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  1. Aircraft Update: B 747-8 Series Anniversary Edition X-Plane 12 Since its first flight on February 9, 1969, the Boeing 747 family of aircraft has become an icon of the skies. Dubbed "The Queen of the Skies", it has served for well over 50 years since its first iteration of -100 in 1969 with four generations following subsequently. A legend in aviation, it adores the hearts and minds of passengers and crew that have flown it. The -8 is the latest and final variant of the Boeing 747 which at the time of writing this review, has only one more delivery to be fulfilled in early 2023, meaning sadly we find ourselves right at the very end of its production lifespan, but certainly, with a few decades more to go for it to fly under commercial and freight operation. I was fortunate enough to have flown on the -8 myself back in September, traveling with Lufthansa from Frankfurt to New York. I always said that my first visit to America would be on a Boeing 747, so as soon as they took their aircraft out of storage and back on the pecking order, I just knew I had to take it on the first opportunity I got! Supercritical Simulations Group (SSG) are a well-respected developer within X-Plane and has recently updated their aircraft to include all the features and extras available to them for X-Plane 12. In this review, we take an in-depth look at the Boeing 747-8 and see how it stands as a fully-fledged simulation of one of the most iconic aircraft to ever grace the skies. Aircraft Specification ● Crew: 2 ● Length: 250ft 2in (76.25m) ● Wingspan: 224ft 7in (68.5m) ● Height: 63ft 6in (19.4m) ● Empty Weight: 485,300lb (220,128kg) ● Maximum Takeoff Weight: 975,000lbs (442,253kg) ● Powerplant: 4xGEnx-2B67 Aircraft Performance ● Range: 7,730nmi (14,320km) ● Service Ceiling: 43,100ft (13,137m) ● Max Cruising Speed: Mach 0.86 (504kn, 933km/h) Download & Install After purchase of the SSG B748, you are given a download page with two versions of the aircraft, one for X-Plane 11 and another for X-Plane 12. Select your chosen version (in this case we opted for XP12), download the file and extract it into your X-Plane “Aircraft” folder. On the first launch of the aircraft, you are asked to input your Serial Number. This can be copied and pasted from the download page to the pop-up. Then, after an aircraft reload, you are good to go. The SSG B748 comes with two PDF files and several text documents. These include a 238-page in-depth analysis and operations manual for the aircraft, a 45-page step-by-step quick start guide for the aircraft illustrated with pictures and screenshots as well as several change logs and license agreements. The Operations Manual I found rather special as while it marks each page as not for use in real-world flying, you can see that SSG took the time to analyse the real-world operators' handbook for the Boeing 747-8 and translate this into simulator terms, bridging the gap between their product and reality. The two guides are certainly worth a read as these go into great detail about the operation of this aircraft as well as tips and tricks on how to get the best performance out of it. When it came to start-up and procedures, I found these guides more than helpful in pushing for the best out of the 747. Exterior Model SSG have included both the -8i passenger and -8F freighter variants of the Boeing 747-8 family. The biggest difference between the two is the upper deck which has been stretched for the passenger variant to include seats, while the freighter sticks to the original length (this also slightly lowers the weight of the aircraft as there are no seating requirements). The -8F also features a nose opening for cargo, but apart from that, everything else from the wings back is nearly identical. From the get-go, I have to say the models look fantastic, as within the X-Plane 12 environment, you really do get a sense of the scale of this incredible aircraft. The Boeing 747 is the second largest commercial aircraft in the world, and as such, when you stand up close to it, you certainly get a feeling of its immense size, something I can attest to, having stood next to the real thing only a few months ago! Detailing on the SSG 747 includes 4K resolution textures across the body, allowing for warning labels and text to be both clear and visible. There is also bump mapping across the fuselage where panel gaps and bolts will sit in place, as well as several animations across the aircraft - this also includes the freighter variant of the 747-8. As per real-world operation, cargo is loaded through the front nose of the aircraft. To allow for this, Boeing made the entire front portion of the aircraft in front of the cockpit raise up, thus providing ground crews unparalleled access to the cargo bay of the aircraft. This is quite some spectacle to see in real life and is well recreated within X-Plane 12. Looking up close at the engines, the GEnx units used by the Boeing 747, share the same diameter as the entire body of the 737! These are extremely well-detailed, with the ability to see inside the engine through the fan blades and vents that appear when the reverse thrust is active. When combined with the wing and flex when in the air (remember, the Boeing 747 uses tungsten bricks in the wings to counteract flutter when airborne!) you can appreciate the size and weight of the aircraft as it flies. Cockpit and Interior The Boeing 747-8 gets its designation from the 787, with many displays and systems crossing over from Boeing’s newest jet to their longest in production. This means several digital displays as well as several backup EICAS units. Having once required three pilots to operate, there is now a lot of space behind the pilots where the flight engineer once was, giving you a lot of room to move around. The 747 is also the only Boeing aircraft of this generation to use the brown cockpit colours, as opposed to the grey they now use within their jetliners. Boeing used brown as it was light and pleasing to the eye of the pilots and SSG has certainly replicated this within their own rendition of the aircraft. Textures are done at 4k resolution, with text, panels, and gauges all clear and easy to read. The overhead panel can appear cramped at first, especially with all the systems in which to manage and maintain the four engines, but I found myself having no issues whatsoever when it came to reading and manipulating the various systems of the aircraft. The 747-8 is also surprisingly well-optimised for what it is too. A lot is going on both inside and out, so it was pleasing to see that everything performed smoothly when it came to framerates. You also have a different interior for both the passenger and cargo variants of the aircraft, and as such, the 747-8i includes a full passenger cabin interior for you to explore. This is both the upper and lower deck modelled in a tri-class configuration, textured and detailed to the same level as you would find inside the cockpit. I decided to position one of X-Plane’s custom camera points on the seat I had occupied when flying on this type myself. When up at cruise altitude, I was taken aback by how the cabin looked and felt - it was almost as if I was back onboard the 747 I had used just a few months previously! The detailing on offer, combined with the sound (something we will cover later in this article), really helps bring this aircraft to life and is something I have really appreciated. The 747-8F features the entire lower deck with cargo box mountains and trails for the movement of containers. This once again looks superb within the simulator environment and fits with the scale of the aircraft. The space is indeed massive, with a number of containers modeled into the aircraft, sitting two-by-two towards the centre of the cabin where the centre of gravity would be. You can decide on the number of containers and load factor and adjust this in the EFB tablet. The upper deck has also been modeled into a small crew rest area, making use of the small hump behind the cockpit. This includes a toilet, beds, galley, and seats for the crew – somewhere to enjoy a bit of shut-eye when flying ultra-long haul. Buttons, Gauges & Functionality For an aircraft of this size and complexity, I think it’s fair to say that a lot is going on within the SSG Boeing 747-8. Your core panel features your main Primary Flight Display, Navigation Display and EICAS screens as you would expect, but with several buttons and switches surrounding it that control your lights, displays and other features within the cockpit. The glare shield is also massively used with all of your autopilot systems sitting ready to take over once your aircraft is airborne and en route. This will be familiar to you if you fly Boeing (and even Airbus) jets often, but it’s the overhead panel that really takes time to learn. The overhead is littered with switches and buttons that maintain each aspect of your flight. Here you will find your lights, anti-icing and engine systems to keep all four power plants alive and burning. With the development of the previous 747-400 which removed the need for a flight engineer, the overhead panel became a lot busier with extra engine management systems included. This was carried over to the -8 and SSG has utilised this well. Everything is laid out in order of use, with most checklists on the aircraft starting in the top-left and slowly working their way down section by section. The Flight Management Computer is also custom-made and developed for the 747-8. This includes all of the route inputs and calculations that the pilot would make on the real aircraft as well as system management and planning that helps you in guiding the aircraft through each stage of flight. This has been well-developed and shows in operation when planning your different phases, allowing for each detail of your flight plan to be tweaked and perfected before you depart. Getting to grips with the 747-8 took a few moments to get going but having spent a lot of time in virtual Boeing jetliners, as well as having flown the -8 that comes packaged with Microsoft Flight Simulator, I didn’t find myself too out of depth. Familiarity with the aircraft is key, especially when planning to take it long-haul, which can take up most of your day. I would certainly advise spending time just looking around the cockpit and gaining an understanding of where different systems are located so that when it comes to flying, you know exactly where to look and know what you are expecting to see and do. As with any aircraft, the more practice you put into it, the better and easier you will eventually find the operation to be. SSG has also included an EFB tablet within the cockpit which serves as the loadmaster of the aircraft, allowing you to input your fuel and payload as well as interact with ground services and calculate your departure speeds. It also allows you to control the doors and exits on the aircraft which in the case of the freighter, includes the nose rising to allow for cargo to enter via the front. As more developers include these within their add-ons, I find them incredibly useful to procure my Flight Management Computer with the numbers it needs to programme a perfect departure and landing. Sound To put it simply, the SSG 747-8 sounds fantastic! There’s no other way of putting it, you can sense that a lot of time was spent recording audio samples from both within and outside of the aircraft, with fine-tuning in which to replicate the actual environment of the real aircraft. The spool-up of the engines sounds great when making that take-off run or listening to the rumble behind you as you start to pull back on the yoke and take the aircraft to the sky. The whir of the engines during start-up is also really well-defined, especially when you focus on all four engines being activated during the pushback procedure of the aircraft. One thing I have always enjoyed and appreciated about X-Plane is its fly-by-camera view. Not only is it visually appealing, but it also enables you to hear the sound variations from around the aircraft as well as the Doppler effect that is applied. Listening to the engines purr as the aircraft glides past your camera is great and a real testament to the time that SSG has put into getting that effect right for their aircraft. The immersion doesn’t just end within the cockpit. Moving my camera over to the passenger cabin and sitting myself down on one of the seats, I found the audio to be rather immersive; I was back in the seat of that Lufthansa 747 flying to New York! Flight Dynamics The SSG 747-8, as expected, feels very heavy when in the air. I find myself putting a lot of input on the yoke to bank and make turns. I haven’t had the pleasure of flying the real-life aircraft myself, but you can certainly (as a passenger) get a feeling for how the aircraft behaves, especially since using far more nimble jets and props in X-Plane in the past. As the 747 grew with each generation, and despite advancements in fly-by-wire technology to make control easier, I can still imagine it takes a lot of input from the pilot to tame the aircraft. The aircraft has a strong rate of climb too, more than you would perhaps expect for its sheer scale and mass. The GEnx-2B67 is a powerful engine and having four of these, helps propel the 747 into the sky. Descent too is quite something as the 747 can drop like a brick, especially with flaps and spoilers to help slow you down. When trying it out on a hop from Frankfurt to New York following the same flight plan as my trip in real life, I had one or two late descents which I could easily manage by dumping the spoilers and watching the altitude go without much movement from the pitch. During cruise, the aircraft is a joy to fly. With the autopilot on and FMS navigation in control, it will glide through the sky getting you to your destination with ease. This especially comes into play when performing a landing with crosswinds involved. You need to make a lot of small corrections to keep the aircraft on course, but the moment those rear wheels touch down and you find yourself gliding down the runway to come to a halt, you can certainly feel the sense of accomplishment of having performed an expert landing. Taxiing the 747-8 is also worth commenting on. It’s the longest commercial aircraft in the world (beating the Airbus A380 by 3 meters) and you’re looking out from the upper deck. This means you have very little coverage of the ground below you, with little sense as to where your nose gear is. Airbus achieved the ground control of the A380 by placing the cockpit on the lower deck, but with Boeing, and using 1960s technology, combined with the need for the cargo variant to load through the nose, this was never going to be the case for the “Queen of the Skies”. The more you practise ground movement the better you will get at positioning the aircraft, as well as learning to fine-tune and steer the aircraft with the throttles, adding power towards the direction you want to go. It’s certainly a beast in that regard! Liveries SSG has also included several liveries for the Boeing 747-8, both freighter and passenger variants, while there are also several more available on the org ready to download. The sets included are as follows: Intercontinental • Air China • BBJ • Boeing Family • Boeing Sunrise • Korean Air • Lufthansa Freighter • Atlas Air • Boeing Family • Boeing Light • Cargolux • Cathay Pacific • Silkway Cargo They are a nice selection of liveries, but all are new. Again there has been a change to the file structure, and so the sets of older liveries don't work anymore, they have to be v2.5+ or higher to work with the X-Plane 12. There are six Internationals liveries and six cargo liveries included. Opinion & Closing Remarks Overall, I have had an absolute blast flying the SSG 747-8 within X-Plane 12. The aircraft is a joy to fly and while it does take some practice getting used to, especially when performing banking turns once airborne, I have enjoyed virtually every minute since adding it to my virtual hangar. With an extremely well-defined model, cockpit, cabin, and audio, what SSG have is a complete package for one of the world’s most popular aircraft, with their passion for this project showing in every detail they have included. A great deal of time and effort has been put into getting the best they possibly could out of the X-Plane platform, and it certainly shows. The Boeing 747 has been around for well over 50 years now, and whilst not necessarily a ‘rare’ aircraft type to fly on (especially between popular destinations), I just knew I had to fly on it. Being able to recreate my two real-world flights within X-Plane 12 has been a wonderful experience and I am very impressed by the end product that SSG have managed to create. The aircraft is also very much in active development, meaning we will likely see updates and improvements for it for some time to come. SSG’s 747-8 is a product that I would be more than happy to recommend to anyone looking to fly the Boeing 747 within X-Plane 12. ______________________________________  Yes! the Boeing 747-8 Inter Anniversary Edition X-Plane 12 By Supercritical Simulations Group is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here B 747-8 Series Anniversary Edition Price is US$69.00 (currently on SALE for US$54.90)  Features: Officially licensed by the Boeing Corporation. The entire external 3D model for v2 has been redone, including the following: All new fuselage closely modeled on the real one with added details Each door can be opened individually and is more detailed dded animations and details (almost all parts that can open/move on the aircraft are modeled). New external details such as a satellite antenna and tail camera New cut passenger windows instead of textures New vertical and horizontal stabilizers with added details New nacelles and engines with more details and new animations Reworked and more detailed landing gear/gear doors with additional animation Improved and more detailed leading and trailing edge flaps and added flap mechanisms Upper deck interior with seats/galleys and stairs to lower deck New wing flex and nacelle animations The textures for the entire aircraft have been redone to match the new model, along with decals for certain detailed areas, right down to most of the external placards, working closely with our technical advisors to ensure all the main details are present and that we have gotten them right. COCKPIT The entire cockpit 3D model has been largely redone and completely retextured. New overhead panel and buttons/switches New forward panel and buttons/switches New pedestal and buttons/switches/handles New miscellaneous panel and buttons/switches Side panels and window frames completely redone New cockpit seats Various added details SYSTEMS/FMC Almost all switches function properly and independently IRS alignment process implemented More realistic fuel system with different pumps and tanks along with FUEL TANK / ENG logic Realistic AUTOSTART and RUNNING indicators on secondary engine displays Improved and more realistic air conditioning system and logic Better track representation on ND Clock and chronometer on ND working like on the real aircraft More realistic baro pressure logic (STD, preselected, transition altitude) Captain and First Officer FMCs are now independent FMC FIX page added FMC Route 2 function added FMC Diversion function added Librain rain effects (currently not working on Macs) Skuncraft Updater Now with Skunkcraft updater. No need to download anything for updates, the plane will automatically be updated Requirements: X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 12 Windows , Mac and Linux 4 GB MB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version : XP12: 2.6b4 (December 21st 2022) XP11: 2.5.1 (June 7th 2022) NOTE: Framerate requires a decent graphic card, minimum of 8gb is RECOMMENDED, so I would also recommend a power machine as standard.  Installation : Download is 1.17gb which is unzipped and is inserted in your Heavy Aircraft folder as: 1.80gb  Key authorisation is required.   Documentation : includes  SG 747-8 V2 FCOM.pdf SSG 747-8 V2 Quick Start Guide.pdf SSG License Agreement.txt SSGCUSTOMLIST.TXT  ______________________________________________________________________  Aircraft Review by Michael Hayward  13th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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)   The Technical Bit Review PC Spec • Windows 10 Professional • AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor • 32GB RAM • Palit GeForce RTX™ 3080 GamingPro
    2 points
  2. Behind the Screen : January 2023 This monthly review of "Behind the Screen" was created to communicate what was going on in the X-Plane world. To give you the user information on the state of the simulator, that we use in a day to day capacity. What we process, in not only X-Plane products, but in the way we use the Simulator, can be explained here in giving information for other users to absorb. Since my early days of using X-Plane I have had the uncanny knack of seeing or having events happen to me before it happens to anyone else. That is good, but head bashing as well, as I have had to work through the problems in fixing it, hopefully in passing on that vital information, so you the user don't have to go through the same torment. Behind the Screen is also here to mirror the health of the X-Plane Simulator as well, a sort of grounding on the current reality. In the forums, many can be a bit self-absorbed, but most of the X-Plane community thankfully believe in the old world style of helping others to get around the difficult problems of running an extremely complicated Simulator program. Pray they are there, and thank them for their generosity So the old adage "You can never tell what is going on beneath the surface. Even the most regally calm swan is paddling furiously below the water", can and be also certainly adhered to X-Plane Simulation. Hence again Behind the Screen. I was determined to have a good break over the Christmas/New Year period, resting (meaning no computer work), just the annual equipment cleaning (keyboards and dust) and filing away all of the last years completed content... clean ready computers all done, and also ready for the exciting new 2023 year ahead, I was fresh as well after the rest, all ready to go... it lasted three days. The one thing X-Plane is very good at, I have found over the years, is it that it has the uncanny knack of finding your weak spots, then throwing them directly or blowing them up into your face. More confusion is created when I have easily used X-Plane 12 (beta) from it's introduction back in September 2022. Yes I had to adjust the graphic settings, but otherwise I was able to use the newer version Simulator overall perfectly fine. Then things started going seriously wrong when I started an early in the year 2023 review. After the initial confusion, it came down to three areas. Crashing or the freezing of the simulator caused by the continuous Vulcan device loss errors, weird things happening to aircraft when flying, like the liveries would change every few minutes, the undercarriage had a mind of it's own, dropping then coming back up, ATC alerts popping up consistently, flaps changing position, and finally airbrakes deciding to also activate also on their own. Finally the screen was going dark and the saturation was going off the scale. Absolute madness... just ONE of these areas alone are hard to decipher, but three or four at the same time was simply overwhelming... Biggest argument here is why? perfect before Christmas, then a total horror show after it, I hadn't done anything, or changed anything between the two events... the only one I had done was to update X-Plane to v12.01r1... nah really? I will bring up that v12.01r1 update, did it start a chain of events that sent me bonkers? it is a big question... Laminar put out all the version changes in their X-Plane 12.00 Release Notes... but what of the areas of changes you don't see, mostly in the core X-Plane.app. I am not going to blame Laminar Research or X-Plane, as it may even be just circumstances that things happen, but one thing is for sure. One area had certainly changed to create a cascade of other issues. My work and time went down the toilet as well. The problems are a result actually of Hardware issues? HARDWARE? Thanks to user "Tom", I worked out that my Saitek Hardware was underpowered, the USB was not pulling enough power from the computer, the result is an area called "Ghosting", were the (in this case the switches on my Saitek throttle) decided to activate the set switches by themselves, or ghosting themselves. Honestly I had never heard of "Ghosting" before even though it is quite common with Saitek addons. So you learn something, even after over a decade in Simulation. One down three to go... Still I had the "Vulcan device loss errors", and they were becoming evidently worse, to the point the Simulator was crashing now consistently. I pared the simulator back to a fresh clean X-Plane 12 application install. No plugins, Only default Scenery, Only default aircraft... the result was still loads of Vulcan device errors, but not as consistent. A investigation of the forums said it was my Graphic Card a GTX 1080 8Gb that was not powerful enough to cope with the API, odd as it coped very well for four months last year, I don't or didn't over stress my Graphic Card either, but it was showing signs it was burning out (BTW, X-Plane burnt out my last Graphic Card as well in my Mac), hence all the Vulkan loss errors. I was now looking at a new (expensive) Graphic Card. Hard to get at this time in Australia (Summer Holidays) and in very short in stock availability. I could throw 2K or AUS$1700 at one, but I don't have 2K to buy one, remember I have already spent 3K last year upgrading my Board and Processors... for a game, sorry simulation X-Plane is an expensive business. I found a card, a RTX 3080 10GB even on sale (if for only $50), but still far more than the 1K that I wanted to pay... remember when you could buy graphic cards for $600 and they felt expensive, today you can double that, or even treble that. Good news it was local so I got it the next day... Yes it is a powerful RTX 3080 card (for it's price). But powering it is like hooking up Hoover Dam to Las Vegas, two heavy cables are required, some cards now need three. Lucky last year I also upgraded to a 1000w Corsair Power Supply, so I already had enough power to power this internal nuclear reactor... It works. You can do anything with computers, but if you are into Simulation, then Graphic Card power is always the way to go. You can get very intoxicated by it all, jumping from below 30 frames to over 60 frames in an instant, nothing abruptly happens either, no CTD (Crash to Desktop), no flickers, no waiting, and absolutely no Vulkan device errors! It just all works... and smoothly. Huge headroom, and the space to absorb the things that can drive you mad, do I recommend selling items of furniture or your car to get a magic graphic card, sadly yes if you are serious about Simulation. But now with my system is now finally completed or 100% overhauled, it is seriously frightening on how much power you really do just need to run X-Plane 12 efficiently. Seriously those who think they can get away with the basic specifications set out by Laminar Research are not going to make it, I wasn't even close to the absolute basic requirements, as I got burnt out, other users have simply got no chance. I know, because I tried to beat the odds, and failed. So if you are in it for the long haul with X-Plane 12, you have to have the gear to run it as well. That brings up another question? Does a simple simulator program expect or demand too much investment to just to run correctly, remember X-Plane 9, I ran that on a Mac-Mini at the time, and it flew very well, now I need Colossus and the power of the Hoover Dam just to get a decent framerate? In other words, X-Plane 12 found my weaknesses, exploited them, and brought me crashing down. Did the hidden changes in v12.01r1 push my systems boundaries beyond what they are capable of? That is big question... Yes X-Plane 12 or as currently noted as officially released, it is however in reality still deep into a beta, and things are still changing, even under the hood... you are starting to wish it would be all be over and sooner than later. I have been through beta's like this before, but never have they burnt out my computer? I still have an issue, my Monitor looks perfect with the set Nvidia settings, (even with the default settings), but the images coming out of X-Plane 12 (screenshots) are anything but, dark and with very heavy shadows (yes I do have Ambient Occlusion set to zero), at night you can't see anything? Graphic Card or X-Plane 12, take your pick, as they say in Houston "Work the problem". _______________ I mentioned in my end of the year review 2022 and roundup, that this year 2023 would be one of the most interesting and important years in the history of X-Plane. Basically it is a sink or swim year (the above situation does not help). But I did expect a load of upgrades that came to pass with X-Plane 12 going official, they came or are still coming and they are all very good, but it is the add on scenery aspect that is the most worrying. In the first month I was very uplifted by the release of a lot of cross platform scenery (MSFS and X-Plane12), basically the same scenery released for both platforms, and both of the same high quality. Thankfully not the glut over at MSFS and the few trinkets for X-Plane. Supporting both platform simultaneously is good business for both sides, the Simulators and the developer houses. In fact delivering more scenery products for X-Plane 12 will of course drive more business in users wanting to fill out their landscapes with decent product. Better was shown with Orbx and their Brisbane City pack release and YBBN Brisbane International Airport packages (I give a small preview of both in the Thranda 337F Review). My argument (for years) was always to produce City packages or City Icons, with the connected Airports. Then let the X-Plane autogen do the rest. The Orbx dual package shows how well this aspect works for X-Plane and why I push for as many City Packages (and for you to buy them) to fill out the X-Plane world as possible and make it far more realistic. A lot will note that X-Plane still needs a far better photo based underlay, to which I totally agree, but flat photos are not the answer either for total realism. Even though Austin Meyer as an aversion to photo textures, I still think X-Plane will still get a hybrid system during the X-Plane 12 run to counter the MSFS style of Simulation... good city scenery also proves it can work for X-Plane and it is also well worth the users investment, as the Orbx combo shows... that aspect alone makes it a brilliant, even relived start to the 2023 Simulation year, just hope the same quality and products are continued to be released as the year progresses. It will be an area I will comment on frequently, because it is vital to expanding landscape of the X-Plane 12 Simulator and it's future. See you all next month (barring another computer meltdown) Stephen Dutton 3rd February 2023 Copyright©2023 X-Plane Reviews
    1 point
  3. Nice reply thanks. Personally I lived in that bubble, pretty well over the last four years, I even thought I could have gotten away with it for XP12. But the problems starts once you update or upgrade one component, then you get a cascade of items in wanting to be upgraded, it is like a falling of the cards, same last year with my iMac, it was a 2009 series computer that ran all software from that period perfectly, but with the subscription model, they force you to upgrade the software. The photoshop software worked, or still does work fine, but Adobe canned it. So the machine is now redundant... I will say this, on the other side with faster computers and the up to date software, and that mega power card, it is a nice (if expensive) place to be S
    1 point
  4. Aircraft Review : Cessna 337F Skymaster by Thranda Design Thoughout the history of aviation there have been many different concepts... fuselage shapes, wing designs, power sources. But in the one area of multiple engines, there is the Twin Engine mounted wing configuration, or commonly known as "Twins". Several twins however use a very different concept, one was the wartime Do 335, another and another was far more famous aircraft the Cessna 337 Skymaster. The concept is called push-pull configuration in that has a combination of forward-mounted tractor (pull) propeller, and backward-mounted (pusher) propeller. In the Cessna 377's case it was two Continental IO-360-C air-cooled flat-six piston engines, 210 hp (160 kW) each, producing a combined 420hp, plus the unique "Twin-Boom" tail arrangement to accommodate the rear (pusher) engine/propeller. Basically the 337 was a standard Cessna forward fuselage, but with a totally different concept at the rear. The first Skymaster, Model 336 Skymaster, had fixed landing gear and initially flew on February 28, 1961. It went into production in May 1963 with 195 being produced through mid-1964. In February 1965, Cessna introduced the Model 337 Super Skymaster. The new model was larger, and had more powerful engines, retractable landing gear, and a dorsal air scoop for the rear engine. (The "Super" prefix was subsequently dropped from the name.) In 1966, the turbocharged T337 was introduced, and in 1973, the pressurised P337G entered production. Cessna built altogether 2993 Skymasters of all variants, including 513 military O-2 versions. Thranda Design are on a roll. Last year in 2022 they released two Cessna's, Cessna 208 Grand Caravan, then later a Cessna U206G Stationair. Now another Cessna joins the fleet in a Cessna 337F, the push/puller icon. This C337 is not the first 337 in X-Plane, that distinction goes to Carenado's Cessna C337H Skymaster v2 HD Series, back in 2013, an iconic and much loved aircraft (by me anyway)... I loved the thing, and you can see on how good it was even a decade ago in the review above. Thranda Design also had a lot of input into that aircraft, as they also managed back then the Carenado fleet for the X-Plane Simulator, so they already know the aircraft intimately. No matter how many aircraft you review, you are still amazed at the quality and detail you get today in simulation. Once you flew models (or modeled aircraft), but today they are realistically miniature aircraft in almost every perfect detail. Every panel, appendage, rivet, screw and the overall shaping is perfect, or perfection, inlets show a mock Continental IO-360-C, but the engine is not accessible (Unlike the U206G). Glass is perfect, a green tint (more visible internally) with wear speckles embedded, it looks and feels nicely authentic. The twin VHF roof mounted aerials are distinctive on the C337, as is the large cooling inlet for the buried rear engine. Note the top oil filler cap, nice detail. The support strut for the tail booms is interesting. It is plastic or early form of glass-fibre to save weight, behind the strut in the boom structure is a sump tank. Flaps are divided on to each side of the boom, so in essence there are four sections. Detail again is excellent, note the boom fairings around the flaps detail... there are three flap degrees. There is the beautiful cambered detailing of the wing tips, that defines the chord. And you have the choice between "Icing Boots", or a blank leading edge. The rear twin booms, with the large central horizontal stabiliser is huge, with built in elevator and trim tab. Each boom has each internal left and right rudder cables and the right hand boom carries the trim cable, the left boom the elevator cable... ... tailstrikes are common, rare that any C337 has no tail damage, both the upper and lower assemblies here are excellent detail. You can't just swap around a Continental IO-360-C engine either... the rear has a very different load bearing (push) to the front's (Pull) bearing (again made tougher to absorb the higher loads). Note the rear engine cooling flaps (open). The landing gear is basic in a complicated way.... the wheel assemblies quite basic, hub and arms, but complicated in that they have to fold up into the fuselage, the nose gear rotates sideways on retraction, the rear spindly legs also have to contort to fit in the rear bays. A lot of owners take the rear gear doors off, as maintenance wise they are a pain (an option here?). Early 337 models used a manual hydraulic floor pump to raise and lower the gear from 65 to 73, then it was converted to two ECSs in the model, each with a 5.5-volt BEC. The front BEC powers a receiver in the fuselage (behind the front engine ) that operates the retracts, doors, nose wheel steering, right aileron and right elevator. The second receiver is in the wing and is powered from the rear ESC. The wing receiver operates the left aileron, left elevator half, both rudders and both flaps. As noted the gear in detail is very well done by Thranda, all assemblies and tyres are first rate, even good enough to spend time and admire the work. Because of the type of undercarriage on this aircraft, there won't be any of the usual Thranda addon features like; Tundra Tyres, Ice-Skis and Float/Amphibian versions. There are a few 337 float conversions out there, but they are very rare. If you want to call it the "Arse End" or "Rear Belly" of the aircraft, the lower rear fuselage is really well detailed with great well designed vortex generators, to create a smoother rear (breakaway) airflow from the aircraft with the powered propeller above. From on-wards with the 337G Super Skymaster version, there was a split airstair entry door, like on the Carenado 337H, great for leaving the upper window open in flight. Here though on the "F" model with Thranda, it is the earlier single entry door, the only other opening door is the smaller cubby door for baggage rear lower right side. Interior Only a single door entry to a six-seater aircraft, so it is tight in there with this seating configuration. Usually you would only use the seats, and so where do you put the baggage? usually on your lap, so the six-seater configuration doesn't work. In a real 337 your on top of each other, so it's small, really small. Note the excellent seating, the lower base and legs are really well designed... nice to look at as well. Unlike most Cessna's, the rear of the cabin doesn't taper away, so it is really inside a tall box. The rear engine which is set just behind the rear bulkhead is close to the rearmost passengers, it is known to be noisy as well. Cabin is tailored in a mixture of creams and browns, again reflecting it's pre-70's age... the headlining has a zip to the rear, again nicely done, with the front high set Fuel tank opposite selectors, for the front and rear engines. Cockpit Forward and the instrument panel is dominated by the huge pedestal, with six levers (THROTTLE, PROP and MIXTURE) for the two engines... ... front side windows are huge and past the front line of the wing leading edge... and reason why most C377's are used for observation, e.g. the Cessna O-2 Skymaster (nicknamed "Oscar Deuce"), fire and maritime observation patrols. Front side window (sometimes known as the paperwork window) opens as does the ash tray (it was the 70's). The Pilot's window is fixed, but the door window can be opened. There are two choices of yokes, "Slim" or "Beefy", the beefy version is the same large centred yoke from the Thranda U206G, but it works in here. Looking at the instrument panel, there is one glaring omission between the Carenado 337H and this version... that lovely green buttoned Autopilot panel... disappointed, as it was a huge feature on the earlier aircraft. Otherwise they are very much alike. As this aircraft has the "Dynamic Panel" system from Thranda, there are no set instrument arrangements, as we shall see that aspect later. Two areas on the instrument panel are standard... the excellent twin engine gauges with Manifold Pressure and RPM. A Fuel Flow (FF) and EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature). The highlight on this side is the engine dials that show (top row) fuel gauges (two tanks, 46 GAL each), OIL pressure. (lower row) CYL head temp, and OIL temperatures. Other dials cover SUCTION, Air Temperature and Volts (amperes). Left lower panel has the VOLTS/BATtery (alternators), IGNITION/STARTERS , Instrument lighting (Flood/Post), Cowl Flaps (Front/Rear) and main electrical switchgear; MASTER, AUX PUMPS, ANTI-ICE, AVIONICS, (External) Lighting. The (hydraulic) gear selector is by the excellent large and handy (pitch) trim wheel. Park brake is a simple push/pull knob lower. The six lever; THROTTLE, PROP and MIXTURE pedestal is large and excellent, with a yaw (Rudder) trim wheel set below. Lower is a ADF Receiver panel. Left side panel is a fully active "Circuit Breaker" (Fuses) panel. In the opening glove box are the happy faces of the "Thranda Team". Menu Thranda's Menus are very feature rich and highly detailed. There is a popout TAB under the arrow lower left, that can be (mouse) scrolled to hide it, that is if you don't like these sort of items crowding your screen (I don't). The Menu system includes the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications. As noted the "Menu" Tab (arrow) is far left middle of your screen, this will activate the Pop-Out Menu... The Menu has seven menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous) Menu - General The menu "General" sections covers quite a lot of options, the layout is highly detailed and very comprehensive. General menu selections cover; Electric Tug, Window and Instrument Panel Reflections on/off, Startup Running on/off, GPU on/off, Cargo Pod on/off, Chocks and Brakes. Three selections placed right cover group items, but any one item can be also accessed via "Click Spots" and can be individually selected or hidden via the aircraft graphic. "ALL COVERS" will select engine inlet/outlet covers and pitot cover, "ALL TIE-DOWNS" for rear fuselage and wing tie-downs and "ALL DOORS" for both the cockpit door and rear cabin doors. All EXT - External Lights can be switched on and off as can the ALL INT - Internal lights. The "Electric Tug" that can be used to move the aircraft around on the ground via your joystick (left,right-forward,backwards). Static Items include Ground Power Unit, Engine Inlet covers, Pitot covers and Tie-Downs Cargo pod is nicely detailed and comes with a single opening door, you can also add in the amount of baggage according to weight. The excellent "Checklist", can also be found on this tab. Which is the same as the Thranda U206G system... in the red, or the checked green choices you used on the other Thranda aircraft, and not the single white text on the Caravan. On some pages it notes performance and flying tips. You can have checklist pop-up or in a window mode and thankfully you can move it, and scale it even from the very small to the very large size. The two lower arrows give navigation around the checklist pages. The action detail and hints in the lists are simply excellent and the checklist is fully detailed from Pre-Flight to Shutdown. And to reset, it is done at the end by switching all the green completed checklist back to red. Menu - Liveries Second Menu option is "Liveries", there are two options here with the first being "PAINTED LIVERIES". There are altogether 8 liveries or two blank (or DynamicLiveryResources/ZZTemplate) and six designs, and all are of extremely high quality and creative flare with the package. Thranda house is default. Dynamic Liveries Not happy with any of those designs, then why not create your own livery! With their earlier releases of their Caravan and U206G. Then Thranda introduced a clever feature of a way to design your own livery. This is done by switching from PAINTED LIVERIES to DYNAMIC LIVERIES (Arrowed). Two liveries are "Dynamic" in resources (White)... another New feature is the (Quick) selection of Dirt (Ext) Externally, Scratches and Dirt (Int) Internally. Via three percentage selections you can adjust the amount of Dirt, Scratches and Dirt Int on the aircraft (0%-255%) and apply it instantly.So you can have either a pristine or a very grubby aircraft with just a twirl of the numbers. This can be applied to any of the liveries. You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want and then adjust the RGB colours for that certain area, it looks hard but you can easily design a very nice livery in about twenty minutes... the selections of Dirt (Ext), Scratches and Dirt (Int). Metal(ness) and surface Rough(ness) can also be added or adjusted as seen earlier... When done you can "SAVE" or ADD the livery and then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. The conversion takes a few minutes, but the results are excellent and in your own design... There are already 30 preselected selections in their various designs, all which are very good, and like noted you can add in your own version to the list. New to the Dynamic Livery application is ERA options in "Modern' or "Classic". Of course taste is optional... Here I changed the aircraft registration to an Australian Rego (VH-337), because I didn't like the Australian default aircraft... cool. Menu - Weight/Bal The C337F also has a great Weight and Balance menu. Lbs and Kgs which can be selected and changed via the toggle Lbs/Kgs (arrowed). Fuel can be added, and the amounts are then shown and are also adjustable as well in the menu (above). Pilot, passengers and cargo can all be set for individual weights and all selected via a scrollwheel... and then all of the CofG (Centre of Gravity) parameters are shown on a graph. Go too far or too heavy and the CofG goes red (arrowed). When done you can Save the Configuration and then later re-load it, or press Load to add in the set weights. Overall it would be nice to have set of loading formats of different configurations, it is slow work setting them individually. Once you go over a certain weight, you will then get two pilot's in the front seats, but no rear passengers. Pilots (Female/Male) are switchable. Note if you turn the aircraft power off, the pilots will again disappear. More cabin options allows you to hide each of the four rear seats, via the small x tickboxes, if the weights for each seat is still set in place (or adjusted) then the area is replace by baggage. This makes for a very versatile cabin. The Cargo Pod can be added or removed on the MISC Tab. This then adds in the Cargo Pod weight options on the right. But obviously there is a compromise? If you want a full passenger and baggage load, then you can't have full fuel tanks, as the excess weight takes you over the weight and the CofG limits. For six (light) passengers (with maybe a bag thrown in) then can you have your full tanks and the range and not go into the red. You can also really pile a lot into the rear cabin two sections, and all the baggage is of very high quality. Menu - Camera There is a camera feature under the menu "Camera" selection. The left side of the panel is the "Walkaround" views, just pick the dot viewpoint you want to see to rotate around the aircraft. To the right is the default views can be selected via a menu, or press the keypad to select the view with most of these internal viewpoints. The FoV or Field of View is adjustable via a slider. Menu - Audio/Slew Sound can be adjusted via the sound menu. There are seven slider selections with: Master, Aircraft External, Aircraft Internal, CoPilot, Radios, Environmental and User Interface. One other sound setting is on the Flap panel... As noted, on the right and left of the panel you get the audio simulation of an active noise canceling headset, which is seen as wearing a headset. Sound quality is beyond excellent as it is a built in audio mixer, so you can individually control the audio channels in real-time and you can adjust the volumes while hearing them play. Slew mode allows you to manually move the aircraft around in a disconnected X-Plane space. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the X-Plane settings, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired. This feature is however highly touchy and it is mostly used with the floats option (not really coming to the 337), but for use on the Caravan, Thranda Beaver and PC-6). Menu - PANEL The sixth "PANEL" Tab option allows you to adjust or change the instruments and dials. Scroll the "Panel Preset" number (arrowed) to see the extra six preset layouts (seven choices in all). Sometimes to restart you have to click to "Apply the Settings" for the GPS units. Panel features include; Bendix King KFC-225, and the noted Aspen EFD 1000, KR 87 ADF Radio, Garmin GMA 340, Garmin GTX325 Mode C Transponder, BendixKing IN-182A Weather Radar, S-Tec Fifty Five X Autopilot and the usual GNS 430/530 PS/Nav/Comm units. A EDM 780 Digital EGT (shown lower) is also available. And there is a special 3d bezels for the insertion of RealityXp GTN 750/430 units if you own those two addons (arrowed above). Here is featured the EDM 780 EGT display, a replacement for the twin EGT gauges, the instrument pops-out as well. The Aspen EFD 1000 is a self-contained multifunction digital display that is divided into a Primary Flight Display (PFD) in the top half, and an Electric Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) in the lower half. As EDF 1000 systems go it is not as highly featured with the GPSS, MAP, 360 and Menu functions all not simulated... all the lower NAV1/NAV2/GPS selections are however available, as is the TPS (Tapes) see/hide option with the MIN (Minimums) selectable as well. and the PFD can be reversed with the EHSI. The EFD 1000 here can be used with the S-TEC Fifty Five X Autopilot. Customising the panel to your own personal layout is just as easy. Just select the "3D EDIT PANEL MODE" (arrowed) that gives you access to all of the 53 individual instruments and avionic units... There are some great options including Aspen EFD 1000, S-TEC 55x Autopilot, Angle of Attack gauge and so on... For those that find instruments are not to their liking in say, "I wish I could move that altitude meter just a bit more to the left", then here you can simply adjust that instrument, or even swap the instruments around the panel to your liking. You can even adjust the brightness of the instrument. Optional is to select the type of GPS unit you want GNS 530/430 via the "INSTRUMENT" selection. When done you can "ADD" (or Duplicate) a new "Preset", and then "SAVE" that new layout Preset (Preset /6). So basically you can start off with a completely blank instrument panel and then create your own unique or personal instrument layout if you have the time and patience... and you can have up to or save 14 different instrument layouts. It is however very important to restart X-Plane to lock in the new instrumentation layout before flying. Currently the optional "Panel Background" choice (colour) is not available on the 337F, like it was on some other Thranda DGS systems. Menu - MISC The Misc (Miscellaneous) page has four panels that cover Yoke Type (Chunky or Slim) ,De-Ice (wing) Boots, Cargo Pod (Normal or Cargo), Pilots (Option 1 Female, Option Two Male) and DynaFeel. "DynaFeel" on the right is a system that dynamically adjusts the rate at which the controls deflect. It is based on airspeed and how much the control is deflected. This means the controls will feel light and responsive at low speeds and with small deflections, but will get progressively heavier as the airspeed increases. _____________________ Flying the Cessna 337F Skymaster The 377F is an odd aircraft because of it's push/pull configuration. The front is standard, the rear installation is everything but. In the cockpit it is bit like wearing a very heavy backpack, you know it's there but you can't see it. And that heavily enclosed rear installation causes problems as well.... mostly the heating. So the aircraft is expensive to run, maintenance costs are notably high and so are the insurance premiums. This puts of a lot off buyers, which is a shame as the unique configuration is a very good flying machine. You have to start the front engine first, to push cooling air into the upper vent to keep the rear engine cool... ... even when you have started the rear IO-360-C air-cooled flat-six piston engine, you have to move forward quickly. More air is required by movement via the twin open cowls on the rear, the nose engine has the same cowls under the aircraft, but it also has the forward nose inlet. Sit there for a period of time and it could get very expensive... quickly. And yet you need the "Temps" to come up before moving, my trick is once the needles are showing rear temps, then go... the taxi to the runway will do the rest. And this highlights the biggest point in flying the C337, your eyes are never (ever) far from those Temp gauges, you can't see or feel that rear engine, so the gauges are your eyes and ears to what is happening back there. Sounds when running are obviously different. Although both IO-360-C engines are the same, however they sound very different because of their different locations and installations. So you get Individual sounds for the front and back engines, with different sonic characteristics. Combine that with 3D 360º audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to prop, and you can even hear the turbulent air feeding into the rear prop. Also the "beats' are all there with the precise beat frequency for each section, to minimise "muddy" transition sounds, in other words the running "ticker, ticker", sounds at idle, the same as any Continental piston engine, but sonically coming at you from both ways... it's all very good. It is up to you if you want to taxi on one engine, or both... personally you don't need the rear engine to taxi, as the front IO-360-C has more than enough power... ... with no stress yet on the rear engine it helps in keeping it a bit cool(er). I use a Yaw setting on my Joystick to steer, but rudder inputs, in mostly the right rudder will fine tune the taxi line, even slight turns like this with the rudder input are easily available... on the ground the 337 is excellent, nice power inputs, that slack off when you reduce the power, so all it's lovely on the ground. Cockpit in detail in X-Plane 12 is realistic as it gets, Simulation 2023... the silhouette is the iconic C337. Because of the unique engine arrangement and rear fuselage configuration, the rear engine creates instant aerodynamic flow over the huge horizontal stabiliser and elevator, so the pitch feel is there from the word go... so you have to be aware in the way you use the pitch earlier than usual. On the real 337, the pitch trim is motorised automatically to compensate for the extra elevator pressure loadings, and will work (trim) from the moment you leave the runway. The rear propeller is highly exposed as well... thrown up rocks from the rear wheels can cause grief (in other words expensive repairs), and you have to leave the runway cleanly, or not a too pitched up, in not catching the ground sort of skill... obviously you can't see it at all. But the unique push/pull engine configuration also works for you in not creating any (depending on the power outputs) yaw, as the inline counter-rotating propellers give no directional thrust pull, so there is no asymmetrical thrust or yaw to the power output of the propeller, basically you go straight down the runway with no corrections or slight rudder corrections... and fast you do go! I usually bring the front (puller) up to 90% power, tracking right I then bring up the rear (pusher) to match it... ... remember the rear engine operates in the disturbed air from the forward engine, which may reduce its efficiency to 85% of the forward engine. Basically the 337 is a small aircraft with two engines on it, so it GOES... well "like shit!". At 100knts you break with the ground, slight pull back with the yoke, and once clear then a 10% pitch to climbout... you have ton's of power behind you, so the 337 will climb-out very easily... Rate of climb is 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s), but you can do a 1,000 fpm comfortably... now for the big theatrical production! First the gear doors open, then the nosewheel will twist sideways to fit into the front wheel-well... ... from the rear the fine limbed gear has to then contortion to fit in what is basically four rear bays. The animation work here is difficult and very complex, but Thranda have done an excellent job, in getting it perfectly correct. Then you have a nice clean aircraft. Note... the gear lever will go up, then return to the centre position once the hydraulics have finished the procedure. Once cleaned up, the one thing you realise very quickly, is that the 337F is one amazing aircraft to fly. Maybe it is huge wing arrangement, and twin boom tail, but it is steady as a rock and smooooth, easily trimmed, and can then bank to your will... ohhh it's "so good". You can bank to the extreme, say 80º/90º (See Redbull video), and the 337 will take it all in it's stride, but note the loss of height, if you are doing these sort of very angled manoeuvres. The numbers... Maximum speed: 199 mph (173 kn, 320 km/h) at sea level : Cruise speed: 144 mph (125 knots, 232 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m) (econ cruise) : Range: 965 mi (839 nmi, 1,553 km) : Service ceiling: 19,500 ft (5,945 m) A lot of operators use internal tanks on the 337 for on-station flying (fishing, fire, maritime patrols etc) so the range is expandable. Lighting Internal lighting is quite basic, but effective. There are only four adjustment knobs; POST (those little lights on the instruments), FLOOD, EL PANEL and ENG RADIO. Between them you get a full lit panel with red highlights... ... a Black&White panel, or a Red panel Last adjustment is for the lower left instrument panel. In the rear you have four spot lights that you can adjust the beams, the roof Fuel Switches are also lit up... but missing is a forward flood cockpit light, and you seriously notice the absence? Externally it is pretty basic as well, Landing/Taxi lights in the wings, navigation and strobe lights on the wingtips, a right tail beacon and white navigation lights on the twin tails. There is also a nice left side Ice-light on the wing. Notable is cooling as already noted. Once airborne you can close the cooling vents forward and rear, this nicely cleans up the aircraft. But there a need to keep all eyes on all the temperature gauges. It becomes a bit of a game on how long (or how far) you can go with the vents closed, once the needles are touching the red zones, you are out of there... switches are lower pilot panel right. Cruising you can easily see the 337F's main outstanding elements, as a stable observational platform. You can understand why the US Army grabbed a load of 337s for this purpose. I wouldn't use the aircraft so much in carrying fare paying passengers, it's too cramped and even too noisy to put into commercial service, but for two (Pilots) and a load of gear, it is perfect. A quick look at the Orbx Brisbane City pack... Brisbane is 70 kms north of here and my local state capital. It comes back to my original argument, create the inner city and the autogen will do the rest, it works fabulously well here, as does the complimenting Orbx YBBN Brisbane international... YBBN Runway 01L is all brand new, just completed only a year or so back... time to check it out. Two things are very apparent on the approach, first the 337F's lift is impressive, those wide wings and horizontal stabiliser (with added thrust on it, mind you) keeps you very steady, almost static in the air, which means manoeuvres can be easily controlled. So the old adage applies here, the Skymaster is a very "Sweet" aircraft to fly. Second is that once you reduce the speed on approach, even at 120 kts, off goes the gear alarm? it feels far to early, not even in the flap white zone, so you have to drop the gear early to just "shut it up". I think the alarm is there and early (still a bit too early though), because it takes the gear a very (very) long time to unfurl and lock down, it feels ages from when you drop the lever to when the green light comes on... notably I opened the cooling vents before landing, and instantly all the temp gauges drop. Flaps are 4 phase 3 degree movements; UP - 1/2 - 2/3 - FULL, get the speed right and there is simply no ballooning, just slight drop of speed, even down to the FULL setting, the Skymaster will stay calm and collected with no fighting of the aircraft... critical on approach. Over the threshold and your in the 70 knts range, perfectly stable... ... 60 knts in the flare. The flare has to be perfect, as you are very aware of that rear propeller hanging down. Slight 5º-6º degrees to keep the nosewheel slightly higher than the rears, then let it down. When the rears touch you bring down the nose carefully, the slow landing speed and excellent lift really helps here to get it right. Then back to taxiing with the rudder pedals. It's a long taxi from YBBN runway 01L/19R to the GA area, and i'm watching those temp gauges like a hawk... but I get there. BNE needs to create a shorter taxi route to 01L/19R from the GA Area, which the area is actually close to? I finally get there... notable with the engines now shutdown is the active variable-pitch on the propellers (PROP levers) in being feathered, it is all very well done here by Thranda, authentic, realism... take your pick but still great. Although a very different configuration from the usual, the 337F is actually a very nice aircraft for a pilot, you never oddly fight it, it is SO stable (that word again), a dream in all the aspects of manoeuvres in the air, trims nice, just "Bloody" feels nice as well. All round this a great aircraft, different in most aspects, but that is also it's attraction for a really special simulation. ___________________ Summary The Cessna 337 is a very unique aircraft in the history of aviation. It is only one of the few created and built in the Push/Pull configuration, or a forward PULL engine and a rear PUSH engine, to accommodate the rear push engine it has a two boom and twin tail arrangement, with a standard Cessna fuselage and forward engine layout. Yes it's totally unique, but it works. Last year in 2022, Thranda Designs released the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan and the U206G Stationair, those aircraft in the series are now joined by the Cessna 337F, after Thranda's earlier more rugged utility aircraft Series. This aircraft is powered by two Continental IO-360-C air-cooled flat-six piston engines, 210 hp (160 kW) each, producing a combined 420hp. Thranda Design are one of the best developers in X-Plane, their history and quality is legendary. So that quality build and detailing is always going to be significant from the start, and so it here... exceptional. In every area and detail, modeling, fine details, glass and the interior materials. Menus are also excellent with menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous), that covers all the options and including sound, weights and balances also including graphs, walk-around and camera options and general static elements including GPU, chocks, pitot covers, two pilots (Male/Female) and tie-downs. Sounds are excellent with High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth, finely tuned transitions, amazing atmospheric effects, different sonic characteristics (with the engine arrangement) and 3D audio effects, including the "blade slapping" sounds and the aerodynamic interaction effects between front and rear prop. Internal sounds are however a bit too low compared to the external. Thranda always comes with a high range of clever and unique features to give the user a lot of personal options. Known as the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, this is a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications. Here you can change the actual livery to your own designs, but build the instrument panel to your own liking as well, including options of the Aspen EFD 1000 glass instrument and a special 3d bezel for the insert of a RealityXp GTN 750 and GNS 430 units if you own those add ons. Comments include, Tricky to start, Tricky to keep cool, and the unusual undercarriage bans a lot extra features in Tundra Tyres, Ice-Skis and Float/Amphibian variants. Lighting is good, but there is no overhead cockpit flood light, four rear spots are also small, in making it a dull night cabin, instrument pane is however good, but you feel you need more adjustments. Missing also is that valued green buttoned Autopilot panel that was on the Carenado. Notable that the 337 is a unique aircraft to fly. The in-line engine arrangement gives you almost no asymmetrical thrust, but this also a powerful, but brilliantly handing aircraft that has not only a very stable platform feel in the air, but also on departure and approach procedures, you can see why the US Army bought loads of O-2 Skymasters for observation patrols. So it's a Thranda and that is a sale done right there. At a below US$40.00 price it is also exceptional value for what you get, including free updates for the run of the X-Plane 12 version and all that exceptional quality. A total winner in every department... and positively recommended. _______________________________ Yes! the Cessna 337F Skymaster DGS series by Thranda Design is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Cessna 337F Skymaster DGS series Price is US$39.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Current version 1.0.3* (February 1st 2023) *Updates via the Skunkcrafts Updater Special features: FULLY configurable 3D instrument panel. Fully VR Compatible Interchangeable yoke styles Over 50 instruments to choose from! (Including Aspen EFD 1000, and support for RealityXP 650 and GTN750) Move any instrument to any location on the panel, or even between pilot and copilot's panel! Comes with 4 panel presets, but can easily be expanded by moving instruments around, using a simple and intuitive interface. Lighting is fully 3D, and dynamically move along with the instruments, as you configure the panel. Ability to assign a lighting index to individual instruments, to allow different lighting knobs to be assigned on a per-instrument basis. Save your own presets, and even share them with the community! Almost every instrument can be popped up or popped out as a 2D floating window! They can be placed on other monitors as well. Instruments can be moved in 3D directly, on a 2D pop-up preview window, or by numerical entry for precise placement. GNS430 and 530 can be swapped out, but a restart of the plane is required, as 430s and 530s are mutually exclusive in terms of compatibility in X-Plane Dynamic livery editor (like in the Kodiak, the Beaver, the Wilga, the Caravan, the C206, and the Pilatus PC-6) Full PBR control! Create stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look in mere seconds! Additional control over dirt/scratches, adjustable in real-time to dial in the exact desired amount of wear and tear. Create "virtual" liveries, based on two basic common design layouts (Modern and Classic), and assign any colour to any available paint segment. Quickly create preview of livery in real-time, using intuitive controls. Previews include visualization of metallic materials and dirt overlays. Apply selected livery in real-time, right in the sim, without the need to even touch a 3rd party image editor! Option to change the tail number in real-time, or disable it altogether. (Enter a "space" instead of a callsign number to create a blank tail number.) Easily and quickly create dozens of paint schemes in-sim! Also includes 9 traditionally painted liveries, all visible in a convenient pre-selection preview window. Ability to swap pilot/co-pilot figures Uses SkunkCrafts Updater. Option to participate in Beta program, via checkbox in SkunkCrafts Updater. Excellent hi-res PBR realistic materials, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision. Fully modelled Continental IO-320-F front engine. Windshield ice and rain effects Individual functional circuit breakers. Feature-rich elegant fly-out menu with the following features: Electric tug, with in-panel controls to move forward/backward at the desired speed, and steer proportionally Control over chocks, individual tie-downs, covers, internal lights, external lights, etc. Option to enable/disable Cargo Pod, with realistically simulated weight, momentum, rotational inertia, and drag characteristics. Option to start up running (all systems ready), or cold-and-dark, for realistic startup procedures, directly from this fly-out menu. Control landing lights, strobes, beacon, and nav lights via fly-out menu Detailed weight and balance manager with visual chart, individual passenger seat weight control, Lbs/KG unit toggle, CG control, external tank control, and the option to save and load configuration. Show or hide individual seats, to create a hybrid passenger/cargo version. When seats are hidden, cargo fills the space when weight is added via the fly-out menu. Multiple camera snap points, above and beyond what's available by default in X-Plane, so you can perform your walk around checks. Adjust your camera's Field of View without having to go to an X-plane menu, allowing for real-time adjustments. Audio mixer: individually control audio channels in real-time, so you can adjust volumes while hearing them play. Slew control: move your plane around the world, temporarily bypassing flight physics. Includes ground mode and air mode. Dynamic panel control page, with a separate view for the entire panel layout preview, or a per-instrument view, allowing for fine-tuning of instrument position, as well as copy-paste function to quickly replace instruments. Option to swap pilot and co-pilot Option to select different yoke styles DynaFeel panel: Dial in precisely how you wish for the controls to react as a function of speed. Optional de-ice system Flight dynamics and systems: Detailed and accurate flight dynamics and weight and balance with the help of multiple real-world active Stationair pilots. This not only gives this aircraft the proper "feel", but also accurate takeoff, climb, cruise, and landing performance. The C337 is a well-behaved twin airplane, where the engines are in line, with props spinning in opposite directions, cancelling out torque on the airframe A single engine failure doesn't radically affect flight behaviour, as the engines are in line, and don't produce a net yaw force on the plane, as other twins do. Tie-downs and chocks actually keep the plane from moving, even in high winds. DynaFeel: controls that simulate how strongly the control surfaces are affected by oncoming air, and how much strength would be needed to overcome these forces. Advanced FMOD-based sound system: High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth, finely tuned transitions (actually having calculated the precise beat frequency for each section, to minimize "muddy" transition sounds), and amazing atmospheric effects. Individual volume control over different aspects of the sound experience, adjustable in real-time (while listening to the sounds) Individual sounds for front and back engine, with different sonic characteristics, as a result of their placement. Different sounds for front of plane than for back of plane Panning around the plane in exterior view yields awesome 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to prop Far away sounds include aerodynamic interaction effects between front and rear prop. At a distance, you hear overtones caused by turbulent air feeding into the rear prop. Individual buttons and switches in the cockpit each have their own unique sound. Engine has typical cool-down ticking sound, based on engine temperature. Sounds actually give you clues as to what's happening under the hood. Outside wind intensity is affected by slip and AoA. (The more the surface area of the fuselage is hit by oncoming wind, the louder the sounds Doors and windows opening, let outside sounds in Installation and documents: download for the Thranda_C337F. is 1.34Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 1.71Gb Documents supplied are: C337F Manual.pdf C337F Performance Charts Changelog Thranda Graphics Settings XP11 Thranda Joystick Settings X-Plane G430 Manual X-Plane G530 Manual There is a huge amount of Documentation provided here, not only for the Thranda C337F, but including performance charts, reference guides, but also X-Plane/hardware settings and custom and default avionics. All updates are via built-in Skunkcrafts Updater Support forum for the C337 Skymaster by Thranda _____________________ Review System Specifications Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.01r3 (This is a beta review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 __________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 2nd February 2023 Copyright©2023: 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.
    1 point
  5. Aircraft Update : Flightfactor A320-214 Ultimate v1.5.6 gets a serious update! As developers progress, you can get ton's of updates, some even silly, in them mostly just being a tweak or only a change here and there. Problem is with so many coming out that are not really absolutely essential, you can easily miss the big important ones... dream for the days of quarterly or six monthly updates. That is not to say frequent updates are not good, any update is a nice to have, but packaging them together better saves you a lot of work on your behalf. It is noted that the XP11 model here has been updated more than 200 times... overkill. Which brings us to the Flightfactor A320 Ultimate. It is an aircraft that divides users. Personally I'm very much on the "very like" side of the argument, mainly because I like the Airbus Philosophy, and the Flightfactor A320U has the prominence of being the only CEO or "Current Engine Option" aircraft available to X-Plane 12 users, a NEO or "New Engine Option A320 is coming soon from ToLiSS, but not the older engine versions. Over the years the progress on changes (despite) the constant upgrades, never really fixed the things users wanted from the aircraft, then an almost lost or ignored update comes along and it is full of the things we have asked for, for years... just don't shout about it. In the Flightfactor philosophy of making things complex, this is the "FF A320 XP12 Extended Upgrade beta". Or a US$20 addon (Upgrade?) to use the X-Plane 11 Airbus A320 Ultimate in X-Plane 12, note the "Beta" moniker, as this v1.5.6 update is only available in the "Beta" settings. Since X-Plane 12's release there has also been some significant changes to the aircraft starting with v1.5.0 or Extended Upgrade, including... * A package with two acfs one for xp11 and one for xp12, so you can run it both in XP11 and in XP12 * full support and updates at least for the duration of xp12 run * new cockpit and reworked exterior * abnormals (list will follow) to the standard of pilot training. For v1.5.0 you got a new 3D-cockpit model, Alternate Law implementation, updated Normal Law elevator controls, added inoperative systems according to FCOM when failure occurs, added drag effects from opened gear doors, autopilot yaw damper for single engine failure and an added tab for instant failure activation. So here is now the new beta v1.5.6 X-Plane 12 can do wonderous things to aircraft. But some are affected better than others in the transition. The FF A320U is one of the really better ones, certainly in it's Silver coated JQ (Jetstar) livery. A hard one to get right, as most painters do it in a flat light grey, not the shiny metal look. But here the aircraft stands out, highly real, even stunning in the late light. However there is a slight problem with the default livery on the FF A320U. Since v1.5.0 (X-Plane 12) Flightfactor have used their own new house livery, very nice and spirally it all is... but it is also set as the default livery, that problem comes to light in if any livery uses the default engines as a base, like the JQ Airbus does? No, I don't think that matches very well, it is even quite ugly... so you have to change the default livery (eng320t.png) to a more benign generic engine design in the "objects" folder to fix it. Sharklets First gripe that Flightfactor have finally fixed is a sore one with users... the hint is in the images above? Winglets or Sharklets in Airbus terminology, so they don't get sued again by Aviation Partners (it is a long drawn out story). The FF A320U has to date only the smaller arrow style winglets... ... but now you have the towering sharklets. Detail and design here are both excellent, the sharklet curve and shape is beautiful to behold. Sharklet selection is via the EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) in the "Settings" tab. Annoyingly the same default livery problem strikes again? I had to paint the JQ sharklets myself to make them realistic (or match). So if you want a generic design, again you have to swap a paint file (Sharklets.png or .dds) to the "objects" folder. It is well worth the effort. In both instances (engines and sharklets) the American livery is a good source. Cabin Upgrade Second major gripe was the cabin. The original cabin felt it was never really finished, a sort of half-hearted affair, and FlightFactor have promised for years to fix it, also it was not really a reflection of an aircraft of this price category. But now you have a new cabin fitout... there are two classes in, Business (four across), and Economy (six across) in a blue cloth material. It is not overly adventurous in design, but light years better than the original layout. Business gets seatback monitors, and Economy get those magazine pockets we are all very familiar with. It will be interesting to see some airline brand interiors in here. Side cabin panels and window surrounds are also remodeled, again far better than the originals, but still not as good as the JARDesign cabin with double windows and those air-holes, ditto the roof panels, basic, but far better... and that pretty well sums it up. The cabin lighting is changed as well. Control of the lighting is via the EFB, on the FAP tab (note the FAP only works if the power is on). Oddly FlightFactor haven't installed the same panel on the forward left entrance bulkhead, where it is also installed on the real aircraft? The lighting is based on the latest liTeMood® system, it looks the part, but not exactly the way it is done in the new cabins, but using here only spot colour... You also have three brightness settings; BRT, DIM 1 & DIM 2... Problem is? you can't actually use it... switching the lighting on, just completely absolutely destroys your framerate, or a 50fr drop to a border line 18fr, 18fr, seriously? Simbrief Intergration Last year ToLiSS introduced a great time saving feature. This was to load directly into the Multi-function Control Display Unit (MCDU) a generated "Simbrief" route profile. Here now in the A320U FlightFactor MCDU, you can do the same... First you have to tell the EFB your Simbrief account. This is done on the SimBrief Account Settings/Simbrief Data page. Your looking for your Pilot ID... Second row down. Then type in your Pilot ID number into the EFB/SETTINGS "INIT REQUEST" Section, then press "Apply". Annoyingly it will throw up a "Warning!", "Without an installed user and password, external connections will not be available", it looks like it is related to the Simbrief account, but it isn't, but the "Server Settings" above for external user use. Skip Procedures setting is really a non-setting, as is the AUTOCOMPLETE ROUTE settings. Unlike the ToLiSS input from Simbrief, here it only imports certain data, route, weights and fuel... Procedures (Departure and Arrival Data), and a few more areas are not implemented, so you have to still set those still manually via the EFB (as noted below). Create your route (Flight), and generate the (SimBrief) Flightplan. Then you import it by pressing the RK2 Button "INIT REQUEST"... ... and there there the Simbrief data is now in the MCDU. As noted the "Procedures" are not filled in, neither correctly is the Flight Number? You also still have to "SET" or activate, FUEL, PAX (Passengers) and CARGO on the EFB... also the PERF DATA! Doing these settings will then fill in the fuel, weight and payloads onto the aircraft. All the Simbrief data here ARE imported for you, basically you are just Okaying or Setting the imported parameters. When the EFB settings are completed, the INIT FUEL PREDICTION will now be filled in... ... but you still have to fill in the TAKE OFF Performance page with the important Flaps/Trim settings from the PERF DATA tab on the EFB. Fill in your Departure and Arrival Procedures... and your done. So the Simbrief import is not an import and forget tool, there is a lot more still to cover and work through (Procedures, Performance, Payloads etc) as well, but the numbers are done, and so overall it is a Semi-loading rather than a full import setting, that said it saves you a lot of time in setting up the aircraft for flight, and you should be able to cover the setting up in minutes rather than the usual twenty, and you do get the same data that has been generated by SimBrief. Obviously you need a SimBrief account, and if possible it is worth investing in with the full Navigraph account to keep the aircraft's nav data up to date.. FlightFactor note that with the above new feature, there has been a "significant improvement of Flightplan calculation performance". Other notes for v1.5.6 include; Icing effects and working Anti-ice system, basically all the X-Plane 12 effects are now on the aircraft. Dual input and sidestick priority logic are also implemented. Fixed also in the v1.5.6 update is mostly again MCDU input issues, like incorrect prebuilt holdings patterns, Go-Around procedure issues, Overspeed protection, incorrect prebuilt hold entries, go-around procedure activation and duplicate markers on the flight path when close to the MAP. In other words a fine tuning of MCDU settings and routines. YBCG (Gold Coast) to YMML (Melbourne) In most cases, you have to put the instrument lighting UP, but in here, you have to tune the instrument lighting DOWN. An odd affair, because if you don't the wording or the text is all very blobby and hard to read? Overall the internal cockpit is quite dark and needs another X-Plane 12 revision. Here is the instrument lighting before adjustment... .... and after. Departure to Melbourne is via RWY 32 (SID APAGI5) STIMP, MICKS... Although I have flown this route (what feels like a million times) in simulation and in the real cabin. This is still a first time flight with X-Plane 12... on the climb, the JQ A320U looks very impressive... X-Plane 12 Impressive! The new sharklets look quite brilliant as well, from the cabin or externally. The office, very Airbus and the FlightFactor A320U has a lot of depth in systems and... toys. Again like ToLiSS there is a very good "Save" system , or "States". It will save a perfect representation of the aircraft, and recover that representation exactly like the save. Not easy to do, as there is usually something not put back as it was before. But I have tested a few Saves and they do all work (or worked) perfectly, a restore also works fine as well if you have a crash or freeze. Melbourne (YMML), and final approach RWY 16 (STAR ARBEY 6A/APP ILS Y 16)... ... note you do get Duel Flight Directors (CAT 3) AP1&AP2, nice to have, even for an Airbus. Autoland makes life easy. Cabin views are excellent, with great internal wing detail... On landing and activating the thrust reversers throws up a lot of runway dirt, maybe they should clean the runways more often, but highly realistic externally or from the cockpit. A gripe complained about on-line is the current Manipulator active zones are not where they should be, you have to hunt around to activate knobs or buttons, the Chrono (select) or Master Main and Warnings zone are miles away (arrowed above) from the buttons, switching some switches will activate others? A fix is coming. Turnaround and I am already loading my Simbrief route back to OOL (Glod Coast), quick and easy! _______________ Summary Joshua Moore did an overview review of the FlightFactor A320-214 Ultimate when it was released as an "Extended Beta in September 2022, including it's upgrade (US$20) to X-Plane 12. This is a followup review because in this update there are a load of new features (That in reality should have been part of the earlier upgrade)... but they are important ones. They are important because they are features users have wanted (or complained about) for years, and very good they are. First are Sharklets (Boeing Winglets), here tall and tapered. Second is a completely newly designed cabin and third is SImBrief MCDU intergration. X-Plane 12 Icing effects and a working Anti-ice system, and Dual input and sidestick priority logic is also now implemented. Quality of the Sharkets are excellent, the cabin is very good as well, but not absolutely top notch required in this price range, but a major step up from the half-completed original. Cabin lighting uses the liTeMood® system, but currently has a very heavy framerate drain on using it, makes it still a dark cabin. SimBrief intergration is very good and easy to use, but does not cover every data aspect required for flight, as data inputs from the EFB and Departure and Arrival Procedures are still required, and the Take Off data also needs to be filled in. Yes there a few quirks outstanding in the FlightFactor A320U, but it is also a very comprehensive simulation of the most popular Airbus in the world. If you like to use the Airbus philosophy (Law logic), then this aircraft is for you. The FlightFactor A320-214 Ulitmate comes very highly recommended, and both X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 versions are included in the package. _______________ The A320 Ultimate XP12 Extended beta is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: A320 Ultimate XP12 Extended beta Price at time of writing US$89.95 Requirements X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 12 OS: Windows (64 bit) or Mac 10.14 (or higher) Processor (x86-64 Intel or AMD): 4-cores Intel Core I5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 2500X, Apple M1 and M2 not supported Video Card: GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 580 with 4 GB VRAM (8 GB recomended) RAM: 8 GB (16 GB highly recommended) Disk Space: 2 GB Last version: 1.5.6beta (18.05.2022) Download via X-Updater only. Review System Specifications Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD __________________________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 25th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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.
    1 point
  6. Aircraft Review: Van's RV-8 /8A Duo by AOA Simulations By Peter Allnutt Founded in 1973 in the USA by Richard Van Grunsven, Van’s Aircraft has, for the last fifty years, produced a series of highly successful low-wing monoplane kit aircraft. One of those kits is the RV-8, a two-seat aerobatic model featuring a bubble canopy providing good all-around visibility. It first flew in 1995 and as of late 2022, over 1500 have been built. Like the RV-4, the RV-8 variant has two seats, one behind the other and is generally larger overall. The two-seat RVs are designed to use Lycoming-style engines developing between 118 and 200 horsepower, although a higher performance derivative was also produced, the Harmon Rocket. This had clipped wings and utilised a Lycoming IO-540 engine with 300 horsepower. There are two variants of the RV-8 kits available from the manufacturer, one with a traditional taildragger configuration and the RV-8A, which uses a tricycle undercarriage instead. Purchase & Installation Three different packages of the RV-8 are available to purchase via the X-Plane.org store: taildragger, tricycle or a package including both. The individual aircraft are priced at $24, with the Duo Pack (being reviewed here) costing $32. With your purchase completed, you are provided with a link in which to download the required 150MB ZIP file. When done, it’s just a simple case of extracting the file and then copying it over to your X-Plane “Aircraft” folder (no activation keys required). Included in the download, is a rather nice X-Plane user guide and a brochure from Van’s Aircraft, introducing you to their range of models. There is also a document for Apple users detailing the required security setting. The user guide is twenty pages in length and is well worth a read as it explains how to lean the engine and perform aerobatics, along with a suggested button guide for joysticks and other helpful tips. Note: At the time of writing the RV-8 package is for X-Plane 11 only, but the developer has stated that an X-Plane 12 version is in development (will be a free update to existing customers) and will be released when the new simulator is deemed ready. Exterior Model The RV-8 has a relatively simple shape, something I assume aids with its kit construction. It is well-modelled and judging by images I have seen of the real thing, is accurately proportioned. I didn’t spot any real visual differences in the engine cowlings, but the RV-8 is modelled with 180HP, whilst the RV8A gets the increased 200HP powerplant. As with most AOA models, there are some nice touches included, such as the “Remove Before Flight” ribbons if you start from cold and dark. AOA’s RV-8’s control surfaces are nicely animated, as is the cockpit canopy, which automatically closes when the aircraft reaches 10MPH and above (perfect for those who tend to forget such things). The wheel covers and rear suspension are also nicely modelled, as are the light clusters in the wingtips. There is also a little cubbyhole just in front of the cockpit which contains a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, plus room for a few small personal items. There are a few liveries included with the model, as well as a paint kit should you wish to create your own. As well as those already supplied, AOA Simulations have also made available several livery packs for download, the link for which, can be found in the user guide. Additional liveries from the developer can also be found at the Org. Cockpit & Functionality Moving on to the interior of the RV-8 and I found that whilst good, the modelling wasn’t quite up to the same standard as the exterior, the footwell being one example, which looked slightly odd in my opinion. Also, the prop and mixture handles seemed a bit on the small side, but then again, perhaps I just have big hands! Texturing was, for the most part, very nicely done, although it did seem a bit too clean. Whilst I appreciate the fact that this is a kit aircraft, it would be nice to see a degree of weathering applied (not all aircraft will be new). Both variants in the package sport the same glass cockpit configuration, two G1000 displays, a Garmin 430 GPS, a Garmin 245A Audio Panel and a Garmin GFC500, so you’re not left wanting by any means. The engine start checklist is displayed on the Garmin 430’s display when the battery switch is set to on, and this updates as the steps are completed. When you’re ready to operate the starter, you get a nice audio call of “Clear Prop”, which I thought was a nice touch! AOA Simulations also provide a plug-in which enables you to toggle the “Extras” option on and off. When selected, you will find that it adds additional information to the two GF1000 displays. On either side of the pilot, there are two side pockets which can be activated. The one on the left brings up the default X-Plane map, whilst the one on the right brings up AviTab (if installed). AOA’s RV8/RV8-A also comes equipped with a rather neat smoke system (red and blue available) which is activated by switches on the right-side panel, along with oxygen controls. Handling In terms of handling, I think it’s important to point out, that I am not a real-world pilot and as such, I can’t really comment on the authenticity of the flight model. However, in saying that, I was extremely impressed by how the model performed in the air, and I can only put that down to AOA’s exceptional modelling talents and the fact that this X-Plane model was developed with the help of the Van’s Aircraft Company. This is an aircraft that can be calm and docile one minute, and then totally exhilarating the next…wonderful! Taxiing in the tail dragger variant of the RV-8 is slightly more challenging than the tricycle version (RV-8A) due to the slightly upward view and the tailwheel. When throttling forward during takeoff, it’s immediately noticeable that there is plenty of power at hand, and when airborne, the little RV-8 will climb at 2000fpm, which is quite impressive for such a small aircraft. During the cruise phase (around 170 KTS), both variants were easy to trim out, but if you’re feeling lazy, then there is the autopilot to help you out should you wish. As mentioned earlier, the RV-8 is reasonably aerobatic, and as such, I managed to perform quite a few aerobatic manoeuvres during my testing, all without too much difficulty. Okay, they weren’t particularly textbook, and I wouldn’t have won any awards, but it goes to show you what the aircraft is capable of. The controls are quite sensitive, so it’s fairly easy early on to overdo some of the inputs, but you know what they say… practice makes perfect! Landing either of the models was straightforward, with touchdown being at around 60-70 KTS. The RV-8 only has two stages of flaps, one for takeoff, and the other for landing. This means that during the approach phase, you’ll notice additional drag caused by the flaps, so you’ll have to adjust power and trim as required. AOA Simulations have also included an excellent “Brake With Stick” (BWS) feature via their plug-in. This is particularly useful for those simmers who don’t have rudder pedals with toe brakes (and there are many), as it means that upon touchdown, all that is required to activate the brakes is to push the stick forward…very imaginative and extremely useful. Sounds The RV-8’s included sounds are well-sampled and of good quality, with the engine sounding particularly nice. There was no audible looping present, and at no time did the soundset become monotonous or intrusive. The numerous “click” points in the cockpit were present, but I was disappointed I couldn’t hear the difference between a switch-on and a switch-off action and the canopy closing didn’t give a reassuring clunk when fully shut. However, I did notice that the engine was nicely muffled when the canopy was closed, so that was another nice touch. Performance During my testing of AOA’s RV-8, I experienced no performance issues whatsoever. Framerates remained high and there were no noticeable lags or spikes. For reference, my X-Plane setup is as follows: Intel i9 10900K – 32GB RAM - NVIDIA MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit, so as you can see, quite a capable system. Conclusion Summing up, I have to say that AOA’s RV-8 is a wonderfully enjoyable and fun little plane to fly. Not only is it a capable tourer thanks to its good cruise performance, but it’s equally happy when performing the odd aerobatic manoeuvre. The modelling, both inside and out, is done well, and apart from a few issues with the sounds, I can’t really think of any reason why you shouldn’t add this little flyer to your hangar. Overall, the AOA RV-8, is a terrific addition to the GA family of aircraft available for X-Plane, and I hope the updated version for X-Plane 12 won’t be too long in the making. ________________________ The Van's RV-8 /8A Duo by AOA Simulations is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Van's RV-8 /8A Duo Priced at US$32.00 Features Accurate flight model Detailed cockpit and exterior with animations, manipulators and PBR textures VR-Ready Custom particles emitters Customized Garmin G1000 PFD and MFD FMOD Sounds Ground equipment Animated pilot Dynamic pilot POV camera options (non VR mode) Automatic AI plane tracking pilot POV camera capability (non VR mode) Garmin GFC 500 Included in the package 5 HD liveries + more than 30 liveries available at www.x-plane.org Comprehensive User Guide Photoshop Paintkit Requirements X-Plane 11 - X-Plane 12 when available (in progress) Windows, Mac, or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.5 (October 6th, 2022) Review System Specifications Intel i9 10900K – 32GB RAM - NVidia MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit __________________________________ Aircraft Review by Peter Allnutt 31st January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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.
    1 point
  7. NEWS! - Scenery Released : KSMF Sacramento International Airport by TaiModels A new year in 2023 and already another new scenery from TaiModels. This time it is California, in good old USA and Sacramento International Airport. Sacramento International Airport (KSMF) is located 10.5 miles (16.9 km) northwest of Downtown Sacramento in Sacramento County, California, United States and covers 6,000 acres (2,400 ha). KSMF serves the Sacramento Metropolitan Area, and it is run by the Sacramento County Airport System. The airport is the main gateway to the California State Capitol. The airport is also a gateway to the attractions and adventures in Northern and Central California such as Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Old Sacramento State Historic Park history of gold rush, underground tunnels, floods, and fire, etc., Wine Country, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Cosumnes River Preserve, Hawver Cave and Sutter's Mill and Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Features Highly detailed 3D modeling SAM amination jetways High quality PBR texture on object and ground High performance Completed autogen around airport Ground traffic plugins( car and truck) Compatible with XP11 and XP12 Includes weather textures in X-Plane 12 Images courtesy of TaiModels ________________________________________ The KSMF - Sacramento International Airport by TaiModels is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: KSMF - Sacramento International Airport Price is US$20.50 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum Download Size: 710 MB Current version : 1.0 (January 2nd 2023) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 4th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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) All Right Reserved.
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  8. Scenery Review: KSEZ - Sedona Airport by X-Codr By Joshua Moore Introduction Sedona Airport is located two miles southwest of Sedona, Arizona, on top of a mesa that overlooks the city. Dubbed the tabletop runway for its appearance, it offers some unique challenges for pilots making a trip to the airport. Sedona Airport began life in 1955 as a 3,700-foot dirt runway and was paved in 1957. Today, Sedona is considered the United States’ most scenic airport and features a nearly 5,200-foot long/100-foot-wide runway. X-Codr’s rendition of Sedona for X-Plane 12 is an update to their existing scenery for X-Plane 11, so it will be interesting to see how it looks and performs in Laminar’s latest offering. First Impressions The installation process of the scenery is mostly standard, consisting of three zip files, with the unzipped contents totaling 8.7 GB across four folders. The manual is six pages long and includes basic installation instructions for installing the scenery, as well as a few notable highlights of the package. Upon loading into the airport, I was greeted with a copious amount of red rock and a rather nice-looking airport environment. The overall scope of the product is well-sized, with a good portion of the area surrounding the airport having been modeled with custom orthos, autogen, landmarks, and the famous red rocks. From my initial observations, I was very pleased with what I saw, as the attention to detail, especially the airport, was very well done. Exploring the Airport Again, and this is something I like to do with all my reviews, I began by viewing the airport from above in which to get an idea of its layout. The overall scenery looks fantastic, with most details being visible, even those in the distance. The city of Sedona looks great from above, and the surroundings feel wonderfully natural and come across as well-textured, with the added bonus of merging perfectly with the supplied ortho. Mesh also feels enhanced and helps bring the airport alive, though there are a couple of areas which I felt could be improved on, such as the road leading up to the airport, which could do with some smoothing out. The airport environment is quite frankly one of the best I have seen in X-Plane 12 as it feels so alive, especially with the animations, vehicles, and people; the whole atmosphere is simply fantastic. The custom 3D vegetation sways with the wind, and as such, really helps add another level of immersion to the overall ambience. The exteriors of the main terminal and the Mesa Grill diner are well-modelled, with some nicely done texturing to go along with them, they even feature seating areas outside. Two other airport buildings which featured interiors were the Helicopter Tours hut and the Helicopter Airplane Tours shop. Whilst not as detailed as the other two buildings mentioned, they were a nice addition to the package. Both the terminal and diner include highly detailed interiors, and these are done well for the most part. However, I did find them to be a little too shiny for my taste, with both the chairs and floors feeling overly polished and unnatural. Another area which I felt could be improved upon, was the ramp area which had a slightly dead appearance, as there were simply no aircraft anywhere to be found, and while I’m not a huge fan of static aircraft, having the option to add some here and there, would have been nice in this case. Both the taxiways and runway felt realistic in their appearance, and the grass, albeit a bit scraggly and pixelated, really helped sell the idea that I was looking at an authentic, small, GA airport. During my testing of Sedona, I would see animated vehicles drive up to the airport gate, and then for the gate to open, which I thought was another nice touch! There were also animated people playing games in the garden, and having drinks, plus wind chimes spinning in the breeze. It’s these wonderfully thought-out details such as these, which help bring the airport to life and is something I really appreciate. The surrounding red rock formations found in the scenery deserve their own special paragraph, as they have been created entirely in 3D. The texturing of these formations is excellent, and the models themselves look detailed even from a distance. However, if you get too close, the illusion, unfortunately, starts to fall apart, but from an aircraft window, at a reasonable distance, they look incredible and are far superior to using base-only orthos. Textures When it comes to Sedona’s textures, I think it’s safe to say that this particular scenery is one of the better X-Plane sceneries that X-Codr has created. Most of the textures, when viewed from a relatively short distance, looked sharp and only started to lose clarity when viewed up close. The taxiway signage was a bit low-res for my tastes, but that was also the case for Mammoth Yosemite, which I reviewed only recently. The interiors of the various airport buildings were slightly blurrier than other more visible parts of the scenery but were just fine if your intended purpose was to simply stroll around the airport, just remember to not get too close. Winter Sedona, due to its climate, doesn't receive much in the way of snow, and when it does, it usually melts quickly. However, as I had seen some photographs of Sedona during winter, I was keen to see what it looked like with the new weather engine in X-Plane 12. I was glad I did because the results, as you can see, are simply stunning. The underlying ortho used for the surrounding scenery looks great as well, save for the various “off” colors you’ll see if you look too closely. If you use any ortho scenery for this part of the world (something I highly recommend you do), then you’ll find that the package, due to the quality of the supplied ortho, works very well, especially with something like VStates. Performance When it came to performance, I was again pleased with the results, as I experienced hardly any framerate issues. In fact, the only thing I noticed about running the scenery was my increased VRAM usage, which wasn’t surprising really, especially when you consider the sheer number of textures being used by Sedona. With X-Plane 12 not yet fully optimized and suffering from blurry textures, I would advise caution, and to check your GPU’s VRAM specs plus the package’s minimum memory requirements before purchasing the scenery. Night Lighting Sedona’s night lighting consists, for the most part, of X-Plane standard lighting effects. That’s not to say it looks bad, it’s just that nothing really stands out. There are a few areas where the lighting doesn’t quite work, such as parts of the terminal and restaurant, which look a bit odd at night, as if they don’t share the same lighting engine, but everywhere else exhibits the usual X-Plane lighting. Conclusion As with Mammoth which I tested at the same time, Sedona is another high-quality GA airport that I really enjoyed exploring. For VFR flyers, it’s a dream come true with its stunning red rock formations, but it’s equally appealing for those who enjoy flying something larger, like business jets. With challenging approaches, a wonderfully modelled airport environment, plus again, that incredible landscape, Sedona is one of those airports that I can wholeheartedly recommend. ________________________ KSEZ - Sedona by X-Codr is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: KSEZ - Sedona by X-Codr Priced at US$19.95 Features Ultra-detailed rendition of KSEZ - Sedona Buildings are detailed down to door handles and gutters Most "feature buildings" have full 3d interiors, including food on the restaurant table High quality normal maps utilize X-Plane 12's gorgeous photometric PBR rendering engine High quality realistic ground textures Hand crafted detail textures and detail normals add unparalleled detail with virtually indistinguishable tiling Hand painted, subtle grunge overlays for the whole airport make the airport feel life like and natural. Up to date layout as of 2021 including significant changes to the center-north ramp Living Airport Cars will randomly wander the airport roads, and occasionally drive up to the gate, open it, and drive to a spot on the apron. 3D animated people 3D animated trees using X-Plane 12's new forest system 3D animated grass and shrubs Custom surroundings Generic, regionally appropriate autogen for the surrounding valley Stunning hand crafted rock formations for most of the Sedona Valley Low poly landmarks (schools, old stadium, etc) Custom Ortho4XP Mesh Custom UHD Mesh V4 overlays (courtesy AlpilotX, used with his permission) Optimizer for excellent performance. VR ready, constant 60 fps with near max settings on high end systems. Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb VRAM Minimum. 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 5 Gb X-Codr Designs Library 1.6+ (available on the download page, redownload if you downloaded before 10/26/2022) Living Scenery Technology 1.05+ (available free on x-plane.org, https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/82876-living-scenery-technology/) Current version: 2.0 (October 26th 2022) Review System Specifications Windows 11 Ryzen 5800x RTX3070ti, 32GB RAM __________________________________ Scenery Review by Joshua Moore 29th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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.
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  9. Scenery Review: KMMH - Mammoth Yosemite Airport by X-Codr By Joshua Moore Introduction Mammoth Yosemite Airport is located approximately seven miles from the town of Mammoth Lakes California and is one of the premier GA airports serving the local area. Built as an auxiliary landing strip by the US Army Air Corps in WWII, it has seen multiple expansions and runway improvement projects over the years in which to increase its commercial viability. As of today, the runway is seven thousand feet long by one hundred feet wide with one parallel taxiway spanning the length of the runway. X-Codr’s rendition of Mammoth Yosemite is an update to an existing product available for X-Plane 11 and features native support for all the enhancements and features the latest version of X-Plane offers, including surface water, snow, icing, new texture support, lighting, and much more. The surrounding scenery includes 120 square miles of custom ortho imagery and an enhanced rendition of Mammoth and the ski resort. NOTE: The airport does feature custom 3D grass and vegetation, however, due to an update to X-Plane 12, the rendering of such vegetation has turned all the grass invisible. My many bug reports and emails over the last month to Laminar regarding this issue have (so far) unfortunately fallen on deaf ears, which is disappointing. I’m unsure whether this issue is unique to my setup as I have yet to find any mention of it anywhere else or even being acknowledged by Laminar themselves. This issue affects not only KMMH being reviewed here but almost every other scenery that includes 3D vegetation. As such, please keep this in mind when viewing the screenshots, and if you can, shoot the team at Laminar an email regarding this issue so it can be properly dealt with. Enjoy! First Impressions The installation process for this package is a little bit more involved than some users might be used to. I mention this because once purchased, you are greeted by a download page containing three zip files. All three are required for the installation and include the airport, the mesh file, and the library X-Codr uses for all their sceneries. Once installed, you’ll find a total of four folders added to your X-Plane Custom Scenery folder totalling 5.36GB. The included PDF manual is four pages in length and whilst relatively short, includes all the basic installation instructions for installing the scenery. Exploring the Airport Starting from a large overhead view and it was clear to see that the textures included were rather good, with the ortho not appearing too out of place and the airport blending in well with its surroundings. Moving slightly closer, the overall layout of the general ramp area and buildings are done quite well, and I have no complaints in that department. Many of the hangars and maintenance buildings leading up to the terminal are not only accurately placed (as far as I could tell from Google Maps) but are well-modelled and exhibit many finer details which could have easily been overlooked by less savvy developers. In terms of 3D modelling, the main terminal is, without a doubt, the highlight of the scenery and as such, is well done, especially the exterior details. Texturing is also of a high standard (more on that later) and when combined with the modelling, really helps add a degree of authenticity and realism. My only gripe with the terminal and this goes for the FBO as well, is the lack of interior modelling. Due to Yosemite being a relatively small airport, I think X-Plane 12 could easily handle an interior due to its low VRAM requirements and would help to make the airport feel more…alive! When winter weather sets in, the airport looks extremely atmospheric, especially with its snow-covered buildings. However, I did notice that with severe winter weather, both the runway and taxiways were particularly difficult to navigate, which I thought was strange, especially as the numerous YouTube videos I had watched previously, show these areas clear of any snow. I don’t know if this is a bug with X-Plane or with the scenery, but the end result is that the airport is pretty much off-limits when a snowstorm rolls through. Mammoth Ski Resort A nice bonus to the scenery was the inclusion of the nearby Mammoth Ski Resort. Whilst simple in terms of modelling compared to the main airport, it was nevertheless highly welcomed. The ski lifts unfortunately weren't animated, but even though they are described as generic by the developer, I still enjoyed seeing them. Textures When it comes to the textures used in the package, they are certainly up to today’s modern standards, although I did notice some of the smaller items were a bit lacking, mainly the taxiway signs. As mentioned previously, the terminal looks great and the use of PBR texturing on the corrugated metal surface looks outstanding. The ground textures are done extremely well, with the pavement having noticeable defects, such as bumps, wear and tear and other things you’d expect an airport surface to have. The smaller vehicles and details situated around the scenery also seemed up to the job and didn’t seem to lose too much quality in the texture department. The one area which I did think wasn’t quite up to the same standard was the large photographic ortho for the scenery. The reason being, it had been sampled at ZL16, which if you’re flying at 36,000ft in an airliner, would be totally acceptable. However, this is a scenery designed for VFR exploration, and as such, a higher Zoom Level (for example ZL18) would have been very much preferred. Night Lighting Much like the real airport, night lighting isn’t the scenery’s biggest selling point, so although it doesn’t look particularly impressive, it’s pretty much how the airport is in real life. The main terminal is adequately lit and the other small maintenance buildings surrounding it, all exhibit the usual “X-Plane” glow. So, whilst nothing really made me go “wow!” regarding the lighting, I wasn’t particularly disappointed with what I saw either. Performance During my testing, I noticed no slowdowns or spikes whilst exploring the scenery, everything was as smooth as butter. This could have been due to the relatively low VRAM requirements set by the scenery or the fact that the 3D grass was on holiday. Either way, I was happy with the way the package performed as there’s nothing worse than having a scenery which is a stutter fest! Conclusion I really enjoyed my time at Yosemite, especially whilst flying in and out in the Phenom 300; the RNAV 27 approach is a wonderful way to arrive at the airport. For someone who enjoys VFR flying, both real and simulated, I found the scenery to be an excellent starting point in which to explore the greater wider area. This is probably one of the scenery’s biggest selling points, as there are so many places within easy reach of the airport, such as Yosemite National Park, the Sierra National Forest, and if you’re brave, Death Valley National Park! So, if you’re looking for a small airport in which to explore some of America’s incredible and diverse scenery, Yosemite Mammoth Airport is certainly well worth considering. ________________________ KMMH - Mammoth Yosemite Airport by X-Codr is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: KMMH - Mammoth Yosemite Airport by X-Codr Priced at US$19.95 Features Detailed rendition of KMMH All buildings feature ultra-high resolution textures (most 4 pixels per inch). All buildings feature advanced PBR normal maps for realistic reflections and bump mapping. All buildings are highly detailed, down to even door handles. All buildings feature "lite" interiors to give windows more depth. Detailed ground textures with large scale realistic wear. All ground textures feature realistic normal maps. Realistic X-Plane 12 3d vegetation for the entire airport. Living scenery Integration with X-Plane 12’s weather effects system Ground equipment automatically serves your aircraft upon request. Other Features All models optimized for maximum performance. Generic custom rendition of Mammoth. Generic custom rendition of Mammoth Ski Resort. Realistic surroundings including custom forests. Custom 10-meter mesh with color-corrected ZL16 ortho. (Thanks to Oscar Pilote for creating the amazing tool Ortho4xp) Custom overlay scenery based on Alpilotx’s HD Mesh V4 scenery (used with his permission) Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.6Gb Current version: XP12 - September 6th, 2022 XP11 - 1.01 (December 13th, 2020) Review System Specifications Windows 11 Ryzen 5800x RTX3070ti, 32GB RAM __________________________________ Scenery Review by Joshua Moore 27th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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.
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  10. I've never yet tested it, but the PM 2.0 should work for both, as it is independent of X-Plane, working with the X-Jet framework.
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  11. Scenery Review: KAST - Astoria Regional Airport, Oregon Introduction Welcome to beautiful Astoria, Oregon USA, recreated for your X-Plane adventures by developers, Skyline Simulations. Founded in 1811, Astoria is the oldest city in the state of Oregon and was the first American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. Astoria is located on the south shore of the Columbia River, where it flows into the Pacific Ocean. The city is named for John Jacob Astor, an investor and entrepreneur from New York City, whose American Fur Company founded Fort Astoria at the site and established a monopoly in the fur trade in the early nineteenth century. Astoria Regional Airport, much like the city, is again located on the south shore of the Columbia River. This General Aviation airport sits directly at the border of two US states - to the north is Washington and south lies Oregon - divided by the mouth of the Columbia River. It’s not a particularly busy airport for commercial traffic - it’s not presently served by a scheduled commercial airline - but it’s certainly dynamic and active. KAST is home to a US Coast Guard service station - Coast Guard Air Station Astoria - that serves the Oregon and Washington coasts. Also of note, portions of the popular classic adventure movie The Goonies was filmed in the town of Astoria. Download & Installation I purchased and downloaded my copy of Astoria through the X-Plane.Org Store (other outlets available). The 3.3GB file size (unzipped) is what I consider to be substantial, but others may see it as the norm these days. Upon expansion, you will have one folder that contains two subfolders and the PDF manual, with the total file size rising to 5.03GB. Installation instructions are nothing out of the ordinary; move(cut-paste) the folders into your Custom Scenery folder. Launch X-Plane and go to the Graphics settings tab, adjust the Number of World Objects to Maximum. Since the art assets of the scenery package are high-definition and utilize PBR materials, it’s also important to make sure you have Visual Effects slider set to at least High (HDR). The Airport The largest structures at the airport are the two large hangars which date back to World War II. Both the 3D modelling and texture work is of a high standard, and when viewed up close, you really get a sense of their size. Situated nearby are numerous smaller buildings, such as the FBO terminal and T-hangars. Runway 26, the longest of the runways measured at 5773 x 100 feet, is served by an ILS (modelled by default in X-Plane) and RNAV(GPS) approach for when the wet West coast weather closes in. The other runways lack precision approaches but are served by PAPI & VASI visual approach aids as well as non-precision RNAV(GPS) and VOR approaches. The Skyline team has used a large number of decals and textured polygons to give tons of detail to the airport environment, such as cracks in the asphalt and concrete surfaces, stains from oil and dirt, tire skids, water puddles, and grass in the infield and surrounding areas. Everything is very high fidelity, crisp and clearly textured. The downside to all this detail is that users with low to middle-end systems might possibly experience slowdowns at certain parts of the scenery. Even though the scenery demands higher spec’d computer hardware, the details of specific elements of the airport area impressed me, such as the gateway and hangar of the Coast Guard station, the general aviation hangars with high-resolution signage, plus other nicely detailed exterior features such as wooden staircases. There appears to be a driving school that uses one of the decommissioned runways as a training area, and there is liberal usage of 3D grass objects that help to add a lot of character to this airport scenery. Surrounding Area Away from the airport, you can find landmarks specifically modelled by Skyline, such as the Astoria Column and the Astoria-Megler bridge which are nicely detailed. There is mention of a lighthouse, but I haven’t found it yet, which gives me one more reason to keep on exploring this scenery! PBR & Night Lighting During the evening and late-night hours, the scenery really comes alive with the vehicle traffic lights moving through the airport's various areas. Around the hangars, I noticed a few parked vehicles with their lights on which was a nice touch and helped create a sense of realism. The airport environment is well lit with some especially nice areas, but I found the interior lighting from the general aviation hangars unfortunately shines through their roofs and creates a floodlight effect that doesn’t strike me as particularly realistic. However, the custom-made landmarks, such as the Astoria-Megler bridge, shine beautifully across the river, and when the Astoria Column is lit, the lights are really well done, as they are omnidirectional and not simply focused spotlights on the column. Performance During my testing, I have to say that I have spent more time than I wished working on finding an optimal balance with my existing scenery collection and Skyline’s KAST package. If you haven’t already done it by now, you can safely use the HD/UHD scenery meshes created by Alpilotx. Also, if you have the HDD space, I recommend installing the orthophoto overlays created by Forkboy or generating your own using Ortho4XP. There are many small GA airstrips nearby to KAST that can be enhanced by other available free third-party scenery packages. If you haven’t yet discovered simHeaven, they create freely available add-ons that can enhance the surrounding area nicely, but I’ve found there are some object conflicts and anomalies when combined with this scenery package. When compared with their other offerings, I’ve found Skyline’s KAST scenery detail isn’t quite as deep, i.e., the omission of building interiors and human figures, but then again, the size of this package is considerably smaller than the others. A couple of words of caution for prospective customers; the installation requirements stated in the enclosed support documents mention you need to set the X-Plane object density to Maximum. I was able to do this, but due to my system being on the low end, really strained by computer systems. However, I found that I could use medium density, but it did detract from the overall look of the geographical area, i.e., fewer trees in the forests and a smaller amount of building objects in the populated areas. If you have the Orbx Washington SD/HD orthophoto scenery package installed, you will see object conflicts and anomalies. If you want to fly around this specific area with orthophoto overlays, I recommend those created by Forkboy. Conclusion One of the reasons why Astoria Regional Airport has such a pull, is due to its beautiful location in the Pacific Northwest. There are just so many amazing places to explore, such as the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to the east and the Olympic National Park to the north. And if you’re a Goonies fan, then there’s a bit of nostalgia thrown in for good measure! Even with the issues I encountered with my system, I have to say the developers have done an excellent job at recreating this airport for the enjoyment of X-Plane pilots. It really did bring a smile to my face as I explored the airport grounds and surrounding areas. Keeping in mind my concerns about this scenery offering (do your homework), I really do think you'll enjoy exploring KAST Astoria Regional Airport by Skyline Simulations. _______________________________ Astoria Regional Airport by Skyline Simulations is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Astoria Regional Airport Priced at US$20.00 Features Designed with the latest airport updates UHD Realistic Custom Textures Detailed HD Ground with PBR and decals Landmarks. Bridge, Column, Super Detailed 3D modeling PBR Materials on every building Thousands of 3D custom static objects Amazing and detailed night textures FSEco-subsystem Accurate City using original OSM data Ground Traffic Requirements X-Plane 11 - X-Plane 12 (when available) Windows , Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 3.3 GB Current version: 1.0 (May 16th 2022) Review by Sean McLeod 8th Sept 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications Windows 10, i7-2600K @ 3.9Ghz, 32GB DDR3 RAM, Gigabyte GTX1070 G1 8GB RAM, SATA HDD. (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 View full article
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  12. Thanks Anthony, I'm glad you liked the review. Michael certainly had fun with the 747 🙂 Cheers Dominic
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  13. Scenery Review: Alps UHD XP12 By Stuart McGregor If you love mountains and valleys, and specifically those in Europe, I am sure you are going to love this scenery! Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini have brought their creative talents to X-Plane 12, with the recent release of their Alps UHD scenery. Covering a staggering 8,000 square kilometres, this scenery is massive in every sense. It currently retails for just under $US 60, which to be honest at first glance seems a little bit expensive for a scenery package in my experience, however, when you consider you are getting five airports, fifteen airfields and forty-six heliports across three countries, France, Italy and Switzerland, and if mountain flying is your thing, then this is well worth considering and perhaps not a bad deal after all. Megève Airport in the Alps If you are a fan of this type of scenery, you will no doubt be familiar with the work of Frank and Fabio as they have already created several similar 3D Mountain Park sceneries for X-Plane 11, and this release for X-Plane 12, is a further extension of their prolific work in this area. However, if you’re an X-Plane 11 user and have yet to experience Frank and Fabio’s mountain scenery packs, then I highly recommend you check out Stephen’s excellent reviews of their previous versions: Scenery Review: Matterhorn Park 3D by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini Scenery Review: Eiger Park 3D by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini Scenery Review: Mont Blanc Group by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini If you are already a customer and have purchased individual X-Plane 11 sceneries previously (specifically Aosta & Matterhorn, Mont Blanc & Eiger) they are currently offering a whopping 40% discount at the time of writing, which is a nice way to acknowledge the patronage and loyalty of existing customers. The human disposition typically wants more for less, and something for nothing, however, for me at least, I believe it is not unreasonable for this to be a paid ‘upgrade’, considering the developer’s statement that this is not a simple like for like overhaul of existing sceneries. What the actual price is and what is a fair price, I am sure we all have our own views based on what we are typically willing to pay, but either way, the offered discount is a nice touch. Courmayeur Alpine Resort in Northwest Italy, at the Foot of Mont Blanc In their latest release, there are four main packages provided, and these cover the Eiger Park, Matterhorn Park, Aosta & Mont Blanc, and the main peaks of the Alps, and within these, there are quite literally thousands of hand-placed objects and dozens of fascinating places to visit. This is no mean feat, believe me! Wengen in the Bernese Oberland Region of Central Switzerland From the outset, you can’t help being impressed by the splendour and natural beauty of this part of the world, from the majestic and rugged snow-capped mountains stretching to the sky, to the beautiful and tranquil lush valleys peppered with crystal clear waterways and lakes. If you close your eyes for a moment, you can almost taste and smell the clean, cold and crisp fresh air. As I have a VR headset, I was also able to experience this scenery in the truly different manner that VR brings, and if you have never tried it, you really should. Being able to stand at the base of one of the famous peaks and crane your neck upwards or perch yourself on the very edge of a cliffside and look down on the valley below, is an experience I will never forget. This was largely because of the scale of what is laid out in front of you, but also because of the improvements to the way many of the structures and mesh have been remodelled to reflect the real thing. Now some naysayers will undoubtedly shout, but this is a flight simulator, who cares about the ground experience, and for some, that may very well be true, however, my own view is that X-Plane is more than just the flying experience and offers an authentic (all be it virtual) opportunity to see parts of the world I may never get the chance to visit in real life. Breuil-Cervinia Located in the Alps Based on images and descriptions I have read on the internet, the stock X-Plane 12 scenery makes a reasonable job of representing this part of the world, however, the Alps UHD scenery enhances the vanilla state and takes this to an altogether different level. Many of the improvements are quite subtle, for example, tree placement and shape of lakes etc, and even the improved definition and appearance of the key peaks are quite subtle if you just glance quickly. However, it is this level of detail that really makes this scenery pack stand out. If you’re just a casual flyer or typically spend life at 35,000ft in a 747 and are not really bothered by this level of detail, then perhaps a scenery like this is not going to do much for you, however, if your passion is to get as close to the real thing as possible in a VFR sense, then in my opinion, this scenery is a big step in the right direction. For VFR pilots specifically, and those that like to fly helicopters, microlites and GA aircraft generally, you really can spend hours and hours exploring the breathtaking scenery whilst trying to take it all in. There are so many peaks and valleys to explore, not to mention the towns, villages and features that are strewn across the landscape. The Town of Thun and Lake Thun in Switzerland As I am sure most of us know, X-Plane 12 is still very much in its infancy, however, there are clearly new features that blend effortlessly well and complement sceneries of this type. For example, the winter textures that are now included in X-Plane 12, turn what is a beautiful green lush garden in the spring and summer months, into the harsh but beautiful reality of what winter weather brings, freezing temperatures, snow and ice! During my testing, I was quite amazed at just how real all of this felt (particularly in VR) when I set the temperature to sub-zero with deteriorating weather. Watching the new X-Plane 12 volumetric clouds come rolling in across one of the valleys and the snow and ice start to form on the ground was just stunning. Yes, there are clearly some issues and bugs still to be worked out in X-Plane 12 for sure, however, the initial signs are very promising when it comes to creating an immersive experience in sceneries of this type. The Gnifetti Hut in the Aosta Valley, Italy The scenery is large at just a little over 3GB, and when you download the scenery, you will find inside the main folder a whole raft of sub-folders. Although installation is just a case of drag and drop, there are more than thirty new folders that will appear in your Custom Scenery folder. Unfortunately, from what I understand, not all of this will be compatible with other third-party mesh upgrades, however, I am not able to speak for this as I don’t have any for this part of the world, but something worth considering if you already have these installed and can’t live without them. By comparison, what is spelt out very clearly by the developers, is that the package is only meant for X-Plane 12, and therefore is not compatible with earlier versions of the X-Plane sim. The Kleine Scheidegg Mountain Pass Once you have installed it and have checked your scenery.ini folder for any conflicts, (I always do this with new scenery just to be sure the load order is right), off you go… but hold your horses!! Where do you start? Fortunately, the scenery comes with a nice manual, plus a guide and map to show where everything is in relation to each other. As well as the included documentation, there is also an excellent support forum over at the Org, with the developers being highly supportive when answering questions: (Frank Dainese Mountain Scenery - X-Plane.Org Forum). Detailed Map of the Scenery So, where do you start? With more than sixty-five possible starting points, there is a massive choice of locations, and I must admit, I didn’t investigate all of them, however, I did make my way around all the main airports and a considerable number of the airfields and heliports. So, what awaits you? Well, assuming you visit outside the winter months, one of the first things you will notice is the massive difference in appearance that the photo-realistic textures bring to the ground. In X-Plane 12, the default ground textures, compared to some of its peers, is still an area where the sim lags behind, however, the addition of sceneries of this type, really makes a massive difference. The other thing that is very noticeable is the inclusion of additional and bespoke objects to those solely present in the default scenery, with many of these being based on photo textures and therefore in keeping with the feel and look of the region. Sallanches, Located Near the Mont Blanc Massif in France Now, whilst it’s true that some of the textures are perhaps not as sharp as they could be, compared to the default objects, I was able to look past that, and just marvel at the sheer number of objects, time and effort that must have been put into creating this scenery package and everything in it. Traffic Global was adding traffic to at least a couple of the airports, as I did see several GA aircraft going about their business while I was exploring the scenery, but you can’t help but be drawn to those majestic mountains above and marvel at how fabulous they really look. Moving away from the larger airfields and up into the mountains is even more pronounced. Meribel Airport in the French Alps As you progress higher, there are numerous alpine-styled houses and buildings dotted all over the sloping hillsides, and many of these were very nicely done. There is also a great deal of other smaller objects situated around the scenery and some of these include, signs, tables and chairs, flags, fences, traffic and marker cones, assorted vehicles, radio masts, lights, etc, and one of my favourite features, the chair lifts, which enable you to have a direct route to and from the various peaks. When you include the default animated trees from X-Plane 12, it all fits together nicely, and again, I can’t even imagine how many hours of work went into creating all of this. Sadly, I didn’t see any animation of the chairlifts which would be the ultimate cherry on a very fine cake, but nevertheless, just having these inserted into the scenery is very nice indeed. I should mention that although there are numerous objects, I wouldn’t say the airfields and heliports are crammed full, however, they are probably more than sufficient for most tastes. I guess the question to ask is, when is enough, enough? And in a scenery pack of this magnitude, what is presented is honestly quite impressive. Oh, I also forgot to mention that there are a few people dotted about the place, which is a feature I always look for when trying out new scenery. Without them, sceneries just don’t feel real to me, so seeing a few hardy souls present made me smile. Several of the remote helipads found in the scenery are literally on the edge of a mountain, a real ‘Eagles Nest’, and when you visit these, the photographic textures, the improved mesh, and the animated trees, all help to create a feeling of being in the wilderness. As I also mentioned earlier, having the VR experience in this scenery was also special, as when you add in the winter textures from X-Plane 12, the sounds of the wind and rain, you really do get an enhanced sense of being in the mountains. Plateau-Rosa Situated Near the Matterhorn Looking up from, or even down onto the majestic Skyway cable car at the Courmayeur helipad (LICYH) is a fitting example of one of the keynote features that are provided in this scenery pack. When combined with the new features X-Plane 12 has to offer, this scenery is a truly wonderful experience, and in my opinion, exploring it via helicopter is the best way to get the most out of every nook and cranny. Being able to drop in on one of the cliff edge helipads or follow one of the many ski lifts from top to bottom, really allows you to explore this massive scenery. You just won’t get that at 35,000 ft as you watch the latest movie and enjoy your chicken and rice (vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are available on request…)!! The Skyway Panoramic Cable Car in Action As far as performance goes, with my trusty 1080TI and 9th gen CPU, I didn’t have too many issues, and my FPS were generally OK (30 to 50+), even in VR with my Rift S. However, this is in all fairness, not a particularly good test right now, as there are still several areas which I believe X-Plane 12 will improve on, particularly around VR performance and general texture appearance. Courchevel Airport in the French Alps Based on my observations whilst reviewing this scenery, there is no doubt in my mind that the developers have worked tirelessly on making this scenery pack as realistic as possible, and in my opinion, they have succeeded in recreating the experience in X-Plane. Yes, there is perhaps some opportunity for improvement; for example, I noticed that some of the windsocks and flags are a little out of sync, and if one wanted to be picky, some of the texturing could be improved on a few of the buildings and objects. Additional features like a rescue scenario here and there would be a nice extra touch too, however, that doesn’t take away from the fact that if you are interested in mountain-styled scenery, this pack should offer you a very enjoyable experience as it stands. If you liked what the developers brought to X-Plane 11, I am sure you will love what is offered here! __________________________________ Alps UHD XP12 by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Alps UHD XP12 Price at time of writing US$59.95 Customers who own of of this previous mountain package can get this new Scenery for 40% off. Please find your coupon code in the original invoice. Eligible packages: AOSTA+Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Eiger for XP11 Features: Includes the degrees +45 +007, +46+007, +45+006, areas of Italy, France, and Switzerland Mountain scenery including 3D models of the Mont Blanc massif, Matterhorn and Eiger Five main airports, fifteen airfields, and forty-six Heliports Faithfully reproduced towns and villages with appropriate types of buildings using customized textures and modelling. Photographic polygons/textures covering the mountain ranges and surrounding areas Polygons/textures 4K - covering an area of 8000 km Requirements: X-Plane 12 (not compatible with X-Plane 11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM - 8 GB+ VRAM Highly Recommended Download Size: 3.3 GB Review System Specifications: Windows 10 64 Bit CPU Intel i9-9900k 64GB RAM Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Oculus Rift S Scenery Review by Stuart McGregor 19th January 2023 Copyright©2022: 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)
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  14. Thank you Dominic I also was on Frank's support forum. Stuart even links to this forum. It's just that the sentence I quoted says that the scenery "...comes with a nice manual, plus a guide and map...", so I was puzzled where it was. Dave
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  15. Aircraft Review : Diamond DA-42 NG by Aerobask Here is the latest release from Aerobask, and yes it is another Diamond Aircraft. But this Diamond is a significant one for Aerobask, as it is not the first series release of the Diamond DA-42 for the developer. That release, which is the original, was also the very first aircraft released by Aerobask, or then the Diamond DA-42 Twinstar by Harranssor. That was almost exactly a decade ago (29th August 2013), and to celebrate, Aerobask not only have released their latest newly minted, highly detailed DA-42 NG aircraft, but created also an anniversary livery as part of this package... I totally recommend to read the original Diamond DA-42 Twinstar by Harranssor review, in that it shows not only the changes in the X-Plane Simulator itself, but the massive changes in detail and quality over the decade. It was for it's time astoundingly good, even incredible for a first time developer (Harranssor did release a Eclipse 550 earlier as freeware), but the DA-42 was in payware and it came with very high expectations.... and delivered. That decade old DA-42 release was in X-Plane v10.22, here we are releasing the new DA-42 NG (New Generation) in the newly released X-Plane 12 (Sorry no X-Plane 11 aircraft will be made available). So this is the very first fully developed aircraft for the new X-Plane version from Aerobask, and the package (price) includes both updates and revisions for the length of the simulator (X-Plane 12) run. The photographic quality of X-Plane 12 brings out the realism of the Diamond Aircraft. Certainly sleek to begin with, the composite smooth design shines (no pun intended) and curves to the natural lighting. Noted as the "Twin Star", this aircraft originally used Thielert Aircraft Engines TAE 125-01 Centurion 1.7... in the real aircraft Diamond has now switched to their 3rd Generation Austro Turbo Diesel Engine or the Lycoming IO-360 engine which is also available as an option, and installed here in the XP12 version is the Austro Turbo Diesel. Bit of trivia... the DA42 Twin Star was the first diesel-powered fixed-wing aircraft to make a non-stop crossing of the North Atlantic in 12.5 hours, with an average fuel consumption of 5.74 gallons per hour (2.87 gallons per hour per engine), give it a try if you want to... I would be explaining nothing to Aerobask converts. They will already know of the quality, forensic detail, superb modeling and the general exclusive experience of Aerobask aircraft... Top Notch, well whatever, it is again all brilliantly done here in the DA-42. Composite aircraft don't have a lot of panels, so most parts of the aircraft are added on, not part of the structure.. say the nose, tail section, so on... Looking hard you can see all this and more in all the sections that make up the aircraft's assembly, but most of the excellent detail is around the engines, cowling, shrouds, and the details and all fastening screws are all visible and checked... if you want detail, then here it is. Also the flying surfaces, tail assembly, high T-Tail elevators, lovely crisp wings with winglets. Notable are the excellent flap and aileron actuators, beautifully designed, ditto the elevator and adjoining trim tab (trailing edge). Glass is supreme, nice curves, great reflection and the right tint. Note the beautifully designed instrument hud (cowling?), here the detail is excellent with window demisting vents. Unlike the DA-62, which has two opening front doors, the DA-42 has a single forward opening canopy, and the rear single left door for rear passengers as is the same as the DA-62, but they all give you ease of access. You can open them via the latches or the menu. Other external items include, opening twin forward storage lockers, chocks and a GPU (Ground Power Unit) Menus You can access the Aerobask Menu, via the Plugins Menu, or the internal tablet.... Since v2 of the Diamond DA-62 the Aerobask menus have been changed to this more cleaner, new style layout, there are four tabs; Ground, Options, Sounds and About. Ground : Covers the standard Fuel loading of the aircraft (with a "Balance" fuel setting), 3d passengers (Pilot and Three passengers), Static Elements of Chocks, Bollards, Pitot covers, GPU (Ground Power Unit) and you can change the liveries via a "Previous" and "Next" selection. Door selections of Canopy, Pax door, right and left boots (storage), Also Remove Chocks, GPU options, Refill Oxygen bottle, Refill anti-ice fluid are all also options on this tab. Options : The "Main" covers Instrument Popups, Reflections, G1000 Shared options and Breakers (Fuses) with a reliability scale. There are three other avionics sets of OPTIONS for the, G1000 PFD, G1000 MFD and the MD302 backup instrument. "Synthetic Vision" is included in the G1000 tab. Sounds : There are seven sound sliders; Master, Aircraft Exterior, Aircraft Interior, Copilot, Radios, Environmental and User Interface. You can Enable (or disable) sounds, and Enable (the) speech. About : Here is listed the Aerobask development team and beta testers, and the aircraft's version number is indicated in the popup menu title, or the changelog.txt in the main folder. As noted there is a pilot and three passengers you can individually view or hide (the pilot hides when you select the Static Elements). The quality of the 3d people are all very good, and seen before in Aerobask aircraft. Internal The internal cabin of the decade old DA-42 was sensational (for it's time). So was the start of Aerobask's reputation for creating seminal interiors of aircraft... and you won't be disappointed here either. It is important to note, that this cabin is of a few generations older than say the DA-50RG or the DA-62, so the materials used here then reflect that heritage, other than that it is all as usual for Aerobask, extremely well done. The four seats are outer leather with a mottle grey pattern insert and red piping, note the lovely folds on the leather surfaces. Diamond logos are also nicely shown on the headrests.... it's all beautiful stuff to admire. With the selection of different liveries, then two more different interiors in red and cream are available. There are several different carpet threads (Grey), and a leather mustard side paneling, so is the centre console covering. Main cabin colour is a slate to light grey... exquisite! Instrument Panel The decade old DA-42 had the same native Laminar Research G1000 twin panel avionics system (both PFD and MFD pop-out), but the X-Plane 12 version is customised far more here with custom EIS and annunciations. It is a very good panel layout, but not as really detailed as a real G1000 system actually is, but it does cover about 85% of the systems. Start up process is excellent with Aerobask logos, and more CREDITS and AIRAC data. Note the great reflections on the G1000 screens. Both PFD and MFD G1000 displays pop-out, as does the MD302 SAM The system has a "reversionary" mode. This is all the primary instruments and engine parameters presented all on the single display, in this case the PFD. (If the PFD failed then the "reversionary" mode switches to the other MFD (Multi Functional Display). Also in the same mode, both displays will show the PFD (Primary Flight Display). PFD (Primary Flight Display) is very good with the large Artificial Horizon dominating the screen with the Speed and Altitude (with built in Vertical Speed) tapes either side, Rate of turn and FD (Flight Director) are all present. Lower is the Heading rose with built in Heading, Wind (3 options), CRS (Course) DME, NAV 1, NAV 2 and OBS. All Radio, Autopilot (AP) settings and data are across the top banner of the panel. Note the inbuilt warnings panel centre right, and INSET MAP This is an option to put a small insert map on the PFD, but I never do (it makes the display too crowded). There is a custom tool in a GCU476 2D keypad to input values directly by touching the screen (i.e. clicking the values or using the mouse scroll wheel to adjust them). For example, for changing a radio frequency or here the heading, you can use the mouse scroll wheel, which is much easier than turning the knobs in the 3D cockpit. it has a small slider or ++ / -- tool to say which items can be manipulated. Synthetic Vision There is the "Synthetic Vision" tool that we mentioned earlier by Oscar Pilote. There are three modes that can be selected from the "More Options" menu. The first is the standard default Laminar one with the blue top and dirty brown lower horizons. Then the "Topology Only", with a light blue (realistic) sky and green lower horizon, the final one is "Topology + Terrain" with the same light sky and brown lower horizon. MAP/Navigation Display (MFD) The secondary MFD in a MAP/Navigation panel covers also all the (EIS) engine outputs which are in two versions with one visual and one in data. This is another custom panel by Aerobask. The colourful engine readouts cover are on page one; Manifold Pressure (Load) and RPM, Fuel Flow GPH (Gallons Per Hour), Oil Pressure and Temp, Coolant Temp, Fuel Temp and Fuel QTY (Quantity). System switch (data) covers the same LOAD and RPM top, VOLTS and AMPS, Gearbox/Coolant Temp, Oil Pressure/Temp and De-Ice Fluid level. Notably missing are the usual two items? FLAPS position (UP-20º-38º) and ELEV (UP-TO-DN) adjustment, rudder adjustment trim bottom, and the Fuel Calculations, GAL (Used), REM (Remain) system which are both on the DA-50RG and DA-62. MD302 SAM® Mid-Panel is the MD302 SAM® or the "Standby Altitude Module" Basically is a standby instrument which is very authentic to the real instrument, this avionic tool is interesting as it replaced the standard three (Airspeed, Artificial Horizon and Altitude) setup in the earlier DA-42, modern times for modern avionics. Other upper panel details include Lighting Switchgear (left), Whiskey Compass, ELT and authentic aerox Oxygen pressure gauge. .. but if you hold the same knob down for two or three seconds then a menu appears that covers In-fight configurable items that are... Altitude units in feet or meters, Barometer units either inHg or mbars, Attitude symbol in traditional or delta, Attitude mask on or off and Altitude trend bar in either on or off. There is a Quick-Doc manual provided that covers the instruments features and their use. Note: The SAM has to be set separately (i.e. Baro) than the main PFD as one adjustment does not cover all the instruments. Last note is the G1000 "Autopilot" buttons are placed normally in this DA-42, between the two displays (PFD/MFD), the original DA-42 used a separate GFC-700 Autopilot! Left panel Electrical setting switches/Avionic Circuit Breakers. Right Panel the full Circuit Breaker (Fuses) panel that is active and De-Ice System. Lower panel has (LtoR), Pitot Heat, Left Engine/Right Engine (Master/Start, Elec. Master, Avionic Master, Landing Gear, Fuel Pumps (L/R) , Flaps and Engine buses. The central pedestal is really well designed as well... Lovely Throttle and Fuel selector levers are very well crafted, the Fuel cutoff is full back with the red tabs clicking into place. Defrost is required as your cabin can go misty in the cold... a great special effect from Aerobask. Two Trims are "Rudder" upper centre panel, and "Pitch" in the large trim wheel centre console, rear are light switches and rear (Working Audio Panel) There is a built in AviTab Tablet (Plugin Required)... it is stored in the left side pocket holder, press to mount on the right side of the instrument panel. You can also press the knob attachment (AviTab) holder on the instrument panel bracket to bring the AviTab up as well (plugin required). As noted the Aerobask Menu is also built in for ease of use. ________________ Flying the X-Plane 12 Aerobask DA-42 There have been a few Diamond DA-42's in X-Plane. The Original Aerobask 2013 version as mentioned in the review, a Diamond DA40NG XP12 by SimSolutions, we reviewed last November 2022, and coming another DA-42 from a new developer group, CreatorOfWorldS (COWS). So you are not short of choice, but how could you go past the authenticity of Aerobask... well you can't. Let us put the numbers up front and center... Maximum speed: 356 km/h (221 mph; 192 kn) - Range: 1,693 km (1,052 mi; 914 nmi)- Service ceiling: 5,486 m (17,999 ft) - Rate of climb: 6.5 m/s (1,280 ft/min)... all pretty impressive. Starting is easy. You have FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine (or electronics) Control ), so you just switch on the fuel flow (switches centre console), then and then turn the key towards the engine you want to start. The engine is an Austro Engine E4 (marketed as the AE 300), based on the Mercedes-Benz OM640 road Diesel engine. It supplies 168 hp (125 kW) (maximum takeoff and continuous power) at up to 2,300 propeller RPM for each engine. Sounds are modern FMOD and with Enhanced 3D system sounds by Daniela Rodriguez Careri, including Doppler and Flanger effects. They do sound a little different from the normal, but the engines are very different as well in being diesels, but at the cruise speed they have this lovely thrumm that passes the flying time nicely. Start up is almost instantaneous with a slight cranking, so they are almost electric in that aspect. The DA-42, however sounds almost exactly like the DA-62, but then it does use the same engine installation with the same twin-diesel engines. If we go back (again) to the original DA-42, there was one area I really didn't like. This was the stick like undercarriage, it was hard, stiff and very unforgiving (landings were horribly hard nose affairs). The forward angled single nosewheel and trailing link main gear is the same arrangement here, but add on ten years and it is all a very different feel, a slight bounce, say even a cushioning to the gear, which is far, far better and more authentic to real suspension. You can't taxi too fast with that slim nosegear, but get the (low) taxi speed right and the aircraft is fine... Heading on to PAJN's Runway 26, and the runway shows up in "Synthetic Vision" on the PFD, it is very well done.. Tons of low down torque from the Twin AE 300's, gives you push to Takeoff Speed around 100 knts, Rate of climb is noted at 6.5 m/s (1,280 ft/min) but I found that 800fpm gave me the best climb to altitude (5,000ft) without putting pressure on the power output and keeping out of the red zones... This is a modern 4 seater aircraft, efficient, not a 18th Century Gallon Piper. So it handles and flies efficiently as well. Basically it's a cruiser of the air, a sort of GT or Grand Tourer... the just under 1000 nautical mile range gives you the distance to cover a respectable area, and at a just sub 200 knt speed. So it's perfect for a point to point flight. So the DA-42 is not a particularly demanding aircraft for the pilot, as all the mod-cons are in here, with the G1000 (Synthetic Vision) and the MD302 SAM. In flight modeling it is done by X-Aerodynamics who does all the Aerobask dynamics, he's good, so is the feel of the DA-42. Lighting Considering the other DA, Diamond offerings the internal lighting in here is quite basic. Two knobs adjusts the display and instrument brightness. Not very overly effective in the day, but fine at night. Cabin lighting consists of one forward light and and one rear spot, both again very effective at night. Externally, you have the usual Landing and Taxi twin lights under the mid-fuselage, but they interfere with the modeling in creating nasty ant marks around the nose. There is no beacon, but wing navigation, strobe lighting is excellent. At this point in X-Plane 12's evolution (v12.01r1) then expect still more refinement in all the lighting. Haines, Klukwan, Alaska is a double tight airport to get into from the east, PAHN although situated on the Chilkat River, is nestled between a mountain and forests on the Runway 26 approach. A testing airport of nerves and flight skills. You can't even see the airport, never mind the runway on the approach? But it is there, hidden beyond the trees. Even though a Twin, the DA-42 NG is very good for getting into tight slots like this, good visibility really helps, so does Full Flap (LDG) selection and the approach speed in 83 knts. It's tight... and do you see the runway yet, just. Thankfully the Da-42 is wonderful to control and fly in these sort of circumstances, a great platform for tricky approaches. There is not much room between you and the trees as you clear the boundary, then you dive for the runway, then quickly do a heavy nose up flare to arrest the speed and height, you touch around 73 knts If you have a lot of confidence in the aircraft, then you can pull off these sort of manoeuvres, so the DA-42 delivers very well here. Obviously I will be talking to the converted. Aerobask have a lot of admirers (Including myself), so it's not hard to understand what you will receive with these aircraft, that they are so modern in design, and it all gives you more of a conviction to fly one. Liveries There is one blank (white) and six liveries with the DA-42 NG. All high quality and including the 10 Year anniversary livery as we saw earlier. _______________ Summary Aerobask are no strangers to Diamond aircraft, their catalogue is full of them, including currently the DA-50 RG, the DA-62. But Aerobask have also done a version of this DA-42 before, a decade ago, as their very first payware aircraft, it was good if not even brilliant for it's time and era, but we are now in X-Plane 12, another era and another realm, a realm that demands a lot far more quality and detail... the DA-42 NG 2023, delivers on that aspect, a lot. Excellent modeling is a given with Aerobask, as are the curated interiors, both are well highlighted here. Avionics include a custom EIS and annunciations G1000 System, Synthetic Vision technology by OscarPilote, Optional GCU476 2D keypad, MD302 "Standby Attitude Module", Simulated oxygen system, Simulated ice protection system and Fully functional breakers (configurable reliability). The excellent menu is available on the screen, but also on a AviTab tablet internally... there is also a Detachable and VR-friendly 2D options panel. Sounds are excellent and by renowned Daniela Rodriguez Careri, 3d Pilot and passengers, static elements, and the DA-42 also comes with an Auto-Updater (Skunkcraft), all to keep the aircraft up-to-date on-line. In a package, Aerobask delivers everything you want in a high quality aircraft with unique clever custom systems, and that is certainly the case here as well... again, better still everything comes in a competitively priced package below US$40. Remember this aircraft is valid for updates and free changes for the life of X-Plane 12 (Note this is only an X-Plane 12 Aircraft, not compatible with X-Plane 11). As a reviewer Aerobask aircraft are a dream to review, certainly there are a lot of custom options to cover, but in every other aspect they are some of the very best general aviation simulations available today... and for tomorrow in that fact. As a required simulation any Aerobask Diamond is a sensation to own and fly... Highly Recommended. _____________________ The Diamond DA-42 NG by Aerobask is available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Diamond DA-42 NG Price is US$39.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not compatible with XP11) Windows, Mac (using Rosetta) or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM recommended Current version: 12.0r1 (January 12th 2023) Aerobask Systems Suite Fully Integrated Laminar Garmin G1000 with custom EIS and annunciations Synthetic Vision technology by OscarPilote Touch screen features for easy handling Optional GCU476 2D keypad Customized FADEC/ECU with test procedure MD302: accurate custom coded Standby Attitude Module Simulated oxygen system Simulated ice protection system Fully functional breakers (configurable reliability) Advanced Flight Model and Flight Experience Accurate flight model by X-Aerodynamics Smooth wingflex Windshield effects: reflections, rain and frost Many parameters saved between flights Superb 3D Model Aerobask quality 3D model Fully functional virtual 3D cockpit, with smooth and VR-friendly manipulators High quality cockpit model with high resolution PBR textures (4K) Custom Sounds Full FMOD environment by Daniela Rodriguez Careri Accurate doppler, distance attenuation and flyby effects Simulated headset In-game volume control without pausing the sim Other features and docs Complete array of custom documentation Avitab tablet, with integrated options panel Detachable and VR-friendly 2D options panel Included 6 liveries 2K textures pack for low computer Auto-Updater Keep your aircraft up-to-date with a convenient auto-updater (Skunkcraft) Installation and documents: download for the Aerobask DA-42 NG is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder. Full Installation is 1.33Gb Documents supplied are: Avitab.pdf checklist_da42.pdf Customized G1000.pdf DA42_AFM XP12.pdf DA42_CHKL XP12.pdf DA42_PERF XP12.pdf DA42_PROC XP12.pdf Quick-Doc MD302.pdf Read Me - XP12 Aircraft Installation.pdf A full set of documents are provided, including detailed manuals for the MD302 and Laminar G1000. A quick setup and deeper system manual is also provided with Performance and (Checklist) Procedures. ________________ Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 15th January 2023 Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung M.2 EVO+ 2TB SSD Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 12.01r1 Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft - PAJN - Juneau International, Alaska by NorthernSky (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$18.00 -PAHN - Haines Airport - Default Global Airports 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 Right Reserved.
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  16. Aircraft Upgrade Review : Concorde FXP v3 by Colimata Significantly I finally did get around into creating a review of Colimata's impressive Concorde FXP in it's v2 guise last year in July 2020. You should really read that comprehensive review before reading this upgrade version, into getting an overall background and for the details of the aircraft and Colimata's features. That review was done in obviously X-Plane 11, as X-Plane 12 was still a few more months away. But even then, even in not yet knowing what the effects of X-Plane 12 would have on the aircraft, I seriously felt at the time, that if any aircraft would shine in the new version of the X-Plane Simulator it would be this aircraft, why I don't know... it was just a feeling. So here is Concorde FXP in X-Plane 12. It is noted as v3, a new version for the X-Plane 12 version. So that means it is an UPGRADE, and a paid upgrade. The pain however to get this X-Plane 12 version is negligible, two cups of coffee or US$11. That cost covers all future X-Plane 12 updates and features. Considering X-Plane 12 is new out of the box and has now years to run, its a great deal, the new purchase price in X-Plane 12 is still the same at US$59.95 (but sales and deals are frequent, currently US$54.95) It is a hard colour (white on white) to look good anywhere, but "hey", the iconic SST looks simply damn impressive in X-Plane 12. All the textures have been upgraded to X-Plane 12 quality, and even more detail has been added on to the fuselage, and the wings are not blank anymore as you get access panels and wing panels detailing... ... that is the good news, the bad news is all your liveries don't work anymore as they have been upgraded to v3 or "fuselage_v200". There is a trick if your desperate in wanting them now and in not waiting for the painters in fixing them up... create the new folder (fuselage_v200) and move the old paint files over, you don't get the new details, but it works. Internally it is "oh WOW"... To a point this was what I was expecting the X-Plane 12 version to be like, even then it "Blows your mind"... ... the light earlier greyness has been replaced by a dark shadow hue, realistic, yes you bet, how realistic? Brilliantly. The cockpit is absolutely impressive in the daylight, but let the light go darker and it becomes a "Wonderland"... It does look very, very good, if you control the lighting. Too much, is too much brightness. Again I don't feel that a 70's aircraft would use this tone of light in here, that said it is very nice... So with so much adjustment (12 knobs) it can keep you happy for hours playing with it all, from full cockpit brightness to the low dim approach lighting. There is a noted 1000+ lights in here, and I don't doubt that number. Cabin is also still too bright, but it looks far, far better in the quality detail of X-Plane 12. The cabin and seats look far more realistic, if now great, just a shame you can't adjust the cabin lighting a touch lower. I didn't like the external lighting on the XP11 Concorde, it 's just as bright here as well, in being well over saturated (Navigation and tail lighting is however okay). In the daylight it is quite nice, but overall I think some adjustment would really help with the realistic/realism effect. A lot of people (including me) didn't like the set, large GUI (Menu). It covered a lot of the screen and hid the very things you were trying to adjust? The Menu GUI has been revised in v3 for X-Plane 12, with now being scalable in size. Also the GUI can now also be used in a (Separate) window, even on another computer... handy. Other GUI changes include; A redo of the Flight Planning page, and the shown selected flightplan. There is also the addition of MIN, HALF and MAX (Fuel) selections, This way it is possible to quickly set up the airplane for short, medium and long range trips, even without the use of the Fuel Manager. Fuel Management page has been overhauled for easier use? sort of, as Concorde is very hard to balance correctly. Flying the XP12 Concorde Same aircraft, same route... but 6 months on and it feels totally different. I'm again going to New York (JFK) from Heathrow (LHR), this time however in X-Plane 12, and in a Final not a Beta X-Plane (well Beta v1.01b). Heathrow, London is not the prettiest place to be on a cold January morning, but it feels very authentic. If you look at the same images from six months ago, it feels years ago, not months in the differences... gigantic. Pushback (BetterPushBack), and it feels all very photographic... I'm not going to bore you with details here, all was covered in the comprehensive earlier review... this is an update review in focusing on what is new. What is the most striking though is that X-Plane 12 lighting and quality, it is quite sensational. A very busy Heathrow... And the Classic view... powered and ready for takeoff. All though you have all the X-Plane features, including the rain effects (at Mach 2?) anyway they work well at the lower speeds. The biggest factor is the changes to the basic X-Plane aerodynamics, or primarily to the delta wing dynamics that the X-Plane/Laminar Research head guru Austin Meyer has done. This aspect is very significant... in Austin speak, "Here is what is so amazing about this: For traditional wings like X-Plane has always simulated, air never comes up over the leading edge!Instead, at the stalling angle of attack, the air separates from the top, loses suction, and the wing stalls! And all of this is carefully orchestrated based on the AIRFOIL, or CROSS-SECTION SHAPE, of the wing!So X-Plane has always used the airfoil cross-section, corrected for the plan-form, or top-down shape of the wing, as classical wing theory calls for. But now, with a delta wing, the cross-section of the wing hardly matters! Now what matters is the plan-form, or top-down shape, of the wing! That’s what lets the air roll up over that highly-swept leading edge to form the huge hurricane over the wing that SUUUUUUUCKS the wing up… and never stalls! And X-Plane now used this classical wing theory based on the AIRFOIL CROSS SECTION for non-delta wings, vortex-generation based on the PLAN-FORM of the wing for delta wings, and even interpolate smoothly between them for partially-delta shapes, consider both the airfoil cross-section, and the delta plan-form, for a real three-dimensional understanding of the wing." In other words, the Delta wing dynamics in X-Plane 12 are completely different, and Colimata has adjusted the X-Plane 12 v3 Concorde to the new dynamics, so any X-Plane 11 or earlier Concorde aircraft won't work with as well, or as realistically as the X-Plane 12 versions does. Don't take them (the dynamics) as for currently granted... there will be changes, not only from X-Plane 12, but from Colimata as well, there will be more fine tuning to get the aircraft to the same stable situation as it was in X-Plane 11. First there is the glow from the engines as you push up the throttles to the T/O position, then the full afterburner as it kicks in... you move slowly at first, but then the punch pushes you towards v1, then v2 (+10) Then you rotate the aircraft, and power yourself into the air. Concorde can use a higher 20º pitch on climb-out. Because of the amount of precipitation around Heathrow in winter January, the delta wings throw off a lot of condensation effects, very realistic to real images of Concorde in the same takeoff phase as well. Sub-sonic and Concorde looks exceptional. I am not going to suger-coat it, as the Concorde is a difficult aircraft to fly, yes even challenging. You will have to practise, study and learn the machine. Flight profiles, checklists and even extensive personal notes are required, Colimata however does give you a lot of short-cuts, like fuel balance and set-ups. And the rewards are immense of course, but don't expect to rock up and just fly Concorde, mostly you will always end up in a field with a broken aircraft. But you will need to seriously commit to the aircraft to get the very best simulation out of it... It is a commitment aircraft. There is a lot of feedback of the status of the aircraft, including; STATUS, FUEL, ENGINES and CENTER of GRAVITY (CoG), check the systems before you climb Supersonic. Time to raise the visor! Going up to that rarified air of where only a few can go... 58,000ft and Mach 2.02! But you can now go there with X-Plane 12... It looks and feels magnificent. Sounds are really good, but not different to the earlier v2, the roar (on takeoff) is sensational, but the Supersonic hum is very real as well, overall there are loads and loads of sound effects, all in different sound spaces. But the biggest feature is the excellent audio advice from Copilot, Engineer, and Pilot, all in a sprightly English accent, it is all very cool, but not intrusive. Highly recommended is the RK Apps XPRealistic v2 plugin for realistic movement effects with this aircraft... it makes going though the Sound Barrier a whole new experience. But I will note that currently the X-Plane 12 weather model is not quite perfected yet? Heavy winds do affect the aircraft and quite substantially... climbing up to FL580, and getting a forward speed into the MACH are both difficult with a 150+ knt headwind. So you may have to take manual control to achieve both aspects. Even then I felt effects on the aircraft in the manual settings, that the characteristics I didn't have in the earlier X-Plane 11 flights are obviously here in X-Plane 12. Even in level flight you are tossing and turning like in a dingy... Hopefully this aspect will be fixed soon. At DOVEY it is time to descend, 3,000fpm, at 350 kts (AT1 off), and you are already losing speed and height... soon you are back in the Sub-Sonic realm, but at 30,000ft and 350 knts, even here Concorde is still very fast. PARCH 3 KJFK Arrival, and you now descend to 10,000ft. and down comes the visor, just a normal Sub-Sonic aircraft... not. I have practised this JFK... Runway 4L approach about twenty times in Colimata's Concorde, its still tricky and it certainly tests your skills... ... first into the circuit, then 230 knts, 90º downward, drop gear and visor to 12.5º, another 90º to final approach... Align to RWY 04L, then VOR-LOC, then when in the cone GLIDE, speed to 200 kts... (Note AUTOLAND is still not active... damn), once in the beams then you lower the speed to 180 knts, fast, maybe too fast, the aim is for 160 knts! (stall is 125 knts)... a trick is AT1 disconnect at 1000ft, then take manual thrust control down to the runway. ... note the X-Plane 12 rain (old Librain) works well on the main front and side windows, nice to have it back... over the threshold (okay a bit high!), and let Concorde sink nicely... ... and it's gear down! The approach phase procedures do stay the same, but you do feel the different X-Plane 12 delta wing dynamics at work, it will take a few practise landings to get the landing feel correct as there is more resistance now, certainly I will do this again a few times to get it right (nail it!). I'm not going to hide the fact you need to practice with Concorde, do it, do it again until it comes to you, it's a tricky aircraft to skill up to.... but the rewards are quite sensational when you get it all right. So flying the Concorde in X-Plane 12 does require an adjustment in your thinking, and to have your skills to adapt to the aircraft. And again I will stress again and I also feel there is still a more fine tuning to come from both X-Plane 12 and from Colimata to get both to a more refined position. _________________ Summary Here is the upgrade to X-Plane 12 and giving Colimata's Concorde a v3 moniker. A paid upgrade, but only US$11, so certainly not a deal breaker for what you get in the v3 package. One of the biggest simulations you can achieve in X-Plane is going Supersonic, twice the speed of sound, and that is what this aircraft is all about, flying outside of the usual Sub-Sonic parameters. So yes the Concode is a challenging Simulator, probably only for the skilled and Pro's out there, but if you still want to fly the Concorde then so you will have to study it and practise it's dark arts, obviously the rewards are very high. Make no mistake though, the Concorde is an investment in time, and with this v3 upgrade you get a lot of time to enjoy all the updates and the newer features of the newly born X-Plane 12, so your getting in early. The v3 Upgrade is excellent, look at the images and see how extraordinary the aircraft looks and feels in X-Plane 12, externally beautiful, inside in that complex cockpit, incredible, it just "Blows your mind". The textures have been redone, and even more detail added in while doing so. Liveries now don't work, but a folder change can bring them back again, but you still loose the newer wing detail. The lighting is glorious with a 1000+ lights in the cockpit, but the external lighting is still far to unrefined for me, ditto the cabin lighting, too bright with no adjustment... but the cabin however does look far better. Extensive Menu has had attention, in that now you can scale the menu and use it in a (separate) window, Flight Planning pages have been given three (quick fuel) options, redone Flight Planning page gives you better route options and saves, Fuel Management page has also been overhauled for easier use. The aircraft's aerodynamics, or primarily to the delta wing dynamics have been upgraded to match the newer dynamics in X-Plane 12, it gives the aircraft a different feel and handling characteristics that you need to dial into, as I noted though-out the review with X-Plane 12 and Concorde, they are both not completely refined yet, separated or together, and in areas it shows here. I don't have a lot of negatives here, but the lighting would be better in being more refined, internal cabin and external landing and taxi lights... but if for wanting one new feature... it would be a "Save" feature a'la ToLiSS, it is pretty draining, even frustrating in resetting everything from scratch, each time to fly or for training, practise. there are 12 knobs alone for the lighting, then ages to set the aircraft up ready for flight, do that 10 or 12 times a day, and it gets very frustrating and even boring... Situation and Replays freeze (badly) as well, only the flown Replay works, but you don't get all of the instruments back... small things but very important if you want to get the best experience out of the simulation. X-Plane 12 promises amazing Simulation, Concorde is also an amazing aircraft alone... together they are incredible, and to a point a pointer to the future of X-Plane 12 Simulation, all together they are an experience you won't forget. _________________ Yes! the Concorde FXP version 3 X-Plane 12 by Colimata is AVAILABLE from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Concorde FXP version 3 X-Plane 12 Price is US$54.95 (Currently on sale from US$49.95 or 5% OFF) Requirements X-Plane 12 (not XP11 compatible) Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 600 MB Current version: (January 4th 2023) (If you own Concorde v1 or v2, this version will automatically discounted, no coupons required) Designed by Colimata Support forum for the Concorde FXP Additional Liveries for the Concorde ___________________________ Upgrade Review by Stephen Dutton 9th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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) All Right Reserved  Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 - X-Plane v12.01b (note this review was done in the beta revision period) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft - EGLL - Airport London-Heathrow by TaiModels (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$28.00 - KJFK - New York Airports XP v2 Volume 1 by Drzewiecki (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.00
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  17. Keep their fingers to the fire - bought this and found it not bad. The cockpit looks a bit off - the panel just doesn't look real but then so few of them really do.
    1 point
  18. Aircraft Review : Cessna Citation 560XL by AirSim3d Within any family there are the odd branches, certainly in the families of very successful aviation aircraft and in this case it is the Cessna Citation family. The Citation is a very large and diverse line of successful business jets, but within that long line, there is always a compromise aircraft to fit into a certain aircraft market segment. The problem is with a successful family is that the next aircraft in the series has to be better, faster, bigger and have a longer range. But that also puts the aircraft out of reach to a certain lower segment of purchasers, so you have to diverse the order to create a product for that particular segment. So rather than being a direct variant of another Citation airframe, the Excel series was created to be a combination of new technologies and designs. To produce the Excel, Cessna took the X's wide, stand-up cabin fuselage, shortened it by about 2 feet (0.61 m) and mated it with an unswept wing utilizing a supercritical airfoil (based on the Citation V Ultra's wing) and used the tail from the Citation V. The Excel has the roomiest cabin in its class of light corporate jets and can seat up to 10 passengers (in high-density configuration; typically the number is six to eight in a corporate configuration), while being flown by a crew of two. The Excel has a 2,100 nmi-range (3,900 km), 20,200 lb (9,200 kg) MTOW, and the jet is powered by two 3,650–4,080 lbf (16.2–18.1 kN) PW545B turbofans, and the XL variant first flew in 1998. If you go back a decade, there was virtually no Business Jets in the X-Plane Simulator. DDEN's Challenger 300 changed all that, and lately there has been a flurry of Private/Business Jets now of all sizes, except the really big transcontinental machines, the Aerobask Dassault Aviation's Falcon 8X is still in development, but the Gulfstream 550 was released last month. For Citations there are a load of them. There is the Citation CJ4 Proline21 by Netavio, Carenado Cessna Citation ll S550 and the Citation X coming as a default aircraft in X-Plane 12. But no Excel Citations. This AirSim3d Cessna Citation 560XL is currently only being released in X-Plane 11, X-Plane 12 compatibility will come after X-Plane 12 goes final. AirSim3d are a new developer to the X-Plane Simulator and a very welcome one. As we will see this is a very impressive debut aircraft, but still a new debut aircraft from a first time developer. So you have to, and as I have done in the review is don't expect the absolute extreme of say Aerobask quality. But as noted for a first release it is extremely impressive and I have also been very impressed with Mark Eduljee's (developer) responses and quick fixes, which is all you need for a good developer. This is a nicely sized Business Jet. Not too small or short, or too large to be cumbersome, I really like the look and feel of the machine. The Citation distinctive wing has a slight dihedral, while the tailplane had a steeper dihedral. Flight control surfaces were conventional: ailerons, one-piece flaps, elevators, rudder, and trim tabs. All the flight control surfaces were manually actuated, except for electrically-driven flaps, and an electrically-driven elevator trim tab. There was also a hydraulically-operated grid speed brake on top of each wing. Detail is very good, your not going to get exceptional at this level, but the modeling and the detail is quite impressive here. You see and feel the construction of the C-560XL. Panels access panels and the highlighted (Dot3 bump mapping) riveting is well done, There are a few drawn lines, but nothing to worry about, the excellent tail and rudder assembly is the highlight. All VHF and UHF antennas are present and correctly done. The Excel has two PW500 turbofans, this version is the PW545B, which has an additional LP turbine stage to drive a larger diameter fan. So the maw engine inlet on the engine pod is quite large. There are also two large can thrust-reversers on the exhaust outlet. Overall the engine pods are very well done with the chrome inlet a very nice piece of work, note the small but detailed inlet fire sensor. Glass is very nice and a smoky grey in colour, and has nice reflections and opacity. The original glass in the early beta's had a red tint, a reflection of the internal wood, but it didn't work in my eyes, good idea, but in theory and practise this grey is far better and realistic. Citation wings have two stage grid airbrakes, and they look sensational here in operation. Cord and wing detail is good, but not absolutely top notch, the fine fillers of experience will eventually create these areas better, but it's still great work if not brilliant for a first project. Chrome leading edge are very nicely done, as are the wing details, with nice wear and well done wing vortex generators. Rear undercarriage is a trailing-link single wheel gear setup. The detail here is excellent, with a lot of complex detail and modeling, all links, arms and struts are really well done, but I am not sure of the brightly coloured hydraulic clips on the piping, there are quite bright, fine for a factory new aircraft, but for a working one? But you won't complain about the quality of detail here. Single nose-wheel is really well done as well, simple and with a nice chrome hydraulic strut. External Elements There are no menus with the C-560XL. To open or operate items you use the small arrows as selectors, most have a double click action. On the C-560XL there are external elements you can access and use. There are there doors lower rear left that is the Electrical panel and the Aft Baggage hold. As noted to use these arrows they can sometimes have a double operation, one to open, then one to do the operation. Here you can open the baggage hold door then secondly load or unload the internal baggage onto a waiting trolley. One arrow on the door opens it, then another arrow on the trolley loads (well fly through the air) the bags to stack on the trolley, use the up arrow on the trolley to reload the bags. Note the baggage door does not open cleanly, as the real door is also fiddly to open and close. In the electrical bay you can disconnect or connect up the battery power. GPU There is a small hatch rear of the baggage compartment, that is the GPU or Ground Power Unit connector. Again you select (arrow) once to open the hatch, then again to attach the power cable which makes the GPU unit appear which is very highly and nicely detailed. There is a small lid on the side to access the power unit control panel, to start and it also has a great "Emergency STOP" button that actually works. There are also wheel chocks and safety cones as static elements, engine inlet and outlet covers and "remove" pitot covers for detail. These elements are shown in steps of when the aircraft is powered down or cold with the power totally switched off. A detail I really like, but the engines covers are always on when with no engine power, but the aircraft still powered up, which is a bit odd. Internal Again to open or operate items you use the small arrows as selectors, like on the main door, called the "Aerostar" door. It is a bit tricky to use. You have to press the button to pop-out the handle, then use the arrows to open or lock the door, same in reverse. The cabin is "Lux", 7 seats and all executive. In an off cream club style seating, expensive wood paneling and thick pile carpets. The four club seats can be reclined via the lever on the arm rest... .... and the window blinds can be raised and lowered by the lever at the base. There is a rear washroom. You access the washroom, by opening the doors twice, once ¾ opening, then full, via the front handle and then the side knob. Bathroom is very classy, with a custom sink unit, and a toilet on the other side. Washroom blinds work as is the same in the cabin. Forward, there is a nice buffet/small galley left and a wardrobe right. Overall it is a very nice fitted out and usable cabin, however the glass tinting in areas would be better toned down a little. Cockpit First look and the cockpit doesn't feel as plush as the cabin. First thing to note is that this C-560XL is of the mid-90s era and the cockpit is configured and styled that way, but it feels slightly older in age and style. I'm not sure of the seats, one word certainly comes to mind is "uncomfortable", but I think the developer is having a rethink on the design. They are thin and narrow in this tight cockpit in the C-560XL, but I don't think so square in shape. They do however move forwards and backwards with moving armrests. Twin yokes are super lovely. They have a nice central metal casting with the "Excel" logo in the middle, and nicely worn arms. You hide them by pressing the area behind on the panel (arrowed). Electric Trim works on the yoke (arrows). Instrument Panel The Excel (original) uses the Honeywell Primus 1000 three-screen EFIS avionics package of two CRT Primary Flight Displays, one for each pilot, and an offset lower MultiFunction (MFD) display. I will be extremely honest with you. When I first saw this panel layout I really wasn't that taken to it. But after using it and being in front of the panel now for quite awhile, I now think it is extremely well done. It has a different feel and look certainly, and it also gives you the feeling it is a different and an authentic aircraft than the usual Business Jet, so once adjusted I really, really like it in here. The system uses a IC-615 Integrated Avionics Computer (IAC) that includes the Flight Guidance System (FGS) and the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) other systems include the AZ-950 Air Data System (ADS), Primus 880 Weather Radar, Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) and the Primus II Radio System, but the Laminar G1000 has been customised to do the GPS/Flightplan role. PFD - Primary Flight Display. The Primus 1000 PFD is split with the Artificial Horizon top and the Horizontal Situation Indicator lower. Artificial Horizon, Speed and Altitude tapes, bank roll scale and roll pointer, Vertical Speed markers, Pitch markers, ILS bars and AOA (Angle of Attack) guide. Lower display is the COM1/COM2, ATC1, RAT ºC and UTC (Time). And there two styles of wings on the HSI. It is a complicated layout and study is required before flight to work out every separate knob or switch function, but many functions are doubled up. All three in; PFD (left) - MFD and GNS G1000 all pop-out for use. You can change the panel configuration from AUGM (modern AP) to REAL, or the original panel layout, which is the pilot right mid-console panel moved to the main Instrument Panel. The Engine management uses the AMLCD or "Active-Matrix Liquid Crystal Display in two units. Each engine is equipped with the following instruments displayed on the center instrument panel; Fan RPM (N1), Inter-Turbine Temperature (ITT), Turbine RPM (N2), Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature and Fuel Flow. Also shown in addition to the engine instruments are; Ram Air Temperature (RAT), Fuel Temperature and Fuel Quantity. MFD - Has four heading options, and Terrain Radar (Dr Gluck's Terrain Radar plugin required). Glareshield, there is a very large annunciator panel, also known in some aircraft as the Centralized Warning Panel (CWP) or Caution Advisory Panel (CAP). It has three warning states "Red" Warning, "Yellow" Caution and "White" Advisory/Indication. Thrust reverser states and over-ride are positioned on each end. Testing the CWP can be done via the switched at the rear of the Throttle pedestal, in fact all system lighting and signs can be checked from this system. It is a very comprehensive CWP. Large centre shelf console covers; Anti-Ice, Pressurization, and External lights switchgear, bottom right is a large "Temperature Panel" for the Cockpit and Cabin. Throttle Pedestal is excellent. There are twin-throttles wit built-in reverser levers, and lower fuel cut-off levers for each engine. Pitich Trim wheel left and Flap lever right (0º-7º-15º-35º). Engine Sync selector works. Lower panel has the System Test selector, Landing Lights and Pulse Light (Beacon) Side cockpit panels have the circuit breakers (fuses), but they don't work? Map Lights and on the Pilot's side, an AUX PANEL LIGHT. On the right panel is the same (no AUX light), but added is the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) panel which is very well done. Lower pedestal is a selection panel for each pilot selections, mostly the same as on the panel itself, but more finger handy. Notable is the PITCH Trim (Electric) and TURN (This is an important knob which we will cover later). Then at the rear the large Rudder Trim knob. Flying the C560XL Engine startup is very authentic. The onboard APU provides power and bleed, start then wait until it is running at at 100%. It will tell you it's status. Fuel Cutoff's are under the throttles, but they can be tricky to switch with the small up/down arrows. Main start panel is over far left instrument panel, with the required "Fuel Boost" pumps ON, Ignition (always on) and engine starter buttons centre. Like most Citations there is "Full Authority Digital Engine Controller" or FADEC to start the PW500 turbofans. Startup sounds are excellent with a nice whine, and the engine sounds in the cockpit settle down to an excellent background hum. One thing I really liked is that you can set an N1 Thrust limit target on the AMLCD, by using the knob at the end of the panel. I use the word a lot, but it's important here, "Feel". This is an aircraft you have to feel and become one with. First it is a good idea to cover the systems and layouts before flying. As a lot of the switchgear actions are doubled up, so using the sets you are most comfortable with is important, and I found I liked adjustment panel directly left of the HSI the best. There are areas that you feel (that word again), still need a little fine tuning, certainly in the areas of power and braking, they are good now, but over time will become more or less urgent to make the machine even more supple and realistic. Keep the speed low to taxi, the 560XL has a very nice wide wheel spread, so she rides very nice and steady on the ground. Centred ready to fly, and you have to set the T/O Trim (wheel), but more importantly set the "TURN" trim on the rear console, if not centred the AP (Autopilot) will not activate in flight. You have to be super careful with the throttles, the PW545B creates a power of 4100 pounds of thrust at takeoff. So the Excel will literally takeoff from rest (hence the N1 Thrust target) and the careful power inputs required (weight dependent here at 8100 kg). Flap here is set at 5º for takeoff. I was shocked at the serious power for the first few times until I reined myself in and controlled it better. Rotate is around 200 knts, then once off the ground you can climb almost straight up, this Citation JUST GOES, up and up. It will (officially climb at 3,500 ft/min (17.78 m/s) and practically right off the rate of climb chart. When in the air you just really like this jet, yes again there are a few rough edges, but the core is excellent, great performance, great handling, great feel. And you very quickly tune into the machine. And a very nice looking machine in the air this is. Performance of the Excel is an empty weight of 12,800 lb (5,806 kg) and a Max takeoff weight of 20,200 lb (9,163 kg). Cruise speed is 441 kn (507 mph, 816 km/h) true airspeed, at 45,000 ft (13,716 m), with a range of 1,858 nmi (2,138 mi, 3,441 km). Lighting Lighting is excellent, but could still be noted as a work in progress. Externally you have two landing lights under the belly of the XL, taxi lights in the wings and navigation lights in the wingtips and tail. There is tail lighting and a red beacon top... A note on the landing lights is that you can make them "Pulse" from one to the other... At a certain setting, the cockpit feels very military or even fighter jet in feel, and yes I really love it. There is adjustment for panel dropdown lighting, left, right and centre lighting, You can get an almost all black instrument panel, but with a background feel... an oddity is the panel light switch (lower bottom left panel) is the opposite way around in highlighting the instruments, OFF for on, and ON for off? .... there are side panel lighting, and also two overhead spotlights that can be positioned (animated). The same animated spotlights are also above every seat in the rear cabin, again a very nice place to be at night, with some lovely subtle lights. But overall you still feel it all needs a bit of fine tuning, like the EXIT lights are too bright, and spots not showing their sources enough. But overall the Citation is a very nice place to be in the dark. Currently you still have the the Laminar default G1000 unit in the aircraft, but it is customised to a point, and it works and even looks good (yes it pops out). The dreaded red line is still used on the MFD, but I expect that to be upgraded in X-Plane12, as these areas have all been redone with better scale, notes say that a custom Flight Management System will come later with the aircraft, but not in this version. Notable is the excellent (easy to use) AP (Autopilot system), you can adjust from the panel or from the lower rear console and it feels very authentic to use. You don't get a full clear or blank Centralized Warning Panel, mostly Yellow caution lights are always flashing away, and that aspect can be a bit distracting in flight, but again it is very good. The style and feel of the instrument panel is highly debatable. I will be honest, I particularly didn't like it at first as noted earlier? But having flown the Excel a lot over the past month, I now really love it, even miss it a lot when flying other aircraft as it is quite authentic to the real 560XL design. You also have the choice of "Wings" in the HSI, bent or straight, personally I found the straight version easier to see and use, and selection is via the HSI side panel. Sounds overall are very good, push the throttles and there is a nice roar from the PW545B engines which I really like, they are from samples of recordings from the real Citation jet at Boeing Field. Internally all Warnings, Call outs, Clicks, Beeps, airflow, in/out, sound modulation are all included, and this is a very clickable (noisy) cockpit if you like noisy switchgear. APU sounds externally and internally are all very realistic. In the air internally the 560XL is a quiet aircraft, those engines are way back from your ears, but there is still a lot of the required feedback with any engine throttle adjustments, so sounds are a highlight of the aircraft. The aircraft is slippery, so you need those airbrakes to control your descent, they look great operational from the cabin windows as well. That straight clean Citation wing with the wide track wheels is a very stable platform when configured for landing. You feel totally under control and have a very nice balance on the final approach, as long as you have prepared the trims correctly for the landing phase. Approach speeds are quite low (Full 35º Flap) at around 130 knts, but thankfully very stable at that speed. Slowly you reduce your speed to around 120 knts to reduce your height... With a touchdown (nice slight nose up flare) of about 105 knts, which is pretty slow for a jet, notable to be very level on landing, if not the wide track will bounce you from the the left or right wheel... I do recommend (pedal) toe-brakes with this 560XL, keeping the aircraft straight is tricky without them, yes it can be done, but the dancing footwork is far easier for ultimate control, then for the final braking. Opening and closing the clam reversers is a double action, press once to arm, then again to activate, the stopping reverse thrust is effective, even impressive. Liveries There are nine liveries, N456AX (is default) and the rest have very decorative names, in order; Brazilian Carnival, Indian Summer, Italian Classic, NZ Fern, Spanish Treasure, Swiss Snowstorm, UK Red Ribbon and US "Singing the Blues". Paintkit is also available. ____________________ Summary The Cessna Citation 560XL (Excel) is an off-shoot from the main Cessna Citation family to fit a certain niche in the market. It uses several combination of new technologies and designs and the sections of other Citations, but the Excel creates a more bigger cabin, bigger engines, but it is a smaller aircraft overall with a lower range to create a lower market price or entry level aircraft to the family. AirSim3d are a new developer to the X-Plane Simulator and a very welcome one. As we have see this is a very impressive debut aircraft, but still a new debut aircraft from a first time developer. So you have to, and as I have done in the review is to don't expect the absolute extreme of say ultra Aerobask quality. But as noted it is still very impressive. The Excel 560 is being only released currently for X-Plane 11, the X-Plane 12 version is currently in development and will follow when X-Plane 12 goes final. The word to say here is "Quirky". Not quirky in a odd or even a bad way, but different quirky if you have flown or have known other Citation aircraft. The C560XL is different, feels different and you use it differently. So the first impressions here are quite construing to your senses as it feels and looks to a different era. But use the Excel and fly it, then you begin to really enjoy it, savour it and in the end you will find it a very nice aircraft to use frequently, in fact you will want to fly it consistently as it is deep down a very good aircraft. Modeling is very good, as is the detail, but that word quirky will come up with the way you interact with the aircraft (arrow/pointers) and no menus. But you will soon click into the way the system works. That ultra shine is not however there, but everything else is including a nicely fitted out cabin with seat and window animation and nice lighting. Other features include Cones, Chocks, engine covers, Pitot covers, working GPU, battery hatch and a Baggage compartment that can load or unload bags at a click of an arrow. Business Jets have become a very popular of the last few years. Mostly because they perfectly fit that segment between General aviation flying and the larger Commerical jet aircraft. They are a pleasure machine with great performance and speed, so this AirSim3d fits that context perfectly. Also in the same context is the design and feel of the original Excel style aircraft. Once bitten you will love it, the 560XL certainly grows on more with every flight. It's not totally absolutely perfect, but for a first incarnation of an orginal design it is very good.... Recommended. ____________________ Yes! the Cessna Citation 560XL by AirSim3d is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Cessna Citation 560XL Price is US$59.95 Features: AirSim3D C-560 XL: Real-Jet authenticity Real jet visits at Boeing airfield were extensively used to inform build and design decisions 100’s of pages of real POH manuals, specs, drawings, pics used Real pilot tested and extensively beta tested Result: real-world systems, lighting, functions, modeling and procedures authenticity Rich FMOD sounds Sample recordings from the real jet at Boeing Field Result: Custom Engine, APU, GPU, Warnings, Call outs, Clicks, Beeps, airflow, in/out, sound modulation...all included Example: AP disconnect – that's the actual sound real pilots hear! But not overdone: The real jet is quiet at cruise; AirSim3D’s C-560XL follows that model Summary: Win, Mac, Linux tested VR ready PBR materials and Occlusion shading everywhere Hi-fidelity cockpit and instrument objects Bump-texturing and grunge elevated to an art form Finely detailed 3D objects that match real world dimensions Sharp, authentic labeling and correctly placed across the whole aircraft Animations and their timing match the real jet to 99% 99% of instrument follows real-jet/POH/specs and requirements Over 90 total system warnings failures, and lights Exclusive THXp Lighting: 300+ tuned and directed lights make night flying spectacular! Exclusive Real and Augmented AP/AT instrument layout on demand FPS is comparable to similar popular jets and LR default aircraft Airfoil and Weight/CG modeling AirSim3D’s Specialty Glass; Reflections are subtle and don’t distract Real-jet conforming flight characteristics, Engine performance Exact Main Door operation (in or out) with custom step lighting Superior Gear, Flight surfaces, Engine blur modeling, animation, and texturing All Lights use light beams (not flat LIT 2D textures from paint programs) In/Out Emergency Lighting with custom over-wing “shark lights” Fully functional Lighting, Electrical, Start, Pressure, Radio, AP panels Functioning APU & GPU; start-up/refuel/charging procedures and sounds Authentic cold and dark startup/shut down Controls lock and Emergency brakes, Gear blow down functions Fully animated Cockpit, Cabin, Lav; Wizard-inspired baggage load/unload Grunge wear and tear everywhere -- elevated to an art form External attachments (chocks, cones, covers etc.) 8 custom, country-specific marked liveries + paint kit Pilot Operations Handbook online – always up to date Instrument Summary Authentic, fully functioning Annunciator panel * 90 + custom and lighted faults * 42 annunciators track L and R faults/sys status independently * Complete MC/MW integration Custom Auto Pilot fully integrated with the custom PFD, MFD, and G1000 * 9 functions: YD, HDG, NAV, APR, BC, VNAV, ALT, VS, FLC * On demand Realistic and Augmented AP panel layout modes * VVI, Bank angle, Low limiter * Custom Auto Throttle in Augmented panel mode * FMOD callouts Custom Collins-inspired PFD (pop up) * Custom AP status annunciator integration * Mach, ASI, VVI, HDG, CRS, WIND, TAS, GSPD, FPV, BARO. IMO markers * Authentic SPEED, ALT tapes (to -1500 AGL – now fly to the Dead sea airports with AP!) * Custom APR/DPT ASI flags * PFD 1, 2 source * Cat II ILS tested HSI * Custom art Artificial Horizon * Wind direction/speed * Ground speed * Kts/Mach selector * VOR 1, 2, GPS, ADF tracking * Speed and VVI prediction * 2 “wings” displays * 2 Flight Director modes * Custom artwork for real 3D look and feel * Custom AP and Speed tapes function to -1500 AGL * Automatic reference speeds displays for Gear, Flaps, Speed Custom MFD (pop up) * Weather and Terrain radar * Range selector (1-360 miles) * Standard HSI: Rose/Arc with ARPT, WPT, VOR, NDB, TCAS 6 MFD sub modes * APP, VOR, MAP, NAV, PLN * TCAS Alert call outs integrated with Pulse Landing lights * 14 Authentic all-flight phase checklists * 23 checklist sub modes Authentic Electrical system * Outside Battery disconnect (animated, functioning, lighted outside Panel) * Normal and Emergency battery instrument profiles * Amp/Volt gauges, source select, battery charge/discharge profiles * Gens/APU/GPU charging integration * Battery Over Temp * Interior and Master Battery disconnect with full systems/lights/avionics integration * Authentic Cockpit, Entry, and Cabin lighting Authentic and fully functional Lights panel * Day/night Switch * Dim-able EL lighting * Dim-able Flood, Map, Panel lighting * Independent L, C, R instrument stack dimming * Over 300 individually placed and tuned (real) lights (not images) Radios / DME / Clocks * 2 Custom Primus II RMU: Active + Stby: NAV 1, 2; COM 1, 2; ADF; XPNDR (with Mode C) * 2 Custom DME: Station ID, Distance-To, Time-To, Closure Speed, Mi/KM * 2 Custom Pilot/CP Clocks: (GMT, Local, reset Stopwatch, Auto-Flight Time recorder) Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current Version: 1.0 (November 18th 2022) Installation and documents: download for the Cessna Citation 560XL is 355 Mb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 732 Mb (Includes noted liveries) Documents supplied are: On-Line details only currently available; Summary - AirSim3d Designed by AirSim3D Support forum for the C-560 XL _____________________ Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 18th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 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 11 - X-Plane 11.55 Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : AviTab Plugin - Free Scenery or Aircraft - LOWS- Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart v2 by Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$19.50 - LFMN - Nice Cote d'Azur v2 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$18.50 (Disclaimer. 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