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Developer Update : Version 1.3 Boeing 748I Advanced by SSG

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Developer Update : Version 1.3 Boeing 748I Advanced by SSG (Supercritical Simulations Group)

 

Supercritical Simulations Group have updated their Boeing 748I Adv to version 1.3. This is a significant upgrade to the aircraft that is now well worth a serious consideration in flying big airliners.

 

Did the big Boeing have a bumpy start to its career? That is the question as big as this aircraft. No doubt that v1.2 fixed most of the outstanding issues, but now with this 1.3 upgrade you can be reassured that the aircraft is now really, really good.

 

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So what was updated with the 1.3 version release (also noted as "Service Pack 2), here are the offical notes:

 

- Fixed the APP DME in the PFD

- VNAV issues

- Windows raining animation , raining over the clouds

- Stab trim prediction  re-tuned.- If the FMC is not programmed, then there is no warning during TO. Only an alarm if the flaps are not set to 10 or 20.

- Now you can enter an ILS freq at NAV RAD PAGE without destination runway selected

- Commands created for all A/P buttons and many otter controls

- When AP disengaged, the the FD is still working

- LNAV disengage conditions improved

- Transitions SID and STAR next Page fixed

- Now you can enter a different Gross Weight at APPROACH PAGE to see the estimated Vref. When you go to another PAGE and come back to Approach page, it will appear again

- You can select Vref at the APPROACH PAGE when you want. ND VNAV deviation indicator still remain

- HDG bank no more than 25 degrees

- FD bars indication now working with FD on and A/P disengage.

- Ghost traffic fixed

- ND track lines improved

- NAV RAD PAGE improved with green and blue colors

- NAV radio autonuning  now selects different VOR  stations

- You can enter the Takeoff Speeds with no departure runway selection

- You can create a flight plan with only a departure and arrival airport with one waypoint

- Airport MAP when Range

- Airport MAP only in airport with ILS runways

- If an Engine is stopped,, the rest don’t thrust to infinite

- At cruise, engines uses N1 as needed

- In PLN Mode, no more empty LEGS PAGE

- MCP and AP custom commands

- Navgraph now supports the FMC

- Air FMC supports the FMC

Issues about the aircraft/cockpit:

- Anti reflex in all displays

- Fuel temp behaviour fixed

- Fuel system don’t stops with low center fuel

- PFD MSP speed display at low temps fixed

- Improved performance behaviours at high AOA

- Added “ENG SHUTDOWN” ADV

- Fixed speedbrake ADV logic

- Added EFB (Electronixc Flight Bag) Payload assistant

- Added EFB fuel load assistant with custom truck object

- Added EFB towing AFT / FWD with custom truck object

- Added EFB normal checklist

- Improved external textures and paints

- Added new liveries

- Fine tune in the TO  and CLB performance

 

It is a big list, so what are the outstanding features.

 

Flying Ability

The most noticeable difference is certainly in the frame-rate, or the usability of the aircraft in X-Plane. The earlier versions were not really great in this department, In some 7fr (frames) was the best I could get out of it, and just trying to get a clean simulation out of the aircraft was usually not possible without some dramas or frame-rate shudders, I will note I still have to watch my low 512mb VRAM limitation, but here in v1.3 that is not an issue anymore unless I power on some heavy weather or scenery.

 

Now the aircraft is great straight out of the box, I flew a short route from OMDB (Dubai) to OMMI (Bahrain) to see how the aircraft performed and was very impressed, with the frame-rate hitting as high as 60fr, it made me smile. In most cases in the past I had to spend (too much) time, just fiddling with the render settings panel to get some sort of clean simulation out of the aircraft. No problems there this time in v1.3...  It was just fill'er up and set up the FMC and just fly!

 

So the aircraft's textures and liveries have been fine tuned and the difference is certainly noticeable, it is about on par now with the FF Boeing 777 Series which is very good.

 

I love flying "Heavies", and get in the groove and the SSG B748I is becoming one of the great aircraft to fly long distance. But the handling of this huge bird is simply really good, If you get your procedures just right she performs with outstanding performance. You now have to be as good as the aircraft and not the other way round. So the more you fine tune your flying in skill, then the aircraft will reward you back for your ability. A noticeable item is the way the aircraft turns on waypoints (Fixes), watching now the way the B748I turns in small degree headings is simply excellent. Even better is the function to adjust the bank angle of the aircraft. Take the bank angle out of "Auto" to 5º or 10º and see the changes of the turn (or curve) around the fix on your PLN mode. The B748I is so good in the curve of the change to the new heading and depending on the set bank angle, many aircraft don't do this well, but here it is very noticeable on how good it can really be.

 

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Fly out of an airport and have the new heading set up well in the FMC and the aircraft will will turn very well in connection with the flight-plan just at the right height and distance from the end of the departure runway. watching the aircraft from the ground (or tower) and it looks brilliant as the huge Boeing turns and climbs like giant dragon taking to flight. And the power in the climb is amazing if the aircraft is light(ish). So performance wise the aircraft is very good right through all the various aspects of flying a big aircraft.

 

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You don't really chuck these big aircraft around, as you always keep to the procedures very tightly. But it does show you the performance of the big Boeing, climb her hard and the aircraft climbs hard and ride is a lot of fun on the line or just within the n1 engine limits. Put the aircraft at the MGW (Maximum Gross Weight) and the B748I is going to be a very different aircraft to fly and you have to adjust your flying in due course. But here again that is what flying "Heavies" is all about, in getting the best performance out of the design envelopes. Getting the heavy aircraft to perform to "lifting" her to the Flight level to start the cruise and getting the performance to the "TOC" (Top of the Cruise) Flight level. This SSG B748I is very good in this context (The FF Boeing 777 is excellent here as well). In other words you have to dig deep to get the performance out of the SSG machine as it is buried in the details.

 

SSG has done a lot of fine tuning of almost all the various aspects of the aircraft and that effort shows out in the flying capabilities. This aircraft is now nothing like the original release version, and you will have to fly the aircraft over a period of time to really get under the aircraft's skin and capabilities. Do so and you will be rewarded each time you fly.

 

FMC

The FMC installed in the SSG B748I is by Javier Cortés of UFMC fame. The UFMC is very good, but there has been a struggle to integrate the UFMC into the SSG B748I, The difference is that the SSG machine is very complex and the situation is very complex to understand the aircraft's parameters from the point of the FMC. Early versions were not good to say the least. In that case the SID/STARS worked fine but the RWY to RWY positions did not. Now we have the opposite situation in that the Airport position and RWY to RWY inserts are fine, DEP SID are okay as well, but the STARS are still very messy.

 

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The route is WSSS (Singapore) to YMML (Melbourne). DEParture is RWY 02C via SID VENPA (VENP1A) and that all went in to the FMC quite good, all waypoints (route fixes) went in there correctly as well, but adding in the ARBEY STAR to MEL RWY16  it all went a bit odd with fixes "BAKER", "BOBEL" and "PAULA" ruining the approach? past BOL, it is not even a holding track either but right on the approach. I cleaned it up because I know the approach very well.

So overall the FMC is working quite well but it is and can be still frustratingly buggy in that if you don't get the insert procedures absolutely correct and you then have to start inserting the data over again (and again). You can save a route, but it does save it as the route. In this case WSSSYMML, which means you can't have two or more versions. And I found in inserting the route it still freezes the 3d Virtual cockpit in a strange way, in that you can only input data into the FMC.

 

There has been an upgrade to Navgraph which now supports the FMC and Air FMC supports the FMC as well. so you can now get access to the latest Navigraph 1404 cycle. This will certainly help and in the v1.3 upgrade the FMC is getting good,  It must be noted that the difference between the standard X-Plane NAV data and an AIRAC (Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control) cycle is starting to show the differences on how basic the standard X-Plane NAV data base is (or how old) 

 

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I will admit that I don't use the VNAV function very much when flying these heavy aircraft as I like the constant access to adjust the minute parameters of the climb, step and descent stages, so that won't show up in any of the images here (Okay I am a switch twiddler!). There was an issue with the VNAV working not working with the FMC, and that has been fixed in v1.3.

 

A small niggle is the (speed) Airbrake lever is across the lower part of the FMC on the pilot's side, no matter what angle you try to use. This makes it annoyingly hard to access some of the lower buttons of the FMC. To avoid this, then use the Pop-Out function on your F8 key.

 

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A new feature in v1.3 is the Airport layout on the MAP screen. Set the range under 5nm and the airport layout appears. It is excellent for taxiing at night or to simply finding the way around the complex jungle of airport runways and taxiways.

 

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The cockpit has become a nice place to be and highly functional, separate actions lets you control both the Pilot's and Co-Pilot's stations and MAP and PLAN displays.

 

MENU (Electronic Flight Bag)

The Pilot's side menu/electronic Flight bag has been added too in v1.3 significantly as well.

 

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Originally there was the Checklist and Clock functions. Now added to the MENU is a "Cargo Load Assistant" that allows you to set the weight in cargo and passenger loads or 0% to 100% preset loads.

 

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And a "Fuel Assistant" that allows you to distribute the fuel around the aircraft as you want to or pre-select. a button sends the data to the FMC.

 

Tip... If you are tired of the constant Centre and Stab (Stabiliser Tank) warnings then turn off the pumps on the OHP (Overhead panel.

 

In the OPT (Options) there is now a very nice GPU (Ground Power unit) available.

 

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The doors can now be accessed here as well...   but it is all doors in either Passenger doors or cargo doors or nothing. I would rather have more control over what doors I want to open or keep closed.

 

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Other "Options" include hiding the Yokes, fly the aircraft from from the Co-Pilot's side and you can change your "Field of View" in the cockpit (60%-90%).

 

Another new feature in v1.3 is the "Towing Assistant" - Truck that is also accessed in the MENU (TOW).

 

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The truck is connected to the Boeing 748I by a long tow bar. So it acts differently than most provided Tow Trucks. Swing your steering and truck moves each way in a large arc?...  The tractor looks odd stuck out there and not very realistic, but keep the movements small and it is fine. It is easy to pull and push the aircraft as well in two speeds. Access to the menu makes towing here easy to operate.

 

Wet Weather Effects

There is now wet weather effects on the aircraft. Under 250knts you will get rain on the windows and turn on the wipers to get a clearer view, turn off the wipers and the rain covers the glass again.

 

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The effect is very effective on poor condition landings, a welcome feature.

 

Liveries

There are seven liveries and two featured ones in the "Go Hawks" and "Bronco's" promotion versions. The Boeing House is the default and the newly added "Air Force One" demonstrator version is very nice as well.

 

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Summery

After landing in Bahrain after my initial flight from Dubai my thoughts were...  "yes the aircraft is very good now". And the Boeing 748I is significantly better in almost every area. A few flights since and you are sure of the huge gains that have been made here. Version 1.2 was good...  Version 1.3 is excellent, not totally absolutely perfect but the B748I is still very good.

 

There are still niggles of course, The FMC is now "oh so close" but still has a few gremlins left to be ironed out in there. Do you un- "park" the FMC? and you should be able to "Save" the route function and then get it back which is a pain too (is this a Mac issue?). You can now however use the up-to-date AIRAC cycles so that will be be a huge advantage. Also you can't get a replay of the aircraft either?  which is annoying as a reviewer.

 

But only niggles they are as overall the the aircraft is very good, certainly in the flying abilities and now with a far larger and better headroom in the frame-rate, the aircraft now allows you to stretch it and you can start to really put in the long-distances that it was originally built for. Fly the freeware version and then the 1.3 upgraded version and you can see the stupendous amount of differences between the two aircraft. As outwardly they look almost the same, but they are in reality now completely different machines.

 

So overall the v1.3 update puts the aircraft in a very different light. A better light and a quality light as well. If you invest in the SSG B748I and give it time and the mileage it will reward you. If you like big heavy aircraft and you want very good large aircraft in handling and flying abilities then the SSG B748I is excellent.

 

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Installation.

Download is 182.30mb (expanding to 411.20mb on disk). just drop into your Aircraft folder and the activation (key) is required.

 

Documents.  post-2-0-57053200-1387759550.jpg

 

Yes! the SSG Boeing 748i Advanced is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgShop : Boeing 747-8 Inter Advanced

 

The v1.3 update is free to all users that have already purchased the SSG - B748I Adv  (check-in at your account at the .OrgStore)

Price is US$59.95

 

Developer Site : Supercritical Simulations Group (SSG)

 

Support Forum : SSG Boeing 748i Advanced .org

Update By Stephen Dutton

14th April 2014

 

©copyright 2014 : Stephen Dutton

 

Technical Requirements:

Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7 / 8 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.7. Sorry not compatible with Linux

X-Plane 10 fully updated. 32 or 64 bit. (X-Plane 9 not supported)

4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM (8GB RAM and 1GB VRAM Highly Recommended)

Current version : 1.03 (Service Pack 2) - last updated April 11th 2014

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