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Update Review : B 747-8 Inter/8F Anniversary Edition v2.3 by SSG


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SSG_B748-V2.3_Header.jpg 

 

Update Review : B 747-8 Inter/8F Anniversary Edition v2.3 by SSG   

 

They made a promise, not a rare thing with X-Plane developers, but do they usually keep to their statements, most do, but a lot also fall far short of their high ambitions. One in Supercritical Simulations Group promised to deliver one of the most outstanding Boeing 747 simulations for X-Plane, it was at the time a very, very ambitious statement, and sadly it didn't get off to a very good start.

 

Extremely heavy, buggy avionics and crappy FMC, and even some of the modeling and detail work was a bit naff...  the B748 i/F series struggled to find an early audience, oddly again it was the more modern 8i International and 8F freighter, and not the most popular Boeing 747 with the -400 series being the most outstanding version.

 

But that was years ago in 2014, and a things have changed a lot since then...  first the original v1 was patched up and sorted, and ended it's term as a final "Legacy" version, which was not too bad in context...  SSG however soldered on and totally created a new from the ground up v2 B748i in a "Anniversary Edition" and later followed up with the 8F-Freighter version. Again the aircraft has had a considerable amount of development since the v2 release, including a whole new lower passenger deck (Update Review : B 747-8 Inter Anniversary Edition v2.2.1 by SSG ) and the Freighter, of which the Review is here : (Aircraft Update : Boeing 747-8 Series V1.9.2. by SSG).

 

V2.2.1 was however and still is a breakthough version of this SSG B748 aircraft, and even one to rest your laurels on for now, and this was only released back in January 2021, just a few months ago...  but no, SSG still kept on the road of significant development of the B748 aircraft, and here are those changes in another release in v2.3.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Head 0.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Head 1.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Head 2.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Head 3.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Head 4.jpg

 

The biggest change in v2.3 is the one you can't see, but only feel...  framerate improvement. Be careful though in what you want to expect here, framerate is a tricky area in saying what you will get, is not what you actually get, and that for everyone it is different. The biggest issue facing your computer are two things with this SSG B748. One is the sheer size and mass of the aircraft in the simulator, nothing I mean nothing is going to make the footprint of the B747-800 any smaller. You are simply stuck with that settings wise. Secondly is the fact that you can't have this presented sort of extreme detail (Including large internal passenger decks) and a low, low framerate, that again is simply not going to happen.

 

So SSG have done several things here to try to make the aircraft a bit more framerate friendly...  one is at the core with a better efficiency with the Vulkan/Metal engine and even improvements in OpenGL (You still really use that... really?), so the complete external model has been revised and many new uv fixes was made, also there is a complete new set of PBR textures covering it all. They certainly look better, but to note it was extremely good before, so it is in the efficiency that the main gains have been made here.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Head 5.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Head 6.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Head 7.jpg

 

Of course the changes also mean that huge list of add-on liveries created for v2, now don't fit or work either, so they will have to all go back to the drawing board, and boy "They are not happy about that" as noted on the dedicated forum, and with 300 liveries to be fixed, it has got them screaming...  currently only the default supplied liveries now only work. But it is worth the changes.

 

The undercarriage gear has also had details added, again good before...   the updated detail is simply astounding now.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Gear 1.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Gear 2.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Gear 3.jpg

 

The RAT (Ram Air Turbine) now also works, drops down and supplies power to the electrical system when deployed, it is installed inner wing on the right wing (but excuse me for not showing you the RAT in action, I am before a flight, and RATs are notorious to reset to back to normal)

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - RAT 1.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - RAT 2.jpg

 

There are better and Improved particle systems, including added fuel jettisoning and now the feature of potable water draining (The aircraft drops water onto the apron after a flight!)

 

On the Tablet, several things have been done. SSG have improved the fuel load sequence to match real loading behaviour, certainly the fuel loading is now more realistic for a B747, but I would have liked and even more slower refueling option (say real)...  as it is still pretty quick. There is an added cargo light box switches for the Freighter and also added "Cold and Dark" start options on the "Options" page, that will disappear in flight.

 

There are now three Cold and Dark options, in; "Powered and Aligned at Gate", "Not Powered - Normal Cold and Dark" and finally "All switches off".

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Tablet 1.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Tablet 2.jpg

 

There is a built in pushback system, but I still use the BetterPushback tool...  engine start up sequence is excellent, the No 3 Engine issues have now been resolved. Note don't start all engines too early as you already have a heavy aircraft and all that extra thrust to move backwards?

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Push 1.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Push 5.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Push 2.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Push 3.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Push 4.jpg

 

The weight and feel of this B748 is astounding, you feel it the movement and it is a great aircraft to taxi, note the low range airport map where available.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Taxi 1.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Taxi 2.jpg

 

All the external (and internal) lighting which is extensive, has all been fine tuned and customised in v2.3 , and lighting source now quite minute, but highly effective as it is now all excellent.... more later.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Taxi 3.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Taxi 4.jpg

SSG_B748-2.3 - Taxi 5.jpg

 

Several items have been adjusted on the flight instruments... First there is the improved the FD bars to be more accurate during takeoff and prior to autopilot mode connection, (and I noticed better alignment with the flightplan). Second is that there is a better ND terrain display with automatic terrain detection, the look and feel is very different to the earlier terrain display pattern. (note when closing the terrain tool, you have to reset your WXR bands)

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - FMC 3.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - FMC 4.jpg

 

You feel the severe power of all those four General Electric GEnx ("General Electric Next-generation") -2B67B engines, generating 66,500 lbf (296 kN) thrust each as you set the throttle levers to the takeoff position, you move very quickly off the line and are soon at the 162 +10 knots takeoff speed, a slight rotation and you are in a positive climb... To be fair I am not very heavy here at a full 278.7 GW, as the sector distance is only a short 1000nm, but still the feel and control is exceptional.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 1A.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 2A.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 3A.jpg

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 1.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 2.jpg

 

The trick to a great simulation is that the aircraft responds to your inputs, but also so does the switchgear and levers, it is perfect here, then it allows you fly the aircraft that much better, as a heavy, then the SSG Boeing 748 is exceptional in both those areas, it is simply a dream to control and fly.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 3.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 4.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 5.jpg

 

Added has been an altitude range arc (green), this is a target point arc of when you reach the assigned altitude, or you can set the Vertical Speed to achieve a certain altitude at a certain distance marker (or waypoint). Very common for descending (to achieve a target lower altitude), but this is the first one (I think) for climbing, but very useful and welcome.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 4A.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 5A.jpg

 

Several other points. SSG have fixed the error when autopilot changed from FLCH to V/S mode and vice versa, and the aircraft (pointer) in the MAP which will now follow the route line perfectly, it was off usually center when the Navigation Display (ND) range was set at less than 2.5 miles.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 6.jpg

 

You use tricks to get a big aircraft like the Boeing 747 to a high altitude, first a slower speed to get a steeper climb, then faster (first around 290 knts and up to .m75) to climb up at around 1200fpm... again the altitude target arc is a real bonus. Another tool is the improved steps (set at 2000ft per step) here...   as displayed on ND in MAP mode. I usually run /burn off 500nm in a B747 or A380 at a full gross weight, before stepping up to a higher altitude.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 6A.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 7A.jpg

 

Current airliners fly high, not Concorde 55,000ft high, but in the 38,000ft to 40,000ft range, and here we are...

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 7.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 8.jpg

 

...  with a range of 7,730 nmi (14,320 km), then 13 hour flights are not uncommon in the B748, so you need to go to the toilet...  or even have a lie down.

 

In version v2.3 there has been added some comfort for your discomfort...  a toilet on the right side and a crew rest room on the left! Both are nicely detailed, and of course very useful.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 9.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 14.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 10.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 11.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 12.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 13.jpg

 

The internal cabins were a bit bland to keep any framerate growth at bay, but some small touches have been done in v2.3....  mostly in first and business seating, which now have large video screens, and "Exit" signs have also been added, and all the galleys now have food carts, not much, but it all helps in filling in all that beige, and with no extra weight on the framerate either.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 26.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 27.jpg

 

Internal and instrument panel lighting was good, but now even better... There is improved internal lighting and fixed is the CDU and general instrument brightness. Overall I found it excellent, but would have like more control over the rear cockpit lighting (brightness), both the toilet and rest room are lit. It easily passes my landing lighting comfort test, in low overhead lighting with nicely lit instruments and switchgear.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 15.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 16.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 17.jpg

 

External lighting as noted is now also very good in the dark, the smaller focus of the lights are perfect, but the spread is nice and bright.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 18.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 19.jpgSSG_B748-V2.3_Lighting 1.jpgSSG_B748-V2.3_Lighting 2.jpg

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 20.jpg

 

The FMC has also had a large amount of bug fixes and adjustments. Increased the route legs list to 25 page and both RTE 1 and RTE 2 can be used for to add in more waypoints for long routes. A big issue, as for in my last update report in that flying from Singapore (SIN) to Frankfurt (FRA), and I ran out of waypoints and had to edit a lot together to create the full route, but is 25 (up from 20) additions enough...  I am not so sure?

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - FMC 1.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - FMC 2.jpg


There is also Improved Navigation Display (ND) data, but still good in the first instance and improved VNAV and LNAV logic. Fixed a bug that when STAR was changed and the LNAV control was negatively affected, which was not also recognised in some situations, but I was never real;ly affected by that action?

The fixed airways when entering, was also related to the long route inputs when some waypoints would not enter, again annoying, but now fixed. Fixed some STARs that did not appear in the last DEP/ARR pages, again annoying, but again did not relate to me too often.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 21.jpg

 

There is always something new to discover...  I found the "Hold" feature on the FMC, and it has been updated in v2.3. Press the "Hold" button and select (if in the flightplan) the hold choice you want to use, then activate it...  when the aircraft gets to the hold point, it will simply go into the "Hold" routine and loop around the set hold position until you select the "Hold Exit" button. Selected, when the aircraft reaches again on the loop the starting "Hold" waypoint the aircraft will simply resume it's flightplan, you can also set the FMC to go on to the next "Hold Position", it works brilliantly.

 

SSG_B748-V2.3_Hold.jpgSSG_B748-V2.3_Hold 2.jpgSSG_B748-V2.3_Hold 3.jpgSSG_B748-V2.3_Hold 4.jpg

 

Nothing is more exciting (or nervy) than landing a fully loaded Boeing 747, complex and skillful...  it keeps you on your toes to get it right, and then have the huge satisfaction every time you do it right... the throttles if TOGA is pressed, now they will advance from their present position to full thrust, as they should do.... and Improved stability during strong crosswinds on landing is very much appreciated...  thank you very much.

 

SSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 22.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 23.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 24.jpgSSG_B748-2.3 - Flying 25.jpg

 

You have gotta love a huge Boeing 747, and this Supercritical Simulations Group, Boeing 748 in both International and Freighter versions is certainly the biggest and best you can get, more updates and now even better than ever...   so if you want the full B747 experience, then this is certainly it.

________________________

 

Summary

Supercritical Simulations Group started out with the X-Plane Boeing 748 project, like forever ago. Over the years it has been transformed and expanded into quite an aircraft, in both Passenger (International) and Freighter (F) variants, and both in the same package.

 

This is the completely rebuilt v2 package, a total redevelopment of the original package, with the v2 Freighter added last year...  this is also the second serious update this year also, the Jan v2.1.1 update added in the full lower passenger deck (on the International) and a load of bug fixes....  this newer v2.3 version is more focused on reducing the framerate hit, and it comes with (again) totally revised textures and modeling improvements (Old even v2 liveries again don't work with v2.3)... the efforts have been worth it.

 

Other (nice) additions include a toliet (washroom) and a crew rest area, better external and internal lighting and updated terrain display. There is also a full list of fixes and bug repairs to the systems, and again the list is quite comprehensive (v2.3changelog is below), The aircraft uses the Skunkcrafts updater for quick updates and changes directly from the developer.

 

Basically as a simulation the SSG B747-8i and F "Anniversary" aircraft are both quite and very impressive simulations, coming with the huge feature set and it's perfect flying capabilities, yes I would also note it as study grade as well. Certainly the best by far in the only quality Boeing 747 in X-Plane currently, and with the current reduced sale price of only US$48.00 a total bargain to boot as well, but note you do need a quality and powerful computer to run the aircraft...   Absolutely Highly Recommended.

________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Boeing 747-8 Inter v2.3 Anniversary Edition By Supercritical Simulations Group is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Boeing 747- 8 Inter Anniversary Edition

Price is US$48.00 (You Currently Save:$21.00(30%)

 

Features  

EXTERNALS
  • Fuselage closely modeled on the real one with many details.
  • Each door can be opened individually and is very detailed.
  • Almost all parts that can open/move on the aircraft are modeled.
  • Many external details such as a satellite antenna, tail camera (Intercontinental) and various vents, drains, etc.
  • Cut passenger windows with “glass” panes.
  • Vertical and horizontal stabilizers with added details, such as fuel vent (Intercontinental).
  • Detailed nacelles and engines with many details and animations.
  • Detailed landing gear/gear doors with proper animation.
  • Leading and trailing edge flaps, detailed flap mechanisms and proper animations (such as partial retraction of leading edge flaps during reverse thrust).
  • Speedbrakes/spoilers with accurate function and logic for individual panels.
  • Interiors with seats, galleys, lavatory and crew rest, with stairs to lower deck and some animations.
  • Wing flex and nacelle animations.
  • Separate and animated windshield wipers with accurate timing and rate.
  • Functioning Ram Air Turbine (RAT).
  • Pilot figures (can be hidden).
  • Animated Angle of Attack (AOA) vanes.
  • Fans windmill when engines are off.
  • Several blocked windows on the Intercontinental.
  • Various cargo types on Freighter main deck.
  • Visible fuel vapor during fuel jettisoning.
  • Custom external lights design with realistic width, direction and range.
COCKPIT
  • Detailed 3D cockpit with enhanced textures and accurate differences between the Intercontinental and Freighter models.
  • Detailed overhead panel with most buttons/switches modeled and working.
  • Accurate forward panel with most buttons/switches modeled and working.
  • Detailed pedestal with most buttons/switches/handles working.
  • Detailed side panels and window frames.
  • Detailed cockpit seats.
  • Option to set up various panel states from “cold and dark” to “through flight”.
 
SYSTEMS
  • Flight dynamics tested by real 747 pilots and mechanics.
  • Custom brake system with autobrake and antiskid, and hydraulic system dependency.
  • Tailstrike protection.
  • Gear system with sensed tire pressure, wheel temperature and associated advisory messages .
  • Realistic warning/caution system with advisory messages at all 3 message levels with over 120 Messages.
  • Hydraulics with system pressures simulated on all 4 systems plus brakes.
  • Fuel system with opening/closing pump valves.
  • FUEL TANK/ENG logic and warning, as well as fuel imbalance warning, and many others.
  • Engines with fire bottle discharges simulated that empty when used.
  • Fuel dump system.
  • EICAS decluttering function.
  • 3 radio consoles that can be used with any left or right channel COMM 1 / COMM 2 plus custom transponder panel.
  • High resolution displays.
  • Minimum callouts based on radio altimeter or barometric altimeter
  • Display manager like in the real aircraft that shows over 10 synoptic pages in any MFD side and lower EICAS with electronic normal checklist.
  • Lights switch test and dim implemented.
  • Display brightness is controllable.
  • Custom cockpit lights.
  • External sounds (3D localized sounds) using the DreamEngine plugin.
  • Fuel system with accurate tank loading.
  • Detailed EGPWS implementation and displays.
  • Realistic AUTOSTART and RUNNING indicators on engine displays.
  • Realistic air conditioning system and logic.
  • Detailed Navigation Display (ND) with many accurate functions like Airport Map, TCAS and Weather radar (default XP).
  • Clock and chronometer display on ND.
  • Detailed electrical system logic and switching.
  • Realistic baro pressure switch logic (STD, preselected, transition altitude).
  • Inertial Reference System (IRS) implemented with alignment function.
FMC
  • FMCs are modeled closely after the real 747-8 ones with most menus and functions implemented.
  • Captain and First Officer CDUs.
  • RNAV approaches (non-precision) implemented. 
  • FMC FIX page implemented.
  • FMC Route 2 function implemented.
  • FMC Diversion function implemented.
  • Custom navigation data supported by Navigraph and Simbref.
Tablet with extra functions, such as:
  • Realistic fuel loader with FMC fuel prediction.
  • Payload options page.
  • Ground service and door control page.
  • Wheel chocks are selectable.
  • Sound control page.
  • Pushback function that permits joystick control.
  • Cargo main deck light control (Freighter).
 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11

Windows , Mac . (Linux not supported)
4 GB MB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended

Current and Review version : 2.3  (June 23rd 2021)
NOTE: Framerate requires a decent graphic card, minimum of 8gb is RECOMMENDED, so I would also recommend a power machine as standard.
  
Installation : Download is 1.52gb which is unzipped and is inserted in your Heavy Aircraft  folder as: 1.72gb
  
Key authorisation is required. 
 
WebFMC Pro  and  "Ground Handling Deluxe" Plugin by JARDesign is highly recommended with this aircraft.
 
Documentation : includes 
  • SSG License Agreement.txt
  • V2.2.1 Change Log.txt
  • SSGCUSTOMLIST.TXT
  • librain license.txt
  • SSG 747-8 V2 Quick Start Guide.pdf
  • SSG 747-8 V2 FCOM.pdf

 

Changelog v2.3

SSG_B748-changelog v2.3.txt

   _____________________________________________________________________



Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 

28th June 2021

Copyright©2021: 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 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.53

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : Traffic GLobal Plugin - US$52.99 : BetterPushBack - Free : Ground Handling Deluxe Plugin by JARDesign US$14.95 : WebFMC Pro  US$19.99

Scenery or Aircraft

- EDDB - Berlin-Brandenburg V2 XP by Aerosoft  (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$29.99

  

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