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Aircraft Plugin Review : REP for Default B58 Baron by SimCoders

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Baron_58_REP_Header.jpg

 

Aircraft Plugin Review : REP for Default B58 Baron by SimCoders

 

Laminar Research provide with the X-Plane simulator a variety of aircraft from heavy jets (B737/B748/MD-80), Gliders (ASK21/Aerolite 103), Fighter (McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom) and General Aviation aircraft such as the Cessna 172SP, KingAir C90B and the Baron B58. 

 

The aircraft are very good with a lot of features, but are mostly basic compared to the high-quality payware aircraft. So this leaves the door open for 3rd Parties to develop plugins to enhance the basic setup to add in something more realistic to make these already very good aircraft more realistic.

 

And this is where SimCoders comes in. They design REP or Reality Expansion Packs to enhance the aircraft in various ways and to give the aircraft a more of the realism effect that you would get with a real world aircraft. But you would first say "I already have a REP pack for the B58 Baron?" and that is correct, but not for this Laminar Research B58 Baron, but for the Carenado B58 version of the aircraft.

 

But first let us look quickly at the donor aircraft from Laminar Research.

 

Baron_58_REP_Head 1.jpgBaron_58_REP_Head 2.jpgBaron_58_REP_Head 3.jpgBaron_58_REP_Head 4.jpg

 

The aircraft is actually very good as Laminar Research use these default aircraft to show off the simulator and even use them as test aircraft for various new effects or features. They are well detailed and fly very well, but there is a basic feel to them compared to most payware addon aircraft, but again they are free (with the simulator) after all.

 

The instrument panel makes high use of the instruments provided by PlaneMaker, the aircraft builder application that also comes with X-Plane and the internal design is again very good, but you can see the a lot of the basic 3d design if you dissect the aircraft into its separate design components...

 

Baron_58_REP_Cockpit 1.jpgBaron_58_REP_Cockpit 2.jpgBaron_58_REP_Cockpit 3.jpgBaron_58_REP_Cockpit 4.jpg

 

...   but the aircraft do come with the default features of FMOD sound, opening doors and good avionics. You can hide the excellent yokes as well and the cabin is nicely fitted out. So overall you won't be disappointed even by this basic aircraft as it does everything you expect it to and the B58 Baron Twin also flies very well.

 

Baron_58_REP_Head 5.jpg

 

SimCoders REP - Reality Expansion Packs

The idea of these packs are to bring a bit more of the everyday running of a GA light aircraft to life. Basically if you have used one REP pack then they are all the same with just the aircraft they are attached to different.

 

The REP package is installed in the aircraft's folder in the Plugins folder (not the X-Plane/resources/plugin folder). I recommend to duplicate the original aircraft folder to keep both aircraft active and rename the new folder "Baron B58_REP"

 

Baron_58_REP_Set Up plugin.jpg

 

The REP plugin does however still show in the main X-Plane/Plugin menu when you drop it down from the header bar...  and asks you to "Enable Package".

 

Baron_58_REP_Set Up 1.jpgBaron_58_REP_Set Up 2.jpg

 

This "Enable" is really an authorisation process and the licence key provided with your download is inserted into the pop-up panel and you then activate (internet connection is required) the plugin via the "Ok" key.

 

When verified then the pop-up panel will note for you top reload the aircraft. I will always note to do a complete desktop start of X-Plane in these sort of aircraft restarts, this makes sure the full systems are reloaded (inline) correctly.

 

Baron_58_REP_Set Up 3.jpgBaron_58_REP_Set Up 4.jpg

 

When activated the REP menu then changes to a different menu format and you now have three separate items in:

 

  • Settings
  • Disable Package
  • About

 

I am going to note these menu options in reverse order: "About" is your REP version number and copyright and that SimCoders really love what they do!

 

 

Baron_58_REP_Menu 1.jpgBaron_58_REP_Menu 2.jpg

 

The "Disable Package" option allows you to uninstall the REP package on the B58.

 

With the REP active there are three areas now available. An information banner across the top of your screen and a set of menu tabs on your left.

 

The other item is the pop-up panel for the REP "Settings"

 

Baron_58_REP_Set Up 5 LG.jpg

 

There has been a lot of changes since the earlier REP packages and this shows here in the settings menu which is different from the earlier version but easier to use. In the earlier settings panel there was only six settings were as now there are twelve settings (up from six*) that you can choose from:

 

  • Enable the plane damages*
  • Show Failure messages*
  • Show tips
  • Enable Mouse gestures*
  • Show side menu on mouse hover only
  • Save and restore aircraft status between (flying) sessions*
  • Enable VR Support (Experimental: May scare the hell out of your cat)
  • Enable hypoxia effect*
  • Roll axis drives ground steering
  • Use US Customary* (originally noted as "use imperial or metric units")

Advanced Settings

  • Enable realistic engine differences
  • Enable engine monitor

 

This newer settings option panel does eliminate a lot of the original annoyances in the fact you couldn't turn items off like the "tips" and other pop up notices that were constantly annoying in the top banner as you flew.

 

Tab Menu

There are six tabs to use on the left side of your screen, you can have then slightly present, or hide them completely with the settings option. And they are in order:

 

  • Kneeboard
  • Mass & Balance
  • Walkaround
  • Tow
  • Maintenance Report
  • Automatic Engine Start

 

Kneeboard

The "Kneeboard" has three pages of references: Normal Operations, Emergency Procedures and (Speed v) References. The kneeboard pop-up does have a quirk in annoyingly popping up all the time when you press a tab on other menu items, once or twice is fine, but then it gets constantly annoying coming up in your face.

 

Baron_58_REP_Kneeboard 1.jpgBaron_58_REP_Kneeboard 2.jpg

 

Mass & Balance

The aircraft setup menu is very good. You have "Load Stations" for pilot & passenger weights, baggage weights and fuel weight (Fill) and all the settings are reflected on a graph of Mass and C.G. (Centre of Gravity). in the settings menu  "Use US Customary" allows you to switch between lbs (left) and kgs (right).

 

Baron_58_M&B 1.jpgBaron_58_M&B 2.jpg

 

Loading the aircraft is quite easy with the panel filled in, when done you just press the "Apply" button to lock the settings in. You get a "Landing C.G. prediction in flight time and fuel flow and an aircraft summary of your weights in Empty, Payload, Fuel, Takeoff, Minimum Takeoff and Takeoff Centre of Gravity arm (which I think is runway length aim?)

 

Baron_58_M&B 3.jpgBaron_58_M&B 4.jpg

 

"Fill Tanks" will fill both fuel tanks to full, but here with the full tanks it puts me over the weight limits and hence the warning.

 

Walkaround

The "Walkaround" feature is very good and to a point the heart of the REP package. There are actually two walkaround modes...  one for "Lights Check" and one for "Pre-Flight".

 

Baron_58_Walkaround 1.jpgBaron_58_Walkaround 2.jpg

 

You can toggle all the light switches on or off by pressing the "Toggle Lights" tab and then use the "next" to go around the aircraft to check the aircraft's lighting with the tail beacon, both leading edge (navigation/strobe), both Landing lights and front wheel strut taxi light.

 

Baron_58_Walkaround 3.jpgBaron_58_Walkaround 4.jpg

 

"Pre-Flight" is the main Walkaround of the aircraft. In reality it is same feature here of all the REP packages from the start, but it is very good.

 

You start inside with checks to the (yoke) Control Lock, Parking Brake, (power) All Switches and trim tab (set). Then you move externally around the aircraft via the same (Next) tab and can go back to the previous check point by pressing the "Previous" tab.

 

Baron_58_Walkaround.jpgBaron_58_Walkaround 5.jpg

 

Some points are cleverly animated in that by pressing the tab you can move (or test) the rear tailplane and rudder...  the same can be done with the ailerons and flap flight control surfaces.

 

Baron_58_Walkaround 6.jpgBaron_58_Walkaround 7.jpg

 

Static elements can be added or removed like with both wing and tail tiedowns, chocks and pitot covers as you move around the aircraft.

 

Baron_58_Walkaround 8.jpgBaron_58_Walkaround 14.jpg

 

But there is slight odd anomaly here with the static elements? If you load the REP B58 Baron with engines running the chocks are still in place? And too remove them you then have to shutdown the aircraft, then do the full walkaround to the chocks, and then restart the engines to fly? There should be a tickbox in the settings to add All static elements or Remove all Static elements.

 

Baron_58_Walkaround 9.jpgBaron_58_Walkaround 10.jpg

 

There are display gauges on the walkaround to note Tire Wear, Oil quantity and condition (the lighter the oil colour the better the oil is)...

 

Baron_58_Walkaround 11.jpgBaron_58_Walkaround 15.jpg

 

...  Fuel Contamination (again the lighter the better) and pitot probe temperature. Static elements cover all probes and engine inlets.

 

Baron_58_Walkaround 13.jpgBaron_58_Walkaround 12.jpg

 

It is a very good Walkaround system, and the walkaround works in with the later tab of "Maintenance Report".

 

Tow

The "Tow" feature is quite basic but works really well. Selecting "Tow" will put you on the front of the aircraft and then you use your joystick to move the aircraft in forwards, backwards and left and right.

 

Baron_58_Tow 1.jpgBaron_58_Tow 2.jpg

 

Maintenance Report

Like the Walkaround you can maintain the B58 Baron with this feature...  if areas need like changing like the Tyres, Oil, Oil Pump, Spark Plugs, Fuel Filter, Starter (motors) and even the condition of your engine's Compression is noted. Areas that need attention are noted in RED and a click will do the job.

 

Baron_58_REP_Maintenance 1.jpgBaron_58_REP_Maintenance 2.jpg

Baron_58_REP_Maintenance 3.jpgBaron_58_REP_Maintenance 7.jpg

 

There are five pages in the report, but on some pages like page 3 there are other options like a Fan for Pre-Heating the engines before flight in a kit known as the "Engine Preheater and Winterization Kit" that also includes...

 

Baron_58_REP_Maintenance 8.jpgBaron_58_REP_Maintenance 4.jpg

 

...    the choice of fitting Cowl Fairings within the engine cowls.

 

Baron_58_REP_Maintenance 6.jpgBaron_58_REP_Maintenance 5.jpg

 

So it is a pretty comprehensive report and gives you high access to the aircraft's functionality.

 

Automatic Engine Start

One of the most annoying actions in the original REP packages was starting the engines. There is realism and there is also the "drive you up the wall factor" and starting the engine in a REP pack was certainly in the latter category. But here we now have an automatic engine start feature, and it goes through the process of starting both the B58's Continental IO-550-C engines and tells you via the banner bar on what in the process is happening.

 

Baron_58_REP_Start 1.jpgBaron_58_REP_Start 2.jpg

 

It works very well and handy to note the sequence starting procedure for each engine. I will note it however didn't like the way I had my throttle settings in that instead of each throttle for engine one and two, I had it set as one throttle lever for both twin engines and the other throttle lever for both engine conditions in like I use this set up with flying single engine aircraft...  that arrangement confused the REP and both engines started very differently and wouldn't link together cleanly and I couldn't get the prop sync to lock, once I switched back to an engine to each throttle lever the problem went away.

 

The effects of Vapor Lock Simulation and Fuel Flooding simulations are still there for your amusement (or frustration) and if you go too far in mis-treating your Baron then the engine parts can be damaged if not managed correctly.

 

You do get a the "Engine Monitor" that shows your engine's condition in the banner on the top of your screen (It noted the engine power output differences when the engines would not sync together)

 

Baron_58_REP_Tips 3.jpgBaron_58_REP_Tips 2.jpg

 

And when they did after the throttle changes (above right)...

 

Baron_58_REP_Tips 2.jpg

 

Realism 101

It is just not the external aspects of the B58 Baron that are effected, but also so are the dynamics...   There is also in the package Realistic taxi behavior, Realistic stall speeds & behaviors, Realistic climb speeds, Realistic cruise speeds and better flying characteristics with the more (set) Realistic Weight & Balance. The stall behavior will also activate a stall warning for the aircraft.

 

Baron_58_REP_Flying 1.jpgBaron_58_REP_Flying 2.jpg

 

And you can set (or choose not to) the realistic differencies between the engines and the different throttle/propeller/mixture settings required for each engine and also the different CHTs and oil temperatures between the engines.

 

Sounds in the earlier REP Packages were an advantage, but that feel is slightly null now as  Laminar Research now uses the excellent FMOD 180º sound effects to well "great effect", but here are a few sound effects that still add in a few more extra aural specialities like engine clicks and stutters and engine humming sounds when the engines are not synchronized, and staring up the REP gives you a far more better starter sound.

 

Baron_58_REP_Flying 3 LG.jpg

 

Ditto the featured fuselage wind, landing gear wind and Independent touch down sounds that is used with the SimCoders "Headshaker Plugin", as these again were a great early set of features. But most users now have or use the XPRealistic Plugin that does the same thing but also better and more effectively. But that is not saying it is not a good set of features because they still add in a better dimension to otherwise what is a basic aircraft.

 

Baron_58_REP_Flying 4.jpgBaron_58_REP_Flying 5.jpg

 

You get realistic gyro wander (or drift) and real HSI behavior and the fuel consumption that is more accurate than the default aircraft's performance that also includes flap drag and wind calculations.

 

If you are hard on your aircraft then the REP won't be kind to you? damages are and can be triggered by the pilot actions or poor piloting skills which is based on real world data and can target every system in the aircraft and this is all meant to teach you how to correctly manage the aircraft.

 

Baron_58_REP_Flying 6.jpgBaron_58_REP_Flying 7.jpg

 

This goes for especially for hard landings, because if you hit the ground too hard and then landing gear can be damaged by hard landings and overspeed operations, the brakes and tires can also be damaged if not managed correctly and you will get the above Maintenance Report to show you your poor piloting actions.

 

Baron_58_REP_Flying 8 LG.jpg

 

Even when your flying day is over the REP will still be working on items like if you leave the power on then the battery will discharge unless you turn it off and that is even if you leave it switched on and close X-Plane? Start X-Plane up again and you will have a dead battery to contend with.

 

Baron_58_REP_Flying 9.jpgBaron_58_REP_Flying 10.jpg

 

And that is with also all your current persistent aircraft wear and tear is recorded and every single switch and lever position is restored when you reload the aircraft as is the the engine and oil temperature which are also restored basing on the time passed. In other words the aircraft is in exactly the same condition (or worse) when you come back to the aircraft for another flight and you certainly don't get a newly set aircraft to fly in, and overtime those hours and the wear and tear will add up in the Maintenance Report and will require attention.

 

Summary

What the Simcoder's REP or Reality Expansion Pack does is take a standard aircraft and lets face it the Laminar Research B58 Baron is about as basic an aircraft you can get and Supercharges it and gives it a load of features and actions that makes it more in the payware zone than the default aircraft that comes with the simulator.

 

And the REP does a really good job in this case with the B58 Baron and it covers a huge multitude of areas in performance, wear and tear, damages to the aircraft and fluid use. The effects on your systems are also covered in every aircraft area from the electrical systems, Oxygen and mechanical wear and tear on wheels and tires, overall the system coverage is quite extensive and you will need to look after and maintain the aircraft to a certain standard if you want to fly it regularly just like well really a "real" aircraft.

 

The REP has come a long way as well since the earlier versions that were just a little too invasive and made the aircraft just a little too realistic in that it got in the way of actually flying it. The better menu management really helps here now as does the "auto" engine start up that helps in simply starting the engines.

 

An area that still needs attention is in either the cold start or hot start? You need more control over setting "all" static elements in either all on or all off positions, and shutting down the aircraft to simply restart it again just to hide the odd pitot cover or wheel chock is silly? As is when closing with up a simple shutdown (of everything) is also required in not to say drain your battery.

 

This REP package is certainly very comprehensive and it goes a long, long way in bringing the quite basic default B58 Baron to life and with far more features and actions than what the aircraft actually has when it comes with the X-Plane simulator. I wasn't a big fan of the earlier REP packages, but this one here is now actually very good on the Baron, and Simcoders have made the REP's more user friendly and not as invasive as their earlier packs. 

 

So if you like an immersive and realistic feel of running of your B58 Baron, and yes this package does go very deep, then you love this plugin. The REP-Reality Expansion Pack is better than ever and lifts a pretty standard aircraft into a more far complex and detailed aircraft for you to intergrate with...

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the SimCoders Reality Expansion Pack for default B58 Baron is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

b58_SC logo.jpg

 

Reality Expansion Pack for default B58 Baron

 

Price is US$19.99

 

The Default B58 Baron comes with the X-Plane11 Simulator, no other costs are required

 

Features:

Ultra Realistic Flight & Ground Dynamics

  • Realistic stall speeds & behavior
  • Realistic climb speeds
  • Realistic cruise speeds
  • Realistic Weight & Balance
  • Realistic taxi behavior

Complex Damages System

  • Triggered by the pilot actions
  • Based on real world data
  • Target every system in the aircraft
  • Meant to teach you how to correctly manage an airplane
Simulation state saving
  • Persistent wear and tear
  • Every single switch and lever position is restored when you reload the aircraft
  • The battery may discharge if you leave it on and then close X-Plane
  • When X-Plane is launched, the engine and oil temperature are restored basing on the time passed

Realistic IO-550-c Engine Simulation

  • Engine monitor
  • Automatic startup procedure
  • Realistic propeller animations as never seen before on X-Plane
  • Realistic differencies between the engines
    • Different throttle/propeller/mixture setting required for each engine
    • Different CHTs and oil temperatures
  • Realistic engines synchronization
  • Custom propeller governor
  • Correct fuel consuption
  • Cowl Flaps Drag

Oil System:

  • Realistic oil viscosity
  • Interchangeable oil type
  • Oil pump failures
  • Realistic oil filter

Injection Fuel System:

  • Realistic fuel pump behavior
  • Realistic fuel filter
  • Interchangeable spark plugs: default or fine-wire
  • Spark plugs fouling
  • Realistic Lean of Peak and Rich of Peak operations

Starter

  • Realistic startup procedure
  • Realistic engine temperatures
  • Vapor Lock Simulation
  • Fuel Flooding simulation
  • The engine parts are damaged if not managed correctly

Engine Preheater and Winterization Kit

  • The engine may be warmed up upn start with the provided electrical heater
  • Once activated, the electrical heater runs even when you close the simulator
  • A winterization kit let the airplane to operate at very cold temperatures

Realistic Landing Gear

  • The landing gear is damaged by hard landings and overspeed operations
  • The brakes and tires are damaged if not managed correctly

Electrical & Avionics System

  • Realistic Battery
  • The avionics are damaged if on when the engine starts/shuts down

Learn with the in-flight tips

  • A non invasive tip with a suggestion about the conduct of the flight is shown when you are not flying the airplane properly
  • A non invasive tip with a suggestion on how to recover the problem is shown when you damage the airplane
New in v3+
  • Custom stall warning horn
  • Gyro drift simulation

Simulation of Hypoxia

  • Tunnel Vision
  • Hard Breathing

Stunning sounds

  • 3D sounds (custom FMOD-like sound engine)
  • Realistic engine clicks and stutters
  • Realistic engine humming sounds when the engines are not synchronized
    • Real starter sound
  • Fuselage wind sound
  • Landing gear wind
  • Independent touch down sounds
  • Real avionics sound
  • Realistic open window wind sound

Interactive Walkaround

  • Cockpit checks
  • Aileron, rudder, elevator and flaps check
  • Tire check and choks removal
  • Tie-down removal
  • Pitot tube check
  • Engine cowl check
  • Fuel quantity check
  • Oil quantity and quality check
  • Lights check
  • Postflight walkaround

Interactive towing

  • Push, pull and steer using the joystick
  • Towbar simulation

Weight & Balance Tool

  • Load the airplane and check the C.G. and weight limits at takeoff and landing
  • The airplane behavior changes when the C.G. moves

Popup Kneeboard

  • Complete normal operations checklist
  • Complete emergency operations checklist
  • Complete reference tables (speed, fuel consumption etc.)
  • May be shown/hidden with mouse gestures

Maintenance Hangar

  • Engine maintenance tab
  • Electrical systems maintenance tab
  • Oxygen system tab
  • Landing gear, brakes & tires tab

HeadShake Integration

  • REP drives HeadShake to simulate the correct vibrations of the Continental IO-550-C engine
Avionics 
  • Realistic gyro wander and HSI behavior

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Requirements :

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
Designed for the default B58 included in X-Plane 11. No Third Party Aircraft Required. Does not work with other B58s.
Current version: 3.4 (March 28th 2018)
PS: Customers who own the REP 58 Carenado can get this REP B58 LR for 60% off. Please find the coupon code in your Original REP B58 invoice at the store.

______________________________________________________________________

 

Installation : Download is 23mb which is unzipped and is inserted to the Aircraft/ Laminar Research B58 Baron "Plugins" folder. Key authorisation is required.

Documentation : includes

 

  • changelog.pdf
  • REP-b58-checklists-references.pdf
  • Manual.pdf

______________________________________________________________________

 

Plugin Review by Stephen Dutton

4th April 2018

Copyright©2018: 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 11.20

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

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 or Aircraft

- EGGD - Bristol International Airport by Pilot-Plus + (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$22.95

 

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