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Aircraft Update Review : Quest Kodiak v1.5 by Thranda

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Aircraft Update Review : Quest Kodiak v1.5 by Thranda

 

The Kodiak is based on the principals of the extremely successful Cessna Caravan 200B, which is a single PT6A-140 868 hp (647 kW) Turboprop short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft with a seating arrangement for nine passengers and two crew. These aircraft are of a niche aircraft but a very important and useful niche, and that is why they are so extremely popular among operators.

 

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The original Kodiak from Thranda (or X-Plane sage Dan Klaue) was a heightened extravaganza of features and ideas, and it came on the crux of the new PBR or "Physically-Based Rendering" era. Then mid-year 2017 came the first major update in v1.4 and with a newly added "Expansion Pack

 

This extension added in extra variants to the aircraft, with a : Passenger (with two types of seating arrangements), Ski's, Floats, and a Cargo.

 

Quest_Kodiak-XP11_Passenger.jpgQuest_Kodiak-XP11_Ski.jpg

Quest_Kodiak-XP11_Float.jpgQuest_Kodiak-XP11_Cargo.jpg

 

It was a brilliant update, and shows the versatility of the Kodiak. My personal preference like with the same variant of the Carenado 208B is the cargo versions. I love to potter from regional to hub or vice-versa with a load in the back and a smile on my face...

 

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...   and with the excellent cargo adjustments available in weight and even the size of the actual boxes or crates on the Kodiak your are in sort of mini-haulers heaven.

 

Kodiak v1.5

The main focus of this new v1.5 version of the Kodiak is based mainly around the features of X-Plane11 and is mainly focused on the changes with the X-Plane11-10 version of the simulator.

 

The original Kodiak had Carenado's in-built Garmin G1000 three panel display system. As G1000's go it was very good as expected coming from the Carenado system. But and here is the big but, in operation it was a little overwrought to use, mostly because of the weight it had built into it and that made it slow to respond and visually slow.

 

So here in v1.5 you now have another G1000 option with the native version from Laminar Research that was introduced with the X-Plane11.10 release. And both versions are included here for your personal preference. You also get four different menu aircraft loading options with both the two x G1000 versions Passenger, Ski and Cargo, and also the two x G1000 versions of the Float aircraft.

 

I flew both G1000 versions to see the differences, first was the older Carenado version to get a reacquaintance with the original setup and then with the newer native G1000 version. There is a full chart provided in the package that covers the features of both G1000 setups, their pluses and minuses, but here I will look at the most obvious differences.

 

Carenado G1000

 

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Laminar Research G1000

 

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The native PFD (Primary Flight Display) of the Laminar version is far darker than the Carenado display, of which I don't really like, the problem is visually is that both are wrong? (I know someone will certainly correct me on this) but the real displays have in reality a mixture of the two approaches. The brown lower ground colouring on the Carenado is too light, but the very dark blue sky area of the native version is too dark? The real displays have a slightly brighter brown and a more brighter blue if looking at the native version. If you took the lower of the native and the upper blue of the Carenado then you would be closer to the medium correction.

 

The touch of the Kodiak startup screen is a nice added visual startup on both systems, so it also means that the native version is not always or has to be a pure native but is adjustable to different aircraft setups. But if you use the replay a lot, then these startup screens stay on during the replay?

 

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A note that neither G1000 system has the Autopilot buttons on any of the G1000 displays, they are however on the pop-up version of the native Laminar system but not on your panel version.

 

Carenado G1000 flying

 

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Remember this Carenado G1000 is even at only a few years in development now feels old. When released it had a lot of features, but in a strange way it feels more now like a native G1000 than the 3rd party system it is.

 

The PFD feels crowded, as it is because of the duplicated engine parameters side panel, and it can't be removed either. There is the three switchable DME/VOR1/2 backgrounds with points on the heading dial, but they are hard to define (at a distance) but the rate of turn indicator is very good. Both speed and altitude ribbons with built in vertical speed are also good as is the radio banner along the top.

 

On the MAP display the Flightplan insertion is basic...  but I haven't add in separate the waypoints either to make it more of a flightplan than other than using a downloaded route. The PROC (Procedures) button is not active either. features Waypoint (WPT), AUX (Flight Planning) and NRST (Nearest) are all supported but basic.

 

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The route is point to point, with no options. Range is restricted (below). the closest in (9268mts) to the wide (50nm) is not that large and very slow in response.

 

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However the biggest issue is when you turn the aircraft around and at the wide MAP setting, it also drags or stutters as the MAP turns...   and then most of the next scenery tile is missing and that is giving you a sea of green of where there should be water. Terrain and TOPO are both supported.

 

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Laminar Research G1000 flying

 

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Quest_Kodiak-LR_G1000_Layout LG.jpg

 

The Kodiak cockpit was always quite dark with all that black trim, so the native darker G1000 layout makes it look even darker again. The missing engine parameters side panel on the PFD makes the screen more open and empty, but it is actually easier to use, the PFD engine parameters panel is not an changeable option either.

 

But there are a lot of PFD options available to fill in the empty space. Insert (MAP), Alerts are the two big switchable panels. Wind and the same three switchable DME/VOR1/2 backgrounds with points on the heading dial are as they are in the Carenado G1000.

 

Quest_Kodiak-LR_G1000_Panel 1.jpgQuest_Kodiak-LR_G1000_Panel 2.jpg

 

Both speed and altitude ribbons with built in vertical speed are also really good with the rate of turn indicator with the darker background actually helping here as is the radio banner along the top.

 

But it is in the MAP display that the differences between the two GPS systems are far more substantial.

 

Flight planning and routing is far easier to create and much more featured here in the native G1000.

 

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The main attraction is the far more options you have in building the route and the better map layout. The PROC (Procedures) button is also available for Arrivals, Approaches and Departures, in other words you now have SID and STAR procedures and even Airways are available as well.

 

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Finally the route can be aligned vertically or horizontally on the display.

 

MAP range is simply sensational...  the range is as low as 500ft to a space view of 800nm, that is not a typo, it is 800nm and half the continent of the USofA is in view.

 

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Notably the MAP can also be used valuably to find your route around the airport, as the airport layout is adjustable and your position also well stated. Only thing you have to be aware of is to activate your route from the runway start position so it aligns correctly from your start roll.

 

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More MAP options include TOPO, Restricted areas and Airways. Waypoint (WPT), AUX (Flight Planning) and NRST (Nearest) are not supported but NRST (Nearest) is available on the PFD. The screen DCLTR (DeClutter) is in three modes is excellent.

 

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MAP rotation is smooth and fast, no lag here or stuttering in either the panel or pop-out modes, all inputs are also lag free in that the system is very efficient in operation and all ranges are visible (no missing tiles). The native version does have the extra feature of System "Fuel" Current and also remain and used quantities (GAL) and can be reset,

 

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Both G1000's are not perfect, the switchable engine parameters side panel on either the PFD or the MAP are either on or off (or missing). the missing AP (Autopilot panel) would be a nice option and then of course is my feelings on the PFD colouring. 

 

You would think that the 3rd party G1000 version would be far, far superior to the usually basic default native X-Plane system, but here that is simply not the case, you do have the choice of either with the Kodiak, but I don't see the Carenado version being available long term and certainly if Laminar add in more features to their version.

 

v1.50 Changes

That reasoning is heightened more so by the fact that the rest of this upgrade is mostly in changes of items to the alignment of the X-Plane native and mostly with the X-Plane11-10 features in the place of the original custom features that was offered before.

 

So let us see what has been tuned. All the sounds are now FMOD and not the custom audio plugin as before, and expect all the Carenado aircraft to follow the same route. The  turbine curves have been calibrated in taking advantage of XP11.10’s new PT6 modelling capabilities as has the entire flight dynamics been refined to match the XP11.10’s new flight physics, the ground handling new ground physics have also been adjusted.

Other v11.10 tuning includes the electrical systems logic to the new electrical model and the aircraft's Water Handling to conform better to the new water physics.

 

The manipulators and click spots have all been changed to be X-plane native and this for the VR (Virtual Reality) introduction and it means the Kodiak will be now ready when the VR features are available in X-Plane.

 

Lighting has had attention with fine tuning to fix light halo artifacts, and the forward edge wing lights now have has better glass detail.

 

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Dan Klaue was always the innovator with the best highest quality textures with the lowest framerate impact. Again the textures have had some nice fine tuning and all exported OBJ files have been re-optimised, to continue even more saving of your FPS.

 

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Finally the SASL plugin which has been updated, and been updated here to v2.51 for all the new features the update provides and that includes in now allowing for the SASL plugin to not be force-reset after a crash. More finer update changes are noted in the changelog below.

 

Summary

Even from it's earliest release the Thranda Quest Kodiak was always ahead of the pack in features and refinements anyway. But the world keeps moving on with new X-Plane features and new upgrades, and so changes to these native foundations are also required to keep the aircraft not only the best right now but also well prepared for changes to X-Plane in the future. The last twelve months have possibly seen the biggest changes that X-Plane has ever been subjected too, with a barrage of the completely new version in X-Plane11, but also the already high number of revisions to X-Plane to currently v11-10 or (11) as it now stands.

 

So this release is fundamentally a reflection of those changes and the more significant alignment with the X-Plane native items and that is for the huge benefits that the new native features bring and that is to be noted not as a backward step, but in a big advancement forward.

 

The highlight is of course the native G1000 GPS system, which is surprisingly far better than the original custom version and far more efficient as well and so that is a very welcome addition to the Kodiak, the older Carenado version is also still available as part of the package if you would rather prefer that version, it is still your choice.

 

The rest of the Kodiak is what you expect...  a lot. There is great features, with four different variants in Passenger, Ski's, Floats, and a Cargo. Great weights and balances options, external static elements and great refined liveries and the custom livery maker is still there as well.

 

So a great update to the Kodiak and now an even more better flying experience... If you like your regional single-prop utility aircraft to be versatile and capable and a great simulator experience then you can't go past the Quest Kodiak.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

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Yes! the Quest Kodiak v1.51 by Thranda (Dan Klaue) is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Quest Kodiak G1000 by Thranda

Price is US$33.95

If you already own the original Quest Kodiak or v1.4 then this update is free, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and upgrade to v1.5


Kodiak Expansion Pack

Price is US$19.95 (currently) with US$5 off!

 

Features Include (v1.5 expansion Pack):

  • AMPHIBIAN VERSION (Floats with Retractable Landing Gear)
  • SKI VERSION (with animated skis that adapt to ground angle and bumpiness)
  • EXECUTIVE INTERIOR (with seats facing each other, and animated slide-out tables). Weight and balance manager graphics adapt to seating configuration.
  • CARGO VERSION (featuring covered windows, flat loading area, and cargo visualization that adapts to the weight set in the weight and balance manager)
  • TUNDRA VERSION (featuring larger balloon tires to tackle any rough terrain. Affects flight dynamics and ground handling)
  • Amphibian version includes control for retractable water rudder, extra aerodynamic surfaces on the tail of the plane, retractable gear, and dynamic paint scheme adapted textures.
  • Several menus in the slide-out window adapt dynamically to the configuration selected by the user.  (E.g. cargo pod is not available for float version)

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Requirements :

X-Plane 11 ONLY and X-Plane v11-10 version is required.
X-Plane 11.10+
Windows, Mac or Linux running in 64bit mode
16Gb RAM -  2Gb VRAM Minimum. 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended
Current version 1.5 (last updated Dec 16th 2017)
The plane comes with an auto-updater. Free auto updates for the life-cycle of X-Plane 11
Windows users: Please ensure that you have all the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables downloaded and installed.
Carenado navigation database installed

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Installation : Base Kodiak Download is 297.00 mb which is unzipped to your X-Plane Fighter folder at 554.30mb (both packages). Key authorisation is required.

Expansion Pack Download is 257.30mb and is installed as noted below...

 

Expansion pack comes with three folders: Into_Liveries, Into_Objects and Into_Quest 

 

INstall.jpg

 

Installation is quite easy in that you just deposit the correct contents in to the same folders (Liveries, Objects and main aircraft root folder) in the basic Kodiak aircraft folder and replacing or adding the same in those folders.

 

When running X-Plane there are two Kodiak aircraft files (.acf) to choose from, with one version for the Passenger, cargo and ski choices and another aircraft (.acf) for the amphibian version.

 

Only the X-Plane11 version has the X-Plane11 features noted in this review.

 

You must have the Carenado navigation database installed (840mb) in your main X-Plane root folder, download from the link.

Documentation : includes...

 

  • Carenado and Laminar G1000 Comparison.pdf
  • Thranda Kodiak Joystick Settings.pdf
  • ChangeLog.rtf
  • Thranda Kodiak Documentation.pdf
  • G1000-X-Plane Kodiak.pdf
  • Thranda Kodiak Credits and Copyright.pdf
  • Thranda Kodiak Graphics Settings XP11.pdf

______________________________________________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

19th December 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 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.11

Addons: Saitek x56 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95

Scenery:

- KEYW - Key West International Airport V1.0 by FletcherJ (X-Plane.Org) Free

- KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.99

 

v1.5 Changelog

  • Added support for Laminar’s native G1000 (Icons and .acf name have a description of which G1000 users have selected to use).
  • Added ability to save various preferences set in the pop-up window (such as weight units, fairings, chocks, etc.
  • Updated SASL to v2.51, which now allows for SASL to not be force-reset after a crash.
  • Added a “Startup Running On/Off” option, which resets the plane immediately to the desired condition, provided the plane is stationary on the ground.
  • Re-authored all audio as FMOD. (Removed previous in-house audio plugin).
  • Removed all instances of degenerate UVs (known colloquially as the “Marching Ants” problem)
  • Calibrated turbine curves, taking advantage of XP11.10’s new PT6 modelling capabilities
  • Re-calibrated entire flight dynamics to match XP11.10’s new flight physics
  • Re-calibrated ground handling, to match XP11.10’s new ground physics
  • Fixed dynamic livery generator to allow for “-“ characters in aircraft registration
  • Fine-tuned PBR materials inside and out
  • Fixed landing light covers transparency and PBR
  • Re-authored all click spots to be X-plane native (in anticipation of VR support). Previous Thranda-based scroll wheel implementation will not be supported in VR, so it had to be revamped.
  • Added X-Plane-native checklist file (which Laminar says will be the basis for future G1000-integrated checklist capability)
  • Adapted electrical systems logic to new v11.10 electrical model
  • Assigned different sound events to various sliders in the “Audio/Slew” tab of the pop-up window.
  • Reworked all SASL-based panel elements to do a single-pass graphics draw, as opposed to multi-pass, to reduce load on GPU.
  • Re-optimized all exported OBJ files, to continue saving FPS
  • Calibrated oxygen system to allow for about 5 hours of oxygen
  • Updated Water Handling to conform better to XP11.10’s new water physics.
  • Fixed light halo artifacts.
  • Fixed firewall smoke handle direction

 

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