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Aircraft Review : Concorde FXP v2 by Colimata


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Aircraft Review : Concorde FXP v2 by Colimata

 

In the narrative of aviation history, there have been aircraft that have been uniquely iconic. But a few have even gone higher in this aspect. The 1960's was all about races, the most famous was the "Space Race" between the United States and Russia. But there was another aviation "race" in the 60's that was just as frantic and daring. This race was in the commercial airliner world between capacity and speed, again the United States, but this time against Europe. The two aircraft at the forefront of this race was the Boeing 747 (Jumbo Jet) and The Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde...  capacity vs speed.

 

History tells us now that capacity won, cheap tickets and space on aircraft far bettered shorter flight times. But in the 60's the line between them was lineball with the expectations that "Supersonic" transport was the future of aviation, and what if that world had come to pass. 3½ hours over the Atlantic, and 8 hour's approx to reach Singapore and 17 hours to Australia (including refueling) would today be even possible, but at point in the past it was actually quite possible and even accomplished by an aircraft carrying commercial passengers.

 

Supersonic speeds had however one major flaw, the sound barrier or the shock wave that is created when an aircraft goes supersonic. This highly restricted operations to being only over water, and being regulated to only subsonic speeds over the land.

 

In the race to go supersonic it was again a race between two countries, this time with Russia that flew the first supersonic aircraft in the Tupolev Tu-144 that first went supersonic on 5th June 1969. But the real and only commercial supersonic jet aircraft was the Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde, slightly late in every aspect, but the aircraft delivered in time the only real commercial supersonic services, and for a brief few decades the world had the option of using supersonic transport in a regular transportation capacity. Both American SST projects in the Boeing 2707 and the Lockheed L-2000                       never got past their concept stages.

 

For the definition of unique, even iconic then the Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde aircraft was different in every way. Foremost besides it's incredible speed, it flew far higher than any other commercial aircraft to around 60,000ft, used a delta wing configuration, and was one of the few aircraft to use afterburners in commercial service.

 

Origins of the Concorde

The origins of the Concorde project date to the early 1950s, when Arnold Hall, director of the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), asked Morien Morgan to form a committee to study the supersonic transport (SST) concept. The group met for the first time in February 1954 and delivered their first report in April 1955.

 

Soon after, Johanna Weber and Dietrich Küchemann at the RAE published a series of reports on a new wing planform, known in the UK as the "slender delta" concept. The team, including Eric Maskell whose report "Flow Separation in Three Dimensions" contributed to an understanding of the physical nature of separated flow, worked with the fact that delta wings can produce strong vortices on their upper surfaces at high angles of attack. This vortex will lower the air pressure and cause lift to be greatly increased.

 

Küchemann and others at the RAE continued their work on the slender delta throughout this period, considering three basic shapes; the classic straight-edge delta, the "gothic delta" that was rounded outward to appear like a gothic arch, and the "ogival wing" that was compound-rounded into the shape of an ogee. Each of these planforms had its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of aerodynamics. As they worked with these shapes, a practical concern grew to become so important that it forced selection of one of these designs.

 

By this time similar political and economic concerns in France had led to their own SST plans. In the late 1950s the government requested designs from both the government-owned Sud Aviation and Nord Aviation, as well as Dassault. All three returned designs based on Küchemann and Weber's slender delta; Nord suggested a ramjet powered design flying at Mach 3, the other two were jet powered Mach 2 designs that were similar to each other. Of the three, the Sud Aviation Super-Caravelle won the design contest with a medium-range design deliberately sized to avoid competition with transatlantic US designs they assumed that were already on the drawing board.

As soon as the design was complete, in April 1960, Pierre Satre, the company's technical director, was sent to Bristol to discuss a partnership. Bristol was surprised to find that the Sud team had designed a similar aircraft after considering the SST problem and coming to the very same conclusions as the Bristol and STAC teams in terms of economics.

 

Unsurprisingly, the two teams found much to agree on. The only disagreements were over the size and range. The UK team was still focused on a 150-passenger design serving transatlantic routes, while the French were deliberately avoiding these. However, this proved not to be the barrier it might seem; common components could be used in both designs, with the shorter range version using a clipped fuselage and four engines, the longer one with a stretched fuselage and six engines, leaving only the wing to be extensively re-designed. The teams continued to meet through 1961, and by this time it was clear that the two aircraft would be considerably more similar in spite of different range and seating arrangements. A single design emerged that differed mainly in fuel load. The more powerful Bristol Siddeley Olympus engines being developed for the TSR-2, allowed either design to be powered by only four engines and give better economics.

 

Construction of two prototypes began in February 1965: 001, built by Aérospatiale at Toulouse, and 002, by BAC at Filton, Bristol. Concorde 001 made its first test flight from Toulouse on 2 March 1969, piloted by André Turcat, and first went supersonic on 1 October. The first UK-built Concorde flew from Filton to RAF Fairford on 9 April 1969, piloted by Brian Trubshaw. Both prototypes were presented together to the public for the first time on 7–8 June 1969 at the Paris Air Show.

 

Concorde in X-Plane

Obviously there have been a few Concordes created for X-Plane, but this is a very hard aircraft to model realistically, not only in the physical, but certainly in the complex performance aspects. The best was Concorde by Dr Gary Hunter now a donated freeware aircraft and worth a tryout in preparation for something more serious.

 

So here is a semi-study Concorde FXP from Colimata. Now your thinking, this is not a new release for a review, and you are right there. In fact the original release was back in June 2019. This release was a “Early Access” Concorde in honour of the legendary aircraft’s 50th anniversary of its first flight. Obviously I looked at this early release, and found it to be a very under developed aircraft, mostly in the still blank engineers workstation, which is the complex heart of the aircraft.

It flew but barely and the condition was not worthy of an in-depth review. I followed the development which was slow, but it was with the October 20th 2021 upgrade release to Version 2 that the aircraft was finally in a fully sorted condition and was worthy of a review, then it was just finding the time to do a review of a very complex airliner.

 

I have never flown on Concorde but I have seen three of them, inside on two Concorde's, G-BSST Concorde 002 at Duxford, UK which was a prototype test aircraft, G-AXDN Concorde 101 at IWM Duxford which was a Pre-Production aircraft and the first with a (commercial) different wing plan form, more fuel capacity, different engine design standard, different air intake systems and the new nose and glass visor design, and in testing it went higher and faster than any other Concorde (This is not to be confused with the fastest crossing from New York to London by BA Concorde G-BOAD, 7th Feb 1996 at 2h 52m and 59s).

 

My third Concorde I saw, which I sadly didn't board was G-BOAC, affectionately known as Alpha Charlie, in Manchester. I did however see Concordes in action at Heathrow a few times, the memory was on how small it seemed compared to all the larger twin-aisle B747's, Tristar's, and DC10's, surrounding it, but up close the aircraft seems very large for something that could go supersonic and 60,000ft up in the air.

 

Like all the remaining Space Shuttles, all Concorde's are now in various museums set around the world, the full list is here. The only missing aircraft are of course F-BTSC which was destroyed in air crash outside Paris, France, 5th July 2000 and F-BVFD that was broken up for parts in 1982 and scrapped in 1994.

 

Colimata Concorde FXP v2

 

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This is v2 of the Colimata Concorde, and in the upgrade the modeling got a significant amount of attention and far more detail from the patchy original aircraft. Overall Concorde is easy to model, as the shape is quite sublime. But to make it authentic, then the detail has to be perfect or the aircraft will look only average to the eye.

 

Colimata is very aware of framerate (more on this aspect later). So the choices was an extreme polygon mesh (there are a lot of curves on Concorde), or go for a happy medium, of which is very evident here. So the modeling is very good, but not really, really outstanding.

 

From that needlepoint nose, the shape is really good for the nose section, the exciter vane system is well proportioned, as are all the correct side pitot tubes (there is a singular static pitot tube in the fine nose probe). Static vent panels are well done, but we have a problem with the doors. There are no hard edges on the shape of the doors, and the handle is a just a basic graphic, both of which are not very authentic.

 

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All the construction panels are well highlighted, as is the window line strengthening panels, a nice touch are the fuselage ripples caused by the extreme temperatures and drag. They are not noticeable on the either of the prototype aircraft, but certainly are on the in service machines.

 

Notable is that Concorde has to be all white in colour, again to keep it cool at high Mach speeds, only one aircraft in the Pepsi advert was coloured dark blue, was in being the only darker aircraft, and that aircraft had to fly at a lower Mach speed of below 2.02 (max is Mach 2.04), and for no more than 20 minutes at the most, but no restrictions were placed on speeds below M1.70. The wings however still had to be white or again heat was a factor. It was at $500 million US dollars still the most expensive advertising campaign ever.

 

Droop Nose

Concorde was not the only aircraft to use a droop nose to allow a high AoA (Angle of Attack) for landing, as that was the Fairey Delta 2, a British experimental high-speed aircraft which was the first to use the idea. it has various names, Droop Nose, Drooped nose and even Droop Snoot. But Concorde was the most famous with the concept.

 

The droop nose has four positions. Up-Supersonic Flight, Visor Down-Subsonic Cruise, Visor 5º-Takeoff and Subsonic Cruise, 12.5º Landing and Taxiing (notable was the prototype aircraft had a visor inclination of 17.5º, hence the droopy, droopy nose). Both the nose and visor mechanism are hydraulically controlled from the aircraft’s number 3 green hydraulic system.

 

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The visor detail is very good, but not in that highly authentic way, it is a bit too clean and modeled for me, but the smooth operation is very, very good. Glass is nicely tinted and reflective, but again nothing extremely special. I always liked the prototypes full metal visor with just the two small glazed panels on each topside, it looked more futuristic, but in testing of the aircraft couldn't be flown across the Atlantic as the American's had banned the none forward vision concept.

 

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The “ogival” wing form used on Concorde was an attempt to modify the optimum delta for greater efficiency at low speeds, particularly during take-off and landings. There was probably more attention given to the design and construction of Concorde’s wing, than any other area of the aircraft. Subsonic aircraft wings may have more than 50 moveable devices, which may include complex flaps, leading edge slats for additional lift at slow speeds, and the required items for control and trim. Concorde’s “slender ogival delta” wing has none of these and has only 6 “elevons” at the rear of the wing, which replace the traditional elevators and ailerons for control of pitch and roll.

 

It was important to get this wing aspect and shape correct and that is not easy to do in a 3d modeling context, but Colimata has done a fine job here.

 

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The wing was designed and then built in France, and can be broken down into nine distinct sections plus a number of smaller parts. five sections are lateral slices comprising wing/fuselage/wing and together they form the structural heart of Concorde. In general, the wing is a multi-spar torsion box built up from many comparatively small spar, rib and skin sections and then bolted together. The outer wings are torsion boxes of machined spars, ribs and panels. Each is attached to the centre sections by 340 high tensile steel bolts of various diameters.

 

All swept wings create vortices (swirls of air) at their wing tips. The delta wing, however, as its angle of attack increases (at slower speeds), creates larger, slower moving vortices which creep forward along the leading edge, eventually enveloping the whole upper surface of the wing, thus further increasing the suction and therefore the lift. So vortex lift is fundamental to Concorde’s ability to fly slowly. It also produced one of the characteristic qualities of the feel of Concorde to a passenger.

 

Olympus 593 Mk 610 engine

The Concorde Olympus 593 Mk 610 engine, remains to this day the most efficient jet engine in the world at Mach 2, where thermal efficiency in concerned. But at lower speeds the engines consumes fuel at a massive rate. notably was that high bypass turbofan engines such as those which are used on the Boeing 747 could not be used. There was three Olympus versions 593B (Original design), 593-22R with (Prototype Design), and the 593-610-14-28 – which was the final version fitted to production Concorde's. Thrust was 32,000 lbf (142 kN) dry / 38,050 lbf (169 kN) reheat.

 

The Olympus 593 has been nicely reproduced here. It looks a bit bland looking down the twin-barrel inlet tunnel with no wear or tear detail or in service streaks (really crucial here), but the "Ramping" doors are well done (more on these doors later). Rear nacelles are also very good, and Concorde uses a simple clamshell reverser door mechanism...

 

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Internal exhaust detail with reheat rings are another novel military tool and rare on a commercial aircraft. Afterburners are simply a method of making use of the hot exhaust gases once they have passed through the turbines. Fuel is spayed into a ring in the exhaust pipe and burned to increase thrust when it is required, such as on take-off and during acceleration through Mach 1. Here the reheat rings and sprayers are well done and are really nicely detailed by Colimata. A bonus feature here also is that you can open the pod doors to see the actual Olympus 593 installation...

 

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....  and you also have a spare engine set in a cradle for a replacement if required. The detail of the 593 engine is excellent.

 

Rear fuselage has a over-rotate set of wheels called a "Bumper" wheel, required here as the Concorde's very high AoA in created a rear scrape inevitable. The detailed wheels are well done, as is the long pointy tail and lighting assembly.

 

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In service the twin-separated rudder created the most problems...  12th April 1989: A Concorde of British registration, G-BOAF, on a chartered flight from Christchurch, New Zealand, to Sydney, had a structural failure in-flight at supersonic speed, and lost the top section of the rudder. It happened again 21st March 1992 with a Concorde of British registration, G-BOAB, on a scheduled flight from London to New YorK in losing the same top section of the rudder. Consistent tyre blowouts (57) were another in service problematic issue and has also been related to the Air France Flight 4590 accident. Colimata has done again a fine job on the tail including the different actuating cylinders for each rudder section, and the lower tail bracing for strength which is really well modeled for detail accuracy.

 

Gear Assemblies

Concorde has in reality a simple gear arrangement of four-wheel bogies rear and a two-wheel bogie nosewheel. When sitting in the cockpit you are 19ft above the ground, and the front gear is also positioned 40ft rear of the nose, which has to be thought of in many aspects of manoeuvring around the taxiways and entering the gate.

 

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The bar around the wheels is simply a water deflector, to stop ingestion into the engines with Concorde's high takeoff speeds, there is the same deflector on the rear bogies. Strut and assembly is very good here, but there is not a lot of dirt and grime here (you could say Concorde was a bit of a princess concerning dirt), but otherwise the detailing is very good with everything accountable, wheel-well internal detail is also good.

 

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The main landing gear was designed by Messier-Dowty and has to shorten during the retraction process, as it would otherwise not be able to fit into the bays in the wing roots after take-off. During the development phase of Concorde’s life, the main landing gear location was a real headache. At the only logical position, the legs would have collided as when they were retracted upwards and inwards as they were basically too long.  So they were shortened, so whenever the gear was down and locked they were at their full length, but during the retraction process, a mechanical linkage gradually and completely pulled the oleo inside the barrel, a simple, yet effective and trouble-free solution.

 

Again the main bogie detail very good, in reality is a simple assembly, but again with no wear or tear or a drop of smearing oil. I really like the wheel hubs and the "Air-X" branded tyres which are nicely highlighted.

 

There are under fuselage service and baggage (Cargo) hatches. Concorde didn't use containers or quick turnaround aspects in it's design, as everything had to loaded on to the aircraft manually (or slowly). There are two cargo hatches under the belly and a rear door far right rear for cargo. Other features include Fuel Hatch and a Service Hatch.

 

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________________

 

Reviewing and flying Concorde can create a bit of anxiety, even if you have already a lot of X-Plane simulator experience. Not only is there the complexity of an analog era aircraft, but this aircraft has very, very unique specifications to fly at twice the speed of sound and at 60,000ft in the air.

 

Thankfully Colimata has thought ahead of those situations and he covers the areas in two different ways. First is that the manual or manuals  are extremely well done and have a lot of depth in understanding, using and flying this unique aircraft. There isn't a full tutorial though, which I think is essential here. Video tutorials abound but not all are of decent depth and quality. Second aspect is the Menu's are very clever in not only giving you access to the aircraft is servicing and setting up, but come with some clever "Cheat" short cuts to overcome the more complex areas of starting the aircraft and flying it, mostly in the "Virtual Engineer" capacity. In that aspect we will cover these important menu items next.

 

Menu

There are three ways to access the menus. First is in the X-Plane menu Banner "CONCORDE FXP', Second is an overlay easy access lower left TAB Panel, and finally a few "HotSpots" in the cockpit can activate the menus.

 

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Basic all three menus cover the same areas, in GUI (Graphical User Interface), Checklist, Views and Engineer (Short Cuts).

 

The dropdown menu covers; View(s), GUI (with Checklist), MAP (X-Plane default MAP), Engineer (Short Cuts), More (Reload Plugin), and ACF version/Plugin Version.

 

GUI

We will stay with the main GUI as it covers everything. The Menu can also be scaled into various sizes, which is very handy for screen clutter.

 

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The GUI Menu has Seven Tabs; SETTINGS, FLIGHT PREPARATION, AIRCRAFT, NAVIGATION, FLIGHT ENGINEER, CUSTOM CONTENT and CHECKLISTS.

 

SETTINGS

GUI-SETTINGS : Covers the user settings on the aircraft and is separated into four areas; SOUND VOLUME, RESOURCE SAVING, PRO FEATURES, USER INTERFACE and MORE.

 

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SOUND VOLUME - Allows you to adjust the Sound Volume for - Cockpit Fan, Cockpit Engine Sounds, CoPilot Volume, Alerts, Outside Engine Sounds and Trim Bell volume. all between 0-100%

 

RESOURCE SAVING - There are various ways with the Colimata Concorde to adjust the aircraft' "Frameweight" on you computer to gain more frames. Here on the menu you can hide heavy frame rate using areas by hiding them, they include; Show/Hide Passenger Cabin, Show/Hide Engineering Panel, Show/Hide Engine Details, Load Utility Vehicles and Keep Landing Gear. Another option is to use 2K textures, instead of the provided 4K textures, and also provided are "Alternative .acf files" that cover; Cockpit Shadows, No Cabin, No Cabin/No Gear, X-max framerate. The "Original .acf file' is also provided as a back up. Personally I didn't have many framerate problems to use these resources.

 

PRO FEATURES - When used to flying Concorde you can then active three additional features, these are; Dynamic Fuel Trim, Mach 2.2+ and Temperature Calc (Calculations) on the skin.

 

USER INTERFACE - Show/Hides/Toggles the lower left corner GUI Tab 

 

MORE - Switches on the night lighting (cabin) automatically, Enables VR Controls and Use Phllipp's (Ringler) payware CIVA 

 

FLIGHT PREPARATION

Flight Preparation has four tabs for; WAYPOINT ENTRY, PAYLOAD MANAGER, FUEL MANAGER and FLIGHTPLAN.

 

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WAYPOINT ENTRY - Allows you to program the "INS Navigation" (Inertial Navigation System). Concorde was built before modern FMS/FMC systems, so the navigation computers were pretty basic, here it is modeled on the CIVA or "Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System". And to program the system you have to insert the flightplan's waypoints (Coordinates). You can do this via the "Waypoint Entry" page...

 

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....   of course you can cheat by using the "Load" tab and load in an X-Plane .fms route flightplan, click "Commit" to activate.

 

Optional also in the cockpit is a tablet with the X-Plane G1000 interface, here again you can create and load in .fms flightplans into your INS Navigation computer.

 

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PAYLOAD MANAGER - Here you can load the Concorde with Passengers and Cargo. Passengers are loaded in groups of 12, Cargo in increments of 50kg, shown is the aircraft's GW (Gross Weight) and all current weights on the aircraft, and the "Range" with the current load. When done you can "Apply" the payload to the aircraft.

 

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FUEL MANAGER - Here you can load or adjust your flight fuel. Every flight segment has it's own fuel usage, and you can adjust your fuel segments (or fuel loads) by pressing -/+ to fit your flight profile. This of course also adjusts the way the fuel is loaded onto the aircraft, and that is shown in the centre spectrum "Fuel Usage".

 

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FLIGHTPLAN - Gives you an overview of you route including times and weights, second page shows you your required VSpeeds.

 

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AIRCRAFT

Four options allow you to see the current situation of the Aircraft; STATUS, FUEL, ENGINES and CENTRE OF GRAVITY (CofG). The fifth option here is DOORS & GROUND, for static elements and servicing.

 

Basically they all work together to show you your current situation on Concorde. Important is that Concorde has no set centre of gravity, but fuel is pumped forwards and rearwards for a certain flight segment, in say TakeOff, Climbing, Supersonic cruise and Landing. The balance is critical to the safe operation of the aircraft.

Status is basically your trim settings with your VSpeeds (Airspeeds) noted. Fuel is clever, because here Colimata is showing you in real-time your fuel situation and which tanks are pumping where. Notable is that the main Trim tanks (green) are forwards and aft, with the central wing as your Main tanks (Blue), with the Feeder (Red) tanks between the two.

 

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Engines show you your current engine performance and the airflow "Ramp" status, and if the Reheat or Reverser doors are in operation. The fourth Centre of Gravity shows you your current CofG balance (Important for TakeOff and Supersonic cruise) and again Trim settings are noted. These panels takeaway one of the biggest issues with flying Concorde in seeing that the aircraft is correctly fueled and balanced, it is clever and well detailed for Colimata to do this for new fliers of the aircraft.

 

DOORS & GROUND - Allows you to open the doors and put service vehicles around the aircraft.

 

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Concorde has six main doors and one rear right cargo door in the fuselage. The aircraft comes with a lot of service vehicles, 2 X Catering, 2 x Fuel and 2 x Baggage loaders and one very tall set of red carpet stairs. The vehicle are not very over quality in detail and only "Concorde" in branding and basically all feel a bit bland considering the quality of the aircraft. There is only one JARDesign GHD, but because of Concorde's very unusual height and shape, the GHD is very restricted in use.

 

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Odd is there is no chocks or pitot covers, which would have been nice here, and I do like the rear left catering truck that sits nicely over the delta wing. The exposed engines/spare engine, cargo doors and "Side Panel" details are noted above but activated here. Other options include Air Conditioning trolley, GPU (Ground Power Unit), Service Van, and Fridge vehicle.

 

NAVIGATION

Under the "Navigation" tab are four options, basically three selections are repeat pages, in; WAYPOINT LIST, FLIGHTPLAN and (X-Plane default) MAP.

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The last is CIVA or "Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System". Unlike what I see in the cockpit, this facia of CIVA is blank?, but the use is for direct coordinates (waypoint) flightplan building. There is a lot of information in the Manuals on how to programme and use the CIVA system. In this review we don't focus too much on CIVA, as a separate turorial/review in the aircraft is planned later.

 

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FLIGHT ENGINEER

The "Flight Engineer" panel is used as a virtual Flight Engineer. Here you can do a "Systems Startup", "Engine Start", "Engines Shutdown" and "Systems Shutdown" all by pressing each button, the status is shown on the opposite panel. Secondly there are the options to set the "Fuel Trim" in four selections; "Trim for Takeoff", Trim for Flight", "Trim for Landing" and "Trim for Ground", this is the "Short Cut" way to flying Concorde, but it helps were it counts, certainly for when you are learning the aircraft.

 

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These same commands are also available from the banner dropdown menu, under the "ENGINEER" tab for quicker ease of use.

 

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CUSTOM CONTENT

Here you can add in images to use during your flight. There are eight segments to add in a .PNG file to show in the GUI. The files can be stored in the; Aircraft/Concorde_FXP/con_data/custom folder. Here I have added in a Heathrow ground chart.

 

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CHECKLISTS

Final bottom tab is for "Checklists", you can access the checklists also by the banner menu GUI/Checklists and the lower right screen tab.

The checklist feature is very good, you can have the full screen detail, or just the side-panel checklist. The checklists are grouped into four columns; GROUND, FLIGHT, LAND, and CUSTOM. And all lists are highly detailed but can't be checked off.

 

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The eight "Custom" checklists are excellent to add in your own notes. The system is the same as for the Custom Content, with almost the same address folders; Aircraft/Concorde_FXP/con_data/checklists. Notable is that it easy from these .PNG images in printing them out for table or binder use. 

 

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Internal

It is a long way up into Concorde, only certain custom airbidges could allow you to board from the terminal, but then again everything about a Concorde service was customised. At least they had put red carpet down as you got your breath after the long 19ft stair climb.

 

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The door entrance is stoop down small as well (1.67 m (5 ft 53/4 in) Width 0.76 m (2 ft 6 in), but the mood changes inside to the more sombre gray and dark blue of British Airways Premium First Gold Class. There are no separate classes on Concorde, it is all just First Expensive Class.

 

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All seating is leather two by two rows. It is small inside here, and for first class seating it was quite tight with a 16in-wide aisle, 17in-wide seats, 37/38in seat pitch, but then again you didn't have to sit there for very long. Seating modeling is good, but not over detailed, the carpet I really don't like, it is only a basic texture, and gives you at all no feeling of luxury or quality.

 

Concorde maybe tight in height and width, but it is expansive in length from the flight deck door to rear pressure bulkhead, incl galley and toilets is 39.32 m (129 ft 0 in), with the two long cabins separated by a central toilet area...

 

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...  both galleys are really basic, or simply unfinished, the rich hoi polloi would be horrified, they demand the service by unquestionably high standards, but not in here, well not yet, unless Colimata does a bit more refinement, which overall the cabin needs as even the passenger service panels are just blocks of modeling..

 

Concorde cabins were famous for two items...   passport-size window-panes at only 4.5in across, and the "Mach" meter, or bulkhead displays showing "Mach", "Feet" (Altitude), "Temp" (Outside) and MPH (Speed). The minute widows are badly (or cheaply) modeled up close, Concorde and your view out deserves better.

 

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Cockpit

The cabin though is not the important bit, that area is through the tight passage way, past the huge avionic cabinets...  and into the glorified famous space of that is Concorde's cockpit...  I have been in here and god this is really good and brings back all the memories by the blaster.

 

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The cockpit is a four person crew, Captain, First Officer, Flight Engineer and Observer, and somehow they all fit in this military sized area the size of an Apollo capsule. TIGHT, it is small beyond belief and even a tight space to turn around in, I know I tried to do so slightly bent over by the low forward roof.

 

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Credit to Colimata in the detail in here, it is simply phenomenal...  now it is actually finished. The complex and huge engineer's panel took another year to do, but it was a worthy wait for the immense detail presented here.

 

First a very nice toy... here you can manoeuvre both pilot seats forwards and rearwards and up and down, super nice! The First Officer's chair however though is restricted by the Engineers bulkhead so it doesn't go as far backwards as the Captain's, odd is that the Captain's armrest is animated upwards, but the F.Os armrests are not animated, I hope Colimata fixes that?

 

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The chair design and detailing is exceptional, with an excellent grey check material, sublime seat belts over the tight headrest is again perfection...  Concorde again is so different from most commercial aircraft and it feels more prestige or sporty in style.

 

Instrument panel is everything you dreamed of as a child (or even as a grown up) in wanting your own Concorde. It is sensational in absolute detail. We will look at in more detail when powered up, but I am particularly attracted to the high glass reflections on the instruments, it gives them depth and realism. Obviously a lot of users would hate these heavy reflections, but I am not one of them.

 

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The huge Flight Engineer's is a work of art, but also gives you the warning that this is not an easy aircraft to operate fully in manual mode...  it is complicated and requires study to understand the fifty years or so analog systems, Concorde in this aspect is not an easy aircraft to fly.

 

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Roof forward is the OverHead Panel (OHP) which is quite complex considering there is a full engineers panel behind you, notable are iconic "Sound-Proofing" blankets on the roof that look perfectly authentic. Notable is that both the forward cockpit windows open, and great to use in holding out outside the British Flag on Arrival.

 

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Power up and the cockpit and it's systems come alive. There is a trick for realistic looking cockpits, don't put the lighting up to 100%. Keep it at around 75% and it looks more like the real thing it looks here.  There are fourteen (yes 14) knobs to set the instrument lighting.

 

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The military feel is pronounced on the instruments, if Concorde was a military supersonic bomber I doubt you would see the difference, missing of course is that huge advance radar that was positioned middle right on the early prototypes.

 

Flying instruments are grouped centre and right around the standard ADI (Artificial Horizon) and HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator), but then there is the different speed AIRSPEED and MACH instruments, the VSI (Vertical Speed Indicator), radar altimeter and far left AoA (angle of Attack) meter and lower middle right the CG % meter. In most cases these instruments have basic functions, but here in Concorde they are other instruments that are critical for Supersonic flight and aircraft balance. Overall if you are used to flying heavy jets, you should be able to decipher most if all of the working navigation and flight instruments here.

 

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You are also surprised there are no really different engine output dials either, except one. Top to bottom you have N2, N1, FF (Fuel Flow), EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) and the far lower one however is the NOZ or Primary Nozzle Indicator, which monitors the overall engine performance. Pilot's side you have the backup instruments and the VSI/TCAS display, the Co-Pilot's side however is at the top the Visor selector (Up-V15/0º-5º-DOWN), the right AoA indicator, Landing Gear Indicator and the ICOVOL, or the Rudder (x2) and Elevon (x6) surface position indicator. Remember there are no flaps (or flap position) on Concorde, but these dials show you your surfaces position.

 

Engineers Panel

The complex heart of Concorde is the "Engineers Panel". Although engineers are now a forgotten species, here on Concorde they are always going to be an important part of the crew, and could have Concorde's systems be combined to an automated two-person operation? Maybe, but here the third person is invaluable in conditioning the aircraft in flight. The massive Engineers Panel is complex, but as in every context can be broken down into separate areas of operation, here is the same, but it is important to understand the individual switch situations in action... an area too large to be covered here, but worth learning and studying through not only the extensive manual provided by ColImata, but the lot of video's also available. Notable is that the space between the right side of the upper engineer's panel and the avionics cabinet is the gap used to show how the aircraft changes (lengthens) with the extreme heat in flight)

 

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Central is the important Fuel and Fuel Transfer selections, Bleeds and Temperatures are top, left are pressures, and right is the hydraulics and Electrical Panels. Lower section is the same Fuel, Fuel Transfer and Fuel Bleeds centre, Air Intakes/Ramps, Cabin Pressure, Warnings are left, right are the Electrical and Batteries.

 

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Left lower panel is the Engineer's Panel Lighting and Engine Start...  lower right panel is the AIDA, Test Panel, Compass, Fire/Smoke and Oxygen Panel.

 

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The Flight Engineer's work shelf is also animated, so you can pull it out or hide it...  a nice touch.

 

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The pedestal layout is really quite the same as normal as on a large jet aircraft, Upper is the FMS, here the CIVA, Radios, then the left Trim Wheels (Yaw/Roll and Pitch Trim), Four-Throttles with Reverser levers, right are the Park Brake with wiper switches, but no Flap lever. The only difference is the four switches (marked) behind the Throttles called "Reheat" or the afterburner switches, lower pedestal COMM and Weather Radar and Transponder panels and a third CIVA for the Engineer.

 

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Overhead Panel is quite complex, but again can be broken down into basics. Forward are the extensive annunciator warnings, Ice/De-Ice and external Lighting switchgear. Above are the Elevon and Rudder Power switches with Electric Trim and Stabiliser power. Four Fire Handles, (left) Servo Power, (right) Engine and Wing/Intake Anti-Icing. Upper middle panel is the internal instrument lighting and Seatbelt/No Smoking signs (left), Top left are more cabin and external lighting switchgear. Top right are the Engine Sensors and Air Data Systems panels.

 

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Dead centre of the Overhead Panel are some very important engine switches to be aware of in the HP Valves, which are basically your fuel cutoff valves, Engine Rating modes are your After-Burner and Normal Flight switches and then above are the Auto Ignition switches, finally top are the Throttle Master (Auto/Throttle) power switches. As noted,the study and awareness of all the switchgear here is very important to your flight.

 

Flying Concorde

First is the situation is that you can't just park Concorde on a normal stand or bay...  as it just won't fit with that long needle nose. So only a selection of gates can be used to park your princess.

 

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There are two navigation options in Colimata's Concorde, the CIVA or "Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System", which is quite simple in operation in that you input a set of coordinates, and when the aircraft reaches that coordinate you just select the next set, then the aircraft will simply divert and home in on these new set of coordinates. There are nine sets of coordinates that can be stored in CIVA, so after you use them, then the next set of nine coordinates have to be then loaded in until you reach your destination.

There are no Departure/Arrival runways or SID/STARS in the flightplan, so those segments are flown manually. The CIVA approach is the authentic way to fly Concorde but requires study as the CIVA is it is quite complicated to program and use...  and actually requires a separate review/tutorial to cover all the aspects of this system.

 

Recommended is the optional CIVA Navigation System by Philipp Ringler, which can be used in several aircraft, Concorde of course but also the noted Felis B742 and FlyJSim's Boeing 727.

 

Once you are highly familiar with Concorde's systems then you can do a full cold start, but the procedures are as noted complex. My way of learning was to printout the in-depth checklists and add on personal notes until I got the procedures down pat, and that is the way I recommend you to learn Concorde, and a few videos thrown in. Here we are going to do the "Cheat Sheet", way as it is an introduction to the aircraft, and it shows you Colimata's features to get you airborne in Concorde.

 

At the time of it's introduction Concorde, British Airways created a dedicated check-in area at London Heathrow Terminal 3, but was then moved to an exclusive "Concorde Lounge" at Terminal 4, Gates 417, 419, 420 and mostly at gate 421.

 

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First you need to put power into the aircraft, so you activate the Menu/Doors & Ground...   GPU, AirCond and open the forward (left) door and stairs.

 

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Then you press Menu Flight Engineer page and select "Systems Startup" which basically sends the aircraft bonkers as it set's up the Navigation gyros and starts up the main systems, it is fun to watch as everything starts twirling around like mad in front of your eyes!

 

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Flight planning requires you fly to the south of the Irish Coastline to get the maximum supersonic flying, if you cut over to the northern tracks you lose the subsonic areas over Ireland. In fact you drop out of the lower Oceanic Tracks when you reach the New York FIR (Flight Information Service) or high ATC areas. Mine was done via SimBrief, although their is a Concorde airframe performance (Type), it is not perfect, as Concorde flies well outside the program's abilities. But it can be used as a guide and in creating the route.

 

Setting up the aircraft has a few variables. One you don't have a on-board GPU, so you have use the ground power and Air-Conditioning on the stand. Second is that you can only load passengers in numbers of 12 + or -, which can actually be restricting, as is the freight weight of 50 kg + or -, for such a finely tuned aircraft it makes you accept an around about loading factor, than the actual one you want.

 

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As is the critical fuel loading. Here it is set in a complicated loading pattern of the use during the flight... In reality it is the Supersonic cruise section that is important, unless you are doing a long Sub-Sonic flight section. It is also set in Ton's in fuel, and SimBrief again does not do this volume. Basically you want to land 19 tons under the landing weight, so the range has to be guessed perfectly. Pressing the little icons under each fuel section then switches on the "Winds" conversion, overall I am taking off with a fuel load of 88.6T, more than I need but helpful if I get heavy winds, don't keep to my set route course or use my afterburners for extended periods.

 

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Waypoint Entry means loading in your selected (created) flightplan, then pressing "COMMIT" to load it into the system...  This loads in the full flightplan and the shortcut, If using the CIVA then the first 9 waypoints coordinates are loaded into the system of the same flightplan to be used, but I am trying to get you flying easier here, so the approach here is not the official one.

 

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A secondary way is to use the built in (actually far easier if you are used to the G1000 GPS)...  is to load in the flightplan via the G1000, it is in two places, above the throttles and set to your left in the pilot's seat. If you are very new to Concorde, this is certainly the preferred way to set up the navigation and to activate the flightplan quickly. Both CIVA actions are hard to learn if you quickly want to fly the aircraft.

 

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If you check your Flightplan tab, the Flightplan and it's parameters are now all loaded ready for flight.

 

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As there is as already noted no GPU, so you will need power on the stand, so that means starting an engine before pushback. As a rule you first start the two inner engines 2 & 3, and 1 & 4 are started after pushback. You can of course use the cheat sheet and start (all) the engines directly by pushing the "ENGINE START" tab on the FLIGHT ENGINEER page. But in reality Concorde is not really that hard to start manually, and you are doing it authentically. You start on the OHP, with all "Eng Flight Rating" (Climb) "Auto Ignition" (on), "Auto Throttle" (on) and "Eng Rate Mode" (Takeoff) all set. So select the (top OHP) ANTI-COLN (Collision) and NAV (Navigation) lights and Seatbelt/No SMKG (Smoking) signs to on (yes they did actually smoke in the cabin back in the 70's).

 

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All "Bleeds" are set to OPEN and the "Fuel" switch the pumps to ON.

 

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If the aircraft has been sitting around for more than 4 hours then the DEBOW switches need to be on, now we are ready to start...  START switches are just above the DEBOW switches, and you switch (down) to "START" on first the No. 3 engine, Almost immediately the N2 dial comes alive, and you have to be quick to go up to the (No.3) HP VALVE and open the fuel supply to that engine at the N2 12% mark, the engine settles down around N2 67%, then you do the same start procedure for No 2 Engine. Once you have power and supply, you can then remove the external GPU and Air-Cond units. Startup engine sounds are...   really, really good, those Olympus 593 sound gorgeous, they are all very high quality FMOD 3d sounds.

 

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And we are ready for pushback.

 

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Pushback completed then you can start the other two engines No. 4 then No. 1. There is a built in pushback tool from Colimata in the package, but BetterPushBack still gives you more flexibility of where to place the aircraft.

 

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I really love the self-test of the fire-handles as the engine starts, You can test the full warning panel via the LTS TEST button far left panel, again the sequence of the test is excellent and extremely authentic. All bleeds and electrical are then reset for flight, and again the extensive checklist is your best friend.

 

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Important is the setting of the PITCH TRIM. It is actually set to zero (or slightly above but no more than 5º), because Concorde is balanced by it's Fuel Trim than actual pitch.

 

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Visor is set to 5º down. The prototype visor inclination of 17.5º hid the visor from view and pilots didn't like that as they couldn't see it, so it was changed on the production aircraft to be in view all the time. I'm not a fan of the external lighting...  on the taxi lights are extremely bright and the wrong colour (LED bright) for a 70's era aircraft, but this is my thought.

 

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You don't need a lot of thrust to get Concorde moving, but a lot of thought is needed into taxiing... the nose gear is a long, long way back from not only you, but the nose of the aircraft as well, so in most cases you really hang out over the inner field on turns. But you soon adapt to the odd overhang steering position.

 

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Concorde G-BOAB (208) is still here at Heathrow (27L Threshold), it was never updated after the French crash, but still a reminder of a bygone supersonic age, thankfully in X-Plane the Supersonic dream is still alive in simulation.

 

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On to Heathrow's 27L and centreline ready for Take-Off.

 

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The visor is again positioned to 0º or "Visor Down-Subsonic Cruise" mode. The trim is set for Take-Off, both the aircraft trim...   and also the Fuel Trim, this is set by the Flight Engineer, or on the FLIGHT ENGINEER cheat panel. Exciting is to ARM the four "Reheat" switches or the afterburner switches, then set the T.O Monitor mid-panel to protect the over thrust of the engines, all green is good to GO!

 

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Timer running and up the throttles. You don't need to go full throttle as noted as Concorde is very over-powered. Then you get the 3.2.1 NOW callout to note the time to advance the throttles...   deep in the exhaust outlets the reheat starts to switch in, and soon you are at a full afterburner power, then this thing moves like a missile across the airfield.

 

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You have to be very controlled as the aircraft feels thin and dart like (which Concorde is really), and you have to find the right power zone, enough to takeoff cleanly, but not enough to overspeed the aircraft, and at around 200 kts, you rotate to 10º (don't listen to the "Rotate" call out, it is too early, pull back when you feel the slight lift). Your excited by this, but have to keep your brain focused forward, to stay in front of the aircraft. Gear up...

 

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There are nine phases in the Concorde flight profile...

 

TakeOff - Initial Climb - Climb (Subsonic) - Mach Climb - Cruise - Initial Descent - Descent (Subsonic) - Approach - Landing

 

The first three phases are in the Subsonic role and you fly the aircraft pretty well the same as any other commercial heavy aircraft.

 

TakeOff

Is as we have just done, around 200 kts and rotate to 10º and climb-out, then when cleared of the field and have some height then go to a 15º climb pitch while adjusting the power. Concorde's rate climb is an astounding 4,000 feet per minute, but you would never do that sort of pitch.

 

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Initial Climb

Once airborne and settled on your heading, you now disengage the "Reheat" (afterburners) and T/O Monitor and set the ENG RATING MODE (OHP) to FLIGHT. Note your speed has to be under the striped Airspeed marker, between 250 knts or in my case an easy 300 knts. You have to be careful not to drop your speed when the burners are cutoff and keep the initial climb power clean. In my case to 12,000ft

 

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Once at 12,000ft, now you can re-trim the fuel balance for flight, by pressing the "TRIM FOR FLIGHT" button on the FLIGHT ENGINEER. Of course you can do this manually, but study would again be required to learn the complex fuel system and pumps to get the correct trim position.

 

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You can now activate the extensive Autopilot called "Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS)", and considering the age of the aircraft it is a very comprehensive unit, it is a bit tricky to learn at first, so I recommend a study. But extremely well done here by Colimata.

 

Concorde uses a Duel system with an Autothrottle. Mostly you set (Altitude/Speed), switch on the AT1, then press the corresponding "ACQ" button, when the speed is "Acquired" then the IAS HOLD is activated, but the HDG (Heading) mode also needs to be activated (pull knob) for it to work with the TRK HDG (Track Heading). It looks sensational in operation, and it is very authentic to use.

 

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Climb (Subsonic)

The next phase is to climb to 28,000ft (FL280). The Rate of Climb is selected on the VSI or "Vertical Speed Indicator" on the left side of the instrument by sliding the left marker up to 2,000 fpm or slightly more, Concorde can easily climb at the rate consistently, and barely break a sweat. Set the Altitude to 28000, and press VERT SPEED and ALT ACQ, and the aircraft will start to climb, no reheat is required.

 

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I can now even adjust my speed to 350 knts, again adjust and (IAS) ACQ. Even at this low subsonic speed the aircraft is amazing to fly in, the simulation can give you that authentic reality, X-Plane does the rest.

 

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Now up and passing the end of the Welsh coast I track 249º and head slightly southwest. The visor is put into the UP position, Supersonic position.

 

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Mach Climb

Now it is time to leave the realms of the Subsonic genre. We are now going plus Mach +

 

Your going to fly higher and faster than anyone else, and this requires special clearance from Shanwick Oceanic control (flying west Ireland, flying east means you use Gander Oceanic in Newfoundland) before you can move into the next phase of the flight, once cleared...

 

...  you can then disconnect the AT1 (AutoThrottle) and select again the "Reheat" (Afterburners)...  and push up the throttle, altitude is set at 60,000ft or FL600.

 

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The trick is to keep the climb speed just below just below the MACH marker dial, don't worry about the Airspeed dial as that is going to go "off the dial" anyway. You do this by controlling the pitch of the aircraft with the V/S (Veritical Speed)...  soon your going Supersonic with barely a ripple in the cockpit, and to the first speed marker of the climb at m 1.13.

 

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At m.1.13 the engine inlet ramps and spill doors will start to move to restrict the airflow into the engines. this is necessary to slow the air down from Mach 2 to Mach 0.5 (which is about 1,350 mph to about 500 mph) at which point it is a suitable speed at which the lower air pressure is still required to enter the engines but not damage them, clever and needed to fly at twice the speed of sound.

 

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Next marker is .m 1.17...  here you switch off the reheat burners, you can't use the "reheat" for more than 20 minutes or you will cause engine damage, but if you need the odd push to keep the speed in flight, then the odd "Burn" can be used".

Then with the thin air and like the third stage of a rocket, the Olympus engine power alone will continue the climb and still advance the speed.

 

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Soon the magic number comes up m. 2.02 "Twice the speed of sound!" and you switch back on the AT1 (AutoThrottle) and select MACH HOLD. There is a deep thrill that you have got here, "twice faster than a bullet".

 

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The inlet ramp/spill doors are now in the 50% position, controlling the airflow into the engines.

 

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Cruise

Basically there is not a lot to do at Supersonic speeds. Just watch your navigation and the aircraft's systems. Even on the MACH HOLD I lost a little speed back to .m 1.94, but as the fuel burn lightened the aircraft it gradually climbed back into the double figures of .M 2.1, and the aircraft's payload weight and wind factors can of course change this aspect. There is a lot of information delivered by Colimata on the status of the aircraft and it's engines in flight via the STATUS and ENGINES tabs...  it is all very clever.

 

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You are now flying through the X-Plane default map at a colossal speed, and the movement across the pop-out is highly noticeable.

 

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The Fuel consumption of the Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 engines at Mach 2 (2,120 km/h; 1,320 mph) and at the altitude of 60,000 feet (18,000 m) was around 4,800 US gallons per hour (18,000 L/h) or .28 MPG... or 6.4166666667 ton register, so for what the engines were producing, they were highly efficient, it was at the low subsonic speeds they were totally inefficient and gulped down fuel.

 

Lighting

Overall I will note the overhead lighting I feel is a bit too modern and bright for a 60 year old aircraft, that said the lighting is very, very good. There are a LOT of knobs to select a large range of instrument lighting.

 

From left and right panels, centre panel and OHP and pedestal are all covered by 10 adjustment knobs, on the centre section of the OHP and on each side of the pilot.

 

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Even in just the instrument lighting it is very good and comfortable. Side panel lighting can be just to highlight the knobs, or for map/paperwork. Side lighting panels adjust each pilot side lighting and text highlights, and there are two panels with four adjustment knobs.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 3.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 4.jpg

 

There are several FLOOD/STORM, knob and switch for the front area and a specialist light for the OHP (which is very nice)...

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 5.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 6.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 7.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 8.jpg

 

Rear engineer's station has not only main overhead lighting (again really well done), but a work shelf light for the adjustable tray.... it is easy to find that right mood/feel that you would like in here...  open the cockpit door and the very bright cabin lights up the crew.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 9.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 10.jpg

 

In the cabin it is BRIGHT, a bit too bright...  but a good bright. So some adjustment would be nice to have over this aspect.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 11.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 12.jpg

 

Externally there is not much to see, choice is if you want the tail light on, but the small passport sized windows stop the bright light bleed from the cabin externally and the aircraft looks very nice scorching through the high altitude.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Lighting 13.jpg

 

Initial Descent

We have passed through Gander Oceanic, then south though Santa Maria Oceanic, and now we are approaching Boston UIR were most of the Oceanic tracks converge on the North American continent side. 

 

You are coming down in reality almost twice the height of some subsonic aircraft, at least a third more that even the highest flying heavy. So you will have to calculate your descent far more forward than your usual descent point. In reality you are also first only coming down into the subsonic realm called the "Initial Decent", before commencing the "Decent". Part of my flight is overland by Boston, so it is time to descend at DOVEY.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 1.jpg

 

I first set the fuel balance in motion again on the Engineers Panel to TRIM FOR DESCENT, then set the altitude at 32,000ft (FL320), and turn off the AT1 (AutoThrottle), and set your descent rate to around 3,000 fpm. There is a marker left on the throttle of where to bring the initial descent throttles back to, and then hit the VERT-SPEED and ALT ACQ buttons.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent A.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 2.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 3.jpg

 

Your focus is now on the Airspeed, not on the MACH number, and the aim is to stay around 350 knts mark while going down...

 

CONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 4.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 5.jpg

 

....  and down you come while losing speed at the same time, once again as you go through .m 1.13 the ramp/spill doors should now move slowly back into their raised positions.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 6.jpg

 

Then you are "Subsonic" again and just another heavy aircraft. At the FL320 marker I set the AT1 back on at 300 knts, then at PLYMM waypoint drop the visor to 0º. And cruise over the Massachusetts coast just south of Boston, perfectly legal.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 7.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 8.jpg

 

Descent

Now you fly just like any other heavy aircraft, but Concorde does have a few quirks that makes it slightly different. First is the main descent and here down to 8,000ft, once there the speed is adjusted back to 250 knts, and at this point the unique delta wing starts to have an impact on the way Concorde flies through the air. You get a 10º pitch up, so that requires you dropping the nose visor down to 5º.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 9.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - INI Decent 10.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Descent 3.jpg

 

Through the murk to my right is KJFK or John F. Kennedy International Airport, and I am now down to 4,000ft and in my landing circuit into JFK's 04L (110.90 khz) runway. A right turn and down to 3,000ft. 

 

Approach

Again you have to adjust your fuel trim, this time for TRIM FOR LANDING via the Flight Engineer panel. There is also a neat feature, in if you press your speed bugs, they will reset to give you your landing speeds (They do also work the same way for takeoff), here it is a 230 knt approach speed which I found perfect...

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Approach 1.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Approach 2.jpg

 

Final turn for KJFK Rwy 04L, and it is gear down and landing lights extended and on, again I'm not a big fan of the over-bright landing lights that spill out more than shine forward. The visor is now also lowered to it's full DOWN 12.5º landing position.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Approach 3.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Approach 4.jpg

 

As noted the delta wing throws up an interesting approach phase. There are no flaps to allow slower speeds, so the aircraft with it's extremely high vortex lift can easily still stay aloft, but the slow speed, also comes with also an extreme angle of attack, giving the aircraft it's unique "Bird of Prey" look on approach.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Approach 5.jpg

 

VOR LOC is used to lock onto the ILS (110.90 mhz IHIQ), but the amount of tight alignment to the beam is very small, you have to very much be on the centre line to get the lock, so you can't turn in and simply expect the VOR LOC to centre the dial for you, it will just not align...  

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Approach 6.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Approach 7.jpg

 

...  Ditto is using GLIDE (not LAND or AUTOLAND as currently the autoland capability is not active, but coming from Colimata). If you use the GLIDE function too early the Concorde will then just sink? so you activate to collect the vertical slope just one marker above the centre marker. Speed is crucial to getting it all right, 230 knts is reduced to 200 knts, then finally 180 kts in the beams.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Approach 8.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Approach 9.jpg

 

Landing

You get callouts and watch the radar altimeter right in front of you like a hawk, then at 500 ft you disconnect the AT1 (AutoThrottle) if not flying manually, then allow the throttles back to sink down on to the runway... for "gods sake" don't try to flare, Concorde doesn't flare... 

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Approach 10.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Approach 11.jpg

 

...  it is very tricky to get right, in not sinking too fast (to bounce hard) and also not to roar over and use up a lot of runway space, you have to get it precision right. Gradually Concorde will settle...

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Land 1.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Land 2.jpg

 

...   and your sitting (even on the runway) very, very high up, and the perspective is quite unreal, time to get the nose down slowly while tracking as straight as you can...

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Land 3.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Land 4.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Land 5.jpg

 

...  once all ten wheels are on the hard stuff, then power up the engine Clam reversers to slow the aircraft while using your toe brakes lightly to steer and slow at the same time.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Land 6.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Land 8.jpg

 

Once down to taxi speed you can let your held breath go, as that was one exhilarating landing, but brutal to get absolutely right. Reversers off, and then at a lower speed you then shutdown the centre two engines (2 & 3), as you only need the other two (1 & 4) to taxi. And "Welcome to New York... Land of the Free...".

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Land 7.jpg

 

Visor is raised to 5º for taxi, and then you are now just another one aircraft in a queue of commercial aircraft at JFK...  but deep down, we know we are not, as we have just flown in a very different and exciting realm....  as we have flown Supersonic, and across the Atlantic in just 3h 47m, simply no one else here can do that!

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Land 9.jpg

___________________

 

There is extensive manuals (three), and loads of video's, and some very good. But this extremely complex aircraft finds itself having holes in the documentation that you have to fill in by practice yourself. A lot of the documentation were for the v1 (early not-completed version), and not for the upgraded v2. On the CIVA there is quite a lot of documentation, but on the X-Plane Flightplan aspect not so much.

 

Last note is that the Colimata aircraft needs a global "Save" feature. The systems and lighting are very hard to reset, certainly time and time again if you want to practise takeoffs and landings, just the lighting alone need 14 adjustments back to normal each time you restart, after a while it get extremely wearing. The X-Plane default "Situation" save only covers a small reset in mostly position and engine setting, the rest you have to redo yourself, thankfully the "Replay" mode works well, so you can see how you did fro the external view.

 

Liveries

There are only two provided liveries with the Concorde package...  (default) British Airways 1984 "Landor" G-BOAC and Air France F-BVFV. Overall Concorde only had seven liveries

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Landor.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Air France.jpg

 

I have listed here the available past active liveries;

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Prototype.jpg

Prototype F-WTSS 1969

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Red Top FS.jpg

British Airways G-BOAA First Service 1976, called either the "Negus" after the designer Dick Negus, or "Red Top" by the red tail.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Red Top.jpg

British Airways G-BOAE Revised Livery 1980. The airways was dropped and here it is just "British" and the red top was slightly redesigned.

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Singapore Airlines.jpgCONCORDE_FXP - Singapore Airlines 2.jpg

Singapore Airlines G-BOAD/G-N94AD (registration was Braniff in US) with the Red Top livery on the right side. January 1979 to March 1980

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Pepsi.jpg

Pepsi Promotion F-BDST 1996. Sixteen flights of a ten city tour of Europe and the Middle-East

 

CONCORDE_FXP - Flag.jpg

British Airways G-BOAC 1998-2003 - known as the "Union Flag" livery.

 

All these liveries and non-original liveries can be found here; Concorde FXP by Colimata Liveries

___________________

Summary

Of all the iconic designs in Aviation, only a few are elevated above being truly iconic, one of those aircraft was the Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde built by a collaboration of the French and British governments and industries. Iconic because this aircraft was really the only true commercial supersonic transport aircraft in service, it could fly twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.2 and as high as 60,000ft, a true wonder of aviation's futuristic ambitions. Concorde flew in commercial service from January 1976 to November 2003, not withstanding the fatal Air France Flight 4590 crash 25th July 2000 in Paris.

 

There have been several Concorde aircraft in X-Plane, the best was Concorde by Dr Gary Hunter, but not until now has there been a completely extensive simulation of the aircraft. There was was a “Early Access” Concorde released in honour of the legendary aircraft’s 50th anniversary of its first flight by Colimata, but this was basically a work-in-progress development. With the release of v2 on October 20th, 2021 again by Colimata was the aircraft finally in a fully sorted condition as was reviewed here.

 

Even by normal simulation standards this 1960's style aircraft is a very ambitious and complex project to deliver, accolades have to be given to the developer, and totally on what X-Plane has to experience here in detail and the complex systems of a supersonic airliner.

 

Focus of this Concorde aircraft is on it's exclusive and unique systems, from "Reheat" engines (afterburners), air controlling intake ramps, fuel movement for balance trim and extensive AFCS autopilot. Thankfully Colimata provides an extensive "Short Cut" menu system to allow beginner access to the parameters of such a system, and provides exclusive GUI visual information on the aspects of the aircraft in flight and it's engines as are both Standard and Pro modes. Navigation is provided three ways. An authentic CIVA or "Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System" (addon required), or two direct X-Plane default flight plan intergrations (one the default X-Plane G1000), but notable is that CIVA information is in abundance, but default intergation is not as well supported, and can be tricky to use.

 

Again the focus is on the cockpit and authentic instrumentation and system detail, and extensive it is.... even overwhelming. This is a Concorde of your dreams in this incredible environment. External modeling is very good, even excellent. But in areas a bit too bland and basic like around the engine intakes and poor fuselage door geometry, there is no "In service" wear and tear that could lift the aircraft above to a more modern realism feel (again around the engine intakes and ramps). Cabin is quite basic and especially the porthole windows are very basic in design, but with an eye on framerate, these areas are relegated to their basics. Extensive ground support vehicles are also quite bland and basic, and oddly there are no wheel chocks or static elements. But a lot of the correct authentic detailing is provided and well featured here.

 

The feature list is long and extensive, and the flying capabilities are exceptional, there is so much provided in the package to keep everyone happy for long periods of time, and this review is very long and extensive and that shows you the extensive amount of features you get here, so for absolute value it is top notch. And X-Plane12 support will be provided.

 

A Concorde in any simulator is always highly regarded because it is a very iconic and unique aircraft to fly...  an exceptional Concorde like we have here from Colimata is making the dream come true for any hard core simulator user. It is complex and quite difficult to fly, but that is the challenge and the investment in the aircraft. The developer has spent a lot of time and effort to develop this aircraft for simulation, overall that is an remarkable achievement by itself. But to be able to fly at twice the speed of sound and high at 60,000ft, even in simulation terms means we can still continue the era of Supersonic commercial flight.

_____________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Concorde FXP version 2 by Colimata is AVAILABLE from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Concorde FXP version 2

Price is US$54.95 (Currently on sale for US$49.95 0r 5% OFF)

 

Features
3D COCKPIT
  • Super detailed 3D cockpit
  • Front panel, center panel, roof panel, side consoles, Engineering
  • 4k cockpit textures including 100’s of texts and markings
  • 2k alternative available to save VRAM
  • Incredible level of interactivity
  • More than 1000 click regions (switches, quick access areas, etc)
  • 700+ custom lights for:
    • Warning lamps
    • Gorgeous, dimmable night lighting (Instruments, panels, consoles, floods, etc.)
    • Exterior lights
  • PRO or STANDARD complexity settings
  • 3D Inertial Navigation System CIVA
    • Route programming directly in the 3D cockpit
    • Track / Groundspeed
    • Heading / Drift angle
    • XTK Track
    • Position
    • Waypoints
    • Distance / Time
    • Wind
    • Waypoint change
  • Interactive Engineering panel
  • Automatic or manual trim fuel pumping
EXTERNAL MODEL
  • Accurate 3D model of the aircraft
  • Opening passenger and cargo doors plus service panels
  • Very detailed engines
    • Including moving ramps, intake/spill doors
    • Animated primary and secondary nozzles
    • Engine cowl doors can be opened
    • Mounted engines
    • External 3D model of the Olympus 593 engine
  • Detailed landing gear
  • Many utility vehicles included (tankers, conveyors, catering, etc)
  • Included pushback truck and functionality
  • Full use of PBR
  • Beautiful 4k textures including normal maps
  •  2k version available to save VRAM
FLIGHTMODEL
  • PRO or STANDARD setting
  • Refined subsonic and supersonic flight model
  • Vortex Lift simulation
  • Ground effect simulation
  • Trim fuel imbalance force simulation
  • Thrust simulation
SOUND
  • FMOD 3D sound
  • Dozens and dozens of sound effects
  • Audio advice from Copilot, Engineer, and Pilot
  • A dozen different sound spaces
  • Adjustable volumes
IN ADDITION
  • PRO or STANDARD complexity settings
  • VR compatible
  • Autopilot with 16+ functions
  • Extensive Graphical User Interface with features like:
    • Flight Preparation
    • Aircraft management
    • Virtual flight engineer
    • Custom content
    • GUI is fully scalable
    • Dedicated Checklists window
  • Quick Access GUI (Views, GUI, Checklists)
  • 3D passenger cabin
  • AviTab compatible
  • 2 liveries included
  • Many more free liveries available
  • Paintkit available
MANUALS
  • Installation & Setup manual
  • ‘10 essentials’ manual (91 pages)
  • Full manual (403 pages, separate download)
  • Cold & Dark startup guide (67 pages)
  • Navigation tutorial (54 pages)
  • Video tutorials on youtube.com/colimatavideos

 

Requirements
X-Plane 11 
Windows, Mac and Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Support for X-Plane 12 will be provided
Download Size: 600 MB
Current version: 2.01 (November 5th 2021)
 
Installation
Download of Concorde FXP is 505 Mb and it is installed in your Airliner Folder as an 875 Mb folder. Activation is via the standard authentication Key. There is no Auto-updater by Skunkcrafts for updates, so currently you have to redownload any updates via the X-Plane.OrgStore.
 

Recommended is optional addon CIVA Navigation System by Philipp Ringler US$15.00, which can be used in several aircraft, Concorde of course but also the noted also the Feliss B742 and FlyJSim's Boeing 727.

 

Documents
Provided are tons of documents Included with the package. A "QuickStart" Manual that covers the aircraft's layouts and systems, and a "Installation & Setup" and an extensive "Navigation Tutorial" (mostly focused on the addon CIVA). A version changelog and Concorde fms routes are also provided.
  • 01 Installation & Setup.pdf
  • 02 -10-essentials.pdf
  • 03 Concorde FXP FULL MANUAL.txt
  • 04 Cold & Dark startup.pdf
  • 05 Navigation tutorial.pdf
  • 05 routes EGLL_KJFK_fms.zip
  • Support.txt
  • Updates.txt
  • VIDEO tutorials.txt

Also more in-depth manuals can be downloaded, including;

  • Concorde FXP Full manual PART 1.pdf
  • Concorde FXP Full manual PART 2.pdf

_____________________

 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

9th July 2022

Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  -S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 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 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99

Scenery or Aircraft

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

- KJFK - New York Airports XP v2 Volume 1 by Drzewiecki (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.00

 

(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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