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  1. Scenery Review : Golden Gate, KSFO and South Bay by Tom Curtis Tom Curtis's Golden Gate package of which includes KSFO (San Francisco International and Oakland International) now has two extra expansion packages of "South Bay" and "San Carlos" also added into the whole bay area package. First note is that this is a huge scenery. It now has eight airports listed in all: KSFO - San Francisco International airport and gateway to the Pacific Rim KOAK - Metropolitan Oakland International Airport KSJC - Mineta San Jose International Airport KHWD - Hayward Executive Airport KPAO - Palo Alto Airport - General Aviation KHAF - Half Moon Bay - General Aviation KSQL - San Carlos Airport GG01 - Clipper Cove, Located on Treasure Island And also GUQ Moffett Field also has a few items of note as well More items includes: Golden Gate Bridge, Oakland Bay Bridges, San Mateo Bridge and the Dumbarton Railroad bridges. Alcatraz Prison and the Nike Missile Site Museum. A few San Francisco landmarks are also visible like the Transamerica Tower. Maps by Google So where would you start?... Well my interest in this package was noted by a video. It is the "PilotsEYE" series of the first service by Lufthansa of the Airbus A380 on the Frankfurt - San Francisco route. What is interesting in the video is that it shows you all the landmarks and viewpoint in the landing and docking at Gate 101B at San Francisco International Airport: This being X-Plane I wanted to run that route and simulate that landing... Peter's Aircraft wonderful Lufthansa Airbus A380 allows you to easily indulge in your own fantasy. The point of this is that if the scenery works in this context then the scenery is good... Make no doubt as the Tom Curtis KSFO delivers here in spades, views and the background match the video to perfection. Frame-Rate was impressive at 24frames... not a lot of margin I admit, but this is serious scenery and Peter Hagar's A380 is no lightweight either - so the user number here is impressive. KSFO - San Francisco International Airport San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO, ICAO: KSFO, FAA LID: SFO) 10L/28R (11,870) 3,618m Asphalt 10R/28L (10,602) 3,231m Asphalt 1R/19L (8,648) 2,636m Asphalt 1L/19R (7,500) 2,286 Asphalt Elevation AMSL 13 ft / 4 m San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO, ICAO: KSFO) is an international airport 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown San Francisco, California. The airport opened on May 7, It was named Mills Field Municipal Airport until 1931, when it became San Francisco Municipal Airport. "Municipal" was replaced by "International" in 1955. The KSFO scenery is excellent in scale, There so much detail here it is overwhelming. So the best way to view it is to show the different Terminals. The odd thing to note here is the International Terminal is at the front (lower) and the domestic termnial is at the rear (upper). So we will start with the domestic arms and then show the International. Terminal One Gates 20 - 36 Boarding Area B _____________________________________________________________________________________ Terminal One Gates 40 - 48 Boarding Area C _____________________________________________________________________________________ Terminal Two Gates 50 - 59 Boarding Area D (formally the Central Terminal) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Terminal Three Gates 60 - 67 Boarding Area E (Now Closed) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Terminal Three Gates 68 - 90 Boarding Area F _____________________________________________________________________________________ International Terminal Gates A1 - A12 Boarding Area A _____________________________________________________________________________________ International Terminal Gates G91 - G102 Boarding Area G _____________________________________________________________________________________ All the main terminal infrastructure is excellent with almost every gate filled with ramp equipment or parked aircraft, One aircraft is an animation that pushes back and then returns to the gate. The parked aircraft textures are a little washy (even on a high texture setting).. . but otherwise it can't be faulted. (A note the United B747 at the United Terminal 3 gate is not in the correct position as in the scenery. I moved it so I could park a large aircraft next to the B747 original gate position). All ramp and taxiway markings are exceptional... taxiing around the terminals with the linage and runway signs is as perfect as you will ever need them. Tom is very good at night lighting and the SFO airport is excellent, The buildings have a slight whiteness about them but that is not really an issue here. All gates are well lit and the terminal windows are exceptional. Highlights away from the central area is the American Airlines Hanger and the United Airlines maintenance base. Both areas are excellent with great signage in both day and the night. There are a huge amount of offices, warehouses and the Coast Guard station situated around mostly the Northern boundary, nothing is missing here... as every building is accounted for. There is a small (for) FedEx cargo base and fuel depot and the only few items to note is the high rail line stops abruptly?, and a few of the underlying photo textures are a little washed out... I would like to have a few working (animated) gates and I understand that SFO now has a new control tower? - but again these are minor issues. Tom notes the ATC has been set up to run correctly.... As scenery with KSFO you can't fault it. KOAK - Metropolitan Oakland International Airport Almost directly across the bay from KSFO is Oakland International Airport. The approach to KOAK runway 11 is excellent with this scenery package, You cross over all the Oakland Bay Bridges with San Francisco City on your right (The Golden Gate bridge is viewable in the distance) and a few city icons are visible with the default autogen filling in the rest of the view... If you take away these few items like the bridges and the city icons you would certainly notice what makes a great scenery and what does not. It cannot be stressed more than here as this is the small difference of what makes this outstanding package work. Airports set out alone can not deliver the whole experience. Oakland International Airport (IATA: OAK, ICAO: KOAK) (Metropolitan Oakland International Airport) is a public airport five miles south of downtown Oakland, in Alameda County, California. Oakland is the focus city for Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air. As of July 2013, Southwest has 108 daily departures on peak-travel days of the week.Alaska Airlines combined with sister-carrier Horizon Air is in distant 2nd with as many as 12 flights. The city of Oakland looked into the construction of an airport starting in 1925. In 1927 the announcement of the Dole prize for a flight from California to Hawaii provided the incentive to purchase 680 acres in April 1927 for the airport.The 7,020 foot long runway was the longest in the world at the time, and built in just 21 days to meet the Dole race start. The airport was dedicated by Charles Lindbergh September 17. In its early days, because of its long runway enabling safe takeoff rolls for fuel-heavy aircraft, Oakland was the departing point of several historic flights, including Charles Kingsford Smith's historic US-Australia flight in 1928, and Amelia Earhart's final flight in 1937. Earhart departed from this airport when she made her final ill-fated voyage, intending to return there after circumnavigating the globe. Oakland International Airport (IATA: OAK, ICAO: KOAK, FAA LID: OAK) 11/29 (10,000) 3,048m Asphalt 9R/27L (6,212) 1,893m Asphalt 9L/27R (5,454) 1,662m Asphalt 15/33 (3,372) 1,028m Asphalt Elevation AMSL 9 ft / 3 m The airport is split into two separate areas by runways 9R/27L and 9L/27R with the commercial Airport to the south along side RWY 11/29 and the executive and general aviation areas to the north. FedEx has a large facility here which is almost in the central position of the airport. A very large maintenance building is a big part of the airport as well. Oakland has Two terminals - One and Two. Terminal 1 has 17 gates (1, 3, 4–7, 8-8A, 9-9A, 10–12, 14-14A, 15, 17) and is also used for International services. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Terminal 2 has 13 gates (20–32) (mostly Southwest Airlines and Allegiant Air) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Detailing is excellent... all gates are covered with full ramp equipment. All the glass work is excellent and totally realistic. All taxi and runway linage is again of high quality as with noted at SFO. The Private executive and GA area is well covered as well. With items for the Business Jet Center, Kaiser Air and Flight schools Alameda Aero Club, Lou Fields Aviation, Oakland Flyer and Oakland Aircraft Maintenance other noted are Aerial Advertising Services, Oakland Aviation Museum, formerly Western Aerospace Museum and Pacific Aerial Surveys. Only slight eyesore is front of the main terminals is that there is a bit of washed out area with no real carpark. Night-Lighting is the same as SFO... Excellent. All the terminals are very well lit and the night textures are outstanding. The FedEx facility (above) is the standout in the area and the Executive and GA area (below) is very good as well with great lit signage. Oakland International Airport is a great supplement to the main San Francisco International... It has the same quality, but it is ideal for your Private Jet/GA movements and LLC (Low Cost Carrier) operations. With OAK I had no Frame-Rate issues (28-30fr). KSJC - Mineta San Jose International Airport Despite San Jose being the largest city in the Bay Area, SJC is the smallest of the three Bay Area airline airports (8.4 million annual passengers in 2011), with less than a quarter of the passengers of San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and fewer passengers than Oakland International Airport (OAK). Like Oakland airport it attracts Bay Area residents who find SFO too distant from their homes. SJC is noted as a "downtown airport", unlike SFO and OAK which are on opposite shores of San Francisco Bay. SJC's convenient location near downtown San Jose has drawbacks: it is surrounded by the city and had little room for expansion. The proximity to downtown causes limits on building heights in downtown San Jose as by FAA rules. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport is a city-owned public airport in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California. It is named for San Jose native Norman Yoshio Mineta. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (IATA: SJC, ICAO: KSJC) 12L/30R (11,000) 3,353m Concrete 12R/30L (11,000) 3,353m Concrete 11/29 (4,599) 1,402m Asphalt Elevation AMSL 62 ft / 19 m Although there are two terminals. They are set out in one long lineup. With Terminal A which has 16 gates: 1–16. and Terminal B which has the North Concourse of Terminal B which has 12 gates: 17–28. A planned South Concourse has now been built as the other Terminal B, but it is to be noted that here in this scenery it is the older version and not the new curved building designed by Gensler... Across the runways are the General Aviation areas and the Control Tower. This area is well detailed with hangars and excellent aircraft parking. All the parking and taxi linage is exceptional. Night-Lighting at KSJC is again exceptional... The lighting around the terminals is expertly done. With this you will find SJC is as good with detail as the other two major airports. The surrounding OSM (Open Street Map) traffic is excellent here as the airport is heavily boxed in, so the traffic swarms around you as you approach or takeoff. I found SJC hit my frame-rate more heavier that SFO and OAK, my guess it is the heavier laid out default autogen. As it dropped down into the on the line 19's and 18's frames. Flying into SFO above SJC in the A380, caused a little stutter as well... but again the A380 is a very heavy file. That is the three very large airports in this package... we will now briefly look at the other smaller Executive and General Aviation airports and one large Ex-Flyingboat base that are dotted all around the bay area. KHWD - Hayward Executive Airport Hayward Executive Airport is just 8 miles south of Oakland International. Hayward Executive Airport (IATA: HWD, ICAO: KHWD, FAA LID: HWD) 10R/28L (5,694) 1,736m Asphalt 10L/28R (3,107) 947m Asphalt Helipad : H1 (110) 34m Asphalt Elevation AMSL 52 ft / 16 m Hayward Executive Airport is a city owned public airport two miles west of downtown Hayward, in Alameda County, California, United States. The airport was built in 1942 during World War II for use as a fighter base as an auxiliary field to Chico Army Air Field and was originally named "Hayward Army Airfield". The primary aircraft stationed at the field were Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter aircraft. This post may have also been named "Russell City Army Air Field" for the unincorporated area outside of the Hayward city limits where it was located. In April 1947 the War Assets Administration quit-claimed the airfield, comprising some 690 acres (279 ha) and related buildings and equipment, to the City of Hayward. The airfield was then renamed the Hayward Municipal Airport. On May 1, 1980 the California Air National Guard units at Hayward were reassigned to NAS Moffett Field. It looks like an Ex-Army Field because that is what it was, mostly today it is a storage airport for small aircraft although the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) have offices here. Tom has done a good representation of Hayward. The control Tower area with a large parking ramp is very good with waving flags and other great details... but mostly this airport is all about storage hangers, and all the various different types are represented, Night-Lighting is again very good with great spill lighting on the hangers and the Control Tower/Terminal windows. KPAO - Palo Alto Airport - General Aviation Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County is a small general aviation strip on the western edge of the bay. Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County (IATA: PAO, ICAO: KPAO) 13/31 (2,443) 745m Asphalt Elevation AMSL 7 ft / 2 m Facilities at this busy towered airport include multiple aircraft repair shops and a staffed terminal including West Valley Flight Club, Advanced Flyers, Peninsula Avionics, Sundance Flying Club, Stanford Flying Club, Rossi Aircraft, and Palo Alto Fuel Service. A small airport but it is filled to the brim with detail. Great small control tower and the entrance gate with a carpark is excellent (more flags!). The parking ramp is well completed and the night-lighting is simply excellent (mainly on the hanger down lights and signage). The Abundant Air Cafe, the Golf Course and the popular Ming's Restaurant are all represented... The Restaurant looks great at night down by the water.... KHAF - Half Moon Bay - General Aviation Out on the Pacific Ocean coast is KHAF - Half Moon Bay. (IATA: HAF, ICAO: KHAF) is a county-owned public use airport in San Mateo County. The Half Moon Bay Airport is located approximately 20 miles south of San Francisco. It was constructed by the California State Highway Department for the U.S. Army in 1942 as an auxiliary airfield for Salinas Army Air Base. On 1 June 1945, the War Department issued a five year permit to the U.S. Navy to operate the Site as "Outlying Field, Half Moon Bay". Half Moon Bay field became an outlying field for Naval Air Station Moffett Field, to furnish facilities for utility aircraft providing target towing service for the Anti-Aircraft Training Center, Point Montara, California. Following the end of World War II, San Mateo County acquired the airport from the Navy in 1947. The airport has served a variety of roles over the years and is currently an important business, transportation and emergency service asset to the community. Half Moon Bay Airport provides a variety of emergency service and response functions including: Air ambulance and Medivac flights; law enforcement and homeland security patrols and Coast Guard sea-rescue operations. KHAF - Half Moon Bay (IATA: HAF, ICAO: KHAF) 12/30 (5,000ft) 1,524m Asphalt/Concrete A well represented general aviation airport that is great for training or a fly around the coast go-to destination, the detail at the airport is again very good with the famous 3-Zero Cafe front and centre. The cafe looks really great at night with great detailing. Rusting hanger roofs show attention to detail and plenty of ramp parking and GA aircraft. KSQL - San Carlos Airport San Carlos Airport is a county-owned public use airport in San Mateo County. It is located two nautical miles (3.7 km) northeast of the of San Carlos.The FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) classifies San Carlos as a reliever airport for San Francisco International Airport. The airport is home to Civil Air Patrol West Bay Composite Squadron 192. Adjacent to the airport is the famous Hiller Air Museum. San Carlos Airport (IATA: SQL, ICAO: KSQL) 12/30 (2,600ft) 792m Asphalt Elevation AMSL 5 ft / 2 m The San Carlos Airport is home to over 30 aviation related businesses. Facilities at KSQL include: Zanette Aviation Insurance, West Valley Flying Club, Bel-Air Aviation, Air West Aircraft Engines, Diamond Aviation, and the newly opened San Carlos Flight Center and most are represented here in this scenery. The Hiller Museum is prominently noted with a great (lit at night) sign. The standout item is the "Sky Kitchen Cafe" which has been wonderfully reproduced... There is supreme detailing in the rows of parked buses and of course the aviation museum with the Flying Tigers B747 forward fuselage sitting on the building. The OSM (Open Street Map) traffic is exceptional here as well giving the airport a great buzz. Night-lighting is very good as well with great signage and window textures. GG01 - Clipper Cove, Located on Treasure Island Treasure Island was planned for and used as an airport for Pan American World Airways flying boats. And the area was noted as Clipper Cove. Treasure Island itself is artificial island in the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland. The original Pan American terminal is still there and well reproduced here and the two old aircraft Hangars 2 (Building 2) and Hangar 3 (Building 3) are also present. Today the hangars are used as Film Studio sound stages. The overwhelming feeling at Clipper Cove is of course the towering Oakland Bay Bridges. Would this scenery have the same clout and authenticity if these bridges had not been created by Tom Curtis... again as noted earlier before... I doubt that. They look splendid in this setting. Other items to note in the scenery are: GUQ Moffett Field. Tom here has created the iconic (Airship) hangars of which you note as you turn around to the southern SFO approaches. (an airship flies over Clipper Cove!) The city area has a few buildings like the Transamerica Tower. Alcatraz Island is here as well. And last but not least is the famous red San Francisco Golden Gate bridge. great in the daylight, but excellent at night... The only slightly visual item is all the bridges at night have a strange pattern on them. My guess it is to represent traffic but it doesn't work... Conclusions This scenery is big... huge in scale! It took almost 150 images to put this review together and I haven't touched everything in absolute detail. I could easily double the amount of images here and still not cover the full size of this package. So value is the big question? The Golden Gate + South Bay scenery is listed as US$34.95 of which for scenery is high price. But that would be missing the whole point. If you listed just KSFO as say US$19.95 (well worth that price) then all the rest (7 airports) of the Golden Gate scenery would cost you only an extra US15.00 and looking at it that way it is excellent value. Tom Curtis is one of the very best designers of these packages for X-Plane, and this is one of of his very best. The quality of the work here is simply outstanding. And the night textures and lighting are first rate. And it also needs to be specially noted is that the frame-rate is highly usable for such a huge amount of scenery in a relatively small area. Only slight negative is the photo underlay textures. They are not very detailed and the textures look washed out and flatten out the scenery unless you can run X-Plane in the very highest texture resolution setting of "Extreme Res". So the point is can you not have this scenery in your collection. The answer is simply no. This package is so complete (and I doubt that Tom hasn't finished yet) that not to have this scenery as a destination or to use as part of your North American network is simply doing yourself and X-Plane a disservice as it is one of the most complete city sceneries available for X-Plane at this moment. I will admit it is not total perfection because the scale here does not allow that. But like all of the very best scenery the Golden Gate + South Bay package is one of the very best investments you can do for yourself and for a lot of use with a wide variety of versatile flying around North America in X-Plane. TheScenery Review : Golden Gate , KSFO and South Bay by Tom Curtis is available now from the New X-Plane.org Store : Golden Gate KSFO + South Bay Price is US$34.95 Features: KSFO - San Francisco International Airport KSJC - Mineta San Jose International Airport KSQL - San Carlos Airport KOAK - Metropolitan Oakland International KPAO - Palo Alto Airport - General Aviation - 18 miles south of KSFO KHAF - Half Moon Bay Airport - 10 miles west of KSFO KHWD - Hayward Executive Airport - 8 miles south of KOAK GG01 - Clipper Cove Located on Treasure Island All airports include : All gates and terminal Global Night Lightning Custom ATC Frame rate friendly Golden Gate Bridge Detailed model of the world's most famous bridge Alcatraz Island The 'Rock'. Used to be home of a federal jail until 1963 Other landmarks All of the piers and other structures along the shoreline from AT&T (Baseball) Park all the way to the Presidio near the Golden Gate bridge. Transamerica Tower located downtown San Francisco Nike Missile Site Museum Bay bridges Oakland Bay Bridge, San Mateo Bridge and the Dumbarton Railroad bridge Developer Site : Scenery4XP _____________________________________________________________________________________ Documents and Installation : Download: 84mb : Installed as GOLDEN_GATE+SOUTH_BAY_150_XP-10 (295.00mb), and four animation files noted Banner Tow (1.5mb), GG Bridge (634kb), San Meteo Bridge (641mb) and SF Bay Bridge (639mb)Tom Curtis provides a full set of instructions on how to install the scenery under: "OPEN FIRST!" Golden_Gate+South_Bay_Open_Me. Internet is required for installation instructions as it is an address HTML link. GOLDEN_GATE+SOUTH_BAY_150_XP-10 is the main scenery file and four other files are noted under GND_TRAFFIC are - GG Bridge, Banner Tow, San Meteo Bridge and SF Bay Bridge are all to be installed in the "Custom Scenery" Folder (These are bridge traffic animations). Supplied also is the "Red Flag" flag animation plugin. Folder "CustomSBDatarefs004" is installed in the X-Plane Resources/Plugin Folder. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Technical Requirements: X-Plane 10 (any edition). - This scenery is now compatible with X-Plane 9 Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7 / 8 (32 or 64 bit) or MAC OS 10.7 or Linux 1Gb VRAM - 2Gb VRAM Recommended. ______________________________________________________________________________Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 24th August 2013 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews 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 MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Aircraft Airbus A380 - by Peter's Aircraft available at the (Lufthansa Airbus A380) X-Plane.OrgStore $54.95
  2. Aircraft Update and Review : Carenado C208B Grand Caravan v2 HD series Route - KEYW (Key West) to MYNN (Nassau Intl) The Grand Caravan from Carenado was their first larger, one size up aircraft for X-Plane. And right from the start at the release in Mid-2012 everyone knew this was something special. It was a sensational success and really cemented Carenado’s already formidable reputation of creating the very best aircraft in General Aviation. Over a year later it has now been finally updated to 64bit and moved over into the HD series. So what does make the Caravan C208B so special. What are the core ingredients that makes it stand out a little above the rest of so many other really good aircraft. Why time and time again it was always the Grand Caravan that you of choice would to choose to fly again and again. I think I know the answer to those questions and this review is a way to explore them and highlight the qualities that made this aircraft so good and we can also see the extra features and update changes to v2 . The Cessna 208B Caravan is a short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft with a single turboprop engine. It uses a fixed-gear undercarriage for reliability and for rough runways and the aircraft is built by Cessna in Wichita, Kansas in the United States. The aircraft typically seats nine passengers with a single pilot, although with a FAR “Part 23’ waiver it can seat up to fourteen passengers. The 208 Caravan I prototype first flew in December 1982. The production model was certified by the FAA in October 1984. Since then, the Caravan has undergone a number of design evolutions, and working with FedEx, Cessna produced first the Cargomaster. (utility cargo version). Cessna offers the 208B in many configurations and the basic 208 airframe can be outfitted with many various types of landing gear, and allowing it to operate in a wide variety of environments. Some common adaptations include skis, enlarged tires (Tundra) for unprepared runways and also floats on the Caravan Amphibian model. The 208B Grand Caravan is a 4 feet (1.2 m) stretch of the Caravan I. The 208B also features a more powerful Pratt & Whitney PT6A-114A engine (built in Canada). Cost is US$2,022,450 (Base price) and over 2000 have been built. Cruise speed: 197 mph (171 kn; 317 km/h), Range: 1,240 mi (1,078 nmi; 1,996 km) with max fuel and reserves, Rate of climb: 770 ft/min (3.9 m/s) To a point the Grand Caravan is a niche aircraft with a wide scope of different roles, It fills the need of an aircraft sized larger than the standard General Aviation aircraft and is still smaller than a commuter aircraft of 20 seats and above. So it is ideal as a regional feeder aircraft or in its most popular role as an Island hopper in transporting around 9 to 14 passengers over short distances (200nm to 500nm). This is a typical route that we will fly today is from Key West to Nassau Intl which is 245 nm. To set the aircraft up for its flight you have three sets of menu options on the lower left of your screen. (D) is for Doors and this pop-out menu allows you to open and close the aircraft doors, which in include the Pilots and Co-Pilots door(s) (with a great swing down ladder), a passenger door (right rear) and a double (upper and lower) Baggage door, and when you open the passenger door if you have the cargo pod attached under the aircraft the four smaller baggage compartments also open. (O) is for Options and this second pop-out menu allows you to stow the Static Elements (Chocks, Tow Tractor, Pivot Cover and engine and prop covers. You have a choice of two seating configurations in eight Single seats (8 Pass) or a singe and a double seat per row (and two single seats (11 Pass). the Co-Pilot's seat can be used as either a passenger or a pilot. I am here going for the 11 passenger configuration for this flight. You can also on this menu select either Clear or Tinted windows (VC Windows), I like the dark green tinted. You can choose if you want the under-slung extra (baggage) cargo pod on or off, It adds weight to the aircraft and so if you going for range or flying a considerable distance it is better left off. (C) The top Menu item is “Camera”, that gives you the standard Carenado view system with a zoom function. This has been extended in v2 to add extra programmable views. Settling into the Pilots seat is time to get the C208B ready to go, the panel is clear, unfussy and well laid out. The main engine and power/electric switches are on your left on a tall box structure, and the lighting switches are arranged (grouped) on the left lower part of the panel. The centre upright pedestal has an emergency power lever, single throttle lever, Propeller RPM/Feather Lever and a (clever) gated conditioning/cutoff lever. On the far right is the gated flap lever (3 positions). A huge pitch trim wheel on the side and another rudder trim wheel lower down in the pedestal box. The Bendix/King weather radar has been updated in v2 with a rainbow activation screen. It is quite bright and can either (thankfully) be turned down or you can select the “on” position that gives you the standard screen. The system is just limited to the standard X-Plane weather screen and is really just on or off. You don’t turn a key but push a switch to start the huge Pratt & Whitney PT6A, So after setting the RPM and condition levers to right up high you then just sit there. Nothing happens at first but then deep in the nose something stirs, it cranks and whines and finally rumbles into a sucking whiny loud turbine roar. One of the highlights of the Caravan is its noise, 3D stereo sounds are all around you, but in reality it is so noisy you can’t really tell which direction it is coming from anyway. It is mega great though as nothing else sounds like the caravan, on the ground you get those whiny sucking air turbo sounds and in the air it just roars. The propeller animation in v2 has had a revision and it was pretty good in v1 but now in v2 it is more refined. Let off the brakes and you have to control the power. The Caravan was always hard to taxi as it has so much thrust. I found adjusting the RPM doesn’t work? The only way could reign in the power was to pull the condition lever back into the gate (to far back will kill the engine) and finally you can taxi out at the right speed (and with a bright “low oil Pressure” light in your face). It may not be the right thing in a real Caravan to do but, it was the only way to reign all that thrust in? Power is the problem on takeoff as well. Push up the throttle on 10º Flap, and the asymmetric thrust will pull you hard to the left. So you have to be aware right from the moment you let the brakes go to give only a little thrust until you can lock the nose-wheel straight and then give it full power after a certain speed. It works with a little deft right rudder and once in the air you can quickly straighten the airframe up. Even with a full fuel and passenger load the aircraft has the power to climb easily and you soon find the aircraft settled into a 800fpm climb to 10,000ft. Watch you speed though, if the C208B starts to struggle then half the pitch. But otherwise it will climb quite high, you are not pressurized but have a ceiling of 27.700 ft (8.443 m). You have real C208B weight and balance dialed into the aircraft and that gives you a realistic feel for the aircraft empty or fully loaded. I don’t know if you could call the Grand Caravan a beautiful aircraft, it is functional and utilitarian rather than pretty. But Carenado’s work here is exceptional, the textures are now in the HD (High-Definition) series, and the detailing is excellent. All the riveted panels are there to be seen and the detailing is exquisite in noting the flap runners and pitot probes, and the rubber trailing edge aerials that feel and act with realism and movement. Wire mesh in the engine intakes and a beautifully crafted tricycle undercarriage, that springs and claws together when not under-load. A final piece is the large horn of an exhaust that billows smoke under-load. The windows and glass is perfection in realism. In the air the panel is very functional. The white background on black dials looks modern and distinctive, The Standard Six set of instruments is well set out, but the yoke (removable) can hide the radar height and turn indicator. I like the voltage switch, you can switch it to different aspects of the voltages in four modes. There is a full set of alert lights that can be in two modes in that completely dark or a night setting, which illuminates the panel slightly to see them at night - It works well in the day also to see what their different functions are. The equipment stack is not large, but you still have everything you need. Radio, A Garmin GNS430 (Comm1/VOR1), Bendix King KX165 (Comm 2/ VOR2), Garmin GTX 320 Transponder, Bendix King KR67 ADF and an excellent KFC 150 Autopilot with pitch hold (V/S) and height ALT on a separate panel (push button to switch to either “select Height or V/S” (Vertical Speed) ) The Co-Pilots./Passenger side only has the Standard Six instruments with lower Air-Conditioning and Cabin Heat controls. The panel lighting is excellent with small over lights on the dials, switches and with no background dial lighting, and so at night it is spectacular and still very functional. Overhead is your fuel supply switches and oxygen supply. Overhead lighting works in the front but not in the rear? The front window blinds work in being very adjustable, but still odd in the way you move them into position, and get it wrong and they can be hard to store away again, They are just tricky to use but essential for the pilots in flying directly into the sun. Cabin detail is first rate and can’t be faulted, worn in parts but still a modern flavour in cloth seating for the pilots and rear seats. The two pilots up front are fully animated and realistic... Wouldn’t it be great to have the same animations as passengers in the rear?... As it looks pretty empty back there without anybody sitting in the seats. In v2 the lighting has been brought up to HDR standards, the new flickering strobes are excellent, as is the wing light (left side only). The taxi and landing lights are both set in the wings together and are very good, the tiny detail attention by Careando is shown here by them (Taxi/Landing) being noticeably different up close. The standard Nav/Beacon lighting is also more noticeable though the upgrade. Now way out over the water it is starting to feel empty out here, The engine is feeling strong and purring along, but you have to watch those flickering dials. This engine feels like a tractor engine and you can run it hard at full throttle until the pressures start to show you that you should back off a little. You get a white (paint/default) livery and five other HD liveries, (Clockwise) Executive (Blue), E Arab, GoTrop, Brazil and Executive 2 (Red). GoTrop is my favorite, but there are over thirty others available on the .org As Nassau Island popped up on the horizon it was time to descend. I was happy the VOR (ZQA 112.70mhz) finally kicked in and on the Caravan it gives you your speed and distance to the Nav-Aid. In many cases you pull back on the throttle and slow the speed. But in the C208B it can cause you to stall without the power on. So it is a little throttle back and set the V/S to -700 to start the glide down and then adjust the throttle to match the right speed. If you get it right dropping the flaps to 10º and then 20º to reduce the speed down to 80knts, but don’t forget to give the aircraft a little throttle to balance the drag - as the flaps do create a lot of drag. The Caravan is very stable on the descent and it is very easy to turn-in and line-up with the runway (RWY32). Using the throttle to find the right speed is also very easy and a final flap down to 30º is setting the aircraft up easily for landing. Lowering the speed (throttle) smoothly till you get to the right place to slightly flare it down. As quiet as it is in the air. The Caravan suddenly becomes noisy on the ground. First is the noise of the Reverse Thrust of the Propeller, and noisy and powerful it is. This action can give you almost STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) capabilities. The sounds of the engine reving up high here is simply amazing as in “goosebumps” territory. But then you suddenly have duel issues to contend with, 1) holding it straight on the centerline (keep the front wheel locked until the speed is right down) and 2) that powerful engine is pulling you hard as you move into the taxi speed zone. I have to jump on the condition lever to get it back to the first gate position as soon as possible to quell the speed. Otherwise set it on the approach ready. This can be problematic if you need power on a missed approach and really not advisable, but it does give you a better transition from your landing speed to a sedate taxi speed. As you taxi the 3d sounds change with every turn as the high whine returns. Find your parking position and pull back the condition lever to “Cut-Off” and revel in the winding down of the turbine. You just love these sounds and never get bored of them and that is a big part of the attraction to this aircraft. Hit the menus to open doors and get the baggage out. I personally would like the lower pod baggage doors on a separate button option from the opening passenger door, as they droop down even if you just want to let a passenger out. The C208B is a complex aircraft but frame-rate is not a problem, I rarely get the shudders and rarely go below the 20 frame-rate mark. Conclusions Why is the Grand Caravan 208B so good. First off is the sheer versatility of the aircraft. Any situation or idea you can dream up in a short distance flight, can be usually done in the Caravan. Pickup passengers, island hop, deliver mail, short regional airport to regional airport delivery flights, tourism flying, hub shuttling and delivering cargo or small freight. The Caravan can do anything that you can put together in flying 8-11 passengers (or Cargo) in a 500nm circle. The Carenado Caravan was my “Aircraft of the Year 2012”. Many other aircraft that were released were better like the Boeing 777. But I flew more hours and went to more destinations in six months in the Caravan than any other aircraft over the whole year. It is challenging to fly in all that power from one engine, it has brilliant sounds, It is beautifully crafted by Careando and fully featured and detailed, and you can also configure the aircraft in many different ways... and most of all you just fly and watch your course and hum along to that turbine sound like you are in heaven. At 10,000ft in a C208B Caravan you are as pretty close to heaven that you can get. Follow on from this review to the "Expansion Pack" Version of the Caravan with a review the If you have the v1 of the 208B Cessna Caravan then the v2 update is now available at the X-Plane .OrgShop... or if you want to buy: Price is $29.95 : C208B Grand Caravan HD Series Documents: Technical Requirements: Windows XP , Vista, 7 or 8 (32 or 64 bits), MAC OS 10.3.9 (or higher). Linux X-Plane 9.7 , X-Plane 10.22+ . 32 and 64bit compatible Pentium 2 GHz - 4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM. 1GbVRAM Recommended Download: 291.60mb - 252MB available hard disk space Current version: v2 (last updated September 25th 2013) X-Plane10 is required for HDR lighting effects and the HD textures are rendered to maximise the low frame-rate. updated store# Developer Site: Carenado Review By Stephen Dutton 27th September 2013 (note: the engine torque enhancements are included and ignore the C208B service pack on the Carenado site.) Full List of v2 updates: -32-bit and 64-bit Mac, Windows, and Linux support. -X-Plane 9.7 and 10.22 acf files included. -Updated SASL to official v2.0.1 release, which contains optimizations that benefit from Laminar's X-Plane 10.22 release. -Overhauled lighting system. Lighting halos for nav and strobe lights are now more visible under certain viewing angles. -Landing light features tightly-focused "glare" effect when viewed from the right angle. -Landing lights optimized to work better under v9.7 lighting, as well as v10 HDR-off and HDR-on lighting -Nav lights have been improved for a more realistic appearance. -Strobe lights have been re-programmed to follow a strobe flashing pattern, determined by the plugin. -Improved ground handling -Optimized objects -Improved weather radar, -improved stereo sounds -Improved interior and exterior graphics and visualizations -No longer has inverted fuel and oil systems. More realistic. -Optimized various menus, to use less memory. -Tweaked turning radius on ground to compensate for new v10 no-toe-brake-with-rudder setting. -Adjusted trim time from centre to max for v10, as this setting, left un-addressed, will cause the same plane to take twice as long to trim. -tweaked gauges, such as fuel and oil pressure, vacuum, etc. to conform to v10's new way of calculating "Nominal pressure/temperature" as opposed to "Max pressure/temperature". -Programmed default camera snap points for v10 (on top of existing ones via "Cameras" pop-up menu) 2 Different .acf files: one for v9 and one for v10. -v10 .acf features optimized objects. Interior/exterior shading is applied only where needed, saving resources. -v10 .acf has further optimizations to objects that don't need the background (clouds, skies) to be drawn through them, if they're not transparent, saving further resources. -v10 .acf also protects certain textures from resolution degradation at low rendering settings. This guarantees that the panel instruments and text are always crisp and clear, no matter what rendering settings are chosen for the sim. -v10 .acf is optimized to make use of HDR rendering, especially in terms of lighting. This includes spill lights, which illuminate the surroundings, coming from Nav and Strobe lights. -When HDR mode is turned off, care has been taken to optimize the appearance of the plane without the enhancement benefits of HDR. 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 MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Scenery - KEYW - Key West International Airport V1.0 - fletcherj - MYNN - Lynden Pindling International (Nassau Intl) - mhayling
  3. Scenery Review : KLAS - Glitter Gulch by Tom Curtis If planning a relaxing vacation then a city in the middle of the desert, satuated in extreme heat this would surely be the last place on your bucket list. But the title of Las Vegas is usually the first place on anyone's buccket list or any list for that matter in losing yourself to the world and all its problems. Las Vegas was created by mobsters to launder their ill gotten gains and to their surprise suddenly found out very quickly that Las Vegas would become their biggest cash cow of the century, if ever. History The first Las Vegas airport in this outpost area was the 1929 airfield (dirt runway, water well, and small operations shack) north of Las Vegas and was operated by the 1925 Western Air Express for Contract Air Mail (CAM) and was used by the Army Air Corps in the 1930s for training flights. This airport was named after Senator McCarren in McCarren Field, and this could cause some confusion in the fact that this is not the McCarren International (KLAS) of today, but it is in fact the current Nellis Airforce Base. KLAS was originally established by an American aviator called George Crockett, a descendant of frontiersman Davy Crockett, who established in Paradise another landing area called Alamo Airport in 1942 (which is a great name by the way) which became Clark County Public Airport, the title of McCarren Field from the old Las Vegas airport was then transferred in 1948. As Las Vegas opened up or the money rolled in a new terminal was opening on March 15, 1963, The terminal wasdesigned by Welton Becket and Associates and John Replogle who was inspired by the TWA terminal at JFK (Idelwild). Terminal 1 handles most flights and today consists of a total of 96 gates in four concourses: Concourse A (A3, A5, A7, A8, A10–A12, A14, A15, A17–A23). One wing of the Concourse A (Gates A17–A23) is closed because those gates are currently unused. Concourse B (gates B1–B2, B6, B9–B12, B14, B15, B17, B19–B25), Concourse C (gates C1–C4, C5, C7–C9, C11, C12, C14, C16, C19, C21–C25), and Concourse D (gates D1–D12, D14, D16–D26, D31–D43, D50–D59) and was finally completed in June 1998 . Terminal 2 was opened on December 18, 1991, as “The Chartier International Terminal” and was used for all international as well as most charter flights into Las Vegas. It contained eight gates (T2-1 through T2-8), four of which were equipped with facilities for international flights. However Terminal 2 closed on June 28, 2012, and has yet to be demolished. Terminal 3 was opened on June 27, 2012 at a cost of cost $2.4 billion, and is used for all international flights as well as some domestic airlines. The terminal contains 14 gates in Concourse E (E1–E12, E14–15), with the easternmost seven gates (gates E1–E7) being used for international flights. A people mover system connects Terminal 3 to Concourse D. Gates E1–E3 have two jetways to accommodate large aircraft. The top five routes are - 1) Los Angeles, California (1,075,000) - 2 ) Denver, Colorado (892,000) 3) San Francisco, California (872,000) 4) Phoenix, Arizona (730,000) 5) Atlanta, Georgia (722,000). Top International routes is - 1) WestJet (Canada) 2) Air Canada 3) Virgin Atlantic Airways (UK) 4) British Airways (UK) 5) Mexicana (no longer operating) 6) Aeromexico 7) Philippine Airlines 8) Korean Air , Seoul-Incheon 9) Condor (Germany) 10) Sunwing Airlines (Canada). KLAS is a base for Allegiant Air, Southwest Airlines and lately (2012) Spirit Airlines. (US AIR will be pulling out soon with its American Airlines takeover) The airport has a very large fixed base operator precence, notable for Personal Jet use and tourism related activity, most notable is Signature Flight Support, owned by BBA Aviation Services Group, provides services for private aircraft using McCarran and the “The Las Vegas Executive Air Terminal”, owned by Eagle Aviation Resources. Glitter Gulch Scenery - Ver1.2 created by Tom Curtis (Scenery4XP) Download 40.40mb Installed 123.70mb For Version X-Plane10 Installation Installation is easy in just download the scenery and expand the folder to your “Custom Scenery Folder”. One item that is important, There is a read me to install or update the “CustomSBDatarefs004” in your plugins folder. This for the Flag effects to work correctly in the scenery. Introduction If you are a regular user of X-Plane then Tom Curtis and his sceneries will be of no stranger to you. His “Inside Passage” and companion pieces “Final Frontier” and “Canadian Rockies’ are classics of their genre. His follow up in KSFO (San Francisco) is also a major work worth purchasing for any collection. Tom was really the ideal person to take on McCarran International because the scenery requires something unique in that just creating a standard destination Airport. The problem is that unlike say LAX which is mostly surrounded with the normal high density and semi-urban cityscapes and could be easily be surrounded by the standard default X-Plane scenery engine, Las Vegas is well Las Vegas!. The buildings are all iconic in the extreme, and some are even beyond that (Like a fairytale Castle for example), so no developer is going to get away with just creating McCarran Inter in solitude, for one the airport is part and parcel of the city itself, If you want KLAS then the rest of Las Vegas is also going to have to be part and parcel of the package. And that is what we have here with “Glitter Gulch”. The scenery is really set out in three parts: 1) McCarran International Airport (IATA: LAS, ICAO: KLAS) 2) Las Vegas cityscape 3) Henderson Exeutive Airport (IATA: HSH, ICAO: KHND) Tom has noted that their will also be a follow up package consisting of: KVGT - North Las Vegas Airport KBVU - Boulder City Municipal Airport KLSV - Nellis AFB KINS - Creech AFB KTNX - Tonopah Test Airfield (Initial home of the F-117 Stealth Fighter) KXTA - Area 51 Groom Lake Test Facility That will go on and fill out the remaining surrounding areas around the Glitter Gulch scenery. First Impressions The first thing you note is not the scenery package itself but the area around Las Vegas. It is an amazing scenerio of flat basin, surrounding mountains and man-made lakes. Flying around this area or as an arrival is simply a joy to behold. In close proximity is also the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon which are excellent areas to explore either by Helicopter or a General Aviation aircraft. This them makes both KLAS and Henderson both very strategically important as a destination or departure point. This makes this scenery even more welcome to any collection because of its diversity and usability for any simulator user. Before getting directly to KLAS I want to note the default scenery. The area of Las Vegas is very visual and to get the very best from this package it is worth considering on how best it is to set it up in X-Plane10. The problem is that if you put the Glitter Gulch package directly in the standard X-Plane default settings you get a lot of empty green squares, of which doesn’t really work for the scenery (or any scenery for that matter). Pump up your render settings to cover “objects” of which you need to have set to at least “mega Tons” (for all those roads and traffic) but you will also need to push out your “World Distance Detail” as hard as you can as well. The problem with this area is that it is circular in the middle of the basin, so if it is broken into patches it shows up very badly here. There are two options that are helpful, The first is SimHeaven’s photo sceneries: SimHeaven Sceneries Simheaven has excellent Las Vegas coverage, but be warned as it is a big download for a slow connection at 2.6Gb, and then it all expands out to 4.28Gb. Over the city area the coverage is excellent, but ruins the mountains in the distance by making then bright and flat. The photo tiling also puts a hard line on the edge of the photo overlay at where it meets the default scenery. Most simulator users love these photo sceneries but I don’t like the large block patchwork look they create from the air. The option I used here is John Spahns “Urban Maxx Supreme” in that at least it keeps the photo areas under the actual city areas and so blends in very well with the default X-Plane10 world, It does however create a pattern from a distance, but up close it is very effective with the surrounding default autogen “plausable world” KLAS - McCarren International Both KLAS and Las Vegas are really one big scenery. Before adding in the texture special effects, you can see the scenery package in its basic form here.... McCarren is a large airport with four main runways: 1L/19R 8,985 2,739 Concrete (ILS 01L) 1R/19L 9,775 2,979 Concrete 7L/25R 14,510 4,423 Asphalt (ILS 25R) 7R/25L 10,526 3,208 Concrete (ILS 25L) The runway setup is interesting, with Two Main runways 7L/25R - 1R/19L with 7R/25L - 1L/19R as secondary (smaller) runways. The interesting part is that three converage all at one point (lower left) and when departing you can hold from both sides of the taxiways F and D with also taxiway E between the the two left runways. Approach is visually exciting, but you have to watch the mountainous areas surrounding the city with using Runways 25R/25L. Las Vegas!... the cityscape works well from the taxiways. Lineage is excellent if a little confusing at certain intersections as points converge, missing though is main to lead up lines up to each gate. Gates are well stocked, but there are no moving docking airbridges. KLAS looks very spread out but in reality it is only two terminals and terminal one is split into two very different sections of Concourses A, B, C and D which set futher apart. Terminal One - Concourse A Terminal One - Concourse B Concourse B is almost a mirrror image of A with round satellite gates Terminal One - Concourse C Terminal One - Concourse D Concourse C is a finger concourse with the control tower set behind. Concourse D is set in a cross shape of four finger concourses. Set behind Concourse D is Terminal 3 which is the International Terminal. Terminal 2 is the old “The Chartier International Terminal”, of which Tom has depicted as being partially dismantled. A Large fuel depot is to service the airport set out just behind the old buildings. Quality of the terminal buildings are excellent, and the expansive glass (alway a very hard one to get right) is also well created with clever detail is also first rate. There is quality in the brick work and steel work, but the important details are in there as well as air-conditioning units and systems abound. There are few items of animation as well with aircraft being towed over the ramp to certain gates. Although still modern in look the central terminal, designed by Welton Becket and Associates and John Replogle, was inspired by the TWA terminal at JFK and it is well represented here. The new KLAS (FAA) control tower is part of the package. and the modeling is first rate. It is easy to get confused between the ramp towers and the new version, but Tom has done a great job here. The Cargo area is also well produced with not just recieving buildings on the ramps but also warehouses behind. From the air the car parks look great, but they are flat on the ground which look slightly odd if you (like me) like to fuss over the aircraft before or after a flight. Western Boundry The western boundry is the main area that cover the fixed base operators and private jets. And they are all very well represented here. They are split into many areas, but the main are the Atlantic Terminal (Above right) Signature Executive Terminal (below Left)... Which is a really well laid out aircraft park. The JANET terminal (Above Right) "Which is all so very hush, hush and Military" Quail Aviation is very well represented, with many buidings and hangers.Gulfstream and the excellent Sands hangar. To note only a few as there is quite a few other hangars and ramps dedicated to helicopter tours and sightseeing and personal jet parking. Las Vegas The important backdrop of the Las Vegas skyline is very well represented, all your favorite hangouts are here and are all well recreated. I found that to get the maximum benefit I needed to have my “texture” render settings set to “very high” to bring out the excellent texture detail, with already pushing the framerate on the “objects” and “distance” This scenery will push a low powered computer to the limit. I found it still very usable for such a very large scenery and in context you will admit the package is very good, but this also in trying to get the maximum out of the whole package... and that has to come at a small cost somewhere. The “City of Sin” does look very good and you can pick out all the landmarks (The Convention Centre is behind the airport). Great signage certainly enhances the detail, but isn’t Houdini a bit.... well Dead!... But then again so is Elvis. The OSM (Open Street Map) networks in X-Plane10 are excellent and really make the city busy and flowing. Night Lighting Las Vegas is really a night bound destination and so the town only really comes totally alive after dark, and in this “Glitter Gulch” package it comes really alive here as well. The Strip buildings pop off the screen in bright colours as the city glows bright in the desert, It will certainly be interesting when Laminar Research update their nighting in the default autogen and introduce some medium buildings to compliment the iconic skyline set out here - I think then it will be a very good if not a great skyline, the laser out of the Luxor Hotel is good at night, but just a line in the sky in daytime... I’m not sure on that one? McCarren International is however sensational in the dark.... The HDR lighting is excellent, and when you get close up to the terminals the graphics and the texures are simply first rate. You can work around the ramps with ease in the dark, If you are coming to Las Vegas, then the Dusk, Night or early Dawn periods are certainly the best times to come. Henderson Exceutive Airport Henderson Executive Airport is a public airport located 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 mi) south of the central business district of Las Vegas. It was originally known as Sky Harbor Airport, but was renamed in 1996 when it was purchased by Clark County to be used as a reliever airport for McCarran International Airport. Today it is primary a General Aviation and Private Jet (Executive) facility and storage. Henderson has two Runways: 17R/35L 6,501ft 1,982m Asphalt 17L/35R 5,001ft 1,524m Asphalt Part of the “Glitter Gulch” package is “Henderson Executive Airport”. If Henderson was a separate item than KLAS and Las Vegas then it would worth the purchase alone, It is an excellent scenery and more detail is allowed here because of its smaller footprint than the vast spead of KLAS. All buildings are as good a quality as anything that Tom Curtis has delivered in the past. Highlights are the central terminal buildings and offices. The buildings are very well constructed with great detail, carparks and cars are well executed and the scenery is just very well complete in every aspect. The only slight difference is the day glass is a bit flat and not dimensional like at KLAS. The Maverick Hangar and Control Tower are more highlights up at the Southern end of the airport, the flying American flag should work if you inserted correctly the new dataref plugin earlier. You will find the airport a large storage facility in most cases but the set out is excellent with a wide variety of hangars and aircraft shades. All the ramps are full of aircraft and helicopters to add to the visual appeal. Refueling areas are excellent (above) and to the North of the main ramp are more larger hangars (expensive?), offices and aircraft storage - and all air-conditioned for your comfort. Building construction and design is first rate and so is the smaller detailing. Fences, signage cars and nice tropical palm trees all to help fill in the desert location. Henderson Nightlighting The quality of the HDR night lighting is as good as KLAS, There full lighting on all over the ramps and in all areas it is well lit in abundance. The lighting detail here is excellent and very realistic, like KLAS, Henderson works very well in dark. Henderson Executive is top class scenery and a great addition to the package, if the other to coming add-ons are as good as this airport then this whole area is going to be very well represented. A note on departing using Henderson 17R and 17L, make sure you have a good high angle of departure. The ground rises up quite quickly from the end of the runway, it is quite a deceiving view from the cockpit as it doesn’t look as steep as it really is, a lazy departure will find you scraping the expensive underbelly of your precious GA along the ground or doing a wheels up landing on the rocks! Summery Any scenery from Tom Curtis is great value, and “KLAS - Glitter Gulch” is no exception. You have to understand that these big projects are not for the faint hearted, and for a single developer like Tom it is a major achievement to cover all the aspects delivered here. Because it is so widespread in its scope there will be small areas that are not covered, KLAS is a huge airport and alone and is a big project to cover, but Tom has been able to do an excellent job in doing so. As mentioned at the start of this review is that the city skyline of the iconic Las Vegas is as important as the airports themselves as here one cannot really exist without the other. The only real minor point with KLAS is that using photo underlays can create blank areas that look great from the air but look odd on the ground, These underlays can and do create slightly unattractive visuals like in this case the over bright green golf course. And because of the huge size of the airport you can’t cover all these areas with small details. In most cases Tom has certainly done great detail in the small stuff, but the flat carparks and other small airport infrastructure of small buildings and the really fine detail is missing. However it is to be noted in that where it counts like in the excellent western boundary fixed base area it is very well covered. The other consideration is to make the scenery really work is that you have to work your render settings to their X-Plane10 limits, you need the textures on “very high” at least and objects on “Too Much” to get the Las Vegas excitement working - and having the “distance” detail at the highest settings is needed to create the sprawl of the city. Anyone one with the headroom to do this is going to really get the most benefit from “KLAS - Glitter Gulch”. I am not saying it is framerate killer, because the actual scenery is excellent considering its breadth and scale. Tom Curtis is a really good quality 3d designer, his work is always first rate and he doesn’t disappoint here, KLAS is excellent in the the quality of the airport and its terminals, great detail and perfect renditions of the infrastructure, airport layouts of runways and lineage is also very good and detailed. Without doubt the nightlighting and night textures are highlights. The Las Vegas cityscape also delivers as every major icon is covered, it is a consideration on far you can go with hotels and motels or the “Chapel of Love” before you start wasting work time on excess, but a few more basic buildings (hotels) would really finish off the area to its perfection. The whole “KLAS - Glitter Gulch” package is already great value, and with the addition of Henderson Exec, it then becomes exceptional value. This airport is excellent in the GA/PersonalJet category and make a ideal base for exploring the area. This scenery will certainly fill in a big area in the X-Plane envionment, and it has to be part of your collection. It is great value as well and with that “KLAS - Gutter Gulch” does tick all the right boxes. Price US$24.95 and “KLAS - Glitter Gulch” is now available at the .orgStore : KLAS - Glitter Gulch Developer site: Scenery4XP Review By Stephen Dutton Copyright©2013:NewBluePublications Published 31st July 2013 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 MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle
  4. Freeware Releases Roundup September 2013 : Skyhawk A4 - Falcon7X - Airbus A380 In late August and September 2013 we had a really huge choice of quality “freeware” aircraft released. You could say be spoilt for choice in the range and high quality workmanship that became available on the .Org. Of the releases I have picked three of the best to have a fly around and comment on in the Skyhawk A4, Falcon 7X and Riviere’s Airbus A380. Douglas A-4 Skyhawk 1.7 This version was designed by Ben Harber, aka Mid7night and was for sale on the X-Plane .OrgShop site. But now the aircraft has been decommissioned by Nicolas Taureau and put up for freeware on the .Org downloads. The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable attack aircraft developed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later by McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D under the U.S. Navy’s pre-1962 designation system. The Skyhawk is a light-weight aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 24,500 pounds (11,100 kg) and has a top speed of more than 600 miles per hour (970 km/h). The aircraft’s five hard-points support a variety of missiles, bombs and other munitions and was capable of delivering nuclear weapons using a low altitude bombing system and a “loft” delivery technique. The A-4 was originally powered by the Wright J65 turbojet engine; from the A-4E onwards, the Pratt & Whitney J52 was used. The Navy issued a contract for the type on 12 June 1952, and the first prototype first flew from Edwards Air Force Base, California on 22 June 1954. Deliveries to Navy and Marine Corps squadrons (to VA-72 and VMA-224 respectively) commenced in late 1956. The Skyhawk remained in production until 1979, with 2,960 aircraft built, including 555 two-seat trainers. The last production A-4, an A-4M of Marine squadron (VMA-223) had the flags of all nations that operated the A-4 painted on its fuselage sides. A-4 Skyhawks played key roles in the Vietnam War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Falklands War (Argentina). There are four versions of the A-4 available in the 107.60mb download package. Blue Angels - flight demonstration squadron. It was formed in 1946. And the A - 4F Skyhawk was the demonstrator aircraft between December 1974 – November 1986. The aircraft design is very good and well done but it is now showing its design age in the modeling and liveries department. The cockpit (on all versions) is 3d and very well created with an opening canopy and dropping tail hook. On the Blue Angels aircraft you can pick your own number on the tail by changing the liveries. A-4F Jester - The aircraft of “TOP GUN” fame. Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) training brought on with the establishment of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) in 1969, the availability of A-4 Skyhawks in both the Instrument RAGs and Composite Squadrons at the master jet bases presented a ready resource of the nimble Skyhawks that had become the TOPGUN preferred surrogate for the MiG-17. Here the air-brakes are activated with split wing and fuselage opening air-brakes. Lady Jessie - Recreation of historical aircraft. This is the Naval version of the Skyhawk, with the humpback blister and wing fuel tanks. The tanks were designed for a wheels up landing, and most Skyhawks carried them. Note - the excellent forward leading edge spoiler, and the air-brake/flap arrangement that drops down under the wing. BAE - Recreation of experimental model. You can feel how agile this aircraft was to fly, you are just a finger and thumb on the stick and it will just maneuver by just your light touch and feel. No wonder pilots could feel part as one with the aircraft and the reason for its longevity and success. If you like killing things you can arm the cannons and fire away, but your supplies don’t last very long. Overall a great aircraft and one savor and now available for a free download: Douglas A-4 Skyhawk 1.7 Dassault Falcon7X The Falcon7X by after, Won the "Best Aircraft of September" on the .Org monthly Poll. This is a great version of the Personal Jet that is almost payware quality. It is not a completely new file but an updated version for X-Plane10 from v9.510. The Dassault Falcon 7X is a large-cabin, long range business jet manufactured by Dassault Aviation. It is the first fully fly-by-wire business jet. It is also equipped with the same avionics suite, the Honeywell Primus EPIC “Enhanced Avionics System” (EASy), that was used on the Falcon 900EX and later on the Falcon 2000EX. The Falcon 7X is notable for its extensive use of computer-aided design, the manufacturer claiming it to be the “first aircraft to be designed entirely on a virtual platform” using Dassault Systemes’ CATIA and PLM products. It is also unusual in having an S-duct central engine, and is one of only two trijets currently in production, the other being the Dassault Falcon 900. It was also the first production Falcon jet to offer winglets. First Flight was on the 5 May 2005, The first 7X, MSN05, entered service on June 15, 2007. Maximum speed: 953 km/h (515 knots, 593 mph), Cruise speed: 900 km/h (486 knots, 559 mph), Range: 11,000 km (5,940 nm)8 passengers, Service ceiling: 14935 m (51,000 ft) At first glance the Falcon 7X feels like a very good payware project. It was updated from the v9 aircraft and quite considerably so for X-Plane10. Outwardly the design work is excellent and the modeling is first-rate. The cockpit (3d) is excellent and very functional, the centre console is as good as anything else and well detailed. Most of the upgrade work has centred on the displays and systems, and the central display is fully functional. Quite comprehensive in their detail are the center screens, the lower upper tabbed screen shows you your Nav, Trim, Engine, Electrical, Bleed, ECS and Failure options. The lower screens main layout is your FMS settings and Navigation Inputs. And then Fuel status and consumption. The next two tabs are the same as the upper screen in Engine and Trim and finally there are three MAP/GPS positions in MAP, FR (France) and USA (Local). The systems are quite deep in operation and the aircraft is excellent just for these systems alone. The Cabin is well fitted out as well with club seating and tables (a, la, Challenger 300) and the front door opens back on Terra Firma. It flies very well as well. Nice to the controls, fast with an enormous range of which you can cross any ocean or continent and in all counts it is an excellent aircraft. But the Falcon7X doesn’t reach payware quality yet, as it just falls short... But however this is a project still in progress and still bound for payware and to reach that goal then some issues will have to be reviewed. Like the main cockpit panels are a mixture of sharp and fuzzy labeling that annoys after awhile. You would put up with this in XP8 or XP9 for payware, but you want to feel it needs to be better than it is, even now with such a lot of considerable detailing and screen functionality already completed. The outer aircraft design are parts beautifully done (like the leading edge and rear flaps systems), but let down by the poor tires that make the aircraft wobble as it taxi’s around the taxiways and the lighting shows through the panel work. The Falcon7X displays the differences of quality that is needed to become payware, the gap is “oh so small” but it is still a gap to be crossed and as a lot of the work already completed by “after” does show the quality is in there to bridge that gap - It just needs that final polish and realism touches to be a really worthy contender. You can download the : Falcon 7X V9.510 for X-Plane V10.22 Here. Airbus A380 If you have been around X-Plane for a few or so years the name Christian Riviere will be well known to you. In fact Christian’s work is significant and varied throughout many versions of the X-Plane simulator. So when he releases any aircraft it will certainly catch your attention as his skills are very well regarded. The surprise is that it is the Airbus A380, Yes Christian Riviere has done airliners before but they tended to be iconic aircraft and old propeller dogs from the 1950’s. But lately he has gone all modern Airbussy in the A350XWB and now the big daddy in the A380. The outside modeling on the A380 is superb, with a high 3d quality that is very well crafted and detailed. From this aspect it is payware quality and very well done. Detailing in the engines (Wide chord fans are excellent) and well created and detailed landing gear. Flap arrangement is also very well done and so are the leading edge spoilers. and comes with a great selection of liveries : Emirates, Air France, British airways, China southern, Korean air, Lufthansa, Malaysia airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Thai. The doors open and inside there is a first class section with chairs and fittings. And then we will get to the cockpit. I will admit I have had many hours on A380’s in X-Plane. The best at the start was the EOLE-CREATION & VALERIAN BAYLE version which was not half bad and quite well done. But you soon realised it was not configured correctly in the fact it would not fly over 33,000ft and a stopover for fuel was required (LON-SIN) in Chennai to fly the last leg to Changi did not look good on the copybook. Peter’s (Aircraft) A380-800 is the deal to have, but it is costly (cheaper now than when I purchased it), but you soon understood why you have to pay for quality. If you follow Peter’s (extensive) guidelines, you soon become quite proficient because the basics are correct. And that is an important point to note, because if you hit the correct targets (height/weight/speeds) and the aircraft does what it is supposed to do, then you fly and learn much better. In other words “good data in” will produce “good data out” by your flying skills. If the aircraft tuning is not correct then you have “bad data in” and so “bad data out” in the fact the aircraft won’t do what it should do in the real world. Here Peter’s A380 excels because if you look at the real world data, the aircraft will hit those numbers perfectly (The low and approach speeds are simply outstanding) and flying these big A380’s is more an art form than a sum of total procedures, so if the numbers are right then you can fly them closer to the mark. The art in motion part is that this aircraft is very heavy, and flying long distances means getting the weight and climb performance right, 33,000ft is the go to number before losing weight to go higher. Running the Riviere A380 version the same procedures as Peter’s A380 version out of London (to Frankfurt) and at first it feels the same, but then it does not. No doubt that flying Peter’s Aircraft demands very precise points in the changes in speeds (you can set it to auto/FBW, but that is missing the fun) and V/S, so you are very busy in there compared to the Riviere version. For a start Riviere’s version is really only the default X-Plane cockpit setup, no FBW (Fly-By-Wire) or Airbus Logic Law. and the cockpit layout is very different from the real aircraft. Riviere's A380 Cockpit version Peter's Aircraft A380 Cockpit version If fact Riviere's cockpit feels really odd, the shape and the front windows is more Concorde with the visor down than an Airbus, The panel is crammed together and not very wide either? The basic controls are all there, but most of the detail is missing and the overhead panel is a standard Riviere item of a photo background with a few switches on it. Jumping over to Peter’s version and it feels like home again. All the switch gear is correctly placed and works. The wide windows feels far more realistic, but the much needed wipers are still missing (they are on the 2d cockpit, but are very poor). The only really frustrating annoyance is the (mostly the Autopilot) manipulators are impossible to find, I have missed many an approach in just trying to adjust my speed?... drives me simply nuts. But there is a difference in style. The Riviere version is not bad in many aspects, from climb to the FL330 ceiling but it is in the subtle differences you notice the more tighter programming that makes the difference if you are doing a serious simulation profile. Leaving London (EGGL) I ran both versions at MTW over the same route. At VOR “CLN” moving into the serious point of the climb (I call it the “lift”) the Riviere version is struggling to keep it’s speed and the V/S (Vertical/Speed) is down to 1200fpm. Peter’s version however is at the correct speed (285knts) and lifting at V/S 1600fpm with ease and with plenty of power in reserve (N1 is at 61%). Past 25,000ft I usually pull the A380 into a climb of 500fpm and reducing it down again to 300fpm as the climb goes past FL300. With a full load you have to adjust for wind strength with the V/S and watch for the limits before the nose starts to stall. Landing at EDDF (Frankfurt) I found Riviere’s A380 hard to perform at slow speeds and worse it wouldn’t turn past the 5º turn angle to align for runway (top). (odd because it would turn correctly at other points). and I missed the approach by a (country) mile and then had to do a complete (slow) 180º turn to realign with the runway. The speed dropped away badly as well and the A380 came close to a stall. Flying into EDDF (from the opposite direction) Peter’s version (lower) was rock solid on 185knts, and the degree turn was directly in line to the correct approach alignment. And the aircraft was so much more precise on how it performed. The question is “Is it fair to compare a Freeware aircraft with an expensive Payware Aircraft”? Well really “no” is the answer. But the point is this is simulation and the aim is recreate the aircraft’s systems and its flying abilities. There is no doubt that Christian Riviere has done a really great piece of work with his A380, but the constraints of just using the default X-Plane tools to build the aircraft shows in the performance, and you really miss those FBW systems. And that is the interesting part because Airbus Aircraft are built around these complex logic systems and that at the end of the day is what you pay for when buying a payware version of an aircraft. You can download Rivere's A380 : Airbus A380-800 for XP9.70 Here. (43.31MB download) You can buy Peter's Aircraft A380 : Airbus A380 X-Plane .OrgShop. Here - Price is US$59.95 Stephen Dutton 4th October 2013
  5. Beta 10.22 Beta 10.22 is final.. Finally and now that is all done then quickly all speculation will start on the next beta... 10.30. In fact the speculation on b10.30 started a long time before beta 10.22 was even close to final. Because the few b10.20's dragged on and on. At the start of the 64bit change over it looked like it would be over in a matter of weeks, but instead the small gremlins got a hold and kept everyone scratching their heads for months. In the deepest part of it all was that it went to the very heart of everything that was not on the simulator itself, but what contributed to the simulator in scenery and aircraft. However in all of that it had the most impact as well, in the fact that unless the product plugin had been updated it didn't work in the simulator. A few worked fine with Plane-Maker origins, but the good money out of your pocket payware didn't. Developers took several tacks on this, many would update the plugins as soon as anything was ready (In which did work quite well), but a few waited till the situation was absolutely concrete before changing anything. The main work fell back on the plugin developers and as SASL (or as its real name is called in "Scriptable Avionics Simulation Library" was the most popular plugin that developers used, and it was up to Alexander Babichev to come up with the goods. Certainly it was a collaborative effort with everyone helping Alex from the various developers and Laminar Research to fix the coding and then work their way through the issues. Then once that done they then found out that the LuaIT plugin was running out of memory (in other words the aircraft crashed and so did your simulation) or simply when the Lua plugin ran out of its assigned low memory count from X-Plane (10) it just crashed. Ben Supnik (Laminar Research's top Guru) took the hard decision to fix the Lua issue now and then and cause a little pain, than try to cover it later and cause more pain and changes. Once the Lua was finally fixed and done then X-Plane version 10.22 was final. And that is where we all are sitting now. But the change to 64bit had dragged on longer than even Laminar Research had wanted it to, in fact the change to 64bit was never a priority for X-Plane version 10 at all, and was expected to come in another version rollover in maybe XP11 or XP12 and even XP13. But scenery and aircraft developers noted that with the extra memory allocated by 64bit would take many of the limitations away and the simulator would not be held prisoner anymore to the 32bit 3gb memory limit - but then to use how much memory you actually have installed in your computer. In other words it opened all the windows to let the sunshine in. The effects now with 64bit are simply amazing, 32bit is still there, but who uses that, a few still do. But now most of all the add-ons are now 64bit v2.0 compatible and life is now back to the same as it was before b10.20 and all the changes are now almost complete. Beta 10.30 Laminar Research have not announced what will be in Beta 10.30. On the forums the main topic was "seasons". In fact the majority of users want this as the main contender for b10.30. Nothing would make me more happier than having snow and ice to fly blindly into some Northern Winter, In fact the simulator should have a feature as important as this now. Howdy did a great job in X-Plane9 with "WinterWorld", I loved it, it wasn't perfect - but at least you could fly from a hot and bothered Dubai to a cold and dull shivering London... up to this date "WinterWorld" has not appeared for X-Plane10 - but the reality is we need for seasons to really good, blowing snow, real hail and mist that closes airports and sends insurance company managers jumping off bridges. summer heat haze and the colours of autumn and spring. So the reality is "seasons" won't come in b10.30, in fact it won't come until another version release of X-Plane and then be noted a new feature, so my guess is that it will come with X-Plane11. The main reason is that the tiles themselves will need to changed for seasons to work efficiently, in fact they would have to be integrated into the very core of the simulator. And you can't do that with out large files and very large files will still come on disks. My personal issue is the high flight level viewpoint. Go above twenty thousand feet and your view turns into a Commodore 64 pixel quality... Pretty it isn't and it needs to be fixed, but again are new tiles required or some clever coding to raise the quality of the distance. The good news is you have a lot of frame-rate headroom up there to cover the extra nautical mile area... but again can that be changed with out the required DVD disks? So what should be really expected in b10.30 or even in a few more betas until Laminar Research turn their attention to the next version of X-Plane11. If you look at the original X-Plane10 features then the answers are sitting right there. ATC will certainly be at the top of the list for attention, The ATC works, but it is painful and not very forgiving... A shame because if you do use it a lot, and understand it - it is very good, but the rules are far too tight for it to be really effective and realistic. And the fall out from the ATC is spoiling over to into other areas that is not making its use effective at airports even if it you choose to use the ATC or not. Clouds need work as well, they have great potential to be really effective in being gathered better for storms (Cloudbursts) and light drizzle, the moment you get near a cloud your world goes grey until you come out, or you are shaken violently by an angry cloud puff. The basic Idea of the clouds is very sound but it all needs a lot of refining to be really effective. The "Plausible World" needs more refinement as well, you have huge skyscrapers towering over the approaches of runways, and caravan parks in Abu Dhabi. The night textures are coming anyway so that is a given, but the gaps are still to big as the green patches still show that the idea is still not complete or even close to being finished. The point made was that more default autogen couldn't be rolled out until 64bit could handle it, now it can and the focus is now needed. Under the hood of X-Plane10 is harder to see. The new Multi-Core flight model is in there and so are the new systems for Jet Engines, Trim, Starter, Clutch, Hydraulic Pressure, Electrical and better dynamics... coming also is Philipp Münzel's various engine dynamics. The point will come when Laminar Research will start to focus on X-Plane11,(2014?) and the updates and betas will then start to taper off. Knowing Ben Supnik he will always throw something in there that we will not be expecting ( a code grenade!) and send us all in to a frenzy of love and devotion for our simulator of choice. But the main objectives have to be delivering and refining what was promised for this version of X-Plane before adding in new features that can be in reality assigned to the next version. That doesn't mean that the beta development will slow down. There is a lot items listed to get through and the changes will be very exciting and will add enormously to our current experience of the simulator, above all we need some stable time to refine our simulator to be more efficient and be more crash-proof and that is just as important as the dazzling new features. So hail the final of beta 10.22 and bring on beta 10.30. WED 1.2 Final Laminar Research's focus this year has not been totally on the 64bit change over, In fact most of the attention has been on WED (World EDitor) to make it a powerhouse in creating not only an .apt layout tool, but a full application to create scenery from scratch. Already it has delivered some spectacular results. And from WED 1.2 final all created WED scenery can now be channeled through Robert Peel's X-Plane airport and navigation data distribution channel to every X-Plane user via their regular X-Plane10 updates, we have yet to see this in action. And my first thoughts is that it is going to be very interesting on how big the downloads are going to be and how they will fill out your custom scenery folder. No doubt we will visit this when the updates start filtering through. The idea is that anyone can now create scenery and have the tools to do so, To be in X-Plane at this point in time is very exciting and to put the talents of users to work to create their own virtual world that everyone can share. Of which is really the heart of what X-Plane is really all about - us the users. Stephen Dutton (note: All information noted here is not from any source or Laminar Research. And are just my own conclusions and past stated facts) 7th August 2013
  6. When Alabeo release an aircraft it is a bit like meeting Forrest Gump and him offering you something from his box of chocolates “you just don’t know what you are going to get”. There are a few clues though. It is usually highly different. It is usually very Iconic and it is usually very well done but not totally absolutely functional. Their latest release is the 1930’s aircraft the “Beechcraft D-17 Staggerwing”. and it fill out all the criteria. It is different, It is Ironic, It is very well done and some small things don’t work. The “Staggerwing” (Meaning the upper and lower wings are “Staggered” to give a better view out of the front windows) was the aircraft of the 1930’s that represented you as a person of high standing. It was well loved by the Hollywood royalty of the period. The sort of same image you will get today by flouting off your new G350 Gulfstream Jet. It stood for “Rich”, “Powerful”... and a global reaching exciting image! - Of course pilots loved the power of the machine as well. History Aircraft developer Walter H. Beech and airplane designer T. A. “Ted” Wells at the height of the Great Depression, joined forces to collaborate on a project to produce a large, powerful, and fast cabin biplane built specifically for the business executive. The Beechcraft Model 17, popularly known as the “Staggerwing” was first flown on November 4, 1932. It was not popular at first because of the high cost. Originally it was called the Model 17 with its negative stagger wing configuration (the upper wing staggered behind the lower) and unique shape maximized pilot visibility while negligibly reducing air interference between the wings. The fabric-covered fuselage was created with wood formers and stringers over a welded steel tube frame. Construction was highly complex and it was for its time the most innovated aircraft available with the Staggerwing’s retractable conventional landing gear, which was uncommon at that time that was combined with careful streamlining, light weight, and a powerful radial engine which helped it to perform very well. In mid-1930s, Beech then undertook a major redesign of the aircraft, to create the Model D17 Staggerwing (this Alabeo version). The D-17 featured a lengthened fuselage that improved the aircraft’s handling characteristics by increasing control leverage and the ailerons were relocated to the upper wings, eliminating interference with the flaps. Braking was also improved with a foot-operated brake linked to the rudder pedals. In the Second World War the D-17 became even more popular as the need for a compact executive-type transport or courier aircraft became apparent, And so in 1942 the United States Army Air Forces ordered the first of 270 Model 17s for service within the United States and overseas as the UC-43. The U.S Navy also bought the aircraft and so did the British RAF and Royal Navy. Since then it has slipped in to fame and notes for its ‘muscular strength and delicate grace,’ and is rated highly for its ‘classic lines and symmetry.’” Design Alabeo is a sister studio with Carenado and so they share a lot of design ideas and features. The main feature is that the quality is just as good as the Carenado’s but in a just slightly different form in that usually the form is more of a whole and not as completely constructed as the very highly detailed Carenado’s are, and that is reflected in the lower price and being slightly under US$20. The same quality but with just a slightly different design approach. But still the same of where it really counts. And so the detailing on the “Staggerwing” is exceptionally good on this beautiful aircraft, It does look and feel slightly bulky because of that huge radial engine at the front. Look inside the cowling and you can see the wonderful air-cooled cylinders. This version uses the 9 cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 with 450 hp (340 kW) at 2,300 rpm, and only the geared “supercharged” 600hp engine was bigger. The fine wires on the wings are magnificent as are the smooth wing pylons, although the rear tailplane and elevators look very standard for the period. The highlight is the construction of the front and tailwheel (retractable) undercarriage. More art than design, Its is beautifully proportioned and detailed. Steel springs and levers and it is what we really love about simulation in the fact that just admiring these items can give you as much pleasure as flying the aircraft. The animation is first rate as well as even the tail-wheel retracts up into the tail which was unusual in this period Alabeo use the same O (Options) menu panel as Carenado, but there are only three items listed here. The options are: Transparent Windshield - Instrument Reflections and you can open the - Passenger Door. The door opens but strangely stops between the wires? Very odd. Panel & Cabin Aircraft where fitted out inside very differently in the 1930’s. It was either wire and canvas or like this Beechcraft a cross between a luxurious boat or an expensive automobile. Heavy leather and wood trim would sound crazy in today’s world of carbon-fibre and plastic... however the D-17 was created for the “Distinguished Business Gentleman”. Alabeo have done a discerning job in the fit out of the cabin, with only one outstanding issue... You can’t really see any of the work - It is really black down in there, so dark you can’t even see the yoke never mind the rudder pedals. You are restricted to using X-Plane’s Night-Vision to really find anything you want to usefully use. Lovely it all is in a sea of green. The Yoke can be positioned on the left or right by flipping it over to the new position, you can remove it completely if you want to as well. Fumbling around you can find the lighting switches. A lovely thick clicky Ignition selector. A "press" to start the engine button that I really love to use and a great chunky trim wheel... The radio is a standard Bendix King 155A T50. The dials are recreated vintage with the standard six. Perfect in design and feel. The right side instruments consist of engine dials in RPM, Manifold Pressure, CHT, Amp’s, Carburettor (remember those!), Suction, Temp and Oil/Fuel gauges (LBS) - and a Omni-Bearing Indicator (OBI). As noted you can switch off the glass reflections - But why would you do that? You really feel that 1930’s vibe, The flap selector is a half metal square ring with three settings and flap use is restricted to under 95knts (110mph). The panel lighting is gorgeous, I flew the “Staggerwing” in early morning light just adore those creamily lit dials. There is a red light situated high on the central windshield pillar to shine down on the dials at night. This effect turns the panel bloody red and again gives out a lovely feel to the cockpit. There is the Carenado standard menu C (Camera) for setting “points of view” including the zoom function that is handy and the wing view (left or Right) with belly/tail cam are the highlight view points. HDR switched on the night-lighting is good with each (retractable) landing light in the wing giving its own light throw. The beacon is also totally realistic in its rotation and reflection. The Bluey/Green and red navigation lights are set out in a pod in front of the lower wing and are very authentic. Time to Fly On the lower part of the panel and hidden behind the yoke is a pull handle to lock the rear tail-wheel. To taxi is easy in theory but harder in practice. With the tail-wheel locked you can go straight but only take wide turns with the rudder. Un-lock the tail-wheel and you go around in circles on the same position?... The trick is to use both. I don’t know if this is the correct real way you would control a tail-dragger like this, but you can’t have someone in a simulator to push your tail around to straighten you up on the runway either. And you have to be kind to the brakes as well. Hit the brake and with all that weight on the nose the aircraft will tip up at every touch of the handle - It looks like the aircraft has hiccups all the way to the runway. Once on the centreline with the tail-wheel locked. The “Staggerwing” is lovely from the word go, You don’t need any flap as you have a huge amount of lift from those double-wings. You can’t lift off to quickly either as you need the speed to get your tail up and straight and the aircraft ready to fly. That huge radial sounds glorious as the sounds are all in 3D. The effects from different angles (certainly in the turns) are excellent. All that weight helps you and balances the aircraft out to perfection, and so it is a really nice feel in your hands. There are no sudden movements but the best actions are to use slow maneuvers in what you want to do in that to either turn, gain height or simply hold a line to the horizon. One thing I did notice was that you had to get the right line of sight or angle of the aircraft to keep it at a level height. It was very easy to slowly wind downwards the altitude meter if you didn’t keep a close eye on the dial... And it is very hard to keep it there as well without gaining or losing height. The trim works well in this case (but you have to find it to use it). Concentration is high as you don’t have any aids to carry the workload. So flying even across the state or around and 300nm to 400nm is going to tire you out. I loved those wide turns and the aircraft climbs with ease and power, It is no rocketship by today's standards but it must have felt like one back then - but that is the attraction. Maximum speed: 212 mph (184 knots, 341 km/h), Cruise speed: 202 mph (176 knots, 325 (km/h), Landing speed: 45 mph (39 knots, 72 km/h)), Range: 582 nm (670 mi, 1,078 km), Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,600 m), Rate of climb: 1,500 ft/min (7.6 m/s) Adjusting the flaps down (remember to drop off a lot of speed first) will only cause a slight bump in the airflow as the speed drops away nicely to slow to your 30-40knts landing phase. The aircraft is as sturdy as a rock in this configuration, nice with turns to the runway and keeping the runway line of sight straight are very easy to do. The drift down while dropping the power will give you an easy landing and for a tail-dragger it will stay pretty straight while tapering off the speed. You will need a lot of tarmac though to run out that speed as touching the brakes is not the thing to do. Just let the D-17 find its own pace to slow down and sink the tail down to a slow speed. Back on the ground you now only have to master the taxi all over again to get back to your parking area. Liveries There are Five liveries and the standard default “White”. You can get a little confused with the “White” because there is two of them... The one on the default file and another one in the “Liveries Folder”. The livery version is really Grey not white. The Beige is very white as well and is sponsored by “Gargoyles”... The blue is an “American Embassy” livery based in the United Kingdom. And finally the bright Red and Yellow. Liveries are HD and high quality, and all are excellent and with keeping in with the period. Conclusions Alabeo stands for something different and with a quality set at a value price, and that is what you get here. The only mis-match on the aircraft is the door sitting in the wires, the tricky taxiing techniques and that dark cavern of a cabin. Otherwise it is very hard to fault this “Staggerwing” of an aircraft. It is sublime to fly, you feel the aircraft well through the controls and bask in those lovely wide turns. It finds you reaching out for your vintage aviator sun glasses and posing in a suit like Clark Gable or Cary Grant, or if of the fairer sex then Kathleen Hepburn. Stars... Hollywood stars. And this is the aircraft to match theirs and your image. The Alabeo Beechcraft D-17 “Staggerwing” is available now from the X-Plane.org Store : Staggerwing D17 Price is US$19.95 This Aircraft is available for X-Plane9 and X-Plane10 Documents: Review By Stephen Dutton 10th September 2013 Alabeo : recommend certain settings for X-Plane 9 and 10... But frame-rate is a not really an issue as the D-17 has a very high frame-rate because of its low footprint. Developers Site : Alabeo.com 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 MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle
  7. Plugin - Update : World Traffic 1.1.4 Classic Jet Simulations have updated their World Traffic Add-On to version 1.1.4 Greg Hofer has completed some bug fixes and done some changes on World Traffic. But the real point of this version is the release of the "Random Traffic Generator". Now you can set up a flurry of fights between the different airports on your list. Set the main or host airport. And that will then bring up the main menu screen. Here on the main menu screen, you can set out the many different variables to create good automated traffic flows. Settings include: Minimum safe altitudes Airport Classification (%) to Military or Commercial Aircraft Type (%) Connecting airports (routes) A list of Operating Airlines, Air Forces and Aviation Companies and your selection. And the percentages (%) of flights departing and arriving over 6 hour periods during a full 24hour rotation. Once set your World Traffic plugin will then create random flights with three way points between the chosen airports with the selected airlines or aircraft. Another highlight is the "Flight Plan List" has been increased from 400 plans to 1500 Flightplans, that is the now the full limit of the application (An X-Plane limitation). The full update details: Fix problem with starting aircraft using same ground route starting location when taxiing to different departure runways. This resulted in departing planes appearing in the same parking spot. Fix list size of displayed flight plans... it was only showing 400 flights. The limit is now 1500 flights which seemed to be about the maximum size retrievable from the X-Plane getDirectoryContents function. Helicopter flights have been fixed as they weren't displaying in the last test version Make check dist longer for departing planes to decrease number of overshoots - increased from 1.5 to 2.5 miles With one known issue noted as: - The Random Traffic Generator may crash for some users when using the 64 bit version on the PC. The 32 bit version is apparently ok. The code crashing is in the stl:vector function so it may take a while to sort that one out. You can download the new World Traffic version here: World Traffic 1.1.3 I recommend reading the World Traffic .pdf And the support Forum is : World Traffic Aircraft - X-Plane To use World Traffic you have to buy a user key. $24.95 World Traffic(License Key sent by email by CJS) This is available from the X-Plane .Org Store : World Traffic All updates and support are free. 5th Aug 2013