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  1. Aircraft Review - Embraer E175 by X-Crafts In regional aviation for airlines the biggest revolution has been the replacement of 70-110 seat turboprops with economic new generation jet aircraft. Of these two aircraft companies have dominated in Bombardier Aerospace with their CRJ Series and coming C Series, but the real success story in this regional jet category is the Brazilian Embraer company with their E-Jet family of aircraft. These fast efficient modern aircraft have revolutionised the hub and spoke system of aviation networks in that you can today step out of that modern long haul cabin and straight into a regional aircraft cabin of the same standard, space and quality and have the same speed factor than sitting in a droning turboprop for hours.(yes economics have again swung the pendulum back in favor of the ATR's and Q400's, but only over short distances). The first delivered aircraft was an E-170 in 2004 to the Polish Airline LOT and the larger stretched version with two extra rows of seats (88 to 80) was the 21,810 kg (48,080 lb) E-175, that first entered service a year later with Air Canada in 2005. X-Crafts Embraer Aircraft X-Crafts came into X-Plane in August 2014 with their first release aircraft E-175 LR: Aircraft Review : Embraer ERJ 195 LR by X-Crafts I was immediately impressed with the quality of X-Craft's design and excellent 3D modelling and an excellent looking aircraft it is. As this being a very first release it did note and require a small refining period, but by the time of an update to v1.2 in early Nov 2014, you were looking at a pretty nice looking aircraft at a great purchase price. This Embraer release is the follow up aircraft in the smaller E-175. And outwardly it looks extremely similar to the bigger earlier E-195 LR, but it is not as this aircraft has been 95% remodeled from the ground up, and it is in the details that shows how far the difference is between the two aircraft, and the E-195 LR is still very good in the first place. The equation that is important to remember here is the amount of detail and quality you get for your money. Yes certainly a FlightFactor aircraft gives you an amazing amount of systems and general spectacular features, but it comes at nearly three time the cost of the X-Crafts aircraft and you are not skimming here as the aircraft is very high in quality and has a lot of very good features for a very nice price, it is a very nice aircraft to fly as well as we will find out... In X-Plane terms, the E-175 is an excellent, quality aircraft and amazing value compared to aircraft even only a few years ago. Exterior Sitting on the ramp the aircraft simply oozes quality, it is a nice sized and looking aircraft as well. but if you get in closer then the detailing starts to really jump out at you. On an aircraft this size I don't think I have seen better detailing, it is extremely well done and detailed. Ribs, latches, handles and pitot probes are all expertly done. Door animation (latches as well) are excellent for all four fuselage doors and the two lower cargo hatches. The beautiful (If you into great engineering) GE CF34-8E uprated 200 turbofans are astounding in quality and execution, and the central wing attachment strengthened areas are very well and realistically done. Undercarriage construction, links, hydraulic pressure hoses, wheel supports and hubs are expertly created, it is all as good as it could get. The detailing is carried on around the tail and rear elevators, the metal heat shroud for the rear mounted APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) is exceptional as is the detailing for elevator maintenance access panels. Menu's There are three "Menu" tabs in M, P and C on the left lower point of your screen. M-Menu (main) The top "M" menu popup covers opening and closing the four fuselage (Two front and two rear service) doors and the two lower Cargo hatches. Three other items cover the "Ground Objects" which include chocks, cones and pitot covers. GPU (Ground Power Unit) and pushback truck. If the box is ticked off you get an "Alert" of the pushback truck is disabled, click the box and the pushback truck appears, we will cover the use of the "P" pushback truck later when we use it. C-Checklist There is a spiral bound checklist book (current fad at the moment). There are eight tabs on the checklist manual covering "Before Start - Startup - After Start - Takeoff - Descent - Landing - Parking and Secouring" All procedures are very clear and precise, and so this is a handy guide to operating the aircraft. Interior and Cockpit On entering the E-175 the cabin is very well done and two class, only small point is the chairs feel a bit too big a scale and the distance between the chair height and the luggage bins is quite narrow, but you can't fault the detail, nice touch is the rows of seatbelt and no smoking signs above each row when activated. Both the forward and aft galleys are excellent and really well modeled and detailed, separate highly detailed food carts are the highlight here. Like the outside in the cockpit at first glance it looks exactly like the earlier X-Crafts E-195 LR, but the subtle differences are there, it is better and more detailed, the five display panels are more cleaner, brighter, sharper (although that can bring out a little more anti-alias at lower resolutions because the lines are finer) It is certainly the new improved version of the last one, but overall the panels look and feel more complete and that feeling is carried through over the whole aircraft. The Pedestal was beautifully done on the E-195, and that design has been carried through here as well, and even the rear FMS displays information when programmed, small but welcome details. The five main display panels are switchable via the Reversionary Panel which swaps the displays between four different modes. PFD and the MAP/NAVIGATION displays are your main two screens for both Pilot and Second Officer, central screen covers the engine and aircraft parameters. There is only a backup Artificial Horizon and clock timer on the central panel with the Autobrake and Gear selection. The aircraft and systems is powered by the Honeywell "Primus Epic®Integrated Avionics System" that covers every aspect of the avionics and flight management of the aircraft. As a nice touch the Honeywell logo pops up on the displays on startup. Main engine items include N1, ITT (Turbine Inlet Temperature), N2 and FF (Fuel Flow Per Hour). Fuel QTTY (Quantity), Oil Pressure (PSI) and Temperature. Slate and Flap position indicator, LG (landing Gear) position and Autobrake settings, APU percentage (running) and Temperature. Aircraft data and alert/information displays, lower bottom is the aircraft "TRIMS" settings. PFD (Primary Flight Display) The main PFD is the standard glass cockpit primary display in having an Artificial Horizon with built in rate of turn and bank indicator. either side of the Artificial Horizon is the speed and altitude tapes with the vertical speed (V/S) on the right. The Horizontal ILS CDI (course deviation indicator) is ever present and the vertical indicator appears when the approach mode is armed. Across the top is the Flight Mode Annunciation (FMA). And this sub­display indicates the autopilot modes that are active and armed. Lower in the PFD is the navigation section that covers a compass rose (built in course/CDI) with VOR and DME overlays, navigation source mode indication, heading, VOR and COM radios frequencies, and NAV/FMS data. Map - Navigation Display There are two main displays for Navigation and Plan modes (route). Popup menus give you access to Map Range (shown on display) and Nav-Aid/Fix indicators. Weather includes Light Storm and Alfa Atn. Top right menus give you access to seven pages of aircraft parameters covering - (Current) Status - Flight Controls (Ctrl) - Hydraulics - Fuel - Electrical - ECS (environment) - Anti-Ice. All displays can be adjusted for brightness via the far left knob lighting panel, which unlike the same on the E-195 in that all the knobs now work independently of each other. Overhead Panel The overhead panel (OHD) is surprisingly straight forward, in most actions are just automatic. All systems really take care of themselves with access needed only really to set fuel tank operation and aircraft lighting controls, even the GPU or APU access is controlled by the active unit. Autopilot panel is nicely laid out and easy to use. Nice features are three way altitude adjustments to set large different altitude settings, making things quick and easy, a few more things we will come to on the AP when we fly the aircraft, but one item that needs pointing out is the VOR1 - VOR2 and FMS (Flightplan) selection. "FMS" is the button on the top, but the "VOR1" (ILS Landing) and "VOR2" selection is noted under "BRG"? MCDU - Multi Control Display Unit One of the features of X-Crafts E-175 is a MCDU/FMS unit. To be clear it is only loosely based on the Honeywell avionics system, it looks like the system and you access it the same way as well, but under the skin it is a very highly developed X-Plane default FMS, and that is best kept in mind when using it. It works in the context of creating a flightplan with three elements, those are the: SID (Standard Instrument Departure) - Route - STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route) It may look like a standard MCDU flightplan formatting layout, but it is not. For one the three elements are totally separate until they are activated together as a complete flight plan, It is clever as well because you can change each element separately without affecting the other two. The central "Route" section is a standard X-Plane .fms flightplan and it is saved and loaded as such a file, but with each time you load in your saved .fms flightplan you will then have to create the SID and STAR elements from new. Start page is the "MCDU INDEX" This is main central place menu you go to to do all the various elements of creating, changing, saving, loading flightplans, two other bottom keys allow you to access the AUTOPILOT and RADIO pages. We start at the "STATUS" page by accessing the L1 (Left - key 1). This page shows you the current "Status" of the aircraft, It includes the general condition of the aircraft at this point in "position" Autopilot (on/off, AP Source, Next waypoint, Flightplan, Speed, AutoThust setting and NAV Radio settings. To create a route then we start with the DEPARTURE point or airport, press the L2 key to create a start to your flightplan and create a SID. Type in the lower scratchpad your DEP Airport, in this case "KRSW" SouthWest Florida Intl and input L5 Key. Select your departure runway by the R3 Key. All navigation on the MCDU is done via two sections of the lower input knobs, outer (larger) knob allows you to move up or down the list, smaller inner knob is used to select or activate your choice. Select a SID by pressing R4 Key and again go down the list via the outer knob. If you reach the bottom of the list, the list will not scroll, so you have to go to the next list page by pressing the NEXT button or to go back to the previous page then press PREV, again press the centre inner knob to select your SID. With the SID Stored it is time to load or create a route... You have two options in "ADD ROUTE WPTS" or LOAD (.fms flightplan)" We will look a the LOAD First. The .fms flightplans are stored in the X-Plane "Output/FMS plans" folder, and you use the standard navigation of outer knob for moving up or down the list and inner knob for selection. The PREV and NEXT buttons navigate the pages of flightplans, and in fact is a far quicker system to find your flightplan quicker than using an endless scroll like most selection processes. If you have loaded your route then you can go to the next step of ARRIVAL, if you need to create a route then you press ADD ROUTE WPTS Creating Waypoints is easy. Select your chosen NavAid via the AIRP (Airport), VOR, NDB, FIX or Lat-Lon keys (FIX is default), then insert your NavAid/Waypoint ICAO code on the scratchpad and input via the L3 Key, you also have option to add in the altitude via the L5 Key, if correct then press SAVE R5 Key. On VOR/NDB you may be given a choice of waypoints to chose from, select the one you require. In all scratchpad inputs you have a reverse arrow <- on the bottom row of the MCDU to go back one space or DEL to clear the waypoint. When you SAVE the next segment (WPT#) then appears, repeat till you have all your route segments completed, then use MCDU INDEX to go to main menu page. Now the final element is the ARRIVAL STAR. Press on the MCDU INDEX page ARRIVAL R2 Key. Input your ARRIVAL airport... KATL L5 Key, then SELECT RUNWAY R3 Key to select your arrival runway and activate via the inner knob. You have a choice of FINAL approaches in ILS, RNAV or VOR/D and select the one you require. Last approach choice is the STAR you require, select from the list and again activate via the inner knob. Now you have created all three elements in the SID - ROUTE - STAR and to Execute the full flightplan you press EXEC to load the plan into the system. Press R1 Key (FLT PLAN) to see your Flightplan. You can review your route on the MAP/NAV (PLAN) display and as you scroll down the list it will go through the various waypoints on the plan. If you want to you can input a route name and SAVE it to your "Output/FMS plans" folder. You can use any .fms X-Plane flightplan, but remember it can be only the centre section of the SID - ROUTE - STAR layout. Editing any element in SID - WAYPOINTS (route) - STAR is selected by the assigned key on the MCDU INDEX page, and you again go back to the MCDU INDEX page and press EXEC to reload the flightplan. Last two selections on the MCDU are the RADIOS R6 Key pages and AUTOPILOT L6K. RADIOS is a full Radio Frequency page for Radio management. All frequencies are covered and there is a duplicate manual version on the middle pedestal, but inputting is so much easier here with the key pad. Very nice to use it is as well... COM 1 and 2, VOR/NAV 1and 2 and your XPDR Transponder identity code and visual reference on page one and ADF/NDB frequencies on page two. The AUTOPILOT is just a general information page (no progress page) as yet. Overall this is a hybrid MCDU, a very good one though and it works very well and it has been extremely well put together by Steve Wilson. And no doubt it forms the basis of a more featured system that was not possible because of current time constraints. But certainly the enhancement of a better map display and rather than the usual X-Plane red route marker would be the first enhancement I would execute. But the basics are in place and very clever it is in operation. Flying the Embraer E-175 You can start the engine from either the GPU or the built in APU. The start sequence is mostly automatic and by just turning on the ignition switches and then the start switch for each engine. From the E-195 LR I didn't like the way both switches moved together, in one start sequence they still do, but like a lot of changes from the E-195 they are now independent operations. Sounds are first rate, really authentic and the startup sequence is very good. If you select the "Pushback" option from the "M" menu then you can activate the pushback truck via the "P" menu. You need to design the pushback you want in, straight back, pivot right or left or to park the tractor, then you set your distance and press "Accept" to activate the plan, you then do a acknowledgement to "confirm" or "Abort", then click off the brakes and off the tractor goes... It works very well, but we are used to throttle controlled, joystick manoeuvring trucks today, so I found it a bit restricting. Power up and off the brakes and the aircraft nice to taxi... To get the best clean takeoff and flight transition it is best to set up a lot of the AP (AutoPilot) ready before takeoff, but don't activate the AP. FMS is selected and so is LOC for flightplan lock in, Setting and arming the V/S (Vertical Speed) which is set here at 2300fpm, both Flight Directors (FD) on and the speed set at 220knts and transition speed altitude set at 15,000ft. Don't activate the ATHR (AutoThrust) if you don't want to find yourself taxiing fast through the airport carparks (yes at full throttle it is scary). Flaps set to 2. You can switch off the window tinting and excellent reflections, by pressing the left side window frame. The activated flightplan will show the aircraft's position, this maybe before the actual airport. but that is normal. Sometime like here if you have changed you runway direction and as KRSW does not have an available SID to the first waypoint of RODDE You sometimes have to do a -> DIRECT TO to the RODDE waypoint. To active this you press the -> Arrow that is used for DIRECT TO functions... The MCDU will note the DIRECT is EXECUTED. Using the DIRECT function is easy as well. Just use the outer knob to scroll down your flightplan list to select the waypoint/Fix you want to go DIRECT TO and press the arrow to activate. Brakes off and power up to the yellow band and your rolling... power build very easily and I rotate at 165knts and have a positive climb. The aim is to get the aircraft clean as soon as possible (Flaps housed and wheels up) before selecting the AP (Autopilot) button. If you have any flap lowered even at low speeds it affects the transition to V/S, and you will find yourself in a negative pitch and totally ruining your takeoff/climb phase, even the transition from manual flying to automatic can be problematic if your speed and flap position is wrong. Get it right and hit the already armed AP button and you just cruise upwards in a perfect linear climb and LOC straight into your flightplan. Just reset your speed for the right ATHR match and your aircraft will power its way in this case my 15,000ft speed transition altitude. The E175 is a seriously nice aircraft to fly. The length proportions compared to the longer E-175 LR make the machine more balanced, in manual control it is a really nice aircraft, take out the weight of passengers and a heavy fuel load and it has almost personal jet performance... curve away from the airport while slightly climbing and you could turn yourself into a fighter pilot with a passenger jet... so balanced and great handling. But today it is all business, passengers in the back and cargo hold full of weight, but the performance is still very good, you can easily climb (way) above the 2000fpm marker all the way to 30,000ft, but I am more gentler than that on my machines but still 1800fpm was no issue above the MACH change of 25,000ft. Cruise I personally love the way this aircraft looks in the air... picture perfect. The light captures it really well and it look great at any point day or night. It is very easy to slip back and enjoy the view from FL320, you are just purring along and monitoring the aircraft. On the right and left of the panel are three buttons to show two popup screens of the MCDU and the Radio panel, but they are static and can't be moved around or resized. Approach Like most regional flights KRSW (South West Florida) to KATL Atlanta is 1h 20m which is a usual sort of flight of this nature. Leading edge and flap extension is excellent with great animation and design, even small sections of the flap extensions open and close to clean up the system. Approach speed is around 136knts at full flap before ILS capture, but you have to watch you first two flap extensions as the wing is very efficient and the drag noticeable and will heavily adjust your pitch. Final approach is around 125knts, and you have push the aircraft down a little to make a secure contact with the runway (RWY27R) and then make sure the nosewheel is hard in contact as well, as the aircraft can be a little light on the nose. Thrust reversers are very effective, but make sure you pull back on the throttle and close the engine doors without lowering your speed too far, as the engines take a fair while to spool right back down for taxiing thrust. I found that a ATHR off approach is the best so for better speed control and the chance of the ATHR spooling the engines back up again... Clean up the aircraft and you can head to the gate. Lighting Cockpit lighting is good, but there is only really three adjustment positions and no click area spot lighting. But there is no denying it is a nice place to be at night, the cockpit feels and looks very good and very modern in design, it has been very well conceived and beautifully created. The rear cabin lighting is very good, but attached to the cockpit overhead lighting, so when you dim the cockpit overhead lighting for landing it goes dark in the back? Highlight is the excellent row seatbelt and no smoking signs overhead. Outside lighting is good if you can see past the X-Plane blobby lights (which I hate by the way) Aircraft looks very nice at night, but the logo tail lighting is connected to the Ice/wing lights, which I really don't like at all. They are for different uses. Landing lights are two set inner wings and one on the nosewheel, a second light on the nosewheel is used for taxiing. First impressions of the landing light reflections was "oh they are not that great, are they", but then they became very effective, so yes they are very good... but there are no runway turnoff lights, which is not to big a deal here as the lighting spread is quite wide. Strobes and smaller lighting is very good with HDR on. Liveries Liveries, include a blank and seven airline colours in Alitalia (default) Delta, American Eagle, both White and dark blue US Airways, Flybe and Air Canada. Quality is outstanding and all liveries are 4K HD (fuselage 10000px/meter squared) quality. Summary I am going to admit I really like this aircraft, as from the start of X-Crafts entry into X-Plane the modelling quality has always been exceptional, and the E-175 here is a very high standard... It just always looks so good in the light and flying hard through the sky. Yes there are quirks, and a few items that need a little refining over time (any aircraft is always needing a refining process), but the step even from the E-175 LR is noticeably higher, and as noted it looks the same outwardly but look and feel closer to the aircraft and you will see the quality and smaller detailing coming through. Don't likes, not much but a few quirks like double lighting switches, more control of the pushback truck, oversized cabin seats and the default X-Plane map interface. It is a really nice aircraft to fly, but you have to be and work at flying it really good... It can be a little difficult at lower flap speeds on takeoff more than landing, but time and a feel for the aircraft will eliminate those areas as you get really confident with it, then it all becomes automatic and the E-175 will become part of the fabric of your everyday flying. The new MCDU based on the Honeywell avionics system is to be noted as very new, and a new approach to setting up the aircraft. Again get used to it and it is easy to program and use, but in a few areas and mostly in a visual sense the X-Plane base is evident and there is certainly a bit more room for a bit more future development and refining here... as I said it is very new here on this release but it will certainly become more powerful, deeper in systems and obviously will become very good going forward. But if you like your flying regional, and like a gem of a great small 100 seater aircraft and one that is nice to fly, then it is really hard to go past the Embraer E-175 from X-Crafts... all round it is gem of a good machine. Yes! the Embraer E175 by X-Crafts is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Embraer E-175 Price is US$34.95 Features Accurate dimensions based on drawings and documentation provided by Embraer © Windows, Mac and Linux compatible Custom FMS Custom pushback plugin with animated tug On-screen checklist plugin - Plugin menu for door control, ground objects or GPU Tested by a real Embraer E175 pilot CUSTOM FMS both the custom and stock FMS are available on the pedestal or as popup panels More details about the FMS below INTERIOR: Amazing 3D modeling of cockpit and cabin High resolution textures High resolution Embraer style PFD, MFD, EICAS displays Pop-up screens, pop-up radios panel MFD with 8 synoptic pages and a new improved Navigation displa High resolution textures on panels - Text is crisp and clear to real Intuitive cockpit manipulation - I have always taken great care to make the cockpit as easy to use as possible. This means all clickable areas in the cockpit are very big so that you can easily click on any button, knob or lever in the cockpit Each switch, lever, knob, and handle is animated Detailed cockpit lighting - All cockpit lights are controllable Cargo area modeled HUD equipped EXTERIOR 4K High resolution textures (fuselage 10000px/meter squared) Highly detailed landing gears Flap and speedbrakes mechanisms modeled Realistic Wingflex animation 2 versions of winglets available 9 Liveries included so far and more are on the way! OTHER FEATURES compatible with UFMC, X-FMC compatible with JAR's Ground Handling Deluxe Night lighting, Nav and Strobe lights cast light on the surroundings Obviously a set of custom sounds 10 Liveries available ______________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download file size is 254.70mb to your X-Plane - GA Aircraft Folder. Installed file size is 576.90mb Notes: Documents : Both an extensive Manual and MCDU operating guide. There is also a good video on how to use the MCDU by Steve Wilson: X-Crafts MCDU - Steve Wilson (mp4 download) Requirements : Windows, MAC or Linux. X-Plane 10.40+ (any edition) 4Gb RAM - 1Gb VRAM Current version: 1.0 (last updated December 2nd 2015) (Note aircraft is very good on framerate, playback is current with similar sized aircraft and features) ______________________________________________________________________ X-Crafts Developer Support : ERJ - 175 by X-Crafts - X-Plane.Org ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 2nd December 2015 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”- 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb- Seagate 512gb SSD Software: - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.42 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : WorldTraffic v2 Scenery or Aircraft - KRSW - South West Florida Intl by Aerosoft (KRSW - SouthWest Florida Intl - X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.95 - KATL - Atlanta International by Butnaru (KATL - Atlanta International- X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$23.95
  2. Aircraft Review : Embraer AT-27 Tucano by Brazilian FlightSim Development Group Fast turbo-prop twin-seaters are one of the most valuable, versatile and efficient aircraft you can have on your flightline. Their main role is as a trainer between standard trainers and fast jet aircraft. But their multi-role capability does not end there as light attack, counter insurgency (COIN), close air support and aerial reconnaissance missions are also their forte, that their unit price is under US$10 million is mighty good on the balance sheet as well. If you are a strategic state there is little choice in buying weaponry and air-power from other than the huge markets dominated by the Americans, Europeans, Russian and Chinese markets... And the bottom line cost can be high and in many cases because of trade or political differences your supply of the aircraft and spares can be precarious as well. The Brazilians wanted autonomy from these and other factional issues when it came to their own military requirements, and so the Brazilian government turned to a small light turboprop manufacturer called Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica (Embraer) and created a government-owned corporation to do just that. The Brazilian Air Force operated over one hundred piston-powered Neiva Universal basic trainers in the 60's and 70's and needed a more better and faster replacement. Neiva rolled out the prototype N621A (YT-25A) in 1975 with an extended body as the replacement, but the Brazilian Air Force was unimpressed with the design. Embraer bought out Neiva and devised the basic trainer based on the Neiva Universal as the PT6A-poweredEMB-311 counter-insurgency aircraft based on the Carajá. The basics were correct but changes to the EMB-311 were the more powerful PT6A-25C engine, raised rear cockpit and the addition of ejection seats. Eventually, the original specifications underwent a major modification, including a smaller fuselage with an upright cruciform tail instead of a swept-back tail; a more domed canopy; extended elevators; greater distance between the nosewheel and back wheel; reduction of the wing root; and an increased wingspan, tailplane and landing gear and this aircraft became the EMB-312 and the prototype of the Tucano or Toucan in English. The first prototype took flight on 16 August 1980, bearing the FAB serial 1300. The second prototype flew for the first time on 10 December 1980. A total of 118 T-27s were purchased by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) with an option for a further 50 aircraft.On 29 September 1983, the first units were delivered as an aerobatic demonstration aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force Demonstration Squadron, the "Smoke Squadron" (Esquadrilha da Fumaça). The total number of delivered units to the Brazilian Air Force is 168 aircraft. There are a few variants to consider. First is the EMB-312S that was built under license by Short's of Belfast, Ireland. to meet a Royal Air Force requirements for a high-performance turbo-prop trainer to replace the Jet Provost and this aircraft is known as the "Short Turcano". Another variant is the EMB-312H that was an helicopter attack version designated as the "Helicopter killer", but it didn't go into production but did become the basis of the EMB-314 Super Tucano, dubbed the ALX, and was adopted by the Brazilian Air Force as the A-29. The aircraft here is the original EMB 312 and not the "Super" 314 version. The Tucano is currently flying in sixteen air forces over five continents. Brazilian FlightSim Development Group Brazilian FlightSim Development Group (BFDG) are very much into military aircraft. Their past aircraft have been the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and the Lockheed C-130HM Hercules transport, and here is their latest aircraft in the EMB-312 Tucano, and a very nice aircraft it is as well. For a mid-70's design the aircraft does look very modern and BFDG have done a great job in modeling this twin-seat trainer, quality is up and the design is solid. I like the look of the EMB-312. From the slight offset to one side view it is a very nice looking aircraft. Detailing is good and you do have the raised lines and panel silhouettes, but the livery texture lines tend to overwhelm the finer detail and is more evident on very close inspection, it doesn't matter because it looks good anyway. The large Hartzel HC-3BTN-3C/T10178-8R propeller dominates the front of the aircraft and it is well done with propeller angles that are animated from feather to full positions. There are a lot of complex shapes and curves in the fuselage that have been rendered really well, small detailing of radio antennas, foot supports and the canopy glass is excellent, very good and well conceived. Tri-cycle undercarriage is very well constructed and detailed, and I really like the branded tyres and wheel hub detailing. Menu The pop-up menu is located via a tab on the lower left of your screen. It can be moved around for the best position and it is only a "General Options" selection. Selections include: Canopy Open (close), Reticle On (Gunsight), Earplugs (needed!) Pilons (Pylons?) Out, HUD (Head Up Display) Removed, Chocks/Covers, GPU (Ground Power Unit), Mirrors, Front Pilot in/out, Oxygen Masks, Rear Pilot in/out, Maintenance, Views - Front or rear pilot. Menu selections are very good, with the excellent "Maintenance" giving you access to the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-25C turboprop, 552 kW (750 hp) engine with toolbox and work stands. Other switchable items include: Chocks, Tags (covers) and a very large GPU. Another feature allows you to have the oxygen masks attached and the visor down or a clean face, both pilots can be in or out of the aircraft. Most menu Four underwing pylons carry two Mk 82 unguided, low-drag general-purpose bombs and two cannons which are loaded in the X-Plane Aircraft/Weight&Balance&Fuel/Ordnance menu. You can hide the support pylons via the menu, but only if the ordnance has been used or selected off... if not it looks odd with the pylons hidden in the trainer mode. Cockpit Front and rear cockpits are identical except for the HUD and rear view mirrors on the front pilot's glareshield. The virtual cockpits are very well done and detailed... The main panel is well modeled and has a complete set of dials and gauges with the standard six (Airspeed Indicator, Attitude Indicator or Artificial Horizon, Altimeter, Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial and Vertical Speed Indicator) well placed with the excellent turn indicator which is invaluable and perfectly sighted with the Artificial Horizon. Right panel is engine monitor dials and gauges with the left panel used for backup instruments and switchgear., lower panel is the VOR (2) information and older standard radio sets, lower right is the Comm (communication) switches. There is a basic Garmin GPS 150, but there is no autopilot or screen for its use. Right side panel is mostly aircraft electrical and oxygen switches and left side panel is the throttle, gear, flap and engine start controls. Fuel panel far is lower right on the main panel with alert annunciators well done above with Warning (red), Caution (yellow) and Advise (green) lights panels and related causes diagram. Outwardly the panel in use looks great, but there is a short of greyness about it and my guess it is the lack of really good instrument reflections, the panel should be very accessible but it isn't as black are not blacks and the whole panel looks like it has a sheet of perspex over it? the main rear panel is really a more lighter grey than the far darker grey here. The top two mirrors use the rear X-Plane view, but as we know any feature using this idea hurts your framerate, and so it does here also, at night they are in daytime and bright than the rear dark sky, so they are best switched off. Overall the panel work is very good and detailed. Nightlighting Panel lighting is overall very good, but you do get that same frosty glaze over the instruments and dials. External lighting is good, with the green SLIME formation lights switchable. There are very good landing lights in each wing and a well created front wheel strut taxi light that conveniently switches off when you close up the gear, a small but welcome feature. Flying the AT-27 Turcano As to be expected the Tucano gives you a huge amount of power at your disposal, but you will need to keep engine on the green arcs and when in the MAX position, or full throttle the propeller speed will be maintained at around 101.5% Nh. So under normal operating conditions, the propeller speed will be constantly maintained at 99-100% Nh by the governor during the flight phases, over do that and your in trouble and you will have a blown engine in front of you. So the mantra is to keep your power levels always within the limits. Top speed is 539 km/h (291 kts) and in cruise your best at 180 kts at 15.000ft, ceiling is 28,700ft and your range is a whopping 1,916 km (1,034 NM) on the internal fuel tanks. The aircraft sounds like a Cessna Caravan on heat and as it should as the Tucano uses the same PT-6A Turboprop as the C208. But the sounds in 3d are not refined and you get the wrong zoom sounds from the wrong directional angles as you fly the aircraft, one moment they are whisper quiet and the next it is roaring in your ears, so it doesn't sound right or authentic, it works right in some areas but is way out in others... In the handling stakes you have a very nice solid platform under your control. Certainly an aircraft that is used to do some serious training is going to be a nice aircraft to fly, but the Tucano is lovely to aim and curve your way though the air. Nice and tight balanced turns dead on the marker in the rate of turn meter gives you goosebumps of "let us do that again"... so slight aerobatics is also within your reach, but let us not forget this AT-27 it is not an aerobatic machine, but just a very good trainer and light attack machine. Systems simulated are electrical with main bus and emergency systems active, 4 AC bars are available in the aircraft the main and emergency 115 V AC and 26 V AC systems. Generator and AC Inverters cover both MAIN and AUX, and both inverters operate in parallel automatically when feeding all the AC circuits. Warning Systems cover fuses: 2A / Cabin Air: 57,5A / Engine: 28A / Electricity : 32A / Fuel System: 40A / Radio/Instruments: 47A / Flaps Systems: 25A / Trim Systems: 22,5A / Lights: 70A / Landing Gear: 6A. Hydraulics covers two engine driven hydraulic systems which are available in parallel operation. An emergency gear deployment handle is available after an engine fail and if the loss of the hydraulics system for landing gear deployment The fuel system is modeled with the both internal and external tanks. With the internal tanks 1,450lbs, the aircraft has 6,3h of autonomy while with the extra two 330Lbs external tanks you can reach a maximum range of 9 hours. Variable flap control is effective, and very slow 80knt approach speeds are within easily of use and the aircraft is supremely steady in this speed range, and the view on approach is excellent. Sliding down to 7oknts will give you a great landing speed and with slight raise of the nose the contact is perfect... Only one thing here blights the copybook, it is the way BFDG have created the propeller animation for slow or idle throttle positions... When in low revolutions you get the full propeller or the turning propeller effects, and it simply doesn't work and looks odd, worse is when you are on approach as you regulate the throttle you suddenly have this huge non-moving object stuck right in your sights, so you have to add in throttle to get rid of it and a clearer view. Reverse pitch is however good and so is the "Taxi" zone setting on the throttle for the correct taxi speed. Liveries 14 liveries including: Brazilian Air Force which is covered by many different squadrons, Fuerza Aerea Venezolana, Colombiana, Argentina, Iranian Air Force, French Air Force (Armé de l'air) Royal Air Force, and even some private liveries. FAB (Brazilian Air Force) 1317 is default. Summary There is a distinctly new higher level of quality and design work from Brazilian FlightSim Development Group in the Embraer 312 Tucano and this is a very nice aircraft and a lovely machine to fly. Great features and details and a huge selection of liveries with excellent good reproduced systems of the real AT-27. But there are a few small mis-steps that could have created a really top notch machine, but I feel there is still a learning curve going on in there and even if the items noted are small, they do take away the 5 star rating... The lower propeller animations I just don't like, and the sounds are not tuned in the 3d zoom angles and can be quite annoying (or over loud) when you are enjoying the aircraft. The average gauge panel reflections spoil all the great work that is on the panel and grey out the panel and the interior. I never liked the X-Plane rear view mirrors but there is not a lot of options in this case... all small things but noticeable. To that note X-Plane level of quality does keep climbing, what was brilliant even a year ago can be average today. Overall the Tucano is a great aircraft and a great fast turboprop trainer and the quality is certainly on the up and this is the best yet from Brazilian FlightSim Development Group and a mighty effort to deliver one of the world's really great light attack and trainer aircraft. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Embraer AT-27 Tucano by Brazilian FlightSim Development Group is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : EMB 312 AT27 Tucano Your Price: $24.95 Features: High-resolution textures Nice custom sounds Virtual cockpit and cabin with animated switches, knobs and levers Custom gauges External tanks, gun pods and bombs fully functional Easy to use interface to turn pilots in/out, HUD, GPU, chocks and covers Realistic Flight Characteristics tested by real life pilots Systems and warnings systems modelled Sasl Menu for selection options English manual – user friendly – checklists Requirements X-Plane 10.40+ (any edition) Windows, Mac or Linux 512Mb VRAM - 1Gb VRAM Recommended _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the Embraer AT-27 Tucano is 409.00mg and the unzipped file is deposited in the "Fighters" X-Plane folder at 508mb. There is a manual (17 Pages) and Checklist Sheets (13 Pages). A full Paintkit is also provided. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 13th July 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.45 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Scenery or Aircraft - KFMY - Page Field - Fort Myers, Florida 1.0 by timbenedict3 (X-Plane.Org) - Free - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  3. Aircraft Update Review - Embraer E175 v1.1 by X-Crafts No matter how many t's are crossed and every i is dotted it is impossible to cover every single aspect of a first release of a quality aircraft. So the speed of an update and the spread of the coverage to clear those unforeseen bugs and fix those missed items and even add in a few extra new features is really the point an aircraft really starts to shine and you can see how good it really is. This is the first update for X-Craft's excellent Embraer E-175 which was released in early December 2015. This v1.1 release certainly does cover a lot of ground and there are a few changes to the actual way you operate the systems of the aircraft, all in the name of refinement. X-Craft's E-175 is certainly a big step forward from this progressive developer. Modeling and design wise it is overwhelmingly a lovely aircraft, you simply can't fault that aspect of the machine. Internally the E-175's cockpit it is a great place to fly an airplane. But there was something just slightly missing when you flew it. The word that comes to mind is clunky, not a big clunky but a quality refinement missing clunky, small almost non-existent items jerked or activated with a bit too much sharpness and no matter how great everything else worked and looked you felt it was just slightly missing the mark. It is what I call the missing 5%, that ever small gap that brings the aircraft to the high standard we all expect for our payments. But that 5% is also the most hardest if impossible margin to close, and I will make it clear that no aircraft will every be 100% perfect but you can get close, very close. And you really feel that in this v1.1 E-175 update that a lot of that gap has been well and truly closed. Certainly it is a far more smoother and competent aircraft, not that I stress again the base release aircraft was bad or awful in the first place because it wasn't. but this version has a greater refinement now as part of the package. There are a few changes as well and a couple of new features of where we will start. The release aircraft did come with this "Enhanced Winglet" design but the operation to change them was messy. Now they are just a menu choice selection away as there is a new menu selection to switch them over in the plugins list. Menu selections on the left lower of your screen are still very good, The GPU can now also be disabled on the OverHead Panel (OHP) as well. Startup your "Pushback" and now when you "Accept" the menu's disappear except for the "C" Checklist tab. Weird at first but you get used to it. On the other end when you park the aircraft and set the "Brake" and the aircraft is below 100ft AGL the menu's reappear. I found that originally they didn't come back correctly and when I needed the external GPU to power the aircraft when I shut the engines down, that is now fixed. On engine startup you really notice a big change... the sounds. The sounds have had a significant overhaul and they are seriously better, deeper and with far more variation, besides a third party addon package they are now very good to excellent. The sounds have been refined in volume as well in the flaps were too loud, and the startup sounds were (really) average. You really notice or know the undercarriage is in the (going) down position in flight because the wind sounds have been refined and heightened, and so a significant upgrade there. The main landing and taxi lighting has been refined to meet the X-Plane 10.50 conditions, still just slightly too large but far better than the large globules of light before. Wingtip lighting has also been adjusted and tightened to make them more realistic. A small note on that the engine fans are now running in the right direction... did you notice that? The FMS has had some attention as well. There was an issue of a warning that a flight plan .fms file exists when selecting a file-name to use when saving the current route that warning has now been overrided. The coding has been corrected in that now it does not properly detect and reject waypoint misplacement if the waypoint is an NDB, and a VOR with the same NAVID that is found before the plugin finds the correct NDB waypoint. The display of the FLT PLAN page when no waypoints have been loaded is now correct. You now also have the ability to read tail.txt files, placed in livery folders. This change allows the RADIO 1 page to display the actual tail number for the aircraft depicted in the livery. The maximum number of characters that can currently be displayed is eight (8). The Default is "ERJ-175". Your choice if you like the new enhanced winglets is to your personal preference. But I think it is all very Batmanish and they make the aircraft very wide in manoeuvring around tight airport ramps. If you read the release review you would know the E-175 requires a set procedure to takeoff and climb correctly and needed a little practice to get the right rhythm to get it perfect. No doubt this update makes that procedure far smoother, better and you can't now use the ATHR (Auto Throttle) until you are airborne. This stops you from setting the ATHR on the ground and letting it power up the engines and sending you cascading through the scenery. A welcome addition. There has been a lot of adjustments to the Primary Flight Display (PFD). The artificial horizon was wrong in value and that has been corrected (it was terrible in the pitch) and the Vertical Speed (V/S) indicators are now correct. And that annoying vertical black line has also been banished. The CRS (Course) indicator now works. On the MAP display there is now a VOR pointer (I still would like one on the lower rose on the PFD) and NDB arrow. The clicking areas have been enlarged (way too small before) and the range + & - was the wrong way round, and replaced by a finger manipulator. You can now actually change the range by using the range indicator on the main MAP display which is very handy and easier than fumbling around menus. A few items around you in the cockpit have been touched up... The windshield is less shiny now in the center for better visibility. (and the glass stays in the window frames when you open them), and there is a new chrono clock. But the biggest changes are the ones in the movement and actions. The aircraft feels so much more refined in the actions and controls, and I found the flying process far more easier and certainly better. It is the small stuff, the tweaks you can't see or touch that can give you the better feedback that the aircraft is just that... better. Liveries More new liveries have been added to the package, including a sensational Embraer house paintjob. Others include Lufthansa Regional, Two Star Alliance in LOT and U.S. Airways Express and a Tulip United. The Alitalia Livery has had some attention with more detail as well. This aircraft looks great in any livery and there are now 22 to choose from from donators of their excellent work. Highlights are... British Airways CityFlyer, HOP! (Air France) and two variations of the KLM "Cityhopper". There is now an excellent paintkit available. This is an aircraft that you never tire of looking at. In this regional design it looks great at any angle, just a nice looking aircraft. This was the same route as with the review from KRSW (Florida Southwest) to KATL (Atlanta) and you just power there is a regional. It is an aircraft to enjoy and just do your job of flying point to point and doing the flying as efficiently as possible, get in groove with the E-175 and you really enjoy the aircraft. But it does demand you fly it well, and give it a lot of professional attention. 5000ft on the money and a turn to finals for RWY 27R. The ILS vertical diamond has been corrected and looks correct now, which I found annoying before. Gear down and the better sounds tell you enough that you don't have to look at the indicators to know they are down in the slipstream. Over the fence and a nice smooth landing on 27R gives you good feeling... As noted once you brake up you get your menu's back and and can shut down the aircraft... There is a GHDHanding set for the E-175 at the JARDesign site to add in more ground handling animations. Summary E-175 1.1 update No doubt a lot of tuning and ground was covered with this update. Not that the E-175 from X-Craft's was in need of attention on its release. But there is a lot of nice changes and just an overwhelming feeling that the aircraft is now much more complete and more refined for the changes. I ran many runs between KRSW to KATL (five actually) and loved the aircraft more and more each run, and compared to the release version it is certainly more smoother and more professional in the way it is controlled and activated... so all in all a really great update. _________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Embraer E175 v1.1 by X-Crafts is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Embraer E-175 Price is US$34.95 If you have already purchased the Embraer E-175 from X-Craft's at the X-Plane.OrgStore then go to your account and upgrade to v1.1 for free. The update is online for download now. Full release X-PlaneReviews E-175 review is here: Aircraft Review - Embraer E175 by X-Crafts Features Accurate dimensions based on drawings and documentation provided by Embraer © Windows, Mac and Linux compatible Custom FMS Custom pushback plugin with animated tug On-screen checklist plugin - Plugin menu for door control, ground objects or GPU Tested by a real Embraer E175 pilot CUSTOM FMS both the custom and stock FMS are available on the pedestal or as popup panels More details about the FMS below INTERIOR: Amazing 3D modeling of cockpit and cabin High resolution textures High resolution Embraer style PFD, MFD, EICAS displays Pop-up screens, pop-up radios panel MFD with 8 synoptic pages and a new improved Navigation displa High resolution textures on panels - Text is crisp and clear to real Intuitive cockpit manipulation - I have always taken great care to make the cockpit as easy to use as possible. This means all clickable areas in the cockpit are very big so that you can easily click on any button, knob or lever in the cockpit Each switch, lever, knob, and handle is animated Detailed cockpit lighting - All cockpit lights are controllable Cargo area modeled HUD equipped EXTERIOR 4K High resolution textures (fuselage 10000px/meter squared) Highly detailed landing gears Flap and speedbrakes mechanisms modeled Realistic Wingflex animation 2 versions of winglets available 9 Liveries included so far and more are on the way! OTHER FEATURES compatible with UFMC, X-FMC compatible with JAR's Ground Handling Deluxe Night lighting, Nav and Strobe lights cast light on the surroundings Obviously a set of custom sounds 10 Liveries available ______________________________________________________________________ Requirements : Windows, MAC or Linux. X-Plane 10.40+ (any edition) 4Gb RAM - 1Gb VRAM Current version: 1.1 (last updated February 6th 2016) (Note aircraft is very good on framerate, playback is current with similar sized aircraft and features) ______________________________________________________________________ X-Crafts Developer Support : ERJ - 175 by X-Crafts - X-Plane.Org ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 6th February 2016 Copyright©2016: X-Plane Reviews E-175 Full 1.1 changlog is: - Ground equipment and pushback options are now restored after landing - The winglets can now be changed through a plugin menu - There are now 12 liveries included in the package and 21 additional liveries available at the x-plane.org forum (http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?showtopic=91249) - More details and dirt added to all liveries included in the package - Engine start sounds fixed - Cockpit windows are fixed (the glass of the windows wasn't moving) - New avionics sounds - New chrono clock - Reverse now works separately with hardware throttle - Clicking spots on the MFD are all bigger now - very easy to click on all the buttons - Vertical ILS diamonds fixed - CRS indicator in PFD is now working - GPU can now be turned on and off on the overhead panel - ATHR can only be engaged after takeoff - Cursor changed when changing the range in MAP Options menu. (TIP: You can also change the range directly from the range indicator in the map!) - windshield was shiny in the middle - VOR bearing pointer added to the NAV map - Alitalia livery has many added details - Flap sounds inside are too loud - Updated xfmc and xchecklist config files - Fans were rotating in the wrong direction - The lights on the new winglets also illuminate the surroundings now - Big misplaced nav lights on winglets corrected - Artifitial horizon was showing wrong values - N E S W highlighted on the FMS - The little black line on the EFIS horizon is gone FMS changelog: - Corrected ability to override warning that a flight plan .fms file exists when selecting a filename to use when saving the current route. - Corrected coding that does not properly detect and reject waypoint misplacement if the waypoint is an NDB, and a VOR with the same NAVID is found before the plugin finds the correct NDB waypoint. - Corrected display of the FLT PLAN page when no waypoints have been loaded. - Added ability to read tail.txt files, placed in livery folders, allowing the RADIO 1 page to display the actual tail number for the aircraft depicted in the livery. The maximum number of characters that can currently be displayed is eight (8). (Default is ERJ-175).