Stephen Posted November 10, 2022 Report Share Posted November 10, 2022 Aircraft Update : Maule M-7-235B Project XP12 v1.15 by vSkylabs Weeks, well only two months actually. The Maule M-235B Project from vSkylabs was the first third party aircraft created just for X-Plane 12, a significant moment. The Aircraft came in two variants of a Tundra tyred machine, and the second is the Amphibian or Float option. X-PlaneReviews full review of the original release aircraft is here; Aircraft Review : Maule M-7-235B Project XP12 by vSkylabs The vSkylab philosophy is that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is completed to 100%, that is the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft and all the development is free and ongoing throughout the X-Plane 12 version. These projects are under constant development: the development road-map is including flight model refinements, enhanced systems depth, additional liveries and other improvements. There has been already two updates for the Maule M-7, the first Version v1.1 (October 24th 2022), and now this version Version v1.15 (November 7th 2022). The October version (v1.1) focused mostly on the Flight Dynamics, personally needed as I found the aircraft far too touchy to fly, landing was also a bit hit and miss. Version v1.15 First change is on your X-Plane Flight Configuration menu. Now there is another aircraft (acf) to choose from. Before there was the M-7-235 Aircraft and the M-7 Floats variants, now added is the G1000 variant. The original M-7 has been renamed "Analog". So here is the "G1000", variant. If you have read my release review, then you would know I complained longingly and loudly about one element of the aircraft, the "Bouncy Wouncy" Tundra tyres, great for that odd wilderness adventure, but horrible for any regular flying. So you just couldn't see the objective of fitting them on the aircraft as standard. But now in v1.15 you are (thankfully) now given the choice of standard wheels (noted as "classic") or the 35" balloon tyres, that also gives the aircraft a more realistic stance (you touch them to change them over). The contrast of the different type of wheels is also adjusted to the flight dynamics (affecting the ground handling and aircraft performance). The three variants together, Standard, Tundra and Floats. If the Tundra wheels 35" are used, it is noted on the top of the instrument panel. Second big change is the option for G1000 (Laminar default) Avionics, in the standard two panel PFD and MFD display arrangement. The system is all totally Laminar default in features, pop-out PFD and MFD panels, built in Autopilot, Radio set in the centre, nothing here to relearn or study. Nice is the surrounding bezels, they have a great realistic texture that looks extremely realistic in the light. It is one of the best G1000 installations I have seen. Another instrument change is the addition of IFR instrumentation (Arrowed - RMI/CDI), missing from the earlier version (top). It feels very different inside the cabin as well? Overhead there has been installed a Sunroof and it makes a huge difference inside and externally to the aircraft in creating light and space. The glass window tint and the reflections has also been adjusted. Flying the updated M-7 Power up and we are away, definitely differences between the two versions if only separated by a couple of months. Sounds have been redone, and are now quite magnificent and have a bigger range. Yes I like them a lot. Taxiing is far easier as well... but you have to watch the mixture cutoff point, as it is now about mid-way between closed to full open, so you can easily shut off the fuel supply to early by wanting a leaner engine. Taildraggers are a handful, but I am finding a lot of differences here. Without those large balloon tyres the aircraft is not bouncing around as much on the takeoff, staying more controlled and far more in line. I hated them, now I can see why and now I feel why as well... this is much more better. There has been extensive flight model updates to refine STOL performance and ground handling, that also includes landing gears modifications physics (in other words the gear is more giving), It was a wonder I could fly it at all before? Climb rate is the same 1,650 fpm, but you keep it under 1,000 fpm to keep the climb in check and to get some forward speed, but that huge wheel drag is missing (unless you use the Tundra tyres), so you feel your not dragging the planet with you in climbing out now. This is a very different aircraft dynamically. You still have to however brake the wheels to stop them revolving though. I am enjoying the Maule a lot more in this version. Originally it was good, but this update makes it far, far better all round. The G1000 installation is in my mind better as well. We like the clockwork feel authenticity, but the G1000 gives you far more options including an automatic pilot option, easier flight planning and those far bigger displays. The extra light doesn't make the cockpit feel so cramped either, it has now a nice lighter and more airy feel in here... all to the good. Performance and flying dynamics are more refined and the plane feels far better, yes I'm smiling this time around. The better FMOD sounds, here are far more aurally realistic, certainly with the powered 0-540-B4B5, 235 HP Carbureted engine. Throttle up or down or lean the mixture and the sounds instantly respond in feel and tone, very nice. I do recommend the RK Apps XPRealistic v2 for the visual movements, in making the M-7 relate to the engine vibrations and again that syncs back in with the sounds, all round in creating a very authentic flying experience. The five liveries are the same... (also the same for both Wheeled and Amphibian) Gull-Grey-Black is default. the other four are; Big Sky-Blue-Red, Dune-White-Brown, Glacier-White-Brown and Solar-Yellow-Black. Then there is X-Plane 12... brilliant. The issue comes back when wanting to return to land, only worse. Before the huge wheels gave you a lot of drag, but that drag effect is not there anymore, so the aircraft is even now worse at floating with full flap and low speeds... you start to get a bit frantic as the aircraft WILL NOT GO DOWN, even at a stall speed which is 49 mph (80 km/h, 43 kn) full flaps down. So your sitting high, and not going down there... ... so if there is a heavy headwind then that wind just gives you a ton of lift, so your flying like on a pin, low speed, ballooning lift, and trying to keep the aircraft level, its fun... sort of nerve-racking fun if you like that bush pilot feel. Finally I lose height, at 58 knts I feel the aircraft sinking, so I focus on the runway... this is essentially a STOL aircraft, and those performance figures were tuned up in v1.15, you can feel that, but it would need a few flights to see if it is to the positive or the negative. A bit of flare and 48 knts and I'm touching the asphalt, that is the easy part, it gets tricky on the ground... ... it is very, very easy to lose the M-7, as it will twist on you in a second, and so it needs (a lot of) skill to align it back forwards while slowing down the aircraft, hard, but not impossible. But I will rally for the standard wheel configuration, it does help in this case again... a lot. Overall the Maule M-7 a nice modern bush pilot's aircraft. Two notes to wrap up, there is an annoying STMA auto updater that keeps coming onto the left of your screen, but handy for updating the aircraft. And the Maule is not compatible with X-Plane 11. Or can not be purchased for XP11, as this aircraft is for X-Plane 12 Only. ___________________ Summary Less that two months ago the Maule M-7 from vSkylabs was the very first aircraft released for X-Plane 12. Since that release there has been two updates v1.1/v1.15. The earlier update focused on the performance and bugs, but the second update is far more significant with more features and a lot more tuning to the aircraft. Added in v1.15 is the G1000 Avionics package with pop-out screens, more importantly you now also have the option of classic or 35" Tundra Bushwheels, the original Tundra wheels were just too unwieldy for just a light bush plane here. Nice new Sunroof also makes the cabin a far more brighter and open place to be. The analog cockpit also received IFR instrumentation (RMI/CDI), and the FMOD sounds have been totally redone to great effect. Noted the dynamic and performance tuning has greatly enhanced the flying, but the M-7 is still tricky to land and needs a lot of taildragger experience. So overall a great step forward. In the first review I asked for more options and features, that aspect to a point has been covered here, this Maule is now all round a more pleasant flying experience, not only in the dynamics but also in the new features and the better sound package. Most fliers that purchase vSkylabs aircraft know what they are purchasing, and the ongoing commitment to the project. This time around I had more fun and enjoyed the experience a lot more... it's overall a fun sweet little aircraft. _______________________________ Yes! the Maule M-7-235B Project XP12 v1.15 by vSkylabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Maule M-7-235B Project XP12 Price is US$32.95 Three Models in One - All are included in this package Maule M-7 Land Maule M-7 Amphibian Maule M-7 G1000 Requirements X-Plane 12 - Not compatible with X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.1.15 (November 7th 2022) Installation and documents: download for the Maule M-7-235B is 235Mb and is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder. Full Installation is 375Mb Documents supplied are: HOW TO INSTALL VSKYLABS M-7-235 POH Two, a basic manual (26 pages) and "How to Install" pdf _____________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 11th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 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 10 - X-Plane 12 beta B3 Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft - KHAF - Half Moon Bay by Rising Dawn Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.00 (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 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.