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X-Plane 12 - Beta 8


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X-Plane 12 Release 8.jpg


X-Plane 12 - Beta 8


It is hard to believe we are already up to X-Plane 12 Beta 8, yes version eight of the beta run. Are you enjoying X-Plane 12 yet?


Personally I think it is incredible, loads of bugs, but the dynamics and certainly the realism in feel is extraordinary. X-PlaneReviews images are a great way to see the differences between X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12.


First note for X-Plane 12b8 is that it screws up the "BetterPushBack" plugin, a fix can be found here; Github


Let us start with a nice addition in Beta 8...  Pilots. In both the Boeing 738 and the Airbus A332 there are now animated pilots, a male and a female, they are extremely good (meaning realistic) and as noted they move around in the cockpit.


XP12_B8_b738 - Pilots 1.jpgXP12_B8_b738 - Pilots 2.jpgXP12_B8_A330 - Pilots 1.jpgXP12_B8_A330 - Pilots 2.jpg


Secondly is the addition of another default aircraft, this a promised machine, but not your usual flying machine as this one is drone.



Beta Technologies (stylized as BETA Technologies), is a Burlington, Vermont-based aerospace manufacturer developing electric vertical take off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for the cargo and logistics industry. The company is headquartered at Burlington International Airport in South Burlington, Vermont, and were they store and test their EVA (Electrical Vertical Aircraft) aircraft. With securing in March 2021, BETA Technologies raised $143 million in venture funding from undisclosed sources.


On May 23, 2018, the company made the first tethered flight of its original 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) Ava XC eight motor, eight propeller battery-operated proof of concept aircraft and that year, the Ava XC became the world’s heaviest eVTOL aircraft to fly.


In February 2020, the company began participating in the United States Air Force Agility Prime program that seeks to advance electric air mobility. In May, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center announced that the company, along with Joby Aviation, would progress to the third phase of the program. In June, the company unveiled its second aircraft prototype, ALIA-250.


Our own Laminar Research Austin Meyers has had a personally involvement in the development of the ALIA-250, some say in spending too much time as a distraction from working on X-Plane 12. But I don't think that in reality


The design of Alia-250 is inspired by the Arctic tern, the longest-migrating bird in the world. It takes cues from the bird’s tail configuration and wing stance, which enable Arctic terns to take long-range flights, to deliver a similar performance.

With a wingspan of 50ft, the aircraft has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 6,000lb (2,721kg). The passenger variant of the aircraft can carry six passengers including a pilot, while the cargo variant will have 200ft³ of space.


The efficient aerodynamic features of the eVTOL aircraft include arched wings, tapered wing-tips and angled trusses. The V-shaped tail is expected to reduce drag and improve stability at low speeds. In March 2021, the ALIA-250 made a test flight from Plattsburgh, New York, across Lake Champlain to Burlington, Vermont. But not as a eVOTL aircraft, but with just it's normal wings and a pusher engine, but the aircraft has since done a test untethered eVOTL flight.


So what has all this got to do with X-Plane 12 you ask? Well Laminar promised a eVOTL aircraft for the release of X-Plane 12, and now here it is and it is the ALIA-250. It also comes with a personal introduction from Austin Meyers on how to set up and fly the aircraft.


ALIA-250 - head 1.jpgALIA-250 - head 2.jpg


It is certainly a fascinating aircraft to look at and even fly...


ALIA-250 - head 3.jpgALIA-250 - head 4.jpgALIA-250 - head 5.jpgALIA-250 - head 6.jpg


The race to complete a working (and realistic) eVOTL has been going on for a few years now, and a few ideas have already fallen by the wayside. Only really two with the Joby Aviation S4, with the ALIA-250 here are feasible working concepts. I personally never took any eVOTL aircraft with only a single or even a double seat or with no cargo space as anything but wishful thinking in a commercial operation, but these two aircraft do fill the commercial criteria.


Being X-Plane we get the full package as well (in X-Plane 12). At KBTV-Burlington International Airport, you will find a BETA developed and prototyped charging stations for eVTOL aircraft made from recycled shipping containers and reused airplane batteries.


ALIA-250 - head 7.jpg


The facility won't actually recharge the aircraft (It is currently just an 3d object), but we say, "never say never", in X-Plane because it usually does happen.


ALIA-250 - head 10.jpgALIA-250 - head 11.jpg


The ALIA-250 is a brilliant concept, four lifting propellers and a single "Pusher" propeller rear and the design and execution here is excellent. The large battery pack is stored in the floor à la a Tesla car.


ALIA-250 - head 8.jpgALIA-250 - head 9.jpg


Two wide doors give you access to the ALIA, with a large (cargo/passenger) space in the rear (six passengers including a pilot, cargo 200ft³ of space).


ALIA-250 - head 12.jpg


Weight is of course critical in these machines so they are quite minimalistic inside... but the futuristic silver and white is very Space X in the design of the seats and the cargo area.


ALIA-250 - Internal 1.jpgALIA-250 - Internal 2.jpgALIA-250 - Internal 3.jpgALIA-250 - Internal 4.jpg


Instrument panel(s) are a winged Garmin G1000 Avionics with a stretched GNS 430 in the centre console (why not use the GNS 530?)...


ALIA-250 - Internal 5.jpgALIA-250 - Internal 7.jpgALIA-250 - Internal 6.jpg


...  and a custom fitted GMA 340 Radio, the rest of the switchwork are mostly for show except for the external lighting (Beacon, Strobe, Position, SRCH (non-operable) and Pitot (heat)). Oddly there are very few power related instruments/dials on the right MFD?


ALIA-250 - Internal 8.jpg


Each upper rotor and rear pusher have RPM and TEMP readouts, but the only power readout is the Bus V number bottom left? You would expect at least a charge line readout(s) or display? You expected far more here in this aspect. So it is pretty basic, recharging is done and is again very basic.


Flying the ALIA-250

There are a few things to set up to fly the ALIA-250. First to switch on ALL the batteries (toggle) to use for the flight via a keyboard selection, if not you will use only battery one (there are five) and that will only give you a short ten min flight (Battery one is a separate setting than the ALL batteries), to recharge you again set a keyboard selection for "Re-charge batteries".


ALIA-250 - Flying 1.jpg


Second setting is of the controls which are the throttles. One is the simple "Throttle" that powers the four lifting drive rotors, the second setting is the "Throttle Horizontal" setting for the pusher motor...


ALIA-250 - Flying 2.jpg


Flying controls are simple...  to power the lift (rotors) you pull up the "Collective", just like in a helicopter, to power the "Pusher" motor you turn the insert wheel forward which set in the handle of the collective.


ALIA-250 - Flying 3.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 4.jpg


And off you go.... my thoughts are that you need far more readouts (power usage) and better ideas for switching on the power and selections (recharging)...  it's just a little "too" basic in this form. Even the "Searchlight" option wasn't finished....


Flying the "copter" was dirt easy, switch-on, and pull up the collective. There are no Rudder Pedals (but they do still work?), so you use the stick in all three axis; Pitch, Roll and to turn...  Yaw.


ALIA-250 - Flying 5.jpg


Giving power to the "lifters" (depending on the wind strength) you go straight up, but you need to control the power to go up slowly and in control....  but it is super easy to fly.


ALIA-250 - Flying 6.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 7.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 8.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 9.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 10.jpg


Touch forwards, backwards or to each side to manoeuvre into that direction, again it is best not to over do it. Twisting the Yaw will turn the aircraft 360º, and again it's just too easy. You could just sit up here all day...    wasting battery power!


ALIA-250 - Flying 11.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 12.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 13.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 14.jpg


So it is time to fly forwards. Another 90º turn and then turn on the pusher power. Interesting is that with most drone style aircraft you dip (or pitch) into the direction you want to go, sort of like in a helicopter. But in the ALIA-250 you don't have to do that? The lifters keep you up and the pusher moves you forward, it is an interesting sensation, but again so easy...


ALIA-250 - Flying 15.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 16.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 17.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 18.jpg


Your very tempted to pull the lifting power down quickly, but it's not that easy? Leave the lifters at full power then as you gain speed it will pull you upwards? but if you drop the power on the lifters you will obviously drop...  the trick is a blend of the two actions, as you gain speed you lower the lifting power, but gradually until you feel the aerodynamics starting to work, once you have enough speed and wing support, you can then power down the rotors to completely off, and away you go.


ALIA-250 - Flying 19.jpg


It's just super cool up here, huge windows give you an amazing view, and only that light "droney" sound and some very slight wind noise, when you are configured for forward flight. If this is flying the Future, then I don't know what is...


ALIA-250 - Flying 20.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 21.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 22.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 23.jpg


With proper wings you get an aircraft control feel (which is quite different from a drone feel), there isn't any of that severe pitch that you get with a drone, just clean level flight.


ALIA-250 - Flying 24.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 25.jpg


The ALIA-250 has already achieved 200+ nm in a test flight, and the goal is a 250 nautical mile range, which is about 463 kilometers.


ALIA-250 - Flying 26.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 27.jpg


It flies like an aircraft, but the ALIA can also hover like a helicopter, also like a helicopter it has to go from a flight mode to a hover mode which is called effective translational lift (ETL) at around about 16 to 24 knots. We have done the to flight mode, but what of coming back out of forward flight. Oddly the sequence is slightly different than flying a helicopter through the ETL. You have wings here giving you aerodynamic support that a helicopter doesn't have. 


"Translational" is the word here, pulling back on the pusher does drop away the forward speed (drag), which unlike in a Helio you just don't get. So you bring in the lifters at first slowly. Working the collective you bring up the power while reducing the forward push, the trick is that you also need to lose height in the same transition period hence the correct lifter feel in getting to the right position in power flow...


  ALIA-250 - Flying 28.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 29.jpg


As your forward speed decreases you feel your lift decreasing as well, so you adjust the lifters to compensate, get it wrong and you will drop (literally) out of the sky, but get it right and transition from one flight mode to the other can be quite fluid. Helicopters are seriously difficult at this phase, the ALIA is totally not...  I'm not saying it is totally easy either, you still have to use your cognitive skills to find the supple balance between flight and lift, it is there and you have to feel it. You can at lower speeds use the usual pitch up (nose up) to slow down. The power outputs show you were the power is going too.


ALIA-250 - Flying 30.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 31.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 39.jpg


the ALIA is brilliant in this phase...  you can use the pusher to move faster, then parking it to move just via the rotor movement at a slower pace.


ALIA-250 - Flying 32.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 35.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 33.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 34.jpg


You have complete 3 axis control over the aircraft, so it isn't that single point balance feeling you get with a helicopter, the platform is very steady and controllable.


ALIA-250 - Flying 36.jpg


Very easy... in fact anyone can easily fly the ALIA-250.


ALIA-250 - Flying 37.jpgALIA-250 - Flying 38.jpg


Last thoughts are in that. This is in no doubt a brilliant concept, the ALIA is really the first step to a personal transport and certainly the dream of a flying taxi service. That said you just wish for a little more here. Certainly better intergration of the electrical displays and visual power guides (say like a Tesla), better internal fitouts in seat or visual cargo, and also the operation to recharge the aircraft realistically...  but overall it is brilliant.


There are one blank and three liveries provided. its first customer is United Therapeutics, Blade Urban Air Mobility has ordered 20 ALIA aircraft, becoming BETA's first passenger service company and Bristow has placed firm order for five ALIA-250 aircraft with an option for an additional 50 aircraft. Already there are painters liveries on the forums, some are already really good.


ALIA-250 - Livery Blank.jpgALIA-250 - Livery United Tech.jpgALIA-250 - Livery Blade.jpgALIA-250 - Livery Bristow.jpg


There is great video here by Austin Meyer's himself explaining the Beta aircraft, and the one in X-Plane 12



Here are the rest of the Beta 8 changelog.

  • XPD-13113 – Still having “Approach has gone backwards” and VFR approaches going missed.
  • XPD-13020 – Legacy Dataref CG Z Maps to Wrong Unit.
  • XPD-12077 – Bug report: light_attenuation dataref alway 1.0.
  • XPD-13228 – Art: Pilots for A330 and 737.
  • XPD-13223 – Update Scenery Gateway missing runway autoreporter URL.
  • XPD-13218 – Handle contact point fails a dev assert when checking for collisions.
  • XPD-13170 – sim/graphics/animation/carrier_catapult_station_rat not working for XCAR3 and XCAR4.
  • XPD-13152 – Hiding the ground-ops window in VR also hides the ATC window.
  • XPD-13149 – XPLMSaveDataFile / XPLMLoadDataFile – save/load inccorect data.
  • XPD-13125 – Erroneous dataref values in sim/world/boat/{x,z}_mtr[0,1].
  • XPD-13102 – Potential crash after departure.
  • XPD-13093 – Hold-short messages may refer to the wrong end of active runways to cross.
  • XPD-13092 – MIssing sim/world/boat/carrier_catshot_status?
  • XPD-13091 – set radio nav freq by dataref does not work correctly.
  • XPD-13089 – sim/ice/anti_ice_toggle command is not working.
  • XPD-13077 – Wings dont droop under fuel load.
  • XPD-13071 – CTD when using CDU815 in custom A/C in PM.
  • XPD-12831 – Datarefs overwritten during merge.
  • XPD-12797 – Request to allow VFR landing after a zone transit.
  • XPD-11427 – Bug report: XPLMCanWriteDataRef always returns true for DataRefs.txt.
  • XPD-11400 – Horizon tilts when panning tower view.
  • XPD-13214 – From Bug Report: Panel maker interface for 3D panel shifted and unreadable.
  • XPD-13172 – Citation X has brakes still set to hydraulic system B, should be A.
  • XPD-13154 – Zone transit should use actual airspace boundary if it’s not ridiculously large.
  • XPD-13153 – IFR clearance should include a squawk code even for relayed clearance.
  • XPD-13138 – Unable to change aircraft basic information if departure ICAO is populated.
  • XPD-13114 – LSO is calling “drop your hook” for aircraft with no tailhook.
  • XPD-13095 – Taxiway names with spaces were not loaded correctly.
  • XPD-12087 – Request for a dataref that shows the state of the UI selected scaling.
  • XPD-13217 – Pronounce name of Ethiopia’s Bole airport (HAAB) correctly.
  • XPD-13141 – F14 F-14 Tomcat Right and Left Engine Fuel Shutoff Handle INOP.
  • XPD-13132 – Ground Attitude in Plane Maker acts crazy.
  • XPD-13122 – Slow speed taxing of the MD82 excessively rolls the aircraft.


X-Plane 12 Minimum Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with 4 or more cores, or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7 or 9. (Those with other CPUs should try the demo before purchasing.)
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Video Card: a Vulkan 1.3-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 2 GB VRAM
  • If your system is borderline, we encourage you to try the demo first. The full version of the simulator will perform exactly the same as the demo—neither better nor worse.

X-Plane 12 Recommended Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 8600k or Ryzen 5 3500 or better, or Apple Silicon
  • Memory: 16-24 GB RAM or more
  • Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better, or similar from AMD)

Supported Video Cards:

  •     NVIDIA: NVIDIA GeForce 900 or newer, driver version 510 or newer
  •     AMD: AMD Radeon RX 500 or newer, driver version Adrenaline 22.2.1or newer

Supported Operating Systems:

  •     OS X: OS X 10.15 or newer (e.g. Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey)
  •     Windows: Windows 10 or 11, 64-bit
  •     Linux: Varies
  •         If you want to run on Linux, you will need to try X-Plane on your distribution to see if it is compatible. We have developers using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and newer successfully, however we don’t provide support for specific distributions.
  •         We require the proprietary driver from NVIDIA to run X-Plane. We require the Mesa drivers, version 22.0 or newer, for AMD to run X-Plane.


X-Plane 12 (Beta) is purchased directly from Laminar Research for US$59.95 and the download file size is 82 GB


X-Plane 12

Price is US$59.95



X-Plane 12 Beta release overview by Stephen Dutton

25th October 2022

Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews


Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP

Software:   - Windows 11 - X-Plane b12.00


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved


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