Jump to content
Stephen

Plugin Review : TerrainRadar by DrGluck

Recommended Posts

TerrainRadar_Header.jpg

 

Plugin Review : TerrainRadar by DrGluck

 

In the last few months if you are a bit on the eagle-eyed side, you will notice that the Navigation/Map panel in our reviews on the default Boeing 738 is a little bit different? It is running a plugin called "TerrainRadar" by DrGluck and very good it is as well. Most early adopters used it in the Zibo Mod (Modifications) of the default X-Plane Boeing 738, but it is far more powerful plugin than that and so that requires a closer look at the this great new addition to X-Plane by Denis Antontsev (aka DrGluck) and Sergey Popovichev (aka Vanger)

 

If you have also flown FlightFactor's brilliant Boeing 767, or the later version of their Boeing 757. They both came with a great new feature of the terrain display on their Navigation/Map panels. It was and still is very good and the best terrain feature in X-Plane bar non, but for other aircraft to have this feature as it wasn't an option till this plugin became available and the great thing about it is that it can be adopted to almost any aircraft in X-Plane with either the built in Navigation/Map display or without with a popup window.

 

Terrain radars give you elevation detail of the surrounding landscape on your aircraft's Navigation/Map display. The display will note the elevations in different colours to note the heights of the surrounding mountainous areas. This allows you to navigate or be aware of dangerous high ground and is especially useful in low visual or fog conditions where you can't see or find the areas surrounding you that are masked by this low visibility.

 

Terrain of more than 1,000 feet below the aircraft is coded black. Terrain less than 1,000 feet but more than 100 feet below the aircraft is coded yellow. Terrain less than 100 feet below the aircraft is coded red. Man-made obstacles (e.g., radio towers, power lines, buildings) generally do not appear in a topographical database.

 

Installation

TerrainRadar is free, or Freeware and is available from the  X-Plane.Org site : Terrain radar + Vertical Situation Display 1.7

 

There is a donation button on the download page so please support the developers for their excellent efforts!.

 

Installing is easy, as you just deposit the plugin into your X-Plane/resources/plugins folder. (download is a frisky quick 241kb)

 

Currently the plugin supports internally:

 

  • Boeing 737-800 by Zibo (XP11) -left ND (will be fixed later!)
       - TERR button turns the radar on or off
       - CTR switch in VOR or APP modes: expanded -> center -> expanded -> center with VSD (later Zibo will add MAP CTR mode!)
  • Boeing 737-800 default (XP11) - both ND, TERR buttons supported
  • Boeing 747-400 default (XP11) - both ND, TERR buttons supported
  • Bell 429 by timber61 (X-Plane 10 and X-Plane 11, version 1.0+) - all displays, look at the screenshot to find the TERR button
  • FlightFactor Boeing 777-200LR/200F/200ER/300ER (radar ON/OFF in radar menu or by hot key)
  • JARDesign Airbus A330 (radar ON/OFF in radar menu or by hot key). Note: radar is turned off if the aircraft's standard radar is displayed!
  • Virtavia C-17 Globemaster III (radar ON/OFF in radar menu or by hot key)
  • Gulfstream G-IV SP V11 by ghansen - both ND (radar ON/OFF in radar menu or by hot key)
  • Cirrus SR20 G1000 by vFlyteAir (TerrainRadar Plugin Compatibility Patch is needed!)
  • Bombardier Challenger 300 by ddenn
  • Tu-240/214 by Pilot-Sanya (only for test purposes, because plane is under development)

 

But I am sure that many other developers will quickly install the feature on their aircraft as it is a great addition and the plugin is very easily adopted to most aircraft.

 

Menus

The TerrainRadar menu is accessed via your plugin menu for "Terrain radar"

 

TerrainRadar_Menu 1.jpg

 

And it has four accessible menus in -

 

  • Color Scheme
  • Scanning Speed
  • Brightness
  • Options

 

Show radar window, window size and radar range are currently greyed out for non-use.

 

If your aircraft does not have the intergrated display, then it will be shown in "Windowed Mode" and then the radar window, window size and radar range options are then active.

 

TerrainRadar_Popup 1.jpgTerrainRadar_Popup 2.jpg

 

You can set the window (popup) on a key set to hide/show the window, change the range (below) and show the EGPWS alerts.

 

TerrainRadar_Popup 3.jpgTerrainRadar_Popup 4.jpg

 

A very nice extra feature is the built in aircraft elevation position indicator at the bottom of the window, but the so called large and small sizes of the window doesn't seem to have any change...   the choice to either have the elevation position indicator on or off would be a better option.

 

Color Scheme

There are three options for the color schemes in - Solid Colors - Grain Colors (Boeing style) - Regular Tiles (Airbus Style)

 

TerrainRadar_Menu 2.jpg

 

Clockwise is Solid, Grain and Regular...  and all three can be set without the blue which represents water which is the last image lower left.

 

TerrainRadar_Menu colors - Solid.jpgTerrainRadar_Menu colors - Grain.jpg

TerrainRadar_Menu colors - water.jpgTerrainRadar_Menu colors - Regular.jpg

 

The next two menus cover first the "Scanning speed" with both 1x and 2x scans available...

 

TerrainRadar_Menu scan speed.jpgTerrainRadar_Menu scan Bright.jpg

 

...  and secondly the display brightness from 30% to 100%. I found 90% was the best level, but the brightness does have a habit of resetting itself back to the default 50% and needs to be checked every time you start or reuse the feature on a new flight.

 

Options

There are four options in the option menu, with - Show Water - Peaks Mode - EGPWS Alerts - Range Arcs Options

 

TerrainRadar_Menu Options 1.jpgTerrainRadar_Menu Options 2.jpg

 

Show Water

This option is very handy in showing any water under the aircraft, mostly it is very good in defining a coastline and the line between the land and the sea.

 

TerrainRadar_Water 1.jpgTerrainRadar_Water 2.jpg

 

The display however is limited to the size of the currently loaded X-Plane tile, push the range out high and you will see the tile's straight line square boundaries.

 

But I really like this option, mostly for what I just noted in leaving one coastline and then arriving at another coastline after the over water flying, it is so good, you can actually define the area of the coastline you will be flying over as you arrive.

 

Peaks Mode

As you go higher to your cruise altitude you will lose the effects of the terrain below, so the "Peaks Mode" will still show the terrain elevation even when you fly at altitude.

 

EGPWS Alerts

This setting will tell you if you are too low or are in danger of flying into a rising slope or simply a bigger monster of a mountain.

 

Range Arcs Options

This will show/hide the Range Arcs on your Nav/Map display.

 

TerrainRadar_Range Arcs 1.jpgTerrainRadar_Range Arcs 2.jpg

 

Different aircraft displays with TerrainRadar

 

The default X-Plane Navigation/Map display is actually quite still a basic layout even in X-Plane11, in fact you wouldn't see much change from earlier (or very earlier) X-Plane versions and all the way back to X-Plane9®.

 

vFlyteAir Cirrus SR20

So it is a great advantage to give the display a real different look and certainly the TerrainRadar plugin does a great job in doing that. We will look at the more standard aircraft in a moment but first to see the bigger advantage you can get with this plugin that is set up correctly is with the updated vFlyteAir SR20 which I reviewed quite recently here: Cirrus SR20 G1000 v2.5 by VFlyteAir

 

You do have to download a compatibility patch from vFlyteAir and it is a little complicated to install as you have to replace certain files in a few folders (make sure you backup the aircraft first) but when all completed with the install the results are well worth the effort.

 

The Cirrus has a hybrid version of the G1000 system called the "CirrusPerspective system" and those screens are large.

 

TerrainRadar_SR20.jpgTerrainRadar_SR20_ 1.jpg

 

The TerrainRadar does a really great job with the resolution on such a very large display, but close, close up it is a little out of focus, but that is in the screen display popout mode or if you really want to get picky.

 

But here at Salzberg, Austria, it is very effective. You have the red terrain mode as well, but it is not as detailed.

 

TerrainRadar_SR20_ 3.jpgTerrainRadar_SR20_ 4.jpg

 

Takeoff and fly into the Alps and you can easily pick your way through the peaks to get out of or through the valleys...

 

TerrainRadar_SR20_ 5.jpgTerrainRadar_SR20_ 6.jpg

 

...   it is very impressive, and map rotation is slightly laggard because of the big display, but still far better than most pro screens doing the same complex movement.

 

TerrainRadar_SR20_ 9.jpgTerrainRadar_SR20_ 8.jpg

 

Zoom out the range and you can see the full network of the Alps...

 

TerrainRadar_SR20_ 7.jpg

 

...  so overall it is excellent. The biggest impact is on just how much the TerrainRadar changes the whole perspective of the SR20 panel's display, it makes it far more, in fact much more a complete G1000 system feel and gives you a completely different viewpoint than the original's display set up, so it is a very worthy addition or feature to add into the vFlyteAir Cirrus SR20 at absolutely no extra cost.

 

Boeing 747-800

X-Plane's Boeing 747-800 is another aircraft like the default Boeing 737-800 that the plugin will work in. The B744 is a bit older and more dated in it's layouts and so the plugin is shown on a far more smaller display than in the B738, it is far darker as well and that required the brightness of the plugin to be quite bright.

 

TerrainRadar_B744_ 1.jpgTerrainRadar_B744_ 2.jpg

 

I descended the heavy huge Boeing very low and in real life would have lost my licence by flying big Boeing's this low, but if you don't tell the authorities then it was all in a good cause...

 

TerrainRadar_B744_ 3.jpgTerrainRadar_B744_ 4.jpg

 

Again the this excellent plugin was highly impressive, and still again you are impressed by the way it changes the display's feel and viewpoint from your flying perspective.

 

Bombardier Challenger 300

Ddenn's Challenger 300 gets the internal upgrade treatment as well.

 

TerrainRadar_Challenger 300 4.jpgTerrainRadar_Challenger 300 2.jpg

 

Again the TerrainRadar is a very nice addition in here as well. But the smaller tighter and very cluttered display does make it complex to see everything (or anything). So unless you really need them, then the fixes (waypoints) triangles (left image) need to be removed from the display to give you a better and far clearer terrain perspective (right image).

 

TerrainRadar_Challenger 300 3.jpgTerrainRadar_Challenger 300 5.jpg

 

The "Grain" setting is always the best with these tight displays as both Solid or Regular don't give you as much or any real definition of the surrounding terrain.

 

TerrainRadar_Challenger 300 6.jpg

 

Boeing 737-800

It was the Zibo's Mod of the Boeing 737-800 that highlighted the TerrainRadar's dynamics and potential. The plugin's developers note that it only works on one screen the pilot's in the B738, but I found it works on both the pilot's and co-pilot's displays by pressing the "TERR" button. It is fine on the standard X-Plane version of the B738 as well, so you don't need the Mod in there to use it on that aircraft as well.

 

TerrainRadar_B738_ 1.jpgTerrainRadar_B738_ 2.jpg

 

As with the original features on FlightFactor's Boeing 757 and 767 twin, it is a significant addition to any cockpit display, but there are more adjustments and features like radar range and angle that on those aircraft and it is far more sophisticated in its design. However the TerrainRadar is created to be a far more generalistic tool across more aircraft than the featured FlightFactor design.

 

TerrainRadar_B738_ 3.jpgTerrainRadar_B738_ 4.jpg

 

One thing that is very apparent here with this plugin. If that any developer does intergrate the terrain plugin with a custom fitting into their aircraft the benefits to them and the aircraft is very high. So I would be extremely surprised that the plugin will not start to be quickly intergrated into more aircraft in the future and that list of intergrated displays will soon be quite long and commonplace.

 

Summary

Simple and brilliant...  This Freeware tool brings any cockpit map and navigation display alive and dynamic at the same time. Super easy to install and even use and already it is being used in a far range of aircraft in their displays.

No intergration in the actual aircraft? No problems as you also have a popup window to still use the plugin with the added on aircraft elevation position indicator. It is also very good, but nothing really beats the plugin set up on the navigation display.

 

As noted there will be no doubt we will be seeing this TerrainRadar display tool in many aircraft as it will easily (or should) become a default plugin standard...  But remember to support the developers in making a nice donation, as this is a very worthy addition to X-Plane.

 

Overall a must have and you will smile every time you look at your aircraft displays on how a big difference it makes to the cockpit...  Just brilliant.

 

____________________________________________________

 

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the TerrainRadar Plugin by DrGluck is Available now from the X-Plane.Org here :

 

Terrain radar + Vertical Situation Display 1.7

 

Price is : FREE!

 

There is a donation button on the download page or set below so please support the developers for their efforts

 

Donation link: https://www.paypal.me/drgluck

 

Requirements

  • X-Plane 10 64-bit (XP10 32 will be added in the future)
  • X-Plane 11 64-bit

OS version: Windows, Linux and MacOS

 

Installation :   Download file size is a whopping 241kb (yes kilobytes). With installation of the plugin into your X-Plane Resources/plugins folder.
 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Plugin Review by Stephen Dutton

6th October 2017

Copyright©2017: 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 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.05

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: WorldTraffic 3 US$29.95 :  XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- Boeing 737-800 X-Plane default aircraft with and without ZIBO MOD installed

- Boeing 747-400 X-Plane default aircraft

- Cirrus SR20 G1000 by vFlyteAir (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$29.95

- Challenger 300 by Dden (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$29.95

Logo Header X-PlaneReviews 200px.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×