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  1. Scenery Review: LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island XP 12 by Cami De Bellis By Dominic Smith Introduction Lampedusa, the largest of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean, stands as Italy's southernmost point, closer to Tunisia than mainland Italy. Spanning 20.2 km2, it is home to approximately 6,000 residents. Lampedusa Airport, situated merely a few hundred meters from the town centre, boasts a 5,889ft asphalt runway and experiences peak traffic during summer, catering to medium-sized aircraft like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. Cami De Bellis' rendition of Lampedusa Island and its airport, alongside Linosa Island, showcases her hallmark attention to detail. This scenery features highly accurate representations of Lampedusa Island, its associated airport, Linosa Island, over 160 custom objects, and custom terrain mesh by Maps2XPlane. The package offers high-resolution textures in both 2K and 4K, native 3D characters and vehicles, two heliports, and much more, providing an immersive experience for users. As some of you may be aware, I am a great admirer of Cami's work, as her sceneries are superbly detailed, embodying a unique personal touch that distinctly marks her creations as special. There's something about the way Cami infuses her projects with her own essence, though it's hard to pinpoint exactly what, that elevates them above the ordinary. Installation The scenery is purchasable from the Org store at $18.90 and is notably large, with a download size of 2.8GB and an extraction size of 4.7GB. This size is substantial in comparison to many other sceneries, due in part to the mesh and ortho coverage. Within the package, there are three folders that should be transferred to the Custom Scenery folder within X-Plane. The naming convention of these folders eliminates the need for adjustments to the scenery_packs.ini file, simplifying the setup. Furthermore, the absence of any requirement for keys or activation streamlines the installation process, making it exceptionally straightforward. Documentation The documentation is comprised of two PDF files: one dedicated to installation and the other, aptly named "Tips & Tricks," offers guidance on maximizing the scenery's potential and highlights specific features. Both documents are well-composed, with a clear layout, making them invaluable resources to review before launching X-Plane. Admittedly, like many, I was too eager to explore the scenery after being captivated by the screenshots on the store page and so bypassed the initial read-through, so it’s straight to hell for me! Aerial View The aerial view of the island evokes strong memories of a journey I once made to a remote Greek island, characterised by its semi-arid, garrigue landscape. The custom mesh expertly highlights the topographical diversity of the area. The western side features deep gorges, contrasting with the shallow valleys and sandy beaches of the eastern part. The entire northern coastline boasts cliffs, offering a mix of gently sloping cliffs on the east and stark, vertical cliffs on the west, catering to a variety of adventures. The custom orthoimagery of the island is outstanding, providing clear, crisp visuals free from common anomalies like cloud cover. This is a notable achievement, especially for anyone familiar with the challenges of creating ortho sceneries marred by 2D cloud textures. Upon descending, the imagery retains its clarity, a testament to the high resolution used. Additionally, the custom autogen, leveraging Cami’s CDB Library assets, effectively represents the island's buildings, enhancing the overall realism and immersion. Airport and Taxiways The main runway and taxiway textures for both asphalt and concrete surfaces are custom made and demonstrate a high level of detail. The exposure to the elements from the surrounding Mediterranean has been artfully captured with a significant degree of weathering visible through cracks and pits. Tire marks on these surfaces add to the realism, with the concrete showing particularly impressive evidence of aircraft manoeuvres. These details, though small, significantly enhance the authenticity of the experience. Signage and Foliage The careful placement of foliage around the runway and taxiway adds depth without being a burden on system resources, striking a balance that complements the detailed orthoimagery. While the airport's signage is limited due to its size, what is present is thoughtfully executed, with clear apron demarcations and weathering effects on the ground, enhancing the visual fidelity of the airport environment. Main Terminal and Buildings For users familiar with Cami De Bellis's previous works, the detail in the main airport terminal and its associated buildings in this scenery won't disappoint. The terminal, while lacking an interior, showcases remarkable modelling and texturing, including local artwork that adds a unique touch. A particular standout feature is the lively 3D characters, including a dog, and custom passenger vehicles that populate the airport. These are all nicely modelled and contribute to bringing the airport to life. Adjacent to the terminal, you'll find the control tower, hangar, additional passenger facilities, and fire station, all mirroring the high standard of modelling and texturing work we’ve come to expect from Cami. The area is bustling with ground clutter, such as bins, pallets, cones, and several airport vehicles, all contributing to the realism. The main car park at the airport entrance utilises a custom texture rather than a standard ortho, achieving a seamless integration with the surrounding scenery. This method avoids the common pitfalls of flat 2D cars and texture anomalies, creating a cohesive look. The car park's design, including the dividing walls and vegetation, and the non-default, atmospheric vehicles, add greatly to the atmosphere. On the airport's perimeter, a building, likely a motel or hotel for passengers, echoes the airport's architectural theme. It features numerous AC units and solar panels on its roof, again showing the attention to detail. Lampedusa Venturing beyond the airport leads to the town of Lampedusa, where Cami’s custom autogen, utilising her CDB Library assets, truly shines. While it doesn't encompass every structure, the selection present beautifully captures the essence of this charming oasis. The beach scene was a personal highlight for me, featuring palm trees, deckchairs, and animated 3D characters enjoying their surroundings; a delightful scene that reminded me that I could do with a holiday! The bay area is dotted with small boats and a few jetties, predominantly for leisure, though a larger dock facilitates commercial operations. This blend of recreational and business elements adds a realistic layer to the portrayal of the town, further demonstrating Cami's careful attention to detail and her ability to create immersive environments. Further Afield Heading westward, the landscape transitions to a sparser housing distribution amidst more pronounced terrain, featuring numerous gorges. Yet, the attention to detail remains undiminished. Midway across the island, another beach scene greets you, alive with 3D characters revelling in the sunshine. The combined effect of custom objects with the enhanced mesh and custom ortho keeps the exploration engaging. At the island's far western extremity, where the cliffs become dramatically steep and the gorges deepen, we find the first of the additional helipads, just slightly before the radar station. It's here that Lampedusa's radar station emerges, its military essence underscored by the presence of soldiers and a vigilant guard dog. This setting, evocative of a scene straight out of a high-stakes drama, brings to mind the wise words of Walter White, aka Heisenberg, from "Breaking Bad": “tread lightly.” Linosa Island Located twenty-five miles north of Lampedusa Airport, Linosa Island spans 5.45 square kilometres and boasts a volcanic heritage. Its landscape is dominated by a series of craters, with Monte Vulcano standing as the tallest at 195 metres. The island's volcanic terrain is vividly brought to life with custom mesh and texturing, offering perhaps a more dramatic scenery of the already impressive Lampedusa. The harbours are thoughtfully modeled, although one appeared to lack vessels, a detail that, if added, could further enrich the scenery's authenticity in future updates. Just up from the tranquil harbour, the landscape reveals the second additional helipad, strategically positioned yet discreet, enhancing the island's accessibility without disrupting its peaceful charm. Cami's custom autogen, brings to life the sparse settlements, lending a serene depth to the island's allure, highlighting its status as a quietly detailed haven far removed from the hustle and bustle of more commercial destinations. Night Lighting As dusk turns to night, the airport comes alive with an elaborate light display. The runway, terminal, surrounding buildings, and car park are all bathed in a brilliant glow. Beyond the airport, the autogen lighting and the lighthouse at the island's northern tip, ensures that the night is alive with light, contributing to the immersive experience. Performance During testing, I experienced no performance issues, with frame rates remaining high and stable across all areas, despite my system being midrange. This speaks volumes about the optimization of the scenery, providing an exceptional experience without compromising on detail. Conclusion Exploring Cami De Bellis' Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island scenery was an absolute delight, evoking fond memories of my visit to Greece. The rich foundation laid by the detailed mesh and photographic textures, combined with Cami's superb 3D modeling and texturing work, brings this scenery to life in a way that is both captivating and deeply immersive. The addition of animated 3D people and custom autogen only adds to the charm of this lovely little scenery package. It's not just the visual detail that impresses; the stability of performance despite the complexity of textures and objects ensures a seamless simulation experience. The inclusion of Linosa Island, with its distinctive volcanic landscape and quaint settlements, further elevates the overall appeal of the package. This scenery package is a testament to Cami De Bellis' exceptional skill in creating immersive X-Plane environments that are rich in detail and offer an unparalleled exploration experience, all at an asking price that represents significant value. In conclusion, for those in search of a scenery that not only embodies the atmospheric and realistic charm of Italy's southern islands but also offers a compelling escape into their serene beauty, Cami’s latest work might just be the perfect addition to your X-Plane collection, serving as the perfect excuse for a wonderful getaway. ________________________ LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island by Cami De Bellis is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island Priced at $18.90 Features Highly accurate scenery for LICD- Lampedusa Airport and Linosa Island with all buildings modeled. Over 160 custom objects all with Ambient Occlusion Custom Terrain Mesh for the entire island of Lampedusa and Linosa by Maps2XPlane Custom Overlay/Autogen Scenery based on CDB assets by Maps2XPlane" Photo real textures on buildings, vehicles, trees… Photorealistic ground textures based on a satellite image 50 cm. Detailed airport objects and GSE vehicles Custom textured taxiways, runways, and apron Custom surrounding buildings Custom airport lights HD Custom Overlay High-resolution building textures – all in 2K and 4K Excellent night effects World Traffic 3 compatible Native characters and vehicles created specially Ground traffic The terrain mesh is complemented with custom overlays: dense vegetation and country-typical autogen, as well as custom road networks with dynamic traffic. Two heliports, for those fans of helicopters. One at the beautiful Linosa Island, and the other on the US Loran Station Base. Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP 11) Windows, Mac, or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.7 GB Current version 1.0 (January 11th, 2024) Review System Specifications Intel i5 10400 – 32GB RAM - Nvidia Asus RTX 3060 – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit __________________________________ Scenery Review by Dominic Smith 23rd February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).
    2 points
  2. Through your enchanting scenery Cami, I feel the warmth of this sun-kissed location, like stepping off a flight, taking breath, then, meandering through town, down to the glistening water's edge, across castor sugar sands, and finding that perfect, family run Ristorante, seated outside, with a cool breeze, sipping a life-giving granita, savouring the freshest local cuisine, all while watching the sun set lazily across shimmering tranquil seas. Am I dreaming? Not anymore. Thanks to you Cami, for transporting this Kiwi to distant shores and your stunning atmospheric render, and to you Dom for your beguiling review. I feel like I've just had a holiday. In-fact, now I can, anytime! Now... where's my suitcase?lol Nigel
    2 points
  3. Aircraft Review : JRX Design Bell 407 v1.30 for X-Plane 11 and 12 A derivative of the Bell 206L-4 LongRanger, Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter that uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with the composite hub developed for the United States Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, instead of the two-blade, semi-rigid, teetering rotor of the 206L-4. So the breed line is from the famous "Jetranger", but the 407 is the far bigger and powerful relation to the family. The Bell 407's fuselage is 8 inches (20 cm) wider, increasing internal cabin space, and includes 35% larger main cabin windows. The more powerful Rolls-Royce/Allison 250-C47 turboshaft allows an increase in Maximum Takeoff Weight and improves performance at hotter temperatures and/or higher altitudes. The helicopter has standard seating for two crew and five cabin seats. In 1993, Bell began the development of the New Light Aircraft as a replacement for its Model 206 series. The program resulted in the 407, a development of Bell's LongRanger. A 206L-3 LongRanger was modified to serve as the 407 demonstrator. The demonstrator used hardware for the 407 and added molded fairings to represent the 407's wider fuselage then under development. The demonstrator was first flown in 1994, and the 407 program and was publicly announced at the Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 1995. The first 407 prototype (C-GFOS) then accomplished its maiden flight on June 29, 1995, and the second prototype (C-FORS) followed on July 13, 1995. After a short development program, the first production 407 (C-FWQY/N407BT) flew on November 10, 1995. Since then almost 1500+ aircraft have been built. In 2021, only three years ago JRX Design started in the X-Plane Simulator with the dual SA 341B and SA 342J Gazelle, then their next release was the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4, a big name, but also a lot of helicopter, which was updated only 12 months ago to X-Plane 12. All sensational and quality designs. This is JRX's latest release with the Bell 407. Notable is that the release(s) are separate for both the X-Plane 12 version or the X-Plane 11 version, as they are not packaged together here. We will of course focus on the XP12 version for the review, in details the X-Plane 11 is identical, but missing the X-Plane 12 dynamic features. This is not the first Bell 407 for X-Plane. That was the excellent Bell 407 from Dreamfoil Creations, a standard bearer for it's time with a huge feature list and flying dynamics. Currently still only X-Plane 11, but with the release of the terrific Schweizer S300CB, it noted the developer was back in a big way, and he notes that the Bell 407 (and the AS350 B3+) are now being developed for X-Plane 12, expect in a few months. So that obviously sets up a quandary, which would be the best B407 to buy? A hard one even for me, as both as we shall see are very highly quality developed machines. The B407 from JRX is available now and for X-Plane 12, but the Dreamfoil 407 will have a bigger feature list and personal familiarity... it is a very, very tough choice. Note, that since this review has been published, JRX Design has since updated the 407 to v1.30 (forget v1.10 as it was a non-starter). There were a few new additions, the biggest new feature was the CINEFLEX camera feature, and that item has now been included in the review. Design wise JRX have a superlative quality record, and to scale, and that aspect shows here. The 407 is beautifully done in modeling terms with excellent glass. Odd here though is you can't hide the glass reflections (inside or external), but it is still very well done with both front and rear doors with window (opening) hatch inserts. The huge fuel filler is excellent. Notable is that the riveting is drawn on and not modeled with highlights, same with the engine cover latches. It's well done but noticeable, but the external panel bolts are nicely 3d. The engine internals are also images, again highly realistic, so you admire them and are not as so distracted by them being only 2d Rear tail boom, horizontal stabiliser and upright tail support are well modeled, with the original orange/white tail-skid. The heart of a helicopter are the rotors and their assemblies.... The main rotor is a 35 foot diameter, soft-in-plane flex beam (flapping flexure) type yoke/hub with four interchangeable blades. Elastomeric technology is incorporated and allows for blade movement. The blades and yoke are all composite materials. The rotor is designed to rotate at 413 RPM at 100% Nr. As rotor heads go it is very, very simple design, just the tower and four pushrods. Plate construction is really good, as are the arms, but we are going to lose points because only the collective bite is animated (13 degrees of twist), shame as we know the Dreamfoil 407 is fully animated, but the movements here are good. Rear tail-rotor is intricately designed, great detail and fine work. The yaw animations are also well done and visible. All doors are animated, can be opened externally and internally, and they can also be removed, but only all and not individually. Left side also takes away the cam centre panel, for a very wide open space for the Medi-Vac. So you really do wish for more selection on which doors you want removed as you can't slide the rear doors open in flight, missing also is the long and short window door panel option. Rear cabin seats five, or four chunky seats and a tight centre child seat in the rear. Default colour is a light grey with the very nice "Bell" logo on the seat back, the trim material is all very nicely done. Seating colours change to the selected external livery, with four choices in Light Grey, Red, Green and Dark Grey. The familiar restricted cabin roof is well reproduced here, making the rear cabin feel very authentic to those familiar with a 206/406 environment. Forward pilot seats are also very chunky for a helicopter, but very well designed and created. Again the materials are of a quality nature, a feel real effect if viewed in closely of the excellent chosen materials, the above roof switch and CB-Fuse panel is also excellent. All circuit breakers are active and animated. Side doors are beautifully realistically molded, with the authentic bell 407 logos and opening slide window, same in the rear. There is the option for single or duel controls, the left side pilot's cyclic and collective are very basic, with just a throttle built in. The right side pilot has a more detailed collective head, with FLOAT activation and lights with SEARCH, LDG (landing) and Start/Disengage switch. Chunky could also describe the instrument panel, for a small helicopter the 206/407 instrument panels are massive. But the instrument arrangement is quite simple. Top left is a Radio Altmeter, Engine readouts (TRQ - Torque, MGT, NR/NP - RPM, Davtron Clock/OAT/Volt meter, Fuel PSI-AMPS, FUEL Qty and Gearbox and Engine Oil pressure/Temp). Flying instruments include Airspeed, Artificial Horizon, Altimeter. Main NR/NP Tachometer dual gauge, Bendix/king HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator), Vertical Speed instrument. OBS (Omni-Bearing Selector) for ADF 1/2, OBS NAV 1 and Turn rate dial. Lower is the avionic stack, with a custom GNS 530, KX 155A COM/NAV 1 radio, another KX 155A COM/NAV 2 radio, Bendix/King KMA 30 radio, Bendix/King KT74 Transponder and bottom (flat) a Bendix/King KR87 ADF radio. The metal rudder pedals are also highly designed and have pretty Bell logos. Panel can be set in either a light or dark tone There are two sets of headphones, in that their cables drag across the cockpit and obscures the instrument panel, you can click (lower volume) to hide the right headset, but you can't click on the left co-pilot one to hide it? so it hangs there! and right in your view line (It can thankfully be hidden another way as we shall see later). v1.20 and the Co-Pilot headset can now be thankfully also hidden directly via a "hotspot" click. Power on and the panel is beautifully done, love the instrument contrast to the red radio readouts. Then simply glorious at night! Caution Warning Panel (CWP) is very authentic, you can also test the systems via the button right panel. CWP can be set to BRIGHT or DIM illumination. Other internal lighting includes rear bulkhead adjustable spot light, plus the same as a cabin (switch) light, rear cabin lights again look very nice in the darker light, single overhead panel switch, or the individual rear switches can be used. Overhead panel lighting is again sensational. Menu To access the menu, you press the "Tablet" button on the far right top of the instrument panel. It is in the design of the RWP GTN 750 module. The tablet is extremely well intergrated with a support arm to the instrument binnacle. There are four option tabs on the left; MENU 1, MENU 2, RXP TAB, Avi TAB and LIVERIES. MENU 1 You could call Menu 1 the options tab set into five categories (not labeled). First two, with first the Static Elements, Covers, Tiedowns and Flags, second is the external "GPU" (Ground Power Unit). Note the "Rotor Park Brake" has to be down to activate the Static Elements. Next category covers the pilots and passengers; you have "Fly With Copilot" that puts a crew member in the left seat, notable is when you do this that headset disappears from your POV. You also have "Crew Helmets" but those pesky hanging headsets then return... damn. Pressing "Crew Headsets" will hide only the Pilot's headset, but not the Co-Pilot's. Final option here is the "Passengers", which inserts two lovely ladies in the rear cabin If you adjust the X-Plane "Weight & Balance" menu, it makes no difference or adds in NO more passengers or cargo. In this area the JRX is limited in options Next category covers options; "Dual Flight Controls", and Doors ON/OFF... Under the rear there is a large "Searchlight", or you can have the "Emergency Floats" installed on the skids. There are upper and lower "Wire Cutters" and last is the "ROTOR DAMPENER" cap. New in v1.20 were some very nice rear "Bear Paws" Last category is the set of options for the (optional) Reality RXP GTN 750. There is also a "Autopilot Unit" or Stability Augmentation Systems (SAS), this panel is placed lower right on the instrument panel. Last two options here is the "AviTab" tool (Plugin required), and the selection of the Light/Dark instrument facia. Also on the right side of "Menu 1" are three "Engine Exceedances" readouts, these can also be reset in TRQ (Torque), MGT and NG RPM Listed top of the panel is the current "Version" MENU 2 In this tab you set the aircraft's configuration. Top is the "Fuel Load" in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1/1 or FULL. Lower left is the changing weights as you select the (Fuel) and Weight/Payload selections right, "ALL UP WEIGHT" and "MAXIMUM TAKEOFF WEIGHT" must balance. Lower are three options with CofG (Centre of Gravity), "Vibrations" Off-x1, x2,x3... last is the selection of the FOV or "Field Of View". RXP/Avi TAB Are both quick button selections of the Reality WP GTN 750 and the Avitab tool LIVERIES You can select your livery via the tablet, and it gives you an image of the 407. There are 21 liveries, that covers a wide spectrum of services and countries, all are excellent. CINEFLEX A new feature added to the JRX B407 in the update v1.30, was the excellent CINEFLEX camera system. The Cineflex V14 is a 5-axis gyro stabilized camera system that delivers images completely free from even the smallest vibrations. It has a Sony Cinealta HDC 1500 camera integrated in the carbon-fibre housing that rotates a full 360°, and all movements are operated from within the helicopter. The first place you would look to activate the camera is the JRX Menu, but it's not located on there? The Camera system is activated by the "Camera System" switch, on the overhead panel, row below the circuit breakers/fuses, far right. Switching it on comes with a disclaimer from the developer... it will deliver a 25% FPS hit on your framerate (any internal to external X-Plane viewpoint, usually has this same negative effect). It is a significant hit, so if the CINEFLEX is not in use it is best switched off. Activated you get the camera pod assembly now visible, slung under the nose of the B407, the modeling is excellent with the detail and the quality of the camera system. On the left side of the instrument panel, there is now positioned a cowled screen and operators panel... The panel has two sets of camera operation knobs, and four buttons. Power, Overlay, Reset and Park. "Power" is to switch on the system, "Overlay" puts a frame and recording data on the screen, including REC, Timecode, Resolution, Camera Coordinates, Airspeed, Heading, Altitude, Track, (camera) Pitch & Zoom "Park" will foldup and store the camera rearwards, "Reset" will set the camera to it's forward "ready" mode. Left small knob is the "Zoom"... 0%-100% Right is the knob/joystick to adjust the camera angle, ROLL, ROTATE and UP and DOWN angles. All the camera movement controls can be set as commands, for keyboard or joystick (HAT) actions, this allows easier control while flying. The CINEFLEX is expertly done, and a great addition to the 407. ___________ Flying the Bell 407 If you open the JRX 407, it will have the annoying habit of just shutting down again? even if the "Start with engines running" tickbox is active. There is a trick here... The issue is caused by the "Idle" button and throttle being set to closed, this is the shutoff point to kill the engine. To start you have to de-click the "IDLE-REL" and give the 407 a bit of throttle (80). Once running, then you can go back to the idle stop, but don't press the IDLE-REL, if not it will just shutdown the engine again... or your back to square one. The "Start" switch is on the same collective, and as long as the fuel is on, then a press and hold of the switch is all that is needed. At first you don't think it is going to fire, then at once around 50% NR rpm, the Allison 250-C47 turbio-shaft engine (813 shp (606 kW)) gets itself together and your in the flying business... its all a FADEC-controlled engine (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), as the FADEC system is designed to reduce pilot work load and increase engine reliability by fully automating the start procedure, and holding engine parameters to tighter tolerances in flight. It feels excellent in this JRX machine... .... then twisting the throttle to "FLY" will increase the NR % to 100% Does the JRX 407 sound good... brilliant in fact. The start whine is excellent, so is the throttle adjustments through the spectrum, then the full rpm chop is really, really good, I've flown on a 407 (and a 206) and it is as good as you will get. I couldn't get any noisy internal blade slap, but external blade sounds in movement when in flight manoeuvres are excellent. Whoa! off the ground with a bit of slight cyclic back, and a feel upwards movement of the collective, and you go into a perfect hover... ... "Oh I like this!" I've had my time with wiggly nervous helicopters for a fair while, "This one is smooooth". Already happy, a bit more collective and a push forward of the cyclic and you are up & away. 206/407 usually need a bit of low nose to get them moving... not too much here and the speed builds very quickly. Bell later replaced the tail rotor pedals with the taller and slightly closer-to-the-pilot versions, as many pilots complained they were too high, as they preferred the 206 pedals than the 407's. The Bell 407 has a maximum speed of 140 kn (160 mph, 260 km/h), with an economical cruise speed of 133 kn (153 mph, 246 km/h). The range is 324 nmi (373 mi, 600 km) with a service ceiling of 18,690 ft (5,700 m). There is the vibration option... OFF is no vibration, x1 is not really a lot, x2 is about perfect as x3 is very, very noticeable shaking, really it feels like your blades are coming loose! I was very impressed with the Autopilot Unit or Stability Augmentation Systems (SAS). It has had some fine tuning in v1.10, but it felt fine to me... you can LVL (Level) then hit the AP, then HDG (Heading) and ALT (Altitude) and the transition in flight is excellent, only a slight lift as you go to the auto system. V/S (Vertical Speed) changes are 5 points either way, but honestly, if your not climbing high, then unlock the ALT and add a little collective to go up, then reselect ALT at your set altitude, the same to go down with less collective. Coming out of auto is good as well, but you need to disconnect the HDG and ALT selections before you disconnect the AP itself for a smooth transition, or it bumps coming out. Heading changes under the SAS are nice and smooth, long and with not any tight jumpy turns, so excellent... yes very impressed. Really the 407 is so nice to fly manually (balanced when trimmed), you won't rely on the SAS, it is a relaxing controls machine, even distances are easy. Time to head back to the Jay Stephen Hooper Memorial Heliport. The 407 has a reputation for solid control feel in flight. That, combined with plenty of power, makes the 407 a real performer. The 206 (Jetranger) feels heavier than the 407 on the controls, so most pilots prefer the 407's flight control’s hydraulic boost, it is quite heavy if you turn the assisted system off. The Bell 407 is not a low-inertia system, it is also not a high-inertia system either like the JetRanger. So the feel is set somewhere in between, in making your approach it can be quite different. Autorotating the 407 going down I found there was still a high degree of maneuverability during the glide (power off), then the transition to Effective translational lift (ETL) was okayish, as you have to be aware on the loss of speed to avoid too much sink, so it's best to transition further out than closer to the pad in case of a sudden loss of lift. The flare and touchdown also requires a different technique than in the JetRanger. Timing is more critical because less energy is stored in the lighter-weight spinning rotors and the more collective pitch is used to cushion the helicopter’s touchdown. In addition, the pilot holds the helicopter in a nose-high attitude and touches down on the heels of the skids. It’s a fairly standard procedure for a lower-inertia rotor. One warning though is the 407 in the low hover is very susceptible to the swing effect, "Mast Bumping" is only present with a 2 blades rotor ...like R22 , R44, B206, but I found here the pendulum effect was very pronounced, the wrong (too heavy) input, and the 407 will swing quite violently, with the obvious results, so keep the final inputs extremely small, even pull away and do a new approach to get the procedure right. A few hours rest and I am airborne again, now twilight... The 407's external lighting is excellent, except for in one area. There is a "Landing" light in the nose, and two amazing flashing strobes underside, rear red beacon and Navigation/Strobes on the horizontal stabiliser fences, the best though are the fantastic "Logo" spots on the side, I totally absolutely loved the lit logo look at night! It is mostly excellent, but the collective switch "Spotlight" created nasty ant lit marks all around the nose and windscreen, so you need to keep it switched off. Now darker, and I am cruising low and fast over the Freeways & Highways Los Angeles County... my favorite Heli-Pilot pastime, the 407 is simply brilliant here, easy to cruise... did I say fast. In roles (or role-play) you are restricted here by the JRX door arrangement, there are no sliding doors on the rear, and not being able to individually remove, say the rear left door, restricts your role playing. Scouting for "News" I am playing a version of the "Nightcrawler", yes the movie , as I love this livery and the cruising above the LA landscape at night. I would have loved an open door, even a cameraman shooting the streets, but there is not even a Medi-Vac version, so it all feels all a bit limited if you wanted to be part of the action. So the JRX Bell 407 is excellent to fly, even say a novice could handle the aircraft and enjoy it's abilities... too benign, no I didn't get that feeling at all, it just felt right and the 407 was a totally enjoyable dynamic experience... then what a way to end the night flying with a visit to that famous "Hollywood" sign... perfect. _____________ Summary The Bell 407 is a four-blade, single-engine, civil utility helicopter that uses the four-blade, soft-in-plane design rotor with a composite hub. So the breed line is from the famous "Jetranger", but the 407 is the far bigger and more powerful relation to the family. The release(s) of the JRX 407 here are separate for both the X-Plane 12 version or the X-Plane 11 version, as they are not packaged together. So make your choice wisely as they both cost the same. JRX Design are now very accomplished developers, the Bell 407 is their third release for the X-Plane Simulator, after the earlier dual SA 341B and SA 342J Gazelle and the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4. Notably the aircraft is created to a very high standard, beautiful modeling and lovely intricate details to scale. However rivets and engine fences are images and not 3d, but the main exterior bolts are modeled. Rotor hub is exceedingly well designed, but only has semi-animations for (twist) collective, and tail yaw. Glass is excellent (maybe the rear windows are bit dark) and there are no reflections disable for the internally or externally for the windows. Cabin and instruments are exceptionally well done, and all is very quality work in feel and look, but there are restrictions with only a singe door hide, and there are not many options for different fitout versions (Medi-Vac, lift hook) and role-playing that is mostly common with Helicopter packages. Lighting internally and externally is again excellent, but for ant whites around the frames with the spotlight feature. Although the official Bell 407 Manual and Procedures are very nice (authentic), a JRX Design manual was also required here. The updated v1.30 also comes with the sensational CINEFLEX camera system, hung on the nose, you have a full control of the camera and it's storage, v1.30 also has some other nice visual and menu tweaks as well. The JRX Bell 405 flies very well, I loved it as it was certainly not a edgy machine to fly, too benign, no I don't think so, so great for first timers and novice fliers, performance and dynamics feel also perfect. Would I like JRX Design to also do the famous 206 Jetranger? After this 407 I certainly think so, as it would be an excellent idea to do a fly off of their different capabilities, but more options overall would be nice. I love the 407, to a point now it is my current favorite helicopter to fly, I don't love niggly machines, I want to fly, hover and do things without the stress, throw in the sheer quality and X-Plane 12 realism and the JRX Bell 407 is a worthy winner... highly recommended. ________________ The Bell 407 by JRX Design v1.30 is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : JRX Bell 407 for X-Plane 12 Priced at US$35.99 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11. If you want the XP11 version, get it here ) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Current Version: 1.30 (January 28th 2024) JRX Bell 407 for X-Plane 11 Priced at US$35.99 Requirements X-Plane 11 (not for XP12. if you want the XP12 version, get it here) Windows, Mac or Linux - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Current Version: 1.30 (January 28th 2024) Installation and documents: download for the JRX Bell 407 is 1.38 Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopters" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 2.76Gb AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft Documents supplied are: JRX Bell 407 - READ ME.txt Bell 407 - Operational Evaluation Board Report.pdf Bell 407 - Pilot Ground and Flight Procedures.pdf Bell 407 - Rotorcraft Flight Manual.pdf JRX BELL 407 - END-USER LICENSE AGREEMENT (EULA).txt Documentation consists of three official documents that cover the 407 Flight Manual, Pilot Ground and Flight Procedures and Operational Evaluation Board Report... but there is no JRX 407 Aircraft manual, that was badly needed and certainly required here. Designed by JRX Design Support forum for the JRX B407 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 12.09rc3 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - Hooper Heliport (58CA) - ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton' 6th January 2024 Copyright©2024: 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 Rights Reserved
    2 points
  4. NEWS! - KDEN Denver is updated to v2.1 by X-Codr Designs X-PlaneReviews "Best Scenery of the year" 2022 was X-Codr's sublime massive KDEN Denver International Airport. Here early into 2024 is a nice little update v2.1 to fine-tune DEN with a few more new features. Denver International Airport locally known as DIA, is an international airport in the Western United States, primarily serving metropolitan Denver, Colorado, as well as the greater Front Range Urban Corridor. At 33,531 acres (52.4 sq mi; 135.7 km2), it is the largest airport in the Western Hemisphere by land area and the second largest on Earth, behind King Fahd International Airport. Runway 16R/34L, with a length of 16,000 feet (3.03 mi; 4.88 km), is the longest public use runway in North America and the seventh longest on Earth. The airport is 25 miles (40 km) driving distance northeast of Downtown Denver, 19 miles (31 km) farther than the former Stapleton International Airport, the facility DEN replaced. In both 2021 and 2022, DEN was the third busiest airport in the world as well as the third busiest airport in the United States by passenger traffic; DEN has been among the top 20 busiest airports in the world every year since 2000. KDEN v2.1 First change or new features are that the service vehicles are now branded to the airline, services to Denver Airport (Swissaport). They also have new custom made sounds as well. Entrance elements are also updated. Some gates didn't work correctly with the SAM plugin, but are now fixed... and a few other fixes and improvements were done around DEN. Notable for the v2.1 update is to also update the X-Codr Library to v1.8, and the Living Scenery Technology to v1.11, besides the KDEN scenery package update v2.1... ✓ High Quality Rendition of KDEN - Denver International Airport       o Detailed, realistic terminals, accurate as of mid-2023.       o Realistic terminal interiors with numerous POIs (such as hanging display aircraft).       o Lively terminal interiors with animated escalators, and thousands of animated sitting, and walking people, whose density varies with time. All of which are visible from the aircraft.       o Windows on buildings with interiors loose opacity at night, mimicking the optics of real glass, for gorgeous night views.       o Realistic, high resolution, hand-crafted textures complete with PBR normal maps and realistic, accurate wear.       o Accurate, highly detailed buildings through the airport, including the new Southwest hangar. ✓ Realistic, natural ground textures       o Tile-free pavement textures with textures detailed down to the pebble       o Realistic normal maps give pavement depth       o Accurate, detailed markings, with realistic reflections       o Hand aligned concrete lines where possible, for natural transitions to newer, brighter pavement areas       o Realistic, hand painted grunge, with unmatched up close detail, that is cohesive with the rest of the scenery. ✓ Lively scenery through use of our Living Scenery Technology plugin for animations, and Stairport Sceneries SAM for jetway systems       o Thousands of walking animated people, with minimal performance impact       o Cars traverse the airport roads realistically, vs spawning in the middle of a road.       o Accurate, realistic speeds for people and cars throughout the airport.       o Animated electronic display boards on Concourse B display local time and temperature.       o AC fan blade speeds vary with the local temperature.       o Realistic, ultra detailed jetways through use of SAM       o All major parking spaces have excellent SAM marshallers to guide you in ✓ Maximum performance       o Every model is meticulously optimized for the best possible performance.       o Localized LODs reduce rendering load by over 80% on average, relative to traditional LODs       o Texture reuse other technical techniques improve VRAM efficiency.       o Shadows are disabled on objects that don’t benefit, for big performance gains. ✓ Full X-Plane 12 support       o Realistic weather effects       o Optimized native aircraft services.       o Use of the excellent native 3d vegetation The v2.1 update is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore... the price, for all this, only a brilliant US$29.95 _______________________________ Yes! KDEN - Denver International Airport HD v2.1 by X-Codr Designs is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KDEN - Denver International Airport HD Price is US$29.95 Features This scenery is a ultra detailed recreation of Denver International Airport. Some of its features include: Ultra detailed rendition of Denver International Airport Winter and wet rainy versions are included as well Highly detailed custom buildings Most parts of all concourses have detailed custom interiors Detailed yet performance friendly models Normal maps for great bump mapping and glass reflections Ultra detailed ground textures 1 pixel per 6 inch orthophotos equivalent to ZL20 Orthophotos have been cleaned of duplicate flat textures under 3D models (such as traffic and bridges) Extreme detail for pavement, while still maintaining minimal repetition Highly detailed normal maps for impressive specular reflections X-Codr Designs SoundXP Plugin (Windows 10 ONLY) Ambient airport sounds will be played based on your location in the airport - a first in X-Plane Listen to chatter, announcements and other sounds when inside the terminal, trucks rumbling by and beeping when near busy ramp areas, and the drone of traffic speeding by when on the landside of the airport Dynamic living airport Watch heavies, regional commuters and other air traffic bring the airport to life with superb WT3 routes by Brian "Cpt. K-man" Navy (Bird Stryke Designs) Animated jetways using Autogate by Jonathan Harris (marginal) Animated car traffic using Ground Traffic by Jonathan Harris (marginal) Native ground services will service your aircraft upon request Highly detailed custom mesh using Ortho4XP Detailed under and overpasses Sloped runways and taxiways, and ditches Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 7.5 GB Current version: 2.1 January 22nd 2024 ____________________  NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 1st February 2024 Copyright©2024 : X-Plane Reviews 
    2 points
  5. Scenery Review: KONT - Ontario International Airport XP12 by VerticalSim By Dennis Powell Introduction Evoking memories of a 60s TV show, one might recall the phrase, “California is the place you ought to be. Swimming pools, movie stars.” Yet, a short journey east of Hollywood's dazzle takes us to Ontario, California. This area, less heralded but equally intriguing, hosts a sprawling suburban expanse and an airport that serves as a serene counterpart to the ever-busy LAX. Developed by VerticaliSm, Ontario International Airport emerges as a noteworthy addition to their portfolio. Situated as a gateway to Southern California's adventures, it offers an experience distinct from the frenetic pace of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The locale is steeped in suburban authenticity, replete with residential areas and the kind of small-scale industrial backdrop one might anticipate in a community adjacent to, yet distinctly apart from, Los Angeles. Encircled by mountains to the east and the undulating hills of Los Angeles to the west, KONT positions itself intriguingly, but how does it fare as an X-Plane destination? Well, that's what we're here to uncover. Installation Installing this scenery package is a breeze. The process involves a simple download of the 1.6GB package, unzipping the folder, and then transferring the uncompressed scenery folder into your Custom Scenery directory. It's straightforward: no complicated licensing, no codes to enter, no hassle at all. Just a quick click, drag, and drop, and you're all set to dive into this scenery experience. On a side note, while the store's description suggests that the gates require SAM3, I've found the package operates smoothly without it. Despite removing the SAM suite due to its impact on my system's performance, I faced no issues with the gates. However, it's worth noting that you'll miss out on the marshaller's guidance into the gate, which could be a consideration for those who fly airliners Documentation This scenery package includes a PDF that efficiently details setup, installation procedures, and any special features you might need to know about. In addition to the installation guide, the PDF offers an overview and some other handy pieces of information. For those interested, it also contains a link to the latest version of the SAM suite. The provided documentation is straightforward and includes necessary information about SAM3 compatibility. As previously mentioned, while I choose to fly without the SAM suite due to its effect on my system's performance, those with more robust systems might find it adds to their experience. And don't worry about being overwhelmed by the PDF, as it's a concise six pages. You’ll find it short, sweet, and refreshingly straightforward, sparing your hair from turning grey as you read. Exploration Walkthrough Situated in a semi-arid desert basin just east of Los Angeles, the airport is encircled by mountains to the east and rolling hills to the west, north, and south. The surrounding area is peppered with autogen, primarily suburban housing and light industry. Warehouses are a common sight as you approach, and the light industrial zone to the east of the airport forms part of the scenery. The local vegetation is quintessentially Southern Californian: scrub brush and palm trees, with a smattering of deciduous trees for shade. The airport features two parallel runways running east to west: 8L/26R, stretching 12,197 feet, and the slightly shorter 8R/26L at 10,200 feet. Both runways boast comprehensive centreline lighting. However, the ground texture, based on ortho photos, is where the scenery slightly falters. These photos retain time-specific shadows and include numerous 2D-rendered parked cars in the lots and conspicuous 2D junk piles around the airport. This aspect is the only notable shortcoming, but considering the airport's price point, it's a minor quibble. The runway and taxiway textures use transparent textures as their base, with custom polygons for the pavement. This technique, a holdover from X-Plane 11, ensures intricate taxi routes but precludes AI aircraft generation and landing at the airport. However, those familiar with World Editor can easily rectify this. The 3D modeling of the main terminal buildings is notably detailed, capturing the essence of their real-world counterparts with a high degree of accuracy. The terminals feature angular roofs with sharply angled glass elements, plus subtle curve that adds to the realistic portrayal. Smaller structures such as maintenance buildings and hangars are also accurately rendered, matching online photos, though lacking interior details. The exteriors, however, are painstakingly modelled, contributing to the airport's ambiance. The airport is abundant in clutter: 3D parked cars, ramp equipment, baggage trains, static aircraft, and notably, a Boeing 727 by a cargo hangar, a fixture in many satellite images. Also, present are power poles, dumpsters, bollards, concrete barriers, cargo containers, and custom signage. The gates, rendered using SAM, are not functional on my setup due to the absence of the SAM plugin, a decision influenced by its impact on my system's performance. Many gates are labelled with airline names like Southwest, Delta, and JetBlue. While not all gates are marked, it’s easy to discern airline allocations. A noticeable omission, however, is the presence of people, an increasingly common feature in payware airports that adds a vibrant, lively atmosphere. Night Lighting The night lighting at Ontario is particularly noteworthy. Surrounded by a brightly lit suburban area, accentuated by its proximity to several freeways, the airport itself doesn't overly stand out at night. Yet, it is sufficiently illuminated to be identifiable as an airport. The runways are equipped with the standard centreline, edge, and approach lights expected of a busy international airport. A unique feature that caught my attention were the taxi lights. Unlike the runway lights, which are strung in lines, these taxi lights appear custom-made and hand-placed, creating an impressive density and detail on the ground. Additionally, there's a significant cluster of wig wag lights at the points where various taxiways converge near the runways. The main terminal ramps are well lit, achieving a balance between visibility and subtlety. In contrast to some sceneries where you might notice a shift in lighting intensity from twilight to full darkness, Ontario’s lighting remains steady and constant. There’s no abrupt increase in brightness as the night deepens. Given the significant light pollution from the surrounding autogen, the airport's lighting is executed with just the right touch, noticeable but not overwhelming, perfectly complementing its environment. Performance Impact This airport marks my second venture with the recently acquired Nvidia RTX 2060, and during my exploration, frame rates consistently hovered in the mid to upper twenties. Pinpointing the exact cause of these low frame rates is a bit challenging. It could be attributed to the airport itself or potentially the extensive autogen in the surrounding area. However, given that my settings for autogen and vegetation are cranked to the max, I’m guessing I’m CPU, rather than GPU limited. What I can confidently report is that, despite the lower frame rates, the overall flying experience remained smooth. There were no hitches, hesitations, or scenery skips noted. During my testing of the scenery, I used the JRX Bell 407, which might have influenced the frame rates I observed. However, it's still too early to conclude if this particular model is a significant resource hog, as I haven't had enough time to thoroughly test its impact. It's a well-known fact though, that certain aircraft can be more demanding on frame rates than others. For those with a reasonably modern computer setup and a robust graphics card, this airport should not pose significant performance issues. Additionally, for those utilizing AutoOrthoXP and X-World America by simHeaven, you'll be happy to hear that VerticalSim's Ontario integrates almost seamlessly into the wider area. Conclusion Overall, Ontario by VerticaliSim presents a solid and well-executed scenery, effectively capturing the essence of its real-life counterpart. The numerous buildings are modelled with care, each one enhanced by a high level of texturing detail. The use of transparent textures for runways, taxiways, and ramps means an absence of AI aircraft, but this isn’t a major issue. For those desiring AI activity, it's an easily rectifiable point. At a price of just $15.99, this minor limitation doesn't detract significantly from the overall value. The only real niggle is with the ortho photos. The retention of shadows and 2D objects could have been addressed prior to their use, and in certain areas, the 2D vegetation isn't completely masked by 3D counterparts. These aspects, while minor, might slightly distract pilots who prefer low altitude flying. However, the photos do ensure accurate runway and parking lot markings. For heavy metal simmers, VerticalSim's Ontario is an excellent choice. It offers an escape from the congestion of LAX and serves as a gateway to explore the varied landscapes of Southern California: from the coast to the mountains, and yes, even those swimming pools and movie stars the classic 60's TV show alluded to. Dennis Powell, Sunset Arts LTD. ________________________ KONT - Ontario International Airport XP12 by VerticalSim is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: KONT - Ontario International Airport XP12 Priced at US$15.99 Features: Brand new XP12 weather maps Accurate cargo ramps 2023 Airport Layout HDR Lighting PBR on nearly all materials Moving vehicle traffic Traffic AI Routing SAM Jetways Usage of LOD’s for optimization Requirements X-Plane 12 - (not for XP11) Windows, Mac, or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Version 1.0 (January 12th, 2024) Review System Specifications Windows 10 Intel i5-6600K 16GB RAM RTX 2060 with 12GB VRAM __________________________________ Scenery Review by Dennis Powell 31st January 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).
    2 points
  6. Scenery Review: RJBB-Kansai International Airport by Darkblue Scenery By Michael Hayward Introduction Kansai International Airport serves as the primary gateway to the Greater Osaka Area in Japan. This remarkable airport, inaugurated 30 years ago, is uniquely situated on an island made from reclaimed land, lying 5 km offshore from Honshu. Its near-sea-level elevation of just five meters is particularly noteworthy. In the previous year, it impressively handled close to twenty-eight million passenger movements. Darkblue Scenery, originating from China, are a modest-sized developer within the X-Plane community. Their portfolio includes a total of five airports, with Kansai being their most recent venture. As newcomers to the scene, they have ambitiously aimed to offer a diverse array of popular, yet distinct airports focused on East Asia for the platform. With an open mind about the possibilities that a new developer might bring to the bustling airports of X-Plane, let's embark on this exploration and see what Darkblue Scenery has in store! What/Where is Kansai International Airport? As noted earlier, Kansai International Airport was inaugurated in September 1994, conceived as a solution to the overcrowding at Itami Airport. Surrounded by a densely populated area, Itami had no room for expansion, necessitating a larger hub for the region. The construction of Kansai's man-made island began in 1987, completing in just two years, with terminal and other facilities ready five years thereafter. Kansai International has received several Skytrax awards, acknowledging its service excellence. These awards include best airport staff in Asia and the world, best baggage reclaim, and recognition for having the longest airport terminal globally, extending 1.1 miles from end to end. Situated in a region prone to natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons, Japan faced a severe test in 1995. The Great Hanshin Earthquake, with its epicentre only 20km away, resulted in over 6,000 deaths and extensive infrastructure damage. Remarkably, the terminal and island airport withstood the disaster without sustaining damage, a testament to its resilient design. Installation Upon purchasing from the X-Plane.org store, you will receive a download link for the scenery. The download process is swift, resulting in a zip file that encompasses not only the scenery but also an extra file ensuring compatibility with X-Plane 11, which is always nice to see. The package comes with a concise instruction’s pamphlet available in English, Japanese, and Chinese. This guide details the installation steps and provides specific directions for XP11 users on replacing the Earth nav data to ensure the scenery runs smoothly on the older platform. Structures and Facilities Kansai International Airport is distinguished by its unique location on two artificial islands. The first airport island spans approximately 510 hectares, hosting Terminal 1, while the second airport island, slightly larger, covers approximately 545 hectares and accommodates Terminal 2. Together, these islands combine for a total area of 1,055 hectares (2,600 acres). They are interconnected by a taxiway bridge, facilitating seamless operations between the two terminals. Access from the mainland is streamlined by a 3km bridge that connects to Rinku Town, ensuring straightforward entry and departure for passengers. Terminal 1 Darkblue Scenery has invested considerable effort in accurately rendering Terminal 1 of Kansai International Airport, achieving impressive visual fidelity. This main passenger terminal, a sprawling four-story structure, highlights an innovative airfoil-shaped roof designed to enhance air circulation within. Constructed with steel and extensive glass exteriors, it provides expansive views of the airport's surroundings. The terminal's architecture brilliantly utilizes X-Plane 12's Physically Based Rendering (PBR) technology, capturing the nuanced shifts in daylight and the stunning hues of sunrise and sunset, thus enriching the simulation experience with its detailed and dynamic appearance. Terminal 2 In contrast, Terminal 2 features a more utilitarian design, embodying simplicity and cost-effectiveness with its single-story layout. This approach notably forgoes the need for elevators, aligning with the terminal's focus on streamlined operations. While the modelling of Terminal 2 may appear simpler compared to the grandeur of Terminal 1, this distinction reflects the real-life architectural choices, emphasizing functionality and efficiency. Despite its straightforward design, Terminal 2 is a vital component of the airport, serving as a hub for low-cost carriers and enhancing the airport's capacity to accommodate diverse passenger needs. The airport layout is thoughtfully designed to accommodate a variety of aircraft sizes, with jet bridges at each gate and larger stands equipped for multiple aircraft doors. This design is a nod to the era when both JAL and ANA operated Boeing 747s for domestic routes and underscores the airport's capacity for handling significant international traffic. Inside Terminal 1, the modelling is straightforward yet functional, featuring elements like walkways and benches that span the terminal's considerable length. While not the most intricate interior encountered, its design thoughtfully balances visual quality with performance. It provides sufficient detail to appreciate the airport's expansive scale from a broader perspective, without the need for an in-depth exploration. Transportation options within the airport are effectively implemented, featuring shuttle trains and buses to facilitate movement between terminals, alongside a city train that extends across the bridge to the mainland. For those who prefer, there's also the option to walk between terminals. Personally, the convenience of the bus or train seems more appealing for navigating the expansive airport grounds. The island housing Terminal 1 also accommodates cargo and maintenance facilities, administrative buildings, and offices, highlighting the airport's significant contribution to local cargo trade. These sections are accurately modelled to reflect their real-world counterparts, including an open hangar for aircraft parking. The vast scale of this operational hub within the airport is impressive, subtly reminding you of its unique location five kilometres offshore. The intricate network of roads and railways connecting the terminals and mainland is accurately depicted, enhancing the realism with dynamic road traffic. Additionally, the inclusion of a solar farm alongside the southern runway highlights the attention to detail, with each panel oriented for optimal sunlight exposure. The textures employed throughout the scenery are notably high in quality, with 4k resolution enhancing the clarity and legibility of building details and signage. Whilst there's room for improvement in the detailing of the terminal roof, the overall design is coherent and thoughtfully applied. Darkblue Scenery has put forth a commendable effort in depicting Kansai International Airport, delivering a rich and engaging experience through carefully created textures and models that span the entirety of the airport's layout. Taxiways and Runway Kansai International Airport's two runways, 06R/24L and 06L/24R, are thoughtfully integrated into the airport's layout, connected to the terminal buildings through a central pair of main taxiways and further supported by several smaller spurs. This well-designed infrastructure facilitates smooth and efficient movement throughout the airport. The runway ground textures at Kansai International Airport, like those of the terminal, are rendered in 4k resolution, significantly aiding navigation. However, it's important to point out that although the custom runway, taxiway, and general ground textures exhibit this high 4K resolution, the photographic ortho imagery for the wider airport area might not meet the same standard, often appearing somewhat muddy in comparison. Upgrading the ortho imagery to a higher resolution here would help improve the visual quality of the scenery, thereby making the scenery more immersive and engaging. The use of bump mapping introduces a subtle depth to the concrete surfaces, capturing the effects of years of exposure to water and aviation fluids. This results in a variety of marks and stains on the originally smooth, grey concrete, contributing to a realistic portrayal of wear and tear. This effect not only enhances visual depth but also adds character to the airport environment. Painted surfaces on the ground receive special treatment with a slight sheen, thanks to PBR technology. This is carefully balanced, avoiding an over polished look, and instead mimics the subtle lustre of newly painted surfaces. Night Effects Nighttime at Kansai International Airport highlights the considerable effort Darkblue Scenery has put into their work, with their commitment becoming particularly evident after dusk. The runway lights transform the approach into a vivid guide through the darkness, prominently marking the airport against the ocean's expanse. This design ensures the airport stands out as a beacon on its island, a feature further enhanced by the taxiways' green central lights. These lights provide essential guidance to pilots navigating to their gates, especially useful amidst Japan's often unpredictable weather. Each parking stand is effectively illuminated, thanks to strategically placed floodlights near each jetbridge, complemented by ambient light emanating from the terminal buildings. This implementation of X-Plane 12's dynamic lighting enhances the visual appeal significantly, creating a scene that is both visually striking and authentic. The airport's lighting envelopes the infrastructure and pathways to the mainland in a soft orange halogen glow. The careful placement of each light source enhances the visual appeal, creating a nighttime ambiance that's both vibrant and welcoming, even in the absence of bustling crowds. While the terminal's lighting is both bright and extensive, it doesn't fully shine through the transparent textured glass windows as ideally expected. This shortfall is slightly disappointing, particularly given the careful placement of spotlights within the departure lounge, an effect that regrettably does not project well to an observer from the cockpit. However, an ambient orange glow from the terminal's service vehicle underpass subtly conveys the internal dynamics. Additionally, the use of older lighting techniques, such as baked-on lit textures, is noticeable, particularly in the office windows. This approach, while historically effective, presents a stark contrast to the more dynamic lighting used elsewhere, highlighting a mix of lighting styles within the airport's design. The maintenance facilities continue to contribute to the airport's nighttime allure, with industrial areas enveloped in stark white light. The hangar, bathed in light from roof-mounted spotlights, emphasizes the operational scale and significance of these zones. Performance Performance-wise, Kansai International Airport proved to be impressively smooth, holding up well even when faced with challenging weather scenarios. The only instance of a noticeable decrease in frame rates occurred during night operations, which may have been influenced, in part, by the presence of Traffic Global. Opinion and Closing Remarks Discovering Darkblue Scenery's work on Kansai International Airport has indeed been an eye-opener. Approaching this review with an open mind, I've been thoroughly impressed by the quality and detail embedded within the scenery. The evident effort and careful planning that has gone into recreating KIX, positions it among the finest Japanese sceneries available for X-Plane 12. While there are few negatives to highlight, it's worth mentioning that the photographic ortho used, albeit a nice addition, could benefit from a higher resolution to maintain quality upon closer inspection. Additionally, the use of baked lit textures on some major buildings, while functional, does reminisce about earlier days of X-Plane design. These points, hopeful for attention in future updates, are minor when considering the overall excellence of the scenery. For flight simmers seeking a detailed and carefully modeled airport without a hefty price tag, Darkblue Scenery's Kansai International Airport, priced at an accessible $16.99, stands out as an excellent choice. This scenery not only showcases the developer's remarkable capability but also ignites anticipation for future creations. With a keen eye on areas ripe for enhancement, I remain genuinely excited to witness the ongoing evolution of their offerings. ______________________________________ RJBB-Kansai International Airport by Darkblue Scenery is available from the Org store here: RJBB-Kansai International Airport Priced at US$16.99 Features: 4K textures. Whole island owned detail modeled buildings which restored from reality. Customized ground markings and taxiway signs. Customized lights. Customized taxiway and runway texture. Interior for some buildings include Terminal 1 and train station. Accurate taxiway and runway according to the newest AIRAC data. Extremely FPS friendly. Requirements: X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 (XP11 has been tested and could run without error, as this scenery is fully designed for XP12, some users may experience few jetways offset in XP11.) Windows, Mac, or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum Download Size: 810 MB Reviewers System: Windows 10 Professional AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor 32GB RAM Palit GeForce RTX™ 3080 GamingPro Scenery Review by Michael Hayward  29th February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)  
    1 point
  7. Aircraft Upgraded to X-Plane 12 : Beechcraft Duchess Model 76 by JustFlight Thranda If you want to fill a void that has been left by Carenado, then the best place to look to is JustFlight, the British based developers. Who work in conjunction with Thranda Design, and ironically also Thranda that used to do the X-Plane development for Carenado. This was in recreating a market for nice and authentic single prop, and twin-engined General Aviation aircraft. Covered by JustFlight/Thranda has been the Archer TX/LX, Archer lll, Warrior ll and the Arrow lll/lV. A few in the Archer TX and Archer lll have already been converted to X-Plane 12, but a lot of the JustFlight stable are only still X-Plane 11. A Twin-Engined aircraft that was released for X-Plane 11 in April 2019, was the Beechcraft Duchess Model 76. It was a very nice twin, and now here it has been extensively upgraded to X-Plane 12, note this is an upgrade, and earlier purchasers of the Duchess XP11 can get 10% discount off the new Duchess X-Plane 12 aircraft. The aircraft is developed out of the Beechcraft Musketeer family of single-engined aircraft family line, and at first glance you would be pushed to see any family resemblance, between the model 24 low-wing standard low elevator design to the Series 76 twin-engined high T-Tail configuration, and an all round far larger aircraft in a 32 ft 9 in (9.98 m) to 38 ft 0 in (11.58 m) wingspan and longer fuselage 25 ft 8 in (7.82 m) to the 76's 29 ft 0 1⁄2 in (8.852 m) overall length. But get down into the parts catalogue and you would be amazed on how many of the same spec are on both aircraft. Its main rival is the Cessna 310 and other references in this category include the PA-30 Twin Comanche and the PA-34 Seneca V. The original Duchess looked really great in X-Plane 11, but the Model 76 now jumps out at you far more with the X-Plane 12 lighting effects, you never get used to it, it has that extremely visible realism factor in the better PBR lighting. Also notable here are that the textures both external and internal are now 8K, and used here to produce a far higher texture clarity, and you notice the difference immediately... vibrantly. Note the newer 8K textures actually use less framerate than the old double 4K textures, in the way they are produced and used here, a Thranda development speciality. Modeling and detail was also good, but again it is all the more highlighted here (that lighting thing!) the feel is actually Carenado, not Thranda... as with their other Cessnas and what not, that is not a bad thing, as that was Carenado's major attraction with the worn (if sometimes heavy) feel of their aircraft, or authenticity. Get in close and you won't at all be disappointed, it's perfection here with the aircraft skin and rivets, love that wing camber at a NACA 632A415 airfoil shape, so smooth and really well done... At this US40+ price your expecting a lot of high end quality, and yes it delivers here in buckets, as the detailing is very professionally and expertly done, as is the excellent glass, thickly tinted and lovely to look at, it all reflects with perfection (you can turn off the reflections, but why would you). The engine pods are also beautifully modeled, again those smooth curves scream out quality. They house two Lycoming O-360-A1G6D air-cooled flat-four engines, 180 hp(130 kW) each, and right through out the full production run 1978-1983 there was no updated or engine revisions, except for one in house turbo development aircraft. All the undercarriage came directly from the Musketeer spare parts bins, so it is exactly the same trailing link layout and structure, all the craftwork is expertly done in detail and animation, it is a complex gear system but fully realised here, with all the components highly visible. Two cabin doors open, and there is a rear baggage door, really nicely done with both external and internal door latches that work. Internally the layout is the same, but the materials are all very different. The X-Plane 11 Duchess had a very all grey (dull) interior design, here it is a dark blue cloth with slightly darker blue wall and door trimmings, roof is a weave texture mocha brown, with light grey walls... lovely in style and depth of an older period... the layout panels are actually very Carenado Bonanza, of which I love... classy! Instrument Panel The instrument panel doesn't have that 'wham bam, thank you mam" factor. that you are expecting... even if at first looking slightly flat, but get in and look at it all more closely, and the detail is extremely very well done. Dials are rusted, dusty and worn out, with plasters even stuck to the panel from past use. Instrument gauges all have faded graphics, and the lighting studs are also well worn and even rusted from use. As noted, if you are Carenado man (or woman), then this is heaven, a trip back into the glory days. Yokes up close are quite authentic and gloriously faded from their 70's heyday, you can hide them individually, and can also use the switch electric trim... Panel layout is in three layers of dials to create a deep feel of instruments... The Standard Six (SS) flying instruments are front and centre... Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator are on the top row and the Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial/Course and Vertical Speed Indicators set out directly below. Left of the SS is a clock, backup Attitude Indicator and lower EGT (Exhaust gas temperature) needles. Right of the SS is a twin-needle Manifold pressure and below a twin needle RPM gauges, lower panel centre are two Bendix/King dials ADF (yellow) VOR2 (green) pointers driven by KR 87 ADF/VOR2 and the other is a VOR 2 / ILS indicator driven by KX 165 (NAV 2). Both heading and OBS rear dials/cards are adjustable. Lower panel is a Instrument air (vacuum) gauge and electrical starting and lighting switchgear with the neat gear knob. Top panel left is the label NAV 2 over the clock, very weird? Twin (engine sets) of six rows of gauges are centre panel, with from top: Fuel L&R quantity gauges, Fuel pressure gauges, Oil pressure gauges, Oil temperature gauges, Cylinder temperature gauges and Alternator load meters with Alternator-out under/over voltage warning lights inset (are beautifully done). Top of the gauges sits a DME indicator which displays range, ground speed and time to station for NAV 1 or NAV 2 frequencies. An outside air temperature (digital) matches the manual pressure left window type, and a Hobbs hour meter is far right. The circuit breaker panel is active and can be used and is noted in the twin-bus layout of BUS 1 and BUS 2, it is very good and highly authentic in use. Flap lever and display are below the avionics with 0º - 10º - 20º - DN settings, but the flaps are not section driven, but are continuous in operation and so the degree markers are for display only. There are no instruments for the right seat pilot/passenger with the equipment stack dominating the area. Avionics stack is the usual Bendix/King KMA 28 TSO radio top which is above the GNS430 below (the Reality XP's GTN 750 unit can also be fitted, but this is an addon extra and costs you another $49.95) There is a really nice Bendix/King KT 76A transponder unit with a Bendix/King KX 155 COM/NAV 2 radio and Bendix/King KR87 ADF radio receiver bottom. Top far right is the Century IV autopilot which is (speaking to the passenger) "can you press the second button the top row, thanks very much" as it is located pretty in being well as far away from the pilot as reachable possible (there is thankfully a pop-up panel), and below is a WX-8 Stormscope. Twin Throttle levers, Propeller control levers (feathering on both 2-bladed Hartzell 7666A constant speed propellers does work) and Mixture levers are all excellent and well worn and feel nicely authentic to use. Note... unless there is power on, the feathering won't work. Pitch trim is situated between the seats and is well done, but requires help in key settings in a simulation environment (electric trim is available on the yokes), fuel levers are really nice as are the engine vents that can be opened, closed or set half way.... fuel crossfeed is active and the (working) Carb heat is here as well. Note how the passenger seat is offset to the pilot's, a nice authentic touch. Internal Lighting Both internal and external lighting is still quite basic... panel has only two adjustments for instruments (noted as "Post Lights") and Instrument flood. But you can find that nice night time flying lighting sweetspot. However the worn graphics engine readouts look like early washed out X-Plane 2d panel, and they have no depth, but otherwise the panel looks good. Overhead light (and red torch) selection STILL does NOT work? so that gives you a very unusable dark cabin? External lighting Again very basic, even poor. The main wing and taxi lights are dull, and are missing their usual Thranda sparkle. Navigation lights (Red, Green and rear White) are fine, as are the wing strobes. Menu The Menu system is all changed for X-Plane 12. Gone are the side tab and the generally average looking tab menu. Here it is replaced by an iPad style tablet, stuck to the left window... But you do have options, as the tablet can also be placed on either yoke and windscreen right... You can pop-out the screen as a window as well... ... the tablet is also adjustable (movable) via the hot-spot, top frame. But because of it's size and shape, the view-point is not really square or head on, the yoke position is better, but now also situated lower in your eyesight. It's too far away as well for any detailed inspection and use. But the new layout and art does look far more modern, making it far nicer to use than the old version. The earlier version had eighteen tiles for selection, here it has been reduced down to twelve... Top row : Aircraft Options, Weight & Balance, Instr Options, Engine Config, and Static Liveries Middle Row : Configuration, Log Book, Checklist, Ground Handling and Dynamic Liveries Bottom row : Flight Computer and Avitab (Plugin required) Aircraft Options: Covers the three doors; Pilot, CoPilot and Baggage Door (Open /Close), Window and Instrument Reflections, Cockpit Lights, Ground Equipment, Swap Pilots and Altimeter (IN.HG/MB) Open (close) doors are as seen before... Cockpit lights, just turns full on the Instrument Lighting? but could have been more useful if used for the (missing) cabin light? Ground Equipment is as terrible as the earlier set up. A single option to add in a ground puller on the front wheel, chocks, tie-downs and to hide the pilot, it still does not work? The puller does not work (neither do the tie-downs) if you just want to park the aircraft after a flight. No tags or flags and engine inlet covers are here either, and even a windscreen cover would be nice? Dan Klaue and his wife turn up as your pilots, and basically they are same two animated pilots as in the Thranda Aircraft, by the menu option, you can swap the seat position of the pilots. Weight & Balance: The weight and balance window is very good, if basic to look at (it is the original W&B window). It comes with adjustable weights for all four passengers, and baggage, fuel can be set here also as can the change from kg - lbs. There is the option to load the Aircraft "Half" or "Full" tanks. A full list of weights, CG and a large graph of your settings are all very helpful into balancing the aircraft. Press "Save Configuration" to save your preferred load setup, and "Load Configuration" to set up the aircraft. Lowering the Co-Pilot weight will make Him/Her disappear, but there are no passengers if weight added in the rear, or any bags added to the baggage area, such is shrinkflation today. You can open most pages into a "Window" via the arrow logo right top. Instr Options (Instrument Options) include two pop-ups for the GNS 430 and the Century IV (autopilot). The old "Refill Menu" has been changed here to the Engine Options; this allows you to view the fuel and oil status as well as the status of spark plug fouling and Vapour Lock, and you can also recharge the battery if it goes flat, of which it does with regularity. Static Liveries; You can rotate through all the liveries with the Model 76 via the Static Liveries menu. An option here (new) is that you can adjust the Dirt (dirtiness) between 0-100%. Configuration: Here you can change the aircraft configuration, and there are three options; Engines Running (power up to flying mode), DynaFeel and the tablet (screen) Brightness. "DynaFeel" 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. If you fly Thranda Aircraft, then you will be familiar with the system. Logbook: This icon brings up the X-Plane standard Logbook. Checklist: There is a 27 page checklist that you can tick off... very good, but even though there is a "End of the Checklist" tickable box, it doesn't oddly reset all the boxes to a reset... that is a return of 27 pages and an average of twelve boxes per page to untick, so you do the maths... Ground Handling: All JustFlight menus have odd useless tools, here is one... the X-Plane "Ground Handling" tool, for "Pushback" and "Request Ground Service"? It's a GA, not a Boeing 737. Dynamic Liveries: Here is another Thranda feature now available on the JustFlight Series. Thranda introduced a clever feature of a way to design your own livery called DYNAMIC 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 three RGB colours for that certain area, and the selected colour (here blue) is shown in the square. You can also separately change the aircraft registration number, the Beechcraft logo can be added as well. Another option is that changes can also be made to the Metal or Rough surfaces, this can be applied to any of the liveries. When done you can "SAVE" or ADD the livery and then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. The conversion takes a few minutes with some weird screen changes, but the results are excellent and now the Beechcraft is in your own nice livery design... Flight Computer: The flight computer panel provides a wealth of information that is very handy in flight, with highlights including OAT (Outside Air Temperature), GS (Ground Speed), range (available), endurance (time), and FF and used fuel flow, Winds.... fuel burn can be reset. Units can also be changed from Metric to Imperial.. AviTab: The AviTab tool can also be used, and with Navigraph charts, if you have an account. There is no tablet rotation from landscape to portrait, and to get back to the main menu, you press the right centre section of the frame. Missing from the earlier options are the Sound Panel and the Flashlight. ____________ Flying the X-Plane 12 Duchess Model 76 You have to prime the engines via a button in the middle of the starter switch before turning the starter switch, but it is a bit of a trick on how long to hold the primer button and not to flood the engine, not a lot I believe... engine starts are excellent. But I found several times the No.2 right engine has a tendency to foul it's plugs far more than the left one, if it does it is tricky to even hell to restart it again. The Model 76 taxi's like an older Carenado as well... You have to adjust both the Propeller and Mixture right low to get yourself a lower taxi speed, if not, even on idle the taxi rate is too fast. I'm used to this caper by now, but I don't remember the X-Plane 11 version having such a high throttle idle? The Hartzell constant speed propellers are counter-rotating, turning counter clockwise engine left and clockwise engine right, this is to balance the aircraft's thrust and it is very helpful on takeoff, keeping you clean on the centreline. With no set flap degrees you can set the angle that you want, here I go for 5º to create lift, but with as little drag as possible.... the flap display can be hard to see at this distance, harder to see and set on landing. You do adjust each throttle (slightly) to absorb the different engine performance... but that felt highly realistic. Around 95 knts and your climbing out. Climb out is around 1000 fpm (Feet Per Minute) and that is a nice number here, officially the rate of climb limit is 1,248 ft/min (6.34 m/s), so you are using the climb to maximum effect, it doesn't feel like there is any strain on the engines or the aircraft. The memories come flooding back... this is such a smooth Twin, super-smooth with tons of power. First climb is to 6,000ft, then Trim out... nice to trim and settle the aircraft. The electric Trim won't work unless you turn it on, on the panel behind the Yoke. Then you get the two up/down arrows on the Yoke trimmer button for trim adjustment. Same with the Autopilot, there is another panel switch for power, then another on switch on the Century IV panel... it's very hard to read (certainly with the bright daylight), so the AP pop-up is the recommended tool to use it most of the time... ALT will hold your current altitude, but to climb or descend you then press ATT and then set your pitch, you click and don't scroll the buttons to change the aircraft's pitch. The ATT setting can also be used just to hold your current pitch if you like that angle or rate of climb, so the AP is again very easy to use. Now we settle-in for the 2h 30m flight to Portland, if any aircraft is very capable, it is the Duchess. The Beechcraft looks extremely nice in the air, certainly in it's X-Plane 12 guise, realism 101... checkout ot the underside, fabulously done, remind you of anything? yes those dirty Carenados. Then then also remember to use the EGT needles, the yellow needles represent the best lean to rich mixture for the best fuel flow and hence performance, so you adjust both the throttles and the mixture levers to achieve your golden lean setting.... it works fabulously, and I learn't a lot back in the time on how to "Lean for Speed". Here the mixture levers are really well far back, almost at the engine cut-off point, but the speed is good, and you feel no loss of power. Cruise speed is 158 kn (182 mph; 293 km/h) at the best at 10,000 ft (3,000 m), Range is VOR busting 780 nmi (898 mi; 1,445 km) and the Service Ceiling is a generous 19,650 ft (5,990 m).... I need that height here as well? what is it if you fly North on the West Coast of California, as you always seem to be climbing, I'm finding I'm already up to 9,000ft, but those ridges are still close? It is a nice place to be in is the Duchess, the quality environment is absolutely first rate, a genuine feel. Now descending into Portland, I checkout the Flight Computer numbers, very handy and informative... good tools are always a help. One thing has been enforced during this newer review of the Model 76, and that this is a nice easy aircraft for learners and it comes with a nice stable platform to practise on, yes the 76 is an easy aircraft to fly, but the pro's will get it as well... and love it as much as there is also a great built in depth in there, certainly even better now in X-Plane 12. Sounds are excellent, they should be at this price, but overall and right through the engine ranges, startup and shut down, you will not be disappointed. The sounds cover the full stereo spectrum, 3D audio effects, atmospheric effects, adaptive Doppler, exterior sounds spill, and different sound characteristics depending on viewing angle... It's a very noisy aircraft as they are first rate and also upgraded to FMOD2. Set up and went into the approach of Portland Intl Rwy 10R. Tricky into getting right is the Flap setting... The JustFlight Duchess as noted uses a continuous movement flap selection... It's hard, because of the angle and distance of the flap dial, worse on this approach as the flat glass on the instrument was washed out, so the setting was a bit of a guess, or feel. Secondly it takes ages to get to the full 30º (DN) setting, extending and retracting, so you think you are there, then look and see it is only half-extended? They are seriously noisy as well, thrumming high noise in the aircraft. With the gear down you can see the excellent lower detail, it's impressive is this JustFlight. 90 knts full flap is a nice approach and losing height of around 200 fpm speed. You have to be careful not to get too nose down on the approach, so the right trim setting and throttle position is vital. Pitch adjustments via the throttle is excellent, but also sedate, so you have to anticipate where you want your speed and pitch angle before you get there... it's a bit of a trick, but it comes to you with the regular flying of the Model 76. Final approach is 80 knts, then you need to get that nose up to flare. The trick (there is always a trick), is to find that throttle sweet spot, so the Duchess has a slow speed landing, but not a lot of loss of lift, the margin is small, but findable, so doable. The timing of the final pitch still however has to be perfect in the flare, to early and the 76 will slightly float... Once all down, it should be at around 73 knts, then you just run out the speed down to the taxi speed, again the right propeller and mixture lever settings are important to get right before you land, to get the transition to taxiing correct. Stall is 60 knts and lethal, you will just fall out of the air because of that high T-Tail effect! Liveries There are seven liveries provided (PAINTED LIVERIES) (down from eleven), and two of the liveries are noted as "DynamicLiveryResources" and "ZZTEMPLATELIVERY", these are the currently selected "DYNAMIC LIVERIES". ___________________ Summary A Twin-Engined aircraft was released for X-Plane 11 in April 2019 by JustFlight and Thranda Design, this was the Beechcraft Duchess Model 76. It was a very nice twin, and now here it has been extensively upgraded to X-Plane 12, note this is an upgrade, and earlier purchasers of the Duchess XP11 can get 10% discount off the new Duchess X-Plane 12 aircraft. Covered also by JustFlight/Thranda has been the Archer TX/LX, Archer lll, Warrior ll and the Arrow lll/lV, but this Duchess 76, is the only big twin-engined aircraft of the series. The X-Plane 11 version was an excellent aircraft. But this rejuvenated version for X-Plane 12 is far, far better again, but a few quirks still however remain. Highlights of the changes are the new 8K textures, and the far better PBR effects, and this creates a far more quality exterior and interior. First glances say, old and tired, but on a closer inspection, it will cry out authenticity and a very high quality. The aircraft comes alive in X-Plane 12, highly realistic and gives you a very high quality twin for X-Plane 12. There is also a new menu system, as replacing an old tab system, and it is a quality iPad/tablet, that can be positioned in four different places. Besides a few of the original tabs and pages, there are also three new added features directly from the Thranda Design stable, with now the "PAINTED LIVERIES" function, the build your own livery feature of "DYNAMIC LIVERIES" and the "Dynafeel" tool. Performance, physics and handling have also been highly improved to X-Plane 12 standards, based on real-world performance and handling data (two real aircraft G-BZRT and G-GCCL were used as collation). But the odd quirks oddly remain? The poor Static Objects are still a one click nothing. No cabin lighting is still another odd omission, and the external taxi/landing lights are non-existent in brightness and feel, and you still get the very odd tab and useless elements like the X-Plane Ground Handling? and Logbook?... fillers only. The checklist is another oddity, with 27 pages of checks, you can't uncheck in one operation. When coming back to this JustFlight/Thranda Duchess 76, my thinking was "Why didn't I fly this excellent aircraft more, since the 2019 release as it was so good". In most cases you usually have an easy answer, but not with the Duchess, as it is a very fine aircraft in every area (except for separate chocks and covers). It is also in that high price range of US$40+, and that is fine as the aircraft does deliver exceptional quality, but now even more so in the X-Plane 12 environment. It is excellent, a lovely aircraft, that even the most novice pilot can fly and enjoy... overwhelmingly the main thing about the Duchess 76, is that it brings back into your hangar, something you felt you had lost, Carenado authenticity and feel. So it's like going back ten years but still having all the mod-cons that X-Plane 12 provides as well, a brilliant combination of the very best of both worlds.... Highly Recommended. ___________________ Yes! the Beechcraft Duchess Model 76 by JustFlight Thranda is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Beechcraft Duchess Model 76 On sale: US$42.99 Requirements: X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 2.2 MB Current version : 1.0 (January 31st 2024) Owners of the Duchess XP11 can get 10% the new Duchess XP12. Installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 2.44 Gb. Authorization on startup is required. AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft Documents Duchess Model 76 ODM X-Plane manual.pdf Duchess Model 76 X-Plane manual.pdf EULAstandardcommercialandacademic2019.pdf Design by JustFlight/Thranda Design Support forum: JustFlight Duchess 76 _____________________ 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 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - KHAF - Half Moon Bay by Rising Dawn Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.00 - KPDX - Portland International Airport 1.5 by Mister X6 (X-Plane.Org) - Free Download ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 4th February 2024 Copyright©2024: 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 Rights Reserved
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  8. WOW!!!! I'm loving it! I can feel close to you Nigel, seated outside near to the harbour, sipping a granita al limone....
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  9. Dom, once more, I'm speechless!!!! In addition to my passion for recreating realistic scenarios for X-Plane, I have a second passion for reading Dom’s reviews. You can grasp the essence of my work like no other. Thank you eternally. Cami
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  10. Classic Aircraft Review : Aircruiser 66-75 by Hangar 23 Very earlier classic aircraft are very interesting, more so when they are so rare. This aircraft is about as rare as you could could imagine, only 23 of them were built between 1930 and 1938. But they have a significant place in Aviation history, only to be replaced by the United States federal regulations that prohibited single-engine transports on United States airlines, virtually eliminating future markets for the Aircruiser. Bellanca Aircruiser and Airbus were high-wing, single-engine aircraft built by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of New Castle, Delaware. The aircraft was built as a "workhorse" intended for use as a passenger or cargo aircraft. It was available with wheels, floats or skis. The aircraft was powered by either a Wright Cyclone or Pratt or a Whitney Hornet engine. The Airbus and Aircruiser served as both commercial and military transports. The first Bellanca Airbus was built in 1930 as the P-100. An efficient design, it was capable of carrying 12 to 14 passengers depending on the cabin interior configuration, with later versions carrying up to 15. The Aircruiser's distinctive shape, gave it the moniker of "The Flying Ws" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's . Is it a Bi-Plane, sort of, as the lower W is still a part aerodynamic surface. When you look at the design closely, it is extremely clever in holding up and bracing the main wing, as for also being a support for the landing wheels. The Aircruiser is a "Tail-Dragger", most were back in this 1930's period, but the early evolution of the multi-seat passenger aircraft is highly perceivable, back in the day, it was, still is a very innovative design. For an aircraft, it looks heavy, but sturdy is probably the best description Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. Still the Aircruiser is an interesting one in the choice of aircraft to debut their talents in doing their own Studio. Technical information of the Aircruiser is rare, but there are two surviving in existence, "CF-BTW," a 1938 model in the Ericson Collection in Madras, Oregon, incredibly the aircraft is still airworthy. The second is "CF-AWR" named the "Eldorado Radium Silver Express", built in 1935, and is under restoration at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Installation The download for the Aircruiser is 1.18GB, with an installation of 1.38Gb. But the installation file/folder system is a slightly complicated. Hangar 23 has selected to put the main Aircruiser file within a folder of a folder? So the first folder is "Aircraft" followed by a folder named "Hangar 23" , with the actual "Aircruiser" aircraft folder inside, or buried in layers of folders? Honestly the first "Aircraft" folder is not required, so just install the "Hangar 23" Folder directly into your X-Plane "Aircraft" folder with the Aircruiser folder inside. All the installation notes are in the excellent manual, but the doubled up "Aircraft" folder creates confusion... Detail and modeling For an aircraft of this size, an installation size of 1.38Gb can only mean one thing, quality in detail. Remember this is a first time effort from Hangar 23, but the detail and quality is outstanding. Both an X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions are included in the package, but it is the XP12 version on show here with it's more exponential PBR (Physical Based Rendering) effects and lighting. And it really blows you away. X-PlaneReviews are usually quite lenient when the studio name is new, in overlooking sometimes even the obvious mistakes or poor areas of first time production... But already with the quality of work behind Ulrich, you go straight into the "Masters" level, but this is still a first release from Hangar 23 is just outstanding... and an highly impressive debut for the Studio! And all with an aircraft so rare... the beauty of Simulation is that iconic and classical aircraft can be recreated, their forgotten time, brought back and to live again, or in this case fly again. At the core of this Aircruiser Simulation is just that very aspect, bringing the past alive again for you to absorb and interact with. But this is outstanding work... all the wing braces and support wires are sensationally done, every bolt, castle nut and Cotter Split Pins, are modeled here in detail, leading edge panels are worn and authentic, the struts in detail are excellent, you have to admire it all. If you are a detail junkie, who loves to spend time investigating the quality of the work, then you will love this aircraft, as it's a museum piece brought alive. The massive top wing looks canvas, and you can see the frame that the material covers, it's a lovely formed wing as well. Actually two separate wings, attached to the fuselage. This was the golden age of innovation for aircraft, the transition from wood, canvas to metal, so you get sometimes the mixture of the two eras in the one development as the changes moved on forward. The detail is just gobsmacking. The panels are perfect and so are the bolts that hold them in place, windows and it's thick glass are worn and glazed to perfection... The Cyclone SGR-1820 it is rated at 760 hp, as is the giant three-bladed geared propeller, and all gloriously there to admire. The engines internal intricate detail of metal and brass pipework is very impressive. The Aircruiser is flat sided, there are no curves in the doors and the windows are more nautical portholes than aircraft, but it's all beautifully done, and it is all built like a tank! The two main landing wheels hubs, tyres are massive, but simplistic as well, detail is right down to large CirClip to hold the rim onto the hub. There are four doors that can be opened, two small high cockpit access doors, one left passenger door, and a very big odd A shaped cargo door... all four doors are so authentic to the design, with the Cargo door in two sections that folds. Honestly, it is like a flying shed inside, totally weird. The interior is impressively done, metal and wood dominate, SO much weight in the construction, how did this thing get off the ground? It's all metal piping and blocks of wood, many trees were felled in the creation of the interior, a far, far cry from the ultra clean, state-of-the-art LED lighting Airbus interiors... this is doing it rough. The passenger seats are a pipeframe, with a strung canvas seat, you wouldn't want to go to far on them. Pilot seats are a metal bucket, the pilot gets the luxury of a cushion, the CoPilot the hard metal base. The cushion is required not for comfort, but to be elevated to see over the extremely high instrument panel. The yoke is a big hefty iron thing, beautifully skillfully designed and modeled, you can hide it via a hotspot centre yoke. The side quadrant is again excellent, with the Throttle (T), Propeller (P) and Mixture (M) levers, notable that in 90 years the controls are still as relevant then as now. Lower rudder pedals are also big hefty iron contraptions, you need to be Popeye with his strong arms and legs to match, to fly the Aircruiser. Notable are the two trim winders, one left for pitch/elevator adjustment, and another on the forward roof for the rudder trim. Point to make is that there is no visual trim setting, so you don't know if they are both centred or not, but a guide is two full winder rotations each way. Note the old fashioned brake lever and flap selector handle. Main instrument panel is amazing, this is simply a panel with inset instruments that is highly authentic. Note the boxed Whiskey Compass Again the layout is quite familiar... with a Standard Six layout. Top left is the Airspeed Indicator (MPH/KNTS), Vertical Speed Indicator (V/S), very basic Rate of Turn Indicator, below offset is a Directional Vacuum Gyro (Heading), Altmeter and Horizontal Reference (bank). Far left is a RPM dial, Manifold Pressure, and top right a CYL TEMP. Right panel has Volts, OAT (Outside AirPressure), Oil Temp/Pressure and Fuel Pressure... top Ignition Switch, Fuel Gauges (twin), PPH (Pounds Per Hour) fuel flow and a ELGIN clock. Lower left are a row of switches that cover Battery, Generator, Nav (lights), Landing (light), Starter, Coil Booster, Fuel Pump, Panel Lights and Cabin Light. Far, far left is the fuel tank cock; Both, Left & Right. It's all so impressively well done, the flaked tired black metal facia is very authentic to an aged old aircraft of this generation. Menu There is a banner menu "Hangar23Aircruiser" that has two menu options; "Options" and "GPS Style" Options: There are six options, Autopilot Toggle, Strain Gauge Toggle, Real Autorudder Toggle, Steerable Tailwheel, Show Pilot and Use Clipboard. The Aircruiser comes with a very basic 2-Axis "Sparrow" Autopilot, basically a set "Holds" Pitch and Roll Rate. Second option is to add on a "Strain Gauge" or Trim indicator. Both are positioned lower centre panel We will go more into the "AutoRudder" in flight, but if you want to disconnect or activate the the AutoRudder you can do so via the menu option, you can also use the hotspot on the (front) Whiskey Compass to do the same action. The Tailwheel is steerable by the rudder pedals, but if you want a free castoring wheel, you can disconnect it via the "Steerable Tailwheel" option. There is the option to show or hide the pilot. He is fully animated in rudder and pitch (forwards & backwards) and seems to have his hands full in controlling the aircraft, he is very good here and well done. Next in the "options" menu is the "Use Clipboard". In the right side pocket there is a VR (Virtual Reality) clipboard (also clickable). This really the "Fuel & Weights" menu... as you can adjust the fuel and Pilots, Passenger, Cargo weights by scrolling them in. They can be set in Lbs or Kgs and the "Load", "Empty" (weight) and Full Gross weight can be seen. You can "Save" your settings, and then "Load" them. Another note is that between flights the Aircruiser will save and reload the same settings to the next flight, until you adjust them. Last two separate items on the "Options" menu are "Reset AP Tuning" (Autopilot on/off) and "Reset AutoRudder Tuning", resets the rudder position to central. An option not shown in the menus, is that if the power is switched off, then the chocks are positioned on the front wheels. The second setting of the menu tab is the "GPS Style", here you can select between the Laminar GNS 530 GPS, or one of the two RXP (Realistic) GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units if you have that external additional option. I don't have the Realistic option so that install is not visible here. The GPS units are position on the roof forward, with also a default custom style COMM radio above, and a Transponder panel below. ____________ Flying the Aircruiser 66-75 You can't at all see out of the Aircruiser, the long nose is way up there, blocking any view, as the tail is way back down there behind you. The only option is to lean very far left to try to see the ground. You would think the Aircruiser being so old-fashioned would be a pain to start, but it's quite benign and easy as long as you do the right procedure. Fuel on "Both", Fuel Pump on, then the most important switch, the "Boost Coil" switch to on. Mixture just to above the (Auto) lean red marker... then up the "Starter" switch, the prop will turn, then gradually fire into a running engine... Both the start up and shutdown of the Cyclone SGR-1820 is exceptional, no fast artificial start or shut down here, but it all comes with stutters and engine positions that are very noticeable, as is the churn of the starter motor against the pressures "clock", "clocking" of the starting engine, its a great and a very realistic re-enactment of the starting, and then the stutter of the engine shutting down, I loved it. I have a horrible history of trying to control tail-draggers, spinning loose tail-wheels have given me loads of grief. But not here though... as mentioned you can disconnect the tail-wheel to be free, if you love that uncontrollable chaos. But for the rest of us the tail-wheel acts through the rudder pedals, but also through the usual "Tiller" yaw. This makes the Aircruiser very easy to manoeuvre around on the ground or on taxiways. Braking and the toe-brakes work normally as well. For once you not fighting the aircraft on the ground to go into the direction you want, but the view internally is hard work to keep it all on the narrow taxiway. So you have a habit of visually taxiing externally until you understand the aircraft more. Very important is to adjust the rudder trim 50%, or a full winder turn to the right. The SGR-1820 is a very powerful force on takeoff, the asymmetric thrust is huge, it pulls you so hard to the left, that even full rudder is required off the line... The Aircruiser for all it's massive weight is sprightly off the line, your working the pedals to find the right balance to keep the aircraft straight, it does thankfully nicely change direction tail-wise to your inputs, very quickly the tail is up at 40 MPH, and there is tons of lift from those wings, at 60 MPH+ and your now flying. The point from "off the line" to "Airborne" is very short, so no flaps are required, time to adjust your direction is short as well... so once off the ground I was already veering right away from the runway, I didn't try to correct it, but just went with the flow and climbing turn, then leveled it all out straighter when higher. With practise with your rudder inputs you could keep it in more of a straight line out... it's a total feel thing, a feel for the aircraft. Pitch trimming is nice, but I recommend a keyboard input than the badly positioned side wall-winder, same for the rudder trim on the roof. You have so much power, the Aircruiser is super fast for an aircraft of this size and age... it's a very physical aircraft to fly, you use the rudder all the time, then finally finding the right amount of input to keep the aircraft in a straight line, a tough idea, with the amount of asymmetric thrust coming at you all the time. The 66-75, as featured here, could produce up to 730 hp from sea level through 5800 ft, where then the power built higher to ~760 hp Maximum speed is 144 kn (165 mph, 266 km/h), (but it feels far faster), Range is an amazing 608 nmi (700 mi, 1,130 km), and the Service ceiling is 22,000 ft (6,700 m), but the average cruising altitude is around 10,000ft, still fast and high for a 90 year old design. Hangar 23 has provided a tool, called the "AutoRudder function", a sort of A.I. tool to take the strain out of flying the Aircruiser. On the ground the rudder control functions as usual. So it was important to properly trim the aircraft prior to takeoff and landing. In flight, the autorudder system then takes control of the rudder, and will attempt to keep a slip angle as dictated by the yaw axis of the joystick. This allows the pilot to slip the aircraft even while the autorudder is active, such that even crosswind operations become possible with the system active. In other words it flies like the X-Plane tool when you have no yaw axis joystick, the wings are connected to the rudder. This gauge will merely prompts the pilot on the direction of trim needed to take load off the “servos”. Unlike the autopilot, the autorudder does not disconnect under a high strain, nor is it dependent upon the aircraft’s electrical system to operate (Cable operation). When activated (via the menu, or Compass) the autorudder has a visible gauge, located on the yaw trim handle base plate. If you are going to deactivate the autorudder during normal flight, first adjust the rudder trim according to the strain gauge, otherwise a very sudden and very unpleasant disconnection will occur. It works very well... but switched off the AirCruiser has a habit of yawing left, almost going around in circles.... You can try to trim it out? but it's hard to find a neutral flight, I did find a position input that worked, slight right rudder and slight stick right as well, but it's tiring for any distance, short or long... the AutoPilot is not much better, tricky to use is to centre the heading. You adjust via the "Roll" or "Up/Dn" switches, as per the three lights, red (left), white (centre) and green (right). But there is a delay in the operation that can make you over trim, I never quite mastered it... so again even on the Autopilot, I went into a slight bank in left handed circles and couldn't the aircraft fly in a straight line unless under manual control. It's the sort of tool that all of a sudden you will understand it and get it right, with time and persistence. This system is like the Sperry Type A-3A. You will need to trim the aircraft perfectly, so the heading is as close to where you want to go and level, flying as straight as you can, then turn on the AP, trying to trim later while the Autopilot is active is a far harder situation. Lighting Lighting internally and externally is basic, which is to be expected. There is one switch for the instrument lights, and another switch for the cabin lights, two spider-web looking ones forward and two roof lights rear, it all looks quite nice at night... The GPS install looks bright and also odd in this old cabin, but it's very well done and easy to use. Externally there are only again two light switches... Navigation, red, green and white tail, the other light is a left wing mounted Landing light, that look and is quite effective. There are no strobes or beacon lights on the aircraft... Flight notes by Hangar 23 notes "DAY - NIGHT* - VFR... *Poor visibility and the antiquated aircraft lighting scheme will present additional challenges during night flights". In other words it is not really an aircraft to be flown in the dark... Sounds... are a bit of a mixed bag. Overall they are excellent, the startup is an aural experience, and so is shutdown, external engine noises are very good right through the range of power outputs, that's the good. The poor is the buzzy interior sounds, that have a sameness of a consistent droning buzz with no fluctuations, even over a short distance I was distracted or even bored with the noise, The Aircruiser maybe really like that in the air, but I didn't really connect with them. The lower power outputs (on the throttle) are however better. Notable is the Aircruiser engine’s 16:11 gear ratio, for the propeller spins slower than the engine, but all readouts and aural sounds are based on the engine and adjustments should be made according to engine state rather than calculated propeller RPM. Time to head back to Shoreham (EGKA). A tricky place to lineup, for the mass of trees around the field. All the runways are hidden from view... .... if the system is active on final approach, the autorudder will check if the rudder trim has been appropriately set for the upcoming power reduction. If the trim is not suitably centered, the system will intervene and reset the rudder trim to near center. This may be noted by the clicking of the trim’s chain drive, as well as a mild rolling tendency during finals. Myself I turned the automation off to feel the aircraft on the approach phase, plus a single wind of the rudder trim, to reset it as it was on the takeoff phase. The handling felt normal, as did the approach. If however the autorudder is active, then it will disconnect on landing. Nose up to rub off the speed, as there is no "white flap use zone", I guessed in setting the flaps to below 100 MPH, actually below 90 MPH, and you get a slight lift on each extension... but the transition now down to 80MPH with now a slight descent into Shoreham it all felt perfect. The flap lever or floor handle is extremely well done. It's both a brake handle and Flap handle in one. Over the coastline, and there is still no visual on the runways. Then finally the field is in view.... so I drop, in also trying to miss the treeline. ... but I realise I am too high, and becoming too fast in trying to get down to the grass strip. It's still a very good try.... but I have to abort and climb out! I will note the throttle inputs. If the Aircruiser is trimmed (correctly, or well). The Throttle control is very, very good, as you can control the height via the power. Full power to climb out was excellent (after that slight delay), but I found the Aircruiser to be quite normal in the approach/landing phase as any other heavy single-engined General Aviation aircraft. However you have to be aware of the weight around you with using the throttle power, and that tendency to yaw right with the huge power increase, but you soon adapt to the characteristics and the personality of the aircraft... fun? yes immensely, also a challenge to get the skills right in this cockpit. I didn't want to lose sight of the field layout, now I had found it. So it was a tight turn around back to the other opposite threshold. But be aware that too tight a bank and the Aircruiser will slip badly and lose height towards the lowered wing, there a sweet spot to find in the bank and before the slip starts to emerge, all this is required to get the best rotation of the aircraft. Lower and slower this time.... and it feels right. Then slowly descend, descend "keep it steady" and I touch around 65 MPH, I am not to worried about the speed, as the Aircruiser on grass will dramatically drag itself slower. Toe brakes are still the best tool to stop the aircraft rotating hard right, then left on you, as this happens once the tail goes down, it's tricky, but with practise it works in keeping you straight... I'm down, and arrested before the end of the grass strip... not bad I say. Liveries There are six liveries, one Blank (default), and two liveries that are blank white, but one has a metal nose cover, and another has the same metal nose cover & metal tanks. All are nostalgic except the off soft purple Landmark? _____________ Summary Extremely rare aircraft are always interesting, this Bellanca Aircruiser or Airbus, is one of the rarest as only 23 aircraft were built between 1930 -1938, it is also the famed "The Flying W" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's. Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. And this unusual rare aircraft is their first project for the newly-named studio and the X-Plane Simulator. The Aircruiser is available as two separate packages for both X-Plane 12 (as shown here) and X-Plane 11. The quality here with the Hangar 23 Bellanca aircraft is very much on show, as it is highly developed and polished. Modeling is absolutely first rate and the detail is highlighted by this experienced and mature developer. As the aircraft is so rare, the detail in the reproduction is simply outstanding, to the point of recreating an era from a long time ago, and with a couple of modern tools thrown in as well, but not to the distraction of the authenticity of the original aircraft. Obviously this is a project of a labour of love, but still delivered with quality and polish. It is old fashioned in design, but the Aircruiser comes with so modern helpers like a "Sparrow" 2-Axis Autopilot, a custom AutoRudder feature, and GNS 530 GPS, and the option for Realistic RXP GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units. Tail-Wheel control can be via X-Plane style commands or free-castoring, that makes this aircraft easy for first time Tail-Dragger aircraft learning. Other options include Strain Gauges, Steerable Tailwheel, a fully animated Pilot and Clipboard with a Weights & Balance menu. The Aircruisers unorthodox design does make it a challenge to fly, but I have had far worse and more difficult machines to cope with in the past. The helpers of course help, but once you master that huge powerful force forward, the "Shed" like design is oddly very nice and involving to fly. I dispise Tail-Draggers, but loved the Aircruiser quite a lot, no, a really lot more. The quality performance and well thought out physics, do bring the totally unique experience alive. It is certainly a huge credit to the skills of the developer of what they have delivered here, certainly it is a very unique Simulation, but totally authentic as well, Secondly the release also shows off X-Plane 12's excellent dynamics and quality lighting. The Aircruiser 66-75 is very rare, but you can absorb yourself in this 1930's Golden Era of Aviation, and this aircraft is highly relatable to the same machine created over 90 Years ago.... Highly Recommended. ________________ The Aircruiser 66-75 by Hangar 23 is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Aircruiser 66-75 Price is US$29.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 (2 separate packages) Windows or Mac (Linux not supported) 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.0 (January 30th 2024) Download Size: 1.2 GB (each version) Aircraft download is 1.18Gb, and unpacked, then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 1.38Gb. Authorization on startup is required Documents X-Plane Aircruiser Handbook.pdf The provided manual is excellent, a lot of detail, installation, setup and flying tips... even Limitations and Operations. Designed by Hangar 23 Support forum for the Aircruiser 66-75 ________________  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 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - EGKA - Shoreham - Brighton City Airport by NKdesign (X-Plane.orgStore) US$15.00 ________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 11th February 2024 Copyright©2024: 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 Rights Reserved
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  11. Scenery Review: EGCC - Manchester International Airport by Taimodels By DrishalMAC2 Introduction Manchester Airport, located in Ringway, Manchester, England, is approximately nine miles south-west of the city centre. As of 2019, it stood as the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom by passenger numbers, and notably, the busiest outside of London. Boasting two parallel runways each measuring 3,048 meters (10,000 feet), the airport is well-equipped with an extensive array of over a hundred aircraft stands. It features three passenger terminals alongside a cargo terminal, establishing itself as a crucial hub for both domestic and international flights. Over the years, Manchester Airport has transitioned from a modest regional airfield, to one of the UK's premier aviation gateways. This latest release from TaiModels is said to incorporate state-of-the-art features that significantly enhance both the visual and functional aspects of the airport, whilst promising at the same time, unmatched performance. Let's embark on a journey to the North West of England and evaluate how this scenery stands up. Installation The download package for this scenery is quite substantial, with a zipped file size of 1.9GB and an unzipped size of 3.88GB. This is notably larger compared to TaiModels' ENGM or EGLL sceneries. The reason behind this size is the extensive detail included in the package. To install, you should first unzip the file and then transfer the airport and mesh files into your X-Plane Custom Scenery folder. It might be necessary to tweak your scenery_packs.ini file to ensure the mesh file sits below the airport entry. However, I found that the naming convention used by TaiModels meant the scenery worked seamlessly right after installation. Also, part of the download is a folder labelled “OPTION,” which offers the choice of a flattened airport version. Opting for this version removes the underground tunnel, a feature that is particularly recommended for those not using the custom mesh file. Ortho4XP Patch The scenery package includes highly detailed Zoom-Level (ZL) 21 Ortho imagery for the vicinity of the airport. However, for those who prefer to use their personalized ortho imagery across the entire tile, traditionally, the custom mesh could complicate this due to potential visual discrepancies. Thankfully, the included manual offers a solution through a link to an ortho patch file. This patch enables the creation of an Ortho4XP tile that incorporates the custom mesh with your own Ortho4XP imagery. The instructions provided are straightforward, making the integration process relatively simple. Having used this patch to generate an Ortho4XP tile myself, I can attest to its effectiveness in blending the airport seamlessly with comprehensive ortho coverage, all the while maintaining the integrity of the custom mesh. However, for the purpose of this written review, all screenshots will show the scenery in its standard form. Documentation The PDF documentation accompanying this scenery package is concise yet sufficiently clear and straightforward. It covers essential installation instructions for the scenery itself and the required SAM library, also including the previously mentioned link to the Ortho4XP patch. Despite being brief, its clarity ensures users can follow the necessary steps without confusion. However, it's worth noting the absence of airport charts or detailed information about the airport, which I feel represents a missed opportunity. Aerial Perspective TaiModels' rendition of Manchester Airport includes comprehensive coverage of ortho imagery, extending just beyond the airport's boundaries. This level of detail is a significant improvement over many other payware scenery packages I have experienced of late. The imagery is of high quality and integrates seamlessly with personal Ortho4XP tiles generated for the area. Runway & Taxiway Texture Quality Descending closer to ground level, the precision of the runway's Physically Based Rendering (PBR) textures becomes apparent. These textures, which include a variety of asphalt and concrete types, are particularly detailed with signs of wear, such as tire marks, cracks, and oil or fuel stains. The developer's careful placement of varied texture types works well and significantly enhances the realism of the airport's surfaces. Signage & Foliage The airport and its taxiways are enhanced with a generous amount of 3D grass, which not only heightens the visual appeal with its careful placement but also impresses with its performance. Quite often, the overuse of grass can detract from its performance; however, this scenery manages to maintain high frame rates at most times of the day, at least on my system. The taxiway signs are rendered with high-quality textures, maintaining their clarity even when viewed up close, a noticeable improvement over the default signs provided by Laminar Research. Additionally, the accuracy and sharpness of the taxiway ground textures are commendable, with a detailed comparison to Google Maps validating their placement. Notably, the inclusion of playful elements like the "I Love MCR" slogan on the apron adds a touch of authenticity and character. Airport Buildings Venturing beyond the runways and taxiways reveals various areas of interest, including a children’s play area, a fire practice zone equipped with a mock-up aircraft, and several other noteworthy buildings. The parking facilities, which include both ground-level lots and intricately modelled 3D multi-story car parks, are populated with numerous 3D modelled vehicles. This attention to detail, avoiding the use of 2D flat vehicle textures, significantly enhances the realism and immersion of the scenery. Adjacent to the main terminal buildings, the Ibis, Holiday Inn, Radisson Blu, and Crowne Plaza hotels are depicted with a high level of detail and accuracy. The inclusion of the airport’s railway station, aptly named "The Station," illustrates the benefits of the custom mesh. The station, like the previously mentioned hotels, is also modelled to a high standard, enriching the airport's overall authenticity without over embellishment. Terminal Buildings The terminal buildings at Manchester Airport, comprising Terminals 1, 2, and 3, are interconnected through a combination of the Skylink and a covered walkway. TaiModels has created a wonderful recreation of all three terminals, blending exceptional 3D modelling with attention to detail. The inclusion of large glass sections and intricately modelled features like AC vents and railings highlights their commitment to realism. All three terminals are further enhanced by PBR texturing, although their placement on a relatively low-resolution ortho tile might be seen as a minor drawback when viewed up close. While accurate, one could argue that custom ground textures might have offered an aesthetic upgrade, albeit potentially at the expense of geographical accuracy. Terminal 1 Catering to airlines operating both scheduled and charter flights to European and other international destinations, Terminal 1 stands as the airport's second largest. Inaugurated in 1962 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, it serves as a base for easyJet, among others. Terminal 2 Opened in 1993, Terminal 2 is utilised by a diverse group of airlines for charter and scheduled services to numerous destinations across Europe and globally. Terminal 3 Inaugurated in 1989 by Diana, Princess of Wales, Terminal 3 initially served as a domestic hub before its expansion and rebranding in May 1998. It has undergone several name changes prior to its current designation. World Freight Terminal The World Freight Terminal, operational since 1986, caters to cargo flights and cargo transported on passenger services. This area is equipped with large warehouses, pallets, and trucks, and one can envisage its bustling activity, especially during peak times like Christmas, mirroring the vibrancy of the passenger terminals. Terminal Interiors The interior designs of all three terminals at Manchester Airport have been thoughtfully included, with Terminal 1 presenting the least detail. Despite this, the level of detail in Terminal 1 remains commendable and is appreciable even from the exterior. Terminals 2 and 3, on the other hand, boast significantly more detailed interiors across larger areas, offering visually pleasing environments. The modelling across these terminals strikes a careful balance, offering a reasonable amount of detail without venturing into excessive complexity that could potentially impair performance in terms of frame rates. One notable area for potential improvement would be the inclusion of 3D people models. Despite this omission, the overall execution of the terminal interiors is impressive, with careful attention to maintaining a balance between detail and performance, ensuring that the visual appeal does not come at the expense of usability. Hangars & Maintenance Facilities Exploring beyond the passenger terminals of Manchester Airport reveals a variety of hangars and maintenance facilities. These include hangars initially designated for Thomas Cook, which, following the airline's cessation of operations, should technically be referred to as "STS" hangars. Additionally, facilities for Air Livery, Jet2.com, and other maintenance services are present. A noteworthy highlight is the presence of vintage aircraft on static display, such as the Nimrod and VC10, which add a historical dimension to the airport's modern infrastructure. Ground Clutter & Animated Features The scenery includes animated baggage carts, pushback trucks, and a variety of other vehicles typical of a bustling international airport. The random assortment of vehicles and equipment at each gate effectively avoids a repetitive "copy and paste" appearance, contributing to a dynamic and authentic environment. When combined with third-party add-ons like Traffic Global, the airport's atmosphere is significantly enriched, mirroring the lively ambiance of a real-world airport. The integration of the SAM plugin for jetways and the implementation of a Visual Docking Guidance System (VDGS) at selected gates, further increases the realism. Night lighting The custom night lighting employed at Manchester Airport is well-executed, ensuring that the main runways, taxiway lights, and gates are adequately illuminated for operations after dark. The lighting effectively enhances visibility, contributing to a realistic night-time flying experience. The illumination of all three terminals, alongside the expansive array of maintenance buildings and hangars, contributes significantly to the scenery, introducing an additional layer of realism that enhances the visual appeal and atmospheric depth, especially during evening and nighttime scenarios. Performance Given the intricate level of detail incorporated into many parts of this scenery by TaiModels, the performance it delivers is exceptionally high. In my personal testing, I noticed only a slight reduction in frames per second (FPS) when operating larger widebody aircraft, a factor more attributable to the aircraft model and my computer's specifications than to the scenery itself. This indicates that the developers have invested significant effort in optimising the scenery for a broad range of PC capabilities, ensuring smooth and stutter-free performance across different aircraft types. The performance is even more remarkable when flying lighter General Aviation (GA) aircraft, such as the default Cessna 172. In these cases, I experienced no FPS drops at all, suggesting an optimisation level that surpasses even the default Manchester Airport scenery, resulting in improved FPS. This level of optimisation is a testament to TaiModels' commitment to delivering high-quality scenery that enhances the experience without compromising on performance, making it accessible to users with varying hardware setups. Issues / Improvements TaiModels' Manchester Airport impresses with its stunning visuals, yet like all sceneries, it's not without minor issues. Notably, without the ortho patch and elevation fixes, users might see a black texture on the airport's north side, a problem solved by applying these fixes. Additionally, the lack of people in the terminals and the outdated reference to the Thomas Cook hangar, which should now be labeled as "STS" following the airline's closure, slightly reduces the scenery's authenticity. Moreover, the documentation could be richer, including airport charts and a historical overview for direct access, enhancing the package's value. Despite these minor issues, it's clear that TaiModels has invested considerable effort into creating an immersive experience, and with their track record of updates, there's every reason to believe these areas will see enhancement in future versions. Conclusion In summing up, TaiModels' rendition of EGCC Manchester Airport is a fantastic package that offers exceptional value for both X-Plane 12 and 11 users. This scenery excels in delivering a highly immersive experience, underpinned by robust visuals and performance that together, create a compelling virtual environment. While the package does include minor issues as mentioned previously, these elements do not mar the overall excellence of the scenery. Instead, they highlight areas for enhancement in subsequent updates, suggesting a pathway towards an even more refined and lifelike representation of Manchester Airport. For those ready to embark on their next virtual journey, TaiModels' Manchester Airport offers a compelling starting point, one which is poised to enrich any X-Plane user's experience with its detailed realism and immersive environment. ________________________ ________________________ EGCC- Manchester Int'l Airport by TaiModels is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: EGCC- Manchester Int'l Airport Priced at $27.00 Features Hyper-Detailed models SAM amination jetways High quality PBR textures on objects and ground for superb reflections High performance Completed autogen around the airport Ground traffic plugins (car and truck) Compatible with XP11 and XP12 - Both versions included Includes weather texture in X-Plane 12 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 - Both Versions Included Windows, Mac, or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum Download Size: 2 GB __________________________________ Scenery Review by DrishalMAC2 16th February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).
    1 point
  12. NEWS! - Scenery Released : PAPG - Petersburg James A Johnson Airport by NorthernSkyStudio Northern Sky Studio's have released another Alaskan Scenery. This is the Petersburg James A Johnson Airport, for both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11, and are both included in the package.. Petersburg James A. Johnson Airport is a state owned, public use airport located one nautical mile (2 km) southeast of the central business district of Petersburg, a city in the Petersburg Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska that has no road access to the outside world.[1] Airline service is subsidized by the Essential Air Service program. Petersburg James A. Johnson Airport has only one runway designated 5/23 with an asphalt surface measuring 6,400 by 150 feet (1,951 x 46 m). Northern Sky do some pretty great sceneries, not only externally, but the best internal modeling as well, in fact they were the leaders in this environment... and they all come with a very low value price. Like most towns along the Milk Run & on Alaska's panhandle, Petersburg is only accessible by plane or boat and is largely involved in commercial fishing having a population of roughly 3000 people living in the area. It also attracts tourists for outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, & fishing even getting some small cruises. Petersburg itself is located on the north end of Mitkof Island and is located halfway between Juneau and Ketchikan. PSG is less than a mile from the town center & is only served by Alaska Airlines with flights to Juneau and Wrangell. While Alaska Airlines is the only major airline at PSG, scheduled commercial flights only make up 10% of operations here with air taxis having the majority, such as float planes or helicopters... Features: The most detailed replica of airport buildings and vehicles EDGE, REIL and Taxiway lights can be enabled on 122.500 COM1 Custom hand-placed autogen High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Compatible with all X-Plane 12 features Custom mesh for the airport area (Ortho4XP) All materials created for full PBR Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all airport buildings High-resolution building textures Custom orthophoto for the airport and surrounding areas World Traffic 3 compatible The airport is operated by Alaska Airlines, Alaska Seaplanes, and other private and business aviation. Alaska Airlines operates daily Boeing 737-700 passenger and Boeing 737-700 passenger/cargo jet service from the airport. Stopping at Petersburg airport is a part of Milk Run. The Milk Run refers to the daily circuit of Alaska Airlines flights that hop between towns in Southeast Alaska, serving as a lifeline for the communities that aren’t always connected by roads to the outside world. One of the Milk Run routes, Flight 65, starts in Seattle and stops in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, and Juneau before landing in Anchorage. Another, Flight 66, starts in Anchorage and stops in Cordova, Yakutat, and Juneau before arriving in Seattle. A custom Ortho4XP tile is available for download to include with this scenery. The link in the manual. Images are courtesy of NorthernSky Studios _______________________________ PAPG - Petersburg James A Johnson Airport by NorthernSkyStudio is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: PAPG - Petersburg James A Johnson Airport Price is US$12.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 (both versions included) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2 GB Current version : 1.0 (Feb 15th 2024) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 17th February 2024 Copyright©2024: 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 Rights Reserved
    1 point
  13. NEWS! - Scenery Released : ZSJN - Jinan Yaoqiang Intl Airport XP12 by NSS Scenery Studios Noted as the "first official commercial airport project of the NSS scenery studio", this is ZSJN - Jinan Yaoqiang Intl Airport. This unique Chinese airport is now released for the X-Plane 12 Simulator (X-Plane 11 version is not available) Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport is the airport serving Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province, China. The airport is located approximately 33 kilometres (21 mi) northeast of the city center and immediately to the north of the Yaoqiang Subdistrict after which the airport is named. By road, the airport is connected to the Jinan Ring, Beijing–Shanghai, and Qingdao–Yinchuan Expressways. Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport was completed and opened to traffic on July 26, 1992, and the latest expansion project of the airfield was completed in October 2000. The new terminal opened in March 2005 while The South Finger Gallery project of the terminal was launched in 2010. Features Terminal building model based on references as data support Manual adjusted airport lighting system (accuracy of 90%) Accurate taxiway markings Extremely fine airport ground Dynamic auto jetway with a large amount of details (including canopy animation) Automatic marshals Four dynamic hangar doors Global localization of vehicles Off site random dynamic traffic flow Manually modeled off-site buildings Amount of scenery details can be changes according to needs The scenery features an accurate rendition of the airport, with custom ground textures, accurate taxiway markings, custom jetways, custom night lighting, automatic marshaling, landside buildings, and lots more. Images and video are courtesy of NSS Scenery Studios ________________________ Yes! ZSJN - Jinan Yaoqiang Intl Airport XP12 by NSS Scenery Studios is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : SJN - Jinan Yaoqiang Intl Airport XP12 Price is US$22.00 Requirements X-Plane12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB RAM Minimum, 8GB+ Recommended Download Size: 1.4 GB Version: 1.0 (Feb 9th 2024) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 13th February 2024 Copyright©2024: 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 Rights Reserved
    1 point
  14. Aircraft Review: de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo by X-Hangar By Dominic Smith Introduction Well, I’m back again with a new model from X-Hangar, this time, the venerable DHC-5 Buffalo. This robust and versatile transport aircraft, with its unique charm and capabilities, is the latest to have captured my attention, especially as it’s from a developer whose work I greatly enjoy. The DHC-5 Buffalo, a successor to the DHC-4 Caribou, was developed by De Havilland Canada and first took flight in the 1960s. Designed to meet the demanding requirements of military and civilian operations alike, the Buffalo distinguished itself with its STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) capabilities, allowing it to operate in diverse and challenging environments. Over the years, it has served various roles, from troop transport and cargo delivery to search and rescue operations, demonstrating its versatility and reliability. X-Hangar's DHC-5 Buffalo, much like the DHC-4 Caribou reviewed previously, showcases the developer's commitment to delivering immersive and accurate flight models accessible to a broad spectrum of simmers. The model comes packed with features that not only bolster its authenticity but also user interaction. Highlights include a carefully modelled 3D cockpit, operational windows, doors, and cargo ramp, realistic rain effects and wipers, two load configurations (passenger or cargo), detailed 3D pilot and passenger figures, a PDF manual, and a huge range of international liveries. Documentation Staying true to X-Hangar's approach of creating both comprehensive and user-friendly aircraft models, the Buffalo comes with a nicely detailed 19-page PDF manual, which provides a thorough overview of the Buffalo's operational features and cockpit layout. The manual not only explains the aircraft’s functionality but also includes detailed information on how to operate the aircraft through all phases of flight. The documentation is extremely well-written and includes numerous images which clearly illustrate key aspects of the aircraft's cockpit and operation. Installation The installation process for the DHC-5 Buffalo is straightforward, mirroring the simplicity and user-friendliness characteristic of other X-Hangar offerings, such as the previously reviewed Caribou. Once purchased, users simply download the provided zip file which contains both X-Plane 12 and 11 variants. When extracted, it’s just a simple case of placing the appropriate folder directly into the 'Aircraft' folder of their X-Plane installation. The procedure is devoid of complicated steps, eliminating the need for navigating through perplexing instructions or dealing with third-party software wrappers. A key highlight is the absence of online activation requirements, emphasizing X-Hangar's user-centric approach: once you've made your purchase, the aircraft is unequivocally yours. This ensures a seamless integration into your X-Plane setup, allowing you to take to the skies with the Buffalo without any unnecessary delays or technical hurdles. Exterior X-Hangar's rendition of the DHC-5 Buffalo, akin to their DHC-4 Caribou, embodies a robust and functional design that mirrors the real-world aircraft's versatility in both military and civilian operations across the globe. Designed to tackle the challenges of demanding environments and heavy loads, often operating from short and poorly surfaced airstrips, the model captures this essence beautifully. The model's exterior features the short, stout fuselage, high wings, and twin turboprop engines, closely resembling those of the DHC-4 Caribou, albeit slightly larger and with more power engines. The texturing on the exterior is particularly commendable, with liveries that closely resemble those of actual aircraft, enhancing the model's authenticity. Notably, the textures on the Buffalo show a refinement over those seen on the Caribou, with an improvement in the metallic sheen, making the liveries appear more realistic, although still retaining a certain stylistic charm that contributes to the model's appeal. The exterior of the Buffalo is visually appealing, striking a good balance between realism and artistic interpretation. While it may not achieve the photorealistic quality of some more expensive models, X-Hangar's Buffalo stands out as a faithful representation of the aircraft's exterior. The addition of interactive features, such as the operational doors, windows, rear loading ramp, plus an X-Hangar tent and truck, further enriches the user experience, offering a comprehensive and enjoyable portrayal of the iconic Buffalo. Interior The cockpit of X-Hangar's Buffalo is a testament to the developer's ability to balance functionality with visual appeal, subtly enhancing upon the precedent set by the Caribou. It presents a layout that's not only practical but also enriched with the distinctive charm that's become synonymous with X-Hangar's designs. The main panel in front of the pilot houses the essential six flight instruments alongside the Century 41 autopilot, establishing a solid foundation for flight operations. The centre console is thoughtfully allocated to engine gauges and includes a Garmin 530 GPS unit, equipped with a pop-out feature for ease of use. Engine fire controls are strategically placed just above this area for quick access in emergency situations. The space between the two pilot seats is home to the crucial radio controls, ensuring that communication is always within reach. Above, the overhead panel integrates throttle and prop pitch controls, flaps, and ignition switches, thoughtfully arranged to break up the expansive glass area, adding to the cockpit's functional aesthetics. Despite the inherent complexity of a cockpit designed in the 1960s, X-Hangar has managed to render all instruments, gauges, and switches with clarity and precision. Although a closer inspection might reveal a slight loss in sharpness, this minor limitation does not detract from the overall quality of the texturing, which remains consistent throughout the aircraft. This commitment to detail ensures that, despite its age, the Buffalo's cockpit is both a visually appealing and highly functional space, reflective of the aircraft's storied history and X-Hangar's dedication to authenticity. Stepping into the cabin, and you're presented with a choice that adds a unique layer of versatility to the Buffalo experience: seats filled with passengers or, with a simple click on the “fold all seats for cargo layout” option in the kneepad, classic vehicles from yesteryears. The ability to switch between a passenger layout and a cargo configuration not only showcases the Buffalo's adaptability but also injects a nice does of variety to the model. Sounds The included sounds of X-Hangar's Buffalo do not use the FMOD sound system, a choice I find refreshing in a landscape where FMOD is often hastily considered a standard. Despite this, the auditory experience delivered is more than satisfactory, with the engine sounds being particularly pleasing. Whilst it's difficult to show sounds in a written review, the video below gives a good likeness to what the turboprops sound like in the X-Hangar model. Flight Characteristics After acquainting myself with the Buffalo's details, I was keen to experience its performance in the air, selecting Juneau International Airport in Alaska as my departure point, a location that's been a favourite of mine since acquiring the Inside Passage and Final Frontier packages from Tom Curtis back in the X-Plane 9 days. From the outset, the Buffalo's ground handling, in much the same way as the Caribou, impressed me with its responsiveness, making taxiing to the runway an enjoyable experience. As I initiated takeoff and advanced the throttles, the aircraft propelled forward, revealing the abundant power in the GE T64 turboprops. In what seemed like mere moments, true to its STOL design, the Buffalo effortlessly ascended, setting the stage for a captivating tour around Juneau. Once airborne, the increased thrust from the twin turboprops was immediately noticeable, offering a significant boost in performance over the DHC-4. This extra thrust was particularly apparent during the cruise phase, allowing the aircraft to maintain altitude with ease. While I refrained from executing what some might term 'enthusiastic manoeuvres', I did conduct a few stall tests. The Buffalo behaved predictably in these situations, exhibiting only a minor wing dip before recovery, aligning with expectations for an aircraft of its class and design. Approaching Juneau for the return, the Buffalo's low-speed handling merits became increasingly apparent. The final approach and touchdown called for a few delicate touches of correction due to the wind, but here again, the aircraft handled these with ease. Performance The performance of the DHC-5 Buffalo mirrors that of other X-Hangar models, showcasing an exceptional consideration for hardware requirements. Much like their previous, the Buffalo ensures that even those without the latest and greatest PC setups can still enjoy a rich, immersive experience. This approach allows simmers the flexibility to add detailed scenery or experiment with changeable weather conditions, without having to worry about overtaxing their systems. It's this level of thoughtfulness in design that makes flying the Buffalo not just a visually satisfying experience, but also a smooth and accessible one for a wide range of X-Plane users. Conclusion The DHC-5 Buffalo by X-Hangar, much like its predecessor, the Caribou, seamlessly integrates nostalgia with practicality. It shines in performance, demonstrating X-Hangar's commitment to producing highly enjoyable models that perform extremely well across a broad spectrum of PC hardware without compromising on immersion. Opting out of the race for 4K textures, it instead boasts authentic sounds and an impressive array of liveries, all contributing to its unique charm. For simmers aiming to diversify their collection with a historically rich aircraft, the Buffalo distinguishes itself as an exceptional pick, ready for adventures that few others in its class can match. ________________________ The de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo by X-Hangar is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo Priced at US$22.95 Features For both X-Plane 12 and 11 3D cockpit VR cockpit Rain and wipers Opening windows Opening doors Opening ramp Yoke hides with keyboard key or press of a button on the panel Steerable yoke in both 3d and VR Pilot figures Passenger figures Static models Chocks and remove before flight flags Menu to hide co-pilot and other options Two different loads: Passenger or Cargo Cargo or passenger load displays according to load (more with more weight and less with less weight) Many international liveries Layers for painting your own livery Garmin 540 GPS with pop out or press buttons Autopilot Century 41 Checklist in .txt format to use in the Sim User manual in .pdf format to help fly in X-Plane FSE file included to fly Flight Sim Economy Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum Download Size: 311 Mb Review System Specifications Intel i5 10400 – 32GB RAM - Nvidia Asus RTX 3060 – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit __________________________________ Aircraft Review by Dominic Smith 9th February 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).
    1 point
  15. Behind the Screen : January 2024 It's a fresh new year! Like I mentioned going out of 2023, I was going to do a complete clear out of my current X-Plane Application setup. It's a brave decision to be honest. The last month or so of November, and into December, then X-Plane v12.0.09rcWhatever was running famously really well. So do you upset the "apple cart", "ask for trouble" and "can set you back" with loads of more quotes that could cause you problems and issues, and ones you just don't need when you hit the heavy workload of a New Year. But the problem is that, X-Plane can get very grubby, fill itself up with tons of useless files and even files that fail. I'll explain that one. I found, that if a file is written over so many times on your storage, then slight bits of it's data can be lost. This goes back to those platter hard drive disks, in rewitten data being damaged, or the platter itself being worn by overuse. You of course do a defragment run and clean it up. I don't think it matters so much now with SSD drives, being the data is now hardwired. But if drives are saving multiple fragments across the drive, then sometimes bits, (pun intended) do get lost, things that should work, then don't I do, over the year, usually do a new "vanilla", or clean install of the X-Plane Simulator, but move only large portions of the segments. I just transfer from one install to the next one. Like the main content folders; Global Scenery, Aircraft, Custom Scenery and the current Plugins. But several transfers are the settings, like the X-Plane/output/preferences of "Keys" and "Joystick Settings"... why, because my keyboard and aircraft preference settings are complex and the layouts are numerous. But the problem is both settings are year on year old, transferred from one installation to the next, even from one computer to another. The data within them is tired, and I noted several times last year that the settings (preferences) were failing, mostly singularly, but still noticeable, in that I had to keep resetting the preferences. And this is where I get to the nervous bit, I needed to throw these tired old preference files away and do them all fresh from scratch, It sounds simple, but it isn't... there are a lot of hidden key tools set out in those settings, like swapping from a fixed wing aircraft to a helicopter, refined over the years to perfection. So I was contemplating doing a the full "Vanilla, Vanilla" reinstall.... the absolute clean slate one. Laminar Research has since added into the "X-Plane Installer" application, an option to "Install a Second Copy of X-Plane", which makes creating a new version easier. The old way was to download the "Demo" version, and add in the Global Scenery to make it a full Simulator version. This new way is not actually much different with a Second Copy, as you still transfer over the Global Scenery and main Aircraft, Custom Scenery and Plugin folders to create the running full version. But that original X-Plane Application was still very old, running nicely or not. You want to get the process done in a quiet time, as between reviews or content creation, then that is not the best time to start fixing and getting a non-working Simulator. So the down week between Christmas and New Year was the only option to get the rebuild done... so I pressed the "Install a Second Copy of X-Plane" and started the Download. The point to make in this article, it is not the main downloads that can cause you the heartache, actually it is the easiest part of the process. When I install a new X-Plane copy, I then run it, in it's basic form. Yes I transfer over the Global Scenery folder to make it a full Simulator, but I run it from scratch, with only loading in a default aircraft, usually the Cessna 172. First job is to update the New copy to the latest X-Plane version, which can take as long as the copy download... ... then test the framerate (usually off the scale) as the graphic settings are also set at their default settings. First things were to set up is my hardware, Joystick, throttle and rudder pedals. In the past I had just transferred the "Joystick Settings" prefs, and it was usually set ready to go. But here I was setting the prefs from a clean set of preferences. Part of the new installation is to find out if my Throttle hardware is playing up? 2023 was a difficult year with the Saitek X56 Throttle system. First it had a "Ghosting" issue (fixed by using a more powerful USB port), but from the middle of the year, the second throttle lever was not holding it's settings, but switching to the first throttle lever in the left lever, in then setting both throttles together. To separate them you had to pull out the throttle hardware USB plug, and move it into another (live) USB port, and it reset itself back to the separated dual levers. My thoughts were if the worn preferences were the cause of the issue (they weren't). With the hardware setup, I then reset my Graphic Settings. I always have a screenshot of my most efficient graphic settings, as if I want to experiment, I know how to get back to my best efficient setting layout. Running the new "vanilla" version is interesting to note the framerate (gains or losses thoughout the year), usually a gain. But it's also "fun", the return to your very first moment you flew the X-Plane Simulator, basic, but a fulfilling flying experience, with no distractions. Then you start adding in all the external extras, Plugins, Aircraft and then the massive Custom Scenery folder. Run it again... The trickiest part was after the main install. You have to calibrate all the external factors to the new installation. In fact this was the hardest part, resetting addresses to go to another destination. Navigraph, Charts, Skunkcraft's updater, Traffic Global, ToLiss data. Some were a pain, like Aerosoft (One) which wouldn't recognise the new install, and kept installing in the older one... the only option was to redownload every single scenery to the new location, time consuming, and in reality it shouldn't have needed to be done, as all the old stored scenery then had to be thrown away. In the New Year Laminar also did a overhaul of the dsf scenery, it was a big one, but not the full install. But the new install would not accept the partial update, only the full reinstall... 64Gb of it, but I pressed the "Update Scenery Online" and did it in three hours, but when running X-Plane, it noted it still required the new scenery install, so I did it again, with the same result, then I pressed it again and it did the full install again, now nine hours and 192 Gb of the same scenery three times over... thank god I have an unlimited download limit on my internet account, and unlimited patience... finally it registered it was installed. Then came the slow work of authorising all the aircraft in the new install, this adds up to around the 30+ aircraft plus plugins that needed to be reactivated, then the slow work of resetting the FMS Data Manager to new addresses... and on and on it went, two weeks into the New Year and I was still activating or changing addresses to the new install... haven't finished yet? My keyboard settings were all blank, that took a few hours to reinstall all the commands, then my Joystick slider and switch settings, another hour for that one, and the tons of small fixes like my FMS flightplans, Screenshot destinations, WebFMC..... agggh! Finally it was all done, a clean sweet install, and all new. Even now a month after there is still the odd address or aircraft to be reset, it's fix, fix, fix... I love X-Plane, but it is now so horribly complex, on how it all works is a miracle, but it does. Would I do this sort of extreme reinstall again, I'll be honest and I would think twice before I pressed the download button, but last year's version was burnt out and full of debris, it's what you have to do every few years. This Behind the Screen Edition is a little late, but reviews don't wait. Over the last weekend there was the announcement from Laminar Research at the Montreal developers conference, is that in the new X-Plane series (v12.1.0), Laminar they are inserting a store directly into the Simulator, a la MSFS. The ramifications of this change are quite significant. This will not be just a new added store to the X-Plane Universe, as the current set up is that the .Org (Store and .Org forums) are one planet revolving around the parallel Laminar Research planet of development. In the past Laminar didn't do the commercial side of the Simulator, except for selling a few cups and mugs, but are now moving into the commercial aspect, and one that could seriously upset the natural balance of the past... we will see how this significant aspect plays out, but my gut says Laminar has underestimated the complexities and the demands of users in running a store. I know, I have seen it first hand for a decade. There will be no "Behind the Screen" article posted for February 2024. I'm going on a well earned break for two weeks (floating around the Pacific), so the next BtheS edition will be posted on the 1st March 2024. Bon Voyage! Stephen Dutton 6th February 2024 Copyright©2024 X-Plane Reviews
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  16. Great comment, go back to the core set up, see how it runs, then add in one component at a time, certainly with Plugins, the cause will stick out, I will say a few plugins that are essential like SAM are currently very buggy and are having no updates is a problem, this is causing a lot of anguish. But like I said do a core flight with a LR default aircraft A330 or B737, and see if you get the full clean Simulation, then work forward from there...
    1 point
  17. Aircraft Update : vSkylabs C-47 Skytrain v6.0b2 and DC-3 Airliner v2.0b2 Midway though 2017. Established developer vSkylabs released a classic aircraft for the X-Plane Simulator in the form of the Douglas Commercial 3, or DC-3 as it affectionately became known. The earlier release was of the C-47 variant, or the military "Skytrain" version that won World War ll. Well the aircraft had a big part in winning the logistics side of the war. But in reality the main success of the C-47 was post-war with the huge surplus of these ex-military aircraft becoming an aviation legacy that will never be repeated. The earlier vskylabs C-47/DC-3 aircraft was an analog design, but that all changed around Christmas 2022, when the aircraft was then divided into three separate variants... The original C-47 Skytrain, a new DC-3 Airliner and the forthcoming Tri-Turbo-Three, In context; VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': C-47B Skytrain: Highly defined C-47B simulation of the 30's-50's era; authentic WWII era cockpit, powered by PW1830-90C two speed supercharged engines, Astrodome, cargo loading, operational weights of the C-47's and more. Includes two variants - C-47B and XC-47C (float plane). VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': DC-3 Airliner: (this model) Highly defined DC-3 simulation, a modernized C-47A restoration, with modernized cockpit; 3-display G1000 cockpit, powered by PW1830-92 engines, passengers cabin configuration and loading system. VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': Tri-Turbo-Three: (Available soon) Highly defined DC-3 turbo-conversion based and inspired by the Conroy Tri-Turbo-Three conversion. The "DC-3 Airliner" split included a move to a glass Laminar Research default G1000 three display panel installation, which in my opinion is going away from the original philosophy of a pre-war designed aircraft. It is very good in this guise, but what if you still wanted the original "DAK". Well that is the original C-47B Skytrain variant, as the C-47B is a simulation of the 30's-50's era with an authentic WWII era cockpit, powered by PW1830-90C two speed supercharged engines, and the aircraft (unlike the DC-3 Airliner) is available for both X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12. Both variants have now received updates a week apart, v6.0b2 for the C-47, and v2.0b2 for the DC-3 Airliner. There is a good 95% compatibility of the changes between the two aircraft, the other 5% is noted in separate changes to the Airliner variant in this update review. The vSkylab philosophy is that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is completed to 100%, that is the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft, and all the development is free and ongoing throughout the X-Plane 12 version. These projects are under constant development: the development road-map is including flight model refinements, enhanced systems depth, additional liveries and other improvements. But first let us have a quick look at the two aircraft. C-47 Skytrain Over the years, the vSkylabs C-47 has evolved quite considerably since it's debut back in 2017, in fact not much of the internal design has survived. Some aspects I miss, like the very worn window surrounds, but overall the original design and great modeling has survived very much intact, that Dakota aspect is also still very strong. Bonuses currently is the much higher quality of the design with the changes and PBS effects, certainly now with X-Plane 12, were as the aircraft has a far more realistic feel to the eye. There are no menus with vSkylabs aircraft, so everything is accessed via "Hotspots", but they are cleverly done. The cockpit is the antique look of the post-war era, but if you have checked out the earlier C-47, it is a huge and significant difference in detail and change. The X-Plane 12 infused lighting is also a huge bonus on the overall feel and look of the iconic cockpit. The Sperry Type A-3A autopilot is thankfully still installed here, but added in is also a few mod-cons, like the S-Tec Fifty Five X autopilot, and the two Garmin GNS530 GPS units (they drop down mid-window)... another thankful retention from the original aircraft, which is the huge middle windscreen "bouncy wouncy" authentic whisky compass. Although a significant improvement over the original release, the cabin is still pretty basic in design, it could do (or is due) with another overhaul to make it more authentic like what was done to the "Airliner" variant, or a cargo aspect would be nice. DC-3 Airliner Put side by side and there are some quite considerable differences between the two aircraft variants. Externally it is the same "Dak", but in the cockpit it feels and looks very different with the Laminar G1000 Avionics in place, the panels eyebrows are different as well. It's also a greeny-blue in here, more than the older darker green diamond blanket look of the post-war aircraft. It is a taste thing, some will like the modern approach, a lot would probably like the earlier darker feel... the Laminar G1000 displays pop-out as well, but only one of each panel, for the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and the centre single MFD (Multi-Functional Display). In other changes the two GNS 530 GPS units are gone and so is the large whiskey compass, to be replaced by a smaller (non-floating) version on the top of the instrument panel, another item is the massive window de-mist piping, once on the C-47 (as an option) but removed to the DC-3 variant, personally I didn't like it? as it significantly blocked a lot of the view out of the front windows. Cabin has the different diamond padding and colour, and very realistic 3d passengers, very good they are as well. But the seats are actually the same as in the C-47. There is full review of the DC-3 Airliner release here; Aircraft Release : DC-3 Airliner by vSkyLabs Updates v6.0b2 C-47, and v2.0b2 DC-3 Airliner Common changes to both aircraft in these companion updates is with the New "Mixture and Carburetor" systems, here now replicating the C-47/DC-3 mixtures operation with better authenticity. Mixture levers are now set in 'steps' with; (Idle-)Cutoff, Auto-Lean, Auto-Rich and Emergency positions. So the text is still there, but now not just for show... they actually work with the mixture lever setting. Auto-lean and auto-rich are fully automatic modes, with separate control for each engine. To take advantage of the mixture lever settings, you have to set them to different axis modes... the Left-Engine mixture lever is set to the "Wing Sweep" axis, and the Right-Engine axis is set to the "Thrust Vector" axis... I set those settings here with the Saitek X-56 Throttle, I don't have extra levers on the add-on throttle, but only knobs, but it worked fine. You do have another option, that is to lock both mixture levers together. Press the area side-plate, and the right mixture lever knob turns yellow to signify that the levers are now locked, to unlock just press the side-plate again. In this locked guise, the left lever controls both. So the "Thrust Vector" action will now move both levers together. The lock set up however does also allow you to use both Saitek throttle levers, with the left "Throttle" setting, and the right "Mixture" setting, but you can't adjust both of the Throttles separately (you can't anyway) or the Mixture levers separately... of course any lever can be set manually, or to be used hands on. Personally I like my Throttles separate... the reason I found was the Dakota has a habit of drifting to the right over a longer distance, so a slight reduction of power on the right engine (or more power to the left engine) would keep you more on the heading. The new fuel system in these updates now allows you full control of all four tanks, feeding into each engine in separately... This is done by the cocks/valves each side of the pedestal, with each noting the L Main, R Main, L AUX, R AUX and OFF. Shown here in the OFF and MAINs running, with L-R cocks opposite, all four tanks all are accessible, here with accessing the only the L-Tank, and R-AUX. Reading any tank capacity is via a switch lower right Instrument Panel, which is totally authentic. Fixes in the update relate to the Fuel level indicator, which is now equipped with a shifting-plate, showing the designated tank in each mode, and the Fuel level indicator needle 3-d and animation has been changed to provide better a reading, and to be more accurate. But currently when feeding each engine from the Aux tanks (from the same side or opposite sides), the Aux tank with the higher remaining fuel quantity will feed both engines, until both Aux tanks are equal. Then, both tanks will feed both engines. This is an (X-Plane) limitation and changes are coming (from Laminar Research) to rectify this restriction. Fuel capacity is - Main tank (front) each - 202 U.S. galls. Auxiliary tank (rear) each 200 U.S. galls. Total each side: 402 U.S. galls, with total 804 U.S. galls fuel capacity. Carburetor air-intake heat controls now also work... Two levers top right pedestal controls the carburetor heating, for the left and right engines. The third (lock) lever is a dummy. Oddly it works back to front, forward is COLD, rearwards is HOT, or the rear selection brings the heated air from around the cylinder heads into the induction system to clear the ice, or for running in very cold temperatures. Carb heat is shown far right centre Instrument Panel C-47, and lower dead centre Panel DC-3 Airliner. What we are talking about here are authentic or realism in these operations. Yes a lot of aircraft have the same options, but these systems are created to be very authentic to the operation of the DC-3. The huge pitch trim wheel has been totally redone, or re-modeled to be more authentic to the real one. I personally would like more dirt, wear and tear on the wheel, it is supposed to be over 80 years old, but it looks like it came out the spares store yesterday. The cockpit PBR (Physically based rendering) and tone has been updated in both aircraft, bringing it up to X-Plane 12 specifications. We are now in X-Plane 12.06 and that comes with the better lighting adjustments, it shows in here as the detail now just jumps out at you... a far cry from the past vSkylabs cockpit environments. (note we are now actually in XP12.07r1, but it was in X-Plane 12.06 that the lighting adjustments were made). It's a quirky machine to fly is the DC-3/C-47... It is always a good idea to do a quick look through the (very explainable manual) in what is what, and how all the quirks work. Like the gear... as it is a two-operation, operation. You have to unlock (or lock) the gear up or down. This is done by the lever on the floor, before you can raise or lower the undercarriage. You also have to check (via the large Hydraulic Pressure gauges) if the pressure is working for gear operation. If all fails there is a manual gear pump to do the action, it is set behind the cockpit. There is also the two engine-driven pumps to operate the vacuum system. They provide air suction for the operation of the artificial horizon, directional gyros and turn indicator. Check suction indicator on automatic pilot instrument panel for vacuum indication of 3375" ti 4.25". Again very authentic to the post-war aircraft. It's a tricky aircraft to fly as well. You use a lot of rudder movement on takeoff to keep control, mostly far worse are the exaggerated movements required once the tail lifts. In the air it is a lot to handle as well, but you will soon get the feel of this very big taildragger design. Once you settle the "Dak", then it comes into it's own... but flights are usually long, because they are low and slow by modern, even regional propeller aircraft standards. You get a Maximum speed of 200 kn (230 mph, 370 km/h) at 8,500 ft (2,590 m), a cruise speed around 180 kn (207 mph, 333 km/h). But the range is excellent at 1,370 nmi (1,580 mi, 2,540 km) (maximum fuel, 3500 lb payload), but you get there very slowly, the Service ceiling is 23,200 ft (7,100 m), or regional propeller driven aircraft altitude... climbing is with a Rate of climb: 1,130 ft/min (5.7 m/s), but usually around 1,000 ft/min. The odd thing is I have had some really brilliant epic Journeys in this aircraft (maybe because they took so long), but thoroughly enjoyable. Maybe this is why I'm a little bit defensive on in there being too many changes away from the original concept of the DC-3. The Sperry Type A-3A autopilot is something I love. So adding in the S-Tec is going against my grain. Saying that it works very well, the Sperry is also very tricky to use... If connected to the S-Tec then the heading is adjusted by the RUD (Rudder) knob and the upper compass drum, but tricky is the alignment of the heading as the lower compass drum is adjustable... ... so the lower compass drum needs to be aligned with the main whisky compass. You do this by pressing the centre of the lower adjustment knob, known as "Cageing" or Cage, and that will align the two compasses together. If the lower drum is out of alignment, it gets seriously confusing on where your heading actually is, or set. If you want fly on the Sperry alone you still can. And the heading is adjusted manually by moving the AIL (Aileron) knob to bank the aircraft to the new heading and then adjusting it back again to keep the heading. In both adjustments the heading can still be very vague, but as noted... adjusting the throttles or power outputs on the engines can keep you on the heading a bit tighter. Odds in the updates includes a better (or brighter) tail beacon, the landing/taxi lights also now have that X-Plane 12 flare look as well... ... DC-3 Airliner only changes include Fuel pumps sounds tuneups, which now have reduced intensity (sounds overall are excellent). Also the DG sync, and a manual sync is now possible with the use of the sync-knob. Back at Keflavík BIKF, and I'm on approach. I'm not going to say the DC3 is an easy aircraft fly, because it isn't, even demanding. It takes skill to get it all right, and is a big challenge to your perspective. But that is also the attraction, the wanting to fly the aircraft again and again... .... my advice is to get in there, stay in there and learn it thoroughly. The systems, the odd handing traits, and yes... even do a lot of practise. But when the aircraft comes to you, you'll be glad you did all the time and effort... it is an authentic all round experience. Summary vSkyLabs have updated their C-47 and DC-3 Airliner to versions v6.0b2 for the C-47, and v2.0b2 for the DC-3 Airliner. This is after the earlier three way split of the original 2017 release of the C47/DC3 into three different variants; C-47 Skytrain, DC-3 Airliner and the coming Tri-Turbo-Three. The update covers about a good 95% compatibility of the changes between the two aircraft, the other 5% is noted in a separate change to the Airliner variant in this update review, these include different FMOD pump sounds and DG - Sync. The main changes are with new mixtures, carburetor system algorithm and mixture control is now also fully differential. Fully automatic. Mixture levers have now working detents (steps) for 'cutoff', 'auto-lean', 'auto-rich', emergency, and all auto-modes are fully automatic. New fuel system now allows to feed each engine from any of the four tanks, and the Carburetor heat system and levers are now also operable. Both aircraft have a lot of attention on the PBR (Physically based rendering) and tone of the internal areas to make them ultra realistic. It's sweet set of updates to an iconic aircraft. There is as noted a very authentic feel to these pre-war designed aircraft, with a few modern twists in the systems. My preference is still the analog C-47, it recreates the era, and has that Type A-3A autopilot as an added attraction. In X-plane 12, with it's more advances lighting, effects and features.... the original release C-47/DC-3 feels very far away now and the aircraft with it's current updates reflect that aspect. Go low and slow for a long flight, and you will love the "Dak" in all it's post war glory... it's an excellent simulation of the most iconic aircraft in the world. Currently both the vSkylab's C-47/DC3 Airliners are 50% off in a sale... ___________________________ The C-47 Skytrain v6.0b2/DC-3 Airliner v2.0b2 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS C-47 Skytrain Your Price: US$34.95 Currently on sale for $17.45 or 50% OFF. Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 6.02 (September 14th 2023) VSKYLABS DC-3 Airliner Your Price: US$34.95 Currently on sale for $17.45 or 50% OFF. Requirements X-Plane 12 Only (not compatible with X-Plane 11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 2.0b2 (September 19th 2023) ___________________________ 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 12.07b1 (This is a beta review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - BIKF - Airport Keflavik by Aerosoft- (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.20 _____________ Update Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 23rd September 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 Rights Reserved