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    • Aircraft Review : Airbus A380-842 XP12 by Peters Aircraft   The Airbus A380 is a very large wide-body airliner that was developed and produced by Airbus. It is the world's largest passenger airliner and the only full-length double-deck jet airliner in service. Airbus studies started in 1988, and the project was announced in 1990 to challenge the dominance of the Boeing 747 in the long-haul market.   I am first going to acknowledge that the Airbus A380 is an absolutely monumental aircraft. I personally have a lot of adulation for the machine. I think it has had a lot of unwarranted negative statements about it, but getting close to one, and flying on a A380 (four times to date), it is a brilliant addition to aviation. What the A380 achieves is not being recognised, and only then will its impact on aviation be it's lasting legacy when it is gone. So I am a little biased here in this review towards the aircraft, any A380 to fly in X-Plane 12 is going to fill my reasoning, it is the biggest and hardest long-haul machine to fly, or to fly correctly.     There has been three A380's in X-Plane, Riviere's A380 is the most known, but I never really liked it, as the performance was shocking. There was another freeware, but that design was even worse in it's cardboard quality. There was an announcement back in April 2024 by X-Works that they were indeed developing a payware A380, but that project is still very much in it's infancy...  the last payware A380 was from Peter Hager, or Peters Aircraft. Originally an X-Plane 10 era release, but the aircraft has then fell into a long decline, and since X-Plane 12's introduction it was grounded by the dysfunctional FMC and the lighting in being totally outdated and also non-functional.   Well that A380 aircraft is back, in an upgraded X-Plane 12 wrapper. This A380 XP12 is not a completely new development, it is basically the same one, and it is still Planemaker based, in that it makes the origins in the year 2013. Can a 11 year old design compete with the same today?   Outwardly it is different. The external model has been totally remodeled and now has 8K textures, it shows with the XP12 shine and the better detail, you can now read the textures as well, instead of the earlier ziggy buzzy lo-res images.     The Airbus A380 wing is a work of art. I have a 1-300 model of the A380 to marvel at the shape and design, it was built only 5 miles away from where I was born, my family relatives built that wing...  this area again has been remodeled, and it looks excellent in the bulky midsection and the hanging shape and design. Flaps are well done, and the leading edge foils are also well modeled.     The engines here are the Trent 900 Rolls Royce engines of 70,000 to 80,000 pounds-force (lbf), only Qantas flies the A380-842 variant, pods are well done as is the rear exhaust cones and internal fans, the 900 has a fan diameter is approximately 116 inches (294.6 cm)....  Only the inner engines (2 and 3) have reverser doors and all four engines have internal integrated drive generators (IDG).     Noticeable however is the Planemaker gap between the fan and the cowling, once seen it is very hard to unsee it. Other variants on the A388 are the A380-841 Engine Alliance GP7200 - Trent RR 970 engines and the A380-861 Rolls-Royce Trent 970 engines, which serves other airlines including the biggest 125 aircraft fleet operator Emirates (uses both 861 & 842 variants). These other variants will becoming soon to the same package, as will those engine option operators.   Four bogie gear is also remodeled, they now has more and quite intricate detail and better textures, the tyres are good, but are too shiny for me.     And the rear set of bogies will now turn with the nosewheel, as on the real A380.     There is no cabin, no opening doors or even any external elements? and is completely created in Planemaker...  you could call it a pure X-Plane aircraft design. Externally though it does not look out of place in X-Plane 12, the mass of the Airbus just dominates the space around it.   My flight today is YSSY (Sydney) to WSSS (Singapore) or QF01, the oldest sectional route on the "Kangaroo Route" to London, QF02 does the return route LON-SIN-SYD.     The actual cockpit is the originally the same, looked brilliant a decade ago, still has that same punch today, but let us be clear, the functionality needs a fair bit of work to bring it up to current standards, as a lot of the switches don't work, and some are even doing the wrong action, some doing two actions in one (lighting). There is no First Officer interaction either, or any menus in here.     The cockpit does feel great, but there are still far too many light gaps? even some shining through the OHP and mostly the lower floor and rear bulkhead, even through the OHP...   it shows of an age back then...  Seats are blocky/minecraft in design, worse is the very lo-res purple carpet, that needs replacing ASAP. Airbus joystick controller is well done, but not animated, this was all first rate detail back then, sort of holds up.     All that power at your disposal via such petit throttles, note only the twin inboard thrust reverser levers.       One area that has (thankfully) had attention are the instrument graphics, they used to be terribly crappy lo-res to use, even hard to read...  now they are all bright and crystal clear...     The main item that grounded the XP10/11 Peters Aircraft A380 was the outdated FMC (Flight Management Computer), it just didn't work anymore? The fix in here is quite surprising, just insert in the X-Plane generic FMC. It shouldn't work, but it does as it gives you access to routes, AIRWAYS, SID and STARS and DEP/ARR Approaches, and it pops out as well for ease of use. So it is not an Airbus FMGS installation, certainly not the later A350/A380 style FMGS.     So route setup via the standard FMC is very easy, I admit not very Airbusy, but it is functional to use with STEP to plan awkward waypoints. Maybe Peters Aircraft should switch to the default A330 FMC, it might fit in better here? What is Airbusy is the PERF setup. Again not highly detailed, but you can at least add in the numbers you want for six PERF options; T.O (TakeOff), CLB (Climb), CRZ (Cruise), DES (Descend), APPR (Approach) and GA (Go Around).   T.O...  You can set the FL (Flight Level), Speed Bugs (V1, VR, V2) and either TOGA or FLEX...  FLEX is recommended and is set at +45c, Flaps 1 or 2 and that gives you the THS FOR trim setting, Thrust Reduction and Acceleration altitudes can also be set. Finally you can set the Transitional Altitude, and that sets the EQ Acceleration altitude.     Other options include Cost Index (CI) and .M speed, Descent .M/knts speed, Trans, Managed Speed...  I haven't filled out the APPR tab, because I usually do that at around 100 nm before the approach to get the correct weather numbers. But OAT and QNH, either BARO or RADIO Minimums, and Trans Altitude are available You can choose between (landing ) CONF 3 or FULL flap, VAPP speed (VREF + Wind Correction), the landing speeds are then shown. GA (Go Around) speeds are also available as is the Thrust Reduction height.   Weight and Fuel load is done via the X-Plane "Weight & Balance" menu, basic...  Only set the "Total" fuel and don't use the individual tank sliders, then the system will set up the correct tankage for you, same with the trim as we shall see. The only other parameter to be set is the payload.     The SYD-SIN route is quite short for the A380  as this sector is a 3484 nm and 8.0 hours flying time. The Airbus A380 can do a 8,000 nm (14,800 km) range, so the tankage here is only 110,721 kg, of a gross weight TOW 437,914 kg. The A380 can therefore be far, far heavier on T.O if flying a Pacific or Europe/Asia run and that is were your "Heavy" skills comes in and the challenge of flying the Super Jumbo.   Pushback...  and then we can start the engines. APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) has to be running, and you select on the OHP, the APUBLEED (it is locked to Auto), then select IGN START (Engine Mode Selector) on the ENG START switch.     You start an inner engine first (2 or 3) for the pneumatics, environmental and IDG power, then the other inner engine (say 3), then engines 1 then 4.     Basically when N2 reaches around 20-25%, you can move to the next engine in the sequence, the full startup procedure is very well done as the engine goes through it's start cycle to a configured N2 55%, the lower SD (System Display) gives you more information on the vitals. Engine start up sounds are actually excellent, yes the Hager A380 doesn't have every dynamic range, but the sounds were, and are still very good, and you can (slightly) hear them from the cockpit, as your sited a long way from the noise, and it is quite muffled as well, externally they are actually very good. Your powered up and ready to go...   It is VERY important to set the T.O TRIM THS correctly. The position (usually around 39.5%) is set out on the lower right PFD, you will need to align the white line within the purple rectangle, certainly don't be out of the green rectangle range. The A380 is HEAVY so if the trim is out, then your not going to fly...  anywhere!     This brings us to a slightly controversial feature...   When you let off the park brake, your view will shift? to seat down. You can adjust the view up and down to see through the cockpit window but otherwise it feels frozen. You are now connected to the nosewheel steering, so if you turn the nosewheel, then your view moves left or right as well?     If you want out of this viewing tool, then press on the "Taxi" camera on the instrument panel, and your views go back to normal...     In "Taxi" mode you get a double view (tail and nosewheel) to navigate the taxiways, it is very good actually...  the same camera view can be put on the SD, but it doesn't cancel out the dynamic steering views...  The dynamic view has several parameters to having it (auto) switched ON... if the aircraft is on the ground, taxi camera is OFF, parking brake is OFF, and the aircraft is NOT in T.O mode and if in ROLL OUT mode, with when the ground speed is below 30kn. Note that make sure you have the "Taxi" mode switched on when using push back... one you can see the pushback truck doing it's job, cool, but also that with the pushback tool turning and rattling the nosewheel, it affects the view by shaking it and turning your angle weirdly.     But on the taxiway the "Taxi" image is great for following (holding) the centre line, and it shows your current taxi speed as well. The A380 doesn't taxi...  it just rumbles along very nicely.     34L north track...  this is were I have an issue with the feature view tool, if you turn the "Taxi" off you get shakes through the steering as you move it? so you can't read the instruments....     "Taxi" on then you still can't read the instruments to take off? It needs a full kill switch!     The T.O distance depends of course on weight, airport altitude, runway conditions, but the average TO run is around 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) of runway for takeoff. So you can only use certain runways, same with using only certain taxiways with it's A380 size....  Up those four petite throttles and your moving. There is no CHRONO button (PFD)? to start? that aspect is needed, but the CHR panel does work.     Your moving, but the Airbus won't leap off the line, or move fast...  it is a strange aircraft in this respect, as everything goes into a slow motion aspect, that wing is very efficient, best in the business as it produces huge lift, so you sort of glide into the air with no dramas.     300,000 lbs of combined thrust, gives you the power you need, certainly at this lighter weight...   again the climb rate is between 2,000 fpm and 3,000 fpm depending on the load factors, but 2,000 fpm is always a good yardstick. Gear up and Flaps to position 1     Watch that complex undercarriage store itself up in the aircraft, a feat of engineering. You can check the gear condition via the lower SD display.     All Airbus developers have found a different way to imitate the Airbus button logic...  The Peters Aircraft way is for in pressing the knob, is to pull it out, or Manual operation, there is a hotspot rear above the knob (green) to push in for the Auto operation. If there is a dot on the display it is noted as being in the auto setting...     The original FBW or Fly-By-Wire is used in here. FBW takes pilot inputs, which are converted into electronic signals that are sent to flight control computers. These computers then process the inputs and send commands to the aircraft’s control surfaces. Also is it's flight envelope protection (LAWS) of Normal Law and Alternate Law. The system prevents the aircraft from exceeding operational limits, such as stall, over-speed, and over-G, enhancing overall safety.       The FBW in Hager's A380 is a very good one, mainly because it was created by Mr X-Plane Airbus himself or Torsten Liesk of ToLiSS. So you have the quality feel and handing of Airbus Aircraft. So the A380 here handles and flies really well, and the system has been here refined for X-Plane 12 dynamics. So the Airbus systems and logic is very high, good a decade ago, still very good today.     As noted I am under halve the range weight, so I have a lot options to climb up to my cruise altitude, in fact almost straight up to the assigned altitude. But if you are at MTOW (Maximum Takeoff Weight) then the A380 will handle very differently, not only in the initial climb, but climbing to altitude. If at MTOW, I usually climb first to about 30,000 ft, then step up the altitude to the final Cruise altitude in 2,000ft segments over 500 nm, burning off fuel and weight. It is all about efficiency     Being a long-haul, you will settle in for the "Long Haul"...  You can monitor the A380 via the excellent SD information, and overall you have 12 different options to observe; Engines, Bleed, Cabin Pressure, APU, Cond (Environment), Doors, Elec AC, Elec DC, Fuel, Hydraulics, Wheel, F/CTL (Flight Controls) and Video or Camera.     The FMC two Progress pages are now accessible as well, unlike the original...     Long-Haulers love their toys...  here you can drop the front window blinds by pressing the "HotSpot" centre window, also you can pop out the worktable with a built in (non-working) keyboard.     Performance is surprisingly very good, within and counting the same numbers as you follow the route in SimBrief, you have to make allowances for winds, which are quite heavy at the cruise altitude, but I found it was impressive and being within a 100 kg of fuel. Being a four engined aircraft...  it is the lamentable situation that the aircraft is not super efficient like the A350 or B787, it costs money to run, but it's substantial running costs are out weighed by it's immense load factors, and that the passengers adore the machine. On the right routes (a bit like Concorde) it is highly regarded, even profitable. Worse is the fact that there is nothing to replace the A380 with, as the Boeing 777X is years away, even then how are you going to replace a 100+ fleet.     You can get the most out of the A380, because the documentation from Peter Hager is excellent. Not only a deep manual (78 Pages), but there are also two detailed route tutorials. They are all the original manuals, but updated where needed for this XP12 release.     In the late afternoon sunshine, Bali, Indonesia shines below. Yes the A380 is now flying in a more realistic 3d world, X-Plane 12 can create a very different atmosphere from the one I first flew this aircraft in X-Plane 10, that cardboard look and feel is now well gone, replaced by the dynamics of the latest version of the Simulator...  it's impressive, because it is.     Now approaching the STAR of UGEB1B for the approach into Changi, Singapore at dusk...   it is a pretty time to arrive. Even using the older style of liveries, the Airbus looks very nice in the low light.     Cockpit lighting is basic...  all instrument displays are adjustable, as is the integral lighting for OHP and Pedestal. There are three STORM settings, Bright-Med-Off, that gives you the three moods in the cockpit...     The Med STORM lighting setting is fine for most night operations, including the approach and landing, it's dull enough to see everything, but not too bright to distract you. There are no spot lights or any other siding lighting in here, but it's not too bad actually in feel.     The external lighting has been upgraded to X-Plane 12, it looks good with the bloom effects, but misses the earlier better lighting that shone in the daylight, which I loved. The NAV WING, RWY Turnoff and LOGO are all under one (both) switches (NAV-LOGO), so you can't have the separated detailed lighting. STROBE, BEACON and LAND are thankfully separated, a shame as it could have been good if all the assigned switches had worked. The A380 has a brilliant lighting set up, six landing and twin wing lights will bring the aircraft alive at night.     Turning into the 20R approach, you have to set up the ILS Landing Frequency...  It's complicated here by the various ways you can insert the ILS Frequency...  There are options on the three RMP (Radio Management Panel), but also on the Co-Pilot MFD, it is also on the FMC Radio setting...   so actually which one do you use? You have to switch the NAV setting from VHF to NAV to insert the ILS Frequency as noted in the manual...  only it does not work? the only option I could get the Frequency to work with, was on the First Officer MFD lower insert 108.90 MHz      It's tricky to get right as you have to be almost on top of the glideslope before the ILS Freq will be accepted (it bounces back to the other Freq), if accepted it is then shown in the PFD when you press the LS button right EFIS Control Panel, and it shows you the ILS name "ICH" Freq and distance to the runway...  Only now can you select the APPR button to lOC in the localiser     It's all still very old school, and even frustrating to use effectively, as there is no set the frequency and be ready for landing deal here.   Approach speed (Vref) is around 145 knts (FULL Flap), the A380 can be really slow on a landing approach, again you get that slow-motion effect, that gives you time to adjust before landing. In finals you can adjust down to below the 140 knt threshold...     You get all the "LOUD" callouts 2,000, 1000, 500...  but there is nothing like the thrill of landing a "Heavy" after a long flight, your nerves and muscles are tight, your focused on controlling this massive machine down onto that runway. "Retard, Retard"...     Once the AP1 clicks off, you flare the A380 slightly, so the rear bogies touch cleanly at around 130 knts. Once the nosewheel is down, you can then activate the thrust reversers, only engines 2 and 3, but it is enough to slow the bulk of the A380 down...  lighting on the ground is very good, even with the landing lights on or off.     On the roll out you have to be aware of the steering view coming activating again, and it can come in with the thud! So you quickly turn on the "Taxi" camera again to get your views back...  not a big fan to be honest.     There are two liveries provided with this RR Trent engine choice, the earlier 2016, and the current 2024 livery.     Summary The Airbus A380 is a very large wide-body airliner that was developed and produced by Airbus. It is the world's largest passenger airliner and the only full-length double-deck jet airliner in service.   The origins of this Airbus A380 are over a decade old, back in the X-Plane 10 era, and the core design here is Planemaker based. The externals have however been fully redone for XP12 including quality 8K textures. So it looks very nice. The cockpit is basically the same as the earlier aircraft (XP11), but there has been added in new functionality and systems. The same original Torsten Liesk (ToLISS) plugin is still used but upgraded to X-Plane 12 dynamics, as has the overall aircraft performance (spot on). The solution to the broken FMC, was to replace it with the X-Plane default FMC, the intergration is clever and it works in giving functionality to the systems, but the A330 FMS would have have been a better more airbus style optional choice. Lighting is hampered by the switchgear, but the sounds if not dynamic are still excellent.   The nosewheel guided camera is a good idea, but doesn't work that well in practice, as it changes you view at critical times of the takeoff and landing roll out, it buggers up the pushback tool as well. There are no static objects, or menus here, not even a cabin. light holes in the engines, OHP and cockpit can't be unseen, but they are all related to the Planemaker foundations.   Flying a A380 is always a great sensation, it is a mega sized aircraft with a mega sized reputation. I am very familiar with the Peter's Aircraft A380, so fell back into the aircraft very easily, yes it is a bit of a nostalgia journey and it is great to have the aircraft flying again. Coming soon are all the different engine options and the airlines that fly them, unlike the old separated different variant purchases, and that aspect alone will put a lot of value into the package.   It's an Airbus A380 in X-Plane 12, long haul and X-Plane 12 dynamics together...  a great combination! _________________________     The Airbus A380 XP12 by Peter Hager scenery is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   Airbus A380 XP12 Price Is US$59.90, You Save:$10.00(14%) Retail Price:$69.90   Requirements X-Plane 12  (not for XP11) Windows, MAC or Linux  8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size:  172 MB Current version: 1.0 July 11th 2024)   Installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 168Mb. Installation 305Mb,  Authorization is required by inserting a licence txt in the aircraft folder.   Documents __TUTORIAL FLIGHT PLANS 1 LFBO ILS.fms 2 LFBO RNV.fms 3 LFBOEDHI.fm _A388 ReadMe.rtf A380_manual.pdf   Design by Peter Hagar Support forum: Peter Hagar A380 XP12 _____________________ 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 12.1.1. Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - YSSY - FlyTampa Sydney (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$28.00 ___________________________   Review by Stephen Dutton 22nd July 2024 Copyright©2024: 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! - Sceneries Upgraded : Northern Sky upgrades all Hawaiian sceneries to X-Plane 12     Northern Sky Studios specialises in two significant areas, Alaska and Hawaii. A fair few of the Northern Sky Alaskan sceneries are already X-Plane 12 compatible, but until now none of the Hawaiian locations have had the same dynamic treatment. There are four...  PHOG - Kahului Airport, PHHN - Hana Airport, PHNY - Lanai Airport and PHJH - Kapalua Airport.   NorthernSky is notable for their already extremely high quality, both external and internal detail, but also for their very value low prices (for what you get), even then, purchasers of the X-Plane 11 version get a 50% off the price or most around only US$6 to upgrade. These sceneries are X-Plane 12 only, the older X-Plane 11 versions are also still available.   All updated features are basically the same with X-Plane 12... - weather effects - PBR materials - new lights - 3D vegetation Ortho4XP tile for the whole island (link in the manual): - X-Plane 12 bathymetry - X-Plane 12 DSF sound - high resolution elevation - edited orthophotos - edited coastline and water bodies - real runway profiles for all airports - All materials created for full PBR - Shading and occlusion effects on all airport buildings - Custom orthophoto for the airport and surrounding areas - World Traffic 3 compatible - Compatible with Ortho4XP and default mesh   Kahului Airport (ICAO: PHOG) is an airport in the state of Hawaii, United States, located east of Kahului in Maui County on the island of Maui. It has offered full airport operations since 1952. Most flights into Kahului Airport originate from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu; the Honolulu–Kahului corridor is one of the heaviest-trafficked air routes in the US, ranking 13th in 2004 with 1,632,000 passengers.     Hana Airport (ICAO: PHHN) is a regional public use airport of the State of Hawaiʻi on the east shore of the island of Maui, 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) northwest of the unincorporated town of Hana. The airport was officially opened on November 11, 1950. It is primarily a commuter facility used by unscheduled air taxis and general aviation.     Lanai Airport (ICAO: PHNY), is a state-owned public-use airport located about 3.4 miles (6 km) southwest of the central business district of Lanai City, in Maui County, Hawaii. It is the only airport serving the island of Lanai. Construction on the new terminal began in January 1993. The spacious new 15,000 square foot terminal, built to accommodate the growth in tourism to Lanai, was dedicated on April 19, 1994. It was five times larger than the structure it replaced. A new parking area, roadway and landscaping were included.     Kapalua Airport (IATA: JHM, ICAO: PHJH, FAA LID: JHM), also known as Kapalua–West Maui Airport, is a regional private use airport on the west side of the island of Maui in Hawaii. It is located five nautical miles (6 mi, 9 km) north of Lahaina, in Maui County. Most flights to Kapalua Airport originate from commuter airports on the other Hawaiian islands by commercial commuter services, unscheduled air taxis, and general aviation. Named for the Kapalua Resort a few miles to the north, the airport replaced the Kaanapali Airport, which had an even shorter runway.     All four of these excellent X-Plane 12 Hawaiian sceneries are now available at the X-Plane.OrgStore.   All Images are courtesy NorthernSkyStudios _____________________________________     Yes! PHOG - Kahului Airport, Hawaii XP12 by NorthernSkyStudios is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : PHOG - Kahului Airport, Hawaii Price is US$21.00 Customers who own PHOG XP11 can get this new XP12 version at 50% OFF. Discount code can be found in the original PHOG XP11 Invoice. Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)  Windows, Mac or Linux -8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.9 GB Current version : 1.0 (July 20 2024) ___________________   Yes! PHHN- Hana Airport, Hawaii XP12 by NorthernSkyStudios is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   PHHN- Hana Airport, Hawaii Price is US$9.95 Customers who own PHHN XP11 can get this new XP12 version at 50% OFF. Discount code can be found in the original PHNN XP11 Invoice. Requirements X-Plane 12  (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1,2 GB Current version : 1.0 (July 20th 2024) ___________________   Yes! PHNY - Lanai Airport, Hawaii XP12 by NorthernSkyStudios is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   PHNY - Lanai Airport, Hawaii Price is US$12.00 Customers who own PHNY XP11 can get this new XP12 version at 50% OFF. Discount code can be found in the original PHNY XP11 Invoice. Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.6 GB Current version : 1.0 (July 21st 2024) ___________________   Yes! PHJH - Kapalua Airport, Hawaii XP12 by NorthernSkyStudios is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   PHJH - Kapalua Airport, Hawaii Price is US$12.00 Customers who own PHJH XP11 can get this new XP12 version at 50% OFF. Discount code can be found in the original PHJH XP11 Invoice. Requirements X-Plane 12 (Not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux  8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Current version : 1.0 (July 21st 2024) ___________________________   NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 22nd July 2024 Copyright©2024: 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    
    • Scenery Review : KCLT- Charlotte Douglas International Airport UHD by Nimbus Studios   The latest Nimbus Studios scenery, was released in the Las Vegas FS Expo 2024 by it's creator Santiago Butnaru. This new scenery was the major American Airline hub of Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), North Carolina, USA. The airport is situated approximately 6 miles west of downtown Charlotte.   X-Plane users are well familiar with Nimbus Studios scenery, they can be usually large complex sceneries which are Nimbus's forte, including KORD Chicago O'Hare, KMCO Orlando International and most recently the excellent (and massive) KJFK - John F. Kennedy International XP12 in New York.   Established in 1935 as Charlotte Municipal Airport, the airport was later renamed as Douglas Municipal Airport for Ben Elbert Douglas Sr., who was mayor of Charlotte when the airport was first built. In 1982 the airport was renamed again, this time to its current Charlotte Douglas International Airport moniker.   After airline deregulation, passenger numbers at Chartlotte nearly doubled between 1978 and 1980, and a new 10,000-foot (3,000 m) parallel runway and control tower was opened in 1979. The airport's master plan called for a new terminal across the runway from the existing site, with ground broken in 1979. At the time, the airport only had two concourses: one used exclusively by Eastern, and one used by all the other carriers, including United, Delta, Piedmont, and several commuter airlines.   There was a major expansion in 1990, as a new 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) international and commuter concourse (Concourse D) opened, and in 1991 further expansion of the central terminal building continued, reflective of USAir's dominating presence at the airport.   Following the 2005 acquisition of US Airways by America West Airlines in a reverse takeover (a private company buys a IPO), Charlotte then became the primary domestic hub for the airline. The majority of US Airways' international routes however remained at the airline's second-largest hub, Philadelphia. Again there was another merger, this time the dominant US Airways and American Airlines in 2013, Charlotte then became the second-largest hub for the merged airline, after American's Dallas/Fort Worth.     If you look at the Charlotte overview (above), some custom areas are darker than the X-Plane default surrounding landscape. It is however a bit of a illusion. The effect is caused by the X-Plane 12 3d tree angle, as looking at the scene at only an height of around 800 feet, then the trees would fill in with the correct colour match. No it shouldn't be like this, as it is only an X-Plane effect, it all looks quite normal lower.        So the surrounding areas and the field are very nicely intergrated...    it all looks very real.       Charlotte Douglas International Airport IATA: CLT - ICAO: KCLT - FAA LID: CLT 18L/36R - 8,677ft (2,645m) Asphalt/concrete 18C/36C - 10,000ft (3,048m) Concrete 18R/36L - 9,000ft (2,743m) Concrete 05/23 - 7,502ft (2,287m) Asphalt/concrete Elevation AMSL 748 ft / 228 m   KCLT has three parallel and one small cross runway in 05/23, presumably for GA and Cargo traffic. The taxiing distance to 18R/26L is a very long one, so extra fuel is required if assigned this runway, either for arrival and certainly for departure. The main terminal area is set central north between 18C/36C and 18L/36R.     Charlotte Douglas has a single main terminal building, that is divided into five concourses: A, B, C, D, and E in an anti-clockwise direction.   Concourse A Primarily serves domestic flights, Terminal A is divided into two parts:     •    Concourse A North: Newer section with additional gates (phase 1).     •    Concourse A: Older section.   It is quite easy to differentiate between the older and newer concourses, as the newer A North zone is in blue that opened in 2018, comes also with larger windows, were as the "Older" finger section is more the standard American concrete and line of windows design. Gates are numbered A1-A13, and it serves various domestic airlines that are not part of American Airlines. The additional A gates, numbered A21-A29 hosts a variety of airlines, such as Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and Frontier Airlines.     You are immediately very impressed by the detail, it is very well done on the ramps with a huge amount of custom clutter, including ladders, bins, chocks, cones, vehicles and all the other required service equipment...  items are branded, but in a more generic way, than being individually airline focused. There is some animated ground service vehicles, but it is far from being comprehensive, with just the odd vehicle shuttling around.     Concrete is very hard to define, but the aged texture feel and look of the concourses here are excellent. Glass is perfect as well... Nimbus struggled with glass earlier, most notably with their Miami scenery, but have refined the idea now to perfection...  you can see the detailed internal areas through the glass from the external perspective.     Yes you can explore the internal detail, but it's not the focus of the idea, as the figures are very basic close up, and most look non-human.     All the gates here at CLT are X-Plane default "Ground Handling", not SAM enabled. Before this aspect was to be seen as a negative. But with the Laminar refinement for X-Plane 12 and the demise of the SAM plugin (yes there is OpenSam), this original idea is now a more attractive gate tool option.     Concourse A North, is really well done in detail and design...  it has a dark brown brick base, with three story windows, and a blue curved roof as designed by Perkins+Will, an international architecture and design firm.     A North has a bigger internal size, so it works better in detail, it is really realistic, and even internally walkable (sit-able?)     Concourse B This B concourse primarily serves domestic flights for American Airlines. There is also an American Airlines Admirals Club is located within Concourse B, providing a comfortable space for eligible passengers, restaurants include Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Bojangles’ and Panera Bread. Originally opened in the early 1980s (1982). It has since undergone various renovations and updates to enhance the passenger experience...  There is a small ramp tower centre concourse, and there are the numbered gates from B1 through B16 which are available here.     Internally the layout is the same as Concourse A, but connected directly to the main terminal, this atrium section is well done.     Terminal The main terminal building connects all the five concourses together via a large central atrium, but originally it was only Concourses B and C that were part of the initial development, as the terminal was opened at the same time as both concourses in 1982, but more expansions were done to the terminal in the 90's to handle International flights.   The design is highlighted by those huge massive glass windows, with that curve at the top for maximum internal natural lighting, the concept was done by Odell Associates, a prominent architectural firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina.     The modeling by Nimbus is simply exceptional here, a step forward in terminal airport design and quality, these atrium curved structures and glass must have taken ages to get right, and shows off the skills of the developer.   There is a massive carpark attached directly north of the terminal and an enclosing roof structure joins the two areas together in forming the arrivals zone. There are a load of static vehicles here, as there is also a lot of static cars for detail in or on the top of the carpark and the surrounding landside areas.      Internally the terminal section is detailed, but not as overly so as the concourses.     Concourse C Concourse C is almost a twin of Concourse B and as it was opened at the same time. The idea is for American Airlines connecting flights to be an easy domestic connection between the two areas. There is the same Starbucks in here, but also the different other restaurant options of Smashburger, Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina and PZA (Pizza and Italian cuisine). Gates available are C2 through C19.     There are two square fences on the roof, but otherwise it is the same design....  notable is the complex but extremely well done junction between the Atrium and Concourse D, is very highly realistic visually. Same concrete facade and glass blends in well. Internally it is also the same layout.     Concourse D Concourse D at Charlotte Douglas International Airport serves as the primary concourse for international flights, but it also handles some domestic flights. Concourse D has gates D1 through D13, and it is connected to the main terminal and other concourses via walkways and the airport’s shuttle service. Concourse D was completed and opened in the early 1990s. Since then the concourse has undergone several renovations and expansions to accommodate the increasing number of international flights and to enhance passenger amenities.    American Airlines has an Admirals Club, and The Club CLT (accessible with various lounge membership programs or day passes) is also available. American Airlines (International flights), Lufthansa and British Airways are the main users of the area.     As Odell Associates again did the design, there is more better intergration with the Odell central terminal, same high curved windows and pyramid connection atriums...  The eastern end is a full glass wall that creates a big open air space internally, the concourse is topped off by a complex roof structure and a nice blue roof. Fast food (Hungry Jacks) and other restaurants are also well represented.     Concourse E Concourse E has 46 gates numbered E1 to E50, making it the biggest of all concourses, it is designed to efficiently handle only regional flight operations, with a layout that allows for quick turnarounds and easy access for passengers. American Eagle is the main user here.   Concourse E features a mix of airbridges and ground-level boarding (walk on/off). The concourse has a 32 gates equipped with airbridges, but the majority of the gates are designed for passengers to walk directly from the terminal to their aircraft parked on the tarmac.     The various gate sections are connected via round glass buildings, the central one is called "The Rotunda.” It is located in the middle of Concourse E and serves as a distinctive architectural feature of the airport. Again the concourse is an Odell Associates design and was built and opened in 2002. At the end of the arms, is the main square ground-level walkon/walkoff boarding area     The complex Concourse D is extremely well done, there is a huge amount of detail to feast your eyes on, or with certainly getting your money's worth. Internally it is all well done, but really set out for only the external views.     Landside is dominated by three well modeled carparks, and set dead centre is the old Control tower, the new one is set to the south and visible top.     Infrastructure north is excellent, first with the multitude of large carparking spaces, most filled with static 3d vehicles, then to the northwest is the the Duke Energy Little Rock Ops Center powerplant, centre is FedEx Freight and the Charlotte (long term) Park "n" Go and Old Dominion Freight facilities. Any southern approaches into CLT are well catered for visually.     NC Air National Guard CLT is main base for the NC (North Carolina) Air National Guard which  is located at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where the 145th Airlift Wing is stationed. This unit operates C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and provides airlift capabilities in support of military and humanitarian missions. The ANG Station is well represented here by Nimbus, it is set east on taxiway D. Shown are the ANG maintenance hangars and five well modeled C-17 lifters.     General Aviation Next south of the ANG Station, is a very large General Aviation area. Wilson Air dominate here with two GA/BizJet facilities. Certainly worth a refuel drop in...  there are also two excellent H pads set here for helicopter services.     Top and tail are two more charter business aviation areas, mostly large BizJet hangars, both areas in detail are very well covered in the scenery.     Sullenberger Aviation Museum Set between the thresholds of Runways 18L and 23 northeast boundary is the Sullenberger Aviation Museum,  previously known as the "Carolinas Aviation Museum". The museum showcases the history of aviation, including significant events like the “Miracle on the Hudson.” In 2022, the museum was renamed to honor Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who performed the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in 2009. The actual Airbus A320, registered as N106US is housed here. A bit of trivia...  When US Airways swallowed America West, it then also used the America West's "CACTUS" callsign and ICAO code "AWE", as used by Flight 1549.     Centre south between runways 18C/36C and 18L/36R is a joint area that covers the Cargo area, LSG Sky Chefs catering, American Airlines Maintenance and the main FAA Control Tower.     The LSG Sky Chefs catering facility is well done (even if the catering trucks say "GateGourmet"?), next door is the United States Postal Service ramp and facility. Southwest Air Cargo is set here as well.     To the west is the old USAir maintenance facility and it's massive hangar, now used for American Airlines maintenance. The ground detail and clutter is excellent, and there is a lot of fill detail that covers a wide area give value to the scenery. There is also a static AA A320 set in the hangar.     East centre is the large Cargo area, that is split into North Cargo and South Cargo complexes. Charlotte’s central location on the East Coast of the United States makes it an ideal hub for domestic and international cargo operations. Based here presented are FedEx, Amazon Prime, UPS and DHL Aviation. The ramp includes approximately 8-10 dedicated cargo stands.     CLT Control Tower As we have seen there are two towers visible at CLT, but the new FAA facility set in the south area was opened in 2007.   The current control tower stands at approximately 370 feet tall, in making it one of the taller control towers in the United States. It covers Ground Control, Local Tower Control and Approach and Departure Control...  unfortunately the X-Plane tower view (T) is set on the wrong tower? Nimbus modeling of the tower is good, but not detailed here as exceptional, certainly with the average roof aerials.     Set in the ground image (arrowed above right), is the US Airways Flight 5481 Memorial. Shortly after takeoff from CLT in January 2003, the aircraft (a Bombardier Dash 8 Q300) experienced a loss of control and crashed, resulting in the deaths of all 21 people on board. The memorial is to highlight the importance of continual aviation safety, and the accident has led to changes in regulations and procedures to enhance flight safety.   On the W 1 taxiway by the 36L threshold, the taxiway bridge is flat in the landscape, so it doesn't look very realistic, the well done rail sidings also highlight the issue.     For all the excellence of this scenery, we leave a slightly low-note. Centre field is the field radar installation...  it is a bit low-res for a scenery of this high quality, and worse the average red radar is not animated, but the radar and tower still highly visible when moving around Charlotte Douglas.     Ground Textures Like at the Nimbus JFK, the ground textures here at CLT are excellent. Notable are the well done worn runway signage, not crisp and new, but tired and worn after years of service. Dirt and grunge on the touchdown points is also highly realistic as is the actual runway texture(s).     Inner ramp areas are all mostly concrete as per most American Airports. Again the wear is excellent, and done is that the darker worn areas are set around the older terminals and service vehicle road courses, but around the new Terminal A North the wear is far less, a small but important aspect. PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion are excellent here, you pretty well expect that now with any X-Plane 12 active scenery... but it is nice to see it in action.     3d Grass and spring flowers are also well done, the effect isn't over all of the field, but still does a great job in breaking up the flat surfaces. Foliage is also 3d XP12 excellent, but there are a few of the old style + cross trees mixed in there as well, but overall it is expertly done.     Lighting The lighting at Charlotte Douglas is excellent...  the scenery is not overly lit, but still really well detailed with a lot of different tones to make it realistic.     The clear glass effect can work against you at night, making the terminals look unrealistic. It's not too bad here at Charlotte, and even what you could say is passable by the skill of Nimbus, where it works it stands out well, but the main terminal though looks a little bit too over bright and clear.     All ramp and gate areas are nicely lit, and you can work nicely down there, so yes CLT is a highly workable night/darkness airport     Like at JFK the maintenance hangar at CLT looks excellent at night, as does the well lit Cargo aprons.     KCLT navigation signage is very clear and comprehensive, but the signs are just that in being clean, with no tired weather wear or ground reflections.       Summary Charlotte Douglas International is a big airport by traffic and size, and has been a major airline hub for generations. First for Eastern, America West, then USAir and now American Airlines. It's a very popular airport as well with high ratings with the passengers. Besides the American Airlines domination, a few well connected international airlines use CLT as well, including Lufthansa, British Airways and American Airlines International.   X-Plane users are well familiar with Nimbus Studios scenery, they can be usually large complex sceneries which are Nimbus's forte, including KORD Chicago O'Hare, KMCO Orlando International and most recently the excellent (and massive) KJFK - John F. Kennedy International XP12 in New York.   That KJFK New York was a an major tour de force scenery for X-Plane 12, and well deserved, then this massive sprawling Charlotte Douglas is the same excellent work continued, even if in areas it is a little better again. It is certainly one of Nimbus Studios best sceneries yet, with top notch quality ground and building textures, glass and excellent modeling that captures the architectural detail and form that is distinctly CTL. All five terminal/concourses are extensive and all are set with high quality in detail, as is the excellent ground clutter and itemised aspects. Infrastructure in airport surrounds are again extensive and includes the Sullenberger Aviation Museum, NC Air National Guard and the Duke Energy Little Rock Ops. Surrounding 3d Grass and Fauna is also expertly done.   It uses the older (but upgraded) "Ground Handling" tool for the animated gates, and there are some animated vehicles, but they are not overly represented here. There are a couple of oversights. The centre field Radar Tower is not in keeping of the high quality of the scenery, not animated either? the odd wrong Tower view setting? South W1 taxiway bridge is flat, not 3d? and all internal detailing like JFK is for external viewing only, but it is still very comprehensive, and it has some very weird people modeling. This CLT scenery is X-Plane 12 only.   Nimbus Studios sceneries were always top notch quality and have excellent detail, but Charlotte Douglas shows a scenery developer at the very top of their game, and quality sceneries like CLT are highly usable and versatile in their use. So the KCLT scenery presented here hits every highlight with aplomb, and you can see that X-Plane 12 can deliver product as with the best of them....  Highly recommended. __________________     Yes!...   KCLT- Charlotte Douglas International Airport UHD by Nimbus Design is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   KCLT- Charlotte Douglas International Airport UHD Price is US$26.95   Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.5 GB Current version: 1.0 (June 21st 2024)   Installation Installation of KCLT Charlotte Douglas XP12 is done via download of 2.52 Gb...   There is only one file to insert into your X-Plane Custom Scenery Folder Nimbus Simulation - KCLT - V1.0 XP12   With a total installation size of 2.93Gb.   There are no documents, but installation is very straight forward ___________________________   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 12.1.0 Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - Aircraft None - ____________________________     Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 15th July 2024 Copyright©2024: 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  
    • Will there be any upgrade options for users having the XP11 version package?
    • This A380 has been built up from the scratch in PlaneMaker. It just uses 3D objets from the old model. Systems, displays, graphics, plugins… all is new. Certainly we are using our codes for FBW, FlightDirector and autopilots, which already had been excellent in 2010. Now they are even better.   Peter
    • What a shame to propose the same airplane frome as far as I remember XP V10 !! That Peter Hager A380 is truely an insult for all the third party developpers that put time into their creations and systems...  69 bucks for that cockpit is one of the greatest jokes this year. 
    • NEWS! - Aircraft Released : Airbus A380 -842 XP12 by Peter Hager     Peter Hager has upgraded his Airbus A380 to X-Plane 12. The biggest change is that you will now not have to buy a specific aircraft type, there are three; 380-842 variant was only sold to Qantas with Trent 900 Rolls Royce engines, and that is the type available with this release. Other variants are the A380-841 Engine Alliance GP7200 - Trent RR 970 engines and the A380-861 Rolls-Royce Trent 970 engines, which served other airlines including the biggest operator Emirates (861 & 842 variants). These other engine and type A380's will be when released soon, now be included together in the same package, In total you will get three A380 aircraft with different engines and a variety of airline liveries.   The Airbus A380 is a very large wide-body airliner that was developed and produced by Airbus. It is the world's largest passenger airliner and the only full-length double-deck jet airliner. By December 2021, the global A380 fleet had carried over 300 million passengers to more than 70 destinations and completed more than 800,000 flights over 7.3 million block hours with 99 percent operational reliability and no hull-loss accidents. Over 50% of A380 capacity is from/to/within the Asia-Pacific region, of which around 15% is on regional flights within Asia.   New Features New flight model, engine physics and performance set extremely close to real values. 3D-Cockpit with hi-resolution displays. Far more system depths than previous A380 for older XP versions: All System pages All Performance page tabs with optional pre-selection of SPD / MACH for CLB, CRZ and also pre-setting of MANAGED SPD / MACH for DES. Improved TAXI camera displays. Improved flight plan display and flight guidance, based on the default FMS. Exterior model with 8k textures! Dynamic view angle change for taxi. The rear pairs of the body landing gear steer at low speed.       The Airbus A380 is available for only X-Plane 12, and is not available for X-Plane 11.   Images are provided by Peter Hager _________________________     The Airbus A380 XP12 by Peter Hager scenery is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   Airbus A380 XP12 Price Is US$59.90, You Save:$10.00(14%) Retail Price:$69.90   Requirements X-Plane 12  (not for XP11) Windows, MAC or Linux  8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size:  172 MB Current version: 1.0 July 11th 2024) ___________________________   NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 12th July 2024 Copyright©2024: 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    
    • Scenery Released : ESOE - Örebro Airport, Sweden by MXI Design     Örebro Airport (IATA: ORB, ICAO: ESOE) is located 10 kilometers southwest of Örebro, and is Sweden's 23rd largest passenger airport and the fourth largest cargo airport in the country.   MXI Design had already released a fair few sceneries for the X-Plane11 platform. But for X-Plane 12 they have created the all new scenery of ESOE - Örebro Airport in Sweden.  Örebro Airport has a rich history, it was originally established as a military airbase before transitioning to a civilian airport. In the intervening period the airport has undergone several expansions and modernisations to improve its infrastructure and capacity since it's creation in 1979.   In addition to passenger flights, the airport is a vital logistics hub, with significant cargo operations based here, with it being the fourth largest freight airport and one of the leading charter airports in Sweden. Örebro Airport also supports various aviation activities, including private flights, medical flights, and training flights.   Features include: Accurately and high detailed modeled for best rendition of the airport Up to date ground layout Basic interior model of terminal for gives a depth PBR implemented for all models Animated Flags 3D Passengers Custom 30 cm/px aerial imagery for airport area     Mission Statement   MXI Design is a 3D art and game studio that has been established in 2018 and developing sceneries for flight simulators. Our only mission is develop best quality sceneries and currently we're working for X-Plane 12 and Microsoft Flight Simulators.    This is an X-Plane 12 only scenery, and available at a very value low price   Images are provided by MXI Design _________________________     The ESOE - Örebro Airport, Sweden by MXI Design scenery is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   ESOE - Örebro Airport, Sweden Price Is US$10.50   Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.1 GB Current Version: 1.0 (July 9th 2024) ___________________________   NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 10th July 2024 Copyright©2024: 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! - X-Plane 12.1.0 goes final!     Laminar Research has noted that the latest version release of v12.1.0 has now gone "Final", this was after 2 Release Candidates rc1&rc2.   It is a big milestone in the Simulator's history as this new numbering system version was the biggest update since the release of X-Plane 12, nearly two years ago, in Sept 2022. Considering the short development period since May 15th, 2024, it has been one of the most shortest and efficient updates yet from Laminar Research. Features of X-Plane 12.1.0 include...   Anti-aliasing (AA): Improved quality with better scene handling and coverage for alpha-tested surfaces (those with transparency). Depth of Field: More control with a setting for Real Camera Shake (RCAS) and a notification when textures are reduced due to memory limitations. Lighting: Bloom Effects and overall a more focused sources of lighting. Shadows: Smoother shadows overall, cloud shadows on water, and faster rendering times. Lightning: v12.1.0 features more realistic visuals with subtle color adjustments, distance variations, and bolt thickness changes via distance. Sound effects have also been improved for a more immersive experience. Particle Effects: The new system allows for particles on ground contact, easier editing with copy/paste, and datarefs for better control. Pre-built effects include jet engine afterburners (JATO), water bombing, ground scrapes, and rotor wash from helicopters. Aircraft configuration files (ACFs) let you disable these effects if desired. G1000 navigation system: including an accurate startup splash screen, a NAV page, a stormscope, datalink weather support, Terrain, a WPT page, an AUX page, and new datarefs.  Water: Fixed water clarity issues, with color and transparency depending on location. Cloud shadows are now visible on water surfaces. Compatibility note: existing X-Plane 11 water scenery packs may not work perfectly due to differences in water rendering and might require updates from the creators. Autogen: Enhanced visuals for high-rise buildings in European cities and improved parking aircraft placement at airports, prioritizing larger planes for bigger spots. Supported flap systems: allowing the accurate simulation of manual flap controls such as the one in the Piper PA-28, with precise and gradual adjustments, and the dial-a-flap system, which is present in some McDonnell-Douglas aircraft. Updated landmarks for Las Vegas. Updated airport library with new objects (antennas, radars and water towers) Bug fixes   You can find the full ongoing v12.1.0 details here: X-Plane 12.1.0 Release Notes   To update v12.1.0, then just run the X-Plane Updater. _________________     X-Plane 12 is purchased directly from Laminar Research for US$79.95 and the download file size is 86 GB   X-Plane 12 Price is US$79.95   Minimum Requirements Disk space: 25 GB CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with 4 or more cores, or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7 or 9 Memory: 8 GB RAM Video Card: a Vulkan 1.3-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 2 GB VRAM Note: Intel GPUs are not supported by X-Plane 12 _____________________   NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 10th July 2024 Copyright©2024: 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! - Stick and Rudder Studios updates both X-Key Pad 1.6.0 & X-ATC Chatter v1.7.3 beta     Mark Cellis of Stick and Rudder Studios has been very busy of late. Two of his excellent utilities have had updates, first X-ATC Chatter, and now with the X-Key Pad. Both these excellent utilities can fly under your radar, but both are worth exploring, certainly as both are currently 25% off on sale.   X-Key Pad 1.6.0 X-KeyPad gives you the ability to create Virtual Keyboards with highly dynamic key behavior and labels that can interact with and display data in X-Plane 12/11. These virtual keyboards can be placed on a secondary monitor, touch monitor, or a tablet by using Duet Display or SpaceDesk. X-KeyPad also supports a rich integration with all the Elgato Stream Deck Devices, the X-Touch Mini Midi Controller and P.I. Engineering X-Keys keyboards as well as a graphical user interface to create and edit all your configurations. The latest v1.6.0 version has had a massive up date, the changelog is massive. Version 1.6.0 (June 3rd 2024) Changed the communication protocol between X-Plane and the Stream Deck X-KeyPad plugin to use TCP rather than a shared memory approach. This provides a much more stable connection method, particularly on OSX. Added the ability to set the virtual device background color on the virtual device layout, issue 84 Added support for single/continuous command mode in Stream Deck dial rotations, Issue #86 Added Copy and Paste buttons to X-Keys key editor, Issue #66 Added try command to the list of last used commands, Issue #81 Added a Save as Default menu item in the Stream Deck editor Added the ability to have a history of commands that were last used in the command finder Added the ability to pop out the command and dataref finder to a separate window Added the ability to edit a dataref from the finder Enhanced the dataref finder so that it can filter on changes in a more robust way than the current dataref tool Added green text in the X-Touch editor dataref list to indicate a writable dataref Added the ability to detect if changes had not been saved when you close the editor window or load a new aircraft, issue #74 Added an ability to generate a cross reference file to easily see what commands and datarefs were used and on which keys/encoders. Added feature #67, the ability to test keys and encoders without having to map them in the Stream Deck device. Add the ability to specify a min and max on a numeric dataref when the increment mode is none Added datarefs for the numeric buffer character count and numeric buffer float value Added the ability to use expressive commands on the Stream Deck Plus encoder dial rotations Added a Teleport feature and two sample Stream Deck Plus teleporter encoders in the generic Stream Deck sample JSON. Added an optional continuous mode the to the X-Touch Mini encoders when using command mode. Added dual trigger support to expressive commands Added number buffer support to expressive commands Changed the baro key on the Stream Deck sample and the X-Keys C172 steam gauge and G1000 samples to use the new expressive command capabilities     To use you will need the FlyWithLua plugin, which is needed for a number of the sample configurations, there is also a willingness to learn about X-Plane datarefs and commands, and the dataref tool plugin for X-Plane is highly recommended. _____________________________   X-ATC Chatter One of the quiet achievers, this clever plugin has built a huge amount of momentum since it its very modest introduction in late 2018. X-ATC Chatter started with only 5000 sound files, now it has 45,000 high quality ATC audio clips to it's name via using LiveATC.net. The concept has been widened as well.  The result is a collection of audio files organized by geographic region and ATC controller / facility type that can be played during your flight with an intelligent player plugin for X-Plane to give background chatter to your flightdeck.   Not an official release yet, but Stick and Rudder Studios have released the latest beta v1.7.3...  details include;   Release Notes for Beta 1 Changed the Out of Range detection to take into account your aircraft’s altitude. This also affects the range in the Nearest Facility window. Added shut down message to the log file Improved some Simple ATC Hints Fixed a bug where SimpleATC would set the radio to clearance after arrival taxi clearance confirmation when copilot handles radios was on Started using X-Plane 12 airspace center frequencies   Prior to 1.7.3 center frequencies and their transmitter location accuracy were a bit mixed. Data was generally good for U.S. and to a lesser extend Canada but the rest of the world the frequencies and locations were estimated. Many ARTCC services are assigned to specific altitudes. As an example, Boston ARTCC is divided into two altitudes. Services when you are between 0 and 17,999 MSL and another when you are between 18,000 and 60,000 MSL. X-Plane 12 has better airspace information. Although we still don’t know exactly where the RCAG transmitters are located we do know the frequencies, the altitude range they service, and the location on the globe defined by a polygon that the frequencies service. Simple ATC version 1.7.3 will use this data when you are running X-Plane 12 to hand you off to different center frequencies when you cross an FIR airspace boundary or cross an altitude assignment boundary. We still don’t know the exact locations of each transmitter so X-ATC-Chatter will scatter them around the airspace polygon roughly 70 NM apart from each other. This is a very new approach to handling center frequencies so I have given you the ability to shut it off it you don’t like the way it works. That can be done on the settings dialog on the radios tab.     The X-ATC Chatter latest beta is available here; Beta 5 - 1.7.3 beta release Yes highly recommended! _____________________________     Yes! X-KeyPad by Stick and Rudder Studios is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : X-KeyPad Price is US$18.00 Now on Sale, US$13.50...  You Save:$4.50(25%)   Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11  Windows, OSX, Linux Current version: 1.6.0 (July 3rd 2024)   Support forum for X-KeyPad _____________________________     Yes!  by Stick and Rudder Studios is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :   X-ATC Chatter Price is US$18.00 Now on Sale, US$13.50...  You Save:$4.50(25%)   Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux Version 1.7.2 (April 27th 2023)   Support forum for X-ATC Chatter ___________________________   News by Stephen Dutton 5th July 2024 Copyright©2024: 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  
    • Aircraft Review: Polaris AM-FIB by VSKYLABS By Stuart McGregor Introduction When is a boat not a boat? Well, one answer is when it is the Polaris AM-FIB, or to give it its full name, the Amphibious Flying Inflatable Boat. It has been quite some time since I have written a review for the org, and in that time, I have been pretty much immersed in flying the much larger passenger cousins of the Polaris. So, to have the opportunity to try it out was a welcome break from the high-tech and frantic world of tube liners. To be honest, I had forgotten just how much fun you can get out of the simpler things in life, and please don’t get me wrong, simple doesn’t mean dull and boring, as I found out. The aircraft being reviewed here is based on the Italian 'Polaris FIB' ("Flying Inflatable Boat"), which is an ultralight trike, designed and produced by 'Polaris Motor' in the mid-1980s. It was then further developed in the 2000s and went on to become the Polaris AM-FIB, an Amphibious ultralight trike. I found it interesting to read about the collaboration between the real-life aircraft manufacturer (Polaris Motor) and the simulator developer (VSKYLABS). To see sim developers going to such lengths to bring us the best simulation products possible is pretty commendable, in my opinion.     X-Plane Model The Polaris was initially released for X-Plane 12 in 2022, and since then, it has undergone several updates. The most recent, version 4, was released in June this year. The developers have described this as a major update, introducing new features such as upgraded flight dynamics to fully leverage what X-Plane has to offer, improved graphics with PBR adjustments, and enhanced FMOD 2.0 sounds, including better engine, prop, and wind sounds. It's great to see the Polaris continually refined and improved over the years. I believe this is a sign of developers who truly care about their users. It would be easy to develop a product, release it, and then move on; however, witnessing new features and refinements added over time is very much appreciated and helps keep each model vibrant and engaging. Installation Procedure Installing the Polaris couldn't be easier. Once you've purchased your copy, there's no need for installers or digital security codes. Simply download, unzip, and you’re ready to go, dead simple! As the file is not particularly large, only about 150 MB, it only takes a few minutes to download with a fast internet connection. It’s worth mentioning that there is also an option to download a version for X-Plane 11 if you’re still using that version of the platform. When you download from the org, you'll also receive a copy of the manual and the VSKYLABS brochure, which you can peruse at your leisure. I'll discuss the manual a bit later. Another feature worth highlighting is the use of the SkunkCrafts updater. While not new for those who already have the Polaris (it was introduced back in 2022), it’s a nice touch if you’re considering purchasing for the first time.     Documentation The download includes several documents, some of which I've mentioned earlier. Within the download, you'll find a couple of folders containing everything you'll need. The contents of the "HOW TO INSTALL" folder are self-explanatory, and similarly, no surprises await in the "INSTRUCTIONS-MANUAL-POH" folder where the main manual is located. It's highly recommended to read through the manual cover to cover. Although it's only ten pages, it's packed with useful reference information, tips, and tricks to help you get the most out of your purchase. The manual is well-organized and easy to read. I particularly enjoyed the mix of text and photographs, with annotated images that are especially helpful for understanding the main features and aircraft controls. The manual does an excellent job of covering all the important features, and it's a credit to the developers for making it simple, informative, and well-laid-out.   Exterior Although not a large aircraft, the Polaris is beautifully modelled. The textures are exquisite, from the wood grain details on the prop and the well-worn surfaces of the wings to the intricate details on the engine, fuel tank, and battery. The inflatable hull sponsons and the two passengers are also meticulously rendered. One particularly charming feature is the ability to add or remove the pilot and passenger via click spots on the seats, allowing for configurations with both, one, or neither. It’s amusing to note that the female passenger goes flying in her high heels, a curious choice for getting in and out of the Polaris!      The aircraft includes a set of wheels that can be raised and lowered by clicking on the right sponson. Similarly, the brakes and sea anchor are operated from the left sponson. While the wheels look fantastic, I found it challenging to get real control whilst on land, perhaps missing something in the process. However, when on water, the boat rudder ensures easy manoeuvring, especially when using a set of rudder pedals.   Interior When you sit in the pilot's seat of the Polaris, the view is exceptional, especially if you're flying in VR. The animations of the pilot’s arms and feet are impressively synchronized with the control movements. In VR, the alignment of the pilot’s virtual legs with your own can be quite uncanny. Looking down and seeing your virtual feet moving is a superb, albeit a little unnerving, experience.     The throttle control is located just above your head, and a small mobile phone is positioned right in front of you. This setup allows you to manipulate the brakes and monitor your airspeed, altitude, as well as wind speed and direction, a crucial feature for aligning yourself with the wind during landings. The artificial horizon is also useful for flying, although, as noted in the manual, real pilots often rely more on their senses than on instrumentation. The increased sound of the wind as you turn into it is a fantastic example of how you can "feel" your way around the skies with the Polaris.     Getting used to the control bar in your view might take some time, but the instrument panel is still quite visible. Here, you’ll find gauges for engine temperature, RPM, EGT, HOBSS, and fuel, along with a few switches for the battery, igniters, and a prominent starter button. Starting the Polaris takes only a couple of seconds, but when the engine kicks in, the aircraft truly comes to life. The FMOD sounds enrich the experience, bringing a real depth to the auditory environment.     Flight Dynamics Due to the lightweight nature of the Polaris, the developers recommend setting the flight models per frame to at least five to counteract any odd ‘jumping’ behaviour during takeoff. Following this advice, I encountered no noticeable issues. While I struggled with land-based takeoffs, taking off from water proved to be incredibly enjoyable. The wind direction indicator is essential for aligning the nose into the wind, which significantly smooths the takeoff process.   The water textures and lighting effects in X-Plane 12 enhance the overall immersion, making skimming along the water surface a novel experience for me. You could almost feel the water spray on your face. It’s worth noting that the sea anchor performs admirably when stationary, keeping everything steady as you prepare for takeoff.     Once airborne, the Polaris is exhilarating to fly, quite a departure from the complex airliners I've been piloting recently. Its simplicity greatly contributes to the enjoyment, truly embodying the concept of "flying by feel". Although it climbs slowly due to its modest airspeed, this offers a perfect chance to relax and take in the scenery. However, the Polaris requires gentle handling in the air; abrupt or sharp inputs can make it feel like you’re on a roller coaster. Flying in VR adds an extra layer of magic, especially the sensation of rising from the water with the wind whistling past your ears. Skimming low across the water or ducking under bridges is simply magical.     Once I mastered a few basic manoeuvres, the Polaris was delightful to fly. Given that it's essentially a boat with wings, exploring the myriad waterways that X-Plane offers adds a whole new dimension to the sim. The perspective is very different when you’re looking up rather than down. Perhaps VSKYLABS might consider adding a variant without wings, just the boat section. How much fun would that be!   Landing posed its own challenges and required several attempts to perfect. It’s crucial not to reduce power too abruptly to avoid a bumpy landing, or worse. Mastering power management is key to handling the Polaris effectively.     Performance The no-frills simplicity of the Polaris's design ensures that frame rates are consistently high. Even when flying over densely populated cities at low altitudes, the frames per second (fps) typically remain in the 50-plus range, rising to around 70 or 80 over waterways. Throughout my flights, I experienced no complaints in this department and observed no noticeable impact on the sim’s performance.     Conclusion Overall, my time in the Polaris was thoroughly enjoyable, and it's certainly worth considering if you're in search of something a bit different. The enhancements in X-Plane 12, particularly in terms of aircraft performance on water, coupled with the new lighting and texturing techniques, make spending a few hours in the Polaris a truly unique experience.   If you're looking for a lot of bells and whistles or high-tech features, the Polaris might not meet your expectations. However, if you're in the mood for some straightforward, seat-of-the-pants fun on and over water, this flying boat is definitely worth considering. Priced at $24.00, it's a bargain. You might even find it on sale, which would be an added bonus.   ________________________     Polaris AM-FIB by VSKYLABS is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:   Polaris AM-FIB by VSKYLABS Priced at $24.00   Features Project Main Features: VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot' Project: designed for use with X-Plane cutting edge flight model environment, features superb flight dynamics with authentic performance and flight handling characteristics. VSKYLABS development for X-Plane approved by 'New Polaris FIB' company (however, it is an independent VSKYLABS project, not affiliated with 'New Polaris FIB'). Real-Physics, incorporating weight shifting and wing simulation of a hang-glider trike. Unique trike flying aspects are being simulated: stalls, slips, spins and tumbling. Designed with the focus on control and handling characteristics, excellent for basic and advanced hang glider trike training / conversion from fixed wing aircraft. Additional passenger which can be removed, to simulate light vs heavy trike operations. Amphibian aircraft - operation in water/land and snow/ice. Built for VR: development was tailored specifically for VR, and optimized for 2D usage. Autoupdater based on the SkunkCrafts autoupdater (XP12 only) - all updates are being pushed smoothly without the need to re-download the entire base package (base package will be updated every once in a while to minimize the gap). Highly responsive VSKYLABS support forums: VSKYLABS is offering continuous professional support from aircraft related aspects (operating and flying) to X-Plane technical support. Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current Version: 4.0 (June 7th 2024)   Review System Specifications Windows 10 64 Bit, CPU Intel i9-9900k, 64GB RAM, Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, Oculus Rift S ________________________ Aircraft Review Stuart McGregor 5th July 2024 Copyright©2024: 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).    
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