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Aircraft Review : Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner by Magknight

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Aircraft Review : Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner by Magknight

 

Aviation airline economics are a strange concoction of a lot of elements, but at significant points then a new era can emerge and it is usually at the change of a particular aircraft design. We all know the early impact of the DC-2/3 then the 4 and 6, and the Lockheed Constellation... but it was the introduction of the Boeing 707 (720) that really changed things, yes the Comet was the first all jet transport, but it's early pressurisation issues and limited seating, would mean it was certainly fast but not a big deal to airlines looking out for profit. But the Boeing 707 changed all that with its phenomenal speed, range and passenger capacity to change the world into our current global village. You couldn't go faster (Concorde did, but it was expensive) so you went larger with the Boeing 747 Series and again airline economics and passenger loads went through the roof. But today it is now all about efficiency and not about sheer volume. The Airbus A380 should have been the next significant step, but today's fuel costs and strangely the worry that airlines can't simply fill out its huge capacity and that and then for the first time aircraft have gotten smaller to go forward. The Boeing 777 with it's twin-engined capacity broke a lot of rules but the bottom line on the ledger sheet of most airlines flying the aircraft simply showed the way forward to the current new-age front line super economic machines, the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 - Dreamliner. 

 

To a point they will be the last of their kind, no aircraft in the future is going to redeliver the efficiency of 15% to 20% over the last generation of aircraft, the coming 797 also will be very good aircraft efficiency wise, but it will still in the same efficiency range change over the B737/A320 aircraft, the idea is a B767 size aircraft for a efficiency of a B737/A320. But currently it is the Dreamliner and the XWB A350 that will again change the aviation economic landscape.

 

Boeing 787-9 by Magknight

First of all let us clarify that this Boeing 787 is not related to the original Heinz Dziurowitz version of the B787 (that aircraft was the B748) but outwardly and inwardly they are very similar as both used only native basics of X-Plane (Planemaker) makes them very much in the same design. So this aircraft is not a "study" level simulation either, or even a basic systems aircraft, so it is in reality an advanced planemaker design, a second point to make is that it is a project still in progress, this is not a completed aircraft but one still in forward development. The aircraft started out as a donation style project, but it has now switched over to being a payware to reflect it's current design progress.

 

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Although the aircraft was created for X-Plane10, it is really a X-Plane11 based design, as most of the earlier X-Plane10 element's were thrown out and restarted, so you have 4K (4096x4096) textures and a far more better quality 3d design, with of course the XP11 PBR effects.

 

Boeing 787-9_Design 1.jpgBoeing 787-9_Design 2.jpg

 

The modeling is really very good, but the mapping is a bit heavy in parts as denoted by the heavy grooves, the B787 is a very smooooth jet, as it is plastic after all or a carbon-composite sort of plastic design, in being both very light but strong.

 

Those signature wings are well done here, they are all new to this update and beautifully shaped as is the built in wing-flex that is now very smooth and realistic. The B787 wing has a very large flexible range for efficiency, from some views the long upward moving curves look fragile, but they are built that way.

 

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The huge General Electric GEnx-1B74/75 at 74,100 lbf (330 kN) engines are well done, and the B789 can also use the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, but that option not available on this aircraft.

 

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In this updated version as well the fan blades on the GEnx-1B's are all new, and they look very nice as well in static and in flight. Although a lot of the marching ant's have been also fixed in this update, there are still a few here and there, and the engines cowlings are slightly transparent in showing the internal engine structure?

 

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Cockpit

There is no cabin, opening doors or menus or any other advanced features, but the cockpit is very well detailed and well designed.

 

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The cockpit has been redesigned about two or three times, but the results have been well worth the effort, as it has a very authentic feel. Heinz's B787 cockpit was quite basic, certainly with the overhead panel, and that sorta didn't give me the immersion feel I really wanted with the aircraft, but that is not the case here as it is a very nice place to be. The overhead panel here is excellent in look and feel, but the switchgear can be a little heavy to turn or use.

 

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Instrument Panel

The Boeing 787 series uses the latest in glass cockpit technology, so it can look a bit confusing at first if you are used to the older style aircraft instrument panel layouts.

 

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To a point the B787 instrument panel can be hard to replicate and not come across as cartoony, but Magknight has done a really great job here in the overall design. But in many areas it does show that the design is still a work in progress, a lot works, but a lot of the functionality doesn't and small items are missing like the analog clock hands (digital does) and elapsed time, however the tools you require to fly the aircraft are all here.

 

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Being a Planemaker design you don't get nice things like reflective instruments, that is okay as they don't look to bad because of their sheer size, there are four displays, two for each pilot called inboard and outboard that are divided into more separate screen zones, again the zones are locked in here so you can't switch them around like you can on a real B787. But the zones cover AUX, PFD (Primary Flight Display), Mini-Map (rose heading) on the Outboard - Navigation/Map (ND), EICAS (Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System) are all on the inboard display and this display also known as the MFD (Multi-Functional Display) Between all the display screens it is known as the (C) center panel zone that includes the Standby Flight Display, Landing Gear Controls and Autobrake Controls.

 

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The glareshield holds the Autopilot functions and it does on first sight look quite different from other Boeing aircraft autopilots. But on closer inspection the layout is still relatively the same with zones for Speed, Heading, Vertical Speed and Altitude, and at each end map/plan/range knobs and Baro settings.

 

Center Console has the lower MFD which includes the FMC (Flight Management Computer) and the aircraft Status Display.

 

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The FMC uses the native Laminar Research FMC and the pop-up panel is available to use. But the custom keyboard does work as well if you want to input in a more realistic way. The status display can change to display five modes... STAT (Status) - Fuel - FCTL (Flight Controls) top

 

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HYD (hydraulics) and ELEC (Electrical) lower. You can't change the pages via the actual status buttons, but instead by a lower in panel button called "NEXT PG", and in a strange way they are also connected to the "Menu" button on the MAP/NAV menu? They feel like a very last minute installation, but they are all very good.

 

All radio frequencies are done through the FMC RAD (Radio) page as the rear console is effectively blank, except the Transponder number which is input directly on the center console panel.

 

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Over Head Panel (OHP) is well done, and looks great, of course not many of the systems work unless they are X-Plane native associated, which will be interesting with newly coming X-Plane 11.30 features including icing, oxygen and autopilot functions. Switchgear as noted is slightly tough to turn (use), but you get used to it.

 

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Side EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) display/menu displays items but it is blank for use, and cockpit detailing is very good, no doubt here as a 3d modeller then Magknight is very good.

 

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The yokes can be easily hidden by pressing the "Y" key on your keyboard (X-Plane11 only)

 

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Lighting

The overall lighting is limited to just main instrument adjustment and overhead dome lighting... one area I would have like adjustment was the instrument displays, as you can't brighten them, and I found them just a little too dark, this item should be high on the fix next list. But overall again this cockpit is nice pleasant place to in when flying long haul in both day and night services.

 

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Externally the aircraft looks very good, if a throwback to the earlier X-Plane9 style of lit cabin windows. The logo tail light is not connected to the liveries so it works when you want it too, so it looks good at night as well, all lights in Strobe, Nav and Beacons that are all standard X-Plane, but at least they have been adjusted.

 

Boeing 787-9_Flying 1.jpg

 

Sounds

The aural aspect in the B787 is surprising. They are not yet FMOD, but they are very good for a set of basic flight sounds. I found them to be quite good right through the range with the cruise sounds very authentic, and found I can fly for a long time in this aural environment and still feel like it is the real cockpit, as the worst thing about flying long haul is poor or repetitively looping sound. It is a shame the FMOD changes were not made before release as these sounds would be good in that form and with the then added bonus of 180º dynamic sounds.

 

Performance

A standard long haul from EGLL (London) to KJFK (New York) was a good indicator of performance. The latest update has had corrections for fuel efficiency and engine power to allow for these longer flights. But my long haul experience shows the performance model needs a bit more work. I could do notes which I usually do but not here because in fact they wouldn't work? This may be the standard PlaneMaker modeling, but I was doing fuel notes back in X-Plane9...  Climb gives you always the full 100% climb, which is not authentic once you reach a standard vertical climb configuration, you usually have a setting of around 85% to 90% EGT. Once here in cruise mode your B787 will sit on 98% EGT for pretty well for the full routing, which again is not realistic, because as the fuel weight goes down then the EGT parameters drop (or step down) accordingly or in English, the lighter the aircraft is then the less power is required to move it through the air. My book of notes will give you a fuel burn and weight changes that creates targets over nautical mileage (part of the fun of passing the hours away on long haul flights is in meeting fuel prediction targets), I will note this is certainly not a study grade aircraft, but I was doing this noting back in X-Plane9 with XPFP aircraft. So any adjustment or the use in speed it just doesn't feel currently very authentic.

 

In a landing configuration the B787 looks the business....

 

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...   as gear detail and animation is very good. The artificial stability is now corrected at lower speeds as is the flap maneuverability with earlier issue that has also been solved and the aircraft now follows easily the glideslope and acts quickly at lower speeds...  but I found as is the ILS vertical glideslope indicator didn't work on three different approaches and so had to be ready as the aircraft did not catch in every time the ILS in a vertical mode? So a full hand landing was required every time, so these are basic bugs that really are required to be fixed before any release.

 

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Wingflex works well and looks authentic on landing, as are the reverser doors and the excellent sounds to do the slowing down business.

 

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Liveries

There are seven liveries with a house Boeing 9, British Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN, United, Air China, American Airlines and a blank. A paintkit is also included, and already there are zillions of airline and custom liveries appearing on the X-Plane.Org

 

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Boeing 787-9_Livery BA.jpgBoeing 787-9_Livery Japan Airlines.jpg

Boeing 787-9_Livery LAN.jpgBoeing 787-9_Livery United.jpg

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Summary

In many ways flying this Boeing 787 from Magknight sent me back to my early days of X-Plane flying, it was basic, but also a lot of fun. So the feel of the aircraft is certainly buried deep here in the X-Plane DNA. 

 

Overall the 3d design and construction is very, good... Magknight is a very good modeller and the aircraft is a nicely created aircraft and the cockpit is very well done and feels very authentic, but the systems are solidly based in the X-Plane PlaneMaker realm, so any default X-Plane aircraft would not be too far from the same truth here, so if this aircraft was part of the Laminar Research fleet then you really wouldn't know any difference.

 

In areas the B787 feels a little underdeveloped, but this is still an ongoing project, so there is still a lot of i's to be dotted and t's to be crossed, but some of the basics are missing as well and that needs to be addressed quickly. But overall I really enjoyed flying this Boeing 787 and the sounds are also excellent for a basic package like this.

 

The first thought is that if this B787 had been a joint team product, with the already quality of the modeling and the creation of a full plugin (SASL)  system, it would have been a first rate aircraft, but the category it is actually placed in here is very different in systems and in the pricing so things are relative in that don't expect a full grade aircraft, because this B787 is a basic design for what you pay for.

 

The choice here is one of investment and first thoughts are that the basics are extremely good to invest in, and in this price range. If the development continues at the same pace you should get an extremely good Dreamliner and quite soon and even at a low cost factor. In my mind it is an aircraft to follow and enjoy, it is not totally perfect, but it has the potential to be very, very good...  and like I said overall I really loved flying it.

And this B789 Dreamliner will certainly be having a lot of use in my flying as well because until now X-Plane has been missing a really good B787 machine and like in the real world it is the future of aviation, and it is also the machine to have only for the economic bottom line of every airline that currently flies the Dreamliner as it will also change the world as those other milestone aircraft before it.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

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Yes! the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner by Magknight is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

B787-9

 

Price is US$24.95

 

Features:

  • New engine fanblades.
  • New wing with updated wingflex and various control surfaces details and wingtip improvement.
  • Corrected "marching ants" and mapping issues.
  • Lower L1 door position for active jetways, autogate, etc. 
  • New paintkit
Interior model
  • Improved MFD with Fuel, Hydraulics, Control surfaces and Electric synoptic indications. 
  • Hydraulic switch now available.
  • HPA indication in PFD (not switchable for the moment)
Systems
  • Corrections in fuel efficiency and engine power to allow longer flights.
  • Groundspeed, TAS and wind vector corrected in the ND.
    Transponder Ident now available. Transponder digits can now be changed up and down.
  • Airspeed in PFD now hides at mach speeds instead of showing '0'.
  • Flaps maneuverability issue solved. The aircraft now follows easily the glideslope and acts quickly at lower speeds.
  • Artificial stability now corrected at lower speeds. (Better handling)
  • Tail light now available. Tail will light up with the logo button in the cockpit. There is no need for special night texture for each livery. The external night texture is the same for all.
  • Yoke hides now pressing 'Y' on the keyboard. (Only XP11)
  • Vertical speed display now hides in VNAV.
  • A checklist is available.
Additional livery packs
  • American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, United Airlines, Air China livery 

 

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10

Windows, Mac or Linux
2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb + VRAM recommended
Current version : 1.04 (XP11)  1.03 (XP10)
 

Installation : Download is 107mb which is unzipped and is inserted in your Heavy Aircraft  folder as a 168mb folder

 

Liveries are downloaded and inserted into your B787 root folder separately as a 34.4mb Folder.

 

Documentation : None

______________________________________________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

22th June 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 11.25

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free

Scenery or Aircraft

- KJFK - New York Airports Vol 1 by Drewiecki Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.00

 

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16 hours ago, Stephen said:

No no! it is only a one off purchase, it is the developer's choice to put it out as a beta, but on payware.

I'm confused - bought this in March. Does your review cover an update or is nothing new?  Disregard - this is the same version I bought.

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We covered the aircraft as a review because it did become available as a full payware, so the version reviewed is the released 1.04 (XP11) version.

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Of course as I am very interested in the direction this aircraft will go, but don't expect a high level payware direction either, it will always be a basic design and PlaneMaker based. However it would be certainly very exciting if the developer went into a plugin direction as the modeling quality is very good, and with better systems it could be a real winner for both the users and X-Plane ?

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I don't think there will be many changes for quite a while that'll make it study-level, but it'd be nice to have some opening doors, and a way to open them?

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