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Aircraft Review : Embraer ERJ Family by X-Crafts


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Aircraft Review : Embraer ERJ Family by X-Crafts

 

There is almost a year in that our friend Stephen posted a quick overview of the ERJ Family. Today I will make a complete review of this fabulous aircraft developed by X-Crafts, which had an update a few days ago.

 

The Embraer Regional Jets were the first jet engine commercial aircraft produced by Embraer. Continental Express took delivery of the first EMB 145 (later renamed ERJ 145) on December, 27 1996. With more than 2200 units delivered, the ERJ family is considered to be one of the most successful regional aviation aircraft ever. Today, its main operators are Envoy Air and ExpressJet Airlines, with respectively 108 and 96 aircraft. An interesting fact is that even being a Brazilian aircraft, no commercial ERJ is operated by a Brazilian airline.

 

Powered by two AE3007 turbofan engines, producing from 7,201 to 8,985 lbs thrust each, the 135 variant can carry 37 passengers, up to 50 in the 145. The 145XR variant has the biggest range of all five aircraft (2,000), it also has an MTOW of 24,100kg and can fly at M 0.80, faster than M 0.78 from the other three commercial aircraft. The business version named Legacy 650 can fly up to impressive 3,900nm, at M 0.80 and a maximum operational altitude of 41,000ft.

 

I will base my review in the ERJ 145, which is the most popular variant.

 

3D Modeling and Textures

Probably, one of the main qualities of the X-Crafts ERJ.  Unparalleled visuals, that's what X-Crafts says about their products, and I can't deny that, the textures and 3D modeling are exceptional. 

 

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Exterior

The ERJ 145 from x-crafts has one of the best exterior modeling of all aircraft available for X-Plane 11. The fuselage, wings and engines are full of details, the 4K textures are incredible, especially in the fuselage, and impressive reflections. The landing gear is very detailed, as well as the antennas and lights around the aircraft. Pitot tubes, door handles and windshield wipers have a really good 3D modeling, giving the aircraft even more details.

 

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Interior

With such a good exterior, the interior 3D modeling and textures couldn't be bad, and that is true, the interior is very impressive. The overhead is simple but very well done, one of the best 3D modeled overhead panels in all X-Plane. In the cockpit almost every button and knob works, both windows can be opened, the screens have awesome reflections and the textures are incredible. X-Crafts has done such a good job with the textures that they may be the best in all X-Plane, being a great difference when compared to most aircraft. Even with those high-quality 3D modeling and textures, this add-on won't take many FPS from your system.

 

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There is a 3D cabin in the unusual 2-1 configuration. The fact that you can turn the ceiling lights on and off in the control panel located next to the main door is very cool.

 

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Flying the ERJ

Even though it is a smaller plane, the way it flies isn't very different from a 737 or E195. In this short flight from Chicago ORD to Louisville SDF I will tell you my experience while flying the aircraft. 

 

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The startup process is very simple and x-crafts implemented a complete and detailed checklist to help you. The first thing you should do is turn both batteries to auto position, connect the GPU and press both avionics master buttons. This will start the electricals and automatically align the IRS. After this you can switch the emergency lights to armed.

 

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After turning on the electricals, the next step is programming the FMS. X-Crafts uses the Tekton FMS created by Steve Wilson, which at first glance appears to be very confusable and tricky. Even though the FMS needs some improvements, it manages to create a useful route and performance calculations. 

 

Take note that I will show you the way I program it and there are many other ways to do it.

 

The first thing you should do is insert your callsign, which today is Envoy Air 4076, your initial and final altitude, 31,000ft in this short flight, and press initialize FMS. After that you can head to PERF 1 page by pressing MCDU INDEX and PERF. There you will set the number of passengers, payload weight and fuel.

 

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Now you need to insert your departure and arrival. Go back to MCDU INDEX and press DEPARTURE. On that page you will select your departing runway, SID and transition. Then press ARRIVAL and insert your runway, STAR, approach and its transition. The next thing you need to do is head up to the route page. There you will need to add any waypoint required in your route, it is very easy, just insert the required waypoint and its altitude. After all that your route should be ready. Note that if you will use airways the process is a little different.

 

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Now that your route ready, go to your PERF 2 page. You will need to set your cruise speed, make sure that both altitudes are right, and last but not least, insert the average wind. After that, press the EXEC button, this way you will validate all the information you've inserted and activate the route. To check your progress simply click in the progress and flight plan button.

 

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At this point the FMS is ready, so the next step is to turn on the fuel pumps, start the APU, turn on the A/C packs and APU bleed, and lastly the windshield ice protection. Now that the APU is running, the GPU can be disconnected. It is very important to set your altitude and heading in the autopilot panel, hit the NAV and FMS buttons, and set the altimeters.

 

Everything is ready, so you can call the pushback truck and start your engines. Packs off, beacon on, hydraulics auto and engine selectors start position. Wait until the engines finished the startup process to turn on the bleeds and packs. Don't forget to turn off the APU and its bleed. Set your flaps and thrust rating to T/O position, and you are now ready to taxi.

 

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Chicago O'Hare is a very big airport, so taxing to runway 10L should take a while, this means more time to admire this aircraft. After entering the runway, set your power to about 50%, wait a few seconds and then increase your throttle to T/O power. Note that this plane doesn't have any kind of autothrottle, just a power limitation, so you will need to check the power during all flight.

 

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V1, VR, V2 and here we go. Due to the fact it's a smaller and lighter plane it should take off at slower speeds and climb faster than other aircraft. Right after taking off you should bring the gear up, select climb thrust rating and turn YD on. If you want, the AP can also be turned on. As we start to gain speed, the impressive O'Hare starts to get smaller. Right now we just need to check the power and wait until the aircraft reaches cruise altitude. Again, we can use this time to admire this beautiful aircraft.

 

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We've reached cruise flight level, now we just need to set our thrust rating to cruise and wait for the TOD, in few minutes we will start our descent to Louisville. 

 

The weather in Louisville isn't very good, drizzling, a little strong winds and very low clouds. This won't be the easiest landing, but the ERJ will handle this.

A few feet from the ground we reduce the power to idle and just wait for the wheels to touch it. The shell-type reversers aren't very common these days, giving the aircraft a nice distinction from others. And now I want to welcome you to Louisville International Airport, most known as UPS hub.

 

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Other Features

X-Crafts made a very complete add-on, this means it includes things like checklists and interactive menus.

 

Checklist

The aircraft comes with an exntensive and complete checklist. All procedures are listed there, from the first to last step.

 

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FAQ

This is a very useful tool, especially for people that are still learning how the plane works. Even though this is very very, X-Crafts is one of the few designers that included this feature with the add-on.

 

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Ground Ops

This is a very nice feature implemented by X-Crafts. It comes with beautiful engine covers, pitot tubes and antenna protectors, cones, GPU and chocks. 

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Pop-outs

Personally, I don't use pop-outs during flights, but if you want to, X-Crafts implemented an FMS pop-out, which can be accessed by clicking in the modeled one in the cockpit, or the fast menu in the bottom left corner of the screen. The cockpit screens can also be popped-out, revealing a unique 3D pop-out.

 

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Lights

The interior night lighting is very beautiful. The characteristic Embraer All-White lights give the plane a modern feeling. One nice thing is that you can dim or brighten the cabin lights in the control panel next to the main door, just like the real aircraft.

 

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Sounds

One of the things you most notice while flying an aircraft is the sounds, and the ERJ sounds are one of the best in X-Plane. The first thing you normally do before entering a plane is opening the door, and this simple animation very good sounds, recreating the hydraulics very well. After reaching the cockpit and turning the batteries on, you will hear the avionics, electricals and alarms working. The APU startup sounds are very nice and accurate, giving you a lot of immersion. After the APU reaching 100% you can turn on its bleed and turn of the packs, this way you will hear the nice A/C sounds.

 

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If you connect the GPU, you will hear it starting up and running, which is very nice when you have your window opened. Another nice thing is that types of knobs, switches or buttons have a different sound. A good example is the landing lights switches, which have a different sound from the navigation lights switches.

 

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Probably the most important sound of an aircraft is the engine sounds. They are very accurate and recreate the real sounds very well, especially in the cabin, where they get louder and clearer. We can easily say that the are extremely good, especially when compared to other planes. Take in mind that a single plane costs only US$50, so the sounds are exceptional for this price.

 

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Variants

The aircraft comes with 5 variants. The one I've been showing you is the 145, the most popular one. It has a longer range version, the XR,  and a shorter version named 140. There is an even shorter variant named 135, which can carry 37, instead of 44 from the 140 or 50 from the 145.

 

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There is a fifth variant named Legacy 650, which derives from the ERJ135. The Legacy 650 is Embraer biggest business jet, excluding the Lineage 1000(derived from the E190).  This is one of the most beautiful business jets in the world, which can carry up to 14 passengers and fly 3,900nm. 

X-Crafts modeled a completely different interior for this aircraft, giving you the maximum immersion you could get from one of the best business jets for X-Plane.

 

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Liveries

The included liveries are the same from the release. Blank, Alitalia, American Eagle, American Eagle Stripes, ExpressJet and United Express.

 

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Update

The ERJ family by X-Crafts had a major update (v1.3.0) at the end of April, and a small update (v1.3.10) containing some fixes a few days ago. I will list in sections the most important things from the major update. Note that the changelog will be attached at the end of the review.

 

PFD

Airspeed and altitude indicators further debugged and enhanced to more closely represent the real aircraft.  Digital displays have been corrected and the overspeed zone modified to adapt to be correctly sensitive to altitude and Mach number.
Glideslope indicator presence now reactive to source selection as well as NAV radio frequency selection.
 
MFD / EICAS / Stanby Instruments
• Further updated, revised and debugged displays to be closer to actual aircraft.  
All indications on the MFD should now switch between KG/LBS units where needed. Units now correctly persist from session to session.
 
Other General Enhancements and Bug Fixes
The No Smoking and Fasten Seatbelts manipulators reversed.
Added code to match the throttle position to the reverse thrust condition when using joystick buttons or keys to toggle max reverse thrust.
Increased the size of the manipulators that are in the centers of the autopilot control knobs – HDG synch, MACH/KIAS toggle (SPD), ALT sync for easier control in VR. 
 
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APU
Enhanced the APU indicator on EICAS to match video of actual aircraft display elements. 
Completely reconfigured the APU startup/shut-down manipulators, and added custom systems code to reflect the way in which the APU controls are supposed to be used in the real aircraft.
APU fuel use now reflected in the MFD fuel totalizer, drawing from the right tank.
 
Graphics
X-Crafts converted all texture to .dds files, preparing the aircraft to X-Plane 11.50. 
 
ERJ Settings
Added FMOD cockpit engine volume control.
Added a temporary checkbox to disable the overspeed warning. 
Added a check box to hide the Easter Eggs that appear in the cockpit.
 
FMS
The FMS had many fixes and improvements, making it a more complete and better system.
 
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The version 1.3.10 brought improvements to prevent crashes in many situations, as well as solving the inability to load the Linux version of the aircraft.
 
Summary
The ERJ family by X-Crafts is an incredible add-on for X-Plane. Very nice textures, 3D modeling, sounds... For sure one of the best aircraft available in the X-Plane.Org Store. The Tekton FMS may be the only downside, even though it manages to make the aircraft work perfectly, it could be more realistic which would recreate a fabulous simulation of the Embraer Regional Jets. 
 
The updates brought some improvements, as well as many fixes. The textures conversion to .dds is very important, preparing the aircraft to X-Plane 11.50. The FMOD cockpit engine volume control is a nice addition to the plugin.
 
X-Crafts did such a great job with the ERJ family, and even though it needs a few improvements, you will be very satisfied with the aircraft.
 
______________________________________________________________________
 
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The Embraer ERJ Family v1.3.10 by X-Crafts is avalable at the X-Plane.Org Store
 
Embraer ERJ Family by X-Crafts - Includes all five variants
 
Price is US$89.85
 
Embraer E135 by X-Crafts - Includes the ERJ135
 
Price is US$49.95
 
Embraer E140 by X-Crafts - Includes the ERJ140
 
Price is US$49.95
 
Embraer E145 & E145XR by X-Crafts - Includes both ERJ145 and ERJ145XR
 
Price is US$49.95
 
Embraer Legacy 650 by X-Crafts - Includes the Legacy 650
 
Price is US$49.95
 
Features:
  • UPDATER - You can easily check for new updates right inside of X-Plane and you will automatically get the latest version. It literally takes 3 clicks of a button!
  • On-screen CHECKLIST plugin
  • On-screen HELP SHEET with FAQ and useful info which will get you going real quick and will solve 90% of issues that users usually ask on the forums.
  • On-Screen Control menu for door control, ground objects, GPU and engine covers.
  • Pre-configured systems like on the real plane
  • Realistic Avionics Startup
  • Realistic flight dynamics based on real pilot input and feedback
FMS
  • There are two FMS units installed on the pedestal: Custom TEKTON FMS© by Steve Wilson  (More details  below)  and the X-Plane FMS by Philipp J. Münzel 
  • Please note that these are not replicas of the FMS units usually installed on the jets.
 
3D MODELING AND TEXTURING
I'm a VFX artist in real life, so I'm used to creating photo-real assets. Although I am limited by the XP rendering capabilities and your hardware, I tried to make it look and perform as good as I could :)
 
EXTERIOR
  • 4K High resolution textures (more important is the resolution of the actual fuselage which is 75000pixels per on meter squared)
  • Highly detailed landing gears, Flaps, lights, gauges, antennas... everything :)
  • Realistic wingflex animation
  • Pilots in external view
  • All doors are animated and controllable from the plugin menu. Main and service doors can also be opened by clicking on the levers.
INTERIOR:
You'll find that there is an amazing level of detail, for example dust particles on the screens visible when light shines on them, finger prints on buttons, and if you zoom in really close to the screens you will even see individual pixels on the actual screens. I tried to make sure that the cockpit looks realistically worn out and used as it would based on how much these jets are used!
  • High resolution PFD, MFD, EICAS displays
  • All text around the cockpit is crisp and clear with any rendering options
  • Intuitive cockpit manipulation - I have always taken great care to make the cockpit as easy to use as possible. This means all clickable areas in the cockpit are very big so that you can easily click on any button, knob or lever in the cockpit
  • Each switch, lever, knob, and handle is animated
  • All cockpit lights are controllable exactly as on the real jets, even the screens shine light on their surroundings
  • Includes baggage bay door light
 
POP UP INSTRUMENTS
  • 3D (not movable, ideal for VR) pop-up panels of the FMS, Radio panel and Thrust Rating Panel.
  • The FMS also has a 2D pop up window mode that stays on the screen and you can move it around, so you can simply choose which one you want to be using based on your preference.
  • Pop Up screens of the PFD MFD and EICAS
OTHER FEATURES
  • Realistic Exterior Lighting: NAV, Strobe, Beacon, Left/Nose/Right landing lights, Nose taxi lights, Inspection lights, Logo lights, Courtesy lights, Baggage door light. They all cast light on the surroundings.
  • Audible Alert System
  • Awesome 3D sounds, many of which have been recorded on the real jets!
FULLY VR COMPATIBLE
These jets have been made, fine-tuned and tested for a flawless VR experience!
 
LIVERIES
There are 5 liveries included compatible with the ERJs (White, American Airlines, American Airlines Old, United Express, ExpressJet,and 3 for the Legacy. There are dozens of other liveries available on the forums.
 
TEKTON FMS© Features
 
 Custom MCDU Interface
  • Initialization page on system startup
  • Easy to navigate paging system
  • SID, ROUTE and STAR waypoint lists are treated as separate editable items
  • Color keyed data presentation
  • Scratchpad data entry
  • Interactive feedback messages
 
MCDU PopUps
  • Both 2D and 3D popups are available for easy access.
  • Direct Keyboard Entry (DKE)
 
Departure and Arrival Procedures
 
  • SID and STAR procedures from X-Plane stock or third party custom data
  • Zipped “Custom Data” folder provided
  • Altitude and airspeed constraints for procedures
  • Automatic procedure altitude calculation
  • Flexible STAR element selection and re-selection and editing
  • Default visual departure and approach waypoints
  • Ability to easily edit SIDs, Routes, STARS and the loaded FLT PLAN
 
  • AIRWAYS Selection
  • Progress Monitoring
 
Performance Flight Planning:
  • PERF 1 page providing preflight and takeoff data
  • PERF 2 page allowing route fuel planning 
  • PERF 3 page for approach data
 
Additional Features:
  • Thrust Rating Select page (TRS) accessed from PERF 1
  • FMS reset function
  • Simplified manual waypoint altitude entry
  • Company route load and save functions
  • FLT PLAN page now automatically advances with destination waypoint
  • 8.33mhz tunable radios
  • Comprehensive Status Page
  • The stock X-Plane MCDU is also provided as an alternative for users that prefer it.
 
FMOD
An amazing 3D sound package comes with the jets. Everything from different knob sounds, door sounds to realistic engine sounds. Many of the sounds have been recorder on the real jets which makes the experience extra immersive! 
 
Requirements
X-Plane 11
Windows, MAC or Linux - 
4GB VRAM Minimum. 8GB+ VRAM Recommended
Current version: 1.3.10 (May 12th 2020)
 
Update Log v1.3.10
 
 
______________________________________________________________________
 

Aircraft Review by Bernardo Pierdoná Casa

15th May 2020

Copyright©2020: X-PlaneReviews
 
Review System Specifications:
Computer System: Intel Core I5-9600K 4,30GHz / 2x8 Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 3200MHz - Gigabyte RTX 2070 - Z390 Aorus Master - Kingston A1000M.2 SSD 240GB

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane  11.41

Addons: Logitech Pro Flight Yoke/Pedals/Throttle Quadrant - Logitech Extreme 3d Pro Joystick - Sound: Samsung Home Theater System J5500WK

Plugins:  Environment Engine v1.13 by xEnviro US$69,90 Traffic: Traffic Global by JustFlight US$52.99

Scenery and Aircraft

- KSDF by Zero Dollar (X-Plane.Org) - Free

 

(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)

 

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