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Aircraft Update : Boeing 747-8 Series Aircraft Update : Boeing 748 Series V1.9.2. by SSG

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Aircraft Update : Boeing 747-8 Series V1.9.2. by Supercritical Simulations Group

 

It is very hard to believe with the passing of time and the legendary status that that been compiled around the Boeing 747 series for now 50 years. But back in the aircraft's early days it was quite simply a mess of an aircraft, or even under developed as it went into service (In that fact nothing has really changed for Boeing). The company bet big on the revolutionary "Jumbo Jet" but in reality the engineering had not kept up with the promise...  the original Pratt & Whitney JT9D engine which was the first high bypass ratio jet engine to power a wide-body airliner was in essence a turkey, and it's 43,500 lbf (193.50 kN) was grossly under powered for the job it had to do. It also broke down with alarming regularity in service and the issue was caused by ovalization, in which stresses during takeoff (max power) caused the engine casing to deform into an oval shape and cause the high-pressure turbine blades to grind against the sides. So the engine could never be used at any thrust maximums unless you wanted a dead engine on your aircraft, so in most cases in early service the B747-100's were basically flying on three engines per service. This was solved by strengthening the engine casing and adding yoke-shaped thrust links, and so would such a situation happen today, no in reality the aircraft like the current B737 MAX it would have and should have been grounded. It was only until the release of the -200 and the upgraded JT9D-7 47,900 lbf (213.07 kN) in 1972 that the legend would finally find her wings.

 

The B747 story in a way mirrors the one for SSG - Supercritical Simulations Group. The newly formed development studio went large with their very first and extremely ambitious aircraft with the Boeing 747-8i in passenger and freighter versions and to test out their philosophy as it was first originally released as a basic freeware aircraft...  in this mode the aircraft had a load of promise with advanced graphic designs for the time, but like for myself it was the huge framerate suction that beat (or beatened) for the time my computer's specifications. This was an interesting point because what the computer struggled with was not the frameweight of the B748, but it's sheer size in the numbers (polygons) of the aircraft it had to compute, because complexity and quality comes at a cost. That was five years ago.

 

The aircraft evolutioned immensely, but never really overcame it's basic issues, and in times it was quite a mess of a simulation. On (early) release it was a muddle and even years later a tryout of flying from the UK to Montreal to deliver a load of Grand Prix equipment has always stuck in my mind as a very poor flight for the amount of issues that went wrong (mostly associated with the FMS), but overall it was not a great 7 hours of my life. But at least SSG kept on developing and having faith in the aircraft.

It is also full of advanced ideas and details, but again this is an area the required a lot of skills to do... as "Advanced" can be noted several ways, in that yes it has all those excellent features and details, but that were simply too far ahead of the developers time and skill set, and in essence that sums up the core issues.

 

Version release v1.9.1 was finally when the aircraft saw some daylight in finally a cohesive simulation and the FMS also behaved itself, The aircraft was at long last finally worthy of its position in X-Plane, and also very welcomed as good large long haulers are now rare in X-Plane and so that is a good thing as well...  but personally I always thought that the development of a B747 should have gone to the more receptive Boeing 747-400 than the B747-8 from a sales and user point of view, but in many ways that also sorts of fit's in to the story of this aircraft.

 

Update v1.9.2.

So here is update v1.9.2 for the SSG B747-8, and like the venerable real world Boeing 747 this version is the last of the line, as soon this version is going to be retired. But the B747-8 is not going completely out of our flying lives, but it is too be soon replaced by a completely new ground up rebuild and design of the B747-8 v2.

But that is not to say this final update is not worthy, and although it is not a huge update this original version is at least going out of commission with a little style and dignity. It also helps with this upgrade in that like a lot of aircraft in the X-Plane simulator the SSG B747-8i package didn't go through the upgrade process, in other words any original X-Plane10 version can be upgraded to the X-Plane11 standard free of charge, and with no repurchase cost involved, so that really helps with the original purchase investment so this"final" version can still be used for a significant period of time if you don't want to change your original investment (or at least till X-Plane11 is replaced by X-Plane12)...

 

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Although the aircraft does come with some great ground features like a really nice fuel truck and GPU (Ground Power Unit), however it really comes into it's own with the JarDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin with those huge complex scissor C-Loaders. For the freighter version the GHD plugin is essential. This is very handy in my route today from LEBL (Barcelona) to EDDM (Munich) to return some cargo from the recent Spanish Grand Prix. In reality the long haul B748F is wasted on such a short route, but Mercedes need the huge capacity of the B748F.

 

First big feature addition to v1.9.2 is actually external, with WebFMC Pro. Note you need WebFMC Pro plugin version v1.3.0 for it to work with the SSG Boeing 747-8...  The computer based WebFMC is shown on the right and the internal FMS is shown on the left, the Chrome browser is the recommended browser for WebFMC Pro.

 

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The internal cockpit facia of the FMS is a bit squished to fit, but the new plate facia on the WebFMC is full size. It looks very good and can be set in "Dirty" or "Clean" modes. Note the new X-Plane11 pop-out window layout is now used to display the pop-out FMS panel (F8 Win/Linux - fn/F8 Mac).

 

The Javier Cortes version of the FMS in the B747-8 Series is now far more better since last year's v1.9.1 version update, and again this was re-enforced by the easy programming in v1.9.2 of the route...  DEP RWY/SID and ARR RWY/STAR and route waypoints (AIRWAYS) was excellent...

 

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....  then the ultimate test is in the editing the route. I wanted to reedit the arrival pattern as with the selected IRBI4A STAR into EDDM's RWY 26L as it is very tight, and fine for say a B737 or A320, but too tight an entry for a large heavy like the B748F, so I used the RNAV approach BETOS 26 to reset the approach waypoints...  With SimBrief and Navigraph charts and the external WebFMC Pro it is very good for doing FMC editing and route programming....

 

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....  more importantly the FMS reedited the approach data perfectly and it is in these areas that I look for the standard of quality in these Flight Management Systems, if it works correctly it is first realistic, but also saves you time (and frustration) in setting out the routing, and yes I was impressed.

 

Set fuel and cargo weights can be set in the left side iPad styled built in panel, but the settings can also transferred directly into the FMC via the upper LK1 (Left Key 1)... You can do the manual input as well.

 

SSG_748F_Panel_xFMC Fuel.jpgSSG_748F_Panel_xFMC Cargo.jpgSSG_748_192_xFMC Fuel.jpg

 

The odd one on the data is the "Cost Index" SSG note 9999 and myself 5666, but usually cost indexes are around 35 to 55, so 9999 looks a bit too odd, but then again Cost Indexes are a complex formula.

 

Overall the FMS is very good and detailed with a lot of input and data pages...  PERF (Peformance) TakeOff references is excellent.

 

SSG_748_192_xFMC TOR.jpg

 

You can certainly see on how far this built in FMS has progressed here, the system is now as good as most of the others out there.

 

The APU power has been adjusted for v1.9.2. It is now correct on the centre lower display....

 

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....  one thing that hasn't changed is the extremely dark cockpit interior. It has had constant overhauls over the five years, and a few outside user packages as well on trying to make it more brighter in here. My feeling it is the PBR effects, but even well back in X-Plane10 it was not the best place to work, the under panel lighting is lovely, but overall it feels just too over dark... no doubt SSG kept to the original panel colouring and feel, and it is very authentic, but overall you just don't like the feel in here....  we hope the v2 cockpit is better than the "dungeon".

 

Engine start is now very good with the X-Plane11 particle effects now set out on the aircraft, the power of the huge General Electric GEnx--2B67B engines rated at 66,500 lbf (296 kN) compare to the 43,500 lbf (193.50 kN) of the -100 version can be now seen...  more effects later.

 

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The Boeing 747-8i/F is a huge aircraft as you have a length of 250 ft 2 in / 76.3 m and a wingspan of 224 ft 7 in / 68.4 m, you are longer than an A380, but your wingspan is shorter...

 

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....   166 knts + 10 and you rotate...  you feel the power, you see all the power of the combined thrust of the GEnx--2B67Bs...

 

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You work hard in here, the B747-8 demands skill and precision, certainly when heavy, but the rewards are very high as well...

 

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... v1.9.2. has had a lot of performance tuning for all engines and tuned flight dynamics. In other words the aircraft is now tuned into the X-Plane11 dynamics and it certainly does feel better and flies closer to the set performance. Using the WebFMC you can follow (in this case the DEP) route in detail.

 

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Like SSG's E-Jet Evolution Series v1.3 update that we reviewed early April 2019, The wingtip vortices are not as again adjusted and sit trailing below the wingtips? here they are as out as they are on the same on the SSG E-Jets? Shame because they look sensational...   There are still a few crawling ants over the engines, but they are not as bad as I remembered them last year as they were then more noticeable...

 

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...  thankfully the adjusted engine effects look great as well.

 

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There is still nothing like being perched high in the B747's seven four cockpit...

 

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...  you do start to feel the age of the design, yes the B747-8 is actually new or newer, but the concept is early sixties, but it's a seven four!

 

SSG_748_Flying 20.jpgSSG_748_Flying 21.jpg

 

In the rear you do have the freight deck (with loadable cargo set via the weight), but the passenger version has never had a cabin, that will change with the coming v2 version...  Certainly in this cargo role the the "Queen of the Skies" will still rule for a while, as that huge uplift of cargo and distance killing range will see to that.

 

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SSG have added MAP Range commands, but I found the well done altitude monitor (above left) in range did not match the Navigation range?

 

SSG_748_Flying 24 LG.jpg

 

Target altitude markers are very handy in targeting your STAR arrival point, in the B747-8 it is very good.

 

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Now in the BETOS 26 arrival pattern, I like the low speed performance, it is easy to get the correct pitch to the low speeds.

 

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The Seven Four is a dramatic aircraft, that is why we love it so much, and the machine always gives out a full performance on any arrival, just watch the gear lowering to get the idea.... cue the opera music!

 

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Final approach to EDDM's RWY 26L, I found 200knts on approach and final at around 168knts at full flap, but that does depend on your weight.

 

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All sixteen wheels hit the ground, but you are so far forward and so high, you will have to bang the aircraft down to actually feel the gear contact.

 

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Sounds are very good, but due to be updated in v2... it will be interesting to hear them.

 

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At the Munich Lufthansa cargo terminal, then as soon as the engines are stopped and the chocks are in place then out comes the cargo...

 

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...  as a simulation v1.9.2 in X-Plane11 the Boeing is now extremely good...

 

SSG_748_Flying 45 LG.jpg

 

I admit this review is quite large for a six line changelog, but that is not the point here, it a farewell to an aircraft that has had quite a difficult ride in over five years and two X-Plane versions, and In most cases they are usually ready to be discarded, abandoned...  but considering the history like the real Boeing 747, this SSG B747-8 goes out in a few months with a bit of dignity, obviously the SSG B747-8 series is not perfect, but it did survive, got above it's struggles... so for anyone wanting a very good Boeing 747 this is still a very worthy option, certainly if the aircraft goes on out on a sale and in that case you wouldn't be disappointed (the price is already lowered US$10 in all packages).

 

SSG did personally note this to the aircraft and project:

 

"This 747-8 project started as freeware in 2010 and eventually led to the formation of SSG a year later in order to bring a detailed payware version of the iconic 747 to the X-Plane community. This permitted the official Boeing licensing of the project, which led to the incorporation of more detail and accuracy into the add-on. At the same time, SSG chose to provide free updates, paint kits and hundreds of high-quality liveries to provide good value to our customers and to thank them for their support over the years.

During this time we have seen X-Plane grow and evolve over 3 versions, and incorporated their new capabilities and technology into our products wherever possible. As a group we have taken this experience to create an all-new SSG 747-8 Version 2. We are also listening to our customers and your requests on what is important to you for an X-Plane add-on. In addition to the 747-8 and E-Jets, SSG will be adding the CRJ, with other unannounced projects in various stages of development.

So, as development of Version 1 of the SSG 747-8 is winding down and we focus on Version 2, we want to thank all of those who made it possible for SSG to be where we are now and we are excited to show you what we have in store."

 

Summary

The final update for Supercritical Simulations Group's original Boeing 747-8 Series with both a Passenger and freighter version in a package (Series) or the individual variants of the Inter Advanced (Passenger Version) or Freighter (Cargo Version).

 

A small update to bring the aircraft up to the current X-Plane11.33 standards with performance, particle effects and tuned flight dynamics, it certainly feels and flies far better than before the update...  bonus is that the excellent WebFMC Pro plugin v1.3.0 can now also be used with the aircraft.

 

In reality this five year old bird goes out on a high, with the new v2 of the Supercritical Simulations Group Boeing 747-8 Series due later into 2019, and so it will still cruise the routes for a few months yet...  long live the Seventy Four.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Boeing 747-8i/8F Adv v1.9.2 By Supercritical Simulations Group is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Boeing 747-8 Series (Both Passenger and Freighter) : Price is US$55.00

 

Boeing 747-8 Inter Advanced (Passenger Version) Price is US$45.00

 

Boeing 747-8 Freighter (Cargo Version) Price is US$45.00

  

Features:

  • Officially licensed by the Boeing Corporation.
  • Completely rebuilt from scratch, building on SSG's experience with its popular freeware 747-8 releases.
  • Accurate 3D external model based on 2D and 3D drawings supplied by Boeing, complete with animations and hi-res textures
  • Aircraft meets most of the real aircraft's performance data for consumption, AOA, speeds, flight dynamics, etc. in consultation with real world 747 pilots.
  • Manufacturer's performance data embedded as tables in the fully functional FMC.
  • Realistic 3D cockpit with high resolution, in all render settings.
  • Realistic displays (PFD, ND, EICAS, and MFD with system synoptics)
  • Many systems are implemented with realistic logic, such as electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, engine fire extinguishing, fuel (with dumping capability), wing and engine anti-ice (including automatic mode), communications, and TCAS.
  • Electronic checklist system that can automatically detect certain aircraft configuration changes
  • Complete autopilot functioning in modes similar to the real aircraft
  • External lights and strobes operate realistically.
  • Display management similar to that in the real aircraft (information can be switched between displays).
  • First Officer's ND display is independent from the Captain's, and ND has a pop-up option
  • EICAS messages based on the real aircraft's with lists for multiple pages and recall capability.
  • Autobrakes with anti-skid system that works in all conditions and includes a realistic rejected takeoff mode.
  • Realistic wing flex and other animations.
  • Window rain effects and animated wipers (viewable from the cockpit).
  • Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) with payload management, fueling and pushback menus.
  • Ground vehicles include a tow truck, fuel truck, and GPU
  • 3D sounds with Dream Engine plugin.
  • TSS (Turbine Sound Studio)  real recorded sounds.

Custom built-in FMC and Navigation
  • FMC made by FJCC especially for the 747-8i with more than 100 interactions with the flight model, including SIDs, STARs, transitions, approaches, flare and rollout modes.
  • FMC is compatible with AeroSoft's NavDataPro and Navigraph navigation databases.
  • Option to use either a 2D pop-up (resizable) FMC or one within the 3D cockpit.
  • Custom radio communication and audio consoles with digital keypad optimized for on-line virtual ATC operations.
  • FMC performance information based on real aircraft data, including calculated V-speeds.
  • FMC includes capability for autotuning navaid frequencies.
  • Vertical Situation Display (VSD) on the ND (a first for X-Plane)
  • Airport diagrams displayed on the ND (a first for X-Plane)
  • Terrain display mode on the ND, which is a part of the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) on the real aircraft.
  • Compatible with the AirFMC app to permit the use of an iPad as an external FMC
  • Ability to switch the displays between magnetic and true heading presentations.
  • Comprehensive Flight Crew Operation Manual (FCOM) and a Quick Start Guide.

   

Requirements:

X-Plane 11+

Windows 7,8,10; MAC OS 10.7+; Linux. 
2Gb MB VRAM Minimum- 4GB+ VRAM Highly Recommended
Current version : 1.9.2 - last updated  May 11th 2019
Framerate is pretty good, and a refined version is part of the v1.9.2. package, but I would recommend a power machine as standard.
  
JarDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin is highly recommended with this aircraft. 
  
Installation : Download is 750mb which is unzipped and is inserted in your Heavy Aircraft  folder as: 
  
SSG B748-Inter - 708.60mb file 
B748-8F Freighter - 627.20mb file 
  
Key authorisation is required. 
  
Documentation : includes 
  • B748-ChangeLog.txt
  • SSG 747-8 FCOM.pdf
  • SSG 747-8 Quick start Guide.pdf
  • SSGCUSTOMLIST.TXT

   

Changelog v1.9.2

- WebFMC Pro compatiblity

- Fixed APU GEN switch engagement for electrical system.
- FMC load 1.9.1
- Tuned performance for all engines.
- Tuned flight dynamics.
- Added  map range commands. 
- Added APU heat blur with particle effects
 

______________________________________________________________________



Plugin Review by Stephen Dutton 

14th May 2019 

Copyright©2019: 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 v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free

Scenery or Aircraft

- LEBL - Barcelona Airport by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$21.00 on sale for US$16.90

- EDDM - Munich Airport by ShortFinal Designs (X-Plane,OrgStore) - US$26.95

  

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In fact I love to simulate the B748! I purchased it as it came out first and made some beautiful flights with it over many airports in the (simulated) world. I have despite all the bags (and there were quite a few) this model continued flown and also participated in discussions about necessary improvements. Then at some point it was too much trouble with the FMC and the route planning, so I put this model in the hangar. Now after the last update I tried it again using 2 screens for simulation. At first the Xchecklist application didn't work (importer for start from cold and dark). Then I tried to import my .fms flightplan from Output/FMS plans folder and not only X-Plane but also my iMac went for a minute dark!. At this point I decided to conserve this model deep in my garage until a total new version will come out. I'm tired of running after developers that don't examine their models to work fluently on every system (in my case on 2 screen iMac) and sad not having fun to simulate with a per se great B748 model...

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