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    • I'm still using the X-Plane 10 version in X-Plane 11, it flies but with a few issues, so I think it's time to move up to the X-Plane 11 version, I couldn't find anywhere in your article if this is VR compatible, and if not, can we expect that in an update? I'd like to know before I spend $35, thanks.
    • I doubt a Steam Gauge version would ever be available, but I always say, "never say never".
    • I've only managed a quick flight since release but it does seem to fly well with great ground handling.   Like you say having great quality freeware aircraft like this is great advertising for Aerobask. Now if Aerobask bought us an older steam gauged Robin as well I would pay for that.
    • Freeware Release : Robin DR401 CDI 155 by Aerobask   Developers start their careers all wide-eyed and excited, the sheer complexity and the demands of creating a quality product are usually far away into the future, this is the "I am going to do this!" period. In some ways without that initial unconstrained if naive enthusiasm, very little if anything would be created. most projects die off quickly as the enthusiasm suddenly dies as quickly as it was created, but many do continue, and then a few are seen through to the completion of the idea, but not completely, as all early efforts are usually still full of compromises. Then there is the reaction to the product and the critics like me and the market that assesses your work. There are usually two reactions. The first is the "reactional" developer that see's very little wrong with their genius and what they have created, and any assessment of any critical feedback can usually end and usually does end in an outraged outburst, then any secondary work is usually full of the same mistakes and the average quality of the first release and you can see critics like me usually giving it all a wide berth and rather than looking at it.    The second developer traits are the most interesting ones, first of all their project is not that totally over-ambitious, and even a little rough around the edges, but the core of the idea is usually well done. The difference that any critical assessments (if provided by the right sources) are then taken on board, and fixes of bugs and details usually follow. We are detailing inexperience here not skills, but nothing is forgotten and usually the next project sees a huge improvement on the first and so the quality climbs with each release and then combined with clever ideas and features they find their way into that golden air of that their name alone can create anticipation and instant sales with any release and that is hard when the simulator like X-Plane is a constantly moving target.   Which brings us to this little Robin aircraft by Aerobask, or Harranssor as Stephane Buon was known back then at the aircraft's original release. It was at the time a compact and very well done French four-seater aircraft, but it was only really a niche in time as the next project with the DA-42 was quickly put into focus as the next step up the developer career ladder. Now Aerobask certainly don't need any introduction today in X-Plane, as their outstanding aircraft in mostly very modern composite general aviation aircraft or very light jet releases are some of the very best quality releases in the simulator; always a leader in many areas of excellent materials, quality avionics and innovation, you will usually buy any Aerobask on release and know that you won't be disappointed.   But the little original Robin hasn't been discarded or forgotten. Here Aerobask have given the aircraft the full upgrade treatment, and released the aircraft as a "thank you" and free release to all their loyal customers and in a smart ploy showing the punters that have never flown or purchased an Aerobask aircraft the sort of quality and design work that Aerobask do...  but I think there is some thing more going on here. It is also showing how far to not only us, but also to the developers themselves on how far they have since come from that very first Robin release, in reality this is the aircraft that created the passion to do something extraordinary in a simulator called X-Plane.     Although to be seen as not too an old aircraft design, the roots of the company goes back a fair way to Centre-Est Aéronautique which was formed by Pierre Robin and Jean Délémontez, the principal designer of the Jodel aircraft series, in October 1957, when it it began manufacturing aircraft at Darois, near Dijon, France. The Robin DR300 series were developments of the earlier DR.221 Dauphin and DR.250 Capitaine with a tricycle landing gear. The first variant was the DR340 Major, a tricycle landing gear version of the DR250 Capitaine which first flew on 27 February 1968, followed on 21 March 1968 by the DR315 Petit Prince, a tricycle landing gear version of the DR221 Dauphin. The DR315 was later replaced by the DR300. In 1972 an improved version, the DR400 was introduced with a forward-sliding canopy. and this DR401 version has the Glass cockpit, larger cockpit, electric trim and flaps, a range of engine options and also variants for "long range" and "aerotow". The DR400 aircraft has also the 'cranked wing' configuration, in which the dihedral angle of the outer wing is much greater than the inboard, which is a configuration which they share with earlier Jodel aircraft.   The powerplant is an unusual Continental 2·0S 155 hp turbocharged diesel engine, driving a MTV/6/a/190/169 1·87m constant speed 3 blade Propeller, and as being diesel the engine it is free of the dangers of carburettor icing and vapour lock, and is safe from thermal shock on low power settings. The aircraft also uses AvGas or Jet A-1 fuel or even normal automotive diesel for a fuel capacity of 109 litres Jet A-1 (159 litres with supplementary tank) and a max range of 944 nm (with the long-range tank).   Detail Free it may be, but the quality is the same as all Aerobask releases. All textures are full high definition textures (4K), and the full HDR (maximum) setting is recommended to get the best out of them.     Glass was also a Aerobask speciality, they had the first really reflective glass effects in X-Plane (DA-42), but I doubt back then that glass formed shapes like the convex bubble style canopy design here was still a far off dream, but it really shows then on how far X-Plane and 3d modeling tools have come in the meantime.     The glass here on the Robin is quite exceptional in shape, reflection, texture and design. Aircraft detailing is excellent, but I will note that overall the Robin is quite a simple aircraft, with fixed-strut landing gear and added on trim flaps.     On the ground the detail on rudder and wing moveable flying surfaces via cables are highly detailed.     There are no pop-out tab/panels or menu options. But there are a couple of ideas get around a few of the usual menu options.     Turn the power off and the aircraft gets static elements in cones, vane covers and chocks. Open the large canopy and the little left hand rear side baggage door opens as well...     Opening the canopy is via the handle on the roof, everything is beautifully constructed, even down to the chrome locking bar for the canopy.     Exquisite exceptional interiors are the total domain of Aerobask, they are always the leaders and the best in X-Plane, even better than Carenado. Here in the Robin it is no exception, stunning detailed work...     ...  with a high quality instrument panel with reflections, and note the fun aspect on the pop-out mobile phone (and no it doesn't work), to the overwhelming interior design...     ...   that comes with three different coloured designs in the default Blue, Yellow and Red that change with the corresponding liveries.   Although the aircraft is minutely small, there is a big open feel in flight, as the canopy and the large windows give the aircraft an open airiness.     Rear seat is a bench, with a large baggage area behind. Note the lovely headphones on the passenger seat.   Instrument panel is again up there with Aerobask's best, detailing is superb, but it is a very simple panel arrangement as well.     Dominating the panel is the Laminar Research G1000 GPS system, the twin-panel arrangement pops out as well. In the Robin you can see the quality of the work of Laminar and again it is a far and long throw from the original Robin from when it was first released, again you see how advanced X-Plane is today in simulation when detailed instrumentation like this is default to the simulator.   With most of the panel details including engine performance and readouts, they are all included within the G1000 system. So the panel is quite basic with most other instruments visible are here as backup systems and not primary. Far left is a backup Artificial Horizon and tape Altitude displays, far right are the circuit breakers.   Under the glareshield left to right are a nice set of Annunciators with a test switch (left), centre is the three flap position indicator (UP-T/O-LAND), next to the centre compass is an electric trim switch and indicator, ELT and G1000 lighting knobs for external lighting and pitot heat switches.   Electrics switches are lower panel left... with Battery, Alternator switch, Master Engine Switch, FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine (or electronics) Control) Switch and the main Avionics power switch. START/STOP switch has a PreHeating display light (it is a diesel) and back up dials for Fuel quantity, Volts and OAT indicators. There is a Auxiliary Fuel Transfer switch (button?) and on the centre console there are top the two switches for the Landing and Taxi lights and one for the Fuel Pump, the flap switch is far right. The console has that very nice throttle, Fuel tank switch and Hobbs hour meter, the parking brake is small knob. Note the missing Mixture lever and Propeller lever. Each side of the instrument panel are adjusters for the external sounds.   Flying the Robin Everything associated with a standard General Aviation engine goes out of the window here. It is almost like an electric plane. Switch on the main battery power and then the Master Engine Switch, you will get a glow plug warning light....  once it goes out then turn the start switch...  easy.     The engine churns like a diesel, the rattles like a diesel, then powers up, nothing else to do. To shut the engine down then just turn off the Master Engine Switch. A nice touch is that the glare shield cowling vibrates to the engine revs, very realistic.     Set the flaps to T/O and push up the throttle... speed will gather quite quickly and rotate in a slight pitch up is around just over 73knts.     The 155hp diesel engine has a lot of torque, pulls you hard and rate of climb is 740 fpm (at MTOW 1100 kg), but you feel you can do far better than that, but don't. Flaps have to be up by 92 knts, but you click them up as soon as possible to increase the speeds.   The sounds are of extremely high quality, FMOD and 180º with soundscapes, so you feel this aircraft in a touch and aural combination...  just brilliant.   The aircraft is super sweet in the air, really anyone should or can fly this excellent little aircraft. The Robin is also VR (Virtual Reality) ready, so you can fly inside that lovely canopy right now as well.   Lighting Lighting is basic, but highly effective. The instrument panel has adjustments for the LR G1000 screens and the standby instruments, third adjustment is for the single cabin roof light.     Adjusting the roof light can bring the cabin to full brightness, or just enough to find the controls and switchgear...  excellent. External is very good as well with halogen strobes, beacon, navigation and single landing and taxi lights.   Max Cruise speed for the 401 Robin is 138 kts with VNE set at 146 kts, but the best cruise speed is around 128 knts (85%) with a range of 944 nm (with the long-range tank) and the aircraft has a ceiling of 4715 m (15,470 ft).     You could call the aircraft delicate, as it responds to change of control inputs very well, decreasing the speed by pitching the nose slightly for approach is very effective, and you can easily get down to the lower speed for a flap drop at around 75 knts, second flap in the landing position is around 63 knts.     You can hold the speed around the 60 knt mark right down to the start of the runway then reduce to around 52 knts on landing, flair and throttle control will balance you until you feel the hard stuff, stall speed is 49 knts but you never feel that falling effect, the wing must be very efficient.     Power off and you easily slow down to a taxi speed. The Robin is a very easy aircraft to fly, as "sweet" again is the word that comes to mind.   Liveries A great range of eight European liveries, quality is very high, there is a blank as well, and a load of liveries are already coming up on the X-Plane.Org.     Summary Most freeware aircraft comes in from dedicated X-Plane users, and some can be really, really good... but it is rare for a Payware developer to release an aircraft on Freeware, then deliver an almost same quality aircraft as their payware aircraft, the result is an excellent deal for you.   There are areas that have been reduced to what you usually get with the full product, like menu's, higher features, instrumentation and advanced ideas. But the full basics are delivered here as well. With the absolute full quality and design that is the same and with that trademark exquisite Aerobask interior, top level FMOD sounds and perfect flying performance. Certainly a great and simple quality aircraft to learn to fly on.   No doubt this is personal project for Aerobask, and the sharing of the experience can only create even a more devoted following of fliers for Aerobask than they had before, but overall the aircraft is a statement, in not only Aerobask's own journey and the incredible heights of being a developer that they have achieved since the original Robin 401 was released, but also as a heady reminder on how far the X-Plane simulator has come in the same time frame...  either way we all win, don't we.   ___________________________________________________     The Robin DR401 CDI 155 by Aerobask is available on the X-Plane.Org Community site:
      Aerobask Robin DR401 CDI 155 1.12   Price is : Free   Features: Accurate flight model by X-Aerodynamics. FMOD High Quality sounds by Daniela RC. Integrated Laminar Garmin G1000 PFD and MFD. Functional 3D cockpit, with VR ready manipulators. 3D model with high resolution PBR textures. Simulated FADEC test and Pre Heating. Windshield reflections. Optimized to save FPS. 8 stunning liveries + a white paint.   ______________________________________________________________________   Requirements : X-Plane 11.20+  Windows/Mac/Linux 4GB+ VRAM Recommended   If you like this aircraft, then don't forget you can get all the other Aerobask releases at the X-Plane.OrgStore : X-Plane.OrgStore/Aerobask   More developer information : Aerobask ______________________________________________________________________   Installation : Download is 465.20mb which is unzipped and is inserted in your General Aviation folder as a 484.90mb flie.  Key authorisation is not required.   Documentation : includes   DR401 Checklist Normal operation.pdf DR401 Flight Manual.pdf DR401_Checklist_Emergency_ops.pdf   ______________________________________________________________________    Review by Stephen Dutton 20th June 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)   Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD  Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.25 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 1.0 by Nicolas (Airport by NAPS) - (X-Plane.Org) - Free    
    • Aircraft Update : Eclipse 550NG v1.1.10 by Aerobask   This is a blink and you will miss it sort of update for the Aerobask Eclipse 550NG. This VLJ has had a few touch up's since it's release, and here is another one in v1.1.10 that covers just two areas. One are that the sounds have been converted to the FMOD sound system, and second the aircraft is now fully VR (Virtual Reality) compatible with new and revisited manipulators.     Both initially the Aerosbask Pipistel Panthera and the Eclipse 550NG were crossed over from X-Plane10, then the Panthera got the full X-Plane11 treatment with the v3 release and then the Eclipse followed only weeks later. Full review is here: Aircraft Review : Eclipse 550NG by Aerobask     Note the two cabin styles in light (lower) and dark (higher) which are selected by the change of livery.     Aerobask aircraft are certainly the best of the best right now in quality and features and it is always nice to revisit any of their aircraft, and to update to v1.1.10 then just go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and redownload the Eclipse 550NG.   _____________________________________________________________________________________      The Eclipse 550NG by Aerobask is also available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   Eclipse 550NG    Your Price: $39.95   Requirements X-Plane 11 + Windows, Mac or Linux - Running in 64bit Mode 2Gb VRAM Minimum. 3GB+ VRAM Recommended on X-Plane 11 X-Plane 11: this aircraft requires GNS430 data from X-Plane 10, Navigraph or Aerosoft to be installed into Custom data folder. Current version: 1.1.10 (Last updated June 14th 2018) Changelog: Version 1.1.10 (June 14 th 2018)   Highlights:     FMOD sound system by Daniela Rodríguez Careri     VR compatibility, new and revisited manipulators ________________________________________   Update revision by Stephen Dutton 18th June 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews    
    • That is the point of the X-planeReviews site, make the details accessible and understood in context, thanks 😊
    • You make it easy to read and understand - thanks.
    • Laminar Research : FlightSimExpo 2018  X-Plane Roadmap   The FlightSimExpo 2018 in Las Vegas was mostly as I predicted in my "May - Behind The Screen" edition. In that Laminar Research focused down more on fewer items than the huge agenda of the earlier announcements with the release of X-Plane11, fewer yes but more deeper and actually more significant to your everyday simulation flying.   Basically the event came down to five items...  More Autogen, Newer better Physics, Oxygen/Ice Systems/Autopilot for PlaneMaker, New Particle Systems and Vulkan... and with the biggest missing item on the agenda that was the ATC.   None of the announcements came as a real surprise, except for the new Autopilot systems from Phillipp Ringler.   Global Airports and Autogen Laminar Research always spruik highly their "Global Airport" count at any event and with X-Plane v11.25 they hit the 7310 3D number marker, with another 645 new airports coming in the next update (v11.25 - Now Available for download), it certainly makes X-Plane a far more viable world in which to fly. But laminar are not stopping there, with the consistent flow of the large amount of tools and clutter (objects in scenery) still rolling off the presses. Earlier in the year (XP v11.10) the new terminal tools to create and design better terminals and airbridges was also a great new realistic addition to the tool makers library and they should now start appearing in X-Plane scenery.   Coming in v11.30 is more autogen covering US industrial urban areas, like factories, warehouses, service stations and just general industrial clutter, and with the new fencing and gates are certainly welcome to the library for better ground visual realism, and if you blinked and then you would have missed it, as there is also new and different types of taxiway linage, shapes, colours and textures that has already been released in the v11.25b1 update.   Last year also Laminar Research also introduced "Landmarks" or city icons like the Eye, the Gherkin, Tower Bridge, and Westminster Palace in London, and the Opera House and Harbour bridge in Sydney. More items are going to be added to Las Vegas, Chicago (v11.25), and New York and Washington DC (v11.30).   Personally this is all very nice, but the addition of the European autogen last year, was one of the most significant visual changes to the simulator, so again regions have been seen to have been put on the backburner, and sadly no payware developer has taken up the offer of making regional autogen either, which feels like a very missed opportunity for making great addons, the point is that distinctive regional autogen like Middle-Eastern, Asian or Oceania or even UK or Italian or Greek visual vistas are still not coming to your simulator in the near future again either?   Physics Austin Meyer is not only the founder of X-Plane, but he is also responsible for the aircraft physics and flight dynamics. The aim of course is to reproduce as closely as possible the aerodynamics of not only the aerodynamic surfaces, but real engine performance as well. X-Plane of course was created with the effects of laminar flow on the aircraft, or the way aircraft actually fly and then accurately reproduce those physical dynamics in the simulator.   Currently in X-Plane the aircraft fly very well dynamically in the air, and engine performance was highly revised early in X-Plane11, but when the same dynamics are brought close to the ground, it really doesn't work as well, hence a lot of hand-wringing and wailing about the flare and takeoff/rollout phases of the simulator.   In a way Meyer's has gone back to basics to get a better Reynolds number (fluid flow past a body in this case an aircraft) and in finding the correct or a more accurate friction drag of the airframe, and this calculation will be now be available for developers in the coming PlaneMaker v11.30, and with also better prop wash and air flow properties to make your aircraft more realistic. This is a refinement of the basic X-Plane dynamics, but it's main purpose and focus is in the ground-effect dynamics, or the way an aircraft reacts close to the ground, then add in the side-force dynamics with angles of attack (the pitch of the aircraft to the moving airstream). This is a new set of forces on the aircraft (notably on the fuselage) that move 25% to 50% along the body of the aircraft, as these areas of forces will be adaptable again in PlaneMaker v11.30 and you can if you want to in opt in or out if you want the new physics (fuselage calculations) details on your project (if you don't want use the new physics you then don't have to). These new physics are also included in X-plane's Airfoil maker in that it will then calculate the best coefficient of drag for you, and of course the already noted new prop wash model and the new downwash effects.... and hopefully this will lead to a better aerodynamic model, not only in he air, but to also create a better and far more realistic simulation closer or when moving fast along on the ground (hint - for taildraggers as well)   Systems and Avionics Since Phillipp Ringler joined Laminar Reseach his main focus has been on updating X-Plane's navigation avionics and most notably the GNS 430/530 pair, G1000 and the native X-Plane FMS. Certainly Phillipp's unique talent has certainly enhanced the the basic avionics of the simulator. With most of the navigation areas now completed his attention has moved on to other avionics, but now also for aircraft systems (mostly this was in the past Austin Meyer's area of expertise).   Coming soon are more realistic oxygen systems, and anti-ice and de-ice systems with four different propeller failure modes of fine pitch, anti-feathering springs and full feather position as not all aircraft when the engine fails does the propeller go straight to full feather mode and auto-feather. Better systems to replicate the unfeathering of the propeller realistically with pumps and negative torque sensing, and also fuel-topping and overspeed governors also being available.   Surprisingly enough, autopilots in X-Plane have been quite basic and mostly built into the airliner, for general Aviation aircraft it was an even more basically crude generic system, so if you wanted a brand autopilot, you had to usually purchase a payware aircraft like Carenado to get one. But from v11.30 X-Plane will now provide (via PlaneMaker) brand autopilots to install in your GA aircraft. These include the position based units GFC-700, KFC-250/Century and rate-based S-Tec 55, KAP-140 and the Piper Autocontrol. The autopilots come as single or dual axis and with or without altitude select and also with or without electric trim functions.   Airliner autopilot systems also have had attention to make them far more realistic and these systems will mostly be replicated on the X-Plane native Boeing 737-800/747-400 aircraft. Auto-throttle can now use both N1/EPR modes, Control Wheel Steering (CWS) (yoke movements to adjust pitch, mostly on older aircraft), Master FD (Flight Director) or source selection, duel AND triple channel preconditions and checks (computers compare two or three channels of data and select the best option), flare and roll out guidance and a three axis DAS/Data Acquisition Systems.   Vulkan and Metal The biggest cries out on the forums are usually "where is Vulcan" or "I want Vulcan in X-Plane" and out of the pram goes the rattle.....  "aaaaarrre, waaaah!" and on it goes. If you have been in X-Plane for a few years or more, then you would know that is not the way of Ben Supnic. Were as most developers would find the easiest if quick route, then Ben usually does the opposite, but for a reason. The differences are that Supnic looks at the really big picture and not for a quick short time fix, notable was his call to go over to 64bit from 32bit a few years ago, which was really the nuclear option of coding. But the benefits of that decision has been that X-Plane was suddenly a leader and is still far ahead than any other simulator in speed and processing power...  and so it seems to be the same with Vulkan and Metal which are new API's (Application programming interface) in replacing the older ancient OpenGL API. Vulkan is mostly related to Windows and Metal is to Apple. A note is that 32bit will still run in X-Plane11, but will be discontinued for X-Plane12.   Vulkan (and Metal) are far more modern efficient ways to interface with modern computer processors and control processor functions, and specifically the areas of intense 3D graphic and multi-threadding processing... so Vulkan is ideal for X-Plane, Video games and simulators. Like most video games, X-Plane would benefit from multi-threadding, but in reality it is still a single thread process.    Laminar decided on ten points to completely rebuild the X-Plane rendering engine from the ground up with Vulkan to get the very best efficiency and speed out of the API, and at this point they are about half the way through the list, so Vulkan is not coming anytime soon and then maybe as a beta before the end of the year. To prove Vulkan works and delivers the team have already converted X-Plane's Airfoil maker to run in Vulkan... and in the old OpenGL API then Airfoil Maker used over 18,000 driver calls, but the change to Vulkan then the API uses just 5,700 or 70% less calls to do the same processing, that is a significant difference in speed and processing power.   But there is also a required reality check in using Vulkan, in what the API can deliver and what it can't deliver for your X-Plane experience. Basically Vulkan will only do the same rendering as you do now but simply faster and with more efficiency (hopefully smoother), but only again on a modern machine, if your computer's old it will still be old with Vulkan running, as it is still not yet multi-core either, but it can be in the future and that adds into the point that Vulkan will be a modern refinement to X-Plane and so there is a lot of room to expand and grow with the API.   OpenGL will still work with 2D/2D Panels, and will still be available for the rest of the life of X-Plane11, but X-Plane12 will not have OpenGL, so you will need to update to the newer API if you want to continue past X-Plane11, however why wouldn't you want to use it anyway?  Any addons that are currently written in OpenGL, would need to be rewitten in Vulkan as you can only use either one API in Vulcan or the other API in OpenGL and not together.   Particle Effects This feature has been in development at Laminar for a loooong time, years in fact...  "Particle Effects" for X-Plane was always noted as "Coming Soon", but never arrived. But now it is nearly there or here and to be included in v11.30. As with anything developed by Laminar the wait is usually worth it, and the new particle effect generator is certainly been well worth the long wait, as it is excellent.   Particle effects do things like spray water under the wheels, condensation, wing tip vortices, fire, smoke and heat haze, but in the demonstrations shown here the effects go far further than that, for one there is more than one effect going on at the same time, in this case a fire, but also included is the heat haze from the fire! This is very well done and the effect of the different adjustable heat hazes from the aircraft engines is extremely realistic, gone finally are the bad engine effects we have had to put up with for years with the thick black trailing smoke flailing behind your aircraft.   More clever is that adjustments to the effects can be made on the fly, or as the simulation is in motion, as the new particle editor setup is with key frames that can be adjusted and the layout panel is very similar to the current system used by the FMOD sound system. The effects are also extremely flexible in editing when you use these key-frame tables, and data-refs can be input into those tables, and you can use as many data-refs as you want to, which means that plugins can directly control those particle effects via scripting of the particle system. So in other words the particle effect engine is highly dynamic, highly flexible and and you can have as many effects as you want.   Particle emitters can also be attached to objects, and that is demonstrated in the fire video as not only is the wing engulfed in flames, but the ground catches fire as well and the light of the fire is also reflected on the ground!...  no doubt that developers are going to have a field day with this one, there are going to be certain a lot of really excellent particle features that will simply blow your mind, or your aircraft up.   Summary I noted in the early part of the year that of what I wanted in X-Plane for the future, and it wasn't more fancy features, and it certainly wasn't more long slog betas with complex ideas being bugged out...  personally I wanted the basics upgraded or fixed, the ones sitting over there in that "too hard" basket that are just too easy to ignore for all the fun stuff. To a point I got my wish here from Laminar Research, as the points addressed here in this roadmap were not in that huge "wow" factor of cheering from the masses. But they do cover some of our really important aspects of what makes X-Plane a great simulator, I personally think the huge changes that migrated through X-Plane10 and X-Plane11 are now really over, but the aspects to focus on now are just as important and now even more so.... I think you could call it the maturing of the simulator.   With VR (Virtual Reality) now not taking up the main resources at Laminar Research then Vulkan/Metal and the promise of a much more stable, more modern and far faster simulator has now replaced VR development in that context, Laminar note a beta by the end of the year, but they are not promising really anything in case they hit major problematic backstepping issues, personally I think they are more further ahead than that and already done most if not all of the main heavy lifting already with Vulkan, but the problem with these things as it is not in the actual building, but it is in the refining and testing stages that brings out the issues and then the time-frame then quickly goes out of the window, so if no really nasty issue(s) comes up then I would certainly expect Vulkan/Metal in beta before the end of the year.   With other aspects of systems in X-Plane now moved over to Phillipp Ringler, now Austin Meyer's can concentrate on his main forte, in aircraft dynamics. This aspect showed well at the Expo with Phillipp already delivering oxygen, ice-anti-ice enhanced systems and propeller governor changes and in far faster period than Austin would do over several years. It also allows Austin to focus on fixing the dreaded ground effects, but his work and changes will certainly deliver far more than that in the overall flying realism and build or now even expand on his founding simulation aerodynamic models, we won't know until we use them, but it will certainly make for some interesting flying.   Phillipp Ringler's older portfolio of Avionics is still also very active as well with the release here of branded (GA) autopilots now added to PlaneMaker, this now puts authentic autopilot systems being available to everyone and not just the payware developers, although they are also the biggest beneficiaries of the new avionics features, and heavy autopilot systems also got a lot more clever functionality.   The "wow" factor was still present at the Expo with Laminar with there long promised Particle Effects engine, certainly it was well worth the wait, as it is extensive, flexible, dynamic and will make a seriously big impact visually on X-Plane, the only worry is in for some developers not to overuse the effects, in most cases simple clever effects are far better than "way too much", but I think it will be the latter that will be more evident than the initial.   So overall it was a very good six month roadmap for X-Plane, missing is of course was any notes on the ATC, of which Laminar developer Tyler Young was not at the Expo (at some "stupid" wedding in Jamaica), if that made any difference we will never know, but I am sure that Ben Supnic would have listed anything if it was actually on the table.   Next stop for Laminar is beta 11.30 late US Summer, and it should be a beauty, because almost all the core items and features announced at the Expo will be released in that version.   A full video of the presentation is available below... but not the Q&A.   ________________________________________   Analysis by Stephen Dutton 12th June 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews