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    • Scenery Review: PAEN - Kenai Municipal Airport, Alaska by Northern Sky Studio   By Dominic Smith   Introduction Welcome to another scenery review, this time we're delving into Northern Sky Studio's rendition of Kenai Municipal Airport.   Promising a meticulously detailed virtual expedition to the eastern shoreline of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, this package endeavours to recreate an essential linchpin in the global aviation network. In the case of Kenai Municipal Airport, it's a mix of straightforward simplicity and robust functionality that sets it apart, much like many Alaskan locales. With this scenery package, the spotlight isn't solely on the meticulously rendered structures or runway textures, but also on the subtle elements of the airport's surroundings. By employing detailed orthophoto imagery, the developers aim to provide a genuine and engaging representation of the region in X-Plane. Harnessing the capabilities of X-Plane 12, Northern Sky Studio aims to create an experience that mirrors reality. However, the crucial question as always is whether it fulfils these lofty aims. With that said, let’s see how it fared…  Installation & Documentation Once purchased, you are given the option to download two versions of the scenery - one suitable for X-Plane 11 and another for X-Plane 12. In this review, I'll focus on the X-Plane 12 iteration. The download size is quite hefty, hitting the scales at around 2GB. For a scenery pack of this size, especially for an airport like Kenai, this is quite a substantial download. The installation was a straightforward affair. After downloading the package and unzipping the files, I only needed to place the "PAEN_Northern_Sky_Studio" folder into my Custom Scenery directory. However, the documentation that accompanied the scenery pack was somewhat sparse. It did include a helpful link to download orthophoto scenery for the surrounding area, which offered to provide decent image quality (more on this later). However, for those seeking a higher resolution solution, you can add your own orthophotos by using Ortho4XP.     The documentation also provided some insights into the real-life Kenai Municipal Airport and a changelog, but it didn't supply any airport charts or additional information. Granted, these details can be sourced online, but their inclusion in the documentation would have contributed to a more convenient user experience. This could be an area for potential enhancement in future updates from the developers. First Impressions Looking down upon Kenai Municipal Airport, I noticed the included photographic overlay immediately. The imagery was of high quality, adding a layer of realism that lent a positive start to my overall impression of the scenery. A quick inspection of the main runway hinted at an encouraging level of detail and authenticity, something I planned to investigate further later. The precision in the placement of airport buildings was noticeable, with each structure carefully situated to mirror its real-life counterpart. The strategic positioning of the surrounding forests and the mapping of roads leading to and away from the airport were other notable features. Their seamless integration with the ortho scenery contributed to a sense of environmental coherence.     Ground Level Returning to terra firma, the custom 10m mesh offered in this package emerges as one of its standout features. Compared to the lower quality mesh that typically comes with X-Plane, this is an upgrade that noticeably enhances the terrain. It transforms a generally flat surface into one with subtle elevations and depressions, significantly boosting the authenticity and realism of the airport and its environment. However, it's worth noting the abundant grass present in the scenery, that whilst visually impressive, might affect framerates for users with less powerful systems.     Moving to the runway textures, they certainly deserve a special mention due to their excellent quality and detailed representation. Elements such as cracks, dirt, and rubber marks were meticulously added, contributing to the sense of authenticity. The integration of these textures with the provided orthophoto is seamlessly executed, devoid of any abrupt transitions, a testament to the level of skill invested in this scenery.     Signage The signage within the scenery delivers a mixed bag, as some elements, especially those found on the runway and taxiway ground textures, have been well-executed. The markings are clear, faithfully mirroring real-world airport signage. On the other hand, there are some areas that could use a little more polish. For instance, the signs sprinkled around the airport become noticeably fuzzy when examined up close. While this detail doesn't significantly undermine the overall quality of the scenery, it becomes apparent to those who enjoy delving into the finer points of scenery exploration. The signage is by no means substandard, but a bit of extra refinement would certainly align it better with the high standards demonstrated by the rest of the scenery package.     Main Entrance & Carpark Those with a fondness for striking airport entrances will likely find Kenai Municipal Airport appealing. As your virtual self approaches the main entrance, a tastefully designed, convincingly authentic airport sign greets you. A noteworthy point of interest here is the well-executed T33 "Shooting Star" aircraft, displayed prominently on its stand. This addition considerably bolsters the realism and grandeur of your virtual arrival at the terminal building.   Transitioning beyond these points of interest, you'll find a rather substantial carpark, populated with numerous parked vehicles. Although these appear to be default X-Plane models, they fulfil their role effectively. Therefore, whether embarking on a virtual long-distance journey or a brief regional hop, the main entrance and carpark at Kenai Municipal Airport aim to provide a welcoming and immersive start to your journey.   Outbuildings & Clutter Kenai Municipal Airport is brought to life by a diverse array of outbuildings and miscellaneous objects, strategically placed to mimic the environment of an authentic airport. An assortment of GA aircraft are cleverly situated throughout their respective parking areas, contributing to the lively atmosphere of the airport. Standout structures, such as the Alaskan Civil Air Patrol building, the wooden control tower, and the North Air building, are among the well-crafted features present in the scenery.      The airport grounds boast high-quality textures exhibiting realistic weathering effects, enhancing the overall immersive experience. The environment is punctuated by various ground equipment and vehicles, including UPS trucks, cones, trailers, and rubbish trucks (dumpsters for my overseas friends). Another distinctive feature is a pair of weathered aircraft floats, which again, adds to the authenticity. An array of work vehicles such as diggers, bulldozers, and steamrollers further add to the busy, working ambience of the airport. The addition of a fire station, equipped with its respective vehicles, presents another layer of realism to the airport's portrayal.     Airport Terminal Exterior The crown jewel of this scenery undoubtedly has to be the main terminal building as it’s one of the best I have seen in X-Plane 12. This striking recreation is a testament to the developers' skill and the remarkable attention to detail that has gone into its modelling. The exterior boasts superior texturing and 3D modelling, meticulously accounting for even the smallest features. These include benches, waste bins, air conditioning units, tiny satellite dishes, and power terminals affixed to the walls, and last but not least, and perhaps the most important item of all (for a cyclist anyway), a bike rack!      The developers have utilized Physically Based Rendering (PBR) in their texturing approach, which is especially noticeable when sunlight illuminates the airport structures at various times throughout the day. The window design is worth special mention, as modelling realistic glass in a virtual environment can be challenging, but in this case, the developers have executed it successfully. In contrast to the earlier-mentioned airport signage, the signs and lettering on the airport terminal are of exceptional quality, remaining sharp and legible even when viewed up close. All these elements come together to create an impressively realistic and intricately detailed exterior that truly embodies the spirit of the airport terminal.     Airport Terminal Interior Stepping inside the terminal building, one is immediately struck by the exceptional attention to detail that seamlessly extends from the exterior into the interior. My eyes were first drawn to an array of meticulously labelled check-in desks, each representing its specific airline. The variety of logos adds a delightful layer of authenticity to the environment and was a feature that I found particularly pleasing. A noteworthy feature is the inclusion of 3D human figures. The presence of people is essential to capture the hustle and bustle of a thriving airport, and their absence would have significantly detracted from the overall impact, regardless of how impressive the other details might be.     As I explored the terminal, with the curiosity of a first-time traveller, I was captivated by the meticulous attention to detail. This was evident in features like a precisely modelled bench, the baggage conveyor belt, large posters, and a map highlighting the local attractions. The incredible quality of the floor textures also stood out. It might seem like a minor detail, but the immaculate sheen of the floor, even down to the reflections it cast, was truly remarkable, demonstrating the developer's commitment to detail.     Capping off my virtual tour of the terminal interior, I had a surprising encounter with a rather scary bear (secretly modelled on my mother-in-law)! This certainly added a unique twist to my terminal experience. All things considered, the interior of the airport terminal offers an exceptional level of detail, contributing to a truly immersive X-Plane experience.   Seaplane Landing Area Kenai Municipal Airport also hosts a dedicated seaplane landing area, identified as 2W/20W. This addition, although not particularly detailed, brings with it a sense of diversity and caters to the interests of seaplane enthusiasts. The custom 10m mesh is subtly showcased here, replacing the usual flat mesh with slight banking, reflecting the physical features of many real-world seaplane landing areas.    Night Lighting As the sun dipped below the horizon at Kenai Municipal Airport, a new spectrum of features came to life. Starting on the runway, the lighting was executed brilliantly, with dynamic illumination enhancing the realism of the runway signs. The carpark was also touched by the same dynamic lighting, lending it a remarkably realistic look appropriate for the nighttime setting. The approach to the main terminal was elegantly illuminated, with soft lighting effects offering a warm welcome to arriving virtual passengers. Moving inside, the interior lighting of the main terminal was executed with the utmost finesse. It's evident that the developers have taken care to align the interior lighting effects with the terminal's overall ambience, fostering a captivating night-time experience.     However, it's worth noting that my system experienced a significant framerate drop whilst exploring the scenery at night. While a smooth 35fps was observed during the daytime within the terminal, this figure plummeted to around 14fps at night. While this may be more of a general X-Plane issue rather than a specific problem with the scenery, it's an aspect that users with similar systems might want to keep in mind.     Wider Area Armed with the optional orthophoto scenery tiles for the surrounding area, I set out to evaluate their quality. Although I could have created my own tiles with Ortho4XP, positive feedback about the provided tiles persuaded me to use them instead. For those who revel in bush flying, these expanded scenery additions are a worthwhile consideration, as they can substantially enrich your flight simulation experience. However, it's important to remember that these optional tiles can be quite large. For instance, the downloadable tile for the area surrounding the airport alone clocked in at a sizable 3.2GB! Despite its size, the enhanced detail it provides more than justifies the storage space it occupies.   Conclusion Upon completing a thorough exploration of Kenai Municipal, it's undeniable that Northern Sky Studio has delivered an outstanding creation. This package, designed for both X-Plane 11 and 12, presents an admirably detailed representation of the real Kenai Municipal Airport. The top-notch orthophoto imagery, the accurate placement of buildings, and the faithful reproduction of the broader landscape, all combine to offer an immersive flight simulation experience. The standout feature of this package has to be the main terminal building, meticulously recreated with exceptional detail and realism. From its exterior textures to its interior design, every element conveys authenticity. The lighting effects within the terminal and across the broader airport environment further enrich the experience, although some users may experience a decrease in framerates during night-time scenarios. The seaplane landing area is a distinctive inclusion that separates this package from many others, while the enhanced 10-meter mesh and the exceptional quality of the runway textures speak to the painstaking attention to detail that's been invested in the development of this scenery package. The provision for optional orthophoto scenery tiles for the wider area is a noteworthy addition, offering bush-flying enthusiasts an extended area of exploration.     While the package boasts numerous highlights, there are a few aspects that could benefit from further refinement. For instance, the clarity of signage, particularly when scrutinized up close, could be improved. More detailed documentation, including charts and key information, would provide users with a more comprehensive guide. Additionally, the marked dip in frame rates during night-time scenarios could be an issue for those using less powerful systems. Yet, these points are minor considerations within the broader context of the overall quality and immersion of the package   In conclusion, Northern Sky Studio's Kenai Municipal is a valuable addition to any X-Plane user's repertoire. Despite a few minor setbacks, its overall quality, meticulous attention to detail, and the immersive environment it creates make it a must-have for anyone pursuing an authentic Alaskan X-Plane experience.   ________________________     PAEN - Kenai Municipal Airport by Northern Sky Studio is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:   PAEN - Kenai Municipal Airport Priced at US$14.95   Features Includes both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions The most detailed replica of airport buildings and vehicles High-resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High-resolution building textures Compatible with all X-Plane 11 and 12 features Custom surroundings  All materials created for full PBR Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all airport buildings Custom orthophoto for the airport and surrounding areas Excellent performance Realistic glass reflections World Traffic compatible Custom mesh for the airport area (Ortho4XP) Compatible with a default mesh   Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.1 GB Current version: 1.1 (April 18th, 2023)   Review System Specifications Intel i5 10400 – 32GB RAM - Nvidia Asus RTX 3060 – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit   __________________________________   Scenery Review by Dominic Smith 31st May 2023 Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).    
    • NEWS! - Thranda Design announces coming BN-2A Islander for X-Plane 12!       Noted as in a "Release Candidate" phase, Thranda has announced that the veritable Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander as their next X-Plane 12 release, as per all Thranda aircraft it is part of the Dynamic Generation Series. Notable is that the aircraft also comes with 8K textures, which can be heavy on light 4GB Graphic Cards, (my guess 8Gb GC cards will be recommended). No other feature details are currently available, and neither is the release date, but within a few weeks would be my guess.   The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a British light utility aircraft and regional airliner designed and originally manufactured by Britten-Norman of the United Kingdom. Still in production, the Islander is one of the best-selling commercial aircraft types produced in Europe. Although designed in the 1960s, over 750 are still in service with commercial operators around the world. The aircraft is a light transport with over 30 military aviation operators around the world.   The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a high-wing cantilever monoplane with a rectangular fuselage and two wing-mounted engines; early aircraft were equipped with a pair of piston engines while later production models may be alternatively fitted with turboprop engines in their place. The rectangular cross section fuselage, which is furnished with a conventional tail unit and fixed tricycle landing gear, can accommodate a single pilot and up to nine passengers in a commuter configuration, or operate in a mixed cargo/passenger capacity. The cabin can be rapidly reconfigured, allowing for a single aircraft to undertake a diverse range of tasks within a minimal period of time. Often referring to the type as "The world's most versatile aircraft" Britten-Norman promotes the Islander's low direct operating costs, minimal maintenance, and its stability in flight as major attributes of the aircraft.     Images are courtesy of Thranda Design   The Thranda Design BN-2A Islander will be available from the X-Plane.OrgStore for X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 on release. ________________   News by Stephen Dutton 29th May 2023 Copyright©2023: 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 Right Reserved.    
    • NEWS! - HpH 304 S Shark 18 Meter Sailplane released by STMA     STMA? know that one, but "haven't they been quiet for quite a time?". Shade Tree Micro Aviation are what you would call "oldtimers" in the lexicon of X-Plane Folklore. In fact their own explanation by STMA staff about the origin of “Shade Tree”. Jim indicated that the name reflected “our laid-back philosophy of creating models”. Todd Denning replied: “It was because it started as an amateur effort like shade tree mechanics”.   So the gang are back, but the release is a Sailplane (glider), that is another shock, mostly STMA released Bush or Utility aircraft, so again a sailplane is a little odd, but we will go with that one.   The HPH 304S is a high-performance single-seated, flapped racing class sailplane. It is offered in a convertible wing configuration with long and short wingtip extensions allowing both 15- and 18-meter wingspans.   X-Plane 12 does have a very different and new thermal environment. And this STMA aircraft is fine-tuned into those finer behaviors.   Features Full 3D cockpit with ample room for functional growth as demand dictates. GPS equipped for cross country tasks Polar data and soaring references included for your best start in soaring experiences Flap and Airfoil data modified for best negative flap experience LX-styled Instrument package featuring both Imperial and metric data MacCready number setting on the variometer for optimum energy management Variometer and Speed to Fly modes toggle to provide airspeed guidance Vario with both color and sound indicators provide instant energy gain/loss assessment Configured correctly for both winch and aerial tow pulls Ballast control from the STMA dock feature – load it or lose it from cockpit Rain windscreen for when the clouds let go Edge of envelope flight characteristics  Accurate stall speeds for all configurations 45-degree dives in full spoiler configuration without overspeed Accurate approach and landing speeds     The STMA guys are back, so check out the their latest (interesting) release.   Images courtesy of STMA ________________     Yes! the HpH 304 S Shark 18 Meter Sailplane by STMA is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:  HpH 304 S Shark 18 Meter Sailplane Price is US$29.95 (currently on sale for US$22.95)   Requirements X-Plane 12  Windows , Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum . 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended  Current version : 12 (May 26th 2023) ________________   News by Stephen Dutton 29th May 2023 Copyright©2023: 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 Right Reserved.  
    • NEWS! - Extra 330- 350 SC and EDGE 540 v3 by Vertigo Design updated to X-Plane12     If you want an out and out aerobatic aircraft then it is an easy choice, well two actually from Vertical Design. The older one is the Extra 330 - 350 SC, named after Walter Extra. Or the newer type called the EDGE 540 by ZIVKO Aeronautics inc. Both aircraft have now been converted to X-Plane 12 specifications.   Extra 330- 350 SC the Extra 330SC is a Lycoming AEIO-580-powered single-seat aircraft with improved roll rate and easier roll stops, designed specifically for Unlimited category competition. It is the only single-seater aerobatic aircraft currently being built by Extra. The Extra is the World Champion Aerobatic Aircraft for 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and  2016!   The Extra Flugzeugbau EA300 is a two-seat aerobatic monoplane capable of Unlimited category competition. It was designed in 1987 by Walter Extra, a German aerobatic pilot, and built by Extra Flugzeugbau. Then both the 330 & 350 SC aircraft were upgraded machines from the original EA300 concept aircraft.   Features : Now includes two  models: The Extra 330 SC and the Extra 350 SC Compatible with both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 PBR textures (for incredible dynamic reflections) Incredible flight model made for real pilots (already used by a real Red Bull Air Race pilot !) High quality 3D model 3D visual for damaged structures Immersive sounds Realistic pilot animations High quality liveries and HD textures     EDGE 540 v3 Based on the super racer Edge 540 v3 (Created by ZIVKO Aeronautics inc.), the EDGE 540 v3 is a single-seat aircraft derived from the well known Edge 540 aerobatic aircraft. This version has been especially improved for racing. Huge engine inlets, big typical aerodynamic winglets, stunning agility, incredible precision, high engine efficiency.   The EDGE 540 v3 has won almost every races during Red Bull Air Race championships ! It's the ultimate evolution of this aircraft, maximized for racing. Only release a year ago for X-Plane 11, here is the X-Plane 12 version of this very popular aerobatic machine.   Capable of a 420 degree per second roll rate and a 3,700 foot per minute climb rate, it has been flown to victory on the international Unlimited aerobatics circuit several times since the mid-1990s. The aircraft is powered by a Lycoming AEIO-540-EXP (modified) 6-cylinder air-cooled horizontally-opposed piston engine, 310 hp (230 kW) at 2700 rpm - rated power.   Features : Both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions included PBR textures  Accurate  flight model High quality 3D model Specific Racing Instruments modeled after the real aircraft Animated ejection Lever (removes the canopy) Immersive FMOD 3D sounds Realistic pilot animations High quality liveries and HD textures     Images are courtesy of Vertigo Design   Both aircraft are noted as"Updates", so are to previous purchasers, a free upgrade to the the X-Plane 12 version, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account. For any new purchasers of either Vertigo Designs aerobatic machimes, then there are current sales deals available.   Model by Vertigo Design  Support forum for the Extra 330 SC Support forum for the Edge 540   Images courtesy of Vertigo Design ________________________________________     Both Extra 330 SC and Extra Edge 540 V3 by Vertigo Design are now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!...    Here:     Extra 330- 350 SC Price is US$29.90 (on sale for $18.68/saving $11.22(38%))   Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux  4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended  Download Size: 194 MB Current version : 12 - May 23rd 2023   EDGE 540 v3 Price is US$29.90 (on sale for $18.68/saving $11.22(38%))   Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux  4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended  Download Size: 194 MB Current version : 12 - May 23rd 2023 ________________   NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 29th May 2023 Copyright©2023: 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 Right Reserved.  
    • Scenery Enhancement: X-Oil Rigs Vol 1, Vol 2, and X-OilShips Vol 1   By Stuart McGregor   This review, while concise, provides an intriguing look into three related X-Plane add-ons: X-Oil Rigs Vol 1, Vol 2, and X-OilShips Vol 1. These add-ons, created by the Skytitude development team, can be conveniently located at the X-Plane.Org Store.   Intended as supplementary or replacement packs for the default X-Plane oil rigs, these add-ons specifically appeal to helicopter enthusiasts. The Oil Ships add-on also presents an alternative to the default moving X-Plane aircraft carrier and frigate. For those, like me, who appreciate rotary-wing aircraft, these add-ons offer a significant enhancement to the often-sparse marine environment.   Retailing for $16.90, they are compatible with both X-Plane 11 and 12, with this review focusing on their usage in the latter version. When it comes to downloading, the oil rigs offer a single option, while for the ships, both X-Plane 11 and 12 options are available, so choose simply according to your version of X-Plane.   The downloaded content comprises files in a single folder along with a brief text file outlining installation instructions. The installation process is straightforward: simply drag and drop the content into your Custom Scenery folder. If you download both volumes of oil rigs, they are designed to work in tandem, enriching areas with multiple rigs. The oil ships, on the other hand, come with three livery options for the two vessels. Instructions for changing liveries are outlined in the included text file – it's as simple as moving a few files. Overall, it's a user-friendly process.     The installation process doesn't warrant much more discussion; it's as simple and streamlined as can be. However, it is worth noting that if you opt for all three add-ons, the cumulative download size comes to slightly under 600MB, with individual files varying between 130 and 260 MB. My experience downloading and installing was smooth and hassle-free.   The product images and descriptions available on the org store effectively highlight the top-notch, high-resolution PBR texturing and incredibly intricate object design. This includes a range of variants and splendid night lighting, aspects that I'll delve into further along in the review. But how do these details translate in actual usage?   Well, if you're keen to dive in and explore the objects without investing too much effort in finding them during a flight, X-Plane makes it easy for you. Just navigate to the Flight Configuration menu, select Special Starts, and you can directly approach Carrier, Frigate, Small, and Large Oil platforms. This feature enables a quick and convenient inspection of these new objects. Alternatively, you could use the map to select one of the aforementioned approaches. If you're as eager as I was to test these additions, these shortcuts provide an efficient way to do so.     The craftsmanship of all the models is commendable, and the texturing certainly captivated me. As someone who has designed similar objects in the past (The Handy Object Library), I'm reasonably well positioned to appreciate the quality on offer here, observable both during daylight and nighttime hours. The shadowing effects and the aged look of the textures during daylight convincingly simulate the essence of real-life versions.      The meticulous application of high-resolution PBR texturing and detailed object design truly shines when cloaked by nightfall. These maritime titans, bathed in a warm glow, possess a certain allure as their prominent features emerge from the darkness. However, this isn't merely about aesthetic appeal; the lighting also fulfils a critical practical function. For those bold enough to embark on night flights, the strategically positioned lights mirror the actual challenges confronted by real-life maritime pilots. This results in a visually stunning spectacle that enhances the immersion and excitement of navigating the marine world in X-Plane.     The oil rig add-ons come in four distinct structural variants, spanning from a compact mono-tower to larger FPS-type installations. Each variant is exquisitely modelled and textured, demonstrating a high level of attention to detail. On the seafaring end, the add-ons include a traditional oil tanker and an LNG carrier, and as touched on earlier, there's an option to customize the ship liveries, adding a layer of personalization to the experience. Admittedly, I encountered some difficulty locating the Volume 2 oil rig objects occasionally - a situation possibly influenced by my choice of flight paths. Nevertheless, after a fair bit of exploration, I was able to discover them.     One minor point of potential improvement revolves around the lack of animation on these objects. On the default oil rigs, I believe the cranes are animated, yet, in a real-world landing scenario, the pilot and Helicopter Landing Officer would likely prefer cranes to be stationary with booms stowed. So, the current "default" setup might be a more realistic depiction of what happens in real life. This observation is indeed minor and does not compromise the overall flying enjoyment, however, attempting to land on these helidecks poses enough challenges without the addition of moving cranes.     In my view, it would be a welcome addition to have a few 3D characters dispersed across the various objects. The structures are certainly large enough, and this would boost the realism of the scene, plus it's somewhat eerie to be "alone" at these locations, day or night, with no signs of life around. While not a major concern, it's something that could be considered for a future update. That being said, these objects certainly serve as a fantastic enhancement to both X-Plane 11 and 12, and as indicated in the product documentation, I noticed no discernible impact on my framerates, which was a pleasant surprise. This might just be the motivation I need to start upgrading some of my own similar objects!   At night, particularly with the ships, the meticulous lighting on these structures truly comes to life, offering a vividly detailed and atmospheric view that dramatically elevates the overall experience. The sight is, quite literally, a shining example of the rich environment that these add-ons provide.     Having thoroughly explored all three add-ons, I really appreciate the additional level of detail and enjoyment they provide, and I firmly believe that for helicopter enthusiasts, these sets present a valuable addition to the X-Plane world. Whether you possess one, two, or all three, I am convinced you won't face disappointment if you relish piloting helicopters in the maritime realm. They provide an excellent platform for refining your take-off and landing skills to your heart's content.     There's a unique intensity that comes with hovering over the ocean from a mere 100ft that can truly sharpen one's focus, and as such, I tip my hat to real-life pilots who navigate these conditions daily, given the extremely limited room for manoeuvre. I'm simply relieved that X-Plane conveniently includes a reset button!   __________________________________     X-OilShips Vol. 1 by Skytitude is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:   X-OilShips Vol. 1 Price at time of writing US$16.90   X-OilRigs Vol 1 by Skytitude is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:   X-OilRigs Vol 1 Price at time of writing US$16.90   X-OilRigs Vol 2 by Skytitude is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:   X-OilRigs Vol 2 Price at time of writing US$16.90   X-OilShips Vol. 1 Features:  High Quality Gas Tanker and Oil Tanker Vessels Objects  6 Different Livery Variations  High Resolution Materials with PBR effects  Realistic Night Lighting  Highly Optimized for saving fps  X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions   X-OilShips Vol. 1 Requirements:  X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, or Linux Current version: 1.0 (March 30th, 2023) Download Size: 260 MB   X-OilRigs Vol 1 Features: High Quality Offshore Oil Rigs 3D Model High Quality Offshore Oil Towers 3D Model Two Color Liveries for each type of platforms Excellent Physical Based Rendering Effect Gorgeous Night Lighting Highly Optimized   X-OilRigs Vol 1 Requirements: X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, or Linux Current version: 1.10 (February 21st, 2023) Download Size: 207 MB   X-OilRigs Vol 2 Features: X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, or Linux Current version: 1.10 (Feb 21st, 2023) Download Size: 130 MB   X-OilRigs Vol 2 Requirements: Insane quality of Oil Platforms 3D Mesh Awesome 4k resolution textures with PBR effects Gorgeous Night Lighting Highly Optimized for saving FPS Compatible and can be used together with X-OilRigs Vol. 1 Originally made for X-Plane 12, working fine with X-Plane 11   Review System Specifications: Windows 10 64 Bit CPU Intel i9-9900k 64GB RAM Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Oculus Rift S   Scenery Review by Stuart McGregor 28th May 2023 Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)     
    • Scenery Review: KPVC - Provincetown Municipal Scenic Scenery for X-Plane 12   By Dominic Smith   Introduction The realm of X-Plane is continually growing, and the latest addition to its expansive landscape is KPVC - Provincetown Municipal, a scenery package which aims to deliver an intricate virtual representation of a remarkable location in New England. Situated at the northernmost tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is known for its picturesque beaches, prominent landmarks, and rich historical tapestry. These characteristics are woven into the virtual fabric of Provincetown Municipal, where intricate detailing extends from everyday airport objects to the texture of the pavement. Beyond the confines of the airport, the package encompasses notable landmarks such as Race Point Lighthouse, the Lifesaving Station Museum, the stately Pilgrim's Monument, and many other features. To enhance the immersion, elements like local vegetation, accurate road layouts, and the Province Lands Bike Trail have been integrated into the scenery. With the incorporation of XP12’s dynamic weather and seasonal features, this scenery package promises a realistic flight simulation experience...so let's see how it fared!    ``   Installation Installation of KPVC - Provincetown Municipal was, as is the case with most X-Plane sceneries, extremely straightforward. Once I had downloaded and then extracted the package, it was just a case of placing the main scenery folder into my 'Custom Scenery' directory of X-Plane. It's worth noting however, that while the package doesn't include ortho photos due to differing preferences among users, it is highly recommended to use them for this area, as it allows you to approach the airport over the sand dunes, which significantly enhances the aesthetic appeal of the scenery.   For my exploration and testing of the package, I opted to install both simHeaven's X-World America and my own ortho tiles of the area, something the developer highly recommends doing. As with any X-Plane scenery add-on, ensuring the correct scenery load order was present in my scenery_packs.ini, was the final step of the installation process.    Documentation The included documentation for the package is concise but informative, consisting of a single PDF. The document, written by Jim “RILockGuy” Wright, provides a wonderful introduction to the airport and the surrounding scenery. Having been impressed by Jim’s freeware sceneries in the past (mentioned several times in the Weekly Digest at the Org), it was great to see this package was created by the same talented individual. Also included in the PDF were airport charts for KPVC, an addition I always appreciate.    KPVC Municipal Upon approaching KPVC (by car that is), I was first greeted by the airport sign, standing proudly off to the side of the road. It's a simple detail but well-executed with clear, sharp lettering, which also delivers the enticing message that Boston is only a twenty-minute flight away…something I am ashamed to say, I have still yet to do!      As I ventured closer, the airport's main car park came into view, populated by a variety of custom vehicles, and whilst not quite matching the quality of Laminar's default models, they certainly added both a realistic and personal touch to the area. I also noted various signs designating spaces for disabled users and airport staff, a testament to the scenery's attention to detail. The ground textures around the car park were also impressive, with parking restrictions clearly marked for drivers to see, and flying overhead, as if a beacon of hope, was an animated American flag, gracefully swaying in the wind.      Shifting my focus to the main terminal building in front of me, it became evident that considerable care had been taken to mimic its real-world counterpart faithfully. A variety of items dotted the vicinity, including benches and an intricate armillary sphere, further enhancing the realism. Being a keen cyclist (for certain warm months of the year), I had to smile when I saw a mountain bike, complete with its very own branded "Schwalbe" tires, now that’s what you call attention to detail! While the textures and modelling of the airport building were generally satisfactory, I felt that the exterior walls could have incorporated some weathering, considering the airport's coastal location. That said, I really appreciated the partially modelled interior at the rear, which is a feature that quite often tends to be overlooked.      Adjacent to the main airport building, were several maintenance huts, plus a single aircraft hangar. The texturing and modelling of these followed the same general style and quality as the main building, maintaining a consistent look across the airport grounds.     The airport apron and taxiways featured custom ground textures that were visually engaging, with markings indicating restricted areas being neatly displayed. The ground clutter around the airport was abundant and seemingly custom-made: from tires, cones, and a lawnmower to pallets and maintenance vehicles. The only element that seemed to be missing was people!     Having cross-referenced the X-Plane rendition with the real airport on Google Maps, I was delighted to see just how well this virtual representation captured the essence of its real-life counterpart. Despite the small room for improvement, the quality and level of detail are a testament to Jim's remarkable skill and dedication. Race Point Beach Transitioning from the central airport complex, my journey led me to the depiction of Race Point Beach within the scenery. This location is characterized by an assortment of elements that, despite the notable absence of virtual beachgoers, work together to create an authentic representation of this popular locale.     The beach scene included a detailed parking area, a distinctive beach pavilion (complete with restrooms and showers), the Oversands permit building, the Ranger Station, and lastly, the Lifesaving Station Museum, which when combined, helped create another layer of depth to the package.      The modelling and texturing at Race Point Beach were consistent with the standard set by the main airport, fitting seamlessly into the overall scenery. While the texturing worked well in this context, a hint of additional weathering could have further enhanced the realism. As my exploration of Race Point Beach came to a close, a distinct silhouette on the horizon caught my eye…the Race Point Lighthouse, marking my next destination.  Race Point Lighthouse Departing the peaceful surroundings of Race Point Beach, I made my way to Race Point Lighthouse, an enduring beacon that has withstood numerous storms over the years. The openness of the location meant that every structure and object was subject to intense scrutiny, a challenge for any developer.    Approaching the lighthouse, the weathered textures hinted at its long service and endurance, lending it an authentic, historical touch. The accompanying structures like the oil shed, keeper's house, and whistle house, all displayed details consistent with the rest of the scenery. Supplementary elements, such as split-rail fences and capstans, subtly enhanced the overall environment. What caught my eye, however, were the small details: the partially buried anchor, the wind-responsive turbine, and the solar panels, all hinting at a thoughtful fusion of history and modernity.   The lighthouse stood as a definite highlight, its richly weathered textures and meticulous detail creating an immersive focal point in the scenery. While the surrounding structures, crafted with care, seemed slightly less weathered, this detail did little to detract from the overall authenticity of the scene. Indeed, in the context of the sparse coastal landscape, the distinctiveness of the lighthouse and its ancillary buildings created a balanced aesthetic, effectively capturing the spirit of this storied seaside locale. Turning from the lighthouse, I set my sights on another of Provincetown's notable features, the Pilgrim's Monument... Pilgrim's Monument Pilgrim's Monument, located in the heart of Provincetown, is an unmistakable, 250-foot Italian Renaissance-style tower, overlooking the many houses and structures below (thanks in part to X-World America). While the textures weren't photorealistic, they did a perfectly good job of representing this iconic structure. Despite the less detailed approach, the authenticity of the model remained credible, creating a convincing landmark in the virtual landscape.   Wood End Lighthouse and Long Point Beach Lighthouse My journey concluded with the Wood End and Long Point Beach lighthouses, both situated south of the airport. True to their real-world counterparts, both lighthouses bore a striking resemblance to each other. Upon closer inspection, their texturing and modelling demonstrated the consistent quality I had come to appreciate throughout the scenery. However, compared to the numerous pictures I had seen on Google Maps, I felt they missed some of the weathered nuances typical of such coastal structures. Whilst the virtual models were commendable, a touch more weathering could have added to their realism. Nonetheless, this was a minor observation, and it didn't diminish the overall quality of these lighthouses, each standing as a detailed and integral part of the scenery.     Conclusion I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring KPVC - Provincetown Municipal Scenic Scenery for X-Plane, as it was a truly engaging experience. The picturesque location, with its diverse landscapes and seascapes, allows for a wide variety of flights to be undertaken. The highlight of this scenery is undoubtedly, its numerous detailed areas, which consistently piqued my interest during my journey. From the airport facilities to the beaches, the level of detail is commendable. Likewise, the comprehensive documentation that accompanies the package enhances the overall authenticity and user experience, and despite using a midrange system, I experienced no framerate issues, even when using the recommended ortho tiles and X-World America add-ons. While the overall texture quality was good, some structures could have been more weather-worn to increase the realism in certain areas. Additionally, the lack of human figures was noticeable, which, if included, could have added to the vibrancy of the environment.   In summing up, KPVC - Provincetown Municipal Scenic Scenery for X-Plane is a carefully crafted piece that offers a deeply rewarding experience. While there are minor areas for improvement, these don't overshadow the impressive craftsmanship and detailed features of this scenery.   It's a standout offering that would be a superb addition to any X-Plane library, delivering a unique and immersive experience whether you're a casual flyer or a seasoned X-Plane enthusiast!    ________________________     KPVC - Provincetown Municipal Scenic Scenery by Ocean State Sceneries is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:   KPVC - Provincetown Municipal Scenic Scenery Priced at US$19.00   Features  KVPC Municipal, with attention to the smallest details, like broken bench slats, keypad locks and padlocks, handicap-access buttons, and even scrapes on the pavement from drooping gates. Race Point Beach, featuring the parking area, the beach pavilion with restrooms and showers, the Oversands permit building, the Ranger Station, and the Lifesaving Station Museum. Race Point Lighthouse, an important landmark on the RWY 07 approach, featuring the lighthouse, the oil shed, the keeper’s house, and the whistle house, along with split-rail fences, capstans, a buried anchor, a working wind turbine, and more. Pilgrim’s Monument, located downtown, a 250-foot Italian Renaissance style tower that acts as a prominent visual landmark in the area. Wood End Lighthouse and the Long Point Beach Lighthouse, and all the buoys and skeleton towers listed on the current area NOAA charts, blinking their true-to-life lights in colors and intervals. Local vegetation, roads, signs, and even the Provincelands Bike Path is represented, fully making use of XP12’s weather and seasonal features.   Requirements X-Plane 12 Windows, Mac, or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended   Review System Specifications Intel i5 10400 – 32GB RAM - Nvidia Asus RTX 3060 – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit __________________________________   Scenery Review by Dominic Smith 25th May 2023 Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).    
    • Enjoy your well-desreved break Stephen, and many thanks for all your contributions to our XP community. Looking forward to your future reviews.
    • X-PlaneReviews : Traveling and Away   There is never a good time to have a break in X-Plane because it is always 24/7 in something coming along, and with all the new releases and updates relating to X-Plane 12. But I will be away for a week from today until Monday 29th May 2023 in taking in some fresh air and traveling.   The site however will not be completely without content as there are some really great release reviews all lined up for you to read and explore and there is some really great stuff coming...  So still check in regularly as you usually do and catch up on those great releases...   Thanks everyone for your commitment to X-PlaneReviews and see you all again next week.   Stephen Dutton
    • NEWS! - AOA updates Van's RV-8 /8A Duo to X-Plane 12     The RV-8 is a tandem two-seat, single-engine, low-wing homebuilt aircraft sold in kit form by Van's Aircraft. It has a baggage compartment in the nose, between the cockpit and the engine firewall and room behind the back seat for additional baggage. These features, 174 knot (200 mph) cruise speed and stable handling make it a nice cross country traveling machine as well.   The plane is powered by a 200 hp Lycoming gas powered piston engine and has a two blade constant speed propeller. Throttle, prop and mixture controls fall easily under your left hand while your right handle holds a center control stick. So the RV-8 feels like a WWII fighter as you sit under a clear Plexiglas sliding bubble canopy and you fly it the same way.   First released May 5th 2019 for X-Plane 11 by Angle of Attack (AOA). The Van's Series has had five updates (X-Plane 11), this sixth update is the conversion of the RV-8/8A to X-Plane 12. Notable also is the native Apple M2 silicon support now that SASL have updated the host plugin to v3.16.1. X-Plane 12 effects are of course also now available.   Notable is that you can purchase the Van-8/8A either separately as either the "Tail-Gear" or "Tri-Cycle" variants, or both together as a "Duo" package.   Version XP12 1.0  (May 20th 2023) SASL (free) version 3.16.1 with native Apple M2 silicon support Completely re-engineered light aircraft dynamic flight model to keep up with X-Plane  aerodynamic model, X-Plane 12 edition New canopy rain effects Object lighting and normal maps tailored to X-Plane 12s new environment lighting New optional 'AOAs Extras'; enhanced G1000 PFD and MFD displays Brake With Stick option can be selected separately from other extra features Optional memory function to save aircraft configuration and fuel load between flights Removed GFC 500 autopilot control panel. Autopilot control now uses default G1000 PFD (left side)/ MFD (right side) autopilot mode buttons and select knobs.   Tail-Gear version   Tri-Cycle Version   Now fully compatible with X-Plane 12 Features     Accurate flight model     Detailed cockpit and exterior with animations, manipulators and PBR textures     VR-Ready     Custom particles emitters     Customized Garmin G1000 PFD and MFD     FMOD Sounds     Ground equipment     Animated pilot     Dynamic pilot POV camera options (non VR mode)     Automatic AI plane tracking pilot POV camera capability (non VR mode)     Garmin GFC 500 Included in the package     5 HD liveries + more than 30 liveries available at www.x-plane.org     Comprehensive User Guide     Photoshop Paintkit    The Van's RV-8/8A was reviewed by X-Plane Reviews by Peter Allnut (X-Plane11 version); Aircraft Review: Van's RV-8 /8A Duo by AOA Simulations   Images are courtesy of Angle of Attack ________________     Yes! the Van's RV-8 /8A Duo by Angle of Attack is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   Van's RV-8 /8A Duo (both aircraft) Price is US$32.00   Van's RV-8 Tail Gear (Single Aircraft) Price is US$24.00   Van's RV-8A Tri-Gear (Single Aircraft) Price is US$24.00   Requirements X-Plane 12 - X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 12 (May 20th 2023) ________________   News by Stephen Dutton 21st May 2023 Copyright©2023: 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 Right Reserved.  
    • Aircraft Review : Cessna T337G Pressurized Skymaster by Skytouch   The Cessna 337 Series is well renowned, not for that it is a high-wing Cessna, but for it's odd push-pull configuration, in that it has a combination of forward-mounted tractor (pull) propeller, and backward-mounted (pusher) propeller. In the Cessna 377's case it was two Continental IO-360-C air-cooled flat-six piston engines, 210 hp (160 kW) each, producing a combined 420hp, plus the unique "Twin-Boom" tail arrangement to accommodate the rear (pusher) engine/propeller. Basically the 337 was a standard Cessna forward fuselage, but with a totally different concept at the rear.   Clever, a twin-engined aircraft in a linear configuration, but the aircraft was highly regarded for tactical operations, say Fire Fighting and Search and Rescue, the Cessna O-2 Skymaster (nicknamed "Oscar Deuce") was the military version used for forward air control (FAC) and psychological operations (PSYOPS), again also a primary aircraft for noted reconnaissance, observation (e.g. artillery spotting), border patrol and fishery protection roles. So the aircraft is a unique stable platform with some very distinctive tasks, this made it very popular and altogether 2,993 variants were built between 1963–1982.   Hold on, "haven't we already done a Cessna 337 review already this year?". Well yes X-PlaneReviews has done another 337 review, as earlier in 2023, as Thranda Design released their Cessna 337F Skymaster. So why another one?   Besides the usual X-Plane, when one comes out, then so does another in the simulator's idiosyncratic way, there is also a significant differences between the two aircraft, this is the "G" model, not the Thranda "F" model, and there are big performance differences between the two aircraft. The earlier "F" had the IO-360-C Engine (210 HP), were as this "G" model has the TSIO-360-H Engine, Turbocharged and being a Pressurized 337 version, it was also up-rated to 225 HP.    Another point to make early is that the High-Quality Thranda is US$10 more than this T337G, of which again the Thranda is low priced for the amount of detail and features you get with that aircraft, this Skytouch T337G is a more simpler aircraft in every area, but it is still a nice Cessna 337 for around the sub-$30 category.     First impressions are very favorable, "This is nice", remember this is SkyTouch's first payware developer release, so for a first time effort it is all very splendid.   More Low-Def than Hi-Def, but the work here is very good. Panels are well represented, as is the NRM highlights and appendage, rivet, screw is visually very well accomplished, cockpit/cabin glass is also well done, shaped and nicely tinted.     Wing and detail is also nice, the cambered detailing of the wing tips, that defines the chord is there but not as pronounced as the Thranda...  however the detail and shape is good, there are the black simulated "Icing Boots" (required for high altitudes), but no blank leading edge option.     The 337 has a split Flap system around the Twin-Booms, and an inner and outer flap. The detail is very good, with the correct aerodynamic panels surrounding the edges of the flaps, not as so beautifully done as the Thranda, but still worthy here. The roof mounted twin VHF roof aerials are distinctive on the C337, as is the large cooling inlet for the buried rear engine. All are nicely represented, but there is no modeled rear engine fuel cap? Small details but important.     The twin-booms support the very wide large central horizontal stabiliser, which is huge, with built in elevator and trim tab. Each boom has each internal left and right rudder cables and the right hand boom carries the trim cable, the left boom the elevator cable.     I have to be honest in that I'm not at all thrilled at the design of the twin-rudders...  as they don't fit correctly, as there is a wide gap at the lower point, but even in the movement they show they are both not correctly applied to the tail? How could you get that so wrong? The lower tail (plastic) module is shown, but not the same upper tail tip plastic module?     Outwardly the landing gear is a simple arrangement, most of the complex mechanism is hidden behind the panels, the nose gear rotates sideways on retraction, and the rear spindly legs also have to contort to fit in the rear bays. A lot of owners take the rear gear doors off, as maintenance wise they are a pain. But the detail of the gear is very good here, with nicely detailed wheel hubs and tyres. Note the brake cable along the arm.     The required vortex generators, to create a smoother rear (breakaway) airflow from the aircraft with the powered propeller above are also present.   From the model 377F the aircraft had the split airstair entry door, smaller rear side windows. This complies here, but the lower door animation is locked in with the upper door animation, which is a wasted feature. The split door arrangement was done so the observer could look out of the upper part of the aircraft in flight, even throw items out of the aircraft in say a search and rescue task, but that feature can't be done here? They are both open or closed together...     ...   the small rear right side luggage hatch is missing as well.   Look through the door and it is a nice cabin. The 337 cabin is all one big high ceiling box, with that second engine mounted on the rear of the fuselage, the cabin is known to be noisy as well, with the same proximate installation. Seats are basic, meaning old fashioned by today's standards with not much realistic detail, so there is not much realism in the design or colouring, but they match the cabin decor design, again an off brown.     Instrument Panel is excellent with a light grey background, and small black highlights... but not the two-tone or wood lower.      The Yokes are the square "Beefy" style, and both (not individually) can be hidden, by pressing the shaft.     Lower left is the Electrical panel, note the lower "Cabin Pressure" gauges and settings knob. Twin-engine (front and rear) starter switches and "Cowl Flaps", with AP (Autopilot) panel lower. Central left is the petite gear lever and the large pitch trim wheel.    Right lower are the Flaps "UP-⅓-⅔-FULL". Cabin Temp, Heater Temp and defrost, on the far right lower is an opening cubby box, with your (AviTab) tablet inside. Above is the ADF panel.     The AviTab tablet is small, but very well done in being set on the center of the Yoke on a frame (AviTab plugin is required).   Instruments are clear, consists of main centre the "Standard Six" layout, Airspeed, Horizonal Horizon, Altitude... top row. Turn Coordinator, Heading Indicator, V/S (Vertical Speed)... lower row. Far left OAT/VOLT dial, and right VOR NAV 1, VOR NAV 2 and ADF Pointer.     Two areas on the instrument panel are standard 337...  the excellent twin engine gauges with Manifold Pressure and RPM. A Fuel Flow (FF) and EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature). The highlight on this side is the engine dials that show (top row) fuel gauges (two tanks, 46 GAL each), OIL pressure. (lower row) CYL head temp, and OIL temperatures. Other dials cover SUCTION, Outside Air Temperature and a large spare Altimeter.   Avionics stack consists of; standard Radio is based on the Bendix/King KMA 28 TSO radio (but not the official unit). Then both a GNS 530 (upper) and GNS 430 (lower) and again are not authentic (but with Laminar pop-outs), then a KX 165 COM2/NAV2 radio and bottom is a KT-76C Transponder.   Central is the six lever; THROTTLE, PROP and MIXTURE pedestal, which is large and basic in design, with a large yaw (Rudder) trim wheel set below. Far lower is the Autopilot, button control panel, the AP design here is quite basic and far unlike the lovely green glowing version you had the Carenado 337. Note on the far (right wall are the "Door Seal" switches, there are two "Dump" (air) levers right of the pedestal.     Left wall has the (non-working) Circuit Breaker (fuses) panel, but the avionics power switch is on here. Side window opens...     ...  on the roof are the two main fuel tank switches, and the large window shades work. I'm not going to hide the fact that there are holes all over the cockpit, you can see sky behind the instrument panel and around the doors, gaps around the avionics? small details but they count.   Menu The menu is a small three tab affair, activated by the left lower screen tab... the three configurations are; CONFIG (Configuration), WEIGHT and SETTINGS.     CONFIG - You can set "Covers & Chocks" in a window shade, chocks and engine (front and rear) covers. But you can't separate any of the elements?     Second option is a 300 Lb Cargo Pod underside the fuselage. You can select on (or off) all the external lights individually or use the "All External Lights to ON" setting, final setting is a "Cold & Dark Start'. Upper right corner is the "Checklist", it is basic but well done and can be moved around the screen.     WEIGHT - On this tab you can set the 337's weights. Both pilot's and two passenger weights can be set, as also can the "Cargo Pod" (If attached) with bags, and behind the seat with parcels. But there are no final weight or CofG (Centre of Gravity) details or graphs, a requirement on any adjustable weight settings.     There is also the choice of six different 3D pilots, both male and female and people of colour.     SETTINGS - There are four "Settings" selections. Top is "Smooth Animation", for those who have poor framerate capacity. Second are the "Windows Reflections", which you can turn off, but it also turns off the X-Plane 12 rain feature as well. Then there is a general "Engine Sound Volume", and finally the option in either to use Lbs or Kg in weights.   _______________ Flying the T377G SkyMaster Roof Fuel tanks on, AUX fuel pumps on and up goes the mixture levers...  then you start first the front engine, and then the rear.     Sounds are good, I mean really good, the chatter at low-revs then the arrrgh of the power. And you can easily differentiate between the front and rear Continental IO-360-H air-cooled flat-six piston engine sounds, or chatter, important here. This is a 337, so the rear engine has the ability to overheat, so it needs constant fresh air from the nose propeller to keep it within a reasonable temperature range, hence you start the nose engine first, even then you can't sit (or muddle) around all day as the rear engine temperature rises quickly. There are of course the front and rear cowlings, of which would always be open on the ground...   There is no point to point flight route here today, this flight's objective is to see how high I can fly a Cessna. The Ceiling of the T337G is 20,000ft, the usual around 12,500ft non-pressurized. All the engines now warmed up, and off goes the park-brake.   First job is to "Seal" the door, but the wide open gap around the bottom of the door says the developer didn't take the sealing idea seriously? In fact there are holes everywhere, around the glass and even through the dashboard?     You don't need to use the rear engine for taxiing, there is enough pull from the front to keep the rear at idle until you get to the runway. The T337G is nice to taxi, and fast too if you want to move on past say the usual 12 knts.     Because of the unique engine arrangement and rear fuselage configuration, the rear engine creates instant aerodynamic flow over the huge horizontal stabiliser and elevator, so the pitch feel is there from the word go...  so you have to be aware in the way you use the pitch earlier than usual. On the real 337, the pitch trim is motorised automatically to compensate for the extra elevator pressure loadings, and will work (trim) from the moment you leave the runway. The rear propeller is highly exposed as well... throwing up rocks from the rear wheels can cause grief (in other words expensive repairs), and you have to leave the runway cleanly, or not in a too pitched up angle, in not catching the ground with the propeller sort of skill.     But the unique push/pull engine configuration also works for you in not creating any (depending on the power outputs) yaw, as the inline counter-rotating propellers give no directional thrust pull, so there is no asymmetrical thrust or yaw to the power output of the propeller, basically you go straight down the runway with no corrections or slight rudder corrections. I usually bring the front (puller) up to 90% power, tracking centreline I then bring up the rear (pusher) to match it...  it feels like a late Turbo push in your back when the extra power comes in.     Powering down the runway you have a lot of forces, that PUSH in your back, and the huge aerodynamic control coming in, a big clean wing and blown horizontal stabiliser give you a lot of feel in the controls early...  slightly pull back on the Yoke at 100 knts (no flap) and your flying.   It's responsive...   and once clear then a 10% pitch to climbout...  you have ton's of power behind you, so the 337 will climb-out very easily, here you have the extra 225 HP per engine, and so you feel the push, Rate of climb is 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s), but you can do a 1,000 fpm comfortably... The Thranda 337 detail of the retraction storing of the spindly gear was excellent, here it is just as good, but with the exception for one area. The nosegear twists sideways before retracting, but here the wheel (twists) retracts before the cowling door(s) are fully open, so the wheel cuts through the door itself?     The rear gear installing into the bays is however excellent, as the complicated door arrangement opens and the gear furls in by twisting and going up at the same time, great to watch. But with the gear down it produces a climb penalty of a bit over 100 FPM, raising it carries a temporary 240 FPM hit with all the theatrics of the doors being open (did I mention that a lot of owners take the doors off, yes I did).       Once clear of the runway, I get a feel for the aircraft and trim it out. The 337 is an extremely stable platform, now clean it is easy to trim and cruise at 3,000ft.     Sounds are fabulous, with great thrumming from both engines as you power along. Top Speed for the Turbo is 211 kts, with a Cruise Speed of 204 kts, 210 HP standard engines gives you 173 kts at sea level, and 165 kts cruise at 10,000 ft, so the Turbo is significantly more powerful.   I was disappointed in the poor instrument (dial) backlighting, it makes the instruments hard to read? There are "Post" lighting storks as per usual on a 337, but they don't seem to work here either, the two adjustment knobs are hard to use as well, so overall the lighting is disappointing.     This is the Pressurized Skymaster, so you have to set the Pressurization on the lower left panel. You need to set the "Cabin Altitude" dial to around 6,000ft to 7,000ft, obviously make sure the cabin is sealed ready as we did earlier. Ready, you then turn on the "PRESSURE" switch to ON. Then start your climb. There is a trick on finding the right power setting (speed) to climb rate, I found 130 knts to 700fpm about ideal up to 12,000ft.     And your climbing, if slowly towards the your 20,000ft ceiling...     ...  it's weird, because you don't usually fly this high in a General Aviation aircraft, passing through 10,000ft and your up there in the clouds, and the ground is still falling away beneath you. You are used to this view in an airliner, but not in a GA aircraft....     12,500ft is the "Death line", no pressurization and you will start to lose oxygen, and the blackness will form. X-Plane simulates this blackout, redout, and hypoxia effect, but you can turn it off on the "MENU/SETTINGs/FLIGHTMODEL/Simulate blackout, redout, and hypoxia effects" tickbox setting. So if you have got your pressurization panel set correctly and switched on, you should be able to continue flying on up higher as the system keeps your environment/cabin set at a lower (7,000ft) comfortable pressure.     Your always aware of the "Cabin Altitude" (warning) light, if it comes on you've lost pressurization...  not a good thing.     Climbing now through 14,000ft, it's cold up here, and my windows then froze over (so did the wings!). There is an Windshield anti-ice System, and working de-icing boots on the wings, and both (thankfully) worked in clearing the ice from the windows and wings, both important tools to have while flying this high.     After 12,500ft you start to lose climbing pitch, you start off around 600fpm, then slip to 400fpm, then as you go though 15,000ft your struggling at 200fpm, the more climb pitch on the AP, the more you lose speed, and so there is a limit or tradeoff in going on up higher....  I chickened out at 16,000ft, my aim was 18,000ft, but it would have taken ages to do that last 2,000ft snail climb.     Even to make the 16,000ft climb had taken me 90 nm! "Yikes" that is a long way up...  but at last I could mixture the engines back (a little) and settle into a cruise speed of around 145 knts.     But it's an impressive little aircraft, flying this high as a Dash 8 Q400.   Lighting There are two instrument panel lighting adjustments, the instrument back-lighting is weak, as in the daytime, it needs more "oomph", there is the glareshield dropdown lighting, it helps, but your still crying out for more brightness to light up the instruments.     There is a single overhead forward light, that is not quite strong either, as are the two roof mounted rear seat lights.     The AP panel looks nice in the dark, but again you want more colour (green) in the buttons, overall it's all there but not effective.     Externally it is quite good. Separate Taxi and Landing lights in the nose, standard Navigation (single white right boom taillight), strobe and a big red beacon again on the right side tail.     It was a long way up to 16,000ft, but going down is easy, you just pull back on the power and use the right amount of power to control your descent speed, no need for the pitch AP wheel control, and drop you do, even 2,000ft fpm is easily achieved, but around 600fpm-800fpm is the best option.   This is an X-Plane 12 aircraft (an X-Plane 11 version is part of the package), and X-Plane 12 can throw up great flying vistas, certainly in the late afternoon sun.     I'm quickly back around a 337's normal flight altitude of around 10,000ft, I'm heading for Hervey Bay (YXHB) airport, just over World Heritage-listed K'gari island.     Trimmed out at 5,000ft and under manual control, this is flying pleasure...  I have always liked the 337, The Carenado version was excellent, the Thranda is great as well, but I like Skytouch version just as well, it is a simpler aircraft than the Thranda 337, and in many ways better for it from a flying aspect.     All the X-Plane 12 effects work, we have seen the misting and icing earlier, and the Librain effects are good as well, they stream over the windows quite thickly. HVB - Hervey Bay is hard to pickout, there are no Nav-Aids to help you here, it is all VFR flying, so there is a lot of looking and pointing, then lining up the aircraft to runway Rwy11, your focal point to the approach is HBAWI waypoint, then straight in.     Flaps are 4 phase 3 degree movements; UP - 1/2 - 2/3 - FULL, get the speed right and there is simply no ballooning, just slight drop of speed, even down to the FULL setting, the Skymaster will stay calm and collected with no fighting of the aircraft...  critical on approach.   Down goes the gear, noisy, and you need to give the arrangement in transition time to unfurl and set it's self ready in the landing configuration.     Over the threshold and your in the 70 knts range, perfectly stable...      ...  60 knts in the flare. The flare has to be perfect, as you are very aware of that rear propeller hanging down. Slight 5º-6º degrees to keep the nosewheel slightly higher than the rears, then let it down. When the rears touch you bring down the nose carefully, the slow landing speed and excellent lift really helps here to get it right.     From then on it is just touching the foot brakes to keep the 337 straight, and you can then power down the rear engine to idle.     Once parked, you have to De-Pressurize the cabin (yes you could do this earlier below 10,000ft if you wanted to). You dump the air-pressure, via two pull knobs set right of the pedestal, by pulling them and you can hear the air noisily disappear. Then you can unlock the "door seal", to exit the aircraft.     Liveries There is a blank white + three liveries with the Skymaster 337. All are not particularly creative, your really asking for more liveries for the price, and no USAF O-2A military feels a bit mean.   __________________________ Summary The Cessna 337 is a very unique aircraft in the history of aviation. It is only one of the few created and built in the Push/Pull configuration, or a forward PULL engine and a rear PUSH engine, and a twin-engined aircraft in a linear configuration, to accommodate the rear push engine it has a two boom and twin tail arrangement, with a standard Cessna fuselage and forward engine layout. Yes it's totally unique, but it all works.   X-PlaneReviews has done another 337 review, as earlier in 2023, as Thranda Design released their Cessna 337F Skymaster. However this is the "G" model, not the Thranda "F" model, and there are big performance differences between the two aircraft. The earlier "F" had the IO-360-C Engine (210 HP), were as this "G" model has the TSIO-360-H Engine, Turbocharged and also being a Pressurized 337 version, it was also up-rated to 225 HP. The word "Pressurized" is the point here as the aircraft can fly above the 12,500ft blackout limit to a ceiling of 20,000ft.   This SkyTouch version is not in the same quality wise in the Thranda Hi-Res and feature heavy category, but it is also US$10 cheaper as well, However it is a very decent T337G with a very well and realistic working pressurization system, plus the same for Anti-Ice and working working de-icing boots on the wings. Notable it is also a first release from a the designer, so we will always give a little leeway there.   The Flight Model is based on real data, and you feel the quality of the performance and handling of the 337, sounds are very good as well, as are the few features provide by a menu with a built in checklist.   But for this price range (Sub US$30), there are a few niggles. There are a few poor modeling points, twin-rear rudders are not set correctly, and there are holes everywhere in the cabin, around the (so called "Seal" door), and sky is visible through the instrument panel in various places. Nose wheel cuts through the not fully-opened doors, and the internal lighting is quite below par, certainly the instrument lighting in the daylight. Certainly more features on the Menu would be nice as well as separated entrance cabin doors. Seats are bit bland as well. There are no final weight or CofG (Centre of Gravity) details or graphs on the menu, but it is a good Weights&Balance Menu including six different pilot choices.   But I seriously like this T337G, it has the higher performance, plus that ability to fly extremely high (for a General Aviation aircraft). Simplicity can sometimes provide more enjoyment, for the cost it actually great value, so I do recommend highly the SkyTouch T337G Skymaster as you would not be disappointed in the balance it delivers here. __________________________     Yes! Cessna T337G by Skytouch is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   Cessna T337G Pressurised Price Is US$29.95   Requirements: X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 (both versions included in sperate zip files) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Version 1. February 14th 2023   Installation and documents:  download for the Skytouch_T337G is 2.80Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder.   Full Installation is 3.32Gb   Documents supplied are: USERManual_T337G_VER1.1.pdf   Checklists are part of the Menu   The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder. _____________________   Review System Specifications Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.05r1 (This is a beta review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 ___________________________   News by Stephen Dutton 15th February 2023 Copyright©2023: 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 - KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim     Philadelphia International Airport is the primary airport serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The airport served 19.6 million passengers annually in 2021, making it the 21st busiest airport in the United States. The airport is located 7 miles (11 km) from the city's downtown area and has 22 airlines that offer nearly 500 daily departures to more than 130 destinations worldwide.   KPHL is the fifth-largest hub for American Airlines and its primary hub for the Northeastern United States, as well as its primary European and transatlantic gateway. Additionally, the airport is a regional cargo hub for UPS Airlines and a focus city for the ultra low-cost airline Frontier Airlines.   StarSim's previous X-Plane scenery release was the excellent; KSTL - St. Louis Lambert International Airport by StarSim, Checkout the X-PlaneReviews review.   Key Features: Accurate and highly detailed recreation of PHL Fully modeled interior for all seven terminals High-resolution PBR texturing for ground and objects Animated custom jetways, SEPTA train as well as road and airport traffic Realistic custom Mesh High-quality (3in/7.6cm per pixel) Orthoimagery  Custom road network Accurate 2023 airport layout Optimized for X-Plane 12 and its new features (compatible with X-Plane 11 too)     Images courtesy of StarSim ________________     Yes! the KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :  KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport Price is US$24.00   Requirements X-Plane 12 or  X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.56 GB Current version : 1.0 (May 19th 2023) ________________   News by Stephen Dutton 20th May 2023 Copyright©2023: 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 Right Reserved.    
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