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Aircraft Review : CRJ-700 by AD Simulations/Delta Wing


Stephen
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CRJ-700 Header.jpg

 

Aircraft Review : CRJ-700 by AD Simulations/Delta Wing

 

In January 2012, the JRollon CRJ-200 was a landmark release for the X-Plane simulator (X-Plane10). It was a trendsetter aircraft in being the first aircraft in X-Plane with deep systems and a real FMS (Flight Management System) by Philipp Ringler, and was also in using one of the first Plugin SDKs. Tricky to fly, but as a simulation it was years ahead in design, feel, and in bringing the aviation realism to the desktop. 

 

In 2016 the JRollon CRJ-200 also got an exceptional custom sound pack by Blue Sky Star Simulations. This package brought new life into an already old design, and even now I find the aircraft just as fulfilling as it did all those years ago, and amazing is that aircraft will be actually a decade old in just a few months. That aspect alone is exceptional for any aircraft release. A version v2 CRJ-200 was started, but never released by JRollon as Philipp Ringler is not now available to update the original FMS, but never say never.

Comparisons to the Aerosoft CRJ Series is always also going to be a consideration, as that aircraft is highly regarded. Basically we don't cross platform, so the only comparisons is with the only other CRJ in X-Plane and that is the JR CRJ-200.

 

The only area that most simulator flyers proclaimed was that the JRollon design was of the -200 version of the CRJ, it was in fact the most marginal of all the CRJ variants created by Bombardier Aerospace (Which is also very JRollon, as his Jetstream 32 was also a very marginal aviation seller). However in reality everyone always wanted the more longer and the more active airline regional aircraft in the CRJ700, CRJ900, and CRJ1000 series.

 

It has been a long wait, but here is a CRJ-700 series aircraft by AD Simulations. Notable is that the development of this aircraft started under the Supercritical Simulations Group banner (SSG), but a breakup a year ago saw the development teams all take off in all different directions, and probably each with their own different aspects of the development. The work to release is now by only AD Simulations, but notable was that AD Simulations has announced a partnership with “Delta Wing Simulations” to further develop the aircraft, with Delta Wing taking on the systems side of the work that was previously done by SSG.

But the point of view here is in if this aircraft had progressed to release via SSG, that aspect would have certainly been seen as an interesting aircraft as for the SSG development capacity is well known and of high quality in the X-Plane Simulator.

 

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During the early 1990s, Bombardier Aerospace became interested in developing larger variants of the CRJ100/200 series and the associated design work commenced in 1994. The CRJ-X, as the new range was initially designated, sought to compete with larger regional jets such as the Fokker 70/Fokker 100 or the BAe 146 family. The CRJ-X featured a stretched fuselage, a lengthened wing and up-rated General Electric CF34-8C engines while maintaining a common type-rating with the basic CRJ. Leading-edge extensions and high-lift slats improved the wing performance, other aerodynamic changes included an enlarged horizontal tailfin.

 

During September 1998, Bombardier also studied an all-new 90-seat BRJ-X model. The company later shelved it for a less expensive, stretched CRJ-X version, later designated CRJ-900, while the original CRJ-X was designated as the CRJ-700. The CRJ-700 incorporated several CRJ-900 features, such as its revised wing and avionics improvements. The CRJ-700 and CRJ-900 also share a type rating, permitting cross-crew qualification via a three-day course. The Series 700 is limited to 68 passengers.

 

I came to the AD Simulation CRJ-700 directly after reviewing the FlyJSim Q4XP, is that fair? Not really as the Q4XP is a level above almost everything else in X-Plane, and in price. So you have to wind back some of the expectations here, even if they share the same regional airliner category. But even in this lower level and pricing category, the quality promoted here is still very, very good and not far behind it's expensive but higher quality brethren.

 

Note: This review includes the extensive update v1.0.1 (December 20th 2021). Differences are stark between the release version and the update and the changes are noted here. (debatable as always is releasing a product before serious testing and initial refining). This review was originally started under the release version of the CRJ-700, but then held over (at the wishes of the developer) to the updated version, which is something X-PlaneReviews rarely does, but in this case the hold over was warranted.

 

External Detail

First impressions are impressive on the aircraft walk-around. The aircraft is really very nicely modeled, with some really good detail, nose and fuselage shapes are excellent, you are admiring the work significantly here.

 

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The minute detailing is not bad either, the rivets are a bit lo-res, but the construction panels are well visible. The winglets are simply excellent in shape and show off the well done NML normal mapping, or Dot3 bump mapping which is really very good here, note the lovely metal and neat concave riveting. So when you look close you see this impressive depression detail work all over the aircraft.

 

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Odd is the line around the inner wing root fairings? It is squiggly line, not exactly promoting anything, and it stands out, I couldn't find this odd line on any real life CRJ images either.

 

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Exceptional is the wing detail. Wingtip lighting components and metal shroud is really well done, as is the inner landing lights enclosure. Also is the metal leading edge (in different metallic compositions) that looks highly realistic...

 

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...  leading edge extended shows off the internal detailing, which is of course first rate, ditto those long double-slotted hinged barn door flaps that are authentic to the CRJ series.

 

The CRJ Series uses the General Electric CF34-8C turbofans with a power output between 13,790–14,500 lbf (61.3–64.5 kN). The turbofans were a significant highlight on the earlier JR -200 aircraft, they are also very well represented here. Engine pod shape is excellent, and cleanly modeled, with great detail (all the shroud latches and access panels are all represented and highly detailed). Inner pod detail is nice, with great both fan and detailed spinner.

 

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Rear exhaust cones are lovely metallic and also very nicely detailed, and have the nice exhaust gas burns where required. Rear left cargo hatch is situated under the CF34-8C engine. Rear vents and APUs (Auxilary Power Unit) burnt exhaust mottling are again really well done, this detail is just all very good.

 

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There is that Challenger 300 feel to the tail form, as it is the Bombardier's relative and the design is certainly noticeable on the higher sections. Again the design flows are excellent, the tail looks and feels very realistic. Tail leading edge metal shroud is again excellent, and note the placed elevator trim markings on the tail.

 

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Debatable are the cockpit windows...  The tint is extremely dark in this option, overall they just don't look right and are highly noticeable externally. AD Sim have now also given you an optional clear version, but this option now goes too far the other way in the windows being completely clear, the tint just needed to be adjusted a little lighter...

 

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....  windscreen surround detail is excellent (again) in detail, every screw is visible on a nice metal frame...  top marks.

 

The cabin windows also give you a sort of illusion. They look like they have no glass in them, but they are correct and very nice in the right lighting conditions.

 

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Landing gear mains are also exceptional. Highly quality modeled and intricately detailed, with internal bay detail also exceptional. The wheels sit flush (à la Boeing 737) with the fuselage, and a nice detail is the overlapping wheel skirt around the wheel bay(s).

 

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You simply can't fault the gear detail, each piston, link, support and hydraulic line is highly detailed, not the highly visible front-forward positioned hydraulic filter.... exceptional. Wheel rims are also extremely good with nice chrome bolts...  detail, detail.

 

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Nose-gear is just as intricate and detailed, with the internal bay which is just as good...

 

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....  so  it is well worth getting up really close to inspect the excellent detail, you won't fault it either.

 

So externally you don't expect FJS Q4XP's detail and quality, the CRJ is not that high, but not that far below either, and to note you are paying far less and a category below for all this extreme quality...  well worth your money in my eyes.

 

Internal Details

The main front left door is highly detailed, gone are the days of just a fuselage shape with a set of steps built in, nowadays all the construction and detailed door sections are now highly detailed and visible, including the welcome metallic "Bombardier CRJ" fold out plate. The rails can be lowered (or raised) via a key command (and a hotspot) if you wish to park at an airbridge.

 

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The view up into the cabin is excellent, highly realistic. You are instantly aware on boarding that the external quality extends internally, note the really tight and small galley for an aircraft of this size with all of 65 passengers to feed.

 

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It is a two class cabin. With nine (3 rows -3 abreast) business seats and 56 (14 rows - 4 abreast) economy seating...

 

 

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The seating and cabin feel has actually (already) been revised in the update. Originally it was a darkish brown and gave an overall dark feel to cabin...   revised (v1.01) and the brighter lighter tan of the business seats and nice shiny black vinyl of the economy seating is giving you now a far better aspect, and adds in a very luxury feel to the cabin, sidewall and the roof of the cabin are both very well done.

 

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Window side panels are not lit (no sidewall lighting) but the overhead lighting is nicely detailed with centre strip lighting and the large personal twin passenger lights...   originally the window shades were fixed (which I totally hated), but are all now individually animated up or down and also adjustable via a scroll wheel.

 

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There is no rear galley, but behind the central door is a washroom/toilet. One of the biggest changes in the v1.01 update was this rear bathroom (comments abound on why a bathroom is actually more important to a vital systems/performance update?).

 

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Originally just a single central toilet....   the detail has been totally revised in a sort of current X-Plane fad of a restroom "Space Race" on who can create the best onboard amenities...  this CRJ layout is certainly (now) right up there with the very best. Door lock slider works (as does the engaged marker) and the lock in turn, turns on the internal overhead light, very snazzy.

 

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To the right is the full set of amenities....

 

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...  including a nicely animated toilet seat and lowering baby changing table...  press "Flush" (à la Q4XP) and the toilet flushes.

 

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Two other new animations in the update, are that now both the crew seats slide out for takeoff and landing at each end of the cabin.

 

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Overall the cabin is now very nice, and certainly far better after the v1.01 update.

 

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Cockpit

Re-enforced (post 9/11) cockpit door looks formidable. The cockpit entrance way is extremely well detailed, but the cabin lighting and control panels are still blank buttons.

 

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Cockpit is tight or large business jet in size, because basically this aircraft grew out of a business jet design.

 

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It is very nice in the office, but also very dark...  courtesy of those heavily tinted cockpit windows, hence it is also dark and murky looking viewing out of the aircraft as well?

 

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Highlight is the lovely overhead console (not really just a panel).... beautifully crafted and detailed, you have to admire it. The cockpit escape hatch is lovingly detailed as well, but does not open.

 

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To see anything in here you need lights and power... on the OHP upper left. I turn on the APU. It is odd on turning on the APU as the left PWR/FUEL button is not illuminated, but still required to start the APU and show you it's startup state on the MFD (Multi-Functional Display)...  so you press the switch(es) twice or more times in frustration.

 

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Notable are that the airvents and forward spot lights that are animated (moveable), very nice, so you turn on every light you can find.

 

Cockpit quality is of the highest order, everything nicely replicated and feels very CRJish. The pilots seats are nice as well, but the sheepskin covers feel more molded than actually woolly, the seating materials are however really good, as are the lovely wing headrests. The armrests are now also (v1.01) animated, but tricky to use until you understand the lever pressure points, left seat, left armrest still needs some refinement and note the nice chrome seatbelts.

 

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Also animated in the update is that you can now move the seats position backwards and forwards to your preference, via the side seat lever (arrowed), but the wing headrests can intrude into the FOV space full forward if set at the standard 73º. So you set the seat about halfway down the track.

 

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Sit in the pilot's sea and...  BOOM! and you are suddenly very aware of your intimate connection with this aircraft, or rather the CRJ-200 of JRollon environment without all that heavy graphic art.

 

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With it's long rear sidewindows the CRJ always felt more like sportscar than an aircraft, and that feeling with the distant low instrument panel only heightens the awareness. Note the nice window surround molding.

 

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Thick chunky yokes are super nice with built in AP Disconnect and moving checklist counter (both also have Command settings)

 

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Intercom and cable are masterful modeling, but the hotspot to hide the yokes is very hard to find as it is only a small black button on the glareshield (arrowed).

 

Instrument Panels

Lovely instrument panel has the six across Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 avionics suite. The displays are nicely reflective (most current releases are going for the boring matt reflection effect, but you can be set this non-reflective feel if you want to).

But I would rather have this more realistic reflective display. All the display fonts have been monospaced in v.1.01 for a better real-life match as well as rendering and scaling, this is certainly far better as earlier the red fonts would bleed badly, it is more highly readable now.

 

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All six Primary (PFD) and MultiFuctional (MFD) displays pop-out in windows, that can be highly resized for the home cockpit brigades...

 

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The FMS (Flight Management System) is standard Laminar default, hopefully a custom Collins FMS-4200 system will be attempted in the future as installed in the CRJ-700. However both pop-out FMS facias are nicely CRJ replicated and Laminar version is based on the Collins, but not in pure detail. Other central upper panel notes include; LDG Gear (Landing Gear) handle, Anti-Skid, Engine Settings, GRND PROX (Ground Proximity).

 

You can switch displays via the left (or right) reversionary panel; NORM, PFD 1 or EICAS.

 

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PFD (Pirmary Flight Display) has the Speed and Altitude ribbons, with a rate of turn above the Artificial Horizon. There are built in ILS bands and Baro. VRefs which are set to the lower right. Set below is a HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator), with built in Heading, Course, ILS Freq, and VOR1 and VOR 2 bearing indicators with the V/S Vertical Speed indicator set to the right.

 

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Multifunction Display (MFD) is set in HSI Mode as default. This displays Radar mode, Time/Temp, Course display, Selected heading, Course Pointer, Bearing pointers, Bearing Pointer and ILS Lateral/Vertical Deviation scales.

 

The rotary FORMAT knob can be used to select one of the following navigation formats; HSI compass, Navaid sector map, TCAS, FMS present position map, FMS plan map and Weather radar.

 

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A central integrated standby instrument (ISFD) is located between the EICAS (Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System) displays.

 

Left EICAS (ED1) covers the FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control System). Shows are digital dials for N1 (fan Speed), ITT (Interstage Turbine Temperature), N2 (compressor speed), FF (Fuel Flow) and OIL Temp and Pressure... right lower is the GEAR position, SLAT/FLAP position and FUEL QTY (Quantity) in tanks and TOTAL FUEL. The FADEC Caution/Warning alerts are noted top right.

 

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The secondary EICAS (ED2) right is known also as the STATUS page. It covers; Flight control trim indications, Auxiliary power unit (APU) RPM, exhaust gas temperature (EGT) and APU inlet door status, Pressurization data such as cabin altitude, cabin rate of change, cabin pressure differental and landing field elevation, Oxygen system pressure, Brake system temperature and Crew alerting system (CAS) messages in the form of green advisory and white status messages 


There are Aircraft systems synoptic pages selected via the EICAS Control Panel rear of the throttles and covers PRI (Primary Page) - same as the ED1, STAT (Status), ECS (Environmental Control System), HYD (Hydraulics) ELEC (Electrical), FUEL, F/CTL (Flight Controls), A/ICE (Anti-Ice), DOORS and MENU.

 

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Notable is that you use the EICAS Control Panel to (MENU) to move through the actions, with UP/DOWN and SEL options. The CAS alerts cancel selection is here as well.

 

Centre pedestal also covers Radios (note to turn up the brightness manually). Aileron and Rudder Trims, Lighting Panel, YAW Damper, Weather Radar Parking Brake and Cargo Fire selections.

 

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The next two areas are again very JR CRJ-200 familiar, and you will feel very much at home in using them.

 

The OverHead Console is well laid out (top-down ergonomics). ELECTRICAL top left, FIRE, EXT (External Lighting), FUEL, BLEED AIR, APU, ENGINE STARTER(s), HYDRAULIC, CABIN PRESS (Pressure), AIR-CONDITIONING, ANTI-ICE and MISC LTS (Miscellaneous Lights).

 

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Lower front panel includes External - LANDING LTS (Lights), ELT and right NO SMKO/SEAT BELTS and EMER LTS (Emergency Exit Lights).

 

Glareshield has the AFCS (Automatic Flight Control System) which has the basic usual Autopilot control panel set up, with a ½ Bank and FD (Flight Director) options. I am not crazy about the left and right warning light buttons, as they don't have the depth of feel like on the JR CRJ.

 

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Ditto the JR CRJ on each side are the Pilot and Co-Pilot...   N/W Steering, Lighting, Wiper and Reversionary panels, the Digital Electronic Clocks are situated here as well (but don't work than telling the time). Final feature of the cockpit is the window blinds that are both animated. They are extremely tricky to use unless you understand how they work...  basically touching the central fitting moves the blind left or right, and up and down is via the left (UP) and right (DOWN) blind regions. The blind can moved all the way around to the central window position on it's rail.

 

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We will look at the cabin lighting in the air, as the airport lighting is too bright here.

 

Tablet Menu

AD SImulation's Menu system is still currently quite basic, compared to others of late. There is only one tablet (Pilot side), and like the window blinds you can move it left and right along a track for the right position you personally like....  and the tablet can also stow downwards (via the top little stick).

 

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You turn the tablet on via the button hotspot, and if you press the AD Simulations logo you get the window pop-out option.

 

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There are SEVEN icon menu options. The first icon box is the default blank screen and not counted here....  in order; DOOR HANDLING, COCKPIT, PASSENGERS, (ICON not currently active?), FUEL LOAD, SETTINGS and INFO.

 

DOOR HANDLING : There are four doors on the CRJ-700. Passenger Door (front left), Service Door (front right), Cargo Centre Door and the Cargo Aft door.

 

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All door animations are very good, with handle movements...  door detail and the cargo interiors are also excellent. There are key COMMANDs for the doors, but they are buried deep in the key command menus. They are not listed under DOORS?, or even TABLET? but under the crj700/tablet/doors selection, in the second "tablet" selection, and positioned lower down and not in the first selection of "Tablet" commands as that selection only turns the tablet on/off?...   it's a little complicated.

 

COCKPIT : In the cockpit menu you can select to start up "COLD and DARK" or "READY to TAXI" or the aircraft completely shutdown or completely powered up and ready for flight. Missing is the central state of "Turnaround", which remembers the last situation of the aircraft and an aircraft state option I mostly use?

"USE EXTERNAL POWER" places a very nice and connected GPU (Ground Power Unit) outside to the right of the aircraft. (note this COCKPIT menu option was moved in the v1.01 update from the SETTINGS page).

 

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PASSENGERS : You load the amount of passengers via the central slider which is totally impossible to use. Thankfully in v1.01 AD Sim has now given you the option to now input the passenger count directly...  seriously I really hated the slider only idea before and at least this is an improvement if it is still fiddly.

 

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FUEL LOAD : Like loading passengers, the fuel loading is also done with a slider and thankfully now (in v1.01) the direct passenger amount input is also available.

Before it was simply impossible to input your fuel load? (however you can also set it also directly on the X-Plane default WEIGHT, BALANCE and FUEL page, which is recommended here as overall it works better). The full "TOTAL FUEL WEIGHT" is shown lower right of the menu screen.

 

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SETTINGS : As noted the SETTINGS menu page has been completely revised into three new menu selections; GLASSES, SOUNDS and MISC.

 

GLASSES; changes the tint and reflection options for both the cockpit windows and displays.

 

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COCKPIT EXTERNAL GLASSES - changes the window external tint from "Normal" (Clear) to "Tinted" (Dark)

 

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COCKPIT INTERNAL GLASSES - changes the window internal tint from "Normal" (Clear) to "Tinted" (Dark), and the difference is quite significant.

 

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COCKPIT DISPLAYS - Gives you three options of reflections in; No Reflections, Medium Reflections and High Reflections of any of the display surfaces...  shown here is "No" and "High" reflection options on the menu tablet.

 

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SOUNDS and MISC;  The SOUNDS page gives you five sliders covering; EXTERIOR ENGINES, INTERIOR ENGINES, WIND EFFECT, WEATHER & EXT ENV (Environment) and finally Cockpit and Cabin (sounds). The sliders can again be tricky to use and mouse scrolling is the best way of using the sliders, otherwise the settings jump to the wrong choice?

 

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MISC currently only has one setting for FLIGHT MODEL in "FLY BY WIRE" or "SIMULATION"

 

FLY BY WIRE – is the version that makes flight model more computerized (as in real life fly-by-wire systems) and SIMULATION – is the version that emulates real CRJ-700 flight model without any computer alteration.

 

INFO : The menu "Information" page shows you your WEIGHT with Left Wing/Centre/Right Wing Fuel quantity and TOTAL WEIGHT. This will compute your VRefs and STAB TRIM, and you can load these parameters directly into the system. You can also change from Kg to Lbs.

 

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No doubt the Tablet Menu is still a WIP, but now far better than the initial poor release version. Notable is that the many of the menu settings still don't save your settings or asks you to save them, so you have to recheck (mostly the GLASSES settings) every time you start the CRJ Simulation. Overall it is still a very basic menu layout and limited options with no Centre of Gravity numbers or graph charts...

 

Flying the CRJ-700

Familiarity with the JRollon CRJ-200 pays off dividends in flying the -700 variant. Almost all of the switch gear and procedures are very much the same, the biggest difference however between the two aircraft is that the CRJ-200 was basically a one sided pilot focused aircraft, in the CRJ-700 it is available to fly on both sides. But the quirks in here are quite noticeable.

 

Power up... If you are powered battery on only, then only the twin centre EICAS displays are operational, but not the outer PFD/MFD displays. They will only come on later with direct power with the APU running, in a flip. Unlike a lot of newer aircraft lately, the screen power up (and test procedure) is not implemented. But it sorta works.

 

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The nosewheel always starts up at an angle? which is not very realistic. Like a lot of actions in this CRJ they are very manual in nature, that would be an automatic setting in an airliner, again reflecting it's Private Jet heritage. The N/W STRG needs to switched ON (Upper far left console) to straighten the gear out correctly.

 

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I found adjusting the X-Plane; "Weight, Balance, Fuel" menu I could get the correct fuel load inputted (thankfully) rather than using the dreadful slider, but for the Passenger load the only option it was a direct input. All weights are shown on the INFO page.

 

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Although basic...  the original CRJ-200 FMS was very authentic to the aircraft. The default Laminar FMS in here is certainly not, but it is very simple to set up a route and programme. Here our route is EKCH (Copenhagen) to EGLL (Heathrow, London). But note that a few of the arrow buttons (PLAN) buttons are not on the default FMC facia.

 

CRJ-700 Flying 5.jpg

 

Both the No Smoking and Seat Belt signs work individually, but the EMERGENCY (Exit) signs have (still even in v1.01) no AUTO mode, so it is unrealistic to set in ON or OFF, but at least they work correctly in the cabin.

 

CRJ-700 Flying 8.jpgCRJ-700 Flying 9.jpg

 

On pushback...  engine (No.2) startup is simple and duplicates the -200 procedure. FUEL BOOST on, IGNITION-CONT on, BLEED OPEN (ISOL) Valves can be set to MANUAL or AUTO, then press the starter button for either R (Right) or L (Left)...

 

CRJ-700 Flying 10.jpgCRJ-700 Flying 11.jpgCRJ-700 Flying 12.jpgCRJ-700 Flying 15.jpg

 

...  at 20% N2, you flick up the Fuel shutoff lever lower throttle and the CF34-8C turbotjet engine purrs into life. Mirror the start procedure for engine No.1 and your powered up.

 

CRJ-700 Fuel throttles_A_2.jpgCRJ-700 Fuel throttles_A_3.jpg

 

Comments on the "Fuel Shut off" tabs in that they are not very realistic here to use or quite tricky to understand? There is no definite click or action on the gate, and the tabs can be moved up or down at any point of the throttle position unlike on most simulation aircraft it is usually just a one click release. So you click twice to not only induce the fuel, but to get the throttle release action for the second click...  there is a method in the actions, and I sorta understand it, but it feels it needs a more definite tab action to be real world realistic.

 

Engine start up sounds are very good, certainly not even a brush on the custom -200 BSS sounds which are incredible...  but they are pretty aurally good here (so are the cockpit system sounds)...  when started the engines settle down around 23.6% N1. Notable are the thrust effects, more a cloud than exhaust thrust in the original release,  but they are now a far more realistic blur.

 

CRJ-700 Flying 13.jpgCRJ-700 Flying 14.jpg

 

On board APU can be now shutdown via the button next to the APU Start/Stop button, APU running is shown in the lower ED2. Now also the engine IGN and BLEED ISOL (Closed) can be set back to normal. As noted you have set the systems manually. The Reverse thrust has to be set into AUTO mode, and SPOILERS also to AUTO mode.

A note on the BLEED ISOL. The setting stays on all flight no matter the BLEED ISOL position? The developers note to switch the BLEED to MANUAL...  but that does not kill the ISOL warning, but annoyingly adds in another MANUAL BLEED warning?

 

CRJ-700 Flying 16.jpgCRJ-700 Flying 17.jpg

 

External taxi lighting has been changed in the v1.01 update...  standard before it has now a more halogen look and feel, it looks certainly more modern...  but should you have the choice?

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_1.jpg

 

You have to give the throttles a fair movement in their gates on the release version before the thrust kicked in, but in v1.01 the thrust is now readily available...  but the throttles also do flicker badly sometimes in their gates which is distracting. Note the very dark cockpit environment in the full tinted internal setting, but you get used to it.

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_2.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_3.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_4.jpg

 

Using the "Tiller" in taxiing it is a bit sharp or "touchy", but you also get used to it... a more wider slightly (slower) movement would feel more realistic

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff 1.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff 2.jpg

CRJ-700 Takeoff 3.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff 4.jpg

 

So you taxi fast with the throttles at idle and need the consistent braking to control the speed, as there is always too much power at idle, which begs the question has the throttle position active thrust zone been pulled back tooo far? Though CRJ pilot's note they do taxi only on one engine, but here now with both throttles already set at idle, you are still taxiing around at speed...  it is simply too much thrust.

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_6.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_7.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_5.jpg

 

You need to set the trim to 5.8 (STAT Page). Which is quite low in the green zone, if you set it central around 7.8 (as noted in the INFO) the nose will lift early, a reference that needs to changed. Secondly is positioning the SPEED counter on the Speed Ribbon as a pointer to rotate (VFTO 187) or Vr 177+10 (Flap 8º) as I noted earlier, as it is hard to see the small green line Ref Speeds as they are small and distant, so the speed counter is a far better marker to rotate to...

 

Throttles are both pushed to the Takeoff Marker or 90% percent N1, and release the brakes...  sadly or annoyingly the timer counter(s) are not yet working either?

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_8.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_9.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_10.jpg

 

At VR (187 knots) you raise the nose and find a positive climb. Climb rate is 3500 fpm, but on average you will initially do 3000 fpm, reducing down to 2000fpm around 12,000ft...

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_11.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_12.jpg

 

I seriously like watching the gear go up on the CRJ...   nice here.

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_13.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_14.jpg

 

You have to watch the speed closely... get up close to or over 300 knts and the nose will start to porpoise violently? So you have to keep the climb speed around the 250 knts to 260 knts zone to get a clean climb...  which doesn't feel very right to me at all, as the official climb speed is noted at 290 knts. That is not achievable here as it then creates an overspeed zone to cause buffeting?

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_16.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_17.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_18.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_19.jpg

 

Secondly the CRJ does not react to the change of a climb pitch, say down from 2000 fpm to 1200 fpm in increasing the speed, only back at an altitude level does the speed finally climb up to it's normal 0.74-0.78 cruise speed, and even then the change in speed is very slow...  Everyone is complaining that the CRJ is over powered, but the speed changes are odd as well up or down the speed ribbon.

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_21.jpgCRJ-700 Takeoff _A_22.jpg

 

Again I use the SPEED marker (above) to note my final m 0.74 cruise speed.

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_15.jpg

CRJ-700 Flying 23.jpgCRJ-700 Flying 24.jpgCRJ-700 Flying 25.jpgCRJ-700 Flying 26.jpg

 

Maximum CRJ-700 Speed is 0.825 Mach (470 kn, 871 km/h) and the cruise is 0.78 Mach (447 kn, 829 km/h), with a Ceiling of 41,000 ft / 12,479 m....  Range is 1,378 NM / 2,553 km (ER).

 

CRJ-700 Takeoff _A_20.jpg

 

Lighting

On most high quality aircraft released for X-Plane today the lighting is usually very good, and so it is here in the CRJ-700. It looks (in the right lighting conditions) really brilliant with ten (count them) dropdown lights for the side panels and the centre main instrument panel. But be aware on how much of the lighting reflects back on to the windshield...

 

CRJ-700 Lighting 1.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 2.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 4.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 3.jpg

 

...    There are two animated spotlights either side of the OHP Console, they are animated and adjustable...  very nice, but very hard to actually manoeuvre with your mouse (moving left to right is via your scroll). There is also a rear spotlight over the cockpit entrance.

 

Note the very nice two tone adjustable Whiskey Compass centre windshield. The DOME lighting only covers the front section of the cockpit lighting, very nice, but still quite dark for working inflight. If you want a brightly lit cockpit then the each far side LIGHTING panel gives you that per side lighting option and very good it all is.

 

CRJ-700 Lighting 8.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 7.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 5.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 6.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 9.jpg

 

You can easily find that sweet lighting aroma for Takeoff and Landing in dim cockpit conditions. The FLOOD knob rear pedestal controls most of the downlighting, with the side panels and rear pedestal DSPL knobs controlling the display brightness... yes it is all very excellent.

 

CRJ-700 Lighting_A_5.jpg

 

The cabin lighting is currently controlled via a couple of knobs on the rear cockpit bulkhead. CABIN LIGHTS and STAIR LIGHTS. (originally set the wrong way around, that oversight has now been fixed)...

 

CRJ-700 Lighting 10.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 11.jpg

CRJ-700 Lighting 12.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 13.jpg

 

The galley is excellent with sensational bright and modern lighting (note the working EXIT signs). The Galley area lighting does not go low or dark, but just more sombre.

 

CRJ-700 Lighting_A_3.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting_A_4.jpg

 

The cabin is nice as well. There are no window downlights in the CRJ, as here you use the twin spots above every seat, which creates along with the central ceiling strip lighting a really nice internal ambience...

 

CRJ-700 Lighting 14.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 15.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 16.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting_A_2.jpg

 

...  and adjusting the cabin brightness can give you the perfect lighting for a mid-flight snooze or nice low lighting for taking off or landing...  perfect!

 

External Lighting

The CRJs external lighting is very good as well. Nothing is missing here.

 

CRJ-700 Lighting 18.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 19.jpgCRJ-700 Lighting 20.jpg

 

Notable is that the landing lights (again as per the -200) they are wing and nose, with the taxi-lights positioned in the inner wing and not on the nosewheel as per usual (the nosewheel light is a landing light). But everything is nice with the standard Navigation, Beacon and Tail lighting. The Wing lighting is very good as well in lighting up the inner winglets. The CRJ looks nice in the air because of it's subdued cabin lighting, so overall the CRJ looks great in flight in night flying conditions.

 

CRJ-700 Lighting_A_6.jpg

 

London beckons.

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_1.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_2.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_3.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_4.jpg

 

There is a certain skill in holding the correct airspeed. Like with all mostly regional aircraft there is no auto-throttle management to do the work for you. Here you have find that correct throttle position, but to also adjust consistently in flight to compensate for the fuel use or lighter weight. So like a baby you can't leave the speed alone for too long or you will find yourself going too fast, then too slow as you try to recalibrate the thrust. Just a slight nudge down on the throttles now and then in flight will keep the speed on the MACH target and around the set SPEED marker.

 

Regional aircraft tend to not like going down either, it is very easy to get a horrible nose pitch down if you have to descend too quickly. So picking your TOD (Top of Descent) point and a more shallower descent rate (1.6 to 1.8) it feels and looks better, certainly for the paying passengers. There is an "Altitude Marker" (Arrowed) on the MAP/NAV, but it is currently not very reliable (or bounces around too much) to be perfectly accurate, but you can still use it as a basic guide.

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_5.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_6.jpg

 

There is no BARO Sync either, so you have to set your BAROs independently, thankfully it is easy to do.

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_7.jpg

 

The east coast of England, and instantly as usual London is lost in low overcast conditions and visibility is almost zero...

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_8.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_9.jpg

 

Controlling the speed is vital in to getting a good landing. I get the speed down early, and just past LAM (Lambourne 115.6 MHz) I'm already under the 230 knts mark and set the Flaps 20º. If you try for more flap (you need a minimum of 185 knts at 30º) then like on the JR -200 you get a nasty nose down pitch.  

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_10.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_11.jpg

 

Any route into Heathrow on the eastern approach is very hard, as there are very few waypoints to make a decent line into (this case) Rwy 27R. Add into the fact that the default FMS is (crap) at doing detailed approach waypoints (numbered waypoints are not well supported), so you have to know the approach path very well to align up to the runway correctly, thankfully I do know the approach well, so don't rely on the FMS to do a great job here, because it will let you down (A trick is using the BARNS waypoint for 27R, and RICHY waypoint for 27L).

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_12.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_13.jpg

 

Getting the speed down (all the time) is tricky, as even with the throttles at idle, you are still going too fast. You certainly don't dare not raise the nose going into the ILS Cone in for losing the beam track. Thankfully I can work it out and get the CRJ to 120 knts and 45º (Full) flap, which is perfect for the beam's 3000fpm descent into LHR 27R.

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_14.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_15.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_16.jpg

 

Approach views from the cabin are excellent...

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_17.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_21.jpg

 

...  but up front I am still in wanting less speed, the 3º slope has increased the speed slightly, but I have nowhere to go as I am already at throttle idle.

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_18.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_19.jpg

CRJ-700 EGLL_20.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_22.jpg

 

So you arrive at the threshold (if lucky) flat or even slightly nose down in being slightly too fast, thankfully as the slope kicks out the speed drops away (very slowly), and you can do a slight final flare...

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_23.jpg

 

...  if you armed the reversers (You did ARM the reversers didn't you!) as they are very effective, both in slowing you down and in the great ROAR sounds they make, they look really good in operation as well.

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_24.jpgCRJ-700 EGLL_25.jpg

 

"Welcome to London"

 

To be fair though the JRollon -200 was a tricky beast on approach as well. It had a wide gap between the 30º and 45º flap points that could pitch the nose down severely, and so you had to know the very exact speed to be at before doing the flap change, which still gave you a slight nose up, before a nose down situation. Expert flying however could get you around that foible. Here it is too much power at idle and no lower thrust that keeps the speed too high all the time with nowhere for you to go, so here you need more flexibility to fly the aircraft more expertly as the current parameters are too confined. Challenging, but also rewarding if you can get it all right.

 

CRJ-700 EGLL_28.jpg

_______________

Liveries

Already there is a wide selection of liveries to be used with the CRJ-700, as it is a very flexible aircraft. Here are a few now available, and all of great quality they are...  with two in a "House" CRJ700 livery and a AD Simulations livery (default).

 

CRJ-700 Livery AD SIm.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Aegean.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Air Canada Ex.jpgCRJ-700 Livery American Eagle.jpgCRJ-700 Livery CRJ 700 House.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Delta Connect.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Delta Endeavor.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Lufthansa 1.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Lufthansa 2.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Nordica 1.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Nordica 2.jpgCRJ-700 Livery SAS Blue.jpgCRJ-700 Livery SAS Red.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Ryanair.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Flybe.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Skywest.jpgCRJ-700 Livery Spirit.jpg

_____________________

Summary

Most simulator users in X-Plane revere the early JRollon CRJ-200, and for good reason in that the aircraft broke new ground and created a new category for high quality detail and aircraft systems, including the very first authentic FMS system in the X-Plane Simulator.

 

The JR CRJ-200 was brilliant in it's time, and even still holds up today nearly a decade older. But what online pilots really wanted was the larger variants of the CRJ Series in the -700 or the -900 (even the -1000). And we have had to wait almost a decade to get one in the CRJ-700 (CRJ-900 is promised to follow) in a release from AD Simulations now partnered with Delta Wing Simulations, with the earlier dropping of the association with Supercritical Simulations Group from the project late year 2020.

 

Modeling wise this aircraft is absolutely first rate, far better than it's pay grade, and certainly in the quality US$70 marker. The detail is superb, and everything looks and feels very realistic.

 

And you get a load of aircraft for your money. The detail follows on inside the aircraft in the lovely cabin, galley and lately even a snazzy bathroom, and the lighting throughout is excellent. Sounds are also excellent, but certainly not up to par with the CRJ-200 optional BSS custom sound package which is simply sensational (we all hope of the same BSS pack for this -700 version).

 

Cockpit detail is again also sensationally modeled, but not with the extensive animations of the Q4XP, and the CRJ comes with only the standard X-Plane FMS system, but still it is visually modified to look and feel like a custom Collins FMS-4200 system like in the real aircraft. There is also currently no Skunkcrafts Updater or AviTab, but both which have been promised in a future update.

 

Systems wise it is good, but not deep, deep if you get what I mean but on p[ar with the Aerosoft aircraft. But there is a very functional Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 avionics suite that comes with great EICAS ((Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System) and FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control System) availability and access.

 

Notable is that this CRJ-700 review was the first update to v1.01 on which this review is based. I like to review on an aircraft at it's release point, as "What you see is what you get"... but in this case I think (as usual) the aircraft was released too far early as bugs and details are still in areas bountiful and certainly on the performance side... 

The weaknesses are obvious as the AD Simulations CRJ in that it currently feels like overall in being an X-Plane basic performance aircraft, and not a refined CRJ performance aircraft. Delta Wing should cover these aspects and is doing so quickly, but that finesse is certainly not there yet, but getting there real fast, if you know what I mean.

These aspects should have also been covered by a decent beta phase. As the still in-progress menu system, the non-finessed flight dynamics and aircraft's performance and the buggy environment, the CRJ was obviously not ready for such an early public release.

 

I have noted a fair amount of issues and bugs throughout this review. But don't the get the review in the wrong way as any CRJ is very challenging aircraft to fly... Skill is needed and yes the aircraft will test those skills thoroughly, but also getting a complete composed flight is quite easily possible, as noted CRJ isn't yet perfect in the performance aspects. When it is though it will certainly be a very compelling simulation... or when the dynamics match up with the quality design.

 

But long term this CRJ-700 from AD SIm and DW is certainly destined for X-Plane classic status for just in the fact it is so much wanted to fill in those regional flying roles. The Aerosoft CRJs are already highly desirable, but has never oe will be be cross-platform delivered, but now that factor doesn't matter any more as we now have our own and a CRJ.

 

Certainly even currently it is a "Must Have" aircraft and at a sub US$50 price to sweeten the deal, now all there is to do is for the developers to fine tune the aircraft to deliver the built-in potential of the aircraft, and there are certainly a few areas yet here to yet cover to achieve that highly desirable "Classic" status, but that aspect won't hopefully take too long...   we will watch with interest.

_____________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the CRJ-700 by AD Simulations/Delta Wing is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


CRJ-700

Price is US$49.95

 

Features

Systems

  •     Systems are modeled based on real life CRJ-700 aircraft. 5 CRJ real life pilots and few simulator enthusiasts were helping us to develop and make them work just like in real life.
  •     Flight Control Panel knobs support fast scrolling via left mouse button press and hold and precise scrolling via mouse wheel scroll
  •     Mode Control Panel SPEED and other modes simulate the real Autopilot modes on the CRJs. The screens are as close to the real ones as possible.
  • Center Glareshield
  •     All Center Glareshield Knobs and Pushbuttons animated and functional

Displays

  •     Displays are exceptionally crisp and with letters and symbols easily visible
  •     PFD Primary Flight Display is modeled exactly as real life counterpart
  •     MFD Multifunction Display can display following modes
  •     HSI The horizontal situation indicator shows the compass card with overlaid selectable navaids, bearing and course pointers
  •     NAV SECTOR Navigation display with compass card and a background map. The navigation display shows course pointer and deviation bar. VOR bearing and DME distance information is shown
  •     FMS MAP  Flight Management System Map shows the track and waypoints programmed in the CDU (Control Display Unit). FMS MAP shows the aircraft heading.
  •    TCAS Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System investigates the air traffic control transponders of nearby airplanes and identifies and displays potential and predicted collision threats.
  •    FMS PLAN MAP shows programmed waypoints of the route. Shows north at the top of the display. Waypoints can be selected by using UP and DOWN arrows on CDU (Control Display Unit)
  •   RADAR- to be implemented in future versions
  •   EICAS (ENGINE INDICATION AND CREW ALERTING SYSTEM Displays. Following displays can be shown using ECP (EICAS CONTROL PANEL)
  •         PRI
  •         STAT
  •         ECS
  •         HYD
  •         ELEC (AC and DC)
  •         FUEL
  •         F/CTL
  •         A/ICE
  •         DOORS
  •         CAS

PopUp Displays, movable, scalable able to be dragged to multiple monitors

  •     Tablet/EFB
  •     Captain and FO PFD (Primary Flight Display)
  •     Captain and FO MFD (Multi Function Display)
  •     Primary EICAS
  •     Secondary EICAS
  •     Left and Right CDU (Control Display Unit)

Skunks Updater

    To be implemented in the future

Cockpit Lighting

  • There is FULL lighting implemented, FLOOD, INTEGRATED and DISPLAYS with animated knobs and switches. You can adjust the intensity of displays, panels and light in any combination you like. In addition CABIN LIGHTS and STAIR LIGHTS are also adjustable via corresponding switches in the back of the cockpit
  • External Lighting
  • FULL external lighting is available via animated corresponding switches

Tablet/EFB

  •     There is a Tablet and popup Menu WIP

Sounds  FMOD

Custom sounds are implemented using FMOD.

    Engine sounds
    Cockpit sounds: Avionics, Gyro, Relays, Fans (Packs), Controls (Buttons/switches, levers)
    Warning sounds: Take-off
    GPWS (Too Low Terrain, Too Low Gear, Too Low Flaps, Terrain Caution, Bank angle, Sink rate, Don’t-sink, Pull Up)
    Autopilot, Fire, Alerts
    Cabin sounds: Galley, Cooling
    Exterior sounds: Gear Roll/Touch, APU, GPU, Flaps, Hydraulic and Fuel Pumps, Wind drag, Packs
    Weather sounds: Wind, Rain, Thunder, Wind Gust (on the ground only)
    Cabin and Cockpit muffing effect caused by Cockpit Door closed/open

Flight Model

  •   Flight model has been carefully adjusted to match the real life CRJ-700. Real life CRJ-200/700/900 pilots were involved in the process.
  •   Realistic wing flex
  •  Wing Flex has been modelled and adjusted for realistic aircraft behavior

FMS

    FMS and it's Pop Up is customized as far as look but based on the Default X-Plane one.
    Note: Default XP FMC is based on the Collins FMS-4200 and CRJ is using that one, no Honeywell and Thales types.

3D Modeling and Textures

  •     Almost all maps are 4K High Resolution 
  •     Exterior is modeled with all details existing in real aircraft.
  •     Pilots are visible in external views and turn thir heads slightly to ward camera view
  •     Interior modeling has been made paying attention to details in the real life CRJ-700 cockpit.
  •     Cabin and Stairs have adjustable lighting

Unique Package Features

  •    Stairs Rails can be raised and lowered (per customer request)
  •     Cockpit shaders slide and rotate as you need them

VR Compatibly

    Package is VR compatible but future enhancements will be added

 

Requirements
X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 850 MB
Current and Review version: 1.01 (December 20th 2021)
 
Installation
Download of the CRJ-700 is 828Mb and it is installed in your Airliner Folder as a 1.55Gb folder. Activation is via the standard authentication Key. There is no Auto-updater by Skunkcrafts for updates, so currently you have to redownload via the X-Plane.OrgStore.

 

Documents
Provided are two documents Included with the package. A "QuickStart" Manual that covers the aircraft's layouts and systems, and a "Checklist" with Normal Procedures. A version changelog is also provided.
  • CRJ-700 Changelog.txt
  • AD_Sim_CRJ_Checklist.pdf
  • CRJ-700_Quick_Start_Guide.pdf

_____________________

 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

10th January 2022

Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55

Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99

Scenery or Aircraft

- EKCH - FlyTampa Copenhagen XP (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$31.00

EGLL - Airport London-Heathrow by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$29.95

 

(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) All Rights Reserved

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you for the detailed review.
I find the rating very fair and balanced. I can share my impressions in almost all statements.
The developers are making great efforts to ensure that the remaining deficiencies are gradually remedied. That is very much to be commended.

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An aircraft well worth sticking with...  when sorted after a few refining updates it will be a bargain at that $50 price with the features. It will certainly be in my flying fleet.

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