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Behind The Screen : May 2019

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Behind The Screen : May 2019

 

At the end of Behind the Screen in March we left you with the Military Visualizations  Kickstarter donation of to create the ATR 72-600 and he wanted $27,000 CAD dollars before putting mouse to CAD software. The results are in and as expected they are not in or our favour, but that was always expected. The KIckstarter campaign achieved only 15.2% of its final target of CAD $27,000. And  final donations came in at CAD $4,111.29 (approx. GBP £2,417, US $3,057, €2,742). Milviz, has obviously confirmed that development of the ATR for X-Plane has now been terminated....  surprise, surprise. I personally actually don't think it was the campaign that actually killed the project anyway, as the anniversary release of Carenado's FSX/P3D ATR 72-400 would mean very tough competition for your money as Carenado is giving hints that their ATR 72-400 will be X-Plane flyable before 2020, yes it is a different variant in the -400 to the -600, but an ATR is still an ATR and if it is anywhere close to Carenado's stupendous Saab 340 then it will be... well again stupendous!

 

But there was always a lot of scepticism anyway from day one on this deal. The first and the most obvious was the figure required of CAD $27.000? It looked more like a insurance policy in case no one bought the aircraft when released, or a "Win - Win" scenerio for the developer. But CAD $27.000 to develop an aircraft? and by a single developer, maybe a team, then yes, but for one person who has been in simulation even for a few decades then I don't think so.

 

If the developer had put the development costs of say around CAD $8500, then I think they would have had a very good chance of meeting their realistic target, he did achieve almost half of that, but I still think that number would have gotten MilViz over the line. And here is the point...  overall this a great idea for a developer to get some development costs into the bank to deliver the projects we require, more so it keeps them on track to deliver and not do the usual...  start hard then flake away as the project slowly progresses out to vaporware.

 

But I think there is also something more deeper going on here than just developing for X-Plane, as personally now I don't think that developers that have been brought up in the FlightSim culture can actually develop well for X-Plane, and only a very, very few can do the crossover...  but most actually don't as the differences in the development approach and the design are just too wide and different to be crossed, and the history of the story actually supports that aspect.

 

Yes there are many great FSX based products in X-Plane with Carenado and JustFlight as notable, but both of those are converted by Thranda, which is a X-Plane developer...  As Dan Klaue noted, "we have to totally gut the FSX version and then rebuild them again totally from the ground up" In reality there is not much to mirror between the two aircraft that look exactly the same. Then there are the biggies....  PMDG, Flight1 and Majestic, even Aerosoft are all not present in X-Plane and yes both PMDG (DC-6) and Aerosoft (ATR) have done aircraft in X-Plane but to only a) totally fail, or b) and walk away with only one average release each.

 

Both PMDG and Aerosoft had the X-Plane golden eggs and bountiful profit returns in their pockets. PMDG with the Boeing 737 Series, B747 and B777 had the opportunity to make a killing, even Aerosoft had their Airbus A320 series to clean up the European flyers, but those opportunities are now simply long gone, with the ZiboMod B737 U/738/739 U cleaning up the PMDG version, the FlightFactor B777 is yes old but finally on the road to a XP11 upgrade, so that will counter out that, and the FlightFactor A320 Ultimate, is now just that in being miles ahead of the Aerosoft product with the ToLiss A319 also now a registered Airbus product, then it shows now of how high the quality and depth of the in house development of X-Plane aircraft have come to.

 

The point is that the gate is now closed and the aircraft has departed for PMDG or any other FSX developer to get any significant ground swell of patrons in the Laminar Simulator, the point is we don't need them now either, we certainly did three to four years ago with the introduction of X-Plane11, but they all dilly-dallied around and ummed and ahhed us to death without really delivering anything, The above MilViz releases his Cessna 310 to...  well nothing because it was very dated and so FSX in design (hence the forward cost of doing any business with us again). To a point it was MilViz's Cessna release that finally put the point out there that FSX developers just can't do X-Plane...  period.

 

So what got me thinking about all this? Well most of the year in my personal flying (my up time, as down time sounds odd in a flying simulator) has been with the FlightFactor A320 Ultimate, sometime around early February this year it all started to click together, add in the excellent BSS Sound pack (recently again updated) and it is now a glorious if hard in depth simulation...  you now work in this aircraft, the details and checklists are huge and have to be covered, a 25 minute turnaround is very, very realistic as is every portion of the flight, nirvana...  maybe and yes there will always be something in the need to be updated, but as a simulation it is now one of the very, very best... more so as the cabin is now being updated as well.

 

For the Boeing bluffs to take their minds off the Boeing company's 737 MAX debacle, yes it is their fault and yes they deserve everything that is certainly coming to them (more below)... is the Zibo Boeing 737-800/700/900 series. Again once the ZiboMod hit it's stride I loved it, but it is a complicated bugger...  But the announced and hyped release of the -900 Ultimate was for me a bit of if a huge disappointment (don't hit on your keys just yet!), so I left it in the hangar after only a flight or two...

With the WebFMC Pro v1.4.0 release the newer ZiboMod -700 was added on to the list of aircraft that could use the plugin. I did expect it to be a bit like the -900 version, but was extremely surprised on how good the ZiboMods are now (hence the above bye bye notes to PMDG). Yes I loved it and shows how far again we have come lately in X-Plane, personally I see the ZiboMod as really a payware aircraft (howls of protest!), but in the same league of quality and depth.

 

Colimata Concorde

So where is the Colimata Concorde review, well its coming, but certainly not in the near future. One look and yes this is a decent development of one of the most iconic aircraft every to fly, but a lot of work on the aircraft certainly is still not completed, or refined. Concorde is a strange aircraft in that it is like no other aircraft out there, except for some military machines. Most users will light up and burn out those powerful RR Olympics to their full reheat thrust and head upwards towards flight level 400 and m2.2. Great but you won't get halfway across the Atlantic if you fly this bird like that and even with full tanks. This aircraft has to be very balanced and flight procedures have to be followed to the letter to get the maximum performance and range, so from a reviewing point of view there is a lot of detailed work to get through to get that all right, but overall it was the unsightly unfinished work that still had to be done that put me off, again just a few months more work and it would have been a perfectly acceptable aircraft to release... so overall I was disappointed.

 

I certainly was not disappointed with X-Crafts excellent family series of the Embraer ERJ. Again like most current X-Plane developers then X-Crafts have gone up a few gears or higher levels, yes there are a few quirks, but overall it is an excellent regional jet and it comes with five variants as well... X-Crafts came into X-Plane very raw, great in the design department, but average pretty well everywhere else. But they were willing to learn, to update regularly and now after a few years you can see all of that hard graft finally paying off. There are no short cuts to being a quality developer, the only road is simply sheer hard work and persistence...  and yes these products are priced to the depth of their development costs. And that is why I hate people that rip off projects (yes you Bit-Torrent) and put them out for free or steal off the work, they are the real losers in life. We are lucky that developers are willing to use their talents for our enjoyment, we can currently fly very authentic aircraft...  live the dream so to speak because of their work and time, and the repayment for all that is the old simply way, in just repaying their costs and allow them to meet their real world demands.

 

B737 MAX

On the real world Boeing company's 737 MAX debacle I will say some comments. They as a company deserve everything they get in this case, but mostly for cowardice. This was the same company that took the barrel section of the Boeing Boeing 367-80, known simply as the Dash 80 and the forerunner of the B707 series and made a whole family of successful aircraft out of it. One of those aircraft is the same Boeing 737 that is now the centre of the MAX debate. What built Boeing is now going to bring then back down again. The design is nearly 60 years old, older than the Moon Landing, older than most of us on this planet... and what do Boeing do, they try to fit big engines situated forward under the low wings to make it efficient or mostly just to stop any sales going to Airbus with their more modern Airbus A320 in NEO guise, the point is even the A320 is now getting a bit long in the tooth, but the B737 is simply ancient, worse was the fact that this unbalanced aircraft now uses software to allow the machine to fly and fly around even the basic principles of flight... and worse the FAA certified the aircraft, or did they? or did they allow Boeing to certify their own unstable aircraft? In reality every one of those MAX's out there are clunkers.

 

I was horrified that Boeing took this cowards route. Boeing had just refined whole new process of building airliners with the B787 Dreamliner? So shouldn't they have like in the past with the New B737 mid jet be a composite design of that future design proof development... but no and so they went and put engines under a 60 year old aircraft just for sales? The point is the new composite B737 would have sold far, far more than the MAX, and yes airlines would have waited if the new design delivered the same efficiency gains and modern systems to their fleets as has the B787, poor Joe Sutter must be rolling in his grave for what the company has become...  but overall we lose in the chance to fly a modern efficient composite middle range airliner for years, instead of in the early 2020's (2024 was the original launch window). Now it will be late or very late 2030 before Boeing (if they survive this) will put the correct replacement for the MAX on the ramps, I bet Airbus is now two years ahead in now with their A320 replacement (cancelling the A380 was a big marker there), so who will get there first... certainly now not Boeing. It is a mess, the biggest in aviation, more so than the Comet or even Concorde....  but they deserve everything that is coming to them.

 

FlightSimExpo

The FlightSimExpo is now only next week in Orlando, Florida on the 7th/8th/9th June (Yeah!) and Laminar Research have been very, very quiet lately, which is usually a great sign that there will be a lot of nice goodies in there, obviously the Vulkan and Metal updates will take centre stage, and yes I will be very disappointed if there is not a demo, but we should get a timeline for the release and its effects.X-PlaneReviews will of course do a full analyse of the event...  

 

In a side fight the original FlightSimCon is shall we say "annoyed" at losing the title of representing the FS community in the States, they have declared the Expo "FS Greed and Piracy" as to lose the mantle... they are doing an online show here on the same dates...  it will be seen on how all this plays out?

 

Till next month

 

Stephen Dutton

2nd June 2019

Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews

 

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