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Aircraft Update : Boeing 787-900 v1.6.0 by Magknight


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Boeing 787-9_v1.6.0 Header Aviator.jpg

 

Aircraft Update : Boeing 787-900 v1.6.0 by Magknight

 

Certainly the year 2020 will go down in history as a year of unforeseen if required change. Not many people like change, some hate change, but change is always going to happen, and the results are sometimes unexpected.

 

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Magknight has timely released their latest v1.6.0 version of the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner, just another update or a reaction to the announcement by FlightFactor, as that yes indeed their next "Pro" aircraft is going to be also a Dreamliner. Either way X-Plane needs all the Dreamliners it can get, pilot's want to fly the latest aircraft and currently with the Airbus A350-900 then the Dreamliner is it.

 

But the development process of Magknight's project has been a long one, if even a confusing one at that...  what started out a small Dreamliner freeware project, became a payware project and then a sort of "Pro" (nee expensive) project. Users followed like devotes to some religion, but their dedication has been rewarded, if only by going the really long way around than a straight forward development process.

 

The external design or modeling has gone through I think about three incarnations, as also has the internals, from average, to good, to far better....  The externals were again (if finally) updated in version 1.4 so any of the extensive list of earlier liveries won't work and they went straight into the trash bin, so a completely new paintkit and anything past v1.5 now has to be redone, but all for the better mind you. v1.4 also gave you (another) cabin revamp and new GE engines, and then v1.5 dropped an experimental version of the RR Trent 1000 engines... although someone here is not at all impressed with your engine choice!

 

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And ACARS the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System was also introduced on the v1.5 release.

 

Boeing 787-900 v1.6.0

Gradually the Dreamliner has been molded into shape, from a far better external shape (and that early nose profile?) to a far better cabin and cockpit. But here again in v1.6.0 the cockpit gets another complete revamp, another remodeling to get closer to the Dreamliners office in realism.

 

Outwardly at first glance the 787 cockpit does not seem THAT different... 

 

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....   but once you start to dig, you see a lot of changes. The detail of the switchgear is now quite superb, detailed and has that lovely plastic quality, even the attachment screws are clearly visible. Now Mousewheel Manipulators (scroll) work as is all of the manipulators and animations across all buttons are now also all new...  I however found a few halve arrow adjustments, like for the heading just far too small and tight to use effectively and efficiently, and as many click and as quickly disappear from view?

 

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The glareshield is more better textured, and so is the main instrument facia surround, you are now starting to see a realism, rather more than the earlier modeling feel to the aircraft. The problem has that the changes have been introduced at a glacial pace, a few here and a few there over countless updates, but suddenly you look around you everywhere and you are noticing that this is now a seriously nice cockpit.

 

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That once missing authentic detail is now starting to pour out of the aircraft, it is losing that cheapness (freeware) look and it is slowly now being replaced by a quality feel.

 

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What was once looking like a bad price deal, is now starting to look like a really good value for money experience, the Dreamliner is quite not totally up there yet, because of one big infraction...  the FMS, as it is still the old Laminar version in a glossy interface... note there is no actual FMS facia as the system is built into the lower monitor display (you can also move it to the upper displays), and the display does have that grey interface, it looks actually odd in context, but it is correct. It works well with the new double screen WebFMC Pro interface as well.

 

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But with added in system interactions it is now getting way along on the road to being a study aircraft, certainly there is still far more that has to be installed, but you finally feeling that you are flying and interacting with a new-era cockpit, rather than a 60's relic.... or worse a basic PlaneMaker interaction.

 

EFB - Electronic Flight Bag

The Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) has been a "Work in Progress" over several update releases, originally it was quite basic (and buggy), but this v1.6.0 version is now starting to to be far more comprehensive and more importantly a more mature system to use. Both left (Pilot) and right (First Officer) EFBs work (but not independently of each other)...

 

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...  there is a direct (mouse) cursor control (you have to touch outside of the EFB screen to regain cockpit manipulator and view control), and the same cursor system works on the other direct access displays in the FMS and Main MFD (Multi-Functional) display)

 

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And the cursor idea works very well with selection and general EFB use.

 

New (besides the general better layout and use) there is a better WTBAL (Weight/Balance) calculator...  "PERFORMANCE" won't activate unless you set up your route and INITIALIZE (Initialise) the EFB, the aircraft's weight and loading also has to be done first as well to get the correct fuel/Weights loadings for the flight. Then press the PERFORMANCE tab...

 

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Adjust any details you require for the Takeoff (performance) then press the CALC button, then the correct takeoff data is displayed lower section...  change any parameters and the CALC will readjust the performance data to match the changes, and excellent it is.

 

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...  same with the Landing (Performance), but as you know, in a lot of scenarios, you don't know the landing data until you get closer to your destination (Wind/Air Pressure and even the aircraft's weight), so you may get a negative display. Calculations included are: Takeoff calculator, Automatic derate calculation, Automatic trim calculation, NTX and runway slope support (using extremeData)

and Max weight for runway, and the same for the Landing calculator. Also noted is now the full selection of autobrakes RTO, 1-4 and MAX selections, and if you are using on landing Full Reverse, Thrust or Auto Spoilers settings...  very impressive!

 

We did see part of this Performance Calculator working in earlier versions, but not to this now a far more finished and polished interface.

 

Aircraft Configuration

Loading the aircraft (weights) is also now a far more polished interaction. Access is via the AIRCRAFT CONFIG tab...

 

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...  and the first tab gives you the aircraft's current loading situation. The rest of the tabs then give you access to Crew, PAX (Passenger), Cargo and Fuel loadings. The detail is excellent including even the selection of Crew baggage (weight) on a Domestic or International Flight (Long Haul), the selection is via the number of crew on board or 15kg if International.

 

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Passenger baggage weights are automatically calculated with the numbers carried, and as I am doing here only a domestic service (Brisbane to Melbourne) then the fuel load is not very high either (15,000kg) as per SimBrief. When you have sorted out your loading, then press "Apply Changes" to set the required loads and weights, which are then detailed as your ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight), Takeoff and Landing Weights with you Centre of Gravity (MAC) percentages.

 

Interesting tab is the "GALLEY" tab... here you can set the weights for the "Galley Code" in LR (Long Range), International, Short-haul One Way, Short-haul Return and No Galley Fitout. Loading weights are quite surprisingly quite different between the domestic and long-haul choices, a really nice to have and clever feature.

 

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Another new change on the EFB under the "Settings" tab is that you can now set the windows and cockpit (panel) reflections On/Off.

 

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ACARS

In version v1.5.1 there was the introduction of the excellent Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System or ACARS, under the COMM page.

 

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There was a ACARS message formatting issue and an ACARS spelling mistake, and both have rectified in this update version, excellent, but it would be nice to have the Oceanic Clearance work, can it work in X-Plane? Very handy...

 

EICAS - Engine-Indicating and Crew-Alerting System has had bugs attended to with Stab trim indicator is now correct, EICAS settings too high now adjusted, and the EICAS warning/caution reset now fixed. and the PA volume has been made a bit louder, and noted more persistent.

 

Lighting

As per Boeing panel layouts the Boeing 787 has several lighting selections that all do really the same action...   DOME will bring up the main cockpit (rear lights), but STORM does the same thing but is not adjustable, there is a third full cockpit lighting adjustment with MASTER BRIGHT, and the button at the bottom will do a full override of the adjust knob.

 

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I always really loved that LED dropdown panel lighting, and it is still as brilliant as ever, more so with the better switchgear...  There are two forward overhead spotlights for MAP lighting and nice fillers they are...

 

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The B787 is a long hauler, so you have to be seriously comfortable in here over the long hours in flight, it is now perfect. As you know I am funny about light bleed into the cockpit, but the Magknight B787 is getting extremely good at finding the right settings for the right situation, so there has been some significant improvements to the lighting here in v1.6.0, and all to the very good.

 

Cabin lighting is very good as well, still not adjustable, but I have no doubts that option will come in future releases, but what we have is still nicely done...  oddly I found the Dreamliner cabin feeling a little small for a twin-aisle aircraft, more a A332 than a wide B777. The cabin is now blue throughout, and the horrible rainbow lighting effects has been dropped in First and Bus class, thank god.

 

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External lighting aspect is looking pretty nice as well, and very realistic from every angle.

 

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Flying the v1.5 Dreamliner

I had a very long list of complaints when I did the last v1.4 Boeing 787-9 Aviator review...  I expected a lot to better this time around... but it is not?

 

Dynamically there are some serious basics wrong here...  a lot of time early in the flight after pushback was wasted trying to get the tiller to work...    you can set the tiller for a manual control, what the "settings" need to be though is for the "Use Roll for the NWS" to be ON to actually get nose wheel control, this should be default and not the other way around, reload the aircraft and it switches it back off again, annoying.

 

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Sound are very good, but you don't have much control over them...  in taxiing they are too low in volume (The Dreamliner is amazingly very low acoustically internally) but there is almost nothing you can hear here at all if you want to hear those lovely GE engines (or RR if fitted).

 

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Power up and the sounds do come in, but still very, very low, even from the cabin perspective. at v1 - 129kts and "whoa" the nose lifts...

 

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...  5º of flap should not lift the nose at v1? so suddenly you are fighting the aircraft to keep the nose wheel on the ground (unsuccessfully), the aircraft is now twisting on you as well (note, the Dreamliner is a very automated aircraft, but this "I will fly the aircraft for you", is certainly not realistic?)

 

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At v2 and then v2+10 I'm already well off the runway, then fighting the aircraft in the air to keep it level? It is twisting on me like it is in a 18kt - 20kt crosswind, but I only have an almost head-on 9º wind force, the B787 should not twist like this hard in these conditions? It feels like the engine power is completely out of balance?

 

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Climbing out the B787 is unstable? and worse I am running out of pitch to keep the nose down, the aircraft just wants to go vertical nose up...   I fixed this by adjusting the pitch trim (manually from the keyboard)...  a lot, in fact far too much adjustment was required to bring the nose down to an acceptable climb rate. I am fighting to keep this aircraft in the air... take a look at the FCTL of the elevators, and that elevator position is not normal....

 

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Switching to automation or using the autopilot is tricky as well, as some commands over-ride others, if you press the A/T (Autothrust) it should stay switched on, but it doesn't, and neither does the A/P Autopilot itself... so you are constantly fighting the aircraft to get to do do what you want it too, it simply has a mind of it's own and of what it thinks you should have and not what you actually want, so who is in control here?

 

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I finally got the aircraft sorted to follow the LNAV (route), and start the climb (40,000ft) but now there was then an odd bank to the left?

 

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...  more weirder is the situation that the PFD Artificial Horizon is showing a bank to the right? I do actually remember this one from flying the Dreamliner last time...  Turn the A/T on (Auto) and the B787 banks, Turn the A/T off and you get control back, and I then remembered how I fixed it as well...   You run the right starboard side engine at far higher thrust than the left port side...  odd yes, but it works in keeping the Dreamliner at least level in flight. So in level fight you have very odd power settings.

 

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Should you have to do this, of course not, and should you still have to do this after six months when it was wonky then...  absolutely not?

 

At altitude the sounds are very good, but still sound the same in the cabin as in the cockpit, but I do really love the in flight hum. Annoying is the fact that the Magknight B787 is so really good now in the cockpit, as this place is now a seriously nice place to be, it looks and feels excellent.

 

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The Great Southern Land

 

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But overall the dynamics and flight performance just don't match the looks. I then re CALC the landing data with the more current information.

 

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Then a scan of the instruments before landing noted the fuel display was not counting down, was the fuel inbalance my bank issue? no, with the fuel adjusted (manually) or leveled between the tanks it was still just the same. I remember now how I missed the fuel crossfeed coming from Hong Kong- HKG to MEL as well, still the same non-working fuel pumping system?

 

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With one engine on idle I arrive at Melbourne, now banked the other way, right....  this was going to be interesting!

 

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Whoopsy Daisy...

 

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....  finally some control and facing directly at YMML's RWY 16, but look at my yoke position to keep the B787 straight, is that normal in a 7knt head-on wind?

 

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in reality this is a one engine out landing...  with two perfectly running engines?  Dreamliners land really sloooow at here 136kts...

 

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"touch" is really good, but under the thrust-reversers the B787 becomes a real handful....

 

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....  full right rudder and a lot of yoke movement keeps the aircraft finally finding the centreline, well sort of..

 

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...   as I am fighting the aircraft right down to the taxi speed...  "Welcome to Melbourne".

 

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I record my reviews directly from the flight I have in the simulator, good or bad. What I detail here is how the simulation unfolded in front of me, so I am hiding nothing from you...  so the question has to asked. Did I have a bad download of the aircraft?, did I set up the aircraft wrong? and am I really missing something fundamental in the way that I am using the Autopilot? all good questions, but I did do a quick test flight the day before (I always do a quick recollection flight to reset me into the aircraft) and the B787 was quite a handful then also.

 

But my gut feeling says the developer is focusing too much on the auto side of the Dreamliner, and missing the basics of flying the aircraft manually, or correctly. So in trying to give you..   the user an experience, they are not adjusting the aircraft for even the very basics of flight.

 

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You should not be landing on ONE engine to keep the aircraft straight!

__________________________

 

Summary

This is the ongoing development of the Boeing 787-900 from Magknight. It started out as a basic freeware version, became a payware, and now a pro-payware. You accept with the purchase that the aircraft is still in an on-going development format, this is v1.6.0.

 

This v1.6.0 update focuses on a (again) a new cockpit redesign, with far better textures, PBR and better switchgear. Lighting has also been highly upgraded. EFB - The side Electronic Flight Bags have also been mostly now finished off from their "in development" early stages, and the results are excellent with great weight/loading features, performance calculations and other new features added and in areas like the crew baggage and galley loading weights are very clever. Overall the aircraft designwise now is excellent...  but

 

I expected a big step forward in performance, flight dynamics and even by now a replacement for the default MAP screens and basic X-Plane FMC systems...  but in these areas the aircraft is still quite average. It looks sensational, sounds sensational, but very average to fly. The focus is too much on the automation and not on the actual basics of flight, in this area Magknight have a big significant hole in the aircraft's development structure, and with the now coming FlightFactor Boeing 787 Dreamliner Pro...  they are now also running out of time to fix it.... this should have been a far better simulation than it is, and I am disappointed about that, because I really like the aircraft.

 

I thought this update was sensational, until I actually flew the aircraft... the update is that good, but not in the required fundamental areas of just having a great aircraft to fly. Put the two points together and it will BE sensational...  but it is very far from that aspect at this point in it's development.

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Boeing 787-900 Aviator Edition Dreamliner v1.6.0 by Magknight is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

B787-9 Aviator Edition

 

Price is US$44.95

 

Upgrade cost to the "Aviator Edition" from the original payware release version is US$10, see your X-Plane.OrgStore account for the upgrade.

 

Features

General

  • Brand new flight model built for X-Plane 11.40 and 11.50+
  • Improved wingflex
  • Custom IRS simulation, with quick align
  • Auto-update for the lifetime of X-Plane 11
  • LED exterior lights
  • Pause at top of descent and jump to waypoint
  • 3D cabin

New: Next-Generation Cockpit

  • Comprehensive cockpit lighting options
  • High resolution textures with PBR throughout the cockpit and cabin
  • Optional tinted cockpit and cabin windows
  • Realistic Panel dimensions

New: Integrated EFB

  • Comprehensive weight and balance calculator, with per-livery cabin configurations
  • Takeoff and landing performance calculators

Multiple engine choices

  • Choose from the mainstay GE engines, or the new experimental RR engines
  • Each engine has different flight characteristics

Custom flight controls

  • 5-setting autobrakes with RTO capability
  • Dynamic flap timing and order
  • Roll spoilers based on speed and wingforce
  • Surface droop on hydraulics loss
  • Surface fadeout by speed

Hoppie ACARS intergration

  • Intergration with the Hoppie ACARS network
  • Allows uplink of pre-departure clearances and weather information

FMOD soundpack by audiobirdXP

  • Fully custom FMOD soundpack for the GENx engines
  • Extensive integration with systems
  • Cockpit switch and button sounds

3D cabin and fuselage

  • Ground-up exterior fuselage model including optional tinted windows
  • 3D cabin with optional seating
  • Cabin is optional, configurable in EFB for performance

Liveries

  • Blank livery included by default
  • Other liveries available at https://magknight.org/liveries
  • Liveries from before 1.4.0 are not be compatible due to change of engine and fuselage models

Auto-Updater

  • Uses the Skunkcraft Updater for Automatic updates

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11 Fully updated

Windows, Mac or Linux
4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM recommended
Current and Review version : 1.6.0 (September 23rd 2020)
 

Installation : Download is 587.30mb which is unzipped and is inserted in your Heavy Aircraft  folder as a 1.91gb folder

Note: liveries are not included, but can be download... only v1.5+ liveries will now work with this aircraft

 

Documentation : Manual (partly completed?)

 

v1.6.0 changelog (attached)

B7879 - 1.6.0_Changelog.txt

 

______________________________________________________________________

Review by Stephen Dutton

6th October 2020

Copyright©2020: X-Plane Reviews

  

(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)
 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.30b2 (aircraft will only fly in 11.30)

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 2.0 - Free : BetterPushBack - Free

Scenery or Aircraft

- YBBN - Brisbane International - 2020 1.1 by CDG (X-Plane.Org) - Free-

- YMML Melbourne 1.01 by ISDG (X-Plane.Org) - Free

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