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X-PlaneReviews - Yearly Review 2015

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X-PlaneReviews - Yearly Review 2015
 

“So this is Xmas, And what have you done, Another year over, And a new one just begun, And so this is Xmas, I hope you have fun, The near and the dear one, The old and the young…  A very Merry Xmas, And a happy New Year, Let's hope it's a good one, Without any fear (Happy Xmas “War is Over” John Lennon).

How many years since that recording was made? 44 years believe it or not and it feels that not much has changed with the world, so how would have John Lennon felt today, maybe like then it is simply a fruitless campaign, there is just too much hate around us that it still overwhelms the love.

But thankfully that hate does not spill over into our X-Plane world (except on some forums), but there is certainly a lot of love around here for all of us in creation, cooperation and the love of sharing shows that it can be done when you focus and love something as much as we do with our digital and online flying, we get it right so why can’t everyone else…

 Overall it was another standout year for the simulator, there was no real highpoints or low points, but just a steady stream of releases and great ideas. Cohesion is certainly covering the simulator and it feels now more solid than ever, but that also depends on the huge amount of add-ons in plugins that you can hang off X-Plane now, personally myself I don’t throw everything into the box, as the main reason is I need a pretty solid platform for reviews, so when thoroughly tested and proven and mostly if it can add in a real benefit and then and only then does it go into the plugin folder.

One major annoyance that I have found this year is the growing amount of developers that will only create “Windows” only applications (they say they will do Mac/Linux version but never do). One issue is that this treatment means they won’t get any exposure from this site (meaning sales) but X-Plane is a multi-platform simulator and not FS based windows sim, noting I should use “windows” is defeating the idea as Mac/Linux users still don’t have access…  the total reality of this approach is the losers are the developers themselves as their sometimes brilliant work is usually mostly not taken up as a global application in the simulator and is usually then left sidelined and waysided in the process, it is not easy I admit to convert Windows code to Mac/Linux based code, but that is what the simulator is built on and more Macs than ever are being sold today as desktop systems, it is your loss dev’s not mine.

Laminar Research

As usual the beta run from Laminar Research is usually the high point in changes to the simulator. This year it was the v10.40 run that was very successful in being very solid in it’s underlying foundations.
The highlight was of course the extended scenery and the option to load area in 4×3 DSFs (tiles) for less blurry long distance viewing. LR at the same time provided a new way of loading the DSF’s and with more multicore processing to get faster load times for more area being loaded. The result was a transformation of your X-Plane landscape that was wonderful to behold (if ages in coming) and certainly made the simulator far more competitive.

The global airport domination carried on with now thousands (2,306) of 3-D default airports in situ ready and waiting for your personal use. However my original fears came back in receptive horror that every airport I landed at then had double objects and nothing looked anything like normal, so “Global Airports” are now always out of my custom scenery folder more than being actually in it (usually in there just for beta upgrades) so it is of simply no use to me? Laminar Research notes that it is the responsibility of the add-on developers to make sure there is no conflict, but I always thought that was a huge big ask from the first off anyway and that is certainly turning out to be so, the fix needs to come internally.

There was some nice changes in v10.40 and some really backward steps in the lighting, before you had small tight lights but now huge blobs of lights all over aircraft and airports. If there is one area I hate it is in the lighting, awful stuff, I understand that with the change of view the light definition source becomes larger or smaller, but the overall lighting look is a severe backward step in mostly very few are adjusting their lighting to the new format.

Touches were made to the weather (winds aloft and METERS, GPS, new failures, views and multi-core AVI based Video was restored and certainly a lot of great bug fixes were addressed and overall the X-Plane simulator runs far more smoother and more cohesive, and in context 10.40 was a very good clean upgrade.

But, but  and more but’s in the main context 10.40 didn’t really deliver in the other areas that are well overdue for attention, Clouds are still a major feature of the X-Plane 10 launch feature list, but are still as we start to pass the middle section of the beta run an area that has had the least amount of focus and is causing the most anguish to simulator users. Light clouds are fine but when they get grey or go darker you are hit with a total wall of framerate pain. No one is immune and users have been drove to desperation in creating lighter textures, adding weather add-ons and mostly screaming at their computers in frustration as aircraft will not fly in these conditions, why have all these glorious weather options when you can’t use any of them? And the moon (that jagged piece of crap in the sky), and the stars are still, still reflecting on the ground as you fly? Water and certainly your tropical waters are basically still in the X-Plane stone-age and not to mention the poor ATC (ATC is finally getting attention in v10.45) but as a warning to Laminar Research in that if these areas are not addressed soon, then users will get more and more vocal and certainly their patience will certainly finally wear out in waiting for any relief from the cloud pain… ditto for night textures as well.

Plugin Add-ons

Again the creative of you all brought out some great ideas and refined older ones, there was hundreds of great ideas but like mentioned not many actually came through to the mainstream (see “Windows only” above) Lots of Soundsets, Planners, Checklists, Cloud and Water options (see above) FMC helpers, Ebags and a great selection of library management tools.

A few did stand out. Headshake and Expansion Packs from SimCoders were great and realistic additions, in Headshake it needed to be finely tuned to your needs, but when done was a great advantage to flying.
FSFlightSchool created far more interesting tutorials, and are certainly worthy for getting your flying skills just right
JARDesign brought out a great plugin that created animated “Ground Support” called “Ground Handling Deluxe”, certainly a plugin in its infancy, but its potential is enormous in the X-Plane landscape.

The standout plugin application was not one that was released in 2015, but certainly matured in mid-year and that was “WorldTraffic” from Classic Jet Simulations (Greg Hofer). I started out the year in 2015 in wanting to conquer the WorldTraffic world, and even I admit it was tough going in setting it up and creating the ground and air routes, but suddenly with the v2.0 release in September it all fell finally into place and the airports were also suddenly groaning under the weight of movement and traffic. WT sits there in the background buzzing away and now I can’t get enough of it.

Scenery

Freeware Scenery

In Freeware MisterX6 dominated all with his excellent KSFO - San Fran City, KSAN (San Diego), KLAX - Los Angeles (upgraded), KPHX - Phoenix and KPDX – Portland International. tdg went awol in the middle of the year, but still delivered some stunning and efficient scenery. And the usual suspects kept the home fires burning brightly… overall it was a very good year for good quality freeware scenery, in this area X-Plane still delivers really great work, so a slap on the back and lots of accolades to all those who put in the hours is always certainly a worthy cause.

An annoying trend developing in 2015 was developers now creating many versions of the same airport in various degrees of quality, to a point it is waste of time and lots of work done for nothing, If you can design a better version than the current version then fine, but why create an inferior one? I like the approach of LIRF - Roma in that the earlier original version by Wehrlipub was passed on to Seaman and he added and kept the scenery moving and improving ever on upwards with updates, and this approach this creates great progressive scenery instead of the hundreds of stalled projects that litter the downloads section.

Freddy De Pues decided enough was enough and noted that 2015 was his last year in creating scenery, so the whole kit and caboodle was handed over to Nicolas of X-Plane.Org fame to relist and host in the saving of a great legacy of work for future generations, thanks Fred, we will miss your input.
 
Payware Scenery

The United Kingdom got the best of the payware  scenery this year with EGCC - Manchester from Icarus first out of the box in 2015 which was excellent and so was a big hole filler in EGLL-Heathrow from Aerosoft. PilotPlus delivered huge in EGHI - Southampton and EGGD - Bristol and the quirky EGTR - Elstree, the lighting in all was sensational, but overall all were good quality solid scenery releases. Tom Curtis recovered from cancer to deliver upgrades to Glitter Gulch (Las Vegas) and a cityscape for his huge San Fransisco “Golden Gate+South Bay” sets.

Southern American State airports were in vogue in 2015 with KAUS - Austin (great first scenery from Airportech), KTUS - Tuscon, KDAL - Dallas Love Field (last two are actually freeware), KRSW - South Florida (Aerosoft), KATL - Atlanta (Butnaru) all delivering great destinations. Overall Butnaru was quieter this year with the fore mentioned KATL and KFLL Fort Lauderdale as his only two releases with a new rejigged updated ORD (O’Hare) just released with also new name in “Nimbus Simulation Studios.

MB Sceneries (formerly SkyHighSim) delivered an outstanding LYBE - Belgrade, and DAI - Media revised all their main sceneries and debuted LEBL - Barcelona.

Newcomer Richard G Nunes provided some interesting scenery in the first set out in the central country area of Brazil with SBDN - Presidente Prudente Airport then the Brazilian Monolith of SBGL - Rio De Janeiro with a presiding Jesus Statue (Christ The Redeemer) in October.

Drzewiecki Design created some really great (and needed) scenery for X-Plane in 2015, but it was all let down by poor and difficult installation design and on my Mac sceneries there was bad pink staining on all the water boundary edges (Windows is supposed to be okay).

Overall the quality of scenery is still improving with the now required inclusion of animated vehicle traffic as a default and rather than a feature, lighting design was one of the real advances as developers really created some amazing effects with little or no framerate penalty, textures were very good as well. The only area that had issues is still night glass transparency in just being grey or not in reflecting real glass well.
So any payware that did not deliver animated vehicles, good lighting, perfect textured runways and taxiways and great building textures are now the default and required to be considered as payware quality, thankfully very few actually under delivered in these quality areas.

Notable this year was that as these complex highly detailed object sceneries are still going higher in quality, they are also reaching a border line in framerate. Remember that the processing is not just there to deal with the actual scenery, but surrounding the scenery is not only filled with heavy autogen (and usually other airports) but also usually a very heavy complex (payware) aircraft. This is not now the light processing scenery of X-Plane Christmas past, but the really heavy X-Plane processing effort that is required for today’s Christmas present and yes you can buy a computer that can process this lot, but not everyone can afford that upgrading cost on a yearly basis, certainly if you are an Apple devotee in their high cost and lower performance yields.
X-Plane is certainly more efficient (clouds aside) and aircraft developers have certainly done a major effort in scaling back errant frame weight (some like the new FlightFactor Boeing 763ER is amazingly light in performance), so that leaves the Scenery Developers to make sure that not only should the scenery be the best you can provide in objects and high-resolution textures, but take more into account that the scenery has to be highly efficient as well. Many do the works as Aerosoft’s EGLL - Heathrow was excellent for the amount of objects that is in the product, and it shows how far they have come since their EHAM - Schiphol that is still a ram crusher of immense proportions. It is not now that the problem exists, but in the Christmas future and non-efficient scenery will be sidelined which means no sales if users can’t access it.

A final note on scenery in 2015 was the explosion of object libraries are all welcome of course but two things became really annoying. One was the constant updates (some even days apart) that usually crashed the installed scenery and you had to totally redownload the latest library version to get it all to work again, yes we love your enthusiasm and certainly your contribution to the cause, but just package less and more importantly note the new upgrade of the library. Which brings to the second note on object libraries, certainly a cull is needed and place to have them all accessed from one area and listed in categories. Too many now have only a few objects in them, and I would prefer less with better quality objects certainly with aircraft. (OpenSceneryX is sadly now the worst offender for poor resolution aircraft textures)

Aircraft

Freeware Aircraft

It was noticeable this year the growing gap between freeware and payware aircraft, with their full on bangs and whistles even cheap payware aircraft were overall a better download. That is not to say there was no good freeware because there was like Beber’s Rafale C, and the AN225 by rihardstuka. The line though now is a 3-D cockpit… personally if there isn’t one in there now I will pass.
Notable in freeware was ex-payware which was usually old but there was some good stuff if you liked that sort of design or aircraft, highlights of course in this vein was Mr3d’s Zero which is a masterpiece, and the Yak55. One aircraft in all it different versions was the Pilatus PC6 Turbo Porter of which I like to fly around mountainous areas and DDen’s Shavrov Sh-2. Overlooked I think is the Eclipse 400 from XPFR.

Payware Aircraft

It was again a full busy year in 2015 for excellent add-on aircraft, detailing and quality again went up a notch, features abounded as well but mostly notably in the areas of G-Effects and deep menus with full maintenance procedures (we will have to outsource soon. Overall it is the sheer quality of product and range that is available to you now, just think only a few years ago and how we squealed over even the smallest release (bigger than a new Star Wars movie!).

Special feature of the year was the Holy Grail of Shiny Objects and Chrome for X-Plane. Dden brought out an early version for the Challenger 300, but FlightFactor created perfection with the Boeing 767-300ER, that was so realistic you were totally blown away by the detail.

Lightsports

Lightsports or ultralight aircraft were very abundant this year, The Cruz PiperSport from Alabeo was a cool small aircraft and Alabeo threw in the excellent DiamondStar DA40 as well. The Tecnam P2002 from DMAX was a fun machine. The Cirrus SR20 will appear in two categories it is small but “light” enough? We will move that one to the GA section. And finally the double act of the Aquila 210 and A211G that was an impressive debut from PicusX.

General Aviation

No category is more crowded and more competitive than the General Aviation (GA) area (yes even more than Airliners which there are less but far bigger releases), and 2015 was a bumper year in GA releases, all good and all very top quality.

Overall Carenado had a quieter year than they usually do with the full range of their aircraft having an v3.0 upgrade at the start of the year, and another to close the year off with v3.1 (to cover the X-Plane 10.40 upgrade). Most of the main Carenado GA releases are now Alabeo brand releases, but in reality there is nothing to separate them now from the usual Carenado releases of only a few years ago in quality and price. I have noted the PiperSport and DA40, but I really liked (far more than I thought I would) Alabeo’s C404 Titan, a simply great cruiser and a lovely aircraft, and the lovely Alabeo C207 Skywagon was a blast from the past

Carenado’s 2015 focus was on creating a viable advanced Garmin G1000 system and that system debuted on the CT182T Skylane G1000 HD Series in September, it is a complicated self focusing system but it has huge potential. VFlyteAir also released a G1000 system in the Cirrus SR20 Perspective® G1000 which was a very good and interesting machine.

RW Designs Beechcraft Duke was different from the usual GA standard and Aerobask’s ViperJet was really out there in design and speed, but still a GA in everyday use.

The standout GA however came from nowhere in AirfoilLab’s amazing Cessna 172SP Skyhawk. This aircraft shook the establishment to the core, as it was full of clever features and special effects. Not all of them worked mind you out of the box but in the basics as a great trainer it really totally delivered. On a side note it was as already noted the extension of these ideas to SimCoders in their Reality Expansion Packs for the Carenado CT210 and the F33A…  no doubt both AirfoilLab’s and SimCoders will be interesting areas  to watch in 2016.

Helicopters

2015 was a poor year for our rotary right seat pilots, well nothing was released all year after a very productive 2014. Only X-Trident gave us some great updates to their excellent AB412…  otherwise an empty basket, 2016 has to be better.

Classic and Utility Aircraft

RW Designs did a release in February and a nice upgrade in November to their DH6 Twin Otter, a better aircraft than it looks on the surface. Shade Tree Micro Aviation updated their DHC-2T Beaver Turbo and a good clever upgrade that was. STMA also took over Heinz Dzuirowitz’s Beech 18 after his surprising passing in May and updated that classic aircraft in November.

The highlight of releases this year in Classic Aircraft was the excellent SoulMade Simulations  DHC-2 Beaver, and what an exquisite aircraft that was and a really top notch simulation of a great old timer, one of the very best of the year.

Regional Aircraft

Airliners are now THE releases of the year, but they are releasing so many that they needed to be broken into different categories, “Regional” aircraft are so popular that we will note now them apart from the heavy, heavies…

STMA started off the year with the Pilatus PC12/47G update, but hot on its heels was another Pilatus PC12-HD from Carenado. The Carenado PC12’s version’s reception was lukewarm, and that was a bewildering and perplexing train of thought?  The aircraft was one of the best from Carenado in quality, sheer brilliant design (a cockpit to die for) and even a great special effect in a working stick shaker. Later in the year users finally started to warm to the aircraft and that was one of the big head shakers of the year. Dreamfoil Creations then surprised everyone with their release of the amazing EMB-110 Bandeirante. Better known for helicopters this was Dreamfoil Creations doing a fixed-wing aircraft? Well the situation was not what it seemed as it was not created by Conex but Lidimar Santos under the Dreamfoil banner, the surprise was not that the aircraft was coming as it was in the development pages for ages, but how brilliant it actually was when it landed, and how hard it is to fly really well, one of the other standouts of the year.

Airliners

The “Heavy” category in X-Plane is always the battle royal of effects, FMC’s, systems, quality textures and the sheer bloody “mine is better than yours” boasting rights. In effect there was no clear winner in 2016, as three contenders battled it out for the top honours, another in the IXEG Boeing 737 Classic is still in release limbo on this yearly summary posting, but I don’t think it would change the final outcome anyway.

We will cover the smaller contenders first. Peter Hager released the Airbus A319 mid-year, but it didn’t have much of an impact, personally I have flown Peter Hager’s Airbuses more this year than ever and don’t miss the extensive set up time that you need in JARDesign’s Airbus A320neo. It is accessibility more than absolute functionality that wins here, time is short when you need to be in the air and flying a route for a review, and Peter’s Airbus is usually the best way to do that, in saying that a more better set up in the 3-D cockpit would not go astray, and his A380 Series is certainly really feeling its age now.

Two developers that made a big impact on the Airliner scene in 2014, came back a little less green and far more experienced in 2015 was DW Design and X-Crafts. No doubt both these talented developers grew at phenomenal rates to deliver aircraft more mature and far better than both their debut aircraft. DW Design was even more ruthless in re-starting his A330-300 v2 from almost total scratch and delivering a really nice clean aircraft that is far better than it looks on the surface. X-Crafts also totally recreated his original E-195ER to release the smaller E-175 and did not fall into the trap of just merging everything over (keeping the best bits) and making a smaller aircraft from the original E-195ER version which was good anyway. In view the E-175 looks absolutely the same as the E-195ER, but it isn’t and it is a really nice good little aircraft when you spend the flying hours in that aircraft, quality is outstanding and the new FMC is a brave start into the complex and hardest section of all in FMC programming…  both parties have learnt that the developer game is certainly not an easy one, users only see the end results, but it is a very hard game to do from scratch and the learning curve is absolutely straight up vertical, but both have certainly delivered and deserve the plaudits they deserve.

The third of the top honours goes to Rotate’s McDonnell Douglas MD-88. In all honesty it would have never been the aircraft of the year as a first developer release was never going to achieve that, but third is no slouch either given the competition. This is a glorious machine, it provides every area of sensual satisfaction of flying on a computer. Before you start a comments war in “are you really kidding me!” there are here several points to be made.

First the MD-88 is a completely new initiation for the developer and for what it delivers, it is not in the now but in the future that can its real impact be totally accessed. No new developer is going to deliver totally top absolutely pitch perfect product out of the box, as that is not possible anyway (just ask DW Design and X-Crafts on that issue), and to a point as a purchaser you are putting a bit of faith into a developer to deliver the full context of to fulfill the full goal of an aircraft’s full potential. The developers that have achieved this (coming next) are the ones that sit at the top of heap and they deserve to be there.
So that brings us to the next thrown around question of “is the Rotate MD-88 worth $US60?” many (most) say “no” and many say “yes”, I am firmly in the “yes” camp. It is worth the investment, because that is what you are buying is an investment…  and this is certainly not an aircraft for a quick flight around the block and to then announce to the world “this is rubbish” and give another throw of an aircraft into their already discarded list of so called “rubbish” into their broken toybox. I got totally angry at this comment on the X-Plane.Org because it shows the users absolute incompetence and ineptitude in understanding of what simulation flying is really about, and that incompetence can hurt a developers sales through just pure ineptitude of their own flying and assessment skills, in other words they are an “Idiot”.

It took me three days just to basically access the MD-88 and never mind a few clips around the paddock. And still I have not fully accessed the aircraft to its full capabilities (note I did a preview not a review of the MD-88), these aircraft need a long period of accumulation and a deep understanding of their complex systems, just like the real aircraft do in the real world. No doubt at this release point is Rotate’s MD-88 not absolutely perfect, it is far from that point, but it can’t be anyway.
No matter how much beta testing is done, things are very different in the actual open world in X-Plane with thousands of users and three different platforms and computer systems and the sheer amount of work required to deliver that in context. But still many still squawk at the top of their high pitch screams that they want their money back…  The deal is here now on the developer to close the gaps and fill in the blanks, yes the MD-88 is worth US$60, but only after a few updates and changes that in most cases that usually takes about three to six months, and even twelve months is acceptable and then you can ask for your refund. But you won’t do that because the aircraft will be what you wanted in the first place and usually better, that is part and parcel of what simulation is about. And absolutely no doubt some aircraft are total dogs straight out of the box and you have every right to get a refund. But for the pro’s then let them do their job, as it is their reputation that is on the line here. If they don’t deliver or walk away leaving a totally unfinished product then they can’t ask for your investment the next time around, it is a two way deal.

Two of the top releases for 2015 were JARDesigns Airbus A330-243 and FlightFactors Boeing 767-300ER (IXEG’s Boeing 737Classic is still a no show to date, even if it was released right on Christmas it would probably be pushed into 2016 as we will be by then all be drunk around the Christmas Tree anyway).

In reality it is a classic Airbus v Boeing aircraft choice of personal preferences. It is a sliver of margins on which aircraft is better and both deserve the accolades of the sheer complexity and features they both provide and both certainly highlight of the level of skill and complexity that the new heights that X-Plane simulation has achieved.

Both come out of former great products that shows both developers are so willing to push the boundaries and make the next one better and bigger than the last. In JARDesign’s case it was the A320neo that is an airbus aircraft through and through, and in FlightFactor’s case it was a hard step up from their Boeing 757 series that was the best aircraft in X-Plane for two years running. But both developers did push the envelope even way past those already huge successes, and that to a point is why they are both so good. The guys at the top keep on pushing the boundaries and keep on improving even the small stuff, as they say…  “It is not getting to the top, as that part was easy the hard part, it is just staying there”. And not only do they keep improving with new aircraft but also keep your older investments up to date and current with X-Plane that is what you pay for in your US$60 investment at this level.

If pushed I would declare the FlightFactor Boeing 767-300ER the winner by a slice, but it is a draw in reality.

Some developers where very quiet this year. FlyJSim was notably absent, and we miss their excellent aircraft. Khamsin only had his Pacific Island release and Dawson Designs has sorta of slipped off the radar, at least Ddenn is back with the Bombardier Global 6000 in development, but PMDG is still deep in beta testing with its DC-6B (come on guys the water is not that hot over here).

Overall it was a another masterful year in 2015, so busy now and a lot of changes to the better. X-Plane is still growing, still delivering great simulation and giving us a lot of great moments and satisfaction. We all want more out of the simulator…  of course we do, but I see the journey and not the destination of part of why we are all in here together and no doubt again 2016 will deliver even more in great aircraft, scenery and add-ons to keep us more than happy with our deepest love of aircraft and aviation.

This is the last post of the 2015 year and X-PlaneReview’s will be back on the 5th January 2016 with a special review to really kick off 2016 with a blast. And thankfully my computer survived the onslaught better this year without popping off or totally destroying its internals.

I have to thank Joe Charman again for his huge contribution this past year and his contribution to X-Plane, thanks Joe and to all the many people behind the scenes that usually get a frantic email for help and support. The incredible developers that provide me with their amazing work and the valuable information to make these reviews work and happen. I am as always in awe in what they do. Finally to Nicolas Taureau and the backing of the guys of the X-Plane.Org that keeps the site running smoothly (a lot of changes were done this year) and give me great advice and assistance.

To wrap up this review of 2015 and the year, I will now list my Best of the Year 2015:

Best Aircraft (any Category): FlightFactor Boeing 767-300ER and JARDesign A330-243
Not a whisker between them, both great aircraft for X-Plane 2015
Honourable Mention : None (split between the two winners)

Best Regional (new Category) : Embraer EMB -110 Bandeirante by Dreamfoil Creations
Great design and a great aircraft to fly, The EMB-110 really delivered
Honourable Mention : Embraer E175 by X-Crafts
A huge step forward and a lovely flying aircraft

Best Classic Aircraft : SoulMade Simulations DHC-2 Beaver
Just a beautiful aircraft and worthy aircraft of its heritage.
Honourable Mention : DHC-2T Beaver Turbo by Shade Tree Micro Aviation
STMA just keep flying on…

Best General Aviation Aircraft : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs
Moved the line forward in design and ideas.
Honourable Mention : CT210 Centurion II with G1000 avionics by Carenado
Pushing the envelop in avionics, the future.

Best Helicopter : Sadly none
Honourable Mention : AB412 by X-Trident for great updates and features

Best Scenery Payware : EGCC - Manchester by Icarus
EIDW- Dublin was a great debut for Icarus and Manchester was a greater sequel
Honourable Mentions : EGLL - Heathrow by Aerosoft for payware, in a great scenery desperately needed in the X-Plane universe and PilotPlus in EGHI - Southampton and EGGD - Bristol and EGTR - Elstree which was great solid quality scenery.
Best Scenery Freeware :  KSFO, KSAN (San Diego), KLAX, KPHX (Phoenix) and KPDX (Portland International) by MisterX6
All masterpieces, thank god he only does freeware.

Best Plugin : Ground Handling Plus by JARDesign
The potential of Ground Handling Plus is stratospheric, basics are all in there to totally change the look of your ramps.
Honourable Mention : WorldTraffic by Classic Jet Simulations
WT came of age in 2015, amazing plugin when running full throttle…  get with WT in 2016

Best Moment of the year 2015 : Realising that the Rotate MD-88 would actually run on my computer without actually crashing it.

Worst Moment of the Year 2015 : Heinz Dzuirowitz’s passing, one of the great X-Plane originals

Biggest distraction of 2015 : Reloading crashing library scenery and editing poor photo underlay textures.

Person of the Year 2015 : Eugeny Romanov JARDesign
Delivered huge in 2015, a masterpiece aircraft in the A330-243 and a great clever addon in the Ground Handling Plus plugin
Honourable Mentions : Roman Berezin and Daniel Klaue
Roman Berezin and the FlightFactor Group deliver great consistent professional product for X-Plane and Daniel Klaue is the grand wizard who is always helping others and leading us on the way to X-Plane nirvana, like every other year you don’t see what Dan does, but you fly it all the time.

Personal Favourites of 2015 : The X-Trident Bell AB412, Carenado F33A Bonanza, Dreamfoil Embraer EMB -110, Carenado C208B Caravan, Avro RJ100, FlyJSim Boeing 727 Series, JARDesign A330-243, Ddenn Challenger 300 and FlightFactor Boeing 757 and 777 series aircraft (Boeing 767 and MD-88 are too late in the year to be considered for 2015)


So to all the X-Plane flyers, thank you for your constant support for X-Plane Reviews and have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year 2016!… 
…   more to come in 2016!


“ And so a very Merry Xmas, And a happy New Year, Let's hope it's a good one, Without any fear….  War is over, if you want it, War is over, if you want it….   Yeah! Merry Christmas!”

Yearly Review by Stephen Dutton
 
22nd December 2015
 
Copyright©2015: X-PlaneReviews

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Guest ckZA   
Guest ckZA

AirFoilLabs to me walks away as the best aircraft of 2015. I love my 767 and 330. But boy oh boy did the AFL guys flip the switch on GA. I love each one of my Carenado's, but I find it hard to get into now because the C172SP sits there calling me with all the attention to detail and clever programming it has. Just love that plane. More of this train of thought with regards to development in 2016 please.

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WMG    0

  I was so happy to read your comments on the domination by X-P's global airport. There must be some way to code X-P so that whenever it detects a user-designed airport in the Custom Scenery folder, the matching global airport version is suppressed. But if the user-designed airport proves inferior and is removed from the folder, the global version is expressed.

  How would we react if a default aircraft prevented loading of a payware version?

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Great overview Stephen, thanks !

 

I'm more GA for now and I have to say that the Beaver from SMS's Pete is wonderful.

I bought the AirfoilLabs's C172 but if it's good, I prefer the Carenado/REP C210 Combo.

 

Thanks to you for those articles!

 

Christophe, EBBE

 

Just a typo in your rsume: GA honorable mention is the CT206 with G1000 I guess.

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Thanks for the honour of the Best Scenery Payware to our Icarus EGCC Manchester! We, Icarus, will continue our commitment for providing in 2016 even better addons, solely developed for X-Plane!

Marry Christmas and Happy New Year to all X-Plane community! Thanks for your support!

ILIAS TSELIOS - Icarus Team

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