full brightness is to bright, and this menu also shows other items that are related to the cabin and door status. Liveries There are eight liveries with the A350 XWB package that includes a White (default), Home, Carbon and Qatar Home. The first four liveries are related to the A350 testing fleet, the other four are the airlines: Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and a (Tulip) United. There are sets of 10 liveries you can purchase from different regions of the world that includes Oceania, Africa & Middle East, Asia, Atlantic, Europe 1, Europe 2 and Pacific. That adds up to 70 liveries plus the 8 with the aircraft. Quality is very good but not every airline (like Qantas) are flying the A350 XWB. Flying the A350 XWB The Airbus is extraordinarily interesting to fly... To a point you do allow the systems to do the work for you, but it is in the way the aircraft does this that makes it interesting, and how X-Plane now is seeing such great programming in flight. If you have flown an Airbus flight system before then you know how easy it is to set up... set your altitude (32,000ft) and just give the speed and HDG (Heading) buttons a push each to set them ready into "Managed" Mode. One of the great features here is the VD, or "Vertical Display" on the bottom of your NAV/MAP display. The importance (again) of programming the MCDU is highlighted here. If your flightplan is installed and the prefs "preferences" are filled in then the VD will show with the zoom out over a distance your profile of the climb to your set cruising altitude. The aircraft is very good at finding the very best climb rate (pitch) known as "Op Climb" (Open Climb). The aircraft will over the climb to altitude change the V/S (Vertical Speed) to match the conditions of the climb. That includes the points you retract the flaps and your transition point. Takeoff is brutal, and you can climb easily between 3,500ft per minute to 4,300ft per minute, or in other words almost straight up. Certainly if you have a heavier weight the aircraft (Open Climb) will adjust to the load factors. It is then important you match the correct high pitch on leaving the runway or you will get alarms or the aircraft when you activate the autopilot will pull the aircraft nose up to match the required Op Clb profile. Once you have left hard stuff and 300ft at the right pitch, then you select the AP1 (Pilot) and ATH (Auto-Thrust) and bring your throttles back into the "A/THR" detent or "THR CLB" on the PFD and the aircraft will then go to the flightplan and correct climb speed while managing the correct thrust and climb rate. To a point it is like riding a Saturn V, you are just sitting there as your climb profile adjusts to the correct vertical speed and is constantly adjusting the speed to flap retraction and transition altitudes. You will find around the orange marker the V/S will drop to about 1400ft per min and then resume when the speed has built up back again to a faster position to 3300ft per min till it again resumes a more relaxed 1600ft per min and continues forever on climbing upwards. Spread out your zoom into the distance and your waypoints (fixes) are noted with the climb profile all the way to your set altitude. At fixes heading changes then pull the zoom back to 10nm and note the curve of the flightplan to the new heading. The aircraft will turn with a smooth grace along the flightplan line. After the initial FL320, I stepped up to my final cruise height of FL365. Sounds are very good right through from start-up to cruise, I did find them a bit whiny in the cruise mode and after a period of time they gave me a slight earache. But high-pitch sounds don't agree with me, so that is personal thing... but I'm not that crazy about it... I have been 100m behind the nozzle of a Dreamliner and these new-gen latest high-bypass engines are whisper-quiet "is it actually running?" is how quiet they are, we may need to hear an A350 XWB to see how different they really are. You have dual adjustable screens Nav/Map screens, which are great for different perspectives on the landing pattern. And the VD (Vertical Display) is used the same way as the half-moon line on the Boeing 777 to target your initial and final approach heights. The landing brakes are set to their setting and shown on the PFD as: BRK LOW - BRK 2 - BRK 3 - BRK HI (High), the 2 or 3 is medium in the old way. Note the smooth turn curve at a low speed and height, it banks the aircraft perfectly for a final approach. On finals I took control of the speed and selected, "Selected" mode and 160knts, the purists will roll their eyes but I found the aircraft going too fast in "managed" mode or 270knts and needed to pull that speed back to get ready to align up the runway. You however don't really move out of "managed" mode on descent, So I found it was very important that the QNH "nautical height" is set on the MCDU (FMS), to set the QNH correctly for the aircraft is to also set and adjust the speed to the height (or pressure). Flying an approach with the QNH set correctly was very different than if it was not set, and the speed was then controlled perfectly in the descent. Handling at low speed is very good, the aircraft will depending on the weight will land even as low as 140knts, the A350 does tend to point nose (pitch) down on the ILS and that can create the issue of pulling the aircraft nose up to flare... but that can be quite compromising in that if you get it wrong in to much high pitch you will suddenly balloon and float (X-Plane issue) or land nose wheel first (not enough pitch) the middle (perfect) position is a bit of a feel to find at first, but possible and easy after a few landings. Once down and after the armed speedbrakes have activated, then activate the THR-REV (key or joystick button) by opening the REV doors and powering up the throttle. I love the control this system gives you on the amount of thrust you want... off the throttle and then rekey the REV doors to close. Once at taxi speed you can then clean up the aircraft and head for the stand. Summary It is in a way a contradiction the A350 XWB from FlightFactor aero. It is massively detailed and certainly with the menus and systems, but there is a simplicity to it as well. It is a clever contradiction because it covers a lot of bases from users that are new to simulation and others which require the very deep immersion that you expect from aircraft of this price range. The A350 will keep both camps very happy indeed, but it is not as deep or as involving as the Boeing 777 or Boeing 757, but then again it is not meant to be either and maybe the "Pro" version will fill in those small gaps. Like many aircraft released today for X-Plane the A350 XWB is another aircraft that the more you put into it then the more you receive back out again, It is very deep into systems and menus, so a bit of study and flight pre-planning will go a long way in getting the depth that will reward you, so a good start is putting aside some time to study the (excellent) manual that will certainly help in understanding the aircraft and get the best out of it. likewise it is also far easier to quickly set up and fly (certainly with your flight-plans being X-Plane .fms plans) that can allow you to set and fly a flight in a very quick amount of time, even from a cold startup. So you won't be spending a hour or so programming the FMC, if you don't have any saved routes like you do with the B777, B757 or JARdesign's A320neo. However the total replication of a FMS (Flight Management System) like on the B777 and in this case the SID/STAR component is missing for now, do you miss this? well yes and no, no doubt we want the aircraft to be an almost perfect duplication of the the real cockpit, but the ease of programming the route and flight prefs does make it far quicker and gets you flying almost immediately. I miss the First Officer (F/O) point of view of flying the aircraft, and the option of switching from the Capt to the F/O for takeoff and landings, you can assign the joystick to either position, but it is for a visual point only and has no control (or movement on the F/O side). For value, the aircraft is very well priced even if it is as noted not the full "Pro" version, I found the aircraft more feature loaded and with great quality than most aircraft in this competitive price range. Features abound and you will be the happiest pilot on the ramp of any hub with the way you can set up and service the aircraft. I like to fly the whole deal from start-up to shut down and everything in between including loading and unloading the aircraft. It is not just the flying in simulation that counts, it is the total experience.... and in that department the A350 XWB does not disappoint. In the flying experience it is very Airbus with the fly-by-wire, alpha protections and control laws, It has the best X-Plane Airbus plugins and you will want for nothing. This is the very best in Airbus flying yet in those perfect airbus automated procedures and laws, even if the aircraft does a better job than you... and that is the Airbus way of flying. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Airbus A350-900 XWB Advanced from FlightFactor is NOW Available from the X-Plane.Org Store. Price is currently US$ 49.95 : Get the - Airbus A350 XWB Advanced - Here 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. Documents and Install, Download is 209.10mb, that is unzipped into your Heavy Aircraft Folder of 309.40mb. The aircraft will only fly in X-Plane version 10.30. You have to insert a key to activate the A350 XWB, and it is highly recommended you totally restart and reload the A350 XWB from scratch from the desktop. To align the (SASL) plugin correctly. Features Fully custom aircraft systems (elec, hyd, air cond, ADIRU, etc.) Fully custom ECAM monitoring system with all screens and functions included Fully functional airbus style alert system with multiple status and procedural lists Fully functional interactive airbus electronic checklist system Airbus a350/a380 unique “touch screen” interfaces with dozens of screens and hundreds of functions Fully custom and unique MFD (multifunctional display) system with most of flight planning pages implemented in a new graphical interface, as well as FCU and radio backups just like on the real plane Full OIS screen system with options, ground equipment control, passenger and cargo loading, and even a full user’s manual inside the plane. Old style MCDU and fully functional aux instruments as backup. Full FBW with Highly realistic implementation of the Airbus “normal law” by QPAC – the most realistic fly-by-wire implementation for desktop flight simulation. In v1.0 an advanced flight planning interface (based on XP native data) Basic SID/STAR implementation using X-plane fms-files that you can create yourself and share with the community. "What you see is what you fly" flight path indication on the ND (i.e. curved trajectories with the turn radius properly computed based on speed and angular turn distance.) Implementation of all Airbus AP modes, except some non-precision approach modes (Selected and managed modes, speed constraints respected, "at or below" contraints in phase climb, "at or above" constraints in phase descent.) Full PFD and ND displays with fully independent display and different data sources for the captain and copilot displays. Independent autopilots Many new options like scroll wheel support for switch manipulation A very advanced 3D model with HD textures and complete and animated mechanics. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 7th December 2014 Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews Technical Requirements: Windows - Linux Fully Supported Mac: Beta version at this time only - Please only buy the Mac version if you feel you can be a beta tester. 1Gb VRAM, 4Gb RAM Current version: v1.0. Last updated: December 7th, 2014 Updated store# Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.30 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose - Soundlink Mini Scenery - LFBO Toulouse-Blagnac - Aerosoft (New X-Plane.OrgShop US$21.50) - FAJS O.R. Tambo International Airport - tdg (Free .Org)
  13. Behind the Screen : February 2017 "It was the best of times and the worst of times" lamented Charles Dickens in his novel the "A Tale of Two Cities". And February in X-Plane certainly lived up to that quote. As the X-Plane11 beta quest kept on grinding on, you had it, then lost it, then got it back and then... totally lost it. But will possibly get it back again working soon. It is of course just the building process but this one has been very... well grinding. It reminds me in a way of the move to 64bit a few years ago, because it goes directly to the heart of the simulator, in very deep changes that completely messes it up. X-Plane11 As a reviewer your job is too probably just ignore all the mess and just stick to items released for X-Plane10 and that is a fair comment. But that is also putting your hands over your eyes and saying" I can't hear you!" because looking straight at you and towering over you is just that... X-Plane11. Once X-Plane11 goes to v1.0 release you will want it, use it and believe me you will really absolutely love it! As already going back to X-Plane10 is like going back to the middle-ages of simulation as it is boring and flat, just as X-Plane10® was the quantum leap over X-Plane9® then is X-Plane11 over its predesessor, and yes there are a few (okay a lot) of fine tuning still to be done, but the grit and basics built in here are astounding when it all comes together. There is however one item that lifts and work along side with X-Plane11 that is in my eyes essential in getting this quantum leap and that is also running as part of the deal is the xEnviro environment engine. That is tough at the moment because only windows users can access xEnviro and in parts it is also buggy, but the effects with the environmental engine working together with Laminar's new version are simply out of this world. No doubt in the last month I have had simulation highs I could only dream of a few years ago, and the lowest frustration when aircraft just don't work, hence the title sentence. But that is also the process of progress. As we will see as the situation settles down is that X-Plane11's new features do amazing things to our already great aircraft, and the effects on scenery will be just as pronounced but they will take longer to thread into the simulator as updates are not as forthcoming or as regular as with aircraft. But as you will get a lot of new high's there are few items in X-Plane11 that will cause a few heartaches. Ben Supnic is on a massive crusade with X-Plane11 to make it as good, lean and as efficient as possible. We have already seen that he took away our twiddling tools, a few users have cheated and put them back with Lua scripts? But the biggest change is that there will be very little backward compatibility with earlier parameters with earlier aircraft, and that means a lot of aircraft you have savoured and loved over the years are going to the great hard drive in the sky. In other words there is another big clean out is on the horizon like we did with the 64bit transfer, and this one will be worse, and it is going to hurt folks. And that brings us to the pain, or developers pain. You wouldn't want to be a developer lately as it hasn't been much fun. And I am a part of their pain. I want their products to be what I call "Flyable" or "Usable" in X-Plane11, because of the great differences that X-Plane11 brings to them and to fly them in their new exciting world, so I want something that is just in something usable, and so does almost everyone else that is running the X-Plane11beta version. But X-Plane11 is just a beta and with that comes constant changes and most developers don't want to over work and keep on constantly changing their work to fit a beta. A lot of the top notch machines are now extremely complex and require a lot of very task full set of algorithms to do the calculations to recreate an authentic engine representation for that particular aircraft. You don't want to mess with that too often as it may send you down a road you may not get back from, or requires a restart or complete blank page scenario. But with X-Plane11 Austin Meyer has this time decided to go a little, or okay a lot deeper in the way that turbine or jet engines operate on a more realistic model, you could call it his sort of "Blade-element theory" for engines. And for a more realistic simulation of engine power and thrust outputs that is certainly great from a users point of view, but it also changes a few parameters that was the deal before X-Plane11 into a wide set of parameters to addressed now in the new simulator, and worse it goes right to the core (no pun intended) of the basis of engine operation. The developers job is now to interpret those huge amount of changes on their products and create the realistic operation and thrust outputs for their aircraft... so you see the problems. A lot of the changes were introduced in the earlier beta's, but as the beta numbers got higher they came more and more comprehensive, until beta 12 were they came with a really big set of changes, and killed virtually every aircraft that used the old system, there will be a step back of course as there was a few bugs in the system and came with the beta13 update. But one thing that is very clear is that their is no compromise on the parameters to cover older aircraft in older X-Plane versions. A small compromises will be made of course, but Ben Supnic and Austin Meyer have made it clear it is only this way or no way in the future. So those aircraft that can be updated and adjusted to the new parameters will be, but the rest are quite now really... history. Unless you run them in your older X-Plane10 version. This doesn't mean that every single aircraft will be compromised, but a lot will... all in the name of progress. But get an even "usable" running aircraft in X-Plane11 and you will be glad to embrace the future. As I said for the few that did claw their way into the air it was a great experience, and hence my wanting more of these aircraft available so users can enjoy their impressive delights, as the point is X-Plane10 is now almost dead, and long live X-Plane11. But you do need a lot of patience in the process of making the aircraft X-Plane11 ready, and it is not the big in your face changes but the hidden easter egg ones, that are buried in a hidden closet. Take brakes as an example. They were once very simple in 50% regular (braking action) or 100% full (locked brakes) but now that is all changed and you have to adjust your aircraft to the changes, and that is just one single item. For most developers it is just a wait and see, a few have gone half way and given us usable aircraft in X-Plane11, but there is still a way to go before we will be fully X-Plane11 compliant... and it may be awhile before we finally get there. But one big thing is that the beta12 changes maybe the final parameters or a final lock down of the engine thrust changes, and so that a forward momentum may be finally available from now on, if not then expect a few developers to take up another occupation altogether. Framerate inanity Another factor during this beta phase that got really annoying this month was the constant notes on the forums in "My framerate is up!" or "my framerate is stuffed!" or "Running in single digits!". Every beta release brought loads of these comments and I know they have been coming out since the start of the new millennium. Most experienced users usually ignore such inanity, but I really feel for the newer and more inexperienced users to the X-Plane simulator in thinking it is a normal process, it is not. Unless Laminar make a real stuff up as they did with beta12 they will note it, and quickly correct it like they have in beta13, and yes there are common major changes that will effect your simulator through the beta process. But major framerate changes are usually not one of them. Most framerate fluctuation causes are usually your X-Plane preferences, as the new (beta) update is still interpreting the older settings on the new changes, which makes perfect sense. So first rebuild your main X-Plane preferences. Secondly is that where you start up in X-Plane and what aircraft you start up in can have a big impact on your framerate as does your weather settings. I always use KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional as my base setting. It is an interesting position because it has a lot of autogen on one side and just countryside on the other and that allows you to gauge the framerate impact on both areas, of course the weather is set to CAVOK (Ceiling and Visibility OK) and you use the same aircraft on loading. In most cases Laminar Research don't touch or fiddle with framerates until the RC (Release Candidate) or Alpha or a final tuning of the completed version that is then ready for release, only then will you usually see an improvement with the overall simulator as well as the framerates. So noting constant framerate fluctuations during a beta run just shows your cluelessness and gives out the wrong impressions and worse on the fact of where we actually are in the beta process (which is usually to the very good and not the very bad). But the high's over February were very high. I certainly had my most memorable (if sometimes frustrating) flying in X-Plane that I can ever remember. The simulator is moving into another golden era of almost a pure realistic simulation of flying aircraft, not perfect as X-Plane still does have a few limitations, but certainly a completely new level of experience of flying aircraft on a computer. It is a very exciting future that is coming soon. To reflect the coming of X-Plane11, we here at X-PlaneReviews have done a little twiddling of the site. The masthead menu now has an "X-Plane11" forum for X-Plane11 related articles, and that will be filling up soon, we also took the chance to add in a direct menu connection to the "News" forum and added in a place for these "Behind The Screen" posts as there are now quite a few of them and a resource of what is going on in X-Plane away from the direct review aspect of content and the mast image which is a little bigger because it looks very nice. We would also like to note the X-PlaneReview site is laid out and has full functionality on your smartphone and iPad, for mobile access on the move. Thank You See you all next month Stephen Dutton 1st March 2017 Copyright©2017: X-Plane Reviews
  14. Scenery Review : EDDH Hamburg Airport by JustSim You have to give JustSim credit, they sure can roll out their sceneries with regular efficiency. My last JustSim scenery review was LOWI - Innsbruck Airport only a few weeks ago and JustSim's LEBL Barcelona El Prat was only a few weeks before that... and now here is EDDH Hamburg. You would think with these very quick fire releases that the sceneries noted here from JustSim would be average at best, and to also reflect their value price pricing, but as to now all I am seeing is amazing value for excellent well created scenery, so does EDDH Hamburg still deliver again here for that same value pricing? Well lets find out. First Impressions I am not new to EDDH Hamburg as I have reviewed it before on another review publication and that version was an early X-Plane10 version from Aerosoft many moons ago in Nov 2012. So I am familiar with EDDH's layout and visual appeal. To get there I flew from EGCC (Manchester) to Hamburg, just a quick flight over the North Sea. The equipment is JARDesign's A320neo and this review is set in X-Plane11(b11). The Northern-Western approach to EDDH is via RIBSO waypoint (Runway ILS15 - RIBS4A) . The layout of EDDH is like an X but with the cross at a lower point and two runways going long out of the cross point with RWY15 to the slight northwest. This makes RWY15 an interesting approach but visually RWYs 05/23 are better if you want to see terminals and airport infrastructure and to use RWY05 if you want to approach the airport over Hamburg itself. Both RWY15 and RWY05 are also the best for arrival if you also want a small taxi to the Terminal area as both RWY05 and RWY15 will require a long taxi to each departure point or if using RWY23 or RWY33 for arrival, and certainly for 15/33 as it is very long taxi at 3666m (12, 028ft). RWY15/33 juts well out into the local area into more the countryside feel than an urban feel, although it is still surrounded by the local environs. This also makes it quite hard on the RWY15 approach to see the runway until it gets more defined, and so you have to rely more on your instruments more than a visual approach initially. One big feature of JustSim's sceneries is the fact that they are very conscious of not only the actual airport scenery, but the environs around it. They more than most scenery developers have pioneered the use of autogen to create the area around the airport and with X-Plane11 now being able to use regional assets and in this case German housing the areas around the airport you now have a very well constructed urban environment at no cost to your framerate... take note other scenery developers, it works and on the approach you have a really great Germanic feel and a great urban look on approach. If this is the future for all X-Plane regions then it is going to be brilliant. Of course the false add on scenery autogen will mesh in perfectly with the default autogen, giving you the perfect transition between the two areas although I do have my object slider a notch down here for framerate efficiency. Over the RWY15's threshold and you feel you are landing in a field more than an international airport is so long and so outwardly is the runway from the terminal area. It is a very long runway... and with a building in the EDHH Cargo terminal in your line of sight at the other end, so you don't want to over run the runway. JustSim do great grass effects and they are very effective here even if the grass covers up the runway direction signs, but it very good. The bonus of getting your arrival runway of choice in RWY15 and RWY05 is as noted it puts you right on the terminal area and so a quick turn off almost puts you directly on the ramp. Runway and taxiway linage is excellent, but can be very confusing with the amount of information on the entrance to the ramp in either B west/east or in my case I north/south... The huge terminal complex stretches away to the north from you, it is impressive and to the east is the cargo area. The ramp is filled with really great airport equipment, highly detailed and all very authentic, like these luggage trolleys and tugs, they make for a great entrance. You get a very authentic gate direction guidance system display, but it only shows the aircraft type and not the actual guides, so your first guess is that this is a static airbridge gate. It also means you have to guess were you actually park up correctly as well, but shut down the engines and the perfectly replicated gate does actually swing into action, the airbridges look perfect, beautifully done. On the ramp it is great view, very real in presence. So the arrival at JustSim's EDDH was very impressive. One thing to note. There are several options in filling out the ramps and stands with static aircraft. This JustSim scenery does have the X-Plane default routes done and that allows you to use the default static aircraft like I have done here, but you do get the wrong regional (i.e. a lot of N American) aircraft as part of the deal (currently). There is a set World traffic ground routes for EDDH but they are set for the Aerosoft version. Airport Overview. Hamburg Airport (Flughafen Hamburg) IATA: HAM - ICAO: EDDH 05/23 3,250m (10,663ft) Asphalt 15/33 3,666m (12,028ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL 53 ft / 16 m As the main above image shows is that EDDH is beautifully intergrated into the X-Plane background, the realism is well done here. The focus is on the lower X cross area with the main terminal and cargo facilities to the east and the huge Lufthansa Technik AG headquarters and maintenance base to the southeast and both areas are joined together with the huge cargo facility at the start of RWY33. Main Terminal and Cargo Out of the main Terminal (upper) the A/B (27-40) gates have been stretched further southeast but there is only one autogate here, where as the real extension has autogates on all gates?, but it does give you some good stand positions. Set out behind he extension is still the cargo facility but it is now used from the side ramp or Apron South 1with several large maintenance hangars in F, G and H. The main terminal section has three sections (roofs) but it is only two terminals in 1 and 2 that merge into one large facility called the “Terminal Plaza” with gates C4 - C16, and D1-5 to the north and the noted extension A/B (27-40) gates going southeast. The main Terminal(s) are really highly impressive, simply outstanding detail, but more so with the new X-Plane11 feature of reflective glass that is very realistic and as we will see more of in the night lighting portion of the review. Roadways are a little blurry but there is a lot of 3d objects in creating a great fill and you don't really notice it that much in context. Note the excellent circular lift towers Airside and the (animated) autogates are perfect, with a lot of ramp fill of equipment, and building (terminal) detailing is simply first rate with high quality textures and modeling. There is also a lot of animated vehicle traffic wandering around the airport which gives it all a buzzy work day look. Landside is well done but the ground textures are a little blurry. Radar works (animated) as do all of the radar installations. North and there are two massive carpark structures and central landside there is an excellent Raddisson Blu Hotel (below). If you look closely there is a great mix of the original airport brick buildings that have have been overbuilt by the newer terminal areas. I really also like the good advertising on the wall of the P2 parking building for Aeroflot. Far north is the airport's own maintenance area but look beyond the airport boundary at the excellent default autogen. Situated adjacent to the rear of the north pier is the “Terminal Tango” which is an events space and convention centre. The airport is named after Helmut Schmidt who was Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1974 to 1982. Overall the Terminal area is mightily impressive in detail. Cargo and Maintenance Hangars There is the cargo ramp called the “Luftfrachtzentrum”, that the layout is for the more medium and regional sized freighters than the bigger B777 or B747 size monsters, but if you wanted to you could still park one here. Modeling of the cargo area is very good and get the in joke of the "Meyer Fuel Service" truck. The big "Hamburg Cargo Center" joins the two areas at the start of RWY33. Lufthansa Technik AG headquarters The western section of EDDH is the Lufthansa Technik AG headquarters Base which is part of the Lufthansa Group. The This is a huge facility that covers aircraft servicing, engine overhauls, aircraft fitouts and the Cabin Innovation Center, and the base can cover all types of aircraft from A320's up to the large B747's and A380's. But to note in that not to get it confused with Airbus's fitout facility at Finkenwerder Airport to the south. The main servicing hangars and engine test facility are excellent as is the complex external rigging that holds up the open internal space roofs, as the smaller detailing is also very good with circular stairs and huge air-con units. The famous Café Himmelsschreiber which is part Air Hamburg is also situated in this northern section of the Technik base and so is the main apron control tower that overlooks runway 05/23. Detailing around the Café Himmelsschreiber is quite bare which is a missed opportunity as there is a seating garden there right on the ramp and the ramp tower is quite average and comes with only basic textures, the lower admin building however is well done. There are two huge aprons fronting the Lufthansa Technik base with one for remote parking (below left) including Air Hamburg or for the Lufthansa Technik base parking. The secondary remote apron is for General Aviation and Private Jet parking (above right) and is ideal for light parking and commuter traffic. Control Tower Because of the layout of the runways, specifically the long 15/33, there is a secondary control tower on the western side of the field. But the wasted X-Plane feature "tower view" is somewhere in the middle of the GA - Private Jet apron... so an "epic fail". As noted all radars do rotate and are clearly visible on landing. Fire Station and Museum To the North-West is the art deco styled Fire Station and the museum with the original Boeing 707-430 with the registration D-ABOD which was operated by Deutsche Lufthansa which is sited outside. You will get a great view of these buildings on taxiway D with either a RWY15 departure or RWY33 arrival. In the early years it was not aircraft that filled the skies above Fuhlsbüttel (hamburg Airport) but airships. The "Hamburg Airship Hangar Company" (HLG) in association with Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was created here in 1911 and then some time was spent looking for a suitable site for an airfield, and finally 44.8 hectares of land to the west of Lake Alster and north of the Borstel racecourse were chosen as a suitable site. The airship company however soon had company in the arrival of AEG (Allgemeine Electricitäts-Gesellschaft) which set up a new firm called DLR (Deutsche Luft-Reederei, literally the "German Air Transport Company") and started scheduled flights on the 5th February 1919. KLM also was soon traversing through the airport as well on the route from Amsterdam to Copenhagen and in time the regular service fixed wing operations overtook the original airship operations. Hamburg's Fuhlsbüttel Airport also had a major part in the famous “Berlin Airlift” that started operations on 25th June 1948. And in the early1950’s the airport which was then now known as “Hamburg Airport” was then reverted back from the British into the hands of the German authorities. Nightlighting After the excellent day detailing and scenery work by JustSim, the night lighting is a bit of a disappointment? The lighting is mediocre at best with only a few spots lighting the gates, and with Hamburg's interesting lighting systems a real wasted opportunity. Equipment ramp zones have no downlighting at all, which is a totally missed chance to do some clever lighting, drop down lighting is limited. Terminal window texures are average and soft and nowhere as good as the Aerosoft versions and just a bland blue... Again it is a totally wasted opportunity as if you look at the new X-Plane11 glass reflection feature on the side of T2, as you see the reflections are excellent in the reflection of the surrounding airport lighting. It could have been so much better... Other buildings at least do have some good window lighting textures as also does the Raddisson Blu hotel, but overall it is mostly mediocre. Runway lighting is thankfully quite good with RAIL on some, but the taxiways are plain with only blue oversized taxiway edge lights and no centerline green guidance lighting. So you aircraft will need good lighting to navigate around the scenery after dark. Services Hamburg today is the gateway to Northern Germany with 60 airlines that service through Hamburg (Fuhlsbüttel) and fly out to 115 destinations worldwide. The airport is the hub for airlines Air Berlin, Condor, Lufthansa and TUIfly. Airlines Aer Lingus, Air France, airBaltic, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Corendon and Air Hamburg. Busiest Domestic Routes 1. Munich - 1,347,070 2. Frankfurt - 733,060 3. Stuttgart - 702,884 4. Düsseldorf - 452,750 5. Nuremberg - 221,544 Busiest European Routes 1. London, United Kingdom - 706,844 2. Palma de Mallorca, Spain - 694,302 3. Zürich, Switzerland - 528,726 4. Vienna, Austria - 479,062 5. Paris, France - 354,010 Busiest International Routes 1. Antalya, Turkey - 475,806 2. Dubai, UAE - 129,624 3. Hurghada, Egypt - 96,150 4. Izmir, Turkey - 65,530 5. Newark, USA - 44,840 Summary Overall this is stunning scenery, beautifully detailed and with some really great ramp equipment and detail. Those airbridges are excellent as is all the animated vehicle traffic and the great surrounding Germanic autogen and so using the JustSim Hamburg is certainly a great departure or arrival scenery... but. It is shame the lighting is so mediocre, and such is the wasted in the opportunity here to do something really great with illumination, so any flying at Hamburg after the sun goes down is a bit of a timewaster. ditto the poor "tower view" which is becoming a common occurrence lately. But what we are coming back to here is the value, if this scenery which is certainly worth in the upper twenties in the set dollar values was then just that, then the lighting would make you think twice about purchasing? But Hamburg Airport by JustSim is only priced at US$19.80 and at that price it is simply a total bargain, so you can easily look past the minor faults as the scenery is excellent at the really good things that make up totally realistic scenery. So overall it is a must buy, and the hope that soon JustSim do a quick revisit and update the lighting to the standard EDDH Hamburg deserves. ______________________________________________________________________ The EDDH Hamburg Airport by JustSim is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : EDDH - Hamburg International Airport Price is US$19.80 Features Custom taxiways and airport lights Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on terminal and other airport buildings High resolution photo scenery near airport and city High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Runway reflection effect Volumetric ground effect textures Compatible with X-Plane 11 features Ready for Advanced Traffic World Traffic compatible X-Life traffic compatible Animated gates (AutoGate plugin by Marginal) Animated custom ground vehicles (X-Plane 11 only) Requirements X-Plane 11+ or X-Plane 10.50+ Windows, Mac, Linux 2GbVRAM Video Card. 3Gb+ VRAM Recommended This review was run in X-Plane11 (and a beta at that!). So the X-Plane11 features are not available in the X-Plane10 version of this scenery. 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 422.10mb The scenery is installed after unzipping in to your X-Plane "custom scenery" folder (EDDH_JustSim_1.0) at 698.50mb Documents: There is an installation document but no manual or charts. A good set of EDDH charts are available here: EDDH pdf ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 27th 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: : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe US$14.95 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 Scenery or Aircraft - Airbus A330-243 by JARDesign (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$60.95
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. Aircraft Review : AeroG UV-4 UAV by Thranda A coming major revolution to aviation are UAV's (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and Drones. Lets us first separate the distinction between UAV's and Drones although with larger Drones the area does cross over between the two types of aircraft. UAV's are ground based piloted aircraft, mostly military at this point with the excellent General Atomics' "Predator B" being the current hollywood favorite casting actor in vogue. Drones are what what you buy in your local toy store although mostly it is in bigger electronic stores that are now the most visible distributors of this current in fashion fun tool. The rules are clear in that UAV's can be over the horizon in operation, were as Drones have very specific rules in that the aircraft has to be less than 55gb, within your line of sight and restricted to 400ft AGL, and a load of restrictions in where you can and not fly. The line is blurred above that of the basic rules of the use of heavier Drones. You do need then to become an actual pilot, sit an exam and prove you are totally capable of flying of which is in a sense is a commercial drone. A pilot certificate can also be issued under 14 CFR part 61 regulations (US). The rules are still tight, but you can use the Drone for many uses and for activities that involve people below in say sporting events and photography over cities. I have followed the antics of fast food suppliers and Amazon in their desire to deliver pizza and parcels to your door, antics is the word and yet I may be ultimately proven wrong. But if you fly you would be familiar with the effects of variable wind patterns and lot of obstructions at low level flying that would mostly certainly render your Hawaiian pizzas to the pavement or simply dropping out of the air into your back garden, in other words a great idea but not realistic in the real complicated world. Although there is the benefit if it actual works of a Hawaiian and beef pizza colliding together above you and thus creating the perfect recipe before landing on your tomatoes to add in that extra Italian flavour. But this UV-4 UAV is a very interesting and more practical machine. It has been created by the Bergen Community College in Bergen County, New Jersey USA. First it has electrical propulsion and not the usual heavy aero engines. However the biggest advantage as we will see is the sheer ease of the way it does fly and the absolute control and specific way you can allow the aircraft to travel from point to point. It could change the complete way we move around our planet in the future and have really great specific roles in the way it is utilised... In other words the UV-4 is the future. One of the great things about X-Plane and the way it is designed with its "Blade Element Theory" flight physics algorithm, is that you can replicate this machine and simulate it's capablities. Thranda have done that here and you now have a unique chance to see and control and aircraft a new and unique way to fly. UV-4 Basically the UV-4 is a streamlined box with four rotary fan nacelles with two small fans at the front (lifting), and the two bigger propulsion fans at the rear. The trick to the aircraft is not in it's shape or even the lifting fans as both technologies have been around for decades. But in the way the electronics control the dynamics of flight and speeds of the lifting bodies. This aircraft has a small central compartment with an opening door at the rear to deliver cargo, but at this size it is too small yet for commercial operations, it will be the same vehicle at a scale a little larger that would then make this flying machine viable. The only visible worry is that the aircraft is very reminiscent of the Skynet controlled drones from the James Cameron "Terminator" films, so we will have a need to stay in control of the vehicle or the computers will take it over and wipe us all out with it... Thranda UV-4 There is a full side tab menu to control and use the UV-4 and we will go though each tab one by one from top to bottom. The first set covers the views you can have. Panel The very top tab is the "Panel". This is a standard X-Plane 2d panel that is set up to look like your a flying the UAV from a remote situation. It is produced here in full with the top and bottom halves of the panel joined together to see the full layout. The main screen can be zoomed and the side smaller display is attached to the gimbal camera on the front of the aircraft that be independently moved with your left/right, up/down viewing keys. In the main screen display is a HUD style instrument display that can be turned off if required. Top right is a timer, and top left are fire switches (personally any fire in any lifting fan would mean you would suddenly crash anyway). with a Centre of Gravity display right frame. Gear up and down on the left and fan power and throttle controls are on the right. Lower left are the radio/navigation panels and on the lower right is the Autopilot controls and lighting switches at the bottom. Centre left lower panel is the Artificial Horizon, altitude, speed strips and rose compass and centre right is the basic navigation display. The engine display shows five different aspects of the aircraft's situation. (left to right) Engine power output, Fuel, Stats, Hyd (hydraulics) and Fail (Failures). Gimbal with HUD Second tab shows you the view from the front mounted gimbal camera with the HUD graphics overlaid. Gimbal Camera Third tab is the gimbal camera again but with just the image and no flying data. You can move the camera with your left/right, up/down viewing keys. Night-Vision Fourth tab is the night vision mode. This is really just the standard X-Plane Night-Vision goggle effect, but it is put to good use here and looks very attack war like. Great for widespread bombing of Christmas presents out of the back door. The next set of tabs cover the flying features Artfi-Stabil To see the Artfi-Stablise in action we need to fly the UV-4 Starting up the UV-4 is just very simple. If the power is switched on you just simply advance the throttles and those huge fans start to turn and power up, and this UAV sounds like a huge mega-death vacuum cleaner on speed. More throttle and the fans allow the aircraft to defy gravity. This is where the computer power comes in. The system has a built in Artfiical-Stabilisation that keeps the aircraft correct and level with you just adjusting for wind direction, and no wind means it will just go straight up! Hover Next tab is the hover which does two jobs in line with the Artfi-Stabil in keeping the aircraft in the correct hover position, and if you press the button while flying it will slow the aircraft down and go into hover (stop) mode. It is very easy to balance the aircraft on the throttle... and there is no fighting the yaw like you do with a helicopter tail rotor. Gentle turn of the yaw and the aircraft will do a complete 360º turn on the same spot, totally brilliant Although from the ground you are glad this UAV has nothing more than a box to carry than guns, it is very threatening and Terminator like as turns towards you... So run away now! Then you have a set of general purpose tabs. Next tab is for the "Gear" to stow or lower the landing gear. Then you have four buttons that cover: Mute (no sound), Pause (pauses the sim) Auto-Pilot (that switches on the auto-pilot) and the button to open and close the cargo door. Flying the UV-4 Stow the gear and switch out of the "hover" mode and with a slight push of the stick forward you can move into the direction you want to. You still have to balance the throttle to maintain your correct altitude, but otherwise you will move forward like a slow helicopter. So is this UAV like a helicopter to fly? Well yes and no to the more of the yes. As you still have to balance the throttle to a helicopter's collective to maintain the right angle and height for the correct flight path but here without keeping the pressure of keeping the tail rotor in check. Otherwise you just turn and yaw like you usually do for turns. There are no notes on how fast or high the UV-4 will actually go, but I think the same as a small helicopter would be in the same range. One area that is tricky and that is just simply getting back down? Reduce the throttle and even right down to the low stop and you will still stay up there? You have to dive down and lose altitude slowly and then lose all your speed, going into "hover" mode doesn't work either as it does stop you from going forward, but the descent is jerky extremely slow downwards. Just being allowed to reduce altitude via the throttle like in a helicopter would make it easier. I eyeballed the clubhouse (terminal) and you could see how good a war platform these machines could be, but then it was time too rumble the office before hitting the "Hover" mode to land. You have to hit the "hover" mode at just the right time, so it clicks in smoothly, and if you hit it too early then you will be hovering in the wrong place. Then manoeuvring to the right spot is not hard of course but it is not very neat in your flying. But this UAV is thankfully nothing but easy to manoeuvre and then land for any failed helicopter pilot. A few notes on this version. There is no fuel or battery charge noted and refueling or recharging will mean restarting the simulator. So it is easy to simply run out of charge while flying. Also the twin 2d screen makes it hard to see and adjust the lower panel at the same time, certainly when setting up the auto-pilot or navigating. There is no manual either? so the "how To Use" is awkward. Liveries There are four liveries with the default being the Bergen Community College livery and three camouflage liveries. Summary The UV-4 is a totally fascinating machine and brings the Terminator style future within reality. But it is the ease of the way it flies that changes the game in the point to point delivery that is really interesting here and sets these aircraft up for certain automated flying. And you can easily see them flying daily through the air over your towns or cities Blade Runner style or facing Terminator skynet armageddon. Thankfully with these UAV's they are too big just to deliver pizza even if their delivery message would be interesting in: "Your pizza is here... I'll be back!" With Thranda's version there is of course limitations within X-Plane that doesn't allow you to do certain things and it does show here, but that doesn't mean that Austin Meyer can't add them in as well. As this is certainly the future in flying. Personally I would have liked a virtual 3d cockpit version rather than the awkward 2d version, but obviously you don't have a cockpit in a drone. But you do need all the flying tools on one level and accessible to get the best effect from flying the aircraft from behind a screen, so does X-Plane need this new 3d style facility as certainly more drones will be coming to the simulator, but for now the developers are stuck with the effects and the limitations of old plane-maker technology. A manual here would have been seen as a real bonus as well. But I will leave you on this review with a thought. And that is would simulator users be the best for flying UAV's as well as normal pilots? after all we fly from behind a screen and have a natural feel for disconnected flying. Don't expect the U.S Airforce or the RAF to come knocking any day to do raids in foreign war zones though, but you may get a call for flying loads over distances within your own countries boundaries... it is a thought. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! AeroG UV-4 UAV by Thranda is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : UV-4 V/STOL UAV Price is US$22.00 Plugin-based logic, enabling unique capabilities "Auto-hover" mode. Applying the brakes in flight makes the UAV settle into a stable hover. Auto-throttle, which keeps descent rates safe at low altitudes. Rear nacelles feature nimble connection to input controls, allowing for intuitive and extremely maneuverable, yet docile handling. Helicopter-like feel in terms of cyclic input 2d cockpit, emulating a UAV remote booth Gimballed camera hanging from the nose of the plane. The gimbal moves according to the camera view. Side menu with features like camera snap points, HUD mode, night vision, cargo bay, artificial stability on/off, auto-hover on/off, pause, mute, etc. Cargo bay with retractable ramp ______________________________________________________________________ Installation The download package is 48.20mb and is 75.30mb when installed as a single folder in your X-Plane "Helicopter" Folder. This aircraft can be used in both X-Plane10 and X-Plane11, however all the X-Plane11 features at this point in time are not shown. Documents: None Requirements : X-Plane 10 Fully updated or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux - 64bit Operating System required 512Mb VRAM Video Card Minimum. 1GB+ VRAM Recommended ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 24th January 2017 Copyright©2017: X-Plane Reviews 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 10 Global ver 10.45 / Checked install in X-Plane11b6 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 - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (Please note extra objects including the "office" have been added to this scenery) ( - Free
  18. 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
  19. 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 : ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 22nd February 2017 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews
  20. 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
  21. Aircraft Review : DC-6 Cloudmaster Type A/B by Precision Manuals Development Group To survive in simulation, you have to be good and have the consistency in delivering quality aircraft in release after release that can in time finally deliver the recognition and the awareness that the users of good simulation aircraft will recognize and laud their approval of their efforts (in other words but their products in the downloads full). But more so into delivering that quality and consistency for nearly twenty years is an outstanding achievement. The Precision Manuals Development Group know as PMDG are such a long standing developer in the FSX/Prepar3D platforms and they have an outstanding legacy in those arenas. They are certainly to be compared with other outstanding Flight Simulator stalwarts like Carenado and Aerosoft that have already developed for X-Plane, but until now PMDG have not developed for the X-Plane platform and no matter how long or how good your are in the business of simulation the move to a new platform is a big undertaking, or even a large gamble. But the approach of PMDG to the X-Plane platform is also very different from other crossover developers from the FSX/Prepar3d universe in the aspect that instead of just converting a current or successful FS (Flight Simulator) aircraft to X-Plane they have decided to build a completely from the ground up aircraft directly for the platform, and that is a far bigger gamble on the simulator because a lot of time and money has to be spent as to rather than just converting and using already designed basic areas of completed work. And this first PMDG X-Plane platform release aircraft is the Douglas DC-6 Cloudmaster. So there is large investment in the DC-6 by PMDG for X-Plane, and so how does this aircraft deliver and more importantly has the build from scratch approach delivered in the context does this iconic aircraft have a real X-Plane feel and use, rather than the FS converted feel approach which has in areas have not been successful in the past... That was my objective for this review, in how X-Plane is this DC-6 from PMDG in conscienceless, feel and use with the simulator, the results surprised me and not in the way I expected. The aircraft reproduced here is of an actual DC-6, as PMDG notes in the introduction... "This aircraft is the last DC-6 to roll off of the assembly line, and the last to fly commercially in a passenger configuration: V5-NCG, s/n 45564. While the default livery is PMDG house colors, it is heavily influenced by the livery currently on V5-NCG. The interior, however, faithfully recreates this aircraft down to the occasionally mislabeled placards, and gauge replacements that differ slightly from the rest. Both 45564 and its sister ship 45563 have lived rather storied lives" Douglas DC-6 The Douglas DC-6 is a piston-powered airliner and transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1958. Originally intended as a military transport near the end of World War II, it was reworked after the war to compete directly with the Lockheed Constellation in the long-range commercial transport market. More than 700 were built and many still fly today in cargo, military, and wildfire control roles. After the Second World War Douglas Aircraft modified the design into a civil transport which is 80in (200 cm) longer than the host design in the DC-4. The civil DC-6 first flew on 29 June 1946. The first airline deliveries were to American Airlines and United Airlines on 24 November 1946. But a series of inflight fires (including the fatal crash of United Airlines Flight 608) grounded the DC-6 fleet in 1947. The cause was found to be a fuel vent next to the cabin cooling turbine intake; all DC-6s were modified and the fleet was flying again after four months on the ground. The aircraft was not just an American domestic route carrier, as United flew DC-6's to Hawaii, Braniff flew them to Rio de Janeiro, and Panagra flew Miami-Buenos Aires; KLM, SAS, and Sabena flew DC-6s across the Atlantic. BCPA DC-6s flew Sydney to Vancouver, and Philippine Airlines flew Manila to London and Manila to San Francisco. In April 1949, United, American, Delta, National, and Braniff were flying DC-6s in the United States. United flew them to Hawaii, Braniff flew them to Rio de Janeiro, and Panagra flew Miami-Buenos Aires; KLM, SAS, and Sabena flew DC-6s across the Atlantic. BCPA DC-6s flew Sydney to Vancouver, and Philippine flew Manila to London and Manila to San Francisco. Pan Am used DC-6Bs to start transatlantic tourist-class flights in 1952. These were the first DC-6Bs that could gross 107,000 lb (49,000 kg), with CB-17 engines rated at 2,500 hp (1,900 kW) on 108/135 octane fuel. Several European airlines followed with their own transatlantic services. The DC-6A/B/C subtypes could fly nonstop from the eastern US to Europe, but needed to refuel in Newfoundland when westbound against the wind. Douglas designed four variants of the DC-6: the basic DC-6, and the longer-fuselage 60in (150 cm) higher-gross-weight, longer-range versions—the DC-6A with cargo doors forward and aft of the wing on the left side, with a cargo floor; the DC-6B for was for passenger work, with passenger doors only and a lighter floor; and the DC-6C convertible (combi), with the two cargo doors and removable passenger seats. The DC-6B, originally powered by Double Wasp engines with Hamilton Standard 43E60 constant-speed reversing propellers, and was regarded as the ultimate piston-engine airliner from the standpoint of ruggedness, reliability, economical operation, and handling qualities. The military version, similar to the DC-6A, was the USAF C-118 Liftmaster; the USN R6D version used the more powerful R-2800-CB-17 engines. These were later used on the commercial DC-6B to allow international flights. Total production of the DC-6 series was 704, including military versions. The aircraft reigned mostly through the 1950's until the intercontinental passenger services were overtaken by the jet age with Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 aircraft, but the DC-6 did carry on within shorter domestic routes and still many are still flying even today but within mostly a cargo role. (edited Wikipedia) Performance: Cruise speed : 315 mph (507 km/h) - Range : DC-6A 2,948 nmi (5,460 km) Max payload 4,317 nmi (7,995 km) Max fuel 2,610 nmi DC-6B (4,830 km) Max payload 4,100 nmi (7,600 km) Max fuel - Service ceiling DC-6A 21,900 ft (6,700 m) DC-6B 25,000 ft (7,600 m) - Rate of climb1,070 ft/min (330 m/min) PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster There are two versions of the DC-6 included with the package with the Cargo A Variant (left) and the Passenger B Variant (right). Design and construction of the DC-6 is excellent by PMDG, this is a beautifully created aircraft with a lot of fine detailing. The period riveting, gap and panel work is very good as well, can't fault the design in these areas. Complex strut, links and assemblies are excellent with great detailing on the rear twin bogie with wire and springs well designed and the hydraulic rams highly visible. All internal gear bays are well done and they do also light up if required. The engines are also very good, with their movable hot and cold cowlings being very authentic. Closer inspection will reveal the internal wasp engines and their complex exhaust systems from each radial cylinder, all the exhausts spit out angry flames when running which is highly realistic and are a fiery highlight when running at night. Aircraft glass is very good, and you can see easily the internal cabin from any point of view. Some early users noted the aircraft's liveries were not that good on release. I disagree as the liveries and the quality of the livery textures are excellent and of a very high 4K quality. I think the point of view is that the liveries and the detail is not the problem here, but a lot of the aircraft and certainly on the undercarriage areas is that the external working parts of the aircraft are simply too clean. These 1950's working aircraft were dirty, oily, greasy or just plain grubby in their day to day service and are plainly soiled machines, but this lovely DC-6 looks like it hasn't even rolled out he factory yet, but has had its engines run hard and tested. It needs to be a bit more grubby, and the tyre textures are too light or more greyish than blackish. Menus PMDG uses the tab - panel menu system, which is positioned on the left lower part of your screen. And there are six menu tabs: Ramp Manager Fuel and Load Manager Artificial Flight Engineer Maintenance Manager Realism Options Save and Load Scenarios All the popup panels are quite large and can't be resized, which will cover a large part of a screen and almost all of a smaller screen like on a laptop computer. Ramp Manager: menu covers all external areas of the aircraft in ramp equipment and animations, there are also two selection areas for Aircraft State and Cockpit Lighting. Ramp equipment (left) sections include: Tow bar and tractor, Wheel chocks, Pitot covers, Engine oil pans (hang under the engines) Mechanic Stands. Animations include (right) Main Cabin (door) Exit, Main Cabin Exit Stairs, Cargo hold (doors), Front cabin (door) exit and Front cabin exit stairs. The ramp and animated selections here are all very good. I really like the "Mechanic Stands" which make work on the ramp or in the hangar authentic, shame you can't select them individually, but a great idea. long front stairs unfurl out of the opened front door and look great. The tow bar and tractor is a static model only, so in a way without any pushback capability it is a bit useless... The DC-6A Cargo version has both huge opening main front and rear cargo doors. When you set the load capacity the aircraft will load up with the amount of freight selected (see Fuel and Load Manager below). The lower cargo doors are also available and you add add freight in to those spaces as well, for the medium haulers this is a dream cargo ship. Aircraft State: A simple feature but powerful. You can select from three aircraft states in: Cold and Dark - Ready For Start - Ready for taxi You can very easily move to an aircraft state like cold and dark when the aircraft is completely shut down, Ready for Start when the aircraft is at the point of starting the engines or Ready to Taxi when everything is running and you can fly straight away. I found this feature excellent in moving from point to point in the review, which requires different aircraft states to cover the different areas of the review, in real simulation flying the instant move to a point in if you want to say start right at the beginning and do the whole startup sequence, or just want to fly right straightaway... is a great feature and I used it a lot. I will cover the "Cockpit Lighting" menu when we look at the aircraft's lighting, but you do have four choices to choose from in: Off - Low - Medium and High. Fuel and Load Manager: This panel covers the way you load and fuel the aircraft. The DC-6 has eight fuel tanks and you can set each tank to the requirements you need or set the 50% or 100% fuel loads. Baggage and Cargo Weights are also catered for and so is the Passenger load. On the right side there is a full readout of all the weights including allowed and MAXimum allowances which are all displayed. Artificial Flight Engineer: The AFE is a powerful checklist and setup feature. The Artificial Flight Engineer is like having a second extra pair of hands in the cockpit, but even more so. The idea is that when activated the AFE will go through all the procedures in that checklist area as which there is eleven of them and the only things the AFE doesn't do is actually start the engines. He will however not only read out the procedure but will also carry out the action as well, so this makes the AFE a great learning tool on how to start up and navigate around the complex cockpit and panels, there is also the added attraction of him taking away a lot of the basic workload of operating the switchgear of the aircraft, while you say work doing the radios... invaluable, yes absolutely. Maintenance Manager: Unlike today's efficient 15,000 hours of service in engines. In the era of the DC-6 the service periods were more like hundreds than thousands of hours and even then they were unpredictable. To cover this you have Maintenance Manager panel to see the hours of performance of the engines and propellers and engine oil quantity for each engine is also noted. You can service the engines and propellers and top up the oil tanks with the extra fluids of Water/Alcohol, Auxiliary Oil and Anti-Ice Fluid also available. The total Airframe hours are also shown. Realism Options: You can turn on or off "realism" features that allow you to fly unencumbered or have things on the aircraft be more active or fail (usually fail). Items on the panel include: Engine Damage Enabled Realistic Start Enabled Carb Icing Enabled CB (Circuit Breaker) Failure Enabled AP (Autopilot) Disc (Disconnect) Sound Disabled Damage Alerts Disabled Head Shake Disabled All the realism items are very good and well... realistic. But I wouldn't use them when new to the aircraft, but gradually introduce them as you become more familiar with the more general operations. But the features here are very well thought out and implemented. Scenarios: This feature is a Scenario Manager, or a way of saving a particular situation to come back to. Very similar to the X-Plane "Situations" save function, but it does go a few steps more in operation. My first thoughts was "well this is just another situation saving tool". But soon in doing this review it became a very powerful tool, in that I could move to the three various saved positions to go back to look a certain aspect or item, and then even three saved scenarios seems to be not enough, six would have been perfect. What is very good about the tool is that like when flying the saved scenario does restart absolutely perfectly, no grabbing the yoke or moving the throttle or with that huge descent loss like in the X-Plane situations (in a cruise mode) but you get a restart in a perfect no change position and continued perfect flight. I used one save position to stop and start a long flight by saving each new stop point of the route and then coming back and carrying on from the restart and a covered a large distance with interruptions (like going to bed) and still getting that full perfect flight without resetting up the old point of closing down X-Plane to restart again and spend time getting back to where I had left off. Only thing to note is that you don't save to the actual scenario? as once you have used up 1,2,3 if you save the next one in Scenario 1 it will actually become Scenario 3 and shuffle the earlier ones down the order, and that can make it confusing. Cockpit The cockpit is exceptional in detail, yes the DC-6 in the office is a very complex and manual machine in operation. It can be overwhelming at first sight, but you soon learn the various functions of the switchgear and systems. A note is that not eveything here is not actually active as for instance the older radio sets on the pedestal look magnificent, but are really just disconnected items that don't have any function but to look authentic. But that is not to say it is a fake cockpit because in most areas the disconnected items have their more modern or at least the 60's period replacement tools and even a GNS 430 gps. Personally it makes the DC-6 more authentic because that is the way most of these aircraft in their later lives were flown with a hybrid of the original 40's gear and the more modern 60's and 70's gear added on later, but these systems do not significantly override the original way of flying the aircraft but just supplement it. The rear of the cockpit is also well done and has the same feel as FlyJSim's Boeing 727 Series in look and feel or that greyish metal look. Some panels for racked radio sets and equipment are just images and not actual racks of gear in that FS way, but it is well done and you don't really notice the differences. The third crew member's seat folds down or away to gain access to the front seats which are really well worn and have great authentic cloth and leather constructions. The seat arms are not animated in movement up or down but do vibrate in flight. As noted there is a low-resolution virtual cabin installed, but you can't access it? the X-Plane cockpit boundaries forbid that. The developers noted on the forums that the extra virtual cabin would add in lower framerates, which is complete tosh!, If you a completed (even a low-res version) then that frameweight has still already been added in there then the virtual cabin is actually installed or it isn't. There is a misconception about why users like virtual cabins, and the strange thing is we don't actually look at the cabin. For most users the idea of sitting in a virtual cabin is the point of view looking out of it, so a low-res or high-res cabin is not the issue here, as in most cases the viewpoint is in the replay mode and watching your work in action from the aspect of the passengers point of view. Take away that option and certainly on an aircraft as dynamic as the DC-6 (watching props and flaps in action) is taking away a large percentage of the personal involvement with the aircraft. Side cockpit windows open and the sound increases with the open window, view sideways is great and helpful for taxiway and ramp movement. Panel and Instruments Both Pilot and Co-Pilot flying instruments are the same with the standard six (Airspeed Indicator, Attitude Indicator or Artificial Horizon, Altimeter, Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial and Vertical Speed Indicator) are split by the garmin gi-106a gps/Vor/loc/glideslope indicator in the centre with the VOR 1 and VOR 2 needles bottom centre. The only difference on the two flying panels is the ADF pointers (1 and 2) are on the top right on the pilot's panel and lower left on the Co-Pilot's. Far left and far right on the panel is the VOR 2 Bendix KDI572 DME Receiver for distance, speed and time to the VOR. There are switches to control and select the GYRO heading and slaving on the pilots panel. Down left under the panel are two units in a Bendix KT76A Transponder and a Bendix KMA24 Audio Panel. The centre panel covers all the engine instruments and gauges. Fire handles top with six x four rows (24) dials and gauges. Most engine performance instruments are top left and pressures and temperatures on the right and bottom. The odd display out here is the flap position indicator buried centre left in: UP - 10º - 20º - 30º - 40º - DOWN. Brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) - Mean effective pressure calculated from measured brake torque is covered for each engine by the top row of dials with fuel pressures right. Manifold, Fuel Flow and RPM gauges are double in that one gauge covers two engines. Cylinder head and Carburettor temperatures are across the bottom with the water pressure gauges. Centre right are the OIl Pressure and Oil Temperature gauges. The overhead panel is a very busy area, but like all panel instruments once you understand the different panel areas you can navigate around it quite easier. Lower OVHD covers the Landing lights, Cowl (Engine) Flap(s) and Engine Supercharger switches. The eight large dials cover the fuel tankage with Supercharger Oil and temperatures pressures. top row of dials include: Pitot Heater Ammeter, Anti Icing Fluid Needle, Engine 1 & 2 Oil Qty, Auxiliary Oil Needle, Engine 3 & 4 Oil Qty, Hydraulic Reservoir amount, Engine 1, 2 and 3, 4 Water Tanks (for engine cooling takeoffs). MId-Overhead panel covers items like internal and external aircraft lighting switchgear, Propeller Feather test and Feather switches, Ignition, Inverters, seatbelt, smoking and attendant call switches and generator control switches. Top or back OVHD panel includes Fuel main and alt booster pumps, Engine spark advance, Water injection pumps, and ammeters. Each side of the main OVHD are two side overhead panels in a corner triangular panel and a side panel. Pilot's triangular panel covers all engine and fuel heating and de-Icing with side panel covering the Fire test and Extinguisher (guarded) switches. On the Co-Pilot's triangular panel it covers all aspects of pressurization and cabin altitude and the side panel covers all voltages and cockpit/cabin temperatures. Modern instrument add-ons have been installed under the OVHD. There are three units in a Bendix King KR 87 ADF with two ADF (1 and 2) channels. Then centre is the standard X-Plane Garmin GNS 430 gps with pop-out and a Bendix King KX 155 COM2/VOR2 unit (COM1 and VOR1 are on the GNS430). The huge pedestal is a work of art, but a lot of the switches and the older radios are just for show. Functional though is the two groups of four throttle levers and the fuel tank selection (red) set up against the panel. The aircraft's Gyro based autopilot works in two functions in turning the aircraft (the large top knob) and adjusting the pitch (up or down) with the twin inner wheels, there is a reset button to centre the turn dial and a hold altitude switch called "Altitude Control" but otherwise it is just a basic system. Mixture (red) and Carburettor air levers (blue) cover the engine management, and there is the red landing gear lever centre. The large yellow Flap lever is right but the main lever on here is the autopilot engage lever (arrowed) that is buried deep and close to the floor. The autopilot has to be engaged by the small Gyro Pilot switch up higher before switching up the engage lever and not the other way around, you soon get used to it, but it is in a difficult place to engage when flying the aircraft. The huge red steering lock on the left has to be disengaged before you can move the flying controls... You can steer with the taxi wheel left but not the actual controls until the lock is off. Full yoke movement is very authentic and the yoke is sublime to use as are the rudder pedals. Under a panel in the forward floor are the fuel dump levers, don't use unless you have too! Repeat after me... "the trim is my best friend" Of course on any aircraft the trim wheels are important, but on the DC-6 they are crucially more important to fly this huge airliner more easily. You will need to practise on how to balance this powerful machine on the trim perfectly to get the balance right and save yourself a lot of hard work, and it is also a lot of fun in doing so. The three trim wheels situated on the rear and side of the pedestal (Aileron and Pitch) and the lovely huge rudder trim sits on the top of the padded glareshield. The actual Trim Tab Indicator is hard to see under the cowling, but the trim wheel is a hoot to use. There is a lot of switchgear and instruments to cover here and PMDG do provide an excellent set of manuals (well Precision Manuals is in their name!) that cover really every aspect of the DC-6 and its operations. You get an introduction manual that covers aspects of mostly PMDG and X-Plane, POH (Pilots Operations Handbook) that covers a huge amount of information of not only the switchgear and panels, but also an in depth detailed explanation on how all the DC-6's systems work and how to operate them including an in depth analyse on how to run and maintain the engines and there are pages and pages of Flight Operational data to cover every aspect of flying and operating the DC-6. There are also two excellent tutorials that cover every aspect from cold start to block in two different scenerios with more tutorials to come. DC-6 Lighting As noted in the Ramp Manager you can set four options with the cockpit lighting... Off - Low - Medium and High. These selections give you a good varied choice of lighting conditions, and a great quick go to mood tool. But the red and white lighting by PMDG is very good and fully adjustable to your own preferences. Every area is adjustable, but the knobs and switches are placed almost everywhere including a panel by both the Pilot and Co-Pilot for each set of instruments. Red spot lights are available for both Pilot, Co-Pilot and third crew member, but the dial for the crew member spot is labeled for white adjustment, but it is actually red. Ground Cockpit or Storm light is very bright, so that means it is also very good. It must be noted that the cockpit lighting only works with HDR on, so no panel lighting is available for HDR off running, which in many cases I prefer to fly in. So HDR HAS to be on all the time, and that can hurt framerate if you don't run a powerful computer. You can find the perfect illumination for takeoff and landing, it was a very nice place to be at night, this is a great night flying machine. External lighting is great as well... There are two main landing lights under each wing, but you can use them in two positions. First is in the retracted position that will light up the area directly under the wing, or down for runway illumination. There are also great wheel bay lights for working on the aircraft on the ground, a nice touch. Forward runway illumination is good, but not a very long spread, but this is an 1940's design. Flashing flames out of the exhausts are magnificent at night... Wing lighting is very good, and the view rearwards at night from the pilot's seat is very realistic. Watch those flames belch out of the engines at night for a glorious feeling of power. The view flying in cloud is exciting as you can't climb above the weather, and that make great flying in the dark with the weather engine working a great experience. No rain or water drops on the windows is certainly a missing feature here to heighten the dark stormy night and flying through hell to the destination and landing in zero visibility effect, If one aircraft need rain effects it is this DC-6. Liveries You get only the PMDG livery with the aircraft, but you can go to the PMDG addon liveries site and download a huge selection from there for free. Available for the DC-6A Cargo You can download Air Atlantique, British Eagle, Dranensberg, Northern Air Cargo and Everts Air Cargo, It would have been nice to have had a Buffalo Airways livery, and before you sent me a torrent of emails that "Buffalo Airways" uses the L-188 Electra and not the DC-6, then you are wrong as Buffalo Airways does actually have a DC-6 and it is a rare aircraft at that in a Swingtail DC-6 and only 1 of 2 converted. Available for the DC-6B Passenger The passenger selection is quite large and varied with: PMDG (default) American Airlines, PAA (PanAm), Northwest, United, US Navy, Icelandair, KLM, SAS, UTA, Ansett-ANA, British Eagle, Olympic, Canadian Pacific, Red Bull and NCA, Flying the PMDG DC-6 This is a complex aircraft to fly from cold, and too many areas to cover in detail, but I will do soon a full flight review of the DC-6. For this review I did two flights in one in the DC-6A Cargo from KBOS (Boston) to KEWR (Newark) in the dark and with full weather events making it a nighmare but a very exciting flight. Second route was form KPHX (Phoenix) to KLAX (Los Angeles) and I will show you the early highlights from that flight. Start up was done using the Artificial Flight Engineer and then I started the engines, they put, put and then each one roars into life, and you really have to check each throttle to get the right idle speed until they get some heat into the engines. At each turn and start of the engines the panel and the cockpit will separately vibrate, and by quite a lot and so much that you can't actually read the instruments. Note my night flight above and in a heavy storm the panel can be hard to read for most of the flight, very realistic but tiring, and even on idle sitting on the ramp you are getting vibrations from the aircraft and panel. If you don't want to do the process of starting each engine and want a full set of powered up engines then just press the "Ready for taxi" tab on the "Ramp Manager" panel and you are ready to go, great feature. Once the engines are purring and warm it is time to leave. Sounds are generally good and if you open the side window you do get that extra fantastic roar from those Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CA15 2,400 hp (1,800 kW) "Double Wasp" radial engines. Overall the sounds are very good to great, but they are also one dimensional with no zoom or 3d effects that we have come to be used to. This had lead to a few comments that the sounds are not great on the PMDG DC-6, and that is not true because they are as noted very good, PMDG have already updated the sound to 3d and are now also doppler shifted on the aircraft in their 0043 update list. To a point X-Plane users have now been very much influenced by the excellent Blue Sky Star Simulation's sound packs and even if the DC-6 had been released as close as this time last year the sounds here would have not been an issue, but things move quickly in simulation and hi-fi sound is now a big and required feature in this price category and it is good to see the commitment of PMDG to update the sounds very quickly in the release period. I left the AFE do the last of the checks while I taxi to PHX RWY 07L, windows shut, superchargers and cooling water on and away you go. The power is good but this is not a Boeing 737-800 and climb is limited to below 1000fpm and not the usual 3000fpm in the Boeing of Airbus of choice. Hand climb to around 3000ft or 4000ft with the water and then the superchargers off (watch the gauges), then set the direction of travel and level off and then trim the aircraft. There are throttle locks if you need them (the red bars), but with the aircraft trimmed and level then click the Gyro Pilot switch up before switching up the AP engage lever. The "Altitude Control" switch has to be down to turn the Pitch Control Knobs and then switch the Altitude Control on to hold the altitude required. If the aircraft is light then 800fpm pitch is easily achieved, but in a heavy configuration you will be pressed to use 500fpm to 300fpm and the climb is a long process. I climbed to 12,500ft and powered along towards the Californian coast over Nevada, the DC-6's natural territory. Summary As noted at the start of this review the DC-6 Cloudmaster is PMDG's first aircraft for X-Plane, and it was built up from the ground up for X-Plane and it is not just a converted Flight Simulator aircraft. For the case of the aircraft being built up for X-Plane first and then converted Flight Simulator platform second, the aircraft does feel very X-Plane and not FS, but a few of the flat cockpit textures do give the FS heritage away. But the problem with the DC-6 that even in X-Plane it would be a niche aircraft, and I think it would be wrong to surmise the X-Plane platform on this aircraft release alone, as PMDG's other products in the MD-11, Boeing 747-400 and 737NG series are far more mainstream and all would be far more of a better evaluation of the simulator than the DC-6. The one thing that I found with the DC-6 is the amount of time and thought that has been put in by PMDG in the way of creating clever features and using many of X-Plane's best attributes and not only in the actual aircraft but also in the thorough detailing of the documents and manuals. Not many developers take the time to thoroughly explain X-Plane's features, items and what they actually do in the simulator, and thus creating a great bridge to any newcomers to the X-Plane platform, but PMDG has done that and done it very well. There are a few negatives but they are certainly not any major issues and all can be easily cleared up with a few updates. The aircraft needs a little more wear and tear, oil, grease, even a little rust would give the machine a more hard working feel and take a little blandness away from the external. Let us have access to the cabin, for the obvious reasons of simply watching the aircraft from the inside out, and a few animated raindrops on the windows would make it even more realistic at night. Making the static pushback truck a working feature would be a nice addition to the ground features... more scenario's would be nice but to keep to the saved scenario would stop confusion on where you saved what scenario where. Overall this is a glorious aircraft, clever short cuts in the Artificial Flight Engineer, different engine starts and saving situations are clever well thought out time savers and allow you to get the very best out of the simulation, all menus are excellent and well thought out. The aircraft and its systems are very deep and do require a lot of study to get the very best use and operations out of them, this is a simulation for the long haul and to learn and fly a 1940's aircraft in its prime. No doubt many X-Plane pilots will be very impressed by PMDG's DC-6 and no doubt it will become a firm favorite. It is a different and a very challenging aircraft to use and fly, but that is also the major attraction as well. So I was very impressed at my first look at the aircraft and after doing this review is even more impressed at what PMDG have achieved with their first foray in to the X-Plane Simulator and the result was above my high expectations... The DC-6 Cloudmaster has arrived, and now let us show the aircraft the X-Plane world it deserves to see. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Video by Flights Worldwide Yes! the DC-6 Cloudmaster Type A/B by Precision Manuals Development Group is available from PMDG here : Douglas DC-6 Cloudmaster Price is US$69.95 Features: Engine Model – The Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp CB-16 engine model has been accurately modelled, including realistic engine start, variable carb icing based on precipitation, dew point and OAT, realistic CHT behaviour, oil temperature heat-up and cool-down rates, realistic oil consumption, realistic oil pressure that varies based on oil temperature, water injection detonation suppressant for high-power take-offs, a realistic auto-mixture system correcting for air density and high/low supercharger modes with corresponding effects on critical manifold pressure, altitude and torque. A failure model (optional, can be disabled in Realism Options) is included. Engines are prone to abuse as well as wear and tear when the failure model is enabled. Airplane Systems and Equipment - The DC-6’s systems were reproduced to match the operation of those in the real aircraft, and include: De-icing, Electrical, Engines, Fuel, Hydraulic, Oil, Pressurization, Propellers and Water Injection. Sperry A-12 Automatic Pilot Bendix King KX 155 NAV/COMM Transceiver Bendix King KR 87 ADF Receiver Bendix King KI-227 ADF Indicator Garmin GI-106A GPS/VOR/LOC/Glideslope Indicator Bendix MN- 61A Marker Beacon System Bendix KT76A Transponder Bendix KMA24 Audio Panel Bendix KDI572 DME Receiver Realistic Fuel System – The fuel system has been accurately modelled, and includes the 8-tank main and alternate fuel system with cross-feed, realistic fuel pressure system and the fuel dump system with accurate dump rates. AC/DC Electrical Bus System – The electrical bus system includes realistic amp draw and voltage, as well as battery drain and charging. Realistic, Immersive Sound Set - To increase the level of realism and immersion, individual switches, levers, knobs, aural warning sounds, and an array of systems sounds were recorded from an actual DC-6 expressly for the purpose of providing total flight deck realism and realistic audio-tactile feedback. The sound set covers every sound you would expect to hear inside the DC-6 cockpit, as well as from the exterior view. Highly realistic effects of the relationship between throttle positions, prop lever positions and engine RPM creates an authentic DC-6 in-cockpit sound experience. Add-on Liveries - As is always the case at PMDG, numerous free add-on liveries are available for a variety of real-world DC-6 operators. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Requirements: Minimum Simulator: X-Plane 10.45+ Hardware: Dual Core, 2.5 GHz or faster, 4 GB of RAM, A video card with at least 1 GB of VRAM. Windows: Windows 7 32-bit (older OSes such as Windows XP may work, but we cannot guarantee compatibility or support) Mac: OS X Mavericks Recommended Simulator: X-Plane 10.45+ Hardware: A Quad Core, 3.0 GHz or faster processor, 16-20 GB of RAM, a high-performance, DirectX 11-capable video card with at least 4 GB of on-board, dedicated VRAM. Windows: Windows 10 64-bit (older OSes such as Windows XP may work, but we cannot guarantee compatibility or support) Mac: OS X El Capitan _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the PMDG DC-6 is 387.30meg Make sure you have the correct installer for your computer platform in Windows and Mac. Installer is included and will install the aircraft X-Plane main aircraft root folder under PMDG at 3.89.80mb (without extra liveries). Key authorisation is required and I recommend a complete X-Plane restart to start the aircraft up correctly. Documents: There are seven items included in the documentation - All are outstanding in detail and information : PMDG DC-6 Introduction.pdf Douglas DC-6B R2800-CB16.txt PMDG DC-6 Tutorial 1.pdf DC6B_scenario_1.txt DC6B_scenario_2.txt PMDG DC-6 POH.pdf PMDG DC-6 Tutorial 2.pdf ______________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 5th July 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews 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 10 Global ver 10.45 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin Scenery or Aircraft - KBOS - KBOS Boston Logan International Airport 1.0.0 by Misterx6 (KBOS Boston Logan International Airport 1.0.0 - Free - KPHX - Phoenix Sky Harbor International 1.01 by Misterx6 (KPHX - Phoenix Sky Harbor International 1.01 - Free
  22. 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
  23. Aircraft Release : Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II by AoA Simulations AoA Simulations have released their Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II for X-Plane 9 and 10. The F-35B is a single-seat, single-engine, all weather stealth multirole fighters undergoing testing and final development. It is noted as a fifth generation combat aircraft which is designed to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions. This aircraft has been created by Fabrice Kauffmann and David Austin and is packed to gills with features. The most interesting feature is the Short Take Off / Vertical Landing (STO/VL) thrust vectoring nozzle and lift fan version. And the vectoring works very well (With a little practise) and looks absolutely brilliant. Features include: Advanced 3d cockpit with wide format, touch screen, glass panel display All vertical lift systems doors and nozzles Canopy and crew boarding ladder Ejection seat sequence Multiple liveries There are three separate aircraft ACFs each representing three different weapon configurations. F-35B Base F-35B CAS F35B Heavy The aircraft also has internal weapon stores selectable from the panel. And there are five weapon modes. 1. (Weapons systems off) is the default NAV mode. - 2. Gun mode. Green circle cue. Distance to selected target displayed. - 3. Target Track / In-Flight Refuel (IFR) mode. Green diamond cue overlays selected target. Target data displayed. - 4a. Target Lock (Missile) mode. Red diamond cue overlays selected target. Target data./ 4b. Missile in flight. Missile flight data displayed (first missile only X-Plane limit). - 5. Bomb mode. Green fall line and impact circle. The Multi-Functional Display (MFD) is highly intergrated and is directly push button or manipulator activation. And is several layers deep. Features included are : Head Mounted Display system Informative Engine Condition and Monitoring Display Automated Avionics functions Multiple weapon system display modes Weapon bay door opening matches selected weapon Dynamic head movement in flight and taxi without TrackIR Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System Pilot activated auto recovery switch Auto ejection seat logic Auto flaps logic Auto gear retract and extended logic "Smart" speed brakes Dedicated camera views Joystick controlled air and wheel brakes There is a G3D AND "TAXI LOOK" plugin with a G3d enabled and 3d cockpit mode selected, so when you twist the stick or use the rudder pedals to turn the jet as you taxi the cockpit view moves left or right to look into turns. With the system 3d cockpit mode enabled in flight the cockpit view moves left or right up to 30 degrees when you roll the jet, and looks up when you pull back on the stick. The F-35B is available in both separate X-Plane v9.70 and v10.31 models. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is NOW from the New X-Plane.Org Store : F-35B Lightning II Price is currently US$ 29.95 Requirements are: X-Plane 9.70+ or X-Plane 10.30+ Windows, Mac or Linux 512Mb VRAM Video Card Support forum for the F-35B 22nd December 2014 Stephen Dutton Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews
  24. 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
  25. 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: ______________________________________________________________________ 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