Jump to content

Aircraft Review : SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 by JRollon and SimCoders

Recommended Posts

SIAI-Marchetti SF-260D Header.jpg


Aircraft Review : SIAI-Marchetti SF.-260 by JRollon and SimCoders


The SF.260 was designed by Italian aircraft designer Stelio Frati, with production work originally performed by Milan-based aviation manufacturer Aviamilano. It was even before the aircraft's maiden flight that the project was then purchased out in the whole by SIAI Marchetti, who had purchased the rights to the design and the manufacturing which continued to be performed by this firm until the company was themselves bought out by Aermacchi in 1997.


The aircraft is two-four seat single engined trainer, that also had the capabilities as a very light-weight strike aircraft, and that made it very popular for small airforces. It is renowned aerobatic aircraft as well, and so this is a very versatile aircraft was built to the standards of a jet aircraft rather than a light-weight trainer. Around 850 aircraft have been built since 1964, and the aircraft is still in production.


JRollon and SimCoders

Javier Rollon is a very early X-Plane designer from Spain. His aircraft include the CRJ-200, BAE Jetstream 32 and the T34-C Mentor, but more unknown is that he is the main developer that is responsible for most of the default aircraft that comes with the X-Plane simulator, so fly the Boeing 738, or Boeing 747-400 or even the Space Shuttle and you are flying in one of JRollon's aircraft.


SimCoders are a specialist plugin developer studio that started out with their excellent "Headshake" plugin, but their main focus has been on REP's or Reality Expansion Packs that give both the X-Plane default or payware (mostly Carenado) aircraft added capabilities and features not included within the original package.


With this SIAI Marchetti it is the first time that SimCoder's have been included in the original development of the aircraft, so this package is not a divided or addon pack, but both areas have been developed together as a one single whole package.


SF-260D_ Head 1.jpgSF-260D_ Head 2.jpgSF-260D_ Head 3.jpgSF-260D_ Head 4.jpg


First impression is that the included feature list is huge for such a small aircraft, add in the SimCoder pack and it gets really big. So no expense has been spared here by either developer on this little trainer/strike aircraft.



The SF.260 uses the Simcoder REP as it's menu system, so any or most menu options or features are accessed through that system.


But first let us have a walkaround of the Marchetti, and have a look at the intimate details of the aircraft, however to access some areas it is required to use the REP pack menu system...


I have always been a bit contentious towards some of JRollon's designs, no doubt they are excellent. But they sometimes they come across as a bit heavy handed, note the X-Plane Boeing 747-400, or the CRJ-200. They are very good make no mistake, but usually feel a bit heavy and dark in their designs and graphics. So my first thoughts on the Marchetti, was then is this aircraft going to go down that same dark dirty route, but to be fair Javier has not done an external payware aircraft for years, as the Laminar contracts have kept him away from the main stream so to speak. So in someways this aircraft is a new look at his current design philosophy and in the way he has adjusted his style to the newer X-Plane11 era and it's dynamics.


There is one thing that has been very highly noticeable from about the same time last year and that is the sheer upward thrust of quality in detail and realism... from a reviewers point of view this level and the sheer speed of this upwards movement, can also make you look like a bit of a twat. Go back to last year and the gushing of "Brilliant", "Authentic" and "Realism" can look now a bit outdated. But the announcements were made in context to the level of design and the version of X-Plane you were working with at that time. All you can say here is, this is a new higher level of dynamics for X-Plane once again...


SF-260D_Detail 1.jpgSF-260D_Detail 2.jpgSF-260D_Detail 3.jpg


If you love detail, then this Marchetti will be an aircraft that will really get your jollies off...  words of "Incredible" and "amazing" do so easily roll off your tongue.


SF-260D_Detail 4.jpgSF-260D_Detail 5.jpgSF-260D_Detail 6.jpgSF-260D_Detail 7.jpg


The undercarriage is the point of truth for any design, and yes there are a lot of great assemblies out there, but "this" detail is something else, and I have a few thousand real aircraft gear images to back me up. The detail and complexity is absurd, almost an art form, but overwhelming is the wear and tear detail...  the liveries that come with the Marchetti are large in size at 4096x4096 and downloads are 131mb each, but they hold some incredible detailing. 


SF-260D_Detail 8.jpgSF-260D_Detail 9.jpg


It is not just the wheel assemblies that are outstanding as in their craftmanship, but the wheel-well boxes are highly realistic as well. Just look at those tyres and tell me you have seen better...


Wing profile and detail is again excellent, but it is in the minute that you see brilliance... note the wing-tip fuel tank drainage plug. Lighting assemblies on the wing-tips are a work of art. The static wicks are highly realistic, as they flop in the static position but are animated in flight; they are positioned on the wing, elevator trailing edges and rudder trailing edge.


SF-260D_Detail 10.jpgSF-260D_Detail 11.jpg


SF-260D_Detail 12.jpgSF-260D_Detail 13.jpg


Panel fit, riveting and design is first rate, as it is hard (and so many developers get don't the right amount of groove to make the panels realistic and so they look wrong), but not so here...  note the lovely NACA duct on the fuselage.


SF-260D_Detail 14.jpgSF-260D_Detail 15.jpg


I have a bit of an obsession with glass, as to me perfect glass means a perfect aircraft, it is all in the shape, the thickness and the reflections.... and just when you thought it couldn't get any better, like with JustFlights Hawk T.1a then along come this masterpiece, with not only a perfection of a glass canopy, but a section of tinted glass set within the glass... and look carefully and the glass is also scratched by the elements in the air, these scratches are very and highly realistic when viewed in flight, and more so the VR (Virtual Reality) mode.


SF-260D_Detail 16.jpgSF-260D_Detail 17.jpg

SF-260D_Detail 18.jpgSF-260D_Detail 19.jpg


Part of this extraordinary detail is the engine as well.... a Lycoming O-540-E4A5, 195 kW (260 hp) 6 cyl horizontal opposed engine!


SF-260D_Detail 21.jpgSF-260D_Detail 22.jpg


You can only access the engine via the REP menu... which I found a little annoying, surely we could have a selection to access the engine like the other static items? Note the excellent air-cooling pots or cylinders, and every nut, screw, wire and pipe is here...  it is simply extraordinary detail.


Cockpit and Cabin

It has been a journey around the Marchetti's exterior, so how is the interior and does it live up to the same quality and detailing? Some how you already knew that this not going to be the usual case...


SF-260D_Internal Detail 1.jpgSF-260D_Internal Detail 2.jpg


...  although the instrument panel looks excellent, it is the seats that really early on that catches your eyes.


SF-260D_Internal Detail 3.jpgSF-260D_Internal Detail 4.jpg

SF-260D_Internal Detail 5.jpgSF-260D_Internal Detail 6.jpg


This is obscene to almost sick in realism... the folds of the leather, the inner seat panels...   agggh...  it is just...  well. The highlight (yes there is more than that that leather) is in the seatbelt stitching, ribbing and design...  ohhh! beautiful, and tell me where there is better?


SF-260D_Internal Detail 7.jpg  SF-260D_Internal Detail 8.jpg


Internal cabin paneling is also exceptional, lovely leather (this is an Italian aircraft after all) and again those ripples and folds... note the metal foot plate with screws on the floor.


SF-260D_Internal Detail 9.jpgSF-260D_Internal Detail 10.jpg


Instrument Panel

Getting to the business end of the Marchetti you know it is already going to be good...


SF-260D_Instrument panel 1.jpgSF-260D_Instrument panel 2.jpg


SF-260D_Instrument panel 5 LG.jpg


...  and the detail, features and quality is going to be very high, and so you are certainly not going to be disappointed either. It does feel military but not that far removed from a general aviation aircraft. Note the lovely folds in the leather on the edge of the glareshield.


First point is quirk or is it a intentional point. The lower "Avionics' switch does not turn off the avionics suite? (it is actually switched off in flight?) even with the battery switch flipped off. The only way to stop the avionics draining your power is to pull out the circuit breakers? (arrowed) and yes they all are active. There is another avionic kill switch I found later (almost hidden) in the "Emerg Avionics Master". This Emergency Battery is made by 28 AA batteries, and the Emergency Battery is connected to the ESS Bus and so over-riding the standard avionics Bus


SF-260D_Instrument panel 3.jpgSF-260D_Instrument panel 4.jpg


All the instruments are beautifully done with wear and tear scratches on the glass, but they are also very realistic in that the cockpit instrumentation needles will be more precise with a newly calibrated gauge rather than with an old one. So you can tap over an indicator or a bulb light to try to correct its error or fix it while in the cockpit. And I like the way the artificial horizon is lazy and floating with no power.


Instruments are complex, heavily detailed and focused on the left seat flying pilot. Standard Six instruments are in the classic layout with Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator positioned top, and the Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial with built-in Course Deviation Bar (CDI) centre and the Vertical Speed Indicator complete the lower set. Lower row has a fancy chronometer, a ADF/VOR pointer and a CDI or Course Deviation Indicator (VOR 2, and switchable to VOR1)


Right side pilot has backup instruments with RPM dial, Manifold Pressure and Attitude Indicator line of sight with a secondary Attitude Indicator right lower. Suction dial, Fuel Flow and Temperature gauge. Centre panel has landing gear lever and Flap switch Up to 50º in continuous movement and not stepped. Then there is two rows of engine gauges that cover Oil Pressure, Oil  Temperature, Cyl  Temperature, LoadMeter (top) L(eft) tip tank Fuel, L(eft) wing tank Fuel, R(ight) wing tank Fuel, R(ight) tip tank Fuel (lower) - (64 gallons). The full set of active circuit breakers and lighting switchgear is on the bottom row.


SF-260D_Instrument panel 6.jpgSF-260D_Instrument panel 7.jpg


Under the glareshield there are four dials, they cover L to R: Fuel Pressure, Engine EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature), Flap position and Acceleration G movement.


Outwardly the Avionics stack looks like the standard fit-out you usually have, but this layout has far more built in active features.


SF-260D_Instrument Avionics 1.jpgSF-260D_Instrument Avionics 2.jpg


Top of the stack is the standard issue Garmin 347 audio panel with the X-Plane Garmin GN430 GPS system below (COM1/VOR1). The

Bendix/King KX165 NavCom is quite a comprehensive unit with: Active/Standby frequencies mode, Channels mode, CDI mode, Bearing mode, Radial mode and Timer mode. The next Bendix/King KR87 ADF Receiver is also very comprehensive with ANT/BFO/ADF modes and FLT/ET mode with SET/RST button. The Marchetti uses a Bendix/King KFC225 Autopilot with highly realistic Startup animations, ROLL and PITCH mode, HDG/NAV/VS/ALT modes and Yaw Damper...  finally bottom is the Garmin GTX330 Transponder with built-in Altitude Monitor mode, Count down mode, Count up mode, Flight Time mode and OAT/DALT mode, altogether they are quite impressive to use. None pop-out and that includes the default GNS 430? but the KFC225 is very easily accessible from the pilot's position.


You can use the XSaitekPanels plugin and also install the  RealityXP's GTN750 GPS as it can also can be used if you have that (expensive) option.


Centre pedestal is tiny but excellent with; standard Throttle, Propeller and Mixture levers which are lovely and beautifully designed, the Fuel tank switch is set below...  note the nicely crafted joysticks (can be hidden) and trim wheel.


SF-260D_Instrument panel 8.jpgSF-260D_Instrument panel 9.jpg


The SF-260 has twin-throttles with another on the far left... Italian trainee's are expected to learn to fly via the left hand on the left throttle and the right hand on the stick...  Another lever lower down is a feature, with if you use Simcoder's "Headshake" plugin with the aircraft you can adjust the vibrations of either a loose or tight seatbelt, by just adjusting this lever!


Rudder pedals are beautifully crafted, and the guides as they are animated are also very realistic (arrowed).


  SF-260D_Instrument panel 10.jpgSF-260D_Instrument panel 11.jpg



The panel lighting is sensational as well, there is only one adjustment via both knobs at each end of the instrument panel...  the phosphorous lighting dims slowly at night, and looks highly realistic. There is also a small yellow light above the pedestal for maximum detail and the lighting glows beautifully at night.


SF-260D_Iighting 1.jpgSF-260D_Iighting 2.jpgSF-260D_Iighting 3.jpgSF-260D_Iighting 4.jpg


External lighting is very good as well.


SF-260D_Iighting 5.jpgSF-260D_Iighting 6.jpg


Strobe and beacon lights are bit strong but fine, navigation lights and there is a single nose landing light....   that single light however is quite strong.


REP or Reality Expansion Pack

The built in REP package is pretty well the standard version that SimCoder's produce for other aircraft. But because it is already interwoven into the aircraft it does feel far more solid than the other REP packs. I personally am not totally a user of REP packages as they can be a bit over excited on the various systems (early engine starts were almost impossible), but they have improved quite a lot lately, so we shall see how the fully installed REP is either a bonus or a negative to this aircraft.


The REP can be accessed by two menu options... one is in the X-Plane plugin's menu and the other is a pop-out on the left side of your screen...


SF-260D_Menu 1.jpgSF-260D_Menu 2.jpg


The left side screen menu tabs can be partially or fully hidden.


The top plugin menu has more options with the screen version only using the centre six tabs. The first two include; "Settings" and "Wear out to".


SF-260D_Menu 3.jpgSF-260D_Menu 4.jpg


Settings include: Enable the plane damages, Show failure messages, Show tips, Show side menu on mouse hover only, Save and restore the plane status between sessions, Enable hypoxia effect, Roll axis drives ground steering, Use US Customary (pounds and inches), Pilot/Copilot altimeter use InHg and Enable engine monitor.


Most of the above can be switched off, like the failure messages, tips and engine monitor. The mouse hover option is best ticked off as well... but the Save and Restore option is excellent in leaving X-Plane and coming back to the aircraft, which is then set exactly the same way as you left it, including warm fluids, CHT and Oil Temperature, switches position, the fuel on-board, the loaded weights, the engine fluids quantity and quality and the feature is excellent. To reset to cold, just uncheck the box.


Wear out to; The aircraft comes with some significant failures built in and you can regulate them by setting the "Wear out" condition, there are four settings with:


Brand New or the engine is brand new and all the onboard systems were just as tested.

Privately Owned (new): this is an almost new aircraft that has been privately owned with care. The engine as well as the other systems will have some hours logged but no issues are in place.

Privately Owned (old): this is an aircraft that has been owned privately for years. The engine as well as the other systems will have much hours logged but no issues are in place as the private owner kept the plane with good care.

Flying Club: Buggered!


The centre six selections on the plugins menu are the same six on the left side tab menu, they include:


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


SF-260D_REP 1.jpgSF-260D_REP 2.jpg


All menu options have pop-up panels and you can move them around the screen, but you can't scale them, which is a bit hard as some are quite large and can cover vital instruments... so the panels can get in the way in flight, not so much on the ground. For VR users there is a custom system to access the menus and text inputs in the VR mode, so there are both systems available in the 2d and 3d environments.


Kneeboard: This panel contains the aircraft normal and emergency checklists together with the performance reference tables (there are also key assigns to operate the kneeboard without using the menus).


Mass & Balance: This panel is used to precisely load the plane, a Center of Gravity envelope is provided. There are settings for Pilot/Passenger/Baggage weights, Fuel Weight, Landing C.G protection and an aircraft summary is also provided.


Walkaround: The walkaround feature is a combination of several areas, in settings for the aircraft in fluids and fuel, opening features and static elements.


SF-260D_REP 4.jpgSF-260D_REP 3.jpg


A lot of users are already very familiar with this REP system and it is excellent, but if you want say just the chocks positioned it is a long way around the walkaround to do so? The pop-up panel has two areas of walkaround choices, one is the main "Pre-Flight Check" and the other is the "Lights Check"


Lights Check: This checks all the lights around the aircraft, and includes the instrument panel lighting. Note the excellent tip tank fuel cap detail!


SF-260D_REP 6.jpgSF-260D_REP 5.jpg


Pre-Flight Check: Does two actions in testing areas around the aircraft for flight and adding or removing static elements. It also shows fluid levels of the various systems.


SF-260D_REP 7.jpgSF-260D_REP 8.jpg


Static elements include: Wheel chocks, Canopy cover (nice), Wing and tail tie-downs, engine inlet covers and pitot cover. Tyre condition and wear is shown, in case they need replacing.


Contentious for me is that this option is the only way to get access to that amazing Lycoming O-540-E4A5? It would be nice for the engine access to be part of the static elements? You can check the oil and its condition level. 


SF-260D_REP 9.jpgSF-260D_REP 10.jpg


Fuel quantity and contamination levels are also shown, nice fuel cap...


The active flying surfaces test feature is still here and it is very good....


SF-260D_REP 11.jpgSF-260D_REP 12.jpg


...  with the surfaces covered which are the ailerons, flaps, elevator and rudder.


All in all the walkaround system is excellent, and there is a key command available to manoeuvre quickly through the walkaround menu.


Tow: The tow feature allows you to pull the aircraft from the front nose position, you use your joystick to move left-right and backwards-forwards and at different speeds.


SF-260D_REP 13.jpgSF-260D_REP 14.jpg


Maintenance Report: There is a comprehensive clipboard that is a Maintenance Report... It is important to understand that the Marchetti is when used very vulnerable and has a significant built in "Custom Damage & Maintenance System". And ANY system can be damaged if used the wrong way. The Maintenance Report is one way to keep the pain away if used regularly, and it shows you the current condition of the aircraft. Note it can only be used if the engine and power is switched off, and then for the maintenance to be done on the aircraft.


SF-260D_REP 15.jpgSF-260D_REP 16.jpg


Engine Autostart: The REP provides you with a way to automatically start the engines. So get down on your knees and say "Thank God" for this option...  It can be a pain to start, certainly from cold.


Final two menu options are: "Toggle Static Elements" which is all on or all off, with no individual choices (it can be a key input as well).... and "About" which is what the current REP pack is being used.


SF-260D_Menu 5.jpgSF-260D_Menu 6.jpg


Flying the Marchetti!

Outwardly this a computer program, but inwardly this Marchetti behaves like a real aircraft. The O-540-E4A5 engine breathes, has the correct (or poor) fuel flow and there is a combustion model to which all  power outputs, the Cylinders Head Temperatures or the Oil Pressure which are all regulated. so the power output can be depending on climate and certain conditions, like for instance altitude...  yes it is all very complex, but also highly realistic. Noted features include...


Oil type, quality and quantity affects the engine behavior and the spark plugs may foul because of carbon deposits, Leaning the mixture at the wrong time or in the wrong way may cause damages to the engine, there are carburettor dynamics and ice accretion. Engine preheater and winterization kit: the engine may be preheated on winter using the provided electric engine heater. If the engine is not heated correctly, it then won’t start or may be damaged after start.


There is an animated pilot... at first I thought it was a young Austin Meyer? not to sure close up...  he is fully animated with lovely movements reflecting his pilot's position, and in a nice effect is that he moves his head and upperbody forward in some movements and his hands move perfectly with the joystick.


SF-260D_Fly 1.jpgSF-260D_Fly 2.jpg


Simcoder's "Headshake" plugin is recommended and so do I recommend it here also. You can use the XPRealistic Pro plugin as well if you wish, but a few extra features are used with the Headshake version and it is free.


Startup can give you the shakes literally, but with great cold engine sounds and intermittent running until the engine warms up (with a bit of throttle for a fair while and then idle). Close the canopy and the external sounds dull, press on the lovely headphones between the seats and the sounds dull even more to reflect wearing the headphones...


SF-260D_Fly 3.jpgSF-260D_Fly 4.jpg


A bit of thrust, brakes off and your away, you don't need a lot of throttle to get the SF-260 moving, but I have the twin throttles on my Saitek X56 Rhino set for one lever as the throttle and the right lever as the mixture, and using both you can find a nice taxiing balance.


SF-260D_Fly 5.jpgSF-260D_Fly 6.jpg


A bit of flap 14º (the secondary runway is really short at LIML-Linate 17/35 6011ft, (972m)) and with full rich mixture and power up...  the headshake can make the aircraft feel more twitchy than it really is and propeller yaw (to the left) is extreme, but around 90 knts I pull back on the joystick...


SF-260D_Fly 7.jpgSF-260D_Fly 8.jpg


Flaps to zero as soon as...  and up goes the gear. The Marchetti is complex on the ground, but a very simple aircraft to fly in the air...


SF-260D_Fly 9.jpgSF-260D_Fly 10.jpg


...  it is an aerobatic aircraft, but it flies beautifully and is quite an easy aircraft to manoeuvre around it's solid axis... Simcoders note that "Low stick movements are sufficient to cause a high roll speed. If pilot over corrects it may easily end up in Pilot Induced Oscillations (PIO) around the logitudinal axis."


Performance is not really exceptional...Rate of Climb is 9.1 m/s (1,791 ft/min),  Cruise speed is 330 km/h (178 knots, 205 mph)... with 236 knts Max. The range is 2,050 km (1,107 NM, 1,274 mi) and a Service Ceiling of  5,790 m (19,000 ft). But I found it hard to get into the 180 knt range, and so I backed off in case I blew something up... you feel that way in this aircraft.


SF-260D_Fly 11.jpgSF-260D_Fly 12.jpg


But this is a very nice place to be in, visibility is excellent, the SF-260 must be absolutely brilliant in VR.


SF-260D_Fly 13.jpgSF-260D_Fly 14.jpg


The SF.260D engine is normally aspirated. That is, the maximum air pressure that affects the engine is the outside atmospheric pressure. It is also affected by visible moisture, the Carb Heat knob must then be operated to avoid carburettor icing at low engine RPMs or icing conditions. Icing and effects are not on the aircraft yet, but with the new icing and carburettor effects being in the X-Plane11.30 version, I would expect them on the aircraft in the near future.


Sounds are custom, are fully customised and are not actually FMOD...  and they come with custom engine sounds that ensure high performance and the best aural quality with dynamic immersive sounds in both the internal and external views. They are very good and highly original, but I found the cruise sounds a bit droney and almost a "ooooonnnn" sound that you soon got really tired of.


KFC225 Autopilot is super nice to use even it it does not pop-out, at least it isn't buried somewhere hard to access...


SF-260D_Fly 15.jpgSF-260D_Fly 16.jpg


SF-260D_Fly 17.jpgSF-260D_Fly 18.jpg


From the point you drop the gear (note the above read warning light that the gear is up?) you get the buffeting, highly realistic...


SF-260D_Fly 19 LG.jpg


... but the Marchetti is a tricky aircraft to fly at low speeds, but I don't know if the Headshake is overswinging the effect, but the aircraft is very swinging in the horizontal (not much wind either). so you can over compensate. Approach speeds are 80 and 90 kt in the landing-configuration and stall speeds are right at the 61-kt limit, but you get a buffeting right at the approach of the stall speed (around 67 knts), but it makes it tricky to land and it feels quite fast as you arrive as well. Any throttle reduction is with care, as you can very easily lose height and lift... so the aircraft needs a fair bit of practice and even skill in flying the SF.-260 at this approach phase of the flying. And I have had three or so landings and still need to totally get to grips with the low speed handling, but again we don't spend this much cash and expect the aircraft to be basically very easy to fly.... we expect total realism, and that is what you have here.


SF-260D_Fly 20.jpgSF-260D_Fly 21.jpg


X-Plane does have a bad habit of grabbing you at the final phase and pulling you down on to the runway, and even with these several landings I haven't been able to dial that out, which I have done with other aircraft...  but I will keep trying to find that last minute fine balance.


SF-260D_Fly 22.jpgSF-260D_Fly 23.jpg


Overall the SF.-260 has an amazing feel, and it is highly realistic in flight...


SF-260D_Fly 24 LG.jpg


There is a rain effect, that puts water droplets on the glass... but overall it feels more like flashing Christmas tree lights than raindrops? and they don't wash away in flight as you gather speed very well either...  other developers have done a better set of water drop actions in this area.


SF-260D_Rain 1.jpgSF-260D_Rain 2.jpg


A final note is that if you use X-Plane's replay mode, the aircraft has a habit of jumping badly when you come out of the replay, it always hop's or jumps a small distance?



There are eleven liveries with the JRollon Yellow set as the default...  All are huge 4096x4096 4K textures of extremely high quality.


SF-260D_Livery JRollon.jpgSF-260D_Livery Black&White.jpgSF-260D_Livery Checkered Flag.jpgSF-260D_Livery I-LELM.jpgSF-260D_Livery Metal.jpg

SF-260D_Livery Purple White.jpgSF-260D_Livery Red&White.jpgSF-260D_Livery Red Belgium.jpgSF-260D_Livery SimCoders.jpg

SF-260D_Livery Stormo 70 N.jpgSF-260D_Livery Stormo 70 O.jpg


Note the very nice SimCoder's Promo livery.



When I first saw that US$40+ price I went 'oooh", that is high for a small single-engined aircraft. But as this review went on, and on and looking at the size of this review and then work your way through the very extensive feature list, then this Marchetti is now looking like an absolute bargain.


There is no doubt that Javier Rollon is a master developer. Certainly this aircraft will put his skills at the very top of the tree, list...   whatever as one of the very best in X-Plane, and thankfully his older dark heavy period seems to have been buried. But this is simply sublime work... even you could class it as one of the best in this category in X-Plane currently.


The detailing and the quality of the modelling here in the SF.-260 is off the scale, jaw-dropping it's sheer complexity and with ultra-fine detail... this is realism 101. You won't find better, and there is some excellent aircraft out there now in X-Plane. Overwhelming is the sheer interior detailing, the excellent exterior work including the magnificent undercarriage...  and... and...  that fully complete working Lycoming O-540-E4A5 engine, it is all "gone to heaven stuff"


Features and the depth of immersion of the systems, switchgear and even the avionics are all ultra deep and very accessible... and we haven't even got to the intergrated SimCoder REP's or Reality Expansion Pack yet. Yes this package is worth US$20 alone, but here it is fully immersed into the Marchetti, with all the walkaround and static element features the package provides and it is extensive in depth and again in the way it is interwoven with wear and tear, and the general use of the aircraft...  this is a machine you have to look after, even babysit to keep it in a fully functional form, just like... well the real aircraft.


After all the "oohs and aahs" then is there any negatives? Well no access to that lovely engine as a static element, I feel is just crazy, you want to look at it and even see it with the machine running?, more access to the individual static elements and I think the rain effects need another rethink... It is a tricky aircraft to fly as well, very easy in flight, but taking off and in the low speed zones you really need your best flying skills, I'm not crazy about the in flight cruise sounds either, but it is highly probable they are totally authentic.


So the Marchetti SF.-260 master class from the master, and come also with the excellent SimCoder REP package as part of the deal, Look back through this review and you can't say you are not getting overwhelming value for your money and it is also VR ready... and so is this Marchetti maybe even the best aircraft in depth and detail that has been released this year in 2018 as well?..  Highly Recommended!



X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


The SIAI-Marchetti SF.-260 by JRollon and SimCoders is a new release for X-Plane11 and is available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore


SIAI-Marchetti SF.260


Price is US$44.95

Code driven flight dynamics
- Super fun to fly, requires your attention all the time
- Realistic takeoff, landing, cruise, and overall performance
- Realistic aerobatics
- Realistic stall behavior (watch your ailerons!)
- Impressive spin behavior
- Realistic roll speed at both high and low speeds
Outstanding 3D model and liveries
- Very light on FPS
- High performance 4K texture
- 10 Liveries included
- Blank textures with PSD available to create your own livery
- Tire blowout is shown
- Propeller blades bend on belly landing
- 3D modeled engine components
- Custom rain and ice effects
Realistic onboard systems and procedures
- Pre/Post flight walk-around
- Custom hand towing mode: use your joystick to push/pull/steer the aircraft on ground
- Realistic Mass and Balance
- Complete electrical system with working Circuit Breakers
- Custom landing gear warning system
- Custom stall warning system
- Custom vacuum system
- Custom flaps system with realistic white-arc behavior
- Custom fuel system
- Custom cabin ventilation and windshield defrost system
- Working Emergency Avionics switch with Emergency Battery
- Working emergency landing gear extraction procedure
- Canopy can stay slightly open during flight
Custom Damage & Maintenance System
- Any system can be damaged if used the wrong way
- Persistent aircraft state: each livery has its own state that is saved between flights. Damage is cumulative.
- Maintenance Report available to check the status of the aircraft and do the maintenance and repairs
100% Custom Piston Engine
- The Lycoming O-540-E4A5 is modeled down to the smallest bolt and breathes air like a real engine
- Custom fuel pump and fuel filter
- Realistic Oil System affected by Oil Viscosity. Choose the best oil grade for your kind of operation.
- Spark plugs fouling. Change the spark plugs type in the maintenance report.
- Working engine preheater
- A custom algorithm simulates the fuel/air mixture and its combustion
- Custom carburetor system with custom icing behavior
- High fidelity power curve
- Custom system failures
- Realistic startup behavior and procedures
- Automatic startup option for quick start
High fidelity cockpit
- All switches work like the real ones
- The cockpit is illuminated by 3D lights
- The instruments wear out and may give incorrect reading. Tap over them to temporarily try to reduce their error. Fix them in the maintenance report.
- The cockpit light and indicators bulbs may start blinking and fail. Tap over them to temporarily try to light them up again. Replace them in the maintenance report.
- Realistic phosphorous lights that dim at night as time passes by
- Working Circuit Breakers that you can use to shed the battery load in case of generator failure
- Support for RealityXP GNS
- Bendix/King KX165 NavCom
    - Realistic startup animations
    - Active/Standby frequencies mode
    - Active only mode
    - Program mode
    - Channels mode
    - CDI mode
    - Bearing mode
    - Radial mode
    - Timer mode
- Bendix/King KR87 ADF Receiver
    - Realistic startup animations
    - ANT/BFO/ADF modes
    - FLT/ET mode with SET/RST button
- Bendix/King KFC225 Autopilot
    - Realistic Startup Animations
    - ROLL and PITCH mode
    - HDG/NAV/VS/ALT modes
    - Yaw Damper
- Garmin GTX330 Transponder
    - Realistic Startup Animations
    - Altitude Monitor mode
    - Count down mode
    - Count up mode
    - Flight Time mode
    - OAT/DALT mode
    - PA mode
HeadShake Integration
- Use a custom lever in the cockpit to strengthen the belts and reduce the G-Force effects during aerobatic flight
Custom three dimensional sounds
- Custom sound engine that ensure high performance and quality
- Dynamic immersive sounds in both internal and external views
- Sounds are muffled by closing the canopy and wearing the headsets
- The canopy can stay slightly open during flight to let some fresh air in: you will feel the wind blowing on your face
- Enjoy the engine sound suffering the torque effects during aerobatic flight
VR Compatible


X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended
(release and review version v1.01)


Download for the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 is 264.45mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "Fighters" X-Plane folder


Download of the separate SF-260 Liveries file which is 1.07gb is also required...


...  and the combined installation is 1.35gb. Key authorisation is required for the Simcoder REP package and a restart is required.


Skunkcraft's Updater is also installed



User documents are extensive with both a User Manual and Checklist -References


  • REP-SF260-checklists-references.pdf
  • REP-user-manual.pdf


It is highly recommended to read the user manual before flying the aircraft.




Review by Stephen Dutton 
16th November 2018
Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews
(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 (tested also in X-Plane b11.30b4)

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

Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : Headshake Plugin - Free : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- LIML - Milan Linate Airport 1.0.0 by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free


Logo Header X-PlaneReviews 200px.jpg


Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, olderndirt said:

Would by it in a minute without that immersion package.  Same thing with A2A on the other platforms.  A lot of us have 'been there, done that' and just want to fly. 

You can take-off quite quickly without pain or long checklist.

You've indeed to take care of few parameters but in the end, you're already flying before the first 10min. :)

After that, in VFR or IFR, she's perfect to have fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the review Stephen, I enjoy your reviews.  I've been a fan of Reality Expansion Packs for a while but hadn't realised just how good J Rollon's work was up until getting this plane.  I enjoy the short videos that he uploads on the SF260 as well.

You mention the GTN750 though Stephen.  I don't think that can be used with this aircraft?  (Shame, if it could be fitted in without ruining the look of the instrument panel it could be really useful)




Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/12/2018 at 7:28 PM, enuk said:

Hello, I have one more request. Could you program the control of the flaps so that they can be served by the Saitek multipanel?

Best regards


I have a Saitek X56.. that is throttle unit and yes I set the flaps, gear and airbrakes via the front switches (up/down) if it is a continuous flap than you just hold the switch down, or flick once (up/down) if it is slotted selection. SD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Happy New Year! The Marchetti has a built in REP pack, so that requires that you look after the engine. You can see what the issues are by clicking "Enable engine monitor" to active... and it will note what the issue is in either icing, fouled plugs or maintenance. A good tip is to once you settle at attitude is to lean the Mixture levers to get the best performance between speed and power, this will make the aircraft more efficient and even make the aircraft go faster. SD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought the F33A a couple of years ago (with REP) and took a 10 minute first flight.  Everything was going fine and then the engine stopped when coming in to land.  Turns out you shouldn't use the fuel pump when in the air on the F33A :)  The information messages that the REP shows can be quite useful (this includes messages for plug fouling, dangerous throttle, prop and mixture combinations and a few other items).  The engine monitor almost feels like cheating sometimes, its so useful (but most of the info it gives would be available using the cylinder head temperatures and the performance charts, the engine monitor just gives a shortcut).  Simcoders also get quite detailed in their treatment of lean of peak, rich of peak and the "red box", which is also referenced in the messages on screen.  There's info on it on the Simcoders site.

I have the SF260 and haven't had a problem with the engine stopping midflight yet.  My tyres have been wearing very quickly but that's probably my fault.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Thanks a lot for the detailed review! I agree that having the REP technology included from the start should give a better result, in the other modules I own there are either issues from the original module (when it's Carenado of course, but at least their support is trying their best to help), or mesh / functionality limitations in some others like the stock C-172 which was meant to be free and basic (windows and other moving parts like the trunk, breakers, sounds that were ultimately replaced thankfully).


I'm really curious about the "economy" feature.


But ... I wish this was available at another store than the xplane/org, I had too many problems with them, they're just not trustworthy (well, one person in particular isn't, we all know who). So it's unfortunately a blocking issue for now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...

despite the overall fantastic work, i have serious doubts about its handling parameters to be realistic.

not even an Extra300 aerobatic airplane has this level of nervous sensitivity on the stick.

moving the jrollon sf260 feels like this airplane even ignores the airstream working against the surfaces that try to initiate the roll, pitch or turn,

and the SF260  is not a lightweight plane !  i can hardly notice the mass of the plane in the air.

there should always be 2 forces working against each other,

one is produced by the airstream p1 and the way ailerons react to it p2 (parameter of its counterforce and what it does with the 

airframe as a consequence), this p2 is the resistance produced by shape and size of the object(s) standing against this p1 airstream.

this airplane weighs around 1000 kg when loaded with a pilot and fuel, so when flying at a speed of 200 knots, i should feel a certain indolence caused

by the mass of the plane. While the extra300 has even servo support (additional movable mini-surfaces) to create nervous movements, the SF260 is a rather slow cow

among the aerobatics, considering its shape and size, and should behave accordingly. 

Seeing users manipulating core settings for their joysticks gets me more than irritated, since that is not the root cause of their problems, 

the missing piece here is a patch being owed by the developer correcting its flight model.

To current stage this product remains a visual goodie, but it needs a complete overhaul of its physics.


and someone tell me why i start a plane with flat tyres ??? not being able to taxi ???


On 5/18/2019 at 1:08 PM, noah said:

Thanks a lot for the detailed review! I agree that having the REP technology included from the start should give a better result, in the other modules I own there are either issues from the original module (when it's Carenado of course, but at least their support is trying their best to help), or mesh / functionality limitations in some others like the stock C-172 which was meant to be free and basic (windows and other moving parts like the trunk, breakers, sounds that were ultimately replaced thankfully).


I'm really curious about the "economy" feature.


But ... I wish this was available at another store than the xplane/org, I had too many problems with them, they're just not trustworthy (well, one person in particular isn't, we all know who). So it's unfortunately a blocking issue for now.


you should boycott the .org and let the guys from Laminar know!

the guy behind the .org practices active censorship against users in the forums and this behaviour is unacceptable.

rumors say he has been banning hundreds of users to date from its forums.

he does not make himself recognizable so i don't have a name unfortunately.

Unfortunately there is a lack of competition, since x-plane never had many users at the time FSX was existing.

Today, x-plane has 120'000 users, which should encourage other stores and forums to get alive.

But the revival of microsoft flight simulator will probably cut x-plane's success back to its original niche and size.

the .org's owner and laminar's founder seem "old buddies",  there is no other explanation for that he carries the same brand name

without being dragged to court and for not being sued to mishandle its consumers with abstruse bans.

i once received a warning (unsigned) because i stated critic on an add-on product, my contributions are being monitored since, and need authorization.

While not being banned so far, i am supporting everyone's idea of seeking alternatives to this kind of mad .org practices.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Always in need of repair, very hard to fly without damage for any significant duration. Pain in the A!! Spend more time fixing than flying, if your looking for a plane to work on and fix all the time! This is the one, If your looking for something to flies more like a real plane this is not the plane for you. Fix Fix Fix........ Waste of time and money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...