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Aircraft Reissue : Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Aviator’s Edition by Magknight

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Boeing 787-9_Header Aviator.jpg

 

Aircraft Reissue : Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Aviator’s Edition by Magknight

 

If you want to follow an aircraft's development, then the MagKnight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is a good story. Or an idea that went way out of proportion to the point of the initial design is now a very different aircraft than that it originally was intended to be, and that is not a bad thing because as what X-Plane as a simulator is simply begging badly for is a quality Boeing 787. 

 

The design started off as a basic freeware donation development, it was also originally based on the default X-Plane PlaneMaker system as well, which in parlance means the aircraft is or was basic with a capital B. In reality at this point the development could have taken two routes... One was the Zibo B738 direction were as the developer changes the basic systems into a better aircraft above the PlaneMaker basics. Or two go down the route of a more significant development path towards a study grade aircraft, obviously the secondary path is more to our liking if we want this New-Gen aircraft to use and fly realistically to the real world performance and operations. It is also to our benefit in this case as X-Plane is quite void in aircraft for medium to long haul, so in our desire again this secondary route is again the most preferable.

 

The choice was made last year on the secondary route when the developer MagKnight made the project a Payware version, to the absolute displeasure of most of the freeloaders, or cheap beta testers, which ever way you look at the viewpoint, and at a price-point of US$25 it was positioned in context to of say a fully graded aircraft like the FlightFactor Boeing 767 which is 70+ dollars (US$72).. but the design was also very lacking in many areas as noted in our review: Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner by Magknight and certainly in the performance aspect which is critically important with these New-Gen aircraft designs, as you will want to feel the benefits of these more ultra-modern machines and their extraordinary performance and range profiles.

 

I did note in that above review that one of the main limitations with the aircraft was the PlaneMaker development base, so to be a quality Payware and to have the flexibility to develop the aircraft then a move to SASL or relative plugin is required.... and that change brings us to this "Aviator’s Edition" of the aircraft.

 

With the secondary elevation change in six months comes also another price hike to US$44.95, although the original purchasers can upgrade to the Aviator’s Edition for just $10. Yes my mouth dropped at the same time the price was announced, and more certainly with the earlier review still set hard in my recent mind. The costing is for of course cover the subscription to the SASL plugin systems, and to note that it is not just that the plugin is just dropped into the aircraft, and then wired up to it, but the SASL developer will tailor the SASL plugin to the requirements of the developer and the effects and ideas he wants to include on his project, in other words future proof it. This aspect goes a long way to explain the wide gap between freeware, PlaneMaker and (SASL) plugin aircraft, and to a point that is what you pay for when you buy a payware aircraft in this specialist development.

 

Another significant point is that with the higher price the developer has brought on board other developers with so the sole developer of MagKnight is now a team, or development house (expect a formal name change soon) to increase the depth and speed of future development, so expertise will now now go into the different areas instead of the sole developer doing or covering all the aspects of the design process. 

 

Aviator’s Edition v1.0.0

Outwardly the Aviator v1.0.0 release is not that much different from the earlier v1.0x. Here is update v1.7, and yes that is already seven updates from the release version only back a few days before Christmas 2018.

 

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Wing profiles and flap angles have already been adjusted, but overall don't take these changes too much for granted, as the whole fuselage will be redesigned from the 3d object up, as will the low-def textures (they are actually 4K 4096x4096), but don't look it in the flesh.

 

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Wingflex is now much better improved and so has the inner wing detail. All the external lighting have been redone to be smaller, sharper and more realistic.

 

Bigger changes are very highly noticeable in the cockpit. Gone is the older grey/dark grey and in comes a more mature light grey/grey and it looks far more realistic than the original visual feel. The dark blue sheepskin seat covers are also out and a more brighter light grey is in as this is now well adding also into the overall lighter effect.

 

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Reflections are in as well...   flight display panels are now reflective as are the windows. One of the areas that showed average before was the flat bland displays, so obviously they look far better and again more realistic, as is the display text (new fonts) that is now far sharper and actually readable, but only changed on the upper PFD (Primary Flight Display) as the lower radial is still blurry and low-res... but overall it is a huge step forward.

 

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The under glareshield LED lighting is a "nice" moment, and the new more detailed yokes make the aircraft feel more authentic.

 

Electronic Flight Display

There is a new "Electronic Flight Bag" or EFB with a built-in aircraft menu. It covers areas like Terminal charts, Performance calculator (WT & Balance), Ground Services (Pushback Tug and GPU), Aircraft Setup and team credits.

 

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Airport Search is quite basic: Search "Origin" will put the airport ICAO code in the origin box? and pretty well that is it?, Search "Dest" and it will put the destination ICAO code in the...   destination box? You expect it to do more, like if you go back to Search Dest, then you expect the original set "Dest" (YMML) to still be there, but if you have changed the "Origin" ICAO code then that will be shown in the "Dest", so it is only really a search ICAO box, and a poor one at that and in not holding in your original "Origin" and "Dest" choices in the correct selection tabs?

 

B7879_Aviator_Flightbag 3.jpgB7879_Aviator_Flightbag 4.jpg

 

Input keypad (scratch pad) is however very nice to use.

 

Performance calculator (WT & Balance)

The performance calcuator is a bit hit and miss as well. I tried to convert my numbers of the SimBrief (VHHH-YMML) routing, but they didn't translate over very well (I found using the X-Plane weights and Balance menu mostly an easier way of converting it).

 

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Do the "Calc" and all your inputs disappear? The point is here if you can't convert your routing numbers over exactly (many entries won't accept . decimal 20.1) but only 20. So you don't know if it is working correctly or if the aircraft is set up correctly or not... I just finally set the fuel and weights in the X-Plane W&B menu and was more confident of following my SimBrief fuel flow and burn. All the set configurable units for weight, altimeter, minimums saved per-livery which is an interesting idea.

 

B7879_Aviator_Flightbag 6.jpgB7879_Aviator_Flightbag 7.jpg

 

You can load in .pdf files for display (charts?) but in trying load/insert two single page .pdf's I only got an EFB freeze on the first load?

 

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The ACD or Aircraft Config Data page was however excellent.

 

Systems

With the SASL plugin then in come realistic systems. MagKnight has started with the electrical system which has been redesigned from the ground up. EFIS (electronic flight instrument system) has also been moved to it's correct position central panel from the secondary FMS location. The actual status buttons still don't work, but instead you still use the panel button called "NEXT PG" to change the pages, they don't appear in button order either with the Elec page last...

 

But listed are: STAT (Status) - Fuel - FCTL (Flight Controls) - HYD (hydraulics) - ELEC (Electrical)

 

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Certainly a WIP, but the new panel position shows off the detail to a better extent, small annoyance is that the Fuel is noted in lbs on the EFIS display, but the menu selection between either kgs or lbs can be changed everywhere else, it need to be available in both settings on the EFIS as well.

 

But the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) is now operational and displayed. It does however take a fair time to reach it's full operating speed and temperature, as you sit there going "come on".

 

B7879_Aviator_APU 1.jpgB7879_Aviator_APU 2.jpg

 

Aviator’s Edition Impressions

My earlier first impression of the MagKnight Dreamliner in the earlier review was that the modeling was very good, and there was a fair bit of quality in the detail, certainly no photographic feel of realism that you desire, but it is way above the average... again the cockpit textures (for the fourth time) have been redone, and it is starting to feel very nice in here "Thank You very much", remember the B787's feel and design is not going to be like a well worn, dirty B757, and yes there is plenty of scope for more wear detail, but it does give you that modern ultra cockpit feel that you want to experience, thankfully the swichgear is now scrollable adding into the experience. The negative effects still come that a lot of the switchgear and knobs are still basic, and non-operable... but overall I now certainly feeling far more immersed in the aircraft and it is thankfully leaving that basic PlaneMaker feel behind, and that is greatly helped by the now reflective displays and surfaces. 

 

B7879_Aviator_Flight 1.jpgB7879_Aviator_Flight 2.jpg

 

Engine start is very simple, just turn the start knob to "Start" and the B787 does the rest for you, no bleed settings or routing, no flipping up the fuel flow switches at the correct n2... just click and wait for the start procedure. I am not sure yet if the B787 start sequence is this totally automated, I would still think you would need to flip in the fuel flow switch at the right start point, so it feels just a little too basic on the start sequence. 

 

B7879_Aviator_Flight 3 LG.jpg

 

VHHH (Hong Kong) to YMML (Melbourne) is 4098nm (GND Dis) and the aircraft is loaded with the required 52382 kgs fuel (block), but I added in another 1000 kgs in case the B787's fuel flow was off, it was on my last LON-JFK flight and it was off by a long way. Total weight is 218567 kgs, but as noted I couldn't set the aircraft's performance to this setting, but it is pretty close via the X-Plane W&B menu.

 

B7879_Aviator_Flight 4.jpgB7879_Aviator_Flight 5.jpg

 

It was nice for a change to do a long-haul, the last few years have been centered solely around Europe and of course the US. The reason was the complete dearth of good scenery out east, but thanks to TOD's amazing efforts, we now have a very decent and impressive VHHH and a quite good WSSS (Singapore), and both are routings that are perfect for the Dreamliner.

 

But from the left senior seat I felt far better than the last time I sat here six months ago, and yes the experience is vastly improved and thankfully now also losing that PlaneMaker early basic X-Plane feel, and for the first time I felt, this is now finally a Dreamliner we can use and enjoy. I liked the detail of the aircraft data on the side panel, tail, SELCAL, XPDR, UTC time, date and Elapsed time. The most obvious feel change is the LED lighting under the glareshield that lifts the panel out of the ordinary.

 

Runway roll and takeoff, and the aircraft felt more responsive biting into the air in climbing out of VHHH - 07R, power felt fine at a 2000fpm departure slope, and the required bank to the right to cover the SKAT1E SID to OCEAN departure point was effortless, with this controllable manual flying the B787 quickly brought a smile to my lips, yes this Dreamliner is very good.

 

B7879_Aviator_Flight 6.jpgB7879_Aviator_Flight 7.jpg

 

You feel good as well...  and any aircraft that delivers a return on emotion is a good investment.... but this is simulation.

 

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One of the biggest issues with the original MagKnight B787 is that it wasn't a good simulation on the performance side, and it was this mostly that was my biggest turnoff from the aircraft, as the aircraft was totally unrealistic performance wise...  so is this version any better?

 

Overall thankfully yes it is far better, but there is still some way to go. MagKnight has completely redone the performance aspect of the aircraft and to the new XP11.30 settings (you can only use the aircraft in the 11.30 version), so it does respond now to the parameters, but not totally to the expected numbers (SimBrief is a guide).

 

I have flown on a B787 and boy do these things go, a climb to FL400 (Yes forty thousand) was effortless at over a 2,500 fpm climb, as it went literally straight up, but those numbers are a bit askew in the fact there was barely 50 passengers on board and only the fuel weight for a 726nm flight.

 

This routing takes my up to FL370 and the TOW weight is 218567 kgs (in line with SimBrief). Overall the aircraft struggled to meet the TOC marker, and I met the FL target a good 50nm past the required insertion point, but fuel consumption was comparative to the climb numbers.

 

So there was a lot of climb rate changes to keep the aircraft within the limits of keeping on speed and not dropping behind the speed marker... i made it and overall the climb went well, but it had to be managed carefully... I doubt the real aircraft would require this much climb attention.

 

So now we come to fuel burn? It should be around 5200 per hour (Kg/h) as an average, so what would this Dreamliner consume?

 

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At several points at the required .85m and FL370 the aircraft protested with a yellow n1 alert, but soon recovered to settle down at 92.3% n1.

 

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... and so you settled down into the eight hour cruise and the number watching.

 

B7879_Aviator_Flight 16 LG.jpg

 

Yes the aircraft is far more responsive to performance, but the numbers are not realistic? FF (Fuel Flow) is around 3200 Kg/h, and at 2500nm distance I still had 31.0 kgs fuel on board..  by SimBrief I should have 20.5kgs (taking in the extra 1000kgs) in the tanks at this distance, weight and fuel burn? So is SimBrief wrong? no because I use it regularly with other aircraft and they usually hit the numbers. Those fuel burn numbers are brilliant if you want to attempt the PER-LON QF 17 hour+ flight, but it is still not realistic enough here for pure simulation?

 

The n1 percentage numbers are better as well, but again not perfected. The original MagKnight n1 numbers were awful in being stuck on 98% all flight long, and do not reduce as the weight lifts or with altitude FL changes, here they are now actually working and reducing slowly to the fuel burn, but not effectively enough, the wrong fuel burn and fuel weight reflects this as well... the throttles have a habit of bouncing around at cruise for no reason as well, but a lot of X-Plane aircraft do this annoying anomaly as well.

 

B7879_Aviator_Flight 17.jpgB7879_Aviator_Flight 18.jpg

 

The lighting has been redone (or refined) to parametric lighting on the aircraft. It is not perfect (it glows through the front gear doors) but it is a big advancement...

 

B7879_Aviator_Flight 19.jpgB7879_Aviator_Flight 20.jpg

 

... I particularly like the glowing navigation lights on the wing and flap runners, and the strobes at night are also particularly effective. As there is no cabin and the cabin widows are only graphics? I thought the night lit textures were far too bright and so photoshopped them down a little to be more realistic. The call for a full cabin is strong here, it would be great in looking out at the dramatic lit wings.

 

Cockpit ambiance is actually quite good in a limited selection. If you are a long-hauler then getting the right cockpit ambiance is critical for realism, and you can certainly achieve that here...

 

B7879_Aviator_Night 1.jpgB7879_Aviator_Night 6.jpg

 

Rear overhead lighting is exceptional and can be used to control the mood in the cockpit, from low set to bright.

 

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I have enlightened myself by learning not to have all the system and overhead panel lighting at full volume, but to soften the effect to create a better mood in the office, and here it works very well with the LED adjustment which is again a highlight. There are knobs for MAP lights and other indirect lighting, but they don't work yet, but certainly when corrected they will add well into the dynamic lighting range.

 

Arrival in Melbourne was on time and with plenty of unused fuel...

 

B7879_Aviator_YMML 1.jpgB7879_Aviator_YMML 2.jpg

 

Simbrief notes I should have 7700 kg on arrival (44,700 kgs used), but when I had actually 22.000 kg's still on board at a gross landing weight of 166000 kgs? So fuel burn is 3200 kg to the required 5200 kg/h consumption (the 787-8 uses 4800 kg/h)

 

B7879_Aviator_YMML 3.jpgB7879_Aviator_YMML 4.jpg

 

B7879_Aviator_YMML 5 LG.jpg

 

So performance wise the QF30 flight was a littttle out..  a bit, okay a lot!

 

Landing lighting still needed more fine tuning, but more on the runway turnoff lights than the main landing lights which had to be left on to cover the inept side lights

 

B7879_Aviator_YMML 6.jpgB7879_Aviator_YMML 7.jpg

 

The above may make you think the flight was a bit average, when in fact the opposite is true. This was certainly the best Dreamliner flight I have done yet, the flight overall block to block was excellent, and I totally enjoyed the experience... so it all comes back to the huge potential this aircraft really has...

 

Summary

Your first thoughts are to that purchase price and what effectively is an aircraft still well into it's development cycle. In most cases you don't see this progression of development until the developer releases either the aircraft or the update version, and here that aspect is all open to one and all, so it isn't pretty in many areas, but you are very aware and even part of the progress and the movement of the development forward, and already the short period of the SASL install is already showing huge benefits, if still a little more refining needed.

 

As with the original version just over six months ago in that it was really quite basic, I liked the idea of a Dreamliner to fly, but as a simulation it was quite wanting in many areas, and it was if just back then only a pretty aircraft to fly... but the potential was certainly notably in there.

 

Six months later and with this "Aviator Edition" you have to have a bit of a belief in what is now going forward, but that belief does come with a lot of interesting comparisons with the earlier release... like I said earlier there is a lot of potential already built in here, so it is not thankfully anymore a blind faith.

 

When I flew the original payware release as noted I found it wanting, certainly by payware standards, but if I would have had to put down my cash for the aircraft at that time, I certainly would have still done so, because I knew it was going forward and at a quick rate. This "Aviator Edition" certainly overwhelmingly confirms that initial assessment, as this version is simply in every area far more developed and is now delivering on that payware requirement, but you would say "yes but this is not now a $25 dollar, aircraft either" and I would certainly acknowledge that point of view. But here it gets interesting, and with the "faith" bit in all of this.

 

If MagKnight and his now quite large team keep to the deal of delivering on the promises of a authentic FMC, Cabin, doors, lighting, developed systems et cetera, and by the sheer development done over the last six months to this version, then the $45 price is going to start to get interesting and to the point that the upgraded devotees at the upgrade fee S10 will have had a relative bargain, and then there should come that crossover point where the value catches up to and then passes the quality and feature aspect. The situation of that aspect in six months time for another reassessment of the project will be of course critical.

 

In noting the above, I did really find the aircraft in a routine long-haul flight a great experience both in the day and night flying... I loved the feel and immersion as this Dreamliner is now starting to deliver, I flew the earlier version, but didn't try or bother flying it again until this newer release, but with this aircraft there is no doubt it will be getting far more of my attention and have the flying hours in the left seat... absolutely I accept it is not perfect and certainly still in the performance aspects, but it is also certainly worthy now of serious consideration, and in the long run may even to turn out to be a great bargain as well, as overall this is now at least a worthy Dreamliner to use and fly, you are going to see a B787 a lot more in the future in our reviews.

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

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

 

B787-9 Aviator Edition

 

Price is US$44.95

 

This version is X-Plane 11.30 only! Earlier XP10 or XP11 versions are not supported.

 

Upgrade cost to the "Aviator Edition" from the original payware release version is US$10, see your X-Plane.OrgStore account for the upgrade.

 

Features

General
  • Brand new flight model built for X-Plane 11.30
  • Improved wingflex
  • Custom IRS simulation, with quick align
  • Auto-update for the lifetime of X-Plane 11
  • LED exterior lights (exclusive)
  • Revised font for cockpit textures
  • New yoke model
  • Revised cockpit textures
 
Electronic flight bag
  • Take-off calculator
  • PDF chart loader
  • Fuel, cargo and passenger loading
Configuration
  • Most settings saved globally
  • Configurable units for weight, altimeter, minimums saved per-livery
  • Support for metric altitude
  • Optional custom cursor
 
Custom electrical system
  • Designed from the ground up for the 787
  • Ground power unit
  • Custom anti-ice, simulating the resistance in each mat
HelpfulPointers (exclusive)
  • Designed for online flying
  • The aircraft advises you if you forget something important such as lights or transponder.
Liveries
  • 10 liveries are included by default; many more are available online:
  • Air Canada, Air China, American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines (pre-merger livery), LOT Polish Airlines, United Airlines, Factory (white), Factory (standard)

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11.30+ (Prior versions of X-Plane not supported)

Windows only at this time (Mac and Linux coming soon)
4Gb VRAM Minimum - 8Gb + VRAM recommended
Current and review version : 1.7
 

Installation : Download is 255.14mb which is unzipped and is inserted in your Heavy Aircraft  folder as a 321mb folder (with downloaded liveries)

 

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

 

Documentation : Manual

______________________________________________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

8th January 2019

Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews

  

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)
 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.30b2 (aircraft will only fly in 11.30)

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

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

Scenery or Aircraft

- VHHH - Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International 2.0.0 by TOD (X-Plane.Org) - Free

- YMML - Melbourne (ISDG) 1.01 by ChrisK (X-Plane.Org) - Free

 

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Though I'm still on 11.25, decided to give it a go and verified it will not run - crashed on load up.  So until the 11.30 release for the faint of heart appears, it's a waiting game but you make it sound worth it.

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I understand why you won't run the 11.30 beta, but it is now extremely stable and only a step away from final... personally I would click the beta box and enjoy the benefits?

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