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    • I’d argue the really tricky ones are the older jets like the FJS 732 and 727. With all or most of the flap hanging out and the slower spool up on the older jet engines more than a little care is needed to keep speed and descent right. Step into the Toliss 321 or Zibo and you’ll appreciate how far aviation has come in the past few decades.
    • Behind the Screen : April 2021   What do you consider the hardest thing in a procedure to fly in the X-Plane Simulator...  put your hands up!  Most will say the landing, and that would be a good answer, as getting the landing right will give you a huge satisfaction and a smile on your face, get it wrong and your faced with a huge X-Plane particle fire and usually a broken aircraft. But the landing procedure is not the one thing that can totally ruin in a simulation... in let us say a perfection "block to block", absolute "Nailed it" getting it all right scenario.   On landings they can range from the very tricky (i.e. windy), to bouncy wouncy...  "lucky there" and then getting away with it jumpy or hoppity hop landings, but those sort of flight elements are natural as well in the real world as the loads of YouTube video's show.   The hardest procedure I think and the one that can totally ruin a simulation as per a reflection on real world flying, is the descent from your cruise altitude to the circuit phase... tricky, that "you must be joking".   But it can be a horror if you don't get it right and it also can make an absolute and total fool of you, and even worse, actually make you have to do the dreaded "Call off" and circuit back around to a landing.   Here is the problem. Get the descent wrong too early and you will spend an eternity at a low cruise altitude and flying at a slow speed before you (finally) enter your landing circuit, the opposite and the worse is the about face situation, is coming into the last tight turn too high and you are simply "up there" and the runway is "way down there", so you are faced with that dreaded go-around, and having to accept a very embarrassed about face of having poor piloting and judgement skills.   Most will be shaking their little know-all heads and saying things like "Know the 30 nautical mile, to 10,000ft rule" for the correct descent, or use the Altitude Target Marker in the Primary Flight Display. But both those aspects are quite and actually still ambiguous when deciding your descent profile. First the Altitude Target Marker. the ATM is a brilliant tool to set your altitude right at the entrance marker of starting your approach circuit, and usually correct of being correct at the point of altitude. But annoyingly a lot of the ATM's will consistently move or mostly stretch as you descend if your speed changes, so you are required to readjust to the marker, there is a change in speed to still reach the correct height at the right time...  above all though it is the perfect descent tool.... but the ATM tool is only available on certain aircraft to use.   The 30nm by 10,000ft rule is however correct if you get your descent speed precise, but there are many other factors. Wind and the type of landing circuit you are entering...  the best is a full complete landing circuit that mostly allows you to fly past the airport in a parallel course with two 90º turns into the final approach. So your aim is to get to the correct altitude, either 8,000ft or 6,000ft along the start of the parallel circuit. These approaches are also good for flattening out the altitude corrections and speed changes, because you have the time and space to adjust the aircraft (flaps and speed) to enter the final approach, so they are always my pick if possible on any airport approach phase. The hard ones are the direct in approach were as you don't have the time to do these procedures, and sort the aircraft out. Obviously most users would prefer the direct in and land approach pattern because it shows off their flight jockey skills, but they are seriously hard work in a busy cockpit, and worse you have no backdoor if you get your descent calculations wrong.   On most approaches you can't trust the flightplans or STAR (Standard Terminal Arrivals) approaches either. A lot of STAR approaches put you in far to close in the final turn to the start of the ILS beams to make a decent connect, plus your altitude BETTER be absolutely spot on or you will simply miss, flyover or not connect to the beams...  a trick that I do is go well below the beam at say a 1800ft height into the start at the usual 3,000ft height at the start of the beam and this will give you time (and space) to readjust the aircraft's heading after the tight turn-in to the ILS cone, and then connect later to the beam more than usual down the slope. Also to make that last tight turn in, then reduce your speed to at least the most second last or even the full flap settings, this reduces the going out too wide on the turn with a tighter and slower turn.   Another trick is to use the RNAV approach charts to readjust your approach. If you look at RNAV approaches they usually start the approach phase further out than the tighter STAR approach, and then add in a few more extended waypoints to the flightplan, to make the final turn (to the runway) and put you a bit further out from the ILS approach cone. I don't think this is actually cheating, because if you are doing the RNAV approach, then you would follow these waypoint procedures anyway. In most cases I do "always" edit these final approach waypoints to get my approach totally correct, certainly when there are two tight parallel runways that are set too close together, as again get the final turn wrong and you are flying down the wrong chute (oddly Johannesburg OR Tambo approaches always do this).   But the calculations from TOD or "Top Of Descent" to the start of the approach phase are critical in getting that absolute perfect "Block to Block" experience. First, I never use the noted flightplan TOD marker, it is usually wrong if you want a real life profile landing... most would say "what, what...  and what!". But following, I found most marker TODs required a very steep descent of excess way of 2,000fpm, plus the express speed that steep descent causes. I accept that my TOD is usually about 20nm before that official descent point, but I will wear that aspect to get it totally right in coming down realistically at the right descent rate and hitting my altitude marker.    Another trick is using the Airport VOR effectively. If you reach your TOD point and check your flightplan distance it may show something like 93nm to the runway, but check the airports actual VOR distance position and it may say a completely different story in say the airport is in being only 50nm away, in other words you can actually see the airport out of the window (usually at night) and you are flying at a speed that is far higher and you are closer to your runway than you actually think you are. Get it wrong and you will certainly reach the airport sitting too high or go too long.   Then comes the difficult descent speed...  remember the speed in any long approach is absolutely critical to get right, and again I veer to the safe side. When changing to a descent speed I usually set the Mach down to m.63, which should translate to 250knts when at the transition altitude. The aircraft should hold the mach number until you switch it over to the knots at the correct speed you want, although a lot of Airbuses switch from m. to knts as high as 30,000ft...  but most of the numbers of say m.70 will cross around 25,000ft. Okay it does look like I am a total control freak, and real life pilots may totally abhor these sort of flying skills.   But you are looking at a changeover position speed of around .70, or slightly higher depending on the size and weight of the aircraft. Obviously I abhor using Airbrakes, but they are sometimes required to meet the required altitude and at the correct speed. You know if you are on the right altitude and speed if you start the STAR entrance point at around 12,000ft-10,000ft (officially it is 10,000ft in the US),If you get your calculations right, and you should hit the numbers spot on to get that perfect set target of position and speed at the right place at the start of the approach phase, once there, I then reduce the speed and then start another 500fpm descent down usually to 5,000ft to 4,000ft before the last two final slow turns or follow the approach charts just on the money, if it says 8,000ft then be at 8,000ft, but change height the moment you leave that sector and get down to the next official altitude.   Most of the notes here would say that I fly slow, certainly you could hold a 300knt speed on the start of landing circuit phase, and even stevens and go for 280knts, of which is the initial approach speed I use quite regularly, but slower also means more time to react, and more time to get your procedures correctly, and more importantly if something goes wrong you then have the time and space to fix it. Oddly when I compare my gate to landing times with real world times, I am usually within a very close margin, even only around 3-5 min each side of the real service times (so I must be doing something right), Once I flew LON-HKG and landed just 2 min ahead of the real BA service, something I still let everyone know about...    The tricky ones can be the turbo-props, you set a slower speed and then the descent rate, but then the aircraft simply won't descend past say 500fpm, so you are simply not going down to the plan, in most cases you override the automation and set a negative trim pitch to "get that nose down", but in the time you have been wasting or wrestling with the aircraft, you are now too far past your descent point and now have to take a steeper dive to meet the altitude target (way)point. I hate that, I really do.   So I am not afraid of flying slow or say 250knts or even as slow at around 200kts (say a B737/A320) along the parallel circuit, it gives me time to adjust speed and height to get into the position of the final approach perfectly.   A lot of this descent planning goes on even before I even leave the departure airport, I check the approach charts and my assigned approach (STAR or RNAV) and make sure every waypoint is covered and correct. You would be surprised how messy (I.e. Rome) the approach waypoints are situated and following them can not guarantee a perfect approach path, and even if flying a manual approach circuit. So any FMS flightplan that can't be checked at the final approach phase can cause havoc when you get there...  this is why I rile so much against the poor Laminar FMS tool, because it is so out of date and too hard to check or fix your flightplan at "that end" of the flight.   Obviously the calculations are Distance x Altitude x Speed x Current Weight x Wind Direction, you can adjust (Speed and Vertical Speed) on the descent phase to keep yourself on the numbers, but the vital point in the flightplan is the TOD, and of when to descend in making sure you don't go to long or too short...   it is a very tricky procedure and even an art form, but totally fulfilling to get absolutely perfectly right and the need to do your homework before you depart to make it perfect the other end.   This months Behind the Screen is a few days late, sorry about that, but the exceptional JustFlight BAe146 review was a huge one to cover and complete for the review. There was a lot of ground to cover, not only working out all the systems, but on how they actually work, then put that into actual flying practise. There is no doubt on how really complex simulation is today, or the real depth of the systems. I will be very open and say I doubt I could actually cover everything on this or any these high grade study aircraft in the very short period (say a week) on from a release, the 146 will take actually a few months to get my full ticket on the aircraft, but that is part of the deal, and part of why simulation is so very appealing and gives you the huge satisfaction when you master it...   it was like cramming in for an exam, did I pass?   See you all next month.   Stephen Dutton 5th May 2021 Copyright©2021 X-Plane Reviews  
    • News! - Scenery Released : USRR - Surgut, Russia by  Xenomorph     Russia!  Surprisingly Russian scenery is very popular in X-Plane, and here is another address to add to your destination list. This scenery is of the international airport of the city of Surgut, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. The largest hub for local and international airlines in the Ural Federal District of Russia. It serves both Surgut itself and the adjacent districts of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug with a total permanent population of more than 750 thousand inhabitants. It has the status of a federal airport. The airport houses the main technical base and the headquarters of the Russian airline Utair, for which Surgut is an important hub.    Features Created more than 200 custom, unique objects for this airport with high copying accuracy Created vegetation as close as possible to reality Created very atmospheric and realistic night lighting on the apron and on the roads to the airport. The main terminal is illuminated by LED strips Created PBR surface textures, many static objects have reflections Created realistic runway and apron lighting based on real photos The Utair helicopter base has been recreated Service machines have been created The scenery is very well optimised for average performance computers       Surgut Airport (IATA: SGC, ICAO: USRR), also listed as Surgut North Airport, It services mostly medium-sized airliners. In 2018 Surgut Airport handled 1,758,310 passengers. In May 2019, the airport was named after Farman Salmanov, a renowned Azerbaijani geologist.   Images are courtesy of Xenomorph __________________     Yes!...   USRR - Surgut, Russia by  Xenomorph is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   USRR - Surgut, Russia - Xenomorph Price is US$19.50   Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 417 MB Current version: 1.03 (May 4th 2021) ___________________________   News by Stephen Dutton 5th May 2021 Copyright©2021: 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) All Rights Reserved    
    • News! - FlyJSim gives more Q4XP Details     We noted at the start of 2021, that one of the coming significant releases for the X-Plane Simulator in 2021 will be the FlyJSim Q4XP. Development has been now ongoing now for about three years, but for a while now the news coming out of FlyJSim has been quite sparse.   FlyJSim did a final update of their original Dash 8 Q400 Legacy, even now as far back as August 2019, in readiness for the far more higher quality and detailed version of the De Havilland Canada Dash 8 Q Series called Q4XP. The biggest expected feature is a fully custom Universal FMS and not the usual fall back Laminar FMS. Let us see the notes put forward by the main FlyJSim developers Jack Skieczius and Joe Vermeulen.   "Hi There, has been a long endeavor crafting this aircraft ranging all the way back to 2018. We’re not quite there yet today, but we can see the finish line. Q4XP Visuals We’re pleased to report that modelling is complete, and texturing is about 99.9% complete. The largest chunk of this work that we haven’t really shown publicly to date is the cabin work. Needless to say, Jack and Valdudes poured their heart and soul into this one. The Q4XP will be our most interactive and complete cabin we have ever made, expanding on the standards we set in the 737-200. Seats are highly detailed to look like those classic, wafer thin sheets of plastic of this compact economy class cabin. We're using a -78 seat configuration with our Q4XP. This includes the front luggage compartment and active emergency exit. We even have a toilet, but you aren’t quite ready to see that yet. It smells odd in there anyway… One of the coolest components is the cabin crew “Master Display Panel” (MDP), which allows flight attendants to control the environment within the cabin. So you can have full control over lighting on the overhead, sidewalls, doors and entrance areas. The MDP is also tied into our pneumatic system. Pilots have the option to allow FAs to take control of the cabin temperature, which is reflected in the Q4XP. And as always, you can expect exceptional night lighting in the cockpit and the cabin! This includes working sidewall lights (which flicker with a characteristic filament bulb), overhead lights, entry/galley, toilet and stair lights. One of the few systems we can talk about today is power management, and some of the changes we’ve made from the Q400 legacy based upon feedback and a desire to simulate the appropriate conditions. This also ties into a UI that we have developed to assist pilots. To help, we've provided a small diagram down below. The Q400 does not have an autothrottle however, for those of you worried about that, don't. We have properly simulated the FADEC flight ratings so all you need is set your throttle into the rating detent, and your good to go. Sounds simple, but let's go into more detail. The FADEC is responsible for the management of engine parameters and talking to other components that govern the engine. How you “talk” to the FADEC is split into two sub-controls, the “Power” and “Prop” levers. The "Prop Levers" controls you would normally use, set a condition that the FADEC uses to determine the power while the Power Levers are in the Rating Detent. You have four settings, start/feather, 850, 900, and 1020. This is how you set the FADEC to give you Normal Takeoff Power(NTOP), Max Climb(MCL), or Max Cruise(MCR). You can also override these via the engine control power to get derated takeoff power or max takeoff power. The "Power Levers" are set-up as a 1:1 ratio with gates to limit your ability to move the power levers into the wrong zones. There are only two gates, one to go into Reverse from DISC and one to go into flight mode from DISC. Going past the gates means using one of a number of commands you may already have setup and only requires you to hold it for a short time. These are any of the power up or down commands, which are defaulted to F1, F2 on your keyboard, or you can use the beta toggle, thrust reverse toggle, or thrust reverse hold. The Power lever angles diagram above shows how this 1:1 ratio works with respect to the Q400s FADEC and what power you may get overall. Because this is such a critical component of operation, we had a few problems to solve. How do we teach users about power rating? How do we provide positive feedback to users about where their throttle is all the time? How do we avoid the issue of the Q400 legacy, where the power lever was mapped 1:1, and consequently users had a difficult time distinguishing the beta range from normal power mode? How do we avoid users selecting the wrong setting at all times? That last one in particular is something we would like to avoid...  So to solve this, we’ve implemented a few things Created an on-screen overlay that will actively display when an axial input is detected. The UI will tell you where your aircraft axis is, where your hardware axis is for synchronization, and what mode is active, Separated out beta range/fuel cut-off portions of each axis with a gate. Requiring users to bind a button to pass into each region. This prevents pilots from accidentally cutting off fuel or going below the idle range (which is forbidden in flight). Implemented a subtle notch/notation for the prop lever Designed a system that is seamlessly accessible to multiple types of inputs. You can interact with these controls via mouse input, keyboard command, or bindables...and switch between these at will. Our intent is for something unobtrusive and functional, and we hope pilots appreciate this handy feature whilst they focus on the flying." The following images were taken directly from X-Plane with courtesy of FlyJSim and ShadeX If you want to peruse through FlyJSim's Boeing 732 TwinJet v3 Professional by FlyJSim, then it puts these images into some perspective on the sort of quality and detail that will be coming on the Q4XP aircraft. FlyJSim also previewed a few of the coming liveries with the Q4XP aircraft including; NextGen (Factory), Sata, Air Canada Express, SpiceJet, De Havilland House, Horizon (New), Horizon (old) and Aero. Hopefully our local QantasLink livery is on the list as well? Price and release date...  Price (not yet locked in) will probably be around that US$69.95 point as per the FlyJSim Boeing 737 TwinJet. Release, in putting my Nostradamus hat on, it will be late Q3 or significantly early Q4, but FlyJSim do have a record of releasing aircraft in August. Certainly this De Havilland Canada Dash 8 Q Series from FlyJSim is a must have to any X-Plane collection...   we still are waiting, but the signs are getting better on how soon we may be to getting our hands on the controls of one of the most exciting regional turbo-props flying today. Images and comment are courtesy of FlyJSim. DEVELOPER UPDATE 6 : Take your seats! notes are here ____________________________   News by Stephen Dutton 4th (May the force go with you) 2021 Copyright©2021: 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) All Rights Reserved  
    • News! - Aircraft Released : F-15C Eagle by FACO Simulations     The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is an American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing) and one of the all time greats of aerial combat aircraft ever produced. Following reviews of proposals, the United States Air Force selected McDonnell Douglas's design in 1967 to meet the service's need for a dedicated air superiority fighter. The Eagle first flew in July 1972, and entered service in 1976. It is among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat, with the majority of the kills by the Israeli Air Force.   The F-15 Eagle was created to replace the already surperior fighter in the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, used by the USAF, USN, and U.S. Marine Corps to provide air superiority over Vietnam, the only fighter with enough power, range, and maneuverability to be given the primary task of dealing with the threat of Soviet fighters while flying with visual engagement rules. A fourth-generation multi-role fighter the Eagle has reigned the skies for decades, but is now obviously feeling it's age.   As far as I know, FACO Simulations are new to developing for the X-Plane Simulator.   Features Virtual Reality (VR) ready, to include HUD and controls Realistic and functional custom-built radar with target tracking, locking, and target management Realistic Heads Up Display (HUD) with several Air-to-Air modes including Auto-Acquisition Control Augmentation System (A type of "Fly-by-wire") Accurate Multi-Function Display (MPCD) Functional Internal Navigation System (INS) for waypoint navigation without GPS which also allows for X-Plane flight plans to be loaded in flight Full FMOD sound integration with accurate audible warnings and tones Fully animated and functional 3D cockpit TACAN navigation Stored radio frequency "channels" which can be used for quick frequency changes Custom weapons Custom effects Cold'n'dark start-up Integration with other popular addons       Images are all courtesy of FACOsim   Design by FACO Simulations Support forum for the F-15C __________________     Yes!...   F-15C Eagle by FACO Simulations is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   F-15C Eagle Price is US$25.95 (reduced from US39.95, a saving of $10!)   Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.1 GB Current version : 1.0 (May 2nd 2021) ___________________________   News by Stephen Dutton 4th (May the force go with you) 2021 Copyright©2021: 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) All Rights Reserved    
    • News! - Scenery Released : ZYCC - Changchun Longjia International Airport by Star-Atlas     It is great that finally in X-Plane we have developers focusing on areas outside of the N-American/European centric of scenery, we need exotic destinations even if they are are far past the two hour time-short simulation focused users... spread your wings everyone, it is a big (X-Plane) world out there.   Star Atlas released a decent ZBAD - Beijing Daxing International, but X-Plane is very much bounded by the very poor data of landscape and with virtually no OpenStreetMap data in China, that the most regional data is collected from. So most areas in China are basically very empty (i.e. Boring) and not really a representative of the real country. Hopefully X-Plane12 will give us a more realistic interpretation of the Far East.   In this ZYCC - Changchun Longjlia, Star-Atlas has tried to cover the external airport areas as much as the internal, to create a more substantial simulation. As noted by Star-Atlas; "In this project, we switched our focus from the airport to the surrounding for the first time, while maintaining the overall quality. This paved our road towards creating more detailed scenery, and also laid a solid theoretical and practical foundation for the subsequent small scenes."   Features: 4K UHD Ground Texture Animated jetways (SAM needed) Animated Hangar Doors (SAM needed) 105 different types of vehicles with Chinese characteristic 25 plane model with customized livery Orthoimage with commercial license Customized vegetation Highly accurate taxiway guidance sign Highly accurate surrounding (building and road) layout Customized dynamic lighting Animated airport ground traffic Animated surrounding ground traffic Compatible with Gateway Scenery Terminal includes internal structure Excellent night effect Free update WT3 routes compatible Detailed Manual         Changchun Longjia International Airport (IATA: CGQ, ICAO: ZYCC) is an international airport in Jilin Province, China, for which it is an aviation hub in China's Civil Airport System. The airport is 31.2 kilometres (19.4 mi) north-east of provincial capital Changchun and 76 km (47 mi) north-west of Jilin City: responsibility for the operation of the airport is shared by both cities.[3] Changchun Airport is a regional hub for China Southern Airlines.   Images are supplied by Star-Atlas __________________     Yes!...   ZYCC - Changchun Longjia International Airport by Star-Atlas is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   ZYCC - Changchun Longjia International Airport Price is US$21.21   Requirements X-Plane 11  Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum, 8 GB+ Recommended Download Size: 921 MB Current Version: 1.0 (April 29th 2021) ___________________________   News by Stephen Dutton 4th (May the force go with you) 2021 Copyright©2021: 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) All Rights Reserved      
    • UK2000 have departed the Xplane space and therefore you might well have to consider their Xplane offerings as abandonware. I run this with TE and get good frame rates but I do think some of the other Boundless sceneries are better. Its a good subject though and was a missing airport in the payware space.
    • I purchased  this scenery couple months ago. It ran poorly fps wise and for lacking a lot of definition I was surprised. Yes I'm  running Orbx TE Britain but I run big airports from orbx without big issues except for eglc. I have since uninstalled it and use the previous freeware version which to me looks good enough. If it gets a big upgrade I will try it again. Wished UK2000 made XP11 version.    
    • I have bought this and had been looking forward to its release for some time. It is a challenging aircraft compared with many recent commercial aircraft releases but its worthwhile and easy to recommend. It also comes with a large and detailed manual which other developers would do well to copy. One good and bad thing. JF are being very responsive to issues people are raising, although none were show stoppers. But four updates in three days? Although Skunkcrafts does avert having to download the whole aircraft (again other developers might take note) but it seems every time I go to fly the 146 I first need to have to go through an update. The lack at present, although one is promised, of a custom FMC seems to be a constant complaint. Whether an FMC would have been in the aircraft, at least originally, is a fair point and the standard Laminar one is included. If you have to have an all singing and dancing FMC to fly what is after all a short haul aircraft I guess you might avoid, but using VORs together with some self navigation is equally realistic. Frame rates for me are fine, nearer to Toliss than Zibo. I have had issues using Better Pushback with the aircraft which I need to examine more.
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