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  2. Scenery Update : SBRJ - Santos Dumont, Rio de Janeiro v2 by Richard G Nunes & Nielsen Scenery If anybody has built up Rio de Janeiro brick by brick in scenery for X-Plane it is Richard G Nunes, and to say he has put Rio on the (X-Plane) map then all the credit must certainly go his way. His first project was the main international gateway to Rio with the Galeão–Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport... Review : SBGL Rio de Janeiro Intl by Richard G Nunes Scenery. The second scenery addition by Richard was the far more older and more iconic Rio airport with Santos Dumont, Review : SBRJ - Santos Dumont Rio de Janeiro by Richard G Nunes & Nielsen Scenery The two extensive scenery packages are to be used basically as one large coverage of the Guanabara Bay area of where both airports are positioned, they also cover between the two packages the iconic Rio standards with the "Christ the Redeemer" Statue in the Galeão scenery and the Sugerloaf mountain (and cable cars) in the Santos Dumont scenery. These very extensive sets of scenery can be also cause a few qibbles. One is framerate in running two extremely large sceneries side by side, but both sceneries and including even more here in this v2 update has had some very heavy refinements, but your systems requirement will still need to be on the more powerful side to get them to work efficiently together. The other point is the order of both of the sceneries folder orders in your X-Plane "Custom Scenery' folder as set out in the .ini list. They have to set correctly or one or the other of the packages will over lap or cancel out the other, so SBRJ has to be above SBGL but the corresponding meshes have to be also far below both airport sceneries and again in the correct order. To note if you have both sceneries (SBRJ and SBGL) you can remove the RJ-C-Mesh, as long as you leave in the RJ Mesh as this set one covers both airports... get it all right and Rio looks brilliant. SBRJ - Santos Dumont, Rio de Janeiro v2 Like with SBGL Rio de Janeiro Intl that had a v2 update in march last year (2017) then here is the update for SBRJ - Santos Dumont to v2. The scenery was extensive to start with, so most of the focus here is again in refinement. Not only do you get the iconic city side airport, but the scenery also provides a Rio cityskyline behind the airport as well. As noted the mesh coverage is extensive and very high quality, and brings to life the shape and detail of the famous "Sugerloaf" mountain... ... but the custom mesh also works as much against than with you in parts of this scenery. Take the SBRJ scenery out and run X-Plane11 with the latest v4 HD Mesh Scenery and the autogen will come alive, admittedly it is not the best skyline that you would expect of Rio, but it is still better than nothing, and it a shame you can't use the two elements side by side. Details however on how to use G2XPL or Ortho4XP tools to create Rio scenery and extras are also available and the details are noted in the manual. That huge extensive amount of original quality detail is still very much apparent in this scenery. Note the excellent reflective glass (above) and the old Pan Am hanger complex. The extensive Rio - Niteroi bridge has animated trafffic, and ships covering Guanabara Bay... they are both also all part of the package. There are now available excellent new (software) tools for refining textures and mesh to still give the same quality and dynamics (HD) but with a far better efficiency (i.e, file sizes) without that lossy or blurry look, the tools are not cheap to purchase, but to any top developer they now becoming essential, and for extremely complex and highly detailed sceneries like this then even more so. This scenery has been processed with these tools, I am not going to say that the scenery is going to very quickly jump your framerate a +20 or +30 frames, but their is certainly a big improvement. SBGL v2 already had the improvements done and that efficiency showed very well over there, and now adding in this refined SBRJ does help in overall pressure of two sceneries together that has to cover a significant area, but as very good as the refining has been here, it is not going to perform miracles as this is still very complex and detailed scenery. Taxiway K has had some improvements and marking changes, and it is now a far more usable route to and from the two runways. Runways 02L/20R - 02R/20L have been resurfaced, and now have more detail and realism. Rain and water effects are the coming buzz. They are still at the point of being a bit of a haphazard set of ideas at the moment and not a global set of effects throughout X-Plane, but the effects are very exciting when done like this... puddles of water and wet runways galore. For someone who lives in the tropics this is realism 101, and note the excellent light reflections... exciting. WT3 The scenery has also had the built in ATC ground routes defined and noted as WT3 (WorldTraffic3) ready. I did a generation of the scenery for WT3 and the results were mixed? There was some nice placement of category 4 - 5 medium Jet/Prop aircraft and GA aircraft centre field, but the main airbridge gates always remained empty? In landing none of the aircraft arriving taxied to the stands or departed with ground routes, in fact most aircraft that landed just simply dunked themselves over the end of the runway... ? And all arrivals would only use the 02R - 02L runways (even if you changed the wind direction) and 20L - 20R would be far better for arrivals. They landed, but then they just disappear... To be fair, there needs to a certain type of refining for WT3 for airports like SBRJ? There is some interesting notes here by the master Captain K-Man here with the Montego Bay scenery (halfway down the page) on why the certain elements don't work here. In reality airports like SBRJ should come with a defined set of WT3 ground routes and Parking definitions and these items shouldn't be defined by the generator. The runways here are also very short and the approaches to 02R - 02L are very complex, but they do work, but nothing else does. Summary Rio de Janeiro is on of the most exciting places you can fly to in X-Plane, either from within the South American continent or internationally. And both of these very expansive and extensive Richard G. Nunes Rio scenery packages are really essential to get the full Rio experience, they are both excellent. SBGL - Galeão has already had the update to v2 treatment and now here is the SBRJ - Santos Dumont version to v2. Overall it is refinement in texture efficiency (without losing the quality) and new runway textures and changes to taxiway K and signage. The excellent ground water effects are really well done here, very authentic and realistic but the WT3 layouts don't work really well (they do at SBGL - Galeão). Overall a very nice update to an already very extensive scenery package, the airport is of course very iconic and is very testing and requires skill to fly into. Recommended... _____________________________________ Yes! SBRJ - Santos Dumont Rio de Janeiro v2 by Richard G Nunes & Nielsen Scenery is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : SBRJ - Rio - Santos Dumont Price is US$19.95 v2 update is free to all current owners of the SBRJ - Santos Dumont scenery, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and redownload the scenery. Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM recommended Current version: 2.0 (Last updated April 20th 2018) Features Ultra-High Resolution replica of Santos Dumont Airport, updated in 2016. Custom runways, ramps and taxiways with ambient occlusion Many Static objects Animated vehicles, ships and barges. 3D grass, true to Airport type. Airport and surrounding areas high-quality Mesh. Mesh designed using the excellent 'Remexe' tool Partial rendering inside terminals Superior lighting HDR Effect, indoor lighting environment, Terminal and Jetways. Night texture and HDR lighting Textures personalized with ambient occlusion. Fully animated airport Animated Ground Service and aircraft traffic (default) Ground Traffic by Marginal Auto Gate with DGS and ramp Marshall Autogate by Marginal Tons of surrounding landmarks included in the package: Sugar Loaf hill and Morro da Urca Animated cable car (Bondinho) Rio-Niteroi Bridge with vehicle traffic. Ilha Fiscal (Fiscal Island) Ilha das Enxadas (Hoe Island) Ilha das Cobras (Snake Island) Naval College. Prana XV, the Ferry Station. 3 Helipads SDHU SIJP and SNUO Buildings Adjacent to heliports SBRJ Charts 35 charts included Compatible with SBGL scenery - Galeao (Other scene by Richard Nunes) Changelog Version 2.0 (April 20th 2018) - Soil effect wet when precipitation. - Stretching of Taxiway K - Updated taxiway tags - WT3 Configuration - Performance has been modified - Runways new texture _____________________________________________________________________________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 24th April 2018 Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.20 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.09 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free : : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin Scenery or Aircraft - Boeing 737-800 - default X-Plane by Laminar Research (Free)
  3. Last week
  4. News! - SoundPack Released : A320 Ultimate by BlueSkyStar Simulations We all knew it was being developed and now it has been released! This is the "Sound Expansion" package for the FlightFactor Airbus A320 Ultimate by BlueSkyStar Simulations (BSS). This is the fifth sound pack for the A320 Series from BSS with two versions for FS/P3D with the Aerosoft A320 and the FS Labs Airbus aircraft. X-Plane is catered for with the JARDesign A320neo that has two sound packs for both engines including the IAE 2500 and the PW G1000. This new FlightFactor A320U sound pack here covers the CFM56-5B4 engine which are the same sounds as the FS/P3D FSLabs A320 CFM engine installation. Currently there are no detailed notes on the sound features or what sounds are actually covered in this release, but BSS do note the sound package is not yet completely complete either. For one, X-Plane11 is still in beta (11.20) and two more adjustments are required by Flightfactor. On installation you will need to run the A320U updater to update to the current release version which is 0.8. 71-2034, and to note the BSS sound pack does not work with any lower version releases. First Impressions? very good and I should know as in the last month I have flown on three Jetstar A320's, but on the ground the FlightFactor GPU does drown out a lot of the BSS sounds. In the air it sounds really good with 380º sounds in the cabin and the cockpit, the sounds do certainly feel realistic and don't give me a headache over a two hour flight and that is a great start. Externally they are good as well, but quite loud. This brings up the point of which would we like more control over the sounds? personally yes I would, certainly not all of them, but at least the main items like internal and external areas, APU and minor system noises and sounds. Overall I still feel there is still a few more areas to be adjusted, but I loved my flight and the feeling the sounds gave back to me... a video is available! The FlightFactor Airbus A320 Ultimate BSS Sound Package is available now from the X-Plane.OrgStore... ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Blue Sky Star Simulation Sound Packages is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BSS Flight Factor A320 Ultimate Sound Pack Price is US$19.98 (Yes! you do need the FlightFactor A320 Ultimate aircraft and it is Required for the use of this sound pack US$89.95) ______________________________________________________________________ Blue Sky Star Developer Site : Blue Sky Star Simulations News by Stephen Dutton 22nd April 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)
  5. And I thought about the fact that the system and the generation are different between the 777 and MD11. They're built are for long hauls while the 757 is dedicated for medium hauls. So I guess I should go to the 757 while waiting the MD11... but I own their 767 and if it's OK, I don't have (yet?) the expected "sparkle in the eyes" and then I'm afraid to have the same feeling with their 757. Well, I'll think about a bit more before pulling the trigger. Thanks for your advice !
  6. Yes I am eagerly awaiting the MD11 as well From flightfactor's point of view for updates there are two directions to go in... A350 or the said B777 Series, and remember the B767 is still needing an upgrade as well, but that is small compared to the work on the two others and it is already in beta? The point about the B777 is that it will be a very extensive upgrade as there will be a lot of changes and a lot of new systems, if it goes as far as a "Study" version I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me. If it is on the table then I doubt it will not be until the end of the year anyway, unless the work has already started a fair while ago which in case the usual release is around August, but the end of the year would more exact. My guess is the A350 will actually be next. To get the B757 is a good step up anyway if the B777 goes more system orientated as you can learn the deeper FMS and fight programming and then the transition to the larger aircraft would be more seemless... SD
  7. Thanks for this article. I "need" a good cargo aircraft... and I'm waiting patiently for the Rotate's MD11 But to have my fix in the meantime, my biggest question today is: getting the FF 757 bundle now or waiting an hypothetical FF 777 major upgrade ?
  8. Airport Review : MKJS Sangster International Airport (MBJ) - Montego Bay, Jamaica by LatinVFR/Skyline Simulations This Jamaican scenery is a collaboration between LatinVFR who are a Flight Simulator scenery development house and Skyline Simulations for X-Plane11(Ex-Icarius). The original scenery was released by LatinVFR for FSX and FS2004 in 2010 and it includes 200sq Kilometers of photo scenery that includes the entire area of North West Jamaica. There has always been a business in converting Flight Simulator Scenery to X-Plane, but like with Aerosoft the quality can range from the excellent to the dire other extreme. Mostly if the original host scenery is very good or even not that old, the conversion can still be a very good one, but in most cases here it is the X-Plane conversion specialist that can make or break the end result. X-Plane scenery in design is quite different from the style of Flight Simulator, but it is always the 3d modeling quality as if it is as good it can still look the same in both simulator environments and give you a quality scenery. Jamaica is situated almost centrally situated in the Caribbean Sea. The Island spans 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola (the island containing the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic). (Google Maps) Kingston is the Southern Island's capital, but in it is on the north coast that has had the Island's biggest impact, think Bob Marley, Ganja (Cannabis) and James Bond. Personally I always liked Jimmy Cliff far more the Bob Marley and you know it wasn't going to end well, and it didn't for Bob. Ganja created a way of life in Jamaica that you could say created a very laidback lifestyle and great music, but it also brought huge crime and poor living conditions as well. Ian Fleming was a very complicated person, but his move to Saint Mary's Parish (Port Maria) and to an old donkey racetrack created a modern icon, as here he created "Goldeneye" and here he would write one James Bond novel a year for the rest of his life that made him and the island famous. He loathed being poor? Felt very put upon in life and died a sad person in 1964, He desperately wanted the rich and the finer things in life and in reality delivered far more though his alter ego James Bond and that included an airport named after him that has been built close by (MKBS). There are many clues around this area of Oracabessa bay that are littered thoughout the novels, Crab Key Beach is one... but in which book and movie? MKJS Sangster International Airport (MBJ) Sangster International Airport (IATA: MBJ, ICAO: MKJS) is an international airport located 3 mi (4.8 km) east of Montego Bay, Jamaica. The airport is capable of handling nine million passengers per year. It serves as the most popular airport for tourists visiting the north coast of Jamaica. The airport is named after former Jamaican Prime Minister Sir Donald Sangster. Originally named the Montego Bay Airport, a decision was made to build the runway in 1940, and the actual construction of the facility was completed on 18 February 1947. At the time of its completion, the town of Montego Bay was more like a playground for the rich and famous, and was considered then, one of the premier vacation spots within the Caribbean, just as it is today. The original terminal was built and opened on 7 July 1959, with a capacity to accommodate 500 passengers per hour, and parking for seven aircraft at a time. The new eastern concourse of the Sangster International Airport (SIA) was officially opened in December 2005. The current airport has a flow of 4,284,558 passengers a year and 41,263 aircraft movements (2017). Sangster International Airport (IATA: MBJ, ICAO: MKJS) 07/25 2,653m (8,704ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL 4 ft / 1 m MKJS, Montego Bay Airport by LatinVFR/Skyline Simulations In 2018 there has suddenly been a profusion of tropical scenery with lovely coral and sandbank colour. Think FlyCorfu XP from FlyTampa! and TNCM - Sint Maarten by AWD, and it feels that X-Plane is trying very hard to make up time in this scenery area, again it the same here at Montego Bay as these lovely photo scenery mesh textures do as noted cover 200sq Kilometers of a significant part of the island. The coverage is extensive and on arrival it gives you a great feel of the playboy (playperson?) era that Montego Bay is famous for. From the air viewpoint aspect then the area looks excellent. Runway 07/25 taxiway, ramp textures are also excellent, very realistic with 3d grass popping up through the mainly beachy environment. Runway and taxiway signage is basic, but so is the airport's layout... RWY 07's approach has over water approach lighting which is very good, the only note is that in parts of the water you can see boat (white) shadows that should have been removed. The approach to RWY07 is interesting... you are warned of high ground on all charts and approach notes and hence the approach chart above. So flying in blind (the first time) you can still be caught out off guard, as the areas height is actually not that high, high, but it is where it is on the approach that makes it dangerous, the ground is lower at first but then there is a higher range just before you head over Montego Bay, so your aim is to go lower, when really you need to hold your altitude at 4600ft (say 5000ft) until you clear this final range and if you are lower at 3000ft it is a still possible but you will have to try to block out the constant "terrain, terrain" warnings, so a minimum of 4000ft is the goal. Once over the coastal line you have to of course drop quickly to land on the runway, a few goes and it is easy, and a low approach speed helps in giving you more space to lose the altitude. Terminals There are two terminals that are connected with the older longer terminal is noted as domestic (original terminal) and the larger (left) terminal as the International. This scenery is eight years old and that aspect has to be always taken into consideration. The Domestic arm has six airbridges (1...7) and is a low single story building with the airport's control tower mid-way on the building. Overall the detailing is not too bad, I like the original central green roofing and there is a lot of items like air-conditioners also on the roof, windows (although small) are reflective. Tower view is not set? It is set somewhere on the west ramp? There are active gates on all terminals, but they are not that effective to use? You park very close to terminal wall? and to see the guidance marshall I had to stand up in my pilots seat (view higher) to see down him to park? When parked the gate arms actually move inwards to fit to your aircraft door? and many a marshall are buried into the actual terminal building (left)? So the airbridges are not placed correctly. There are no service vehicles or aircraft service equipment on the ramps either, so it quite empty out there... There is animated vehicle traffic that does work around the terminals, but they have a habit of queuing up for long periods of time and they don't run within their lane (left side) either. International Terminal is quite good as well (considering its age) with nice different textures for different building materials. Eleven gates with airbridges covered are (8...19). There is a large parking and cargo ramp to the west, but this is not a very large sort of cargo hub, but ideal for say the B757 size of freighter. Ramp parking is noted as all one's with 1A...1F with 1C and 1D as the cargo stands. And there are a few support vehicles sitting around the cargo area. Landside is quite simply poor to really average... flat blurry textures with a few 3d vehicles on top? no real detailing at all, and even a few trees thrown in here would break up the blandness.... you really wanted far better than this for a payware, even freeware. And this brings us to the overall problem with this scenery. Is this a conversion or just put in the FSX components and see what do we actually have? Obviously the textures are not adjusted colour wise to the X-Plane colouring aspect, as they are too light in contrast, this is also highlighted a lot by the same high contrast trees, and obviously again the trees have come straight from the FSX scenery... There is a tool called.... "Photoshop" and it is very good for doing changes to textures and to at least match up the trees to the X-Plane native colouring trees that here stand out like a game you can count with, in many areas the trees are missing altogether and then they are not edited either as they cover roads and traffic passes through the not only the trees but mid-road power poles as well? There are a few nice FSX style apartment buildings, but again they cover roads and to a point the building on the road here doesn't actually exist? There are a few sailboats (catamarans) as well but most are upended, or half sticking out of the water? The oil terminal is there across Montego Bay, but the port is empty with no ship or wharf. There are also a lot of "Floaters" or buildings and items that float in the scenery... ... or the opposite in buildings being buried in the sand. So maybe the "runways follow terrain contours" has to be off, but nope as then the terminal itself will then float. Lighting The scenery's lighting is not that imaginative either... it is overall quite dark with one dull tone of lighting for the whole scenery... lighting barely covers the ramp working area, but the approach and taxiway lighting is done to the rules. The terminal window night lighting is quite effective, but as expected the landside is very dark. WT3 There are built in ATC routes with this MKJS scenery, and for the native A.I. Aircraft and X-Life it works fine, but the generated WT3 routes don't work, they do on taking off and landing, but the action stays on the runway and there is no aircraft terminal placement either? The ground routes by ysfsim for MKJS do work fine in all areas as they are in this review, but aircraft sit through buildings and taxi on the grass because the ground routes are not aligned for this scenery, but they are better than nothing at all... Summary We accept the fact that the original scenery which is the base of this X-Plane version was created for Flight Simulator and that also it is also eight years old, and that such scenery for X-Plane has always been converted to our simulator and will again be in the future. And so the basis of the scenery is actually quite good, with excellent water textures (and a lot of them) and all of the airport's runway, taxiway and ramp surface textures are very good as well. The terminals are not as detailed like we mostly get today in X-Plane but they are serviceable and in fact they are fine as a basis of the airport. But overall the scenery is average, the really annoying thing is that didn't have to be as the basics are all in there and could have been used here too their full advantage. So the full blame here rests firmly on the scenery converter to X-Plane. The scenery textures don't match up (in the trees and ground textures), Airbridge gates are not placed correctly (neither is the aircraft parking park position in being too close to the terminal), Landside area is well... average to crap, buildings float or are placed were there is none and it looks like the Jamacians are really terrible sailors as they can't keep their boats upright? WT3 also doesn't convert very well and the night lighting is average to poor. The missed trick here is that X-Plane gives you all the tools to cover and fix most of these areas, of course with a bit of needed imagination and skill and that is severely lacking here. And a lot of the great freeware developers are actually on the wrong side of the tracks here as what would of say tdg done with this scenery with his placement skills and yes Photoshop is still a great tool for adjusting things like colour and contrast. As I said the basics for a very good scenery are all still in here and Jamaica is a great destination, but overall this MKJS is an average scenery that deserves better and could have been and should have been far better than what is delivered here. ______________________________________________________________________ The MKJS Sangster International Airport (MBJ) - Montego Bay, Jamaica by LatinVFR/Skyline Simulations scenery is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here : MKJS - Montego Bay Jamaica Price Is US$19.95 Noted Features: Animated Airport Animated Jetways Ground Traffic in whole airport for G.Aviation and Commercial services Detailed Airport MKJS (MBJ) airport with all its buildings done with accurate detail PBR Materials Ground reflections Surroundings extremely detailed, resorts and hotels exactly placed and created in the area near the airport More than 200sq Kilometers of photo scenery with thousands of hands placed custom autogen High resolution ground textures for runways, taxiways, apron etc Revised land classes for surrounding photo scenery.? Inclusion of manual in PDF format Inclusion of charts and maps. Vehicle and boats Excellent frame rates Excellent HDR night lighting with custom Billboard light Dozens of custom apron objects (containers, vehicles, etc) Fully AI traffic and ground traffic Much more Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows , Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum. 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 820Mb Current version: 1.0 (released Dec 22nd 2017) Installation Download scenery file size is 621mb. With the full installation installed package is 1.25gb in your custom scenery folder. Working if not aligned ground routes for MKJS by ysfsim: KJS and MKJP Ground Routes World Traffic 3 Documents LatinVFR_Manual_MKJS.pdf (original FSX Manual) MKJSDIAGRAM (Airport Layout Chart) LatinVFR_Manual_MKJS_XPlane ______________________________________________________________________ Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 20th April 2018 Copyright©2018 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.20 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - ToLiSS319 (A319) by ToLiSS (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$69.00
  9. News! - xEnviro environment plugin updated... again to v1.09! Errr! what happened there? Just a few days after the release of the long awaited v1.08, then v1.09 is very quickly on the blocks with some fixes. Changelog v1.09 notes: All notable changes to xEnviro project will be documented in this file. ### [Known issues] - Freezing during initial start up - Camera zoom is not supported by the volume rendered atmosphere. - Incorrect camera angle inside 3D cockpit. - Rough objects edges at mid and low resolutions ### [1.09] ### Added - Cloud shadows. - Checkbox to display crepuscular rays. - Crepuscular rays. ### Changed - Blending for overcast layer adjusted to avoid early terrain clipping. ### Removed - Cloud shadows distance slider removed. Certainly it is very nice to see (for a change) a quick response to bugs and issues, my guess is that v1.10 will not be long in coming along either. So where is the xEnviro 1.08.... 09 review? There is one thing to note about xEnviro and that it is a bit of a shape shifter, and that is not an excuse. You don't have the tools to adjust the plugin as it runs in real time, so you can look at certain elements and then when you return then those elements have totally changed... so you have to build up a picture over a period of time, plus now we suddenly have updates also coming along. When everything settles down, I'll give you my perspective on the updates, but currently it is mixed, from the really brilliant to the "not sure about that" categories, overall it is far more to the brilliant than the other end of the scale, I will note though the feel is again quite different from 1.07/06 These images (v1.08) are over Albuquerque, New Mexico, and they are quite spectacular, and note the clear silhouette over the Sandia Mountains and the clean line to the horizon, impressive! v1.09 is free to all current xEnviro registered users, just go to the xEnviro site to update : xEnviro.net ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the xEnviro Environment Engine by Commercial Simulation Systems LLC is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : xEnviro Price is US$69.90 Sorry this plugin is Windows only at this point, But Mac is coming eventually! _____________________________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 18th April 2018 Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews (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)
  10. Earlier
  11. Aircraft Update : Boeing 757 Professional v2.1.13 by FlightFactor/VMax X-Plane is a movement, always morphing, changing and always moving forward. We wouldn't want that aspect any other way, as it means that the simulator grows, becomes better and more involving. In fact if you sit back and think it though the changes in and around the X-Plane simulator over the last, say... three years have been phenomenal, and it feels sometimes even an eon ago, but you have to even go a long way further back to November 2013 for time the Boeing 757 from FlightFactor/VMax first emerged, yes five years ago, that feels now like the Jurassic period in X-Plane terms, okay if only stone/bronze age. In sales terms it is one of the biggest sellers of payware aircraft in X-Plane and it lead the simulator for the very best of in depth quality and you would even note the aircraft as the first "Study" aircraft as well with its in depth systems and flying capabilities, but that is still a big five years ago since it's first release... So you think that with all the extreme changes in the X-Plane simulator the aircraft or the design would now be hopelessly out of date, but in reality the aircraft is very far from that point, as there has not only been a lot of updates through the years including the major version two release in 2016. Added also into the this Boeing 757 package is the "Extended" option of not only the original -200 version but also the added choice of a - 300 version and a -200SF Freighter and the option of two engine choices of the RR RB211-535E4 and the Pratt & Whitney PW2037. The introduction of X-Plane11 was very significant for FlightFactor's B757/B767 series aircraft. On the one hand the PBR (Physically Based Rendering) effects gave them a new lease of life in a dynamic sense, bringing them alive, and giving them more realism. But the X-Plane11 more detailed flight and engine dynamics didn't translate as good, patches came to keep the B757/B767 birds flying, but with their complex system algorithms it was not an easy fix, especially more so as Laminar Research changed their refinements as often as their minds. And so the updates keep coming, but that is good thing and not a negative, refinement is written all over this aircraft and here we cover not one but two updates as they are only a few months apart with v2.1.11 and v2.1.13 Boeing 757 Professional v2.1.13 The updates cover again mostly system fixes, but as the v2.1.10 update was the most significant one that addressed most of the X-Plane11 refinements, I still found that aircraft still quite buggy in the way it flew. The X-Plane11 versions of the "Extended" options with the -300 and 200SF were now also X-Plane11 rated was a huge addition and bonus to the B757 Series. Here I am going to concentrate on the basic aircraft the B757-200. With a few nips and tucks over the years the B757 still looks as good as the day it was released. But the dynamic lighting really brings the aircraft to life, like with the B767 the optional blended winglets from Aviation Partners Incorporated that look very good on this aircraft, but also extended its service life. The tall 757 stance when standing on its gear is as famous as its long tube body gave the aircraft some interesting nicknames like... Stick Insect, AtariFerrari, Slippery Snake, Flying Pencil and Long Tall Sally. But the B757 is a very but highly successful but niche aircraft and that has made it very hard to replace in the commercial world and that is why so many are still flying in what is essentially an early 80's aircraft. The new Airbus A321 LR neo is now a possible replacement, but Boeing are wanting their new design in the B797 to cover the B757 requirements as well. The B757-300 version is as spectacular. The aircraft shown here has the optional Roll Royce RB211-535E4 engines. You can check your current FF B757 version by the version number on the top right of the pop-up iPad menu system. Update 2.1.12 was not a large amount of changes and mostly small issue fixes, the sound volume was jumping to zero and the engines behaved a bit strange on an engine change. The boarding door co-ordinates were wrong but fixed for the -300 version, but the -200 version was missed but it is now done in v2.1.13... Who doesn't love BetterPushBack... The BetterPushBack Truck is now adjusted to work well with the FF B757, as before it had rocking issues? The B757 does already come with a really good pushback truck that is controlled by your joystick, but who could do without that "Have a great Day!" from the betterpushback driver. Freighter SF version is also very good, and there is a GHD (Ground Handling) .set available for the aircraft (for the -200 and -300 versions as well). Note there is a bug if you use the GHD in that it conflicts with the FF A757 GPU and power to the aircraft, to get around the issue you have to use the APU. Boeing 757 cockpit still delivers in quality and detail... But the B757 and the B767 have a tendency to switch between light and dark lighting conditions, sometimes perfect, but then you get a snap and the cockpit (or panel) feels darker and then it snaps back to normal again, it doesn't help in that the cockpit is also quite a dark design. There has been few tries by FlightFactor to rein in this lighting condition in changes in both 2.0.25 and 2.1.10 but the PBR just highlights it more. Over the years there has been a lot of work done on the B757/B767 FMS. It is highly detailed and was for years one of the best in flight management systems and like noted almost "Study" deep in what you can set up and input into the aircraft's systems. The arrival this year of FlightFactor's A320 Ultimate and the ToLiSS319 has raised the bar in this flight management area, but this system is still one of the best to use and programme, all areas are covered with SID/STAR DEP and ARR, fix and airway inputs, ECON (Economy) CLB, CRZ and DES settings, DIR-INTC (Direct-To) and the PROG (Progress) has two pages of information with Wind and Fuel info on page 2. The aircraft's weather and terrain radar is also still one of the best in X-Plane. Notable is the option of having both white and red instruments. There is a choice between mixed (white and red) or full in that certain digital instruments are red on the main instrument panel and on the OHP (OverHead Panel). The red looks very nice at night. In v2.1.13 few cockpit mis-spellings have also been rectified and corrected, with the ELC and EEC buttons now on (useable) if the fuel pumps (switches) are off. The original X-Plane11 throttle hunting issue has been mostly tuned out (the B767 was the worst), the throttles still intermittently moves and reduce power, then increases the power again for no absolute reason, but it is not even close as the constant (annoying) movement you had before... climbing to altitude was the worse. Cabin Fitout You can see the changes to the FlightFactor B757 over the years by the different cabins installed in the aircraft... Starting with the 2013 version. This original version had a very Russian feel to the design, even down to the odd "Gazprom" logos? Thankfully another cabin change came with the v2 upgrade... and the cabin went more modern and an early 2000's in design. But very quickly (twelve months) we already have another latest B757 cabin version that is now bang up to date... with a very smart looking business class... .... and an even better designed main economy class. It is now all very modern in the back cabin as the economy seats are exceptional in design and they come with these lovely seating textures. Even the crew stations are very different from the past FlightFactor layouts (finally the cheap bottles of wine have gone) and all also are very modern and efficient looking. Same goes for the cabin wall panels, they are now separate styled panels with those nasty openings (gaps) from around the window frames are now also gone. Cabin lighting (adjustable) was good before, but now excellent with great down lighting. Look back to the original earlier cabins and you can see the total transformation of the same aircraft, the -300 version also has had the same changes done to the cabin layouts, and how long is it before the Boeing 767 get the same fitout makeover as well? The above cabin changes are far more significant than they appear, as they are very unFlightFactor in design and appearance, this is most likely the new direction of internal design, including cockpit textures from the developers and a move away from the original more Slavic feel to a more western approach, my guess is that in time all the FlightFactor fleet in the B777, B767 and even their A350 will adopt these more western layouts and all to the better and the proof is right here in this cabin, and it is amazing how changes like this can bring an older design to a much more up to date feel and experience. Virtual Reality FlightFactor has also noted that the Boeing 757 will soon be available for VR (Virtual Reality), and FF note "We have developed our unique cockpit interaction in VR just like we did with the 3d cockpit, and if I may say so, it is very intuitive." That announcement sounds exciting, but my comment would be what would VR be like in using the current B757 cockpit textures, as they are quite dark in design and the noted points in that (both) cockpits of the B757/B767 have that tendency to switch under X-Plane11 from light to dark lighting conditions? My gut feeling is that with a VR headset on then it would highlight that aspect, and to the dark, more than the light? Summary The motto of this review tale is that the reality is the FlightFactor/Vmax Boeing 757 Series is now five years old. But the truth is that with constant and clever updates, it could have been released only late last year. I am not going to hide the fact that in a very few areas it does show its original age, but there is no doubt that in it's current form that the aircraft will certainly stay there at the top of the list as one of the best simulations in X-Plane and that is with the newer Airbuses also now available. The trip down memory lane of the three different cabin layouts describes the whole situation very clearly, as the earlier cabin version was to say the least quite average (but good for the time), as the curent latest cabin layout is now quite sensational and like the real aircraft will keep it in service well past its used by date. If you opt for the recommended extended version with not only the -200 version, but with the very long -300 and that nice freighter version as well, then you are getting overall a very nice aircraft package and as the B757 has been around for a fair then all the niceties like the GHD (Ground Handling) and BetterPushBack plugins all work very well as well. In flying, then most of the X-Plane11 issues have been dealt with or refined, but updates are also constant to cover any other changes that Laminar Research might throw our way. I will admit the B757 requires a bit of skill and dedication to fly really well, you have to go to the aircraft, and not that the aircraft comes to you, but when both skills and flying ability merge then it is very good and deep simulation of this aircraft.... certainly highly recommended. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Boeing 757-200ER Professional & Extended versions by VMAX and FlightFactor Aero is NOW! Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Boeing 757-200ER v2 Professional Price is US$64.95 Boeing 757-200ER v2 Professional Extended Price is US$84.95 Boeing 757-200ER v2 Professional Extended Upgrade Price is US$64.95 + US$20 You must already have purchased and own the current Boeing 757-200 v2 version for any updates to the aircraft Requirements X-Plane 11.05 or latter (also X-Plane 10 compatible) Windows 7+, Mac OS 10.10+ or Linux 14.04+ LTS or compatible. running in 64bit mode 1Gb VRAM Video Card Minimum. 2Gb+ VRAM Recommended. 3Gb+ VRAM Preferred. Current Version : 2.1.13 Free auto-updates for the entire XP11 lifecycle _____________________________________________________________________________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 18th April 2018 Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.20 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.09 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free : : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin Scenery or Aircraft - KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport by ShortFinal Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$19.95 (review of KABQ is here : Scenery Review : KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport by ShortFinal Design Changelog: 2.1.13 - boarding door fix - exhaust gas colour fix - fixed a small bug with cargo version weight - fixed the 753 beacon - fixed a bug with disappearing ELC and EEC buttons on fuel pump off - trimmer mouse wheel control fix - power back is now possible again - made the start sound quieter - to match the engine idle - EGT limiter on high OAT GA fixed - fixed x-plane hanging when you use the fix page during your fpl has DISCOs - corrected brakes for xp11.10 - improved flch ap mode logic and reengaging at logic - made some things for better integration with the VoiceCommander profiles by sloboda. 2.1.11 - fixed the issue with volume jumping to zero - fixed an issue with engine controller behaving incorrectly after an engine change - fixed an issue with BetterPushback rocking back and forth - fixed an issue with inversed stab animation - fixed the 300 door location (extended only) - add 300 and cargo to the livery packs - fixed misspelling in the cockpit - added higher realism level requirement for hung start
  12. Mostly stores don't list the GPU requirements because it is a hard one to pin down as there are so many aspects that can affect the situation like in other hardware items as in bus speeds and system set ups, the way you configure X-plane is a big differential as well, were as graphic cards are really all about absorption in file sizes. Mostly now a i7 is required, but you do have a faster i5 and not the slower version. One way to give me an idea is what other aircraft can you run now on your settings with room to spare, the other way you can find out is to post your comment on the .Org and see if someone with the same processors can give you an answer. SD
  13. Looks like a very nice aircraft but for the requirement in the x-plane.org store it says : X-Plane 11+Windows, Mac or Linux Video card: 4GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better or similar from AMD) 2GB hard drive space But it doesn't say if we need an I5 3,5 GHZ or faster CPU. I would like to know if an I5 3,4 GHZ can run it.
  14. News! - xEnviro environment plugin updated to v1.08! xEnviro has released the next version of their environment plugin to v1.08. This update is not the full completed version that xEnviro were working towards, but since the events surrounding the developer and his family, then this WIP progress version has been released. This v1.08 version has been in development for over 8 months and the basic code of the engine has been completely rewritten, plus it has a lot of new special features and effects, but I do stress the development was stopped and not completed, so expect issues and bugs, and don't expect any quick fixes coming anytime soon either? However it is a very stable release and has been extensively tested. v1.08 changelog notes are... All notable changes to xEnviro project will be documented in this file. ### [Known issues] - Freezing during initial start up - Camera zoom is not supported by the volume rendered atmosphere. - Incorrect camera angle inside 3D cockpit. - Rough objects edges at mid and low resolutions ### [1.08] ### Added - Cloud and atmosphere resolution slider. - Cloud complexity slider to adjust the amount of detailed cloud puffs. - New, volume rendered atmosphere. - Rain intensity dataref. - Snow intensity dataref. - Terrain surface condition dataref. - Windshield precipitation effect and corresponding checkbox added. - Post-processing shader is back. - Sun glare. - Camera lens flare effect. - Checkbox to display or remove lens flare effect. - Seasonal data now calculated and accumulated on the server. - Terrain surface condition data now calculated and accumulated on the server. - xEnviro now publishes seasonal data for the scenery developers. Details can be found in the SDK. - Moon with position and phase based on the current system date and time. ### Changed - Turbulence model adjusted to have less evenly distributed areas of the same air velocity. - DSF drawing distance has been increased to hide sharp visible edge under the distant haze coverage. - Maximum haze blending distance adjusted to hide the DSF edge. - Cloud texture map have been changed to include only the basic shapes allowing for more cloud varieties. - Cloud shadow and tone maps have been moved to the separate cloud noise texture. - Cloud transparency model is now based on the noise chart. Clouds will grow up more naturally and solid clouds will not be transparent anymore. - Cloud shapes and forms are based on dynamic flow noise with smooth animation and transformation. - Haze model adjusted to match all the calculated turbidity levels. - Plugin architecture has been re-arranged for deferred rendering. - X-Plane internal visibility limit adjusted to hide distant lights in low visibility conditions. ### Removed - X-Plane scattering level slider removed. - Minimum drawing distance slider removed. This distance now set in the middle between detailed and maximum drawing distances. - Cloud brightness slider. Cloud brightness is fully controlled by scattering and light equations. - Cloud shadows temporary removed. - Old, based on layers, atmosphere has been removed. - Upper atmosphere checkbox. - Lower atmosphere checkbox. - City lights temporary removed. ### Fixed - Surface friction procedures amended to avoid aircraft sliding. - Scenery lights no more visible through the clouds. v1.08 is free to all current xEnviro registered users, just go to the xEnviro site to update : xEnviro.net ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the xEnviro Environment Engine by Commercial Simulation Systems LLC is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : xEnviro Price is US$69.90 Sorry this plugin is Windows only at this point, But Mac is coming eventually! _____________________________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 15th April 2018 Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews (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)
  15. To be honest Stephen, I didn't even wait for the reviews. Flytampa's reputation is so great, that I bought first-day. My first flight was from LGAV (converted Flytampa from FSX) to LGKR (X-Plane native) version. One of my favourite flights with the FFA320.:)
  16. Scenery Review : TNCM - Princess of the Caribbean - Part 1- SXM by AWD In either tourism or aviation it is one of the most famous images known... the image of a KLM Boeing 747 passing over Beacon Hill Road (Maho Beach) on finals and about to land at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) in Sint Maarten. It is now history as well as KLM don't fly Boeing 747's to Sint Maarten any more since they started in 1990, as the final flight was held on 28 October 2016. The aircraft would generally fly from Amsterdam, making a stop in Curacao before heading to St. Maarten. But however you can still fly on the route (but only direct AMS - SXM) and now on an Airbus A330 (FL KL789). Besides trying to duplicate that image in X-Plane (it is far harder than it looks) Sint Maarten is a great base to explore the Anguilla area and islands, this is island hopping par excellence and X-Plane has had a variety of TNCM airports over the years but not one to do the area real justice, so here is Airworthy Design's version and it is a big if huge scenery of the area. I will note is that "is this now the era of Mega Sceneries" for X-Plane, it feels like it, as scenery is now expanding, not only in cost but certainly in size. But the size aspect isn't in area, but in actual scenery size... in Gigabytes. This scenery is a total of 14.71GB... yes that is 14.7 big ones! with a 6.5gb download. The recommended requirement is 4Gb VRAM Video Card Minimum and a 8Gb+ VRAM recommended in graphic cards but you will need at least 16gb of memory as well. An update reduced the download to 5.5GB, but the file size is the same. So the scenery is asking a lot of your specifics, and even I with my review Windows setup, the size just only crawls under that line. I will note my graphic settings here as they are important to the running of this scenery (as to all these newer mega sceneries) they are High (HDR), Maximum (Texture Quality), Highest Quality (AntiAliasing), High (Objects), Minimal (Reflection). The scenery is also part 1 of two editions of the area, this scenery covers the main entrance to the area with Princess Juliana (TNCM) and Grand Case airports (TFFG) and photo scenery over the island of Anguilla. The second edition will cover St Barths (TFFJ) and Saba (TNCS). But the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport on Anguilla will not be covered, which is an odd omission? To clear up a slight confusion is the names of Sint Maarten and Saint Martin, the island is split between the Dutch (Sint) 40% and the French - Collectivité de Saint-Martin (Saint) of which is the Northern 60%.and the Princess Juliana airport is just south of the border in the Dutch zone and is Dutch in operation, for the French national interests it is the Aéroport de Grand Case or L'Espérance Airport (TFFG) that is positioned in the north of the island. You get a good idea of the large area provided with the scenery by turning off all of X-Plane's weather features... and see the layout of Sint Maarten. I have always noted that X-Plane has required an good Sint Maarten for years, yes as noted there has been a few, but the trick with this island scenery is not with the actual airport itself, but the overall surroundings and the overall feel of the Anguilla islands... ... and the trick of course is the water, or the colouring of the aspects of the water to note the islands tropical look and feel. TNCM - Princess Juliana International Airport The airport was started as a military airstrip in 1942. It was converted to a civilian airport in 1943. In 1964 the airport was remodeled and relocated, with a new terminal building and control tower. The facilities were upgraded in both 1985 and 2001 and the airport airport handles around 1,829,543 passengers and around 60,000 aircraft movements per year. Noted is that TNCM is famous as the 4th most dangerous airport in the world because the approach to Runway 10 which is over water and pilots can become easily disoriented regarding their perceived altitude when operating under visual flight rules. Normal instrument checks, coupled with experience and situational awareness, mitigate potential problems. The departure from Runway 10 presents more "difficulties" than the approach, with a turn required to avoid mountains in the departure path. Arriving aircraft approach the island on the last section of the final approach for Runway 10, following a 3° glide slope flying low over the famous Maho Beach. Pictures of low-flying aircraft were published in several news magazines worldwide in early 2000. The thrilling approaches and ease of access for shooting spectacular images, made the airport one of the world's favorite places among planespotters and of course simulator users in wanting to recapture the challenging approaches and departures. This scenery covers the latest upgrades to the airport (since damaged badly by Hurricane Irma on the 6 September 2017 which struck the island as a Category 5 hurricane). Princess Juliana International Airport IATA: SXM - ICAO: TNCM 10/28 - 2,300m (7,546ft) Asphalt/Concrete Elevation AMSL14ft / 4m In reality TNCM can be set into two zones, the main area with the single large international terminal building (top) and the inter-island area for the mostly twin-engined island hoppers (below). Note the very large radar installation here at TNCM. As since the official opening of the new control tower, PJIA air traffic controllers have two radar systems now at their disposal with ranges of 50 nautical miles (93 km) and 250 nautical miles (460 km). PJIA controllers manage 4,000 square NM of airspace known as the Juliana TCA around the airport, roughly between 25 nautical miles (46 km) and 42 nautical miles (78 km) of the St Maarten VOR-DME. Besides providing approach, tower and ground control at PJIA, these controllers also provide airport approach control for Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (Anguilla), L'Espérance Airport (French Saint Martin), Gustaf III Airport (St. Barths), F.D. Roosevelt Airport (St. Eustatius) and Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (Saba). The terminal's design and textures are first-rate, with great graphic design to highlight the island destination. It is a big building and very striking in construction, The Terminal has four air-gates (A1 - A4), but they are not active DGS gates and excellent reflective (see-through) glass. All the interior check-in and departure areas are modeled with not only the usual chairs and shops, but people as well, and you can actually see out of the windows of the parked aircraft. There is a huge amount of everything available in this scenery... static aircraft, tons of ground support equipment, cars, buses and almost every item to convey an island lifestyle you could dream of... It is very extensive and in fact in a few areas a bit overcompensated with a bit of editing that could still convey the same thing, but with less clutter... like why are there private jet aircraft in the Cargo area and why some signs are reversed and how many Fire Trucks does an Airport need? The Inter-Island area is very well done with hangars and aircraft, but again it is crowded and you will have to find a parking stand on the main apron, as this area is again full to capacity. Some users have noted floating objects around the terminal (mostly the airbridges) but in checking my installation it is fine. All AutoGate and GroundTraffic as well as Maritime Traffic and AI Aircraft is not yet included and that also means "traffic". You can use the older WT3 ground routes for TNCM, but they are not tuned for this scenery, so aircraft are spread around in the wrong parking areas and clash with the terminal... Tower View The tower view here is well... different. The idea is to give you view as the controller, but it doesn't work. You are too far back from the actual point of view of where the control would actually stand and so the tower's broken framework intrudes into the view and the point of tower view is to give you a clear view of the approaches to the airport. Maho Beach The scene at the famous Maho Beach is very well done, it is party time and the only thing missing here is the Caribbean beat music... ... The extensive network of hotels on either side of Maho Beach are very well done from a realism of the area point of view. There is a huge amount of detail present, but also a few missing textures or unfinished areas like at the back of a few of the hotels. But you are certainly not lacking here for the island's tourism infrastructure and general facilities, and the vegetation is also very extensive. TFFG - Grand Case-Espérance Airport You are expecting another large airport facility for the French support of their territory, but Grand it is not, if not in that sense of the word. L'Espérance Airport Grand Case Airport Aérodrome de Grand-Case Espérance IATA: SFG - ICAO: TFFG 12/30 1,200m (3,937ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL 20ft / 6m The single 12/30 runway is situated in a valley but is opened ended at both approaches for a exciting arrival, but the runway is short and even ATR turbo-props have to reverse up to get the run required to takeoff. Incoming aircraft usually approach TFFG on short final for runway 12 over the bay of Grand-Case, with a corresponding view. When wind direction changes, which is common, incoming aircraft then change the approach to the island on short final for runway 30, in the opposite direction. TNCM is actually not that far away to the south, you just take the coastal long way around to the French airport. There is a nice if small ramp area and a larger GA area to the east . The airport is known for quick transfers from the larger turbo-props to the smaller GA aircraft for inter-island transfers, hence the layout. Small terminal is well done with a combined field control tower and Fire Station with the usual three fire engines per runway criteria. Detailing as as usual very good, with a lot of static aircraft (not much parking space though) and vehicles and excellent island/airport signage. The biggest issue here though is the runway is unusable? The actual runway surface (textures are like TNCM in being very good) but the surface has been set as a X-Plane "grass runway" setting and not tarmac. So when you land the aircraft it gets bogged suddenly down and it is very difficult to taxi or turn around until you get back on to the ramps harder areas? Takeoff is full power and hold on.. not doubt the issue will be fixed in an update, but currently it ruins the use of a great scenery. Reefs and Coastal areas The one area that Flight Simulator did very well in was the presentation of shallow waters, mostly in tropical and coral regions of the world. X-Plane has sort of done the same thing, but it's water system was not very good at depicting or recreating such environments, so mostly it was a confined area with big differences between the two areas with a) the shallow water in place, and b ) the hard edge where they joined up. Now these shallow tropical water environments are coming into X-Plane, and there was a few nice ones with the French Polynesia scenery, but recently it was Butaru's TFFJ - Saint Barthélemy Airport by Nimbus Simulation Studios that finally lead the way. FlyTampa with their new FlyCorfu XP scenery that was pretty impressive as well... But the depiction here of such shallow water and coral scenery is one of the best and even the highlight of the scenery. So I took the Carenado Caravan for a spin around the island to have a look. It is really spectacular flying, and in the right atmospheric lighting conditions also very realistic. The area is very large as well which includes both the St. Maarten Island and the full area of Anguilla, south to Saba and far, far more. There are highly-decorated cruise ships (they can also be used as a pointer to an airport runway!) but four of the same ship in one cove is a bit unrealistic? Another note that a few wakes on boats that don't exist are quite noticeable, sometimes this effect can work or work against the scenery? Detail is excellent as the shallows pass under you, the only thing missing is the swimming sharks... ... if you are willing to explore the outer coral banks then the rewards are simply outstanding. If you venture too far you do also come across the hard line of the sceneries boundary? And so more gradual transition would have made the impact more real.... but overall this is X-Plane flying par excellence! Nighlighting This is an extensive scenery, so the lighting does have a fair area to cover. And overall here the lighting is very, very good, but that comes with a penalty. This scenery is quite possibly the largest scenery I have ever loaded into X-Plane, and it has some strange effects on to my Graphic Card's functionality (8GB). One is I get black areas and the shadow effects can sometimes go black, black instead of shaded greys, and it has a very weird effect on my WT3 aircraft view as well. But the strangest effect is on framerate... with the noted settings I have been getting mostly 50fr-60fr over the scenery (left image) and my framerate is noted in the top left corner as a respectable 57 frames... ... but the same viewpoint (abover right) in the night environment it is crushed down to 20 frames and mostly stays in the 16fr-18fr zone? Why is that so? and move the camera viewpoint and the lighting disappears completely? So there is a basic issue here, or is it just too big a scenery for my computer to actually compute? if so then why does it work fine in the daylight? Lighting is however very good, especially around the Airport and Terminal area, but it is quite inconsistent everywhere else. The highlight to the night scenery are the hotels on either side of the Maho Beach approach, as a lot of work has been done here and it shows, it is very good on the RWY 10 approach at night. But move away from the TNCM airport and some areas are well lit, but other areas in the same context are not? so it is all a bit inconsistent. Over at TFFG Grand Case it is more of the inconsistency aspect than the other way around. The runway has no centreline lighting (neither does TNCM, but the real airport doesn't have any centreline lighting either) The harder point is that the lighting here at TFFG is quite small and even finding the non-lit taxiway from the runway to the ramp is a bit of an ordeal, it is arrowed here, but good luck in finding it. There are a few spots lit on the ramp and a nice lit carpark, but mostly this is not a place to fly in to or out of at night, the GA parking apron is very dark as well. But with the right atmospheric conditions (okay X-Plane effects) it is a great place to fly into is this Sint Maarten... Summary Great iconic world airports are always welcome into any simulator, and the TNCM - Princess Juliana International Airport at Sint Maarten is right at the top of the list. There has been a few good, Sint Maarten sceneries for X-Plane, but this is the first real custom one created for the simulator on a larger scale. As scenery goes it is very good, and even nudging into the excellent category, as there has been a huge amount of work and certainly a lot of effort put in to pleasing the requirements of what we the X-Plane users would expect from such a iconic scenery. In that context it does deliver and deliver very well. My gut feeling is that scenery development of this size and scale is now really a team effort more than the single developer in wanting to deliver quality scenery, it overall feels a bit overwhelmed and consistency is brilliant in many areas but lacking in others. This is where team experience kicks in as one developer is excellent in some areas, then other team developers are good in other areas, as this is a first scenery release there is that factor to add in as well. What is missing here is that last bit of refinement, the standing back and crossing the t's and dotting the i's. I have no doubt the developer will cover the small list of issues and quickly, but in reality I would have liked more of the AutoGate, GroundTraffic, ATC routes and certainly the traffic features working far above the lovely but really unimportant flashy features of say inside the terminal building, and the scenery needs a bit of editing here and there. More of a worry is the sheer size of this scenery (13.5gb)? There seems to be a refinement missing to create efficient textures and ortho images, already the 4K textures have been downsized to 2K to counter that huge size, but the night images crushing of framerates seems to suggest that there is also something more required to make this scenery a more refined and efficient scenery for the simulator to absorb, this is also reflected on the computer requirements in order to run the scenery as well. Remember the developer is going to add in even more to this already huge scenery size in part 2 of the package, I see my computer giving up at just the thought of that, and if I can't run that sort of size and requirements then certainly a huge base of users won't be able to either. The size and scope of this scenery is simply huge, and with the just released FlyCorfu XP by FlyTampa you feel X-Plane is now moving into a new era of "mega" sceneries. Overall this is very good scenery, and those excellent outer reef and shallow water conditions are flying heaven and there is plenty to explore here as well. And of course there is that iconic Maho Beach approach! you so you will just have to recreate that iconic image won't you and fully test your flying skills to the limit, and it is well worth the effort when you do so. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the TNCM - Princess of the Caribbean by AWD scenery is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here : TNCM - Princess of the Caribbean - Part 1- SXM Price Is US$32.95 Features: Scenery created by use of on-site photography references Area of coverage: Sint Maarten island (Princess Juliana and Grand Case airports) and the island of Anguilla (only photoscenery) Custom Mesh: Handcrafted mesh to match runway slopes as per the AIP and terrain modifications to give the most realism possible to the scenery Satellite Photo: 50cm/px resolution licensed from Airbus Custom Grount textures: over 10px/cm nearby the airport surroundings HD Buildings: The Famous Maho Beach rendered with HD textures and PBR shading effects for reflections on water and metallic surfaces Terminal Interiors 3d People and Trees Custom Night Lighting: realistic apron lighting matching colors and light intensity of the real airport Custom Autogen: the whole Island is covered in scenery Custom Static Aircraft Multiple detail configurations available planned for detail or speed Requirements X-Plane 11+ Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb VRAM Video Card Minimum - 8Gb+ VRAM recommended Please read the manual about rendering options before you start. Download Size: 5.5 Gb (please do not get if you have an unstable internet connection. you have been warned!) A minimum 16gb of RAM is required for efficient running of this scenery, and even then you are lineball. Installation Download scenery file size is 5.5Gb. With the full installation installed package is 14.71gb in your custom scenery folder is as follows: AWD TNCM - 2 - Apt (14.71gb) AWD TNCM - 3 - Mesh (4.4mb) If you have installed in your custom folder TFFJ - Saint Barthélemy Airport by Nimbus Simulation Studios then be aware of the mesh conflicts between the two packages, the AWD sceneries need to be lower in your .ini list than the TFFJ Nimbus scenery or the AWD scenery will cancel out TFFJ? Otherwise they work very well together. WT3 ground routes are here : GroundRoutes_TNCM V1.0 But they are certainly not adjusted or created for this scenery, they work and that is about that... Documents A single two page pdf manual is included but no charts These TNCM charts are worth downloading : TNCM uvairlines ______________________________________________________________________ Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 14th April 2018 Copyright©2018 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.10 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - C208B Grand Caravan HD Series XP11 by Carenado (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$34.95 - Boeing 747-400 by Laminar Research (default Aircraft X-Plane11)
  17. Freeware Release : Boeing 737-900ER Ultimate beta 0.2.0 After all the hype you are just simply over it all and glad this Boeing 737-900ER has been finally eleased if only in a beta form. This is not the place or time for a review because simply most areas of the aircraft are still blanked off and noted as a WIP (Work In Progress) and believe me there is still a lot of WIP going on. This aircraft is based on the native X-Plane default Boeing 737-800, with the incorporated famous Zibo Mods. and in the points of the Zibo modifications the aircraft is very, very good. My first opinion is to note the B739U is as an ongoing project more than a released completed aircraft, and there are a lot of great ideas and features in here, but it is a long way from any completion, unless the developer is hiding a lot of the other work that is still WIP. Features released include: Led lights full 3d interior custom cockpit textures chart and checklist viewer integraded zibo support But "Some of the tablet features have been disabled to because of their noted W.I.P nature. " which really means still most items are still blank... this release is more a framerate refinement than an aircraft beta, but my framerates were in the 50's, so no problems there. There is a nice iPad style menu... but only three menu options in Ground Handling, Door Operations and Cabin Lighting currently work, Checklists and Charts also work but you will have to add in your own documents. Cabin is nice and well done, but more Low-Res than Hi-Res, and the cabin lighting is well... interesting? Yes the B739U is a beta, but also freeware... You can get the Boeing 737-900ER Ultimate beta 0.2.0 here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/43965-boeing-737-900er-ultimate-beta/ Other developer links are here : ZIBO B738-800 modified ________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 11th April 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews
  18. Yeah, I am stuck on 2GB 960. I honestly thought it would be fine with my Linux machine, but for a second time I miscalculated as a number of sceneries where it says 2GB minimum, but in reality it really isn't. I noticed the new Carenado CT210 I think the new generation of cards and processors are on the horizon, hopefully I can upgrade then, especially if the ASIC mining machines reduces the demand for graphic cards to a more realistic level :). For $30, I may have to give it a shot. At worst I won't be able to fly there much, but it just means I will see it better once I am upgraded.
  19. No didn't see that, but there was a note on the developers site there was a few patches done? So they may have fixed it, and promo video makers usually get an early beta anyway. A jpg should work? Just try it again? Sd
  20. Hi Stephen, In their promo video (at about 0:23), I couldn't help but notice what appears to be a specular reflection of the sun on the rock surface, as if it were made of shiny plastic. Did you notice this in the sim, and if so was it distracting? p.s. tried to attach an image (74k jpeg) but got the error "There was a problem processing the uploaded file. Please contact us for assistance."
  21. Thanks for your reply. I did some digging and discovered that vFliteAir provides excellent, Photoshop paint kits for their aircraft. See: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yhbide6gks9yk3v/AADC_ViP8EIFEQ6ImnjMUn_Ua?dl=0 RobertR
  22. Totally agree. And don't get me wrong...I am ecstatic and thoroughly enjoying the state of things as they are now! As I do look forward to continued improvements, I consider them icing on the cake at this point.
  23. That is the tradeoff. The orthos have to be lower-res or you will get a graphic card buster (see TNCM), and as the X-Plane native roads which are more exact to the correct co-ords then the traffic is out as well, in a few years with more processing power and even bigger or say 20GB Graphic Cards we may finally get total nirvana, but we are getting there .
  24. This scenery is very impressive. All these next-level sceneries (i.e. this, ORBX, KTTF, etc) is making me want to get my helicopter skills up to par to fully enjoy them. What really stands out to me here is how good the tree coverage looks in most places. Probably the best tree work I've seen so far. And the framerate is exceptionally good for the level of detail and the high settings I'm using. A couple of minor niggles: The ortho quality definitely has room for improvement, but only a problem if you're flying at altitudes that are probably illegal anyway The roads are missing overlays (see attached image). What's interesting is that some sections have moving traffic right on the orthos, and other sections don't have any moving traffic at all (such as the one pictured here). Overall though, it's a gorgeous flying experience that's a bargain at $26. Personally I hope this (and the ORBX) sell really well to encourage them to keep 'em coming to X-Plane.
  25. I actually don't have any idea as to the age of the aircraft, you may have to contact vFlyteAir for the paintkit?
  26. There is a few statics, but the ramps here at LGKR are also small so you don't want too much. WT3 does work but as noted it is not perfect, I hope someone can fix or fine tune the WT3 aspect..
  27. Great review, Stephen...I'm very excited about these moves from ORBX and FlyTampa I bought the ORBX release (and love it) and I'm getting this first thing when I get home. One reviewer noted the lack of static aircraft but to me that's a plus as a WT3 user.
  28. I purchased this aircraft and I find it to be more than worth the cost. I would like to paint it to match my own plane so, is a paint kit available? Thanks, RobertR
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