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  1. News! - Announcement : Boeing 787-9 coming from FlightFactor FlightFactor announced last month that a completely new aircraft to add into the line up of a B777, B767/B757 twins, A350 and the Airbus A320 Ultimate is coming from the development house. This aircraft is the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and details are noted that the B787 will reach new heights in complexity, usability and have a variety of features. We are also taking our 3D and texturing to the next level with ever more detail in and out of the cockpit. The first cockpit renders have been produced... It is the first all new aircraft from FlightFactor since the A320 Ultimate, but FlightFactor note the B787 will be closer to the B757/B767 in design than use the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) than on the same A320U aircraft... either way there will be a lot of expectations and a quality delivery expected on this aircraft as the CEF development was a long and testing one, but also the coming B787 at a study grade level will be a big shot in the arm for X-Plane with the MSFS onslaught. FlightFactor also noted "v2 plans for other models are simultaneously on the way, we just don't want to reveal it all at once! " that will be the v2 Boeing 777 and the v2 A350. I would expect the v2 B777 even before the end of 2020, but not the v2 A350 as the v1 just went with a serious upgrade with version Advanced v1.6 just being released, so that aircraft will certainly be a mid or late next year release, but an upgraded Boeing 777 (the current version is now seriously old) will keep the punters more than happy until the Dreamliner arrives. Overall FlightFactor has noted that with this aircraft it wants to take simulation to the next level.... exciting times. Images courtesy of FlightFactor ______________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 15th September 2020 Copyright©2020: 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)
    5 points
  2. Aircraft Comparison : Boeing 777 vs Airbus A350 As you can see by the title, today we are going to compare the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A350 for X-plane 11, both Boeing and Airbus biggest twin-engine aircraft. The Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner is the long range variant from the 777 family, with a maximum range of 8,555 nm (15,843 km). This variant has increased MTOW, three optional auxiliary fuel tanks and wingtips. Equipped with GE90 engines it produces up to 230,000 pounds of thrust combined. Exactly 60 have already been delivered and its main operators are Delta Air Lines and Emirates, with each one operating 10 aircraft. The A350 XWB is Airbus newest aircraft. The A350-900 has a maximum range of 8,100 (15,000 km) and a MTOW of 280 tons. The -900 was designed to compete with the B777-200ER/LR and 787-10, and eventually giving airlines the option to replace their older A340-300/500 with a newer and more fuel-efficient aircraft. It is equipped with two Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines each producing up to 84,200 pounds of thrust. The A350 family is considered to a success, with 930 orders and more than 360 already delivered, being its main operators Singapore Airlines (48) and Etihad Airways (54). FlightFactor Aero is well known for their study level aircraft, with system depth being their main focus, and the A320 Ultimate and 767 Professional being a good proof of that. With that in mind you would expect a high-quality add-on from FlightFactor with great systems, so in today's comparison we are going to discover if that is true when we talk about the B777 and A350. Now we are going to decide which long-haul aircraft is the best for you Exterior modeling Both aircraft will be using custom Delta liveries that can be found in Xplane.Org Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional At a first look the exterior model is quite nice even though it needs some improvements. The fuselage may look strange with that lines, however you won't notice them most of the time. The windows are transparent, showing the 3d cabin inside. Probably the best part of the exterior modeling are the GE90 engines, they look awesome. The fan blades have a very nice glossy touch. The engine running animation is very good too. The landing gear and wings are nicely modeled. In general, the exterior is good, even though some improvements are welcome, especially in the fuselage and empennage. However, you won't find many problems if you don't search for them. Airbus A350 XWB Advanced You will notice that in many cases the A350 is the opposite from the B777, and exterior modeling is one of them. Usually the first thing you notice when looking at the outside of a plane is the fuselage, and the A350 fuselage is well done, it has a glossy and reflective surface (due to the livery I am using, the fuselage doesn't appear to be glossy), transparent windows and very nice wingtips. Instead of having very good modeled engines like the 777, the A350 engine modeling isn't that great, in fact it is not good or bad, it is the minimum you would expect from a 50 dollars plane. The animations are very nice and realistic, but the engine modeling, especially when it isn't running, is far away from perfection. The wings are nicely modeled and they look very good from the outside, however, they look a bit strange from the inside. The landing gear is great and doesn't appear to have any modeling problem. As you can see, the exterior modeling is good, even though it has its pros and cons, and you won't be disappointed. Like the 777, the A350 also needs some improvements. Extra features In this section we are going to talk about other extra features like doors, ground services and many other things. Starting with ground service. Both aircraft have this functionality, with one being better than the other. You can use the 777 ground service by clicking the menu icon in the top right corner. There you will find the ground services vehicles and objects as the doors open/close buttons and many more. Note that the ground service is very simple and only the doors indicated by an arrow can be opened. The ground service feature is more extensive in the A350, even though it is a bit simple, and can be accessed through the Cpt Outer OIS. It is important to note that all doors can be opened, a great advantage over the 777 which increases the realism. The plane at gate option sets a stair at the 4L door. There is one thing that looks strange in both planes, the wing flex. In the 777 is a little bit weird in some situations, like deploying the speed brakes after landing, resulting in some strange wing moves. The A350 wing flex problem is different and you will notice it while taxing and applying brakes. Another problem from the a350 is the wheels animations, which appear to be too slow. The 777 has a kind of engine shake, which is very nice to see from the cabin. Cabin Both aircraft have a 3d modeled cabin, divided in economy, business and first-class. Usually a 777 economy class is configured in a 3-4-3 configuration, which isn't the case FlightFactor 777, equipped with a 3-3-3 configuration. The business class seems very old, and the first-class has a nice bar. The A350 cabin is more modern than the 777 one. The economy is also equipped with a 3-3-3 configuration, with every seat been equipped with IFE screens. Configured in a 2-2-2 configuration the business class has wider and more comfortable seats. The first-class in the A350 is also equipped with a bar, providing great luxury to the passengers. There is a very nice detail in both aircraft, which is the crew resting compartment. This is a place that pilots and flight attendants rest when it's the other crew members shift. The first photo is from the 777 and the second from the A350, respectively located in the front and back of the aircraft. As you can see, the cabins are pretty well modeled and look nice, but in the end, the A350 cabin looks a bit better. Cockpit Probably the most important section in this comparison, it's in the cockpit that everything happens. While reading this part of the comparison, you will notice that most of the similarities and opposites are here, starting with the cockpit door, only the 777 has a close/open animation. Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional Possibly your first thought about the 777 cockpit will be: It seems very outdated. Yes the textures and some of the 3d modeling aren't great, you can't deny that, but when you start flying the plane they don't seem that bad. The overhead panel is very nice, as well as the aisle stand panel, where the 3d modeling is good and textures aren't bad. The night lighting is very beautiful and distinctive in 777, making it a very nice aircraft to fly at night. Its green color isn't common between other planes. It has many light knobs, this way you can try many lighting configurations before finding the best one for you. Airbus A350 XWB Advanced At first glance, the A350 cockpit may look better than the B777, especially using textures replacement mods, which will be linked at the end of the comparison, however, there are many better-modeled cockpits out there. Everybody knows that the A350 is a very modern plane and all its 6 big screens will attract your attention while flying it. It has the Airbus style overhead panel, but its pedestal is different from any type of aircraft, having some similarities with the A380. The autopilot panel is almost identical to the A380. The night is very well done, and gives the plane a modern touch, more than it already is. Systems FlightFactor says that what sets their models apart is the system depth, so we can expect good systems, we can't compare the A350 ou 777 with the A320 due to the price difference, so good systems is the least we should expect. Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional Starting with the FMC. It is fully functional, you can plan your route, insert SIDS and STARS and make performance calculations. The FMC is well done and you shouldn't have problems with it. The only thing that could be improved is individual screens, so you could leave one FMC in the LEGS page and the other at the VNAV page. As you can imagine, all knobs and switches at the overhead panel work. All the essential switches are working in the aisle stand panel. Last but not least, autopilot, it has some small issues like not turning off the disconnect alarm, but it still manages to take your plane from A to B. Another improvement that needs to be done is adding individual NAV screens, with this feature you would be able to set one screen with map and the other with app, using different ranges. With that in mind we can conclude that the 777 systems aren't perfect, but still in a high standard just like expected. Yes, they need some improvements, but still manage to have the hard work done. Airbus A350 XWB Advanced Probably the most known issue in the A350 systems is the FMC, where you can't insert SIDS and STARs. This is the main problem involving the A350 but there is a tool that solves this problem. It is named SimpleFMC and when used in conjunction with Simbrief flight planning tool, will give you the ability to completely program your route. As you can see, the A350 has some issues involving route programming, even though it can be simply solved and FlightFactor announced an update to fix that (will talk more about this update later). However, performance calculations and weight configuration is very complete in the A350. The best way to do that is by using the Cpt Outer OIS screen. Almost all switches and knobs work, both in overhead panel and pedestal. The autopilot works perfectly and you shouldn't expect any problem related to it. It is important to note that the taxi camera isn't working. We can conclude that none of the aircraft systems is perfect. At the moment, the 777 systems are slightly ahead, which gives you the feeling of a more complete aircraft. However, the A350 is a newer plane, leaving many opportunities to improve and add many new features, and if this happens, the A350 systems may get better and more advanced than the 777 systems. Sounds Each aircraft has its particularities. Generally we can assume that the 777 are better than the A350 sounds, especially when you talk about the engines. Starting with cockpits sounds. Both aircraft have nice sounds here, probably the A350 ones are a bit better, even though none of them is bad. However, when we start talking about the cabin sounds, you may get disappointed. They are the same all the time, it doesn't matter if you are in the front or back of the plane, they won't change. The flaps and landing gear operation sounds are nice, just what you would expect. The engine sounds are the ones you will most notice while flying a plane, and they are the reason for the 777 have better sounds than the A350. While you are in the cockpit or cabin, both planes have good sounds, even though they could be way better. But when you change for the outside view you will instantly notice the difference. While both engines are idle you already can tell a difference, you may think that this is obvious because they are different engines, but the difference is already there. However, things start to get better when you accelerate them, both sound nice, maybe a little better in the 777, but when the engines are at full power you will notice that the A350 isn't very nice, emitting a low and kinda soft noise. The 777 is the complete opposite, at full power the engines are screaming and give you the feeling that you flying the real aircraft. Blue Sky Star, most known as BSS, provides a sound pack for the 777 at the price of 20 dollars, increasing your immersion with the aircraft. Will be linked at the end. Other features Here I will list things I didn't mention yet. Checklist: Both aircraft have a checklist that tells you exactly what you should do. Cabin Announcements: You will find this feature in both aircraft. There are more than 20 default announcements. Pushback: This feature is implemented in both planes, however, I recommend using the Better Pushback plugin. Conclusion As I said earlier, we would find the best long-haul aircraft for you. After reading my comparison you may have already decided the best one for you, but if you still can't choose one I will help by listing the main features. Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional -Very well modeled engines -Fuselage is good, but needs improvements -Has 3d cabin -Cockpit a little bit dated -Good systems -Better sounds (BSS package available) -Price: $59,95 Airbus A350 XWB Advanced -Better modeled fuselage -Beautiful 3d cabin -Better cockpit textures (using texture replaceament mod) -Ok systems -Good cockpit sounds, engines could be better -Price: $49,95 Note that FlightFactor said that would release an update for A350 this month and it would include the implementation of SIDS and STARS as well as a huge graphical improvement. This update would make the A350 way better. It would be nice to see BSS making a sound package for the A350, it would take the aircraft to a pretty high standard. If after all this you can't decide yet, you should take my advice. Both aircraft are equaly good, each one has pros and cons, and the best thing you could do is: buy the one you like more in real life, it is simple. Notice that you won't be disappointed with these two great aircraft by Flight Factor. I won't tell my personal choice because that may induct you. Greetings Thank you for reading this comparison! Feel free to leave your comment. This is my first review for this incredible site that has been making the best reviews for X-plane for a long time. I want to thank Stephen for giving me this incredible opportunity and providing everything I needed to make the comparison. ______________________________________________________________________ Both aircraft are available in X-Plane.Org Store here: Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional Price is US$59,95 Features: Officially licensed By the Boeing © Corporation Accurate dimensions based on 2D and 3D drawings supplied by Boeing © Professional systems - Fly the 777 like a pro Systems designed to work like the thing - Accurate flight model tuned by pilots - Comprehensive Manuals Fully Functional FMS - Plan your routes like a real pilot Custom designed Flight Management Computer, integrated with other plane systems Custom programmed LNAV logic for terminal procedures Custom designed Navigation Display Tterminal procedure database with RNAV approaches and transitions VNAV managed climbs and descends Takeoff and approach speed calculation Custom autopilot modes for autoland Optimum cruise performance and step climb calculation True-to-life radio navigation with procedural-, route-, and navigation support auto-tuning Custom programmed FMC navigation using GPS-, radio- or inertial navigation with individual position errors and management of actual and required navigation performance Magnetic, true and polar grid course reference Alternate airports, diversion and arrival management Ground proximity warning system using real sounds FMC can be used on external touchscreen or tablet, optimized for the new iPad Incredible 3D modeling - the best eye-candy Amazing virtual cockpit with crisp details - Dynamic reflections Custom 3D sounds and Announcements Add-ons: Push-back truck, Fuel Truck, Passenger bus and Emergency slides ... On-Screen Menus: Configuration and loading menu, Quick Zoom Superb night lighting in cockpit. Requirements X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10.50+ - 64 bit required Windows, Vista, 7 / 8/ 10 (64 bits) or MAC OS 10.10 (or higher - OSX 10.9 will not work), Linux Ubuntu 14.04LTS or compatible (older versions are not supported) 2GB VRAM - (4GB VRAM Recommended)- 1Gb available hard disk space Current version : 1.9.12 (last updated Jan 30th 2018) ___________________________ Airbus A350 XWB Advanced Price is US$49,95 Features: Superb 3D Modeling Complete Virtual cockpit in high-resolution Fully animated in and out -High-Resolution Textures Ground equipment support including stairs, loaders, passenger buses, GPUs etc. 3D people inside and outside the plane - Nicely modeled cabin Scroll wheel support for switch manipulation Advanced Systems Fully customized aircraft systems: electric, hydraulic, air conditioning, ADIRU Fully customized ECAM monitoring system with all screens and functions included Fully functional airbus style alert system with multiple status and procedural lists Fully functional interactive airbus electronic checklist system Airbus A350/A380 unique interfaces with dozens of screens and hundreds of function Fully customized and unique MFD (multifunctional display) system with most of flight planning pages implemented in a new graphical interface, as well as FCU and radio backups just like on the real plane Full OIS screen system with options, ground equipment control, passenger and cargo loading, and even a full user's manual inside the plane. Old style MCDU and fully functional aux instruments as backup Custom failures Advanced Fly-by-Wire and Flight systems Full FBW with Highly realistic implementation of the Airbus normal laws by QPAC -the most realistic fly-by-wire implementation for desktop flight simulation. Basic SID/STAR implementation using X-plane fms-files that you can create yourself and share with the community. "What you see is what you fly" flight path indication on the ND (i.e. curved trajectories with the turn radius properly computed based on speed and angular turn distance.) Implementation of all Airbus AP modes, except some non-precision approach modes (Selected and managed modes, speed constraints respected, "at or below" constraints in phase climb, "at or above" constraints in phase descent.) Full PFD and ND displays with fully independent display and different data sources for the captain and copilot displays. Independent autopilots Custom 3D Sounds Custom 3D stereo engine sound system Hundreds of system and in-cockpit sounds Interactive flight attendant helper Seven Liveries included in the package Airbus Carbon, Air France, Airbus House colors, Qatar, Lufthansa, United Airlines Requirements X-Plane 11 (latest version) Windows - Mac - Linux - 64bit Operating System Required 1Gb+ VRAM Minimum, 2Gb+ VRAM Minimum. 8Gb RAM Version : 1.5.2 (last updated Apr 24th, 2019) ________________________________________ Aircraft Comparison by Bernardo Casa 21st April 2020 Copyright©2020: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Intel Core I5-9600K 4,30GHz / 2x8 Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 3200MHz - Gigabyte RTX 2070 - Z390 Aorus Master - Kingston A1000M.2 SSD 240GB Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41 Addons: Logitech Pro Flight Yoke/Pedals/Throttle Quadrant - Logitech Extreme 3d Pro Joystick - Sound: Samsung Home Theater System J5500WK Plugins: Environment Engine v1.13 by xEnviro US$69,90 -Scenery Review : Seattle City XP by Drzewiecki Design - Scenery Review : Seattle Airports XP by Drzewiecki Design -KLAX - Los Angeles International 1.01 by MisterX6 (X-Plane.Org) Freeware -SBGL - by AxScenery (AxScenery) Freeware -A350 cockpit textures replacement (X-Plane.Org) Freeware -Better Pushback (GitHub) Freeware (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)
    4 points
  3. Free Aircraft Release! : Concorde by Dr Gary Hunter Growing up in the sixties was a time of huge speed advances. The predictions were of New York in 3 hours and Singapore in 7 hours via Bahrain, and then we went far faster again... to the moon. Looking back now it all feels like we lost have something, yes we can afford to travel the world on a few thousand dollars... but the excitement and the sheer feeling of the momentum of advances in technology has now been reduced to smart phones. The real tragedy was that the machines that gave us our biggest breakthroughs were then never advanced forward, there was no Concorde Mk2 or Space Shuttle Mk2. And so there came no advancements on their ideas and weaknesses, like the noise and sound barrier on Concorde and the better insulation tiles for the Shuttle. Instead they were all consigned to museums and with that a negative backward feeling now exists. You know it can be better, as we lived through that now past era of huge ideas and advancement that actually came true and real. But you can still relive a little of what one machine of that era was, in the Concorde. Dr Gary Hunter created a Concorde for X-Plane9®, so yes this aircraft is old now even by X-Plane standards. It didn't fly very well either lately because of the advances of the simulator, so an update to v10.50 was carried out and the aircraft has been gratefully passed over to the X-Plane.Org to be released... yes that is right this Concorde is for free! And no matter which way you look at it this aircraft is still one of the very best looking machines ever built, The modeling is slightly old, but not enough not to make it feel totally outdated. The panel is from an era of X-Plane seasons past, and the instruments are quite blurry. But it is totally functional and does have a 3d Virtual Cockpit. There is also a great engineers station, and you need to watch those fuel gauges, they gulp down fuel like no tomorrow, but hey you are also covering the ground at a one mile every two and three quarter seconds! Full cabin as well with the all important speed Mach numbers and altitude. You are seriously moving at m2.2, you can feel the speed even over the smooth Atlantic Ocean, watching my moving map on my iPad, the aircraft is moving as you are watching it even at a high distance, the Nm counter is clicking over click, click, click fast as well... this is no sub-sonic slow ride to China or as in this ride... to New York. Distances of descent to any airport will need a bigger or longer distance with this machine as it is a long way down from 50,000ft or even 60,000ft if you are game. Liveries included: Blank or Eurowhite, BA Union, BA Landor, BA Flag, AF, AF Retro, Prototype and Singapore. New York and "Look Mum, no Flaps!" drop the nose and the speed to 195knts and you get that over familiar hawk look... The aircraft is surprisingly easy to fly on approach, but watch for a high nose in the air after landing. Concorde is back in New York! ______________________________________________________________________ There is a big thanks to the work of Dr Gary Hunter in creating this X-Plane Concorde, and now passing it over to Nicolas of the X-Plane.Org for you to download... for FREE!, yes just go to the link below (sign in first) and download this Concorde and go.... Supersonic! Yes! the My Planes (Dr Gary Hunter) Concorde is available for download here: CONCORDE Price is Free! Features: Accurate dimensions 2D and basic 3D Cockpit Object-based model, Very detailed model 8 liveries Cockpits have been totally redesigned. Go to the virtual cockpit and move to the center laterally (right arrow key) then translate backward through the aircraft (shift-pagedown key) to see the virtual cabin interior. All cabin windows are in 3D, and the cabin interior is modeled (seats etc). These differences are most obvious when using LIT textures as you can see inside the cabin more easily. Try circling the plane when flying in low level lighting conditions (sunset for example). Updated and tidied up the 3D virtual cockpit a little. The horizon is 3D now but its hard to notice so I may drop it in future versions. All fuselage doors are operable using keys 8 fuel tanks Full 3D Model Regular Concorde and Concorde 'B' included The model B was to have been the definitive airline version of Concorde, produced from airframe number 17 onwards. As production stopped at airframe number 16, the model B never actually took to the air, though much of the design work and improvements were retrofitted to existing Concordes. The most noticeable difference would have been the big wing of the model B, non-afterburning (more powerful) engines and a much greater range. This version also features an airbus style “glass” cockpit. ______________________________________________________________________ Overview by Stephen Dutton 6th October 2016 Copyright©2016: X-Plane Reviews
    4 points
  4. Aircraft Update : Airbus A350-900 XWB Advanced v1.6 by FlightFactor/SteptoSky Since the earliest days you mostly saw FlightFactor Aero as a Boeing developer, there was the Boeing 777, then the Boeing 757 and then the Boeing 767... then out of the blue came an Airbus in the Airbus A350-900 XWB. But right from the first version of this aircraft it never felt... well very Airbus? Where as all the Boeings felt and flew like Boeings. Since the A350 FlightFactor went on to do another Airbus in the A320 Ultimate, which DOES feel like an Airbus and is still the best Airbus in X-Plane. But the FlightFactor A350XWB was a really odd aircraft from the start? Excellent on the external, the A350 always looked very nice in X-Plane. The clever six display layout with X input system is also really clever and is well done (early versions were however extremely buggy) and the airbus system depth is very good. So overall it should have been perfect for me as I like to fly Airbuses more than Boeings... but I never ever really fell in love with FlightFactor's A350XWB? Which is really odd because Long-Haul is still my favorite form of flying and also the A350 XWB is the latest of the New-Gen aircraft and X-Plane is very short of Long-Haul airlines and certainly of the New-Gen class. The FlightFactor A350 should of very easily ticked off every box for me, but in all honestly it left me cold and I rarely flew the aircraft, even the last time departing Barcelona I even stopped mid-flight (I very rarely abandon flights) because I was really not liking it at all? Why? well that is a good question... the first one in the most obvious. The FF A350 didn't have SID/STARs and the FMS was in reality the default FMS undercover. And this missing aspect really was the biggest complaint, but to be fair the A350XWB FMS (Flight Management Systems) is quite complicated and very different in input from either a Boeing and even another Airbus as only the bigger A380 has the same input and navigation system. Poor Sounds didn't help either and they were really awful, and the cockpit textures were weird in a non-Airbus way, and the aircraft always felt buggy, it never seemed to come together as a whole or as a linear simulation, it was an aircraft you simply couldn't love. The news of a v2.0 of the FlightFactor A350 was very welcome, but it became confusing in the light that the next update in v1.6.0 would be next and also include the infamous missing SID/STAR intergration, my guessing (wrongly) would that the SID/STAR intergration would only happen with the full new version of v2.0 (In selling the new version of the aircraft)... The surprise is that the SID/STAR is in this update v1.6.0 version, so that will be a free update, the better news is that the FMS is now really, really good... far better than I expected and to the point even brilliant. Nothing wrong with the way the A350 XWB looks, but this is still the v1.0 aircraft and in a few areas the v1.0 has a few niggles, the wings do have flex, but in a weird stiff flexy way, so the wing flex still looks old and outdated, and the cabin is still also old and very dated as well. A worthwhile download is the new Lufthansa A350 livery by fscabral as the cabin textures have been redone and the results seriously lift the cabin from the really drab to the really nice... and yes this cabin layout should be the default. Note in that the cabin lighting is controlled from the EFB (OIS/AIRPLANE/CABIN settings), lighting and sound settings settings are currently off at default. Ground support still has those cold war Russian vehicles, and you shake your head why as all the FlightFactor Boeings now have the updated western styled vehicles. But thankfully where it counts in the air the A350 XWB still looks very nice. Airbus 350 XWB v1.6 We will come to the big event in a moment, but first unlike other areas of the A350 the cockpit has had a very nice spruce up of the textures. The original cockpit textures were a darker Airbus blue with some wear around the edges, but somehow it didn't feel right in context as the A350 is the most modern of the Airbus fleet? These textures are now in a far lighter blue/grey Airbussy feel and are far better to the current state of a A350 XWB. The panels are still very left side pilot focused, with the right position more fixed with no display cycle active, the far right display is also fixed to a users guide page. The range and baro adjustments however do work, so it is not impossible to fly from the right seat as you can flip the FMS screen to the right middle display setting, but with no access to the menu sections unless again you move the menu selection to the middle screen. Glareshield textures are lovely, modern and very nice. Gone are the wheat coloured seats to be replaced by a very not corporate look of "stars"? A very unusual choice, but they do look better than the wheat seats with far more cloth and ripple detail.. FMS - Flight Management System The most important and the most welcome aspect of this v1.6 update is the intergration of SID/STARS into the FMS navigation, not only is SID/STAR routing now available, but it is also in how well the system has actually been done here is the biggest factor. Pilot left station is very good with most items and displays active and interactive. FlightFactor recreated the X pointer system for use on A350 displays and although very buggy in the early days (the X pointer would stray badly out of the display limits) it is now a very robust system that works well. There are two drop down menus tight together top left of the MFD (Multi-Functional Display). Top one selects your FMS route (Sorry there is still only one FMS1 route available) and below to start a new route then select INIT from the lower menu. If you are used to the usual FMS via a left or right button input key, then you will have to adjust to this different pointer system. There are a few rules to know... one is that everything is via an input and menu selection, so you select the box with the X pointer (arrowed below left)... ... put the X pointer over the box you want to input into and you get a green dash line and a flashing cursor, the display then also becomes "KEYBOARD FOCUSED" for direct key input... Type in your data, in this case Nairobi Airport "HKJK", but most IMPORTANT is to re-click to lock the data in! This is usually placed over the very first letter in the box with the pointer, if the "Keyboard Focus" line goes out and the input text sets a little to the right... then it is correctly inputted (locked in). Add in your INIT details... Flight Number, From (HKJK) to (EGLL) Alternative (EGCC) and Cruise FL (Flight Level) and Cruise (CRZ) Temp ºC. DEP and ARR locations set it is now time to do the flightplan, you access the flightplan via the "ACTIVE" menu and select F-PLN. Now comes the new SID (Standard Instrument Departures) selection... Press the departure airport (HKJK) and up comes a menu, select on the menu "DEPARTURE". Drop down menus give selection for RWY (Runway), SID and TRANS.... ... in my case it is RWY 24, SID "IBRA3D" and TRANS "KAMAS", all selections are then shown in the above Selected Departure box. Go back to the F-PLN and the SID departure route (waypoints) are now completed. Next waypoint (WPT) or AIRWAY is inserted in a similar way. Just select the last waypoint and select via thew menu either "INSERT NEXT WPT" or "AIRWAYS". For to "Insert Next Wpt" you select the selection box and insert the waypoint name (TUFTE) and make sure you click to insert, and you don't use the AIRWAY selection to add in the next WPT. For Airways then select AIRWAYS and add in the AIRWAY and the TO selections and like all FMS systems you can add in as many airways as you require. In every flightplan you get "DISCONTINUITY" breaks... to remove you just select the Discontinuity selection and then select "DELETE" from the menu. STAR (Standard Terminal ARrival) is the same procedure as the SID selection, select the arrival airport, then ARRIVAL from the menu and then use the menus to fill in the arrival data... ... the drop down menus select RWY, APPR (Approach), VIA, STAR (shown) and TRANS. All selections are shown in the upper box like with the SID selections. All changes and selections are only TEMPY or Temporary in yellow and insert via INSERT TEMPY, or backstep by ERASE TEMPY... .... and at any time while constructing the route you can make it active (Green) to see your progress on the PFD... The final full Flightplan is shown with diversions of which you can scroll up or down.... brilliant! It takes a little while to adjust to this pointer system, but it is quite easy to do once you are used to it. Overall the FMS is very versatile in creating route flightplans and I found it very refined and not buggy at all, which is very good thing with long route insertion flightplans like from Nairobi to London. Other FMS details are important as well... OIS (Onboard Information System ) Aircraft AIRPLANE/PASSENGERS gives you the A350 weights, and the AIRPLANE/PERF CALCULATOR gives you TO Performance and vSpeeds. ... and the calculated data is then transferred to the PERF (performance) page and the very important FUEL & LOAD page in the FMS... You can save your flightplan via the INIT page under "RTE SAVE", but the interesting aspect is that you have three choices of save, 1. the FULL complete flightplan, 2. SID or 3. STAR, so this makes it a very versatile system... .... the route is confusingly saved in your standard X-Plane FMS folder but not in the alphabetical order, but under a (*) moniker at the very bottom, which means a lot of scrolling. Quicker access is to use the "Filter" box lower right which reduces the flightplans to the chosen ICAO label. Wind pages have been added and it noted is that Alterative Flightplans are also now available, but I couldn't find a second flightplan? All in all it is a very extensive and detailed upgrade to the FMS in the A350XWB, I absolutely love it, yes there is more you want like a second FMS for the First Officer, but overall it is a fantastic working system... not perfect but far better than we had before. _______________________ There are no notes that the sounds have had attention in v1.6, but they certainly sound far better to me? Cockpit hum and wind noise is very good for a long haul flight and the exterior sounds far better as well, more distant in the background now is that really annoying "tring, ring" from the engines, it is still there but now highly subdued... thank god, the annoying Purser to Captain "Dings" are still as bad as ever, finding the issue is made hard by the language spoken in a gobble... usually it is the cabin that is TOO hot or TOO cold "but mister if the damn engines are switched off I can't heat or cool the cabin can I?... so go away", or the cabin lights are down, but it is really, really annoying... If any aircraft requires a specialist addon sound pack it is the A350 XWB. Contrails and and particles have now been added as well, the APU hums and breathes out exhaust air, and in the air the aircraft looks great. Another new menu page on the OIS is the "JOYSTICK ACTIONS" menu and noted to make the aircraft compatible with the new Thrustmaster TCA Airbus Throttle Quadrant. The new hardware offering from Thrustmaster, part of its new TCA Range is due to release in late September this year. This covers your joystick "Deadband" area (centre), throttle detent location and "MCT Detent" (Maximum Continuous Thrust) location. All the settings of course are for fine tuning your hardware joystick and throttle systems, but one selection is quite important... "REV ON SAME AXIS" will set your throttles with a "Beta' reverse detent. fine in some cases but horrible with my Saitek X56 Rhino setup as it set the idle position to reverse thrust, you can turn the action OFF here (arrowed below left). Radios are now 8.33 (as X-Plane11 went to this earlier). The 8.33 kHz channel spacing adds two additional channels for every 25 kHz channel. This is to overcome the frequency congestion in the medium to long term by providing more channels. Navigation ILS, VOR and ADF frequencies are under the "NAV" button, but you still have the default FMS at the rear of the pedestal and it's radio channels if you want a easier way to access any of the frequency settings or route information. _______________________ Summary Although noted as a "Advanced" version of the Airbus A350XWB, the Flightfactor version never really hit the mark in delivering a totally realistic simulation, and so in that aspect I was never yearned for the aircraft and rarely flew it, which is a shame because we need really good long haul and next generation aircraft in the X-Plane simulator. But now with this new v1.6 version of the A350XWB we have a game changer. The missing SID/STAR intergration that was missing is now part of this extensive Flight Management System. A difficult system to replicate because of it's unusual pointer and menu based input applications. But this intergration has been a huge success here in creating a master simulation of this unique Airbus FMS. Most FMS areas are now covered, but you will never ever cover everything as it is simply too complex, but the aircraft in reality should lose it's "Advanced" moniker and be now named a "Professional" aircraft because of the depth of the systems here... the only area missing is the right hand seat interaction to the OIS (Onboard Information System). A few areas have also been cleaned up including the cockpit textures which are more Airbus grey and lighter in tone and new seat (star) coverings. Over the updates the A350XWB has had a lot of behind the scenes work done and not actually noted officially, but you certainly feel in this version a far more co-ordinated and less buggy aircraft to fly, the FMS especially is really well coded and quite bug free in being versatile for corrections and data changes, a far cry from the original interface and flying conditions. So now it works, in almost every area and if not absolutely perfect the A350XWB starts to live up to it's quality standing as a very good if now excellent simulation. Over many hard flights (most Long Haul) it is an excellent aircraft to enjoy, the v1.6 update maybe on reflection small, but the aircraft has become something else than just a pretty aircraft to look at, it now a very realistic flying simulation as well. Once the outcast, the Airbus A350-900XWB can now be seen in the same context as the other aircraft from FlightFactor. A brilliant update that in the long wait users deserved... Not perfect but a free update with these enhancements will bring a lot of smiles to a lot of users faces, if you don't have the A350XWB from FlightFactor, but love long distance flying, maybe it is now time to take the plunge and enjoy this amazing aircraft. _____________________________________________ The Airbus A350-900 XWB Advanced v1.6 from FlightFactor is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store: Airbus A350 XWB Advanced Price is currently US$ 64.95 Livery packs at US$10 for ten liveries are available here: A350 Liveries Include: North America, Oceania, Africa & Middle East, Asia, Atlantic, Europe 1, Europe 2 and Pacific. If you already have purchased the A350 XWB from FlightFactor then go to your account at the X-PlaneStore and update to v1.6 Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows - Mac - Linux - 64bit Operating System Required 4Gb+ VRAM Minimum, 8Gb+ VRAM Minimum. Release Review : Aircraft Review : Airbus A350 XWB Advanced by FlightFactor Support forum : FlightFactor A350 XWB _____________________________________________________________________________________ Update and Tutorial by Stephen Dutton 18th July 2020 Copyright©2020: X-PlaneReviews
    3 points
  5. Hi Bob, Thanks, I am really happy to know that you are liking my articles. Both aircraft are extremely good. Personally, I like the A319 more, especially with the IAE sounds, don't forget that you need the CFM too. Independent of your decision, you will be extremely happy.
    3 points
  6. Totally. Even though they look similar, each aircraft has its characteristics.
    3 points
  7. X-Plane Year Review 2014 and Welcoming in 2015. Well that was 2014? What did you think of it? The usual, the different or just forget the whole year happened. Well it was different in a unusual way in that it wasn't filled with the usual things that turn the simulator upside down. My view it was quite a subdued year in a way, but a lot still happened and a lot changed. But I did feel this time last year that X-Plane needed a more stable settling period to consolidate its main base and in a big way that did happen. The word "consolidate" is the key point here, and in that context for X-Plane it was a very good year. Review 2014 The year started off with loads and just loads of scenery released, The excellent LEVC - Valencia from DAI-Media started it all off and I loved this Spanish scenery. Tom Curtis had another great year with KDEN - Denver and big updates to his great packages "Final Frontier" and "Seattle - Boeing Country" and his "Las Vegas "Glitter Gulch" through out the year had a touch more magic as well. Another good solid year from Tom. Santiago Butnaru was another who gave a lot of prolific scenery releases this year with KBUF (Buffalo-Niagara) which is underrated, KFLL - Fort Lauderdale and last week KEWR - Newark. Two stood out in CZST Stewart by beti-x and EIDW - Dublin by Aerosoft were both brilliant but in their very different ways, But as scenery goes it was a really good year, a lot of really great freeware and many new faces having a go at doing some work with a lot of the usual suspects delivering outstanding work. Two points I will highlight here in the return of ISDG with a bang with Steve K and YMML - Melbourne and the simply amazing "tdg"and If one person has single-handedly changed our scenery base it is tdg. I really loved the recently released "Winter_Package" of winter scenery from Albert (xflyer) who is the person that creates the default Laminar Research autogen art... simply amazing, and Laminar has also made hints it could be included in the base simulator in a start of the seasons feature, well bring that on. Another great late in the year release is the v3 terrain files from Alpilotx, another step up in high-quality detail, but a huge just under 100gb download for the lot (It takes two days alone if you want it all downloaded now) but it does now also include Australia. I earlier had my doubts about the Laminar Research default airport scenery system, but it works very well and not as intrusive as I expected, the updated WED 1.30 is also now very, very good. Overall the scenery aspect came along in heaps and bounds this year, 2014 was a really good year for scenery and I am getting really very impressed by a lot of the images coming out of the simulator. Not perfect by a long shot, but a big and definite step forward and X-Plane is finally fixing its biggest blackhole. Laminar Research felt like it was being diverted by another presence in 2014 and that turned out to be fact in most of the development time of the year went into an upgrade of LR's other simulator business in mobile games or X-Plane 10 MOBILE for iPhone or iPad. They note that these products help the desktop version and vice-versa, and you can't argue with that philosophy, and the launch of X-Plane 10 on STEAM has again shown that LR is aiming lately at the gamer crowd for more business and users, So is X-Plane a game or a simulator? will the roads narrow as the products come closer aligned? I still see a big difference flying on my desktop to using X-Plane on my iPad (you can however fly around the room making loud aircraft noises with your steering iPad), but my only really big fun and main focus is my addictive personality of minecraft proportions of collecting and building my huge X-Plane scenery world and flying around it. One major (and only) X-Plane release for the desktop simulator form was version or v10.30 in a mid-year release in June. But it was a beauty, and its biggest feature was how well rounded it was when it was released. It didn't feel like a beta and had no really big hidden nasties, it was also brilliant from day one and a really good well rounded product. Laminar noted that they had taken their time to do this one and it showed, great quality and great features. The standout was the inclusion of an updated GARMIN 430/530 gps which was just sensational in design and operation. Created by Philipp Münzel my personal "Person of the Year" in 2013, in he had been recruited by LR to do development work directly for LR in 2014 and that took Philipp out of the daily limelight, but his brilliance was once again shown in a great feature and also gave the simulator another big push forward. He will be there for 2015, so expect more great things from him, Chris and Guru in the next year. Again v10.30 provided a very good consolidation of the desktop simulator, it refined and changed it into a more complete application that was more reliable and even smooth. There was a few missing features that had been promised like a wider visual distance that is really (really) showing now its time and age in the simulator these days and there was still no update to the average autocratic ATC system that is so badly required to make X-Plane 10 deliver on its promised features, no better water shading or cultures either, but maybe in 2015 a few of these changes will finally grace our screens. I noted in last years 2013 review that this year would be the last year for X-Plane9, that has come to pass as most developers now don't issue X-Plane9 versions with their releases, the biggest is of course Carenado and in that the v3/10.30 upgrade was completely X-Plane10 and no new product from either Carenado or Alabeo would in the future will be in X-Plane9. If you keep X-Plane9 into 2015, you are going to find it very slim pickings indeed for (payware) aircraft and a lot of quality scenery for that simulator version. X-Plane has now moved a long, long way even from its own X-Plane10 release version, in to a point it is now barely recognisable from its own small time beginnings. The biggest satisfaction for me in 2014 was the emergence of more developers that were willing to put their talent on the line and build payware. The gap from freeware to payware is simply massive, you have to be good not only in one area but many or create a stable team to produce good aircraft. It is not easy in covering this gap, as even the very best have had their moments this year. Once you cross that line and ask for payment, you are then required to deliver in every area, but the rewards are also very good if you can pull the off the project. X-Plane now requires extremely high quality, no half-measures can pass the line and it is a tough line, but it is still very highly required. In that talent and products build the simulator and the good news is X-Plane uses will pay for quality products, and that is a very good thing. As it goes both ways in that the users get great product and the developers will keep producing great product to satisfy the need. So both the users and the developers both benefit... In that area X-plane has crossed that invisible line. But quality was there even if at first the fine-tuning points are not. So basically the work was always very good, but the real work and talent is in that very last 5% to get that tuning and the quality first rate. Stephane Buon of Aerobask was a real talent this year in not only turning out interesting modern like the Lancair Legacy FG aircraft but refitting out his older work to the 10.30 requirements, and with a flourish even finished off the year with an amazing glider (Antares 20E). The X-Trident team with their amazing Bell - 412 was another great intro. X-Crafts produced his ERJ-195ER that really was a great start in quality payware and Jetsim gave us an Airbus A330-300 with CRT instruments. MLADG gave us some WW2 German fighter experience with the Me 262. And Colimata's Mig-29 blew me away, and on a modern twist AoA Simulations released just lately their F-35B Lighting ll. But the old hand operators still delivered as well. As a group they delivered very deep immersion simulation with always new tricks to get your attention. Reviewing these challenging deep system aircraft is taking longer and longer to deliver your verdict, as you have so much ground to cover. Many need not a week now but weeks to understand and get the very best from and to understand how to fly them to their best performance. Peter's (Hager) Aircraft started off the year with his 3d A320/A321 series, but I was simply a non-starter from the very start. The aircraft no matter how much I twisted my settings could they run on my computer, frame rate was always in the low single figures and I simply had to give up any chance of giving them a fair review. It was the first time I had actually gave up and moved on, something I simply don't like to do. I tried again later in the year with the same results. JARDesign did a few updates till mid-year to his A320 but then left it to focus on the A330. SSG - Supercritical Simulations Group started the year with a bang in the B748i which was a bit raw, but steady and quality time in development brought this aircraft (And the just released Freighter version) up to a very high standard and they now both now sit in that high point quality area. Jack and Joe from FlyJSim did not disappoint with their excellent Boeing 732, another really great simulation and a great companion in your hanger with the B727 Series. FlightFactor also was busy with great upgrades (including engine options) to both their Boeing 777 and 757 series aircraft, and later in the year the release of the amazing A350-900 with a menu system that is just so unique and clever. It had QPAC airbus systems as well, and the very best in airbus laws and protections that made it something really special to fly. It was delayed and frustrated by a very stubborn bug for Mac users? Not a major issue in context, but it simply refused to be hunted down and fixed, as a beta tester on the A350 I spent hours (and hours) doing loops in trying to focus it down, but it still remained elusive. It will in time be usually something very simple that fixes it, but that is not to take away the achievement this aircraft is to X-Plane's quality and position in flight simulation, and a pro version of the A350 is still coming. Hydroz and Khamsim brought out their excellent HU-16 Albatross that was a great aircraft to get your head around, and Khamsin also updated his Mitchell. And I liked the old B-29 from Virtavia and Dawson Designs, strange to fly but very rewarding if you are willing to put in the effort. Carenado had again a huge year with constant updates right through the range and great releases. Putting the updated GNS 10.30 gps into Carenado aircraft was always going to brilliant, and it was. And Carenado also created a unique manipulator system that could change the way we operate knobs and switches in the simulator. great for scroll mouse users, but I found it a bit strange with my one puck mouse. In aircraft it started with the PA-38 Tomahawk, which i simply loved as it was simply a great aircraft to fly. Then came the brilliant B200 King Air, a monster of an aircraft that was then even later over shadowed by the even bigger and more monstrous KIng Air in the 1900D that was just the ultimate King Air you can ever get in simulation. Released in-between these two giants was the Piper PA-46 Malibu and the excellent CT206H Turbo Stationair, which is really the very best single-upper wing aircraft in X-Plane bar none. So for Carenado it was a just that a huge year, and great simulation. Helicopters did exceptionally well as well. You don't get a huge amount of releases in the rotary world. But the quality is out of this world, and 2014 did not disappoint. DMO started it out with a really great update to the S92, now a major player and a great big aircraft to fly. Then came the Bell 407 by Dreamfoil Creations which is quite possibly the very best helicopter ever created for X-Plane, it was simply in every area sensational. But my overall favorite was the B412 Huey from X-Trident. It is still the most addictive aircraft I have ever flown in X-Plane... When you are still flying at 4am in the morning and still wanting to have another go after five hours of flying already means this aircraft totally has your guts and heart at its controls. I now fear going near it as I know I will lose hours or a day if I do so and reviews are then left hanging half done. It is a total love/hate relationship, but the love for the B412 will always win me over. None expected shows for the year are also to be noted. The IXEG 737 classic is still going into another year of development. Real 733's are now going to the graveyard in big numbers and X-Plane still hasn't had any hours behind the controls of one of them, it is now promised before next Christmas... 2015! But still well worth the wait (ing). The EADT x737 3d cockpit aircraft was a no show as well, but the update images show an amazing experience when it does arrive. maybe 2015 will finally be the year of the B737? I doubt the PMDG B737 will join the queue, there was a lot of noise from PMDG in the middle of the year referring to X-Plane and then nothing? So PMDG is slowly going into the "I'll believe it when I see it" zone. JARdesign didn't release his A332 either, but I doubt it is very far away in early 2015. An area I am interested in is the DC-9/MD-80, There was a great freeware release from Roger2009, but three projects were announced and going into 2015 only one in "Rotate's" MD-80 is still ongoing, but what an aircraft this is. If one aircraft should be in your hanger in 2015, it will be or should be this one... looks simply brilliant. Going into 2015 and news of new work is very thin on the ground. Developers are holding their cards closer to their chests these days. But they are all out there work and creating... we will just have to wait and see what 2015 brings us. To wrap up this review of 2014 and the year, I will now list my Best of the Year 2014: Best Aircraft : FlightFactor aero A350-900 Late in the year but an excellent, fully featured and clever aircraft. Honorable Mention : X Crafts ERJ-195LR, A great debut aircraft and expect great designs from this designer. Best Classic Aircraft : Boeing 737-200 Series - FlyJSim As good as the B727 series, but smaller. Honorable Mention : Grumman HU-16 Albatross Really different and versatile aircraft, loved it. Best General Aviation Aircraft : Carenado Beechcraft 1900D King Air Just simply brilliant... thats it. Honorable Mention : Any Aerobask aircraft Very modern and very different, and now a glider as well Best Helicopter : Bell 407 by Dreamfoil Creations/Bell 412 X-Trident Both totally brilliant and very hard to split By design it is the B407, but the B412 totally won my heart. Best Scenery : CZST - Stewart by beti-x and EIDW - Dublin by Aerosoft Both really really good scenery, but EIDW is more usable and functional for everyday use. Honorable Mention : Tom Curtis His work throughout 2014 was just excellent again in scale and detail. Person of the Year 2014 : tdg (scenery) Airport by airport and a release sometimes daily... tdg is slowly changing the face of X-Plane Airports. His facade work is simply overwhelming and sensational, his detailing is superb. How can he do all that work? and in a single day? Honorable Mentions : Philipp Münzel and Daniel Klaue Again Phillipp has touched X-Plane with his brilliance. The GARMIN 430/530 gps in X-Plane 10.30 is another master work and Daniel drives X-Plane forward with his brilliance in so many areas that you don't see... but use all the time. Best Plugin : SkyMaxx Pro Real clouds and real weather. Honorable Mention : TugMaster - JARDesign Finally a really decent pushback truck(s) Best Moment of the year 2014 : Using the GNS 430/530 GPS for the first time. Worst Moment of the Year 2014 : Monday 22nd December 2014? Biggest distraction of 2014 : The none shows that promised us an announcement that never came. Personal Favorites of 2013 : The Bell 412, CT206H Turbo Stationair, 1900D Carenado King Air, B200 King Air in fact any King Air? and the A350-900 and finally flying the CRJ-200 correctly (It is a very long story) So that was 2014... So was it a good year or a great year. Certainly X-Plane grew and even passed the significant milestone of 300,000 users on the X-Plane.org, many will of course churn over and leave, but many are also liking what they are seeing and are joining us and most importantly are contributing to the cause. So we grew as a simulator, a lot and that is a nice feeling. The X-Plane.Org shop was overhauled and ready for 2015. A very difficult and long task, but well worth the effort. So in many ways X-Plane is in great shape for 2015 and another big year in simulation. I will be back with more and a better X-Plane Reviews in 2015, but at this point I'm not sure exactly when I will be actually able to restart? The date above of 22nd December 2014 was a day of "oh hell" as my trusty iMac went into meltdown and totally blew out its graphic chip?, Yes its true, X-Plane actually blew my graphic chip to pieces and that is how hard I have pushed it this year... In fact I am proud to say "I ran X-Plane so hard I blew my computer up!" It works but only in "Slow" mode which means no X-Plane for me at all and I am in denial. When I can get it fixed depends on when the Australian workforce decides to come back from its annual holidays and I can get the parts. Hopefully in the very early days in January 2015. I have to thank Joe Charman for his huge contribution this past year, thanks Joe and to all the incredible developers that provide me with their work and and valuable information to make these reviews work and happen. I am as always in awe in what they do. Finally to Nicolas Taureau and the backing of the guys of the X-Plane.Org that keeps the site running smoothly and give great advice and assistance. So all X-Plane flyers, have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015!... more to come and soon! "Anyone know of any good books to read, while I get my computer fixed?" Stephen Dutton Copyright©2014: X-Plane Reviews
    3 points
  8. Competition! : X-Plane Reviews first anniversary competition and win either a Boeing 748i, 777 or 757! To celebrate X-Plane Reviews first year anniversary we are holding brilliant competition to win either a : FlightFactor/Vmax Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional FlightFactor/Vmax Boeing Aircraft:757 Professional SSG/Vmax Boeing Aircraft:747-8i Advanced Great prizes and well worth a few minutes of your time to enter: Well what we want to know is - "What is your favorite aircraft or add-on we have reviewed on X-Plane Reviews in the last twelve months and why?" Just write in the "comments" below what your thoughts are.... Conditions: Only one entry only, more than one will be deleted... so make it count. You must be a registered as a member with X-Plane Reviews to give a valid comment... "Guest" comments will be deleted. Keep the comment to around 350 words, monologues will be deleted. (unless very funny!) The best three will of course win one of the prizes in no order, Judges decisions are final. The winners comments will be posted as a separate post on the X-Plane Reviews site. Competition runs for 14 days till midnight 14th August 2014 (winners will be posted on the .Org) Have fun and lets us know on how really great the X-Plane Simulator really is. Stephen Dutton X-Plane Reviews Note! to sign up as a member then use the Account link : 1st August 2014 Copyright©2014:X-Plane Reviews
    3 points
  9. My Favorite Review (probably because I'm just a C206 freak) is the CT206H Turbo Stationair review. Located Here: Awesome Detail, great layout and the amount of detail in the pictures. Very good! I really enjoyed reading the play-by-play of the flight. It was very well put together. I really appreciate it when you bring up every slightest detail in the product you are reviewing. I would have never known* that the GPS530 was in a different folder! Giving us the history of the aircraft, as well as specs,and many, many pictures just put icing on the cake. When it comes to detail, you got it for your reviews! In the CT206H Review, you went all the way to awesome when you noted this: That was a cool fact that I would have never known. Carena *Now I do not own the C206 since I have v9. But I am a C206 fan, and I wanted to look at it more for information purposes. I do, however own other Carenado Aircraft. I was impressed that you took careful note of the navigational details of the flight. Examples are: "....and track North East until I was 17nm past to a final 180º track back to RWY 24 at 1200ft." "Using the DIR (Direct) mode on the GNS530 put me on a direct course with the fix, and then when close to NEGEL I did another DIR direct back to EICK and RWY 35...." Of course, the actual play-by-play was not vital information for us who do not fly that same route, but explaining the reasons why you did what you did, I found to be good information for owners of the aircraft to know to help them better know the GPS and IFR equipment of the airplane. I found it quite adventurous reading the play-by-play of the review's flight. I do think that this review fits the bill for the best. It's a great review for a great plane. Over all, I believe that this is my favorite review. I applaud you for the detail, adventure (of the flight) and the layout of the review. Tha onli thang i fownd rong was that u speld "sumery*" rong. Thanks for the great reviews my friend! Toby Rice P.S. I have seen some good posts on this thread. I hope mine (as from my heart as it is) is "up to snuff" for one of those addons you are offering. If I win, I will donate the aircraft to a pilot of an airline of AeroFlight Alliance, through a contest.
    3 points
  10. Hi X-PlaneReviews, congratulations on your 1st anniversary celebrating a year of great reviews. My favorite review… I would put my favorite as the 757 review, very well-done, but because I don't own the 757 in my hangar, my favorite review has to be the Carenado C208B Caravan/Cargomaster reviews. Awesome review, it made a great impression of the aircraft on me, after reading I went to buy a copy of my own. Keep up the good work X-PlaneReviews, and if I win I hope to win the 757!
    3 points
  11. Behind the Screen : May 2021 Noted it is already 1st June... 5 months of the year 2021 have already passed, and where are we? Non-Covid then later this week the FlightSimExpo on the 4th June to the 6th June would have been running in San Diego, but that date has now been moved to September 24-26, 2021. The FlightSimExpo 2021 this time around after the no-go of 2020, was a huge focus on the state of play in simulation and of the whirlwind of the changes surrounding simulation, a sort of "touch base" scenario or to see where we are all relative to all the significant changes of late. But mostly the focus would have been on Laminar Research... would have they released or at least previewed X-Plane12 (or what ever XP12 would be called) this weekend? My gut says they would have certainly previewed or announced the new up and coming simulator version with a razzmatazz do-da at the Expo, right under the noses of Microsoft and their full on desire to show off their own do-da Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS). In other words a head to head battle for users for a certain specific platform or for the cash they deliver, but that extreme clash of the simulation titans will now not happen, or not yet anyway. So the obvious question is? Will Laminar Research still announce the new X-Plane version as per the old SimExpo dates (this weekend), or now wait until the rescheduled Sept SimExpo. It gives Laminar even more time to refine the details and make even more of a announcement splash further on up the road. It is a big question. Laminar has a few options, because historically the northern summer is a very quiet time in Simulation, users are more interested in the beach or fishing than sitting behind a computer, oddly I am in the Southern Winter, but the weather here is just as pleasant as the Northern Summer (If not as perfect) so you want to be outside more than inside with the glorious weather... so would an announcement now from Laminar go simply nowhere? Or if Laminar did announce the new X-Plane version, then they would still have months to refine it and get a beta release under way for the same Sept Expo date, announcing does not mean delivering, but it does start the countdown clock to a reveal or beta release. I left my calendar clear for next week either way, and why? The first five months of 2021 (Covid-19 restrictions aside) it has been in Simulation terms very quiet, they all bubble along nicely, but not certainly with the extreme vigour of the past few years. Again has the Covid aspects been a factor in that, and not in just the health aspects but the actual monetary characteristics as well, personally I don't think so, but much is so out of whack with the virus. But there are aspects that need exploring, and in reality the main players in both MSFS and X-Plane are actually still in a state of transition phase. In the case of MSFS, it has certainly lost a lot of it's release thrill. No doubt the scenery developers are still bowing to the great god for financial salvation, but look closer and the releases are still mostly well rehashed versions of the earlier released FS/P3D product, nothing new to see there, but earlier the volume was absolutely overwhelming and all or mostly it was released at bucket low prices. In X-Plane quality scenery has also gone through the floor, with very little released and mostly only the small regional or just basic airfields to purchase (the quality however is really, really good), certainly there are no mega ports or cityscapes... we are now certainly being punished heavily for our lack of investment in quality scenery... all the big boys have certainly gone, the question is will they come back, and I told you so, mostly in every monthly BtheS edition I did last year. But is the forecasted deal actually or really working out? No doubt the MSFS developers are in it for the really long haul, but will MSFS actually really deliver the bonanza they are expecting or the high returns they expect to build a long term business model on, personally I am already thinking they might already have realised, that the cash cow they were expecting is not actually going to be there or even materialize, gamers are still a very different breed than Simulation users in that they hop-in and hop-out at will, they are certainly not going to spend money to build up long term portfolios of aircraft, scenery or addons like the dedicated Simulator users do. Lately the early year's absolutely full on MSFS release stream of scenery has already dropped to down to a trickle? On aircraft MSFS is still very much in nowheresville. The release of Aerosoft's big bang and expensive CRJ 550/700, was of actually burst balloon proportions, reviews are horrible, but JustFlight have just released their (in X-Plane excellent) PA-28R Turbo Arrow III IV, so there might be finally a decent machine to fly in the MSFS Simulator, but overall the deeper MSFS architecture is just not there for deep grade simulation, as with the original Flight Simulator series it will depend on if the developers can work around this crucial aspect in a 3rd party design, rather than depending on the actual simulator itself. To a point most important X-Plane aircraft are now also independent of the core Plane Maker tools to operate and a few with CEF (Chrome) and xjet are standalone plugins from PM. But I still think the MSFS architecture is again far to different to workaround as it is again based on gaming engines, more than a flight modeling engine to achieve the required depth and dynamics. Yes I actually have MSFS, but I rarely fly it? I have also not even bought a single product in the platform, and that is not because I am being an X-Plane devotee. I am very much in wanting to experience the best in simulation, but to be honest (except for the visual aspects) it leaves me stone cold, I find the flight model very artificial (what is with the bouncing?) and the visual controls are simply impossible, and I certainly don't feel comfortable in the aircraft, but get the feeling of being set removed or distanced from the dynamics... and it has crashed in one form or the other almost every time I have used it, would that overall experience make you want to actually invest in it? I found Q1 2021 frustratingly slow in X-Plane. There was a few nice and very good helicopter releases, but at times I was actually looking for things to review which was very rare activity in the last few dynamic years, I expected the year to bounce off hard, but it never happened, it just stumbled and groaned. In Q2 2021 X-Plane suddenly felt normal again, with three exceptional aircraft releases, Aerobask with their excellent Embraer EMB-505 Phenom 300, followed by the very much anticipated JustFlight BAe 146 Pro, and finally the mind-blowing X-Trident CH47-D Chinook. The really odd thing about those last few X-Plane releases, was the actual sheer depth of their systems and the flight dynamics. Again another level of Simulation, that to be honest pushed my reviewing skills to the absolute limits. So much to learn and so much to operate in the way you fly each of these aircraft, and personally, I know and is still flying all three consistently to trying to get up to each of the aircraft's extreme level of study and skill bases. That is of course great and the aspect of the Simulator still pushing you upwards in your skill base, but it is also highly fulfilling, satisfaction wise. But here is the point. Without those extreme aircraft simulations you don't have a Simulator, and you don't even have a viable Simulator if the developers didn't develop these amazing products, and overall that is the huge chasm between MSFS and X-Plane right now, if you are a serious sim-user then where do you have to be to do deep immersion simulation, the answer is simply of course X-Plane. So the question to Laminar Research is that, can you afford to waste the time to wait till September 21 to get the next version of X-Plane out to an eager audience. Their answer maybe in that "well X-Plane11 is moving along quite nicely", but that is not the point here, push your luck too far and you could lose the overall game, and money. To those MSFS developers in the fact that if X-Plane12 (or whatever) is really, really good, then where should your talents go to. "Look the deal is guys, give us the same quality and scenery as you are giving to MSFS, and we will buy it" but don't try to screw us, were as currently you are giving MSFS better quality and diversity, and at a far cheaper price" That is not fair... if like X-Plane or not, the Simulator delivers where it really counts in Simulation, but the X-Plane12 aspect and Laminar's fancy long-winded roadmap can change the game (so to speak) significantly, because the point is if Sim users can get the realism in aircraft and plugins they require, then the only thing missing is the visuals (and the weather), that is what X-Plane12 in context should finally put right... do you see where I am going! Again I am not going into bat for just for X-Plane, but for the full overall experience of Simulation. If Laminar Research want to face off the might of Microsoft and their wonderkind product in Sept, then build up the momentum before you get to San Diego, than then just trying to overwhelm them (or announce) on the day will not work, because MSFS have a lot to lose, and work the MSFS developers to say that X-Plane IS worthy of your attention, because believe it or not, we do as users actually buy portfolios of your product. After the last August release of MSFS, we are in an interesting place, but actually it will be this coming Northern Summer that will be a setting to the future of Simulation as we know it. Yes FlightSimExpo 2021 in September will still be the epicentre to the clash titans of Simulation, but most significant battles have always been won not on the field, but before and well away from the day itself... it is your call Laminar Research. See you all again next month... Stephen Dutton 1st June 2021 Copyright©2021 X-Plane Reviews
    2 points
  12. Aircraft Updates : Airbus A319 and 321 by Toliss A few days ago Toliss released updates for both A319 and A321, changing and improving many things in the aircraft. Systems were the main focus, adding new features and usabilities. Let's check out what changed. Airbus A319 v1.4 by Toliss The A319 is ToliSS's first add-on for X-Plane 11, which was released in early 2018. This update brought some improvements for the aircraft, like the addition of the Secondary Flight Plan, Fix Info page and a complete rework of the flight path. This last feature resulted in a more accurate computed path. The A319 received other new features which made the aircraft even more realistic. The most noticeable are the cockpit door, which can be opened now, and the addition of a standby whisky compass. This compass is very well made, giving you now the option to show or hide it. Another great change was the ISCS, it was reorganized to be more intuitive. Now you can change the performance calculator between the Active and Secondary, as well as use TOGA thrust. Most people that own the A319 already used the ToteDeMacs textures, so Toliss decided to include them as default in the new version. They are pretty nice, even though I prefer using a grey cockpit texture replacement which will be linked at the end of the review. The PFD colors were reworked, as well as the landing symbology, increasing realism. Toliss also made a few minor additions and changes. For those who don't use the incredible BSS sounds, Toliss reworked the sound balance for better immersion. Brake pedal function with a single axis is now allowed, Pause at T/D now pauses the simulation one minute before T/D, FD and AP now have smoother behavior in managed descent. Small changes to make your simulation better. Airbus A321 v1.03 by Toliss One of the most popular and awaited add-ons for X-Plane now receives its third update, which includes a few minor improvements to make it a better aircraft. Most of the new features are the same as from the A319, smoother FD and AP, reworked PFD colors and a warning, to prevent you from using Experimental Flight Model. The A321 received a few exclusive features like the Tailstrike Warning, which shows up in the PFD during landing. The Engine EPR indication was improved (IAE engine), as well as many other improvements related to the engines. Summary Toliss proved to be one of the best add-on producers for X-Plane, first with the A319 and now with the longer A321. Updates are very important, they prevent the aircraft from getting outdated, at least buys you more time, and always improves it. Both A319 and A321 both received mostly very similar features and improvements in this update, and even though they weren't big or many, they manage to make the add-on better. Probably the main additions in these updates are for the A319 to reflect the changes on the more modern A321. Opening cockpit door, functional compass, better textures and the systems changes that were were awaited for a while, and the wait was certainly worth it. All these features are very nice and make the overall simulation more enjoyable. Now that Toliss has been around for a good time and proved to have very high-quality products, there is no reason for not having one of these incredible birds in your hangar, they are 100% recommendable. ________________________________________________________ Both Airbus A319 v1.4 and Airbus A321 v1.03 by Toliss are available in the X-Plane.Org Store here : Airbus A319 Price is US$69.00 v1.4 Changelog A319_changelog.txt Airbus A321 Price is US$79.00 v1.03 Changelog A321_changelog.txt ______________________________________________________________________ Aircraft Update by Bernardo Pierdoná Casa 19th May 2020 Copyright©2020: X-PlaneReviews ToteDeMacs - Grey cockpit mod for A319 and A321 (Threshold) (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)
    2 points
  13. Aircraft Review : Boeing 767-300ER Professional by VMAX and FlightFactor After the huge success of the late 1950's and throughout the 1960's for the Boeing Commercial Airplane's Company with their Boeing 707/727/737 and Widebodied Boeing 747 aircraft, it was always going to be a challenge for Boeing and keep their lead in the aviation production business to develop and create the next advanced series of passenger jets. Other manufacturers went down the Twin-Aisle three-engined designs that was signified by the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and the Lockhead L-1011 Tristar. Originally Boeing with the code-named 7X7 looked to be going down that route of three engine design, but the Airbus A300 from Europe changed the design to the more common current layout with Twin-Aisle, Twin-Engined aircraft as engine design and power had now progressed to allow big twins to have the power and range over their three engined counterparts in that now highly competitive mid-medium to large-size, long-range market. Still Boeing backed its card hand both ways, not only announcing the Boeing 767 as their Twin-Engine Design to cover the Twin-Aisle market, but to also build a Single-Aisle aircraft in the Boeing 757 code-named 7N7, and both aircraft have a commonality design that was shared over the two different types of airframes, in the thinking that airlines would buy and operate both types with a single commonality rating with a small conversion to the larger Boeing 767. Three variants of the Boeing 767 were planned: a 767-100 with 190 seats, a 767-200 with 210 seats, and a trijet 767MR/LR version with 200 seats intended for intercontinental routes. The 767MR/LR was subsequently renamed 777 for differentiation purposes which was when finally launched a vastly different aircraft for a different market. The prototype Boeing 767 aircraft, registered N767BA and equipped with JT9D turbofans, rolled out on August 4, 1981. By this time, the 767 program had accumulated 173 firm orders from 17 customers, including Air Canada, All Nippon Airways, Britannia Airways, Transbrasil, and Trans World Airlines (TWA). On September 26, 1981, the prototype took its maiden flight under the command of company test pilots Tommy Edmonds, Lew Wallick, and John Brit. This version in the FlightFactor/StepToSky release is the The 767-300ER, the extended-range version of the 767-300. Which entered service with American Airlines in 1988. The type's increased range was made possible by greater fuel tankage and a higher MTOW of 407,000 lb (185,000 kg). Design improvements allowed the available MTOW to increase to 412,000 lb (187,000 kg) by 1993. Power is provided by Pratt & Whitney PW4000, General Electric CF6, or Rolls-Royce RB211 engines. This aircraft is the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 version. FlightFactor/StepToSky FlightFactor and Roman Berezin has no need of introduction for most fliers in X-Plane Simulation. Their Boeing 777 WorldLiner and Boeing 757 Series have made them the very best of the Boeing designed (and official product) available for X-Plane. Their foray into Airbus territory with their Airbus A350-900 also shows the design group's versatility. Here with the Boeing 767-300ER FlightFactor still uses the talents of avionics designer Phillipp Munzel, but are also now joined by StepToSky designers Denis Maslov and Alexander Khudekov, but the full development team is thirteen highly specialised individuals coming together to create this highly developed iconic aircraft the.... Boeing 767-300ER Review You couldn't cover every aspect of this review with a simple walkaround the aircraft and point to point flight like I usually write, because different points of the flying pointed to different areas to be explored. So this review covers three sector flights, not the quite Golden Triangle of some of the busiest air routes in the world between BNE-Brisbane (Queensland) to ADL- Adelaide (South Australia) to SYD - Sydney (New South Wales) and finally back to BNE.... MEL - Melbourne (Victoria) missed out because I wanted the longer stretch sector to Adelaide and the longer one back to SYD. When in service (All Boeing 767 aircraft have only earlier this year have been retired by QF Qantas) in the past three decades with Qantas these routes were its main service points (and also PER-Perth) and I have flown on a lot of flights on this aircraft over these routes. So there is a little mixture in the look of some images in this review here as they are taken not in order as I usually do, but overall throughout the three distinct flying sectors. External There is a distinctly different feel to the Boeing 767, yes it looks like FF's Boeing 757 and B777 series aircraft and that design feel is certainly strongly still prominent. But there is a different technique at work here in the way the aircraft's outer-skins are presented. The design of the fuselage is simply exemplary, but what you are looking at is in fact two fuselage's in objects. The usual standard inner version, but now also another object fuselage built over it. This outer object creates a brilliant shine over the aircraft (a sort of holy grail in X-Plane) and gives you (another X-Plane holy grail) great chrome surfaces. These reflective chrome areas are noticeable around the inner front wing surfaces and in the front areas of the engine inlet cowling surfaces. Certainly static images do not give these reflections a good representation of their quality and shininess, but they are very, very good. Externally the aircraft is excellent, how much detail do you want? how much more can you include in small detailing details? To highlight the sort of detailing you have here we will focus on an area, which is the wings and undercarriage (to cover every detail would take a small manual). leading edge and trailing edge wing design is excellent, fully detailed and animated. The B767 uses a unique inner flap arrangement called a "Hinged Beam Four Bar Linkage" with Fowler flap, because of the interference of a drag problem the linkage has a shallow but wide fairing which was small enough to allow it to fix the drag problems. A variation was used on the Boeing 777 in the "upsidedown/upright four bar linkage" flap system. The Boeing 767 wings are swept at 31.5 degrees and optimized for a cruising speed of Mach 0.8 (533 mph or 858 km/h). Each wing features a supercritical cross-section and is equipped with six-panel leading edge slats, leading single-and double-slotted flaps, inboard and outboard ailerons, and six spoilers. Inner wing detailing is overwhelming, only when the wing is fully extended do you get the full detailing shown, amazing detail is what you get for your money today. The B767 here is one of the best yet. As is the undercarriage design, complex and fully animated you get every link, pipe, nut and bolt in perfect harmony, it is simply a miniature version of the real gear system, but the real aspect of this undercarriage quality is in the motion of their working sum of parts, put the aircraft down in a heavy side wind and you see the whole system working to its maximum, the gear compresses and wheels work with the tarmac, and even the Hydraulic piping will flex and move to the gear movement. You can spend hours with replays watching the motions in action. So external design is extraordinary good, every fuselage join, rivet, and body construction is perfectly realized, smaller items like pitot tubes, aerials, rudder and flap joints are all there to look for and see, only slight blemish is the front strut lights can shine through the doors, which is common theme with most X-Plane aircraft (noting a Laminar Research issue and not a developers one). There is the choice between the old original straight edge wing design and the newer upturned Aviation Partners blended winglets. Internal Internally it is a quick glance left into the cockpit, but let us have a look at the cabin first. Two class cabin in five across in two - one - two first/business and seven across two - three - two in the main economy section, all blue seating is very 80's in seating design. Cabin is well designed and laid out, the fittings look the period that the aircraft was built in and the overhead lockers are tiny compared to the huge bins we have today. Overall the cabin is excellent. Cabin has "Dynamic windows" (shades) that open and close to the angle of the sun like on the FF B757, but here you have the option of turning them off (thank you), for the windowhuggers the view out is excellent, early versions of the FF B767 had very dark orange opacity window view, but thankfully for the release they have been made a lot clearer and more enjoyable. Cockpit first look. The cockpit experience is astounding, this aircraft is not fully "cold and dark" because it is waiting for a transition crew to take it on to Adelaide. The surrounding cockpit does feel different, but sit in the captains seat and it all suddenly becomes very familiar. If you already have the FlightFactor Boeing 757 Series you will find this view and all the controls, knobs and switchgear just like home, everything is the same and the only changes are the ones you can't see which is the aircraft's weights, fuel loads and fuel burn, all round the aircraft is of course heavier than its cousin in 99790 kg (220,000 lb) for the Boeing 757 which has a Max - takeoff weight to the higher 179168 kg (395,000 lbs) GTW for the Boeing 767-300ER. From a pilots instrument perspective this is not a complicated aircraft, there are only the same basic tools that you would find on even a regional turboprop aircraft. It is in the setting up detail that makes this aircraft a professional machine. This aircraft had some of the early glass style cockpits, not the full sized panels you see today, but the early style cathode ray tube (CRT) designs. These screens were and are fitted here usually two CRT's and the top smaller one is for the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and lower CRT is is for the MAP/NAV display. Two more larger CRT's cover the aircraft's performance and status are situated mid-panel. The rest of the instruments are standard clockwork gauges and dials. We will get a better understanding of the PFD/NAV displays when flying, so I will pass over them for now. But the standard gauges and dials are on the Pilot's/Captain's side far left is the main Airspeed dial (KNOTS/MACH) combined and below is the Radio Distance Magnetic Indicator (RDMI) that shows DME-VOR/ADF distances and with dual needles display (switchable). Right of the CRT's is the "Autoland Status" which can be switched to Auto1/Auto2/Manual on the OHP. Below is the Altitude indicator with barometric settings. Lower is the Vertical Speed Indicator from 0 - 6000fpm, bottom is the timer/clock. Centre are three standby/backup dials in Artificial Horizon, Airspeed dial and Altitude indicator. Autobrake setting knob is here as well. First officer right side position has exactly the same instrument layout, but there are a few extra dials and displays in a "Brake Pressure" dial, TAS/Cº display, Gear up/down lever, Flap position display (1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 30 degrees) and engine thrust parameter limits selection panel (also known as "thrust management". As noted the panel looks complicated but it is really quite a simple layout. Autopilot (AP) is very standard Boeing, so if you have flown any Boeing flightdecks then you would be very familiar with the layout, like the B757 each end of the AP is a frequency setting (VOR 1/NAV 1) left and VOR2/NAV2 right) both CRS (Course) setting knob are here as well. There is slight (very slight) differences on the OHP (OverHead Panel), but the familiarity aspect is very strong. All areas on this FlightFactor aircraft are covered in systems and switchgear, the panel is very comprehensive in detail. Main panels are Electrical, APU (Auxiliary Power Unit), Hydraulics, Electronic Engine Control (EEC), Inertial reference, Oxygen, heating (external and internal), Air-Conditioning, Bleed and Pneumatic air, Cooling and anti-ice, call panel, Fuel and aircraft lighting. Pedestal (or Aislestand) is well laid out as well, The central Throttle (engine reverse), Stab trim, flap lever, speed brake lever of course dominate the panel, The two start/cutoff fuel control switches are buried at the rear of the throttle set. EFIS (electronic Flight Instrument System) panels are available for both Captain/First Officer and again a replication and use of exactly the same units on the B757. Engine, Cargo and APU fire controls and main radio communications panels are mid-section, rear is the ADF/NDB frequency dials and that difficult to find VOR1/ILS frequency radio set (click lower knob to activate). far rear is your Aileron/rudder trim wheels/knob. There is a right side rear service panel, that is for observers and monitoring general aircraft systems. MCDU and Flightplanning MCDU (Multipurpose Control Display Unit) in the Boeing 767-300ER is one of the best in X-Plane. Bulletproof and well designed, you can easily programme in your aircraft's operating parameter's and route planning. Both Captain/First Officer MCDU's pop out for ease of use and are independent of each other. You can use it on your iPad as well and there is comprehensive instructions provided on the way to connect X-Plane to your iPad or if you already have that installed for the B757 system, the same one will work here also. Setting up the route is very easy, select your departure (YBBN) and arrival (YPAD) airports, select your RWY 19 and SID (Standard Instrument Departure) and "Trans" point in my case LARAVALE "LAV", sometimes you may be required to select from a selection of NAV-AIDS to select the right one is to look at the co-ordinates. Then input your route waypoints and I tend to go for DME-VOR and NDB fixes for ease of input and distance measuring. On ARR (Arrival) you select RWY23 your STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route) which is the opposite of your SID and here it is "BLACK SIX" (A note is that I usually have to edit a STAR section to get the best approach, shouldn't have to, but I usually do?), when done then EXEC or activate the FlightPlan, you can save your route and also use flightplans you created in the FF B757 by moving them to the Plugins/767Avionics/routes file (the routes are in the same place on the B757). You can check your route by in the EFIS select PLN mode for the NAV/MAP display and press "SELECT" R6 Key to move down the list. To get the best performance out of these aircraft it comes down to the way you programme and set up the aircraft with weights and balances, you get help of course which we will come to in a minute. But the professional serious pilots of you out there know the good nitty gritty is in the minor details of flight planning. To show the serious depth of programming in performance with the FF Boeing 767 it is how much detail is now available for you. It is certainly important to set up your aircraft's weights and fuel before doing the final calculations in the FMC (Flight Management Computer), if not it can alter your flightplan and it will need re-editing to fit in the new settings, worse it can ruin a STAR approach and you will need for serious editing to get the correct flow to lineup with the runway. But get the W&F numbers right and there is bounty of information at your disposal. One such area is the option of using "ECON" performance. this data will fly the aircraft at the best "Economy" performance to save fuel and give you the information covering the best Climb (CLB), Cruise (CRU) and Descend (DES) and best flight altitude and speeds, transitional speeds and it is clever stuff. Positional reports (even when sitting at the gate!) and Progress data is all at your disposal and is updated right to the conclusion of the flight. But it is in the real details of the FMC that is excellent, the small things that make this FMC certainly the very best one out there in X-Plane Weather and terrain radars are not new, but this version is more adjustable and more powerful than the standard X-Plane version, you can test the unit as well to see if it is active and adjust the beam up or down to to get the best perspective that you require more on them later. Menus Another FlightFactor aircraft and another different Menu design. But this is a better version than the X-Plane menu bar approach of the B757, as this B767 version is based around the iPad or Electronic Flight Bag as many are called. You select the iPad by the smaller version in a pocket on the left of the Captain's position, and it pops up on the top right of your screen, X-Plane menu and key access (recommended) can also be used. The iPad can be moved around the screen but be careful as it can disconnect you from the cockpit controls unless when moved you re-click on the cockpit area background. The iPad has seven different tabs in : General - Ground - Airplane - Failures - Avionics - About and PA (Passenger Announcements) Main tab is "General". This tab selects all the general settings of the aircraft to select more realism or just general flying details. Items you can selects are: High challenge – sets the frequency of custom failures (none, low, high) Real limits – set the structural limits of the aircraft Real time – set the time periods needed for some physical processes f/o in control – the pilots default position is the right seat Throttles block – sets the special throttle block option Advanced windshear – sets the windshear simulation so it can appear in specific weather conditions Mouse wheel – alternates between 4 modes of mouse wheel usage (zoom, rotate, click-rotate, click-rotate-click) Interflight data – sets the option to remember data between different flights (e.g. oil qty, oxygen qty and others) Charts on – turns on the chart on yoke option (read bellow) Hide yokes – hides the yokes Realistic sound – sets the volumes of in-cockpit systems to realistic levels (instead of a mode familiar sim levels) Real weather radar – alternates between a familiar full square radar and a realistic tilt-level based system All settings and preferences can be saved, which is a huge bonus when resetting up for a new flight. Main aircraft volume can also be adjusted here as well. Second tab is "Ground". Ground is split into two areas upper for external operations and lower for aircraft weight and balance management. This is a very comprehensive tab, with a lot of settings and configurations. You have a lot of ground support vehicles, stairs, buses, fuel truck, de-ice truck, Air Start Unit (ASU), Loader (LSU) and gate configuration to park at a airbridge. On early FlightFactor aircraft these ground vehicles were really good, but now they are really feeling their age. They actually now look odd at western airports as they seem more eastern European in design, X-Plane has moved on with more current designs and the de-ice truck looks a little hokey... You can save and recall your favorite support vehicles configuration. Push back is built in here and we will get to that in a moment. Ground "Maintenance" is needed to reset the interflight data – oxygen and hydralic fluid quantities, starter usage counters etc. To make it easier the (very) top of the overhead panel there is a special flight counter which tells you how many flight have passed from the last maintenance. The lower panel is a very comprehensive way to set up the aircraft. You can set up your "passenger load", "Cargo" and "Fuel Weight". and you get the final weight and balance numbers to reflect your choices. CoG (Centre of Gravity) can be set automatically, but I found it to biased to the rear and making the aircraft nose light? The fuel truck has to connected to load in fuel, but when ready if you push the "LOAD/UNLOAD" button the aircraft will load up to your preferences. This can take a little time and with a lot of noise going on behind you, but it is very authentic. If you want to just change the cargo and passenger loads you can just do that by pressing the "RETOUCH LOAD" button. But there was one slightly annoying thing with this arrangement. And that if you are not resetting the aircraft from "cold" then you have to "UNLOAD" everything in passengers and cargo (or wait ten minutes) before you can then load up your new flight preferences and wait another ten minutes while everything is reloaded that is all going on board, meanwhile you can't finish programming the MCDU/FMC data because the final weights are not yet completed? It is I'll go and get a cup of coffee time while you are doing all this unloading and reloading business. In normal arrival and departing conditions it is fine, but in starting a new simulation it is a bit of a waiting game... All custom weights and balances preferences can be saved and recalled. But it is a very powerful setup system, and better than past FF aircraft arrangements. Next menu tab is the "Airplane" menu This menu selects the aircraft items. On the left is the option of the movable cabin window blinds we mentioned and the option of standard wing tips or the newer winglets... Either choice is great, and the detail on the non-winglet version is still to a high quality. Three menu selections covers the "Wingflex" and this does not need to be set very high as it will be a little to flexible, only a small amount on the left is recommended, "Reflections" again you don't need a lot of glossy reflections as it looks odd with a sheen across your screen that looks unnatural at mid to high settings. "Effects" can be set low as well. All settings can be saved and are configured the same the next time you load up the aircraft. Lower panel is the aircraft doors. spot click all passenger and cargo doors including that small lower cargo hold for oversized and last minute baggage. This Boeing 767 has a great upward sliding door animation that is extremely authentic. small great touchs that make this aircraft really great. Next tab is "Failures". As you use the aircraft it will start to produce failures that have to be rectified via the "Maintenance" selection... I didn't clock up enough brownie points to set this in motion... Next is "Avionics" Another big tab of settings, but at this point the dark ones noted here are not yet functional. EADI options include (PFD), EHSI (ND) and EICAS displays options. EADI Airspeed tape – this will set the airspeed tape in the EADI (PFD) FMA on Top – this will set the FMA on TOP for the airspeed tape. This options is hard connected to the airspeed tape options Integrated cue FD – this will alternate between the integrated cue flight director and the crosshair FD Advanced radio altitude alerts – this set the advanced RA alerts Round Dial RA – this set the round dial RA ILS deviation warning – this sets the ILS deviation warning Rising runway – this sets the rising runway option Trend vector – this sets the trend vector option on the airspeed tape (requires the airspeed tape option to operate) EHSI Modern EFIS panel – sets the EFIS panel type (with or without TERR and some other options). Automatically set the EGPWS type Heading up map – enables the heading up map TAS and GS – sets the true airspeed and ground speed readouts ADF pointers – sets the ADF pointers Range arcs – enabled the range arcs Digital wing bearing – enables the wing bearing indicator EICAS FF display – enabled the fuel flow readouts APU oil qty display – enables the APU oil quantity readout Hydraulic pressure – enables the hydraulic press readouts APU RPM – enables the APU RPM readout BULK temperature – enables the bulk cargo compartment temperature readout Brake temperature – enables the bake temperature readout and warning boxes Tire pressure – enables the tire pressure indication PIP FMS This setting will alternate between the classical style FMS and the newer PIP type. See the FCOM for more detail EGPWS – this will alternate between the old style enhanced GPWS system which generates the warning text and has only the standard look-ahead display and a newer system which also has the peaks mode. Lots of detail and settings available, you can see why you need time on the airframe to get the best settings configured to your own perspective. In the "About" tab everyone takes a well earned bow, it take a lot of talented people to create a modern X-Plane aircraft in today's highly detailed simulation world... This is were your money goes. The last tab is the "PA" (Passenger Announcements) Released on the FF Boeing 757 series, these are quality (meaning very long) announcements, which are great to use and use them a lot I do. Just watch you are not disconnected to the aircraft when you select the tab, and you can kill an announcement or change the announcement volume by the knob on the radio panel. Checklists and Tutorial The Checklist and Tutorial menus are not on the iPad, but still like the system on the B757 which is on the X-Plane/plugin menu bar. But nothing is missing here and very good they are. You get a full startup and flight checklists that turn green when items are completed, and auto start functions are here as well and a complete reset page to clear the checklists for a new flight... four tabs represent: Normal - Procedures - Operational - Resets. Flying the FlightFactor - SteptoSky Boeing 767-300ER You would think that starting up a huge airliner would be a long procedural business, in fact it is quite the opposite. Warning beacons on (red), main fuel pumps on, Cabin Air-Conditioning off (for engine bleed) and to note I am using the ground start air-compressor not the on board APU. Then select Ground (GND) start and finally the "Engine Start" switch to either 1 or 2, I need at least one engine running to take over from the GPU external power. The centre MFD panel "Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System" (EICAS) will come alive on the start up engine, let N2 build to 25% and then flip in the "Fuel Control" (flow) switch and the engine will then complete the startup process to idle. When both engines are running then clean up the bleed/Air-Con and turn on the aircraft's engine power supply (DC) and disconnect the external GPU and High-Pressure Units. Startup sounds are extremely good and APU and air-conditioning sounds are constant in the aircraft, and it is weird when you finally shut down the aircraft later on how quiet or noisy it actually is. The pushback truck is built in and a very good one it is... Select push or pull and let off the brakes to move. You have full throttle and yaw control if you use the keys or a joystick and throttle system, so placing the aircraft correctly for departure is easy. Only slight visual issue is the truck does not fully turn on the front gear, so the aircraft tends to drag the truck sideways? But the turning wheels on the PB truck are a nice touch. YBBN - YPAD On the taxiways the aircraft is nice to manoeuvre around but watch that length it is a big aircraft on tight taxiways and hard turns, however the perfect taxi speed is easily found... anyway you are to busy enjoying the "PA" announcements to the passengers. ATC clearance and 15º flap selected and your rolling by pressing the THR (Thrust button), on rotate Flaps up a notch and gear up, switching to SPD and Autopilot (AP) on and LNAV/VNAV are selected. The aircraft has plenty of power and I have a high takeoff weight, so climbing above 2000fpm is not a problem for this aircraft. Your friend is the "Thrust Mode Management" panel in setting TO/GA, CLB, CON, CRZ and DERATE 1 & 2. If you programmed the MCDU correctly the Thrust Management will control your engines for the maximum performance and you certainly do feel the differences. The sheer amount of information in route data and engine data available to you is extraordinary. PROGRESS page gives you perfect updates on the route and DIRECT TO is available when required. Finally at cruise you can breath out and relax. One major thing that you feel is the absolute complete environment of this Boeing 767-300ER. The way you look through those lovely port-holed windows but mostly via the aural connection of the aircraft. I have flown on many aircraft and on the B767 many times and this aircraft is the one that really captures that feeling and the very sounds like the real aircraft... it sends goosebumps up your spine in the reality of it all. I have not been a big fan of FF external sounds (very clicky), but with the "realistic sounds" option on they are a lot better here. but internally they are excellent. Only slight annoyance is still that FF cabin communication "pinging" that you can't seem to keep happy. So is the FF B767 different from the FFB757? From the cockpit yes it does even though the panel layout is the same, and it is a very different aircraft in many respects, more depth and the FF B757 was very good there. The B757 feels darker and far older than the brighter surrounds of the lovely B767 cockpit. It is 2h 30min flightime between BNE to ADL, but it felt longer with the "real time" option on, and yet the clock is right. Pretty soon you are coming over the Adelaide Hill's on the "Black" STAR approach path to RWY 23. FF created the best aircraft noises and this B767 does not disappoint on landing, throttle changes are excellent and wind noise with gear extraction is amazingly realistic, almost distractingly so, you are working hard on the pre-landing procedures and these great sounds are surrounding you with detail... realism par excellence. You are working hard but the aircraft delivers, one natural thing is that the Boeing 767-300ER is just a very nice aircraft to fly, perfectly balanced and you love being at the controls... Landing sounds are exceptional, thrust reverse can be set up so your add-on throttle will allow you to control the amount of thrust you need to stop, but pull the thrust back and close the doors before rubbing off to much speed as you will lose too much momentum as the reset period to forward thrust is quite high, if you want a bit more realism I recommend SimCoders free "HeadShake", but use it sparingly and at minimum settings. Back on the ground and you clean the aircraft up and say goodbye to the passengers, the B767 has such a great visual impact in X-Plane, just a damn nice aircraft. At Gate 14L the unloading of the aircraft works for me, but while the noise is going on behind me the reloading was now starting to start and I am working hard to finish off the reprogramming the MCDU for the next sector to SYD (Sydney), a top up with fuel is also needed but turnaround time is 45 minutes and you have a lot of work to get through... YPAD - YSSY Departure from YPAD is via RWY 23 and this is a great opportunity to test out the terrain radar which is a major feature and independent of the standard X-Plane version. The system notes the high ground to the left of the aircraft, and the radar in the nose is adjustable up or down to give you the feedback you want, the sweep of the radar beam on the CRT is really well done and is highly realistic. There is one notable aspect in that the PFD instrument has no Altitude or V/S tape, there is the speed tape but you are looking to use the standard clockwork dials for the Altitude and V/S information. This EHSI (Electrical Horizontal Situation Indicator) is a little disconcerting at first as you are so used to having both items fore and centre, but you do get used to it and it makes the display less busy to use, there is still a wealth of data and information in there and the Localizer deviation scale and pointer (Horizontal) and Glideslope deviation scale and pointer (vertical) still appear on landing. Pitch, and Rate of Roll displays are excellent as is the Flight Director cues. Lower MAP/NAV screen is highly configurable from the EFIS (electronic Flight Instrument System) panels and have all modes including VOR, APP (Approach),MAP and PLAN, switchable to the ROSE mode for heading flying. The display will also show the above Terrain/Weather displays. Weather On the face of the displays the Weather radar looks like the current default X-Plane version, but it is not. This weather radar is a totally new thing in X-Plane all together. It creates extrapolated 3D weather data and shows cross-sections using tilt and gain. Also shows windshear and turbulence visual data. It is controlled by "weather Radar" panel on the pedestal and this negative and positive look down feature into the weather is excellent. Rain and wind effects are very good, the raindrops drip realistically down the window and then go horizontal as the speed grows, the wipers will clear away the drops and only have them reappear as the wiper moves past and returns. Combined with the radar you get a great all round poor weather conditions till you break through the cloud ceiling and altitude. Route information to YSSY is again top notch. Note the T/D (Top of Descent) point which I found exactly spot on for my descent speed of -2000fpm. One sector to go at YSSY back to BNE and it was another offload... reload and re-programming the MCDU and weights and balances for the lighter load and shorter distance flight back to Queensland. YSSY - YBBN Enroute you can can access pages within pages of data. Helpful is "Wind Forecasts" for different wind altitudes, and that wind data is also translated to the flight PROGRESS (page 2) data. Aircraft cruise (CRZ) ECOM data (page 2) is also available. So you can see that the correct programming of the MCDU is critical in many areas of flight for performance and visual data, this is one very intelligent aircraft. that flies to very specific inputs and weights and balances. We are almost around the triangle and landing back in Brisbane is only a 20min away, and as the light is falling, let us look at the aircraft's lighting. Lighting FlightFactor was one of the pioneers of great internal aircraft lighting and the Boeing 767 here is very good. The only odd visual note is that the panel is more yellowish than the AP panel. It does give it a different visual look and you can certainly find that right point for having limited reflections for takeoff and landing in the dark in four different lighting adjustment knobs. On saying that if you turn up the lighting inside the cockpit the window reflections are excellent and highly realistic. Overhead in two forward spot (chart lights) and two rear main (Storm) lighting fills the cabin with great working light in flight or setting up on the ground. Power overhead (OVHD) lighting gives you full cockpit illumination. Rear Cabin is brightly lit and very realistic, feels very good and adjustable too. External lighting is slightly compromised by Laminar Research's blobby v10.45 lighting, but with HDR on you have a lot of different lighting tools at your disposal. Night view from the cockpit is amazingly realistic, your in the zone and to deep into your landing procedures to look out of the windows, you work hard in here, but the feedback and realism gives you an adrenaline rush... Finals and the cockpit again fills with the huge noise of rushing winds and gear down lights. Forward lighting is very good and the runway is well illuminated. You have three sets of turnoff lighting and with the main, taxi and turnoff lights running you light up the whole area around the cockpit... The view for taxiing is excellent and the lighting is powerful in selecting the right line around tight taxiway turns. There is excellent wing/Ice lighting, but a strange deal on the tail logo light. There is a logo button, but the tail lights don't work? Then on the ground turn on the wing lighting and it comes on, turn off the wing lighting and the logo stays on? weird? It is not centre either on the logo... Three sectors and four ports and it is a big day flying, no doubt the Boeing 767-300ER is one challenging but hugely rewarding aircraft. Liveries You get (noted as "Free") liveries, including: American Airlines, Air France, Garuda Indonesia, British Airways, Star Alliance Lufthansa (a strange choice) and Canadian Westjet. There are also nine livery packs available at $US10.00 per pack, noted are: Asia 1 & Asia 2, Europe 1, Europe 2 & Europe 3, Middle East, North American, Oceania and South America, that is altogether over 100 + liveries for the aircraft... Summary The basic conclusion to this Boeing 767-300ER Professional is that in every way and every department it is a step forward in X-Plane simulation. Three areas stand out though, the sheer depth and complexity of the aircraft and its systems, it is certainly another level again and the amount of data you have at your disposal is breathtaking. The aircraft's design quality and the weather (Radar and Terrain), over gloss and chrome features are other stand out features. Third is with all this huge amount of detail, design and the sheer amount of code that must be in the aircraft and yet.... yet it is so frame-rate friendly, so light on your computer, that alone is a significant amount of genius. Negatives... minor but there are a few niggles, It takes a long time to set up for flight, there is a lot of inputting and detailed areas to cover, so it is not a jump in and fly aircraft by any standards, but creating routes and saving them can really help in reprogramming the MCDU, but your work is certainly cut out in there. The ground vehicles are looking a bit out of date and wrong in a modern airport context, a bit 60's Eastern Bloc. That cabin crew constant communication "pinging" drives you mental, yes you are required to satisfy its needs but a lot of "pinging" 500ft out from landing it is more like "just shut up and sit down" The biggest point to make is that many uses will note that the Boeing 757 has everything the Boeing 767 has and certainly why bother as the cockpit is the same anyway. That is like saying here that my brother or sister is the same as me because they come from the same parents. They are totally different aircraft, and in fact the familiarity is actually a bonus as you don't need to relearn that side of procedural process, but in every other way, in feel, in use and certainly in the depth of the simulation they are quite different aircraft, and you will fly them for different reasons. Overall it is the feeling that no aircraft comes closer to the real aircraft in feel and sounds than this one does, start it up and fly, and your memories come flooding back of being on the real machine, up there high... yes it is that realistic. The best heavy aircraft in simulation in X-Plane, well that is a big call for this excellent Boeing 767-300ER, but certainly it again raises the standards to another level again in every area, it is not in the first look that it really delivers but in the minute detailing of systems and programming and flight performance, in that area it is simply outstanding. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Boeing 767-300ER Professional by VMAX and FlightFactor is NOW! Available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Boeing 767-300ER Professional Price is US$64.95 Features Flexible Options A very flexible architecture : You chose the set up Different options for many avionics instruments including two types of FMC. Options to composite your own EICAS, EADI and EHSI displays. Most of the options included in the real 767 Checklists and 'Autohelper' Full electronic interactive checklist with automatic action detection. Automatic mode 'Helper' who performs all the actions for you, you just CHECK the items. A tutorial which shows the user what to do and when. Perfected Flight model Accurate flight model, as close as it gets to real performance. Tested by real pilots and translated to X-Plane A dynamic and customizable center of gravity that depends on actual cargo and passenger load Fully Functional Professional FMS and EFIS System Custom Flight Management Computer, integrated with other plane systems. Custom programmed LNAV logic for terminal procedures from updatable database. VNAV-managed climbs and descends. Optimum cruise performance and step climb calculation. Two independent analogue instrument sets for captain and first officer. Two independently simulated EFIS (EADI/EHSI configuration) for captain and first officer. Dual-FMS with two independently working CDUs. Working instrument comparators. Triple IRS and triple symbol generator systems with realistic instrument source switching. Dual air-data computers with custom failure modes and source switching. Independent 2 nav and an ils recievers. Realistic inertial, radio and GPS position updating, you can see the individual inaccuracies of those systems. Triple-channel autopilot with realistic dependencies. Fail operational and fail passive auto land with mode degradations based on system failures. Load company routes generated by Professional FlightPlanner X (or other compatible programs) directly into the FMC. FMC can be used on external touchscreen or tablet, optimized for the Retina iPad. Custom Systems and Failure model Detailed and deep simulation of almost every system in the real aircraft. Custom air and pressure system. Electrical system with all AC and DC busses modeled - see which system depends on which bus. Hydraulic system that uses a little fluid when treated correctly and a lot of fluid if used incorrectly. Multistage custom failure system - over 200 more failures than X-Plane. Ability to fix failure by following proper procedure. Persistent failure and maintenance system. Aircraft wear and misuse will carry over to your next flight. Warning system and radars Fully functional GPWS with all the modes the real plane has. Fully functional terrain radar, with custom database (just like the real plane), a look-ahead warning system and many other features. Weather radar that works like the real thing. Including tilt and gain functions, ground clutter, turbulence detection and windshear prediction. 3D Modeling Accurate dimensions based on exterior drawings provided by Boeing. Very detailed exterior modelling with high resolution textures. Very high resolution 3D cockpit with every switch functional. Spatial rain simulation with high detail. Very detailed passenger cabin graphics including galleys. Additional graphic features: real working oxygen masks both in cockpit and cabin, dynamic window blinds that react to sunlight etc. New and improved wingflex. Special effects Multilayer dynamic reflections on all glass objects. Reflective metal and plastic objects in the cockpit. Glossy exterior that reflects the outside. XP weather enhancements like custom windshear. ______________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download aircraft file size is 2.27gb - Liveries 426.20mb. Installed file size is 2.6gb Authorisation key is required, and I highly recommend a desktop startup when Key activation is complete. Notes: You will need a lot of time to programme the aircraft before actually flying it. Documents : Both a Official Boeing B767 Operating Manual and FlightFactor aircraft manual and Remote CDU set up guide (iPad). I also recommend to download this: B767_Flightdeck_and_Avionics guide 14.6mb for a more quicker overview than the extensive official manual. B767_Flightdeck_and_Avionics.pdf Requirements : X-Plane 10.40+ (any edition) running in 64bit mode. Windows 7+, Mac OS 10.9+ or Linux 14.04 LTS or compatible. 64bit mode 1Gb VRAM Video Card Minimum. 2Gb+ VRAM Recommended. 3Gb+ VRAM Preferred (Note aircraft is exceptionally good on framerate, playback is current with similar sized aircraft and features) ______________________________________________________________________ FlightFactor Developer Support : FlightFactor 767 Professional ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 12th December 2015 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”- 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb- Seagate 512gb SSD Software: - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.42 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : Headshake Scenery or Aircraft - YBBN - Brisbane International by tdg (YBBN - Brisbane Airport 1.0 - X-Plane.OrgStore) - Free - YPAD - Adelaide International by Chris K (ISDG) (YPAD Adelaide Airport Photo Scenery 1.31 - X-Plane.OrgStore) - Free - Adelaide City Scenery by Chris K (YPPF Parafield Airport and Adelaide City Photoreal) - Free
    2 points
  14. Hi, I would get the A330, even though the A319 is way better. I don't have the A320, and won't get it in a while. Payware add-ons here are almost 6x more expensive. But I have the A330, which is one of my favorites. If I was you, I would get the A330, because it is different from both A319 and A320, which are very similar. One thing is for sure, you need to buy the BSS sounds, independent of the aircraft. Your simulation will get WAY better.
    2 points
  15. Aircraft Review : Airbus A350 XWB Advanced by FlightFactor Of all the battles for supremacy in commercial aviation then nothing is going to compare with the twin engine market. It already has been a ding-dong battle between the Airbus A320 Series and Boeing's 737 Series and between them they have racked up thousands of sales, ongoing now is the next generation in the A320neo and the 737max to battle it out over the next few decades. A size up in aircraft category is also very complicated, as each manufacturer in Airbus and Boeing are both trying to lock in certain sizes in what is known as the "Big Twins" of the market. The Boeing 777 Series in dominating the market in replacing the veritable Boeing 747 has been very successful, but as airlines move away from the large hub and spoke model and back again to the original point to point services, then what was bigger is now not always better. Point to point markets demand very economical and high frequency services and to fit tightly the 200-350 seater markets, known as long and thin. The Airbus A330 filled this market, but its range and now being an old aircraft by today's standards and is also uneconomical, it's problem is that the -200 version has the range at 13,400 km (7,200 nmi) but is in the 250 seat market in a two class layout, the -300 can reach 300 seats but its range is restricted to 11,300 km (6,100 nmi). So one or the other don't fit. Boeing's solution is the 787 Dreamliner in 7,850 nmi (14,500 km; 9,030 mi) for the 250-300 seats with the -800 version and sweet spot 8,300 nmi (15,400 km; 9,550 mi) 280-330 seats with the -900 version. That slots the B787 nicely below the Boeing 777 and the coming 777X and fills the market. For Airbus it has been a two pronged attack to find an aircraft to fit below the A380 and go head to head with the Dreamliner and even the lower hanging fruit of the older 777's. Their solution is the A350-800 with 275-300 seats at 15,300 km (8,260 nmi) and the -900 at 14,350 km (7,750 nmi) with 280-350 seats, and the -1000 to cover the 350 - 370 seat market over the same 14,800 km (7,990 nmi) range which is B777 territory... and to just make sure to fill in all points just below the A350, the A330 will be updated to the neo (New Engine Option) to bring that aircraft up to date and competitive. To change things around and make life interesting the -900 version has been produced first to fill in the gap above the B787-800 and go head to head with the B787-900 and the -1000 version will be next for first flight to go for the B777 replacement sales of the earlier built and well into service aircraft. After the nightmares of the A380 development. Airbus could not want to have any problems in getting the A350 into service and quickly and as efficiently as possible. The timetable was tight, but Airbus in a way played it safe in using the tested, tried and true components from the bigger A380 and not going for a full composite fuselage like Boeing did with the Dreamliner. The results was an almost perfect first flight that was on time and date, and a testing program that ran almost like clockwork, the aircraft received its type certification on 30 September 2014 and the FAA certification on the 12 November 2014, and it is expected to meet its EIS (Entry Into Service) with Qatar Airways due 13th December 2014 with the first commercial service on the Frankfurt - Doha route in mid-Jan 2015. At this point the -1000 version of the A350 with a 15,600 km (8,400 nmi) and the 350-370 seats range is due next as the -800 version has stalled with the A330neo option filling in the gap quicker. Cathay Pacific expects to take delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000 in February 2016. The biggest battle confronting the A350 XWB is it's in service performance figures. Naturally the A350-900 will go almost head to head with the B787 Dreamliner in many markets, but the Dreamliner has a major advantage in it has a 20% reduction in fuel costs. Take this ANA Seattle-Tokyo leg for example as a 747-400 needs at least 136,000kg (300,000lb) to make that trip. The smaller, leaner 777-300ER needs nearly 100,000kg. But the Dreamliner, the only needs 63,500kg for the same Pacific crossing That is less than half of the B744. Yes they are in some ways different sizes of aircraft but the Dreamliner still has a notable 20% operating cost advantage. And those figures will certainly note the end of the B747's reign once the larger A350-1000 and B787-900 become more prominent around the ramps. The B787 does certainly have an operating cost advantage, but its still weaking 98.3% despatch reliability is going to be Airbus's number one target of the EIS of the A350 and its subsequent in service reliability and more importantly also meeting those high % percentage operational savings will only then mean a full order book or the success of the A350 XWB program. FlightFactor Aero No one doubts the quality of FlightFactor aero aircraft. Their Boeing 777 and 757 aircraft have been hugely successful and clever in the extension of the different variants in the "Extended" packages. The surprise was the change to another manufacturer in European Airbus in their next project which is this Airbus A350 XWB. Another challenge was the fact that Airbus aircraft are very highly intergrated with their Fly-By-Wire and Flight Control Laws, the two Boeing's were very good if not excellent in their flying characteristics, but the Airbus is completely a very different animal and only a few developers can or have been able to duplicate these complex systems for the X-Plane simulator. The best is Torsten Leisk that contributed to the QPAC Airbus A320-232 and Peter Hager's Airbus A380 Series, and here the flight laws and associated airbus fly-by-wire systems have been used in this FlightFactor A350 have been created and enhanced for this next generation of aircraft. In other words you fly the A350 more closer to philosophy and laws of flight than any other Airbus aircraft yet developed for X-Plane. FlightFactor aero have also with this aircraft created a new category or have split their product line into two separate types of aircraft in professional models (i.e. B777 and B757) and now another in the “advanced” version in that pro models have like lighting effects, particles, menus, high HD 3D graphics, textures and totally fully functional cockpits, and the "Adv" versions are noted as not so in depth but are still as hard to fly as the real machines. But in all but most cases here this "Adv" aircraft is still a very in depth simulation and the aircraft delivers more on flight and systems than most other aircraft in this price range and category, in this case you will not or never feel wanting there is something or a lot missing in the operation of the A350-800. Design wise with the aircraft power off the A350 XWB is very well designed and developed. detailing outside and inside is excellent, but I found the modeling slightly dark and more so inside. Airbuses have a very bright but grey corporate look about them and it is hard to get any directional light in here to lift the gloom a little. That is not to take away the excellent design work on show here. It is first rate and the best you can have today in X-Plane. Detailing abounds... look at the ailerons with no hydraulic pressure to support them... they all droop down. Why bother doing that? but this is the sort of detail you have around you, and excellent it all is. A start up will give you standing figures around the aircraft, this gives any ramp a busy feel and is well done. The A350 aircraft is a hard aircraft to model in the fact there is not that much information available except what Airbus gives out with their promotional material, there is no official documents and no in service details to gauge how the aircraft performs or is configured to everyday airline use. Remember FlightFactor would have started this project with even less data than what is available now. In that context they have done remarkably well, but we will have to forgive if in a few areas (and certainly in performance) that the numbers can be slightly off until the official ones start to drip through. Same is to be noted if a few things are missing or slightly wrong with the modelling. On the surface it looks absolutely perfect and very well detailed. Some small items look slightly odd at first in the fact the rear bogies are positioned front down and not rear down as with the B747 hanging undercarriage system. It is correct and so you can be sure if items like this are correct then other details are to. But close up the undercarriage here is surpremely well done, you expect a lot from a design of this price range and the A350 XWB does not disappoint. Powering up the A350 XWB Nothing will really work until you give the aircraft power if you want the full immersion of starting from cold. On the overhead (OH) panel there are two main and two backup power battery buttons. With power supplied you then need to set the ADIRS (Air. Data Inertial Reference System. ) which are three switches top left of the OH panel. Unlike some Airbus (JARDesign) aircraft there is only a short time frame for the ADIRS's to align. You have to tell the ADIRS the current position of the aircraft. This can be done two ways with the easiest by pressing the "Force Align IRS"on the "Options" page on the menus and that will align the aircraft to the its current position and start up the ND-Navigation Display. The second option is to select the FMS (Flight Management System) on the rear of the center console (it pops out) and insert your current airport (LFBO) and your destination airport (FAJS) in the FROM/TO box. This will then ask you to "Align IRS" and set up the alignment in that option. A350 XWB Displays The A350 comes with six large display screens. (left to right) Capt Outer OIS (Onboard Information System) - Capt Inner EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) which has the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and the ND (Navigation Display) - Center Up is the ECAM (Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor) that includes the ED (Engine Display), SD (System Display), Permanent Data, Mailbox and WD (Warning Display) - Center Lower is the MFD (Multi-function Display) which displays the same information as the two outer OIS's - both right displays are a mirror of the Capt's Inner EFIS and and outer OIS for the First Officer. The Lower MFD function is the same as both the outer OIS displays These three info displays also have a "Cross Pointer" (on the real aircraft displays) that can be aimed to select functions on the screens, some areas on the screens can also have direct input from the keyboard when required. There is another selection for Mouse Users that have scroll wheels... You can select "Manipulate" to scroll, or "Zoom Only" to use the mouse for normal selections. I use the standard single click mouse select way. (the scroll is set in the "Manipulate" state when you start up). You also have the choice to have the FlightFactor Crew visible all the time or just from the outside view The Lower MFD and the OIS displays can be changed around on both the Capt's side and the F/O's side, not only in their actual position but the inner screens can be switched around as well with the buttons on the pedestal. Noted as "Capt OIS on Center" to move from the outer OIS to the center display and "Display Cycle" to move the smaller split screens around on any of the displays. This makes it very versatile for having the right screen where you need it, I liked the Flight-plan switched around on the right side next to the PFD, and all the panels "pop-out" for ease of use (visually) if you need that function and selection. Display Menus The MFD and OIS displays have a lot of menus, almost overwhelming in detail and far too many to do in absolute complete detail here... but we will cover the main areas. Top left are the main seven menu selections in: (Options) - Ground Service - Weight and Fuel - CAB(in) Announcements - Users Guide - Charts - Options. We start with the "Options" page that it is not related directly to the A350 but the noted FlightFactor options. You can set the speed you want the simulation to go at in "Time Flow", Difficulty Level, Structural Limits, Baro selection, Default Trans Altitude (direct input), ILS Auto Alighn on start up, Draw lines and Flushing option to default, Auto Pause, FCU Font, MFD Control (the pop-up screens) Mouse Wheel (Scroll) and Auto Helper. Other menu choices are "Auto Cockpit set up" that does all the hard work for you in setting up the aircraft, "Force Align IRS" (see above), "Jump 100nm" and "Jump to next Waypoint" both of these options require the flightplan to be loaded in the FMS. You can adjust the overall sound levels and save all these "Options" settings as default for future use or use the "Restore" to the default option settings. Ground Service: The menu is split into three selection pages in: Doors & Hatches - Ground Equipment - Pushback. Doors & Hatches - Pushback There is a big menu screen that will open and close all the aircraft's doors and cargo hatches. Just select the door you want to open via a tab on the menu. All doors and hatches open and close with a very vocal sound that can be easily heard from the cockpit. You can also "Open" and "Close" all doors and hatches in one selection. The "pushback is very good and simple to use... You have the choice of either to "Push" or "Pull" and selecting one of these will call the tractor and hook it up ready for use. Brakes off and the you can steer and use your throttle to control the tractor. Ground Equipment Ground service covers all the equipment attached to the aircraft or servicing the aircraft on the ground. The first left column is all the equipment available to service the aircraft (return to that in a sec..), The second centre column is the power provided to the aircraft in two GPU's (Ground Power Units) that can be accessed on the OH Panel and required if you don't start up the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) on-board and either one or the other power source is required to set up the aircraft. The High-Pressure Unit (ground cart) is used to start the engines (or you can use the APU) and can have the AIR or Air-Con to cool the aircraft. Third or right column is the Maintenance Items (not available with this version). You can select "Stairs" to put a set of stairs at each front left side doors, Or press "Plane at gate" to put a single set of stairs on the rear left door. You wish you could select each door on the left for a stair as the two at left front feels like too many or simply have one at the front and one at the rear, but you can't. The rest of the ground equipment is a smorgasbord of vehicles and equipment... available are - Chocks, Passenger Bus, Fuel Truck (required for loading the fuel), Luggage Loader, Air-Conditioning unit, ULD Train and a Cleaning (Food?) Truck. All these items make it a very busy area around the aircraft and certainly give a great turnaround service feeling to the simulation. Weight and Fuel Here you have three menus that cover both Passengers and Fuel to be loaded (or is loaded) on the A350. First in "Passengers" you have an excellent menu to select passengers/cargo and set the aircraft's weight. You have four classes to select from and choices of cargo containers "96" Pallets and "LD3's". There is the simple option to select either Light-Middle-Heavy loads that fill the aircraft in one or the other configurations and load your preferences, you can clear the aircraft in one selection as well. Selection of "Fuel" can adjust your range which is handy because even with a light pass/cargo load can still mean a long range is required between certain long distance point to point flights. You can also cover all the other variations like with contingency and alternative requirements. Then you can load the fuel (Fuel Truck required to be attached) and you can see the loading from the ECAM displays on the flightdeck. When done you will have your correct final aircraft weight and see the fuel distribution. Third is "Cabin" where you can adjust the lighting and check out the trash and water levels. CAB (cabin) Announcements You will have a great time playing with the cabin announcements for your passengers in the rear cabin. There is a lot of choice, but the announcements are very low and inaudible sometimes? Just select what you want announced and press the play button as many times as you want to and annoy them. The cabin is very well appointed and designed in those four classes and the A350 has a great bar and passengers!... a few anyway in the first two classes, and you certainly notice the XWB (Extra Wide Body) of the aircraft with all the space inside. Users Guide There is a great built in users guide, that is a manual as well. It is also provided in a .pdf version if you like me use it on an iPad. The User Guide is very highly detailed, with the best way to set up the A350 in X-Plane with features and settings including the (plugin) "key" settings in the X-Plane "Keyboard" menu. For the biggest part though the manual (Users Guide) concentrates on the A350's systems and details, but there is no item by item descriptions on start up or instrument adjustments. A good companion to the user guide is a full checklist selection, that goes through every item to checked off or needs to be (you just have to know where they are), and itemises each selection as you work your way through the highly-detailed checklists. I recommend to study them to understand them all before using them in a current simulation, if not you will spend too much time sitting on the ramp working them and the positions of where everything is located. Charts You have Jepperson charts on your OIS, these are .png images of each chart page and that means you can't just drop in a .pdf downloaded from the internet. There are instructions in the aircraft folder on how to create your own charts and how to insert them for use... Charts provided are for airports: EBBR - EDDF - LGAV and LZIB. Options is the main menu... MCDU The MCDU (Mulifunction Control Display Unit) is positioned at the rear of the pedestal, and as noted it pops-out for convenience. The MCDU is a quite a simple but powerful affair on the A350. It is certainly not as comprehensive as the FF B777 or B757 versions which are replicas of the real FMC's on the Boeing Aircraft. It is noted that the later "Professional" version of the A350 XWB will have a full working Airbus MCDU. But you are not lacking here in the required basics. In fact it is quite clever in mating the real MCDU to this X-Plane slanted version. The bonus is you can load an already created X-Plane .fms plan from your current flight-plan folder and the MCDU will take care of the rest. You may sometimes have to do the odd join-up in clearing out any F-PLN DISCONTINUITY's to complete the flight-plan and have to also create your own SID/STAR's but I found these items easy to do and sometime far easier than spending hours trying to match up the correct SID/STAR to start or end a flight-plan. I found it just easier and faster to get the damn chart and input the fixes directiy. INIT You load in a .fms plan on the INIT page via the RK1 (Right Key 1) " F-PLN gives you your Flight-plan and you can scroll up or down through the fixes and Nav-aids. You can add in the "Overfly" (waypoint) preference if you want to as well. And input any speed/altitude constraints on the route. And you use the "Scratchpad" for input. You can see the flight-Plan on the OIS if you switch the displays around and it is excellent there for following the progress of the flight. The centre fix of the Flight-Plan will show on the ND (Navigation Display) if the NAV switch is set to PLAN. DIR DIR-TO (Direct-To) you have the direct-to option and the MCDU give you a list of options PERF You can insert your performance constraints in v1,vR and v2 and select your TRANS ALT in Transition Altitude. Thrust reduction/acceleration altitudes and temp FLEX that not must be below the outside air temperature OAT. PERF pages include: Take Off, Climb, Cruise, Descent, Approach and Go-Around. Like noted the MCDU is quite comprehensive where it really counts and gives you quite a lot of control over your performance, so the pro's will not be lacking in their ability to input their own constraints and performance tables. Ditto for the learners of this style of FMC in that it is also extremely easy to set up and fly this aircraft and learn the basics on how MCDU/FMC's work differently from a standard X-Plane FMC. It is well worth filling out all your MCDU data and complete in your preferences in every "single" box. Not only for the obvious in the way the aircraft performs, but also that the data is reflected on the MFD/OIS displays. You can't stress here enough of the importance of the pref data in the way it affects the flight of the aircraft. There are not a lot of entries by comparison to aircraft of this nature, but every data entry is important in the way the aircraft's performance at takeoff and the in the landing. You have a huge selection of data available from your OIS or MFD displays, In many ways it does mirror what is on the MCDU, and you can input directly into any of these data pages and load even your flight-plan. But the MCDU is quicker as you can do the same inputs on different pages that the MCDU will do once, and you could actually miss a page because there is so many. The Menu is the same as the MCDU buttons in: F-PLN - PERF - Fuel & Load - WIND - INIT, sub-menus cover a myriad of items about performance and your GPS positioning, radio settings, waypoints and fuel. It is really a nerd's heaven in cockpit management. Your Flight-Plan is one of the best features to monitor. You can select and install it just like you do in any X-Plane FMC (using the MCDU as noted is quicker) But it is the amount of information displayed that keeps you happy in the small hours. And also gives you the biggest note that will actually be there and still flying in the wee small hours? It is important that you set up your X-Plane "Time&Date" slider in how you want to do the flight... Living in Australia I will set my T&D to early morning or Zulu time to fly in the day. But as all you long-haulers know, the time you leave is calculated to the time you arrive, and here the A350 gives you an advantage, because it not only notes your time at every waypoint on the route but your actual arrival time! And here it is a mind-numbing to bed late 02.28 am in to the next day (or night), more cleverly is that it adjusts as you fly, so if you adjust the speed or have bad headwinds then the time will change to reflect that. So on one flight I lost 9min ETA in a speed change. You have to note that the actual time does not sync to your T&D until wheels up, which is slightly annoying, but once in the air the information is priceless including an update of your fuel load at arrival. It also notes your full distance and each waypoint distances. So you can see the importance of giving the aircraft all and more importantly the right data for the flight, the more data entered then the more information you get back. A350 Cockpit Except for the six display layout which is really the extra two OIS screens on each side, the panel and instrument layout is pure Airbus, If you know the layout of one and even the A320 layout then everything here will be in exactly the same place or position. The only item that is different is the Braking selection in "Autobrake Armed RTO" is a button press for take off and for landing you only have to adjust the braking action to the runway conditions. The PFD is the standard display with Speed and altitude tapes and V/S (vertical speed) on the right, The artificial horizon with turn indicator and landing ILS bugs are also standard issue. The PFD has the noted Auto-Pilot modes, alpha protections and flight director bars and in the lower section is the trim and flap position. Next is the ND (Navigation Display) with LS-VOR-Nav modes and ARC and PLAN and standard zoom adjustments. On the OH (Overhead) the aircraft comes with full systems in Top to bottom, Fire, Hydraulics, Fuel, Electrical, Air-Conditioning - Bleed, Anti-Ice and APU-Lighting, I recommend to read through the comprehensive manual on all the aircraft systems, because they are very well detailed. The center ECAM gives you a full display of all the systems and warnings, visual displays cover: Engines, Doors, Wheel, Fuel, EL/AC, EL/DC, Hydraulics, F/CTL, APU, Bleed, Cond (Air) and Press. All systems are functional and superbly reproduced in the center upper display. All pure airbus. The only real disappointment is that you can only fly from the Capt's side? you can't switch or control the aircraft from the F/O's side? and you miss that functionality. The Autopilot (AP) panel is standard Airbus, but you can only select one item at a time on the ND, you can have your Waypoints or your Nav-Aids but not together. The A350 also has the new X-Plane function of "Pull" or "Push". You can have the aircraft in "Selected" mode "pull" or manual selection or "Managed" mode "push" or automatic by the AP. Just make sure you know which mode you are in. The NDB/VOR selection for the MAP display is here in yellow. Central pedestal has the Radios, but it is in the MCDU that you set the frequencies for the VOR and ILS Nav-Aids. The ECAM selection buttons are here as is the flap selector in five selections: 0 (retracted) - 1 (1+F) - 2 - 3 - Full. There are 12 slats, 4 Flaps and 2 droop nose devices on the leading edge. Speed brake lever that is quite notchy to select the "Armed" position, so make sure it is engaged on the WD. Engine start is under the throttles to select engines IGN START (1 or 2), The throttle levers are really well done and have all the airbus modes A/THR - FLEX - TO-GA zones. The Reverse Thrust (toggle) is set either as a key or joystick activation on the X-Plane setting "thrust_reverse_toggle" (not "thrust_reverse_hold" like I usually do). To use you pull the throttles back to idle on contact with terra firma, then select the REV toggle (button or Key) and then throttle up to provide the REV thrust. Then Back to idle when required and re-key to disable the REV-THR. This system gives you great flexibility on how much thrust you want to provide for the REV thrust. Undercarriage actions and animations are first rate. But you have to get the landing right with those forward tilted bogies, the point the rear wheels touch if you get it right should be level with the runway, but it is not as easy as it looks, and they will trip if you get the first set of tyres on the tarmac before the rear set. (on a side note, you have to contact correctly... if you touch down too lightly the thrust reverse doors don't operate?) Lighting The internal and external lighting is first rate. The cockpit is a nice place to be for any period of time. It is not that highly adjustable with no moving focus lighting, but still very good with a spot light directly over the pedestal which is very handy. I found a nice sweet spot in just showing the edges of the panel with the overhead lighting as you get a dark panel with just bright buttons and displays with the setting of the overhead turned right down. And lighting in the footwells which most developers don't do. The reflections are very strong (but very good), but that requires an adjustment of the lighting to see out or landing at night. External lighting is excellent. Nose (known as take-off lights) and Wing landing lights and Taxi lights, There are very good Runway turn off lights and Wing scan (Ice) lights that light up the leading edges of both wings, both strobe and logo lights can be set to auto or manual on/off and in the right livery the logo-tail light looks excellent. The rest are the standard Nav and Beacon lighting. The cabin lighting is adjustable via the OIS menu "Cabin"and it is very good, but full brightness is to bright, and this menu also shows other items that are related to the cabin and door status. Liveries There are eight liveries with the A350 XWB package that includes a White (default), Home, Carbon and Qatar Home. The first four liveries are related to the A350 testing fleet, the other four are the airlines: Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and a (Tulip) United. There are sets of 10 liveries you can purchase from different regions of the world that includes Oceania, Africa & Middle East, Asia, Atlantic, Europe 1, Europe 2 and Pacific. That adds up to 70 liveries plus the 8 with the aircraft. Quality is very good but not every airline (like Qantas) are flying the A350 XWB. Flying the A350 XWB The Airbus is extraordinarily interesting to fly... To a point you do allow the systems to do the work for you, but it is in the way the aircraft does this that makes it interesting, and how X-Plane now is seeing such great programming in flight. If you have flown an Airbus flight system before then you know how easy it is to set up... set your altitude (32,000ft) and just give the speed and HDG (Heading) buttons a push each to set them ready into "Managed" Mode. One of the great features here is the VD, or "Vertical Display" on the bottom of your NAV/MAP display. The importance (again) of programming the MCDU is highlighted here. If your flightplan is installed and the prefs "preferences" are filled in then the VD will show with the zoom out over a distance your profile of the climb to your set cruising altitude. The aircraft is very good at finding the very best climb rate (pitch) known as "Op Climb" (Open Climb). The aircraft will over the climb to altitude change the V/S (Vertical Speed) to match the conditions of the climb. That includes the points you retract the flaps and your transition point. Takeoff is brutal, and you can climb easily between 3,500ft per minute to 4,300ft per minute, or in other words almost straight up. Certainly if you have a heavier weight the aircraft (Open Climb) will adjust to the load factors. It is then important you match the correct high pitch on leaving the runway or you will get alarms or the aircraft when you activate the autopilot will pull the aircraft nose up to match the required Op Clb profile. Once you have left hard stuff and 300ft at the right pitch, then you select the AP1 (Pilot) and ATH (Auto-Thrust) and bring your throttles back into the "A/THR" detent or "THR CLB" on the PFD and the aircraft will then go to the flightplan and correct climb speed while managing the correct thrust and climb rate. To a point it is like riding a Saturn V, you are just sitting there as your climb profile adjusts to the correct vertical speed and is constantly adjusting the speed to flap retraction and transition altitudes. You will find around the orange marker the V/S will drop to about 1400ft per min and then resume when the speed has built up back again to a faster position to 3300ft per min till it again resumes a more relaxed 1600ft per min and continues forever on climbing upwards. Spread out your zoom into the distance and your waypoints (fixes) are noted with the climb profile all the way to your set altitude. At fixes heading changes then pull the zoom back to 10nm and note the curve of the flightplan to the new heading. The aircraft will turn with a smooth grace along the flightplan line. After the initial FL320, I stepped up to my final cruise height of FL365. Sounds are very good right through from start-up to cruise, I did find them a bit whiny in the cruise mode and after a period of time they gave me a slight earache. But high-pitch sounds don't agree with me, so that is personal thing... but I'm not that crazy about it... I have been 100m behind the nozzle of a Dreamliner and these new-gen latest high-bypass engines are whisper-quiet "is it actually running?" is how quiet they are, we may need to hear an A350 XWB to see how different they really are. You have dual adjustable screens Nav/Map screens, which are great for different perspectives on the landing pattern. And the VD (Vertical Display) is used the same way as the half-moon line on the Boeing 777 to target your initial and final approach heights. The landing brakes are set to their setting and shown on the PFD as: BRK LOW - BRK 2 - BRK 3 - BRK HI (High), the 2 or 3 is medium in the old way. Note the smooth turn curve at a low speed and height, it banks the aircraft perfectly for a final approach. On finals I took control of the speed and selected, "Selected" mode and 160knts, the purists will roll their eyes but I found the aircraft going too fast in "managed" mode or 270knts and needed to pull that speed back to get ready to align up the runway. You however don't really move out of "managed" mode on descent, So I found it was very important that the QNH "nautical height" is set on the MCDU (FMS), to set the QNH correctly for the aircraft is to also set and adjust the speed to the height (or pressure). Flying an approach with the QNH set correctly was very different than if it was not set, and the speed was then controlled perfectly in the descent. Handling at low speed is very good, the aircraft will depending on the weight will land even as low as 140knts, the A350 does tend to point nose (pitch) down on the ILS and that can create the issue of pulling the aircraft nose up to flare... but that can be quite compromising in that if you get it wrong in to much high pitch you will suddenly balloon and float (X-Plane issue) or land nose wheel first (not enough pitch) the middle (perfect) position is a bit of a feel to find at first, but possible and easy after a few landings. Once down and after the armed speedbrakes have activated, then activate the THR-REV (key or joystick button) by opening the REV doors and powering up the throttle. I love the control this system gives you on the amount of thrust you want... off the throttle and then rekey the REV doors to close. Once at taxi speed you can then clean up the aircraft and head for the stand. Summary It is in a way a contradiction the A350 XWB from FlightFactor aero. It is massively detailed and certainly with the menus and systems, but there is a simplicity to it as well. It is a clever contradiction because it covers a lot of bases from users that are new to simulation and others which require the very deep immersion that you expect from aircraft of this price range. The A350 will keep both camps very happy indeed, but it is not as deep or as involving as the Boeing 777 or Boeing 757, but then again it is not meant to be either and maybe the "Pro" version will fill in those small gaps. Like many aircraft released today for X-Plane the A350 XWB is another aircraft that the more you put into it then the more you receive back out again, It is very deep into systems and menus, so a bit of study and flight pre-planning will go a long way in getting the depth that will reward you, so a good start is putting aside some time to study the (excellent) manual that will certainly help in understanding the aircraft and get the best out of it. likewise it is also far easier to quickly set up and fly (certainly with your flight-plans being X-Plane .fms plans) that can allow you to set and fly a flight in a very quick amount of time, even from a cold startup. So you won't be spending a hour or so programming the FMC, if you don't have any saved routes like you do with the B777, B757 or JARdesign's A320neo. However the total replication of a FMS (Flight Management System) like on the B777 and in this case the SID/STAR component is missing for now, do you miss this? well yes and no, no doubt we want the aircraft to be an almost perfect duplication of the the real cockpit, but the ease of programming the route and flight prefs does make it far quicker and gets you flying almost immediately. I miss the First Officer (F/O) point of view of flying the aircraft, and the option of switching from the Capt to the F/O for takeoff and landings, you can assign the joystick to either position, but it is for a visual point only and has no control (or movement on the F/O side). For value, the aircraft is very well priced even if it is as noted not the full "Pro" version, I found the aircraft more feature loaded and with great quality than most aircraft in this competitive price range. Features abound and you will be the happiest pilot on the ramp of any hub with the way you can set up and service the aircraft. I like to fly the whole deal from start-up to shut down and everything in between including loading and unloading the aircraft. It is not just the flying in simulation that counts, it is the total experience.... and in that department the A350 XWB does not disappoint. In the flying experience it is very Airbus with the fly-by-wire, alpha protections and control laws, It has the best X-Plane Airbus plugins and you will want for nothing. This is the very best in Airbus flying yet in those perfect airbus automated procedures and laws, even if the aircraft does a better job than you... and that is the Airbus way of flying. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Airbus A350-900 XWB Advanced from FlightFactor is NOW Available from the X-Plane.Org Store. Price is currently US$ 49.95 : Get the - Airbus A350 XWB Advanced - Here Livery packs at US$10 for ten liveries are available here: A350 Liveries Include: North America, Oceania, Africa & Middle East, Asia, Atlantic, Europe 1, Europe 2 and Pacific. Documents and Install, Download is 209.10mb, that is unzipped into your Heavy Aircraft Folder of 309.40mb. The aircraft will only fly in X-Plane version 10.30. You have to insert a key to activate the A350 XWB, and it is highly recommended you totally restart and reload the A350 XWB from scratch from the desktop. To align the (SASL) plugin correctly. Features Fully custom aircraft systems (elec, hyd, air cond, ADIRU, etc.) Fully custom ECAM monitoring system with all screens and functions included Fully functional airbus style alert system with multiple status and procedural lists Fully functional interactive airbus electronic checklist system Airbus a350/a380 unique “touch screen” interfaces with dozens of screens and hundreds of functions Fully custom and unique MFD (multifunctional display) system with most of flight planning pages implemented in a new graphical interface, as well as FCU and radio backups just like on the real plane Full OIS screen system with options, ground equipment control, passenger and cargo loading, and even a full user’s manual inside the plane. Old style MCDU and fully functional aux instruments as backup. Full FBW with Highly realistic implementation of the Airbus “normal law” by QPAC – the most realistic fly-by-wire implementation for desktop flight simulation. In v1.0 an advanced flight planning interface (based on XP native data) Basic SID/STAR implementation using X-plane fms-files that you can create yourself and share with the community. "What you see is what you fly" flight path indication on the ND (i.e. curved trajectories with the turn radius properly computed based on speed and angular turn distance.) Implementation of all Airbus AP modes, except some non-precision approach modes (Selected and managed modes, speed constraints respected, "at or below" contraints in phase climb, "at or above" constraints in phase descent.) Full PFD and ND displays with fully independent display and different data sources for the captain and copilot displays. Independent autopilots Many new options like scroll wheel support for switch manipulation A very advanced 3D model with HD textures and complete and animated mechanics. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 7th December 2014 Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews Technical Requirements: Windows - Linux Fully Supported Mac: Beta version at this time only - Please only buy the Mac version if you feel you can be a beta tester. 1Gb VRAM, 4Gb RAM Current version: v1.0. Last updated: December 7th, 2014 Updated store# Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.30 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose - Soundlink Mini Scenery - LFBO Toulouse-Blagnac - Aerosoft (New X-Plane.OrgShop US$21.50) - FAJS O.R. Tambo International Airport - tdg (Free .Org)
    2 points
  16. I am disappointed that so many users don't get the issue that although the A321 looks the same as the A319 and yes they use a lot of the same components, the actual work and time required to put each together is about the same (it is not what you see modeling wise that counts here), NO there is not going to be a discount and NO why should the developer after all his hard work do so anyway, this is just X-Plane being very mean again and not supporting the simulator or their developers. The aircraft is worth it's full value!
    2 points
  17. NO, it isn't? The user had, had effects on by using the rain effects, when he turned them off and made them equal and they were exactly the same, it is fundamentally the same aircraft just a little longer... different users have different setups that effect their frame rate, plus in most cases they don't know what they are actually doing, then react and basically broadcast crap. As a reviewer we test everything in a set, set of conditions to get the right results, we mostly always ignore these wildcard idiots and their wild statements. Framerate is basically different to everyone in X-Plane on your system set up.
    2 points
  18. Aircraft Review : Embraer E-Jet 170LR Evolution by SSG Supercritical Simulation Group's (SSG) first release was the Embraer E-Jet E-170 back in 2013. At the time of the release the aircraft was a step forward with many good ideas and features and the aircraft flew very well. But in X-Plane times move along quickly and what was once good can be average in a short space of time. But the basics were good and certainly with the external model, but the internal cockpit quickly showed its age. So here is the "Evolution" of that aircraft in the "E-Jet 170 Evolution", yes the word is in there to represent that this is a complete move forward in from that original concept and SSG have also kept the best of the original design and have completely redesigned the weaker areas and incorporated also the best ideas and features of their Boeing 748i Series aircraft. From the outside the E170LR Evo looks pretty much the same, and so it should as it was a very pretty aircraft in the first place. But the external design has had quite a significant makeover, detail is multiplied by a huge degree. Certainly a few major items have been retained like the landing gear, but overall the differences between the two images below as they are now vastly different.... as a highlight look at the detail and rivet work around the front cargo door. Just look at the door hinge and the wing light assembly and even the text is now readable. The cockpit has had an even bigger makeover, from the old... .... to the Evo new No trickery or Photoshop effects here, just the different versions in the same place and time. You can see how dull the displays are compared to the brightness of the new versions. Certainly a huge advance over the earlier displays, and I really like the inner lighter to darker surrounds in the Artificial Horizon area and the new Vertical Profile feature. But there are two things that are to be noted. The text is in "bold" and not the ordinary "regular" and that makes the text look bloated and more blurry than it should, and all the displays don't have any cockpit reflections, which is standard-normal today with aircraft in this price range. Otherwise you are looking at a complete redesign of the panels, textures and only a few small panel items are carried over. Overhead panel looks better as well. Old version on the left and the new Evo version on the right, and in content nothing is different, but everything is new including the overhead map lights. Centre pedestal looks the same, but again the refinements are discrete but highly effective, the Communication Panel shows the higher detail. One thing is very different on the pedestal though is the FMC, we will get to that in a moment. Menus The Evo's menu's have had a big makeover. In the original the single menu was covered by a grainy view of the rear cabin, which looked a little crappy. Now you have a twin option display and a third position with a blank screen. First options page (1) covers the external items in: Doors, Pushback and GPU - Show/hide: Yoke, Seat, Rain and Stair - Field of View and select lbs or kg. (All doors and windows are available on Custom Key sliders as well if required.) Second Options page (2) covers aircraft setup with: Aircraft payload with % percentages, ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight) & Payload weight, Payload settings and Fuel load and defuel. You can do the fuel either manually or use the FMC for loading. The options now available on the Evo are great, and are far better than the small list on the Original version. All doors now open, including the front and rear service doors. Lower cargo doors are also now usable as well. Cockpit windows can also be opened (below), but only on the menu and not by the usual handle grab and pull which feels odd. Excellent GPU (Ground Power Unit) and an outstanding feature is the excellent stand/stairs, with the great idea of when you change the livery the logos on the stand also change... Brilliant! Pushback truck is very well modeled, but is that stick pendulum action that is used on SSG's B748i which I am not crazy about, it is hard to use as you can only control it (forward/Aft) by the menu and you can't look in two places at once... you need key options to make it effective. Both the Yoke and Captain's seat can be hidden, but with both out you have quite a hole in there, one click also hides both yokes. Cabin The cabin has been overhauled with a more modern dark/grey look with snazzy lighting compared to the more late nineties look (above left lower). It looks very nice but there are issues with the movement from the flightdeck rearwards. Open the door and use the X-Plane keys to head to your seat and there is gap between the two virtual sections, sometimes you get through but sometimes you don't... It gets weirder in finding your view out you find missing pieces of the aircraft and in this case the airbrake spoilers (above right lower) are missing? With a lot of the cabin blinds either closed or half open your view selection is also limited. Beacon shines away on the ceiling as well. Flying the E-Jet 170 Evolution Route: KATL (Atlanta) to KDCA (Washington National) DAL375 is the perfect route for this aircraft, a hop to the upper eastern seaboard in a shuttle service from Atlanta to Washington. The E-Jet 170LR Evo now comes with the functional Honeywell Primus Epic 1000 FMC that is housed in two Multifunction Control Display Units (MCDU) at the top of the pedestal. This version is provided by Javier Cortes under the FJCC banner. The FMC faceplate pops-out for ease of input and use, and click with the F8” key in Windows and Linux with “fn” and “F8” keys simultaneously on a Mac to make the pop-up visible. Javier Cortes makes great FMC's with a lot of functions and details, but the interface is not very elegant and highly procedural. Get an input wrong and there is no get out but to start all over again, or mess up all your load's of time and work already submitted to the system. And that makes them frustrating to use until you finally work out the correct way that Jarvier is thinking and has set out the route to get all the inputs in line correct to get the final result. It works well when you do understand it, but the system is totally unforgiving, which unlike Philipp Münzel's designs that if you make a mistake you then just correct it, then "Exec" (Execute) and move on with your programming. But confusion reigns when you load in your SID (Standard Instrument Departure) and mostly over and over in that the "Exec" is actually the "Route" button, where as normally "Route" takes you to the flightplan to load in your waypoints. There is no "Exec" either? so any changes are hard to input and "route" with the input point remember then disappears? To make clear there are two "Route" functions in RTE and ROUTE? Add in more confusion in the fact that "Route" changes to "Step" in the flightplan (FPL) mode and that then becomes the "Exec" button and as you go through the flightplan the with the STEP (after doing a "Exec" to insert the current flightplan) then the <CTR> position position disappears after the first click down? Get to your Flightplan and you will be scratching your head in that the departure airport is noted as your arrival airport? (upper right). There is a "DIrect" function but no "DIR" button to activate it. When I did save the (hard won) completed route it didn't save the file? There is a good "Quick Start" manual that covers a full route from Seattle (SEA) to Los Angeles (LAX) including checklists, but with a FMC this procedural you need a full manual on how it works not only in detail but with arrow diagrams to programme the FMC in the way that Javier is thinking. The FMC is good, but you work with it like a maze with many dead ends or bugs and you find the core by leaving post-it notes on the wall to get it right next time. With enough time you can the full complete flightplan completed as below, and once it is figured out it is easier to use, but a more flexible way of inserting a flightplan is required at the core of the programming, so it is for the experts only. To help there is a video available in programming the FMC and I have included it below... The map view zoom is on the pedestal... a nice touch. You can use the direct keyboard input by pressing the blank button below the FPL button and the words "KEYB" appears below to show you that you are in that mode. The built-in FMC is compatible with AeroSoft's NavDataPro and Navigraph navigation databases. Multi-Function Display (MFD) There are two drop-down menus in the multi-function display with the MAP on the right and SYSTEMS on the left. MAP covers covers your: Nav-Aid, Airports, WPTs, PROGRESS (details on the route), Vertical Profile (Lower MFD, Very Nice!), TCAS and Weather and Terrain is on the lower selections. SYSTEMS covers the standard set of pages that cover the aircraft systems... Areas covered include: Status, FltCtrl (Flight Controls), Hydr (hydraulics), Fuel, Elec (Electrical), and Anti-Ice. Route locked in and the the aircraft ready it is time for departure. Start sounds are good with the Dreamfoil Sound plug-in installed, but not highly detailed and it is slightly too quiet in the cockpit. There is not that real sound detail in Air-con packs or with rear pumps starting to run, but it is good by most standards. Forward lighting is good with three landing lights with two in the inner wings and one front on the front wheel strut. There is a separate taxi-light (front strut) Side lights (taxiway turn) and wing Inspection lights. Pushback truck is called and controled via the upper mid-screen menu. Truck turns like it is on a stick pendulum of which I am not a fan, but it works. Harder to use are the small ticks on the menu screen to control it and your view is looking far away from the windows to find those small controls above and guessing where to stop your pushback point... a few keyboard controls would help. Departure was via KATL RWY08R... Taxi speed is easily controlled and you can place the aircraft perfectly on the centre line by using the kink in the glareshield. Throttle up and if the settings are correct in the FMC you will have FLEX TO-1 automatically, vSpeed tags are also in the Flight Display. Like the Airbus displays you have speed parameters in red and yellow go or no go zones (alpha floor). MAP Display and Vertical Profile is very good (shame about the BOLD text)... With the Yoke in place it is a little tight to all the displays through the ram design, but it looks very good. The manipulators are a bit tight in their active areas, and so are hard to use effectively. The V/S (Vertical/Speed) wheel is the worst but also the most highly used for constant adjustments. You use it by two small arrows (find them if you can?) and usually with these sort of arrowed manipulators you hold them down to turn the wheel either up or down... not here, as they are to be used as a button press per + or - minus altitude change. So they flicker and you search, find them and get usually the arrow you don't want and you are trying to fly an aircraft while buzzing around the Autopilot panel in the area in just wanting to adjust your V/S angle. As with everything you get used to it and clicking one click at a time, but I found in heavy work periods they are seriously frustrating. A lot of the other half-moon manipulators are also too close together and hard to find. Another quirk is the "BANK" as it is two Arrows? and with no indication on the MFD you don't know how to activate the bank function, or if it is actually activated... I think it is on, I think. On the same subject of manipulators, on the original version the engine start plastic covers were a pain to open and close. The idea has been change from a single click and start to separating the opening of the covers with a click and then a half-moon manipulator to start. It works, but just as the manipulator active area is so small you need a lot of patience to actually find it, and getting right down by the floor behind the pedestal will help you finally find that coveted opening hot spot... Three PROG... Progress pages have a load of information, and the FMC is accessible in the air. Route data and two page radio is very good. The E-Jet series was always a nice machine in the air, and the quality shows from all viewpoints. External sounds are again good but not over brilliant, but you don't get that distance droning that tires you out. Lighting The cockpit lighting is years away better than the original version, and very nice it is too. There is not a huge amount of adjustment because I don't think the real aircraft has a lot either. The downlighting of the main displays looks lovely, but the higher glareshield is more darker. The two overhead spot-lights are just a Storm/Dome set and are non-adjustable. External lighting is good and standard fair. As noted you have inspection lights and wing lights and the logo tail lighting looks nice at night. Arrival at Washington is via IRONS5 into RWY 01. Target altitude on the PFD (Primary Flight Display) is a great help in getting your correct altitude at the right distance from the airport correct. Great working VOR2 and ADF 1 & 2 pointers (selectors arrowed) in the lower PFD are excellent for navigation and lining up your final approach. There is not a lot of wind-rush in the air, but great noise sounds when you drop the landing gear, so you get that I'm ready for landing feel. There is a nice feel also from the controls to get the aircraft into a position for landing, overall the aircraft is very nice to fly manually, but who does that anymore with a modern regional airliner, automation in here is now in control. But manual flying I am doing on this approach. The E-170LR will allow you with FULL flap go down into the middle-twenties with approach speed, but beware that get it just too slightly slower and it will stall on you very quickly, so it is best to stay in the low 130knts range which is safer and more controllable The complex flaps and their animation is beautifully done, but my feather-weight landing didn't activate the wing spoilers that are automatically activated on landing. The reversers are excellent in fine detail... Regional flying is hard work with multiple sectors in one day, so it is off with one load and get ready for the next.... Liveries You get a wide selection of very good liveries, this (above) is the "New" factory E170 livery which is very nice. You also get mostly two sets of the same livery in a "Clean" version and a "Dirty" version, I have shown all the dirty versions here because of space. Factory livery (old version) is also the default. Liveries double include Air Canada, Air France, Alitalia (New), British Airways, American Eagle, Delta Connection, Eygptair, Agean Airlines (Clean only), Azul, Flybe and JAL. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Summary Three years can be a long time in X-Plane, and what was once an interesting and detailed aircraft became almost old-fashioned very quickly. This new "Evolution" version does far more than just update an old design to current standards. It is a complete back to the boards and a total redesign of the aircraft and that deep design work certainly shows here. Almost everything is new (you can see a few things moved over but they are just that... few) and so you can't really compare the two but it is nice to see the differences. There is a huge amount of great features and ideas and I really love the total concept of it all, but there are also small niggly things that should not be on an aircraft of this price range, as this is total pro territory. Yes the aircraft is very professional but that extra 3% in the finish can make or break the aircraft. It just slips over the mark because most of these niggles are easily updated as they certainly will be by SSG, but they should not be there in the first place. BOLD text looks horrible and no display reflections should not have got to the release stage. Pushback is hard to use and you need to take a deep breath and not look down through the gap if you are going from the cockpit to the cabin or vise-versa. Manipulator activation areas are too small and you can't find the manipulators and they are messy to use, with the V/S the hardest to use of all. Sounds are good, but now they have moved on, expect better in an upgrade. Overall here you are not flying the aircraft as smoothly as you can because of small factors. The very deep and extensive FMC by Javier Cortes is complex by design and has no elegance in procedure if you make a mistake and sometimes completely confusing if a ) not done one before, or b ) in that some items are duplicated to do the same action and standard button or menu items like a simple (exec) or (direct) are hard to find or use, I understand that the Honeywell unit does not have these functions but there has to be more of an elegance of getting those important actions working correctly. Get a simple command wrong and you are up short street without a torch, and the only way out is to restart the whole thing and start again, and even if you do get it right, it takes way to long (unless you are a total master or the developer) in inputting again the whole plan and aircraft parameters within the usual 30min turnaround time, in most cases you would not put yourself all through that and simply fly something else. And that is a real shame as the aircraft is overall very good to excellent when it all programmed in correctly, it is just getting to that point. No doubt FMC's are hard to use and programme, but they also have a simplicity of the way they do their job. My advice is to live with this aircraft to really understand the deepness of it. It does have a large learning curve and the FMC in it's current state would need an understanding of how FMC's are programmed and used. Once you use it more then the more it will come to you and the deeper levels of enjoyment the "Evo" can then be brought to the surface. Yes this is a huge and very nice update with a lot of investment by SSG of their E-170LR aircraft, and it has some really great clever features and it is certainly a worthy investment if you like great regional airliners. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Embraer E-Jet 170LR Evolution v1.07 by Supercritical Simulation Group is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Embraer E-Jet170LR Evolution Your Price: $49.95 Note: if you are already a owner of SSG's E-170LR or the E190 you get upgrade to the "Evolution" version with a US$10 discount! to the price of US$39.95, so Please email sales@x-plane.org to get your discount code and include you original purchase order number. Features: Advanced FMC and Navigation system Custom-built FMC (done by FJCC) designed for the SSG Evolution Series SIDs, STARs, transitions, approaches, flare and rollout modes. FMC is compatible with AeroSoft's NavDataPro and Navigraph navigation databases. Manufacturer's performance data embedded as tables in the fully functional FMC. Option to use either a 2D pop-up (resizable) FMC or one within the 3D cockpit. Custom radio communication audio consoles optimized for on-line virtual ATC operations. FMC performance information based on real aircraft data, including calculated V-speeds. FMC includes capability for autotuning navaid frequencies. Vertical Situation Display (VSD) on the MFD. Terrain display mode on the MFD, which is a part of the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) on the real aircraft. High-Res 3D modeling complete with detailed animations and textures. Realistic displays (PFD, MFD with system synoptics, and EICAS) External lights and strobes operating realistically. Display management similar to that in the real aircraft. Autobrakes with anti-skid system that works in all conditions and includes a realistic rejected takeoff mode. Realistic wing flex and other animations. Window rain effects and animated wipers. Option menu incorporated into the cockpit 3D. Ground vehicles include a tow truck, GPU and airstairs. Over 10 detailed liveries comes with the plane Custom systems and Flight Model Aircraft will meet most of the real aircraft's performance data for consumption, AOA, speeds, flight dynamics, etc. in close consultation with real world E-Jet pilots. Realistic 3D cockpit with high resolution. Many systems are implemented with realistic logic, such as electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, engine fire extinguishing, fuel, wing and engine anti-ice (including automatic mode), communications, and TCAS. Comprehensive autopilot functioning in modes similar to those of the real aircraft First Officer's MFD display is independent from the Captain's, and MFD has a pop-up option. EICAS messages based on the real aircraft's with lists and scrolling DreamEngine Sound System 3D sounds with DreamEngine plugin. Requirements X-Plane 10.45 + (any edition) running in 64bit mode Windows, Mac or Linux - 64bit Operating System 1Gb VRAM Minimum. 2Gb+ VRAM Recommended _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the Embraer E-Jet 170LR Evolution is 606.30mg and the unzipped file is deposited in the "Heavy Metal" X-Plane folder at 952.80mg. There is a "Quick Start Guide" manual (44 Pages) and comes with included checklist Sheets . _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 22nd July 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.45 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Scenery or Aircraft - KATL - KATL - Atlanta International by Nimbus (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$23.95 - KDCA - Ronald Reagan - Washington National by Tropicalsim - No idea if this scenery is still available? And I still call it "National!"
    2 points
  19. Aircraft Review : BAe Systems Hawk T1/A Trainer by JustFlight - Thranda Design The Folland Gnat T.1 was the mainstay of RAF jet training onwards from 1959. The aircraft was a nimble and extremely good training aircraft for pilots moving into military jet aircraft and then moving on upwards to the heavier Hawker Hunters and English Electric Lightings. But in the early 70's the RAF realised that the next generation of jet fighters would require a more advanced trainer and a two-seater to accommodate the Sepecat Jaguar and the Panavia Tornado. The result was the Hawker Siddeley Hawk T1 (Trainer Mk1). In reality the relationship of the Hawk to it's predecessor the Gnat is actually very close and highly related. Hawker Siddeley had bought out Folland in 1959, as British Aerospace Systems (BAe) would also merge with Hawker Siddeley in 1977, however the Hawk was built and still assembled in Hamble at the old Folland factory where the Gnat had also been produced. The Hawk also followed the Gnat in being the mainstay of the RAF British Aerobatic Team, known as the "Red Arrows" and still holds that coveted position today. JustFlight - Thranda Design It is just under a year in that the partnership of JustFlight and Thranda Design released their first aircraft for X-Plane11, that was the PA28R Piper Arrow III and since then there has also been the PA28R Turbo Piper Arrow III/IV in February and the TB10 Tobago & TB20 Trinidad in May and finally the excellent Cessna 152 ll in June. All aircraft I thought brought far more to X-Plane in features and to the general aviation category, but more so in the highly realistic handing of the aircraft. They are not cheap aircraft and all sit on the top of the scale in price for general aviation aircraft, but they also do deliver in another level in quality as well. This is JustFlight's and Thranda's next release with the BAe Systems Hawk T1. First it is a radical change from the usual general aviation style of aircraft and it also took a long time to get released? The aircraft was initially first announced back in February earlier this year, then another promotion in the middle of the year sent our heart's a flutter again but then it all went very quiet, this time it is actually here... so was it worth the wait? That is what reviews are for, so let us see. BAe Systems Hawk T1/A Trainer We have come to now expect a very high quality aircraft from JustFlight/Thranda, as it should be in this price range as that is what you are paying for, in high very high quality and for loads of features. There is no doubt the Hawk stands out there in the quality stakes, the level here is extremely high, if the best fighter/trainer now in in X-Plane11. To be fair there is not a lot of competition to compare the Hawk with as very few modern fighters have yet made the transition from X-Plane10, coming and in the same category is X-Trident's Harrier AV8B, so that aircraft will be a better benchmark. Would this aircraft pass the Airshow walkaround test? you know the one where you walkaround the aircraft noting it's details and equipment points, take a few pictures to remind you of the aircraft... in this case yes. The quality of the detailing is phenomenal, and I am set at a lower resolution setting. Another level of detail again for X-Plane? If not then it is close... aircraft modelling is absolutely first rate, perfection, not a 3d bump out of place. In realism you have glass and reflections that really deliver (note the explosive cord for seat ejection on the canopy glass)... again are you looking into a real jet at an airshow? if not then you are pretty well close to it. It is the smaller details that create a believable realism, note the slightly worn landing light nose glass and wingtip lighting enclosures, the tail leading edge material and the correct accurate layout of rivets and paneling. As a note, the Hawk uses the Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca "Adour 151" non-afterburning turbofan with 2,360 kilograms (5,200 pounds) thrust. It is a more expensive engine, but also more economical to use; like the Specate Jaguar it also uses the "102" version of the Adour in a twin-engine installation. The engine drops down out of the Hawk's belly just behind the wings for service, and in principle can be replaced in one and a half hours. The Hawk is built with ease of serviceability in mind, and almost a third of the aircraft's surface is covered by access panels. There is a "Microturbo 047 Mark 2 Gas Turbine Starter/Auxiliary Power Unit (GTS/APU)" that is installed above the engine to permit self-starting, and to assist in relights after an in-flight flameout. If the aircraft loses power in flight, a ram-air turbine can also automatically pop up in front of the vertical tailplane to provide emergency electrical power and the RAM is featured here and works realistically on the aircraft. The Hawk has two main and one forward strut trailing link undercarriage assemblies... .... detailing is the very best as you would expect in this class, but even more so. Every joint, component, hydraulic line, hydraulic piston, nut and bolt is here, even the strut labels and markings are also correctly applied. Animations in ground movement and retraction/extraction are perfect, even more so as the trailing link assembly can give the taxiing of the aircraft a feel that is quite different from normal, but perfectly authentic. Back to the airshow... usually you stand in line, and usually for a long wait. But your turn does come and you have a fleeting few moments... ... you can look of course but can't touch! but what would you give to sit in there? "sit in the real jet"... The aim of the ultimate in simulation is break down that barrier, and to be able to not only sit in the aircraft but to actually flying this expensive complex machine as well, to live the dream. But for to that to work in simulation then the detail must above and beyond, you thought what was excellent even a few years ago, but here with this Hawk you see the level go higher again, and in a few years it will go even higher... but for now this is the best of the best current standard. First glance inside the Hawk cockpit is the usual overwhelming complexity. But usually as you decipher and break the detail up and work it all out it all comes to make sense... Panels are grouped as: Left console – throttle, engine starting, electrical and flying control systems Left main panel – weapon selection and radio Centre main panel – flight instruments and weapon sighting Right main panel – engine instruments Right console – avionics equipment You can't expect every switch or button and knob to work in the cockpit, but I would guess the number is still very high in here at around 90%. In the rear seat that percentage is around 70%, not bad, but you still miss a few things you would like to control. Cockpit detail is to the extreme. Many fighter cockpit have been exceptional in detail, but don't convey that realism factor, but that is not the case here, it is about as real as it gets, every seat belt, material stitching, pipe, metal panel, screw, nut and bolt is visible and all have highly realistic textures... ... the highlight is the instrument panel glareshields, they have that dusty, not touched since installed look about them, you just want to move your fingers in the dust to create a mark, perfection. Menu/Features The menu is fully featured and positioned via the usual JustFlight left screen side arrow, scrolling on the arrow will make it transparent. This menu layout is far better than the earlier menus, as they had just a red transparency when selected and they looked very dated. This version has coloured items for selection and looks the business. There are 21 selections and features to choose from, and not in any order we will start with the pilots. There are two animated realistic pilots that you can select via the menu, you can also select if you want their visors up or down... ... one note is that if you put the front seat pilot's visor down the screen image goes slightly darker, but the rear visor does not create the same effect? also the pilots selection is only external, so if you are seated in the front or rear seat, then the other seat internally is empty, which is a bit odd as you can select if you want this feature or not? (arrowed) Why not show the internal pilot if you so wish for realism? Overall the pilots are excellent in detail. Selections include static elements like: chocks (rear wheels), tags and pitot and engine inlet/outlet covers, and a very nice work maintenance step frame... ... another ingress option is the aircraft's built in steps, or pop out extensions that are well done (arrowed above). Options include the external diesel tank carried by display aircraft, or the M61A1-Vulcan 6,000 rounds per minute centre mounted cannon... Four armament racks allow a variety of weapons, that are selected via the X-Plane "Weapons" menu, here we have the AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM120-AMRAAM, but bombs can be carried as well, but just watch their excessive weight are balanced! Nice detailing on the armament racks that will change to the correctly selected armament. Forward locker opens to reveal the avionic equipment racks. There are two Hawk versions to choose from in the T1 or the T1a. This is noted via the extension over the exhaust outlet... ... but in reality it is a bit useless? The difference between the T1 and T1a versions is that the T1 is the trainer, and the T1a is the armed or fighter version? so why not use the selection to denote the different types by having the armament off for the T1 and the aircraft armed for the T1a version? Menu options internally include the aiming gunsight, and two left and right flip up frequency display panels... ... they don't actually display any frequencies? but there is a fix by MatthewM that adds in the frequencies via an texture file. The same display fix is also in the Red Arrows display livery by Christophe, and here you also get with the livery the lovely Red (Arrows) flying suits as well! With the external diesel tank attached you get a double panel of a set of coloured lights on top of the glareshield (yellow arrows), but there are no notes on if they work, or why? There is a good kneeboard for checklists that pops up. It can be moved around the screen, but it is not scalable, which makes it a bit of a blocking visual distraction in the air (as you can't see anything forward!) as the menu itself is also locked to the left side of the screen and again not scalable.... joysicks front and rear can be hidden and note the "Rudder Lock" (arrowed) Final menu options include a "Cold and Dark" to ready (electrical on/off) and a full engine start up that starts the engines and configures hydraulic and electrical systems so that you are ready to taxi feature, you could call it a "Scramble mode!". There is a feature that configures the aircraft so that weapons are live (ready to fire) and you can select/change the livery from the menu. Instrument panels Power up and the Hawk comes to life. Panel lighting is excellent and adjustable for the left, right and main instrument panels. Annunciator warning panel (CWS - Central Warning System) can be tested. Main cluster of flying instruments covers clockwise... Turn-and-slip indicator, Main Artificial Horizon, Backup Artificial Horizon. Main Altimeter, Vertical speed indicator (VSI), Horizontal situation indicator (HSI) or heading indicator, Directional gyro indicator (DGI), Combined speed indicator (CSI)... top centre left is the Accelerometer. Right front panel is clockwise: Standby altimeter, Cabin Altimeter, Oxygen supply contents, Fuel gauge, TGT indicator (Turbine Gas Temperature), Engine LP shaft rotation indicator/RPM indicator. The Oxygen flow indicator will flip on and off if the oxygen is flowing correctly. lower right is the electrical switchgear and panel lighting adjustment knobs. Depending on if the Hawk is armed or not (T1a) then the firing panel is located upper left... The Lock/Live switch is upper right (magenta arrow). Pylon (rack) selection and armament selection is on the Weapon Control panel, but don't for "heaven's sake" fire it off on the ground like I did... ... as it is not pretty and I suppose that is what the "Safety" is for! The Hawk has a CCS or Communications Control System which provides overall control of the elements of the communications system. The CCS integrates the VHF transmit facilities and the audio signals from this equipment and from the ILS and TACAN receivers. It also integrates the audio tone of the tone generator in the Central Warning System. The radio below the weapons panel is the UHF radio set, but with X-Plane11 you can't access UHF, so the Hawk uses regular VHF frequencies. This radio will control the COM 1 frequencies. It is very nicely done anyway, and super easy to set and use. There are also 20 preset frequencies you can use and if you want a certain frequency, it can be set via the ‘manifest.json’ file with a text editor. Right Console Right panel has the other radio set and this unit is again a UHF unit, but set to the regular VHF (X-Plane) frequencies. This radio controls the COM 2 frequencies. Again the radio can be preset to frequencies and details on the correct insert order (‘manifest.json’) can be found in the manual. The radio panel layout and detail here really good and quite authentic (to a point with X-Plane restrictions). An ILS installation is comprised of a localiser and glideslope receiver and a marker receiver, there is no autopilot, so the ILS is a visual reference only. The Hawk is fitted with an IFF/SSR (Identification Friend or Foe/Secondary Surveillance Radar) system which provides identification facilities and IFF, and civil SSR including ‘Mode S’. The system provides facilities for an IFF or SSR ground radar station to interrogate the aircraft and for the aircraft to rapidly and automatically transmit an identifying reply. The system replies to Mode 1, 2, 3/A, 4, C and S interrogations, including civil and military emergency interrogations. The IFF/SSR control display unit (CDU) is used to control the operation of the IFF/SSR transponders. It works in this aircraft in the MODE 4 interrogations 4A and 4B and for civilian M3/A or auto selection. Note the oxygen valve (yellow arrow above right). Lower panel known as the "Leg" panel is on the upper panel is the AHRS (Attitude and Heading Reference System) control unit, and the lower is the ISIS control unit (Ferranti ISIS Century Series Gunsight). The AHRS is used to calibrate the artificial horizon or align, and if the balls (both main and standby) are lazy then you haven't done this before flying the aircraft. The Ferranti ISIS Century gunsight is adjusted via the left and right knobs (arrowed above right), but I can't see any brightness adjustment, so the sight is quite hard to see? Mode selections include: GA – for air-to-air firing, G – this mode is for air-to-ground gun attacks. With G selected, the aiming mark is then depressed to cater for the gravity drop of the shell, R – same as G, but drift control will adjust the horizontal position of the sight, B – when B is selected, the sight is initially depressed, but can still be moved with the depression control. S – same as B, but the sight is not initially depressed. M - air-to-air missile attack mode is not available. Left Console On the left the console covers the aircraft's throttle, engine starting, electrical and flying control systems. Note first the rearward and slightly hidden main fuel cock lever. Engine start and aircraft (electric) trim switches are rear panel. The lovely stubby throttle is excellent, but note the catch? (arrowed), to move the throttle and the catch needs to set in the up position, but be careful if you hit the catch in flight to click down, as then if you go back to idle the throttle will then lock, unless you release the catch again to up... not the best idea to do if you are on an approach? A set of five gauges cover: No. 1 and No. 2 hydraulic system pressure, Brakes supply pressure and Left and right brake pressures. Left lower main panel are buttons to raise and lower the undercarriage, "UP" is retraction, and "DOWN" is extraction, very different from the usual lever... a manual gear release for both the nosewheel and main gear is here as well. More unusual is a switch (arrowed above right) to lower the flaps between: Up - Mid - Down. and confusing is the flap setting of 0 -5 x10 (degrees). The battery "Volts" gauge is on this side panel as well. Rear position has a few items removed... ... with the ISIS Gunsight panel which is missing and AHRS is disconnected, and the left upper armament panel (T1a) shows the weapon activity, but there is no access to the switchgear.... side consoles lose the IFF/SSR panel right and the engine startup panel left. Overall I think the aircraft finds the right balance on providing a realistic immersion in the cockpit, without that overkill of the minute of details. Flying the BAe Hawk T1a Back to the airshow... you know when the air display is going to start, and everyone runs to the fence by the runway. Usually I go the other way and run to the parc fermé, as there is nothing, I mean nothing like a jet aircraft or helicopter starting up it's engine(s). (hint turn up your sound volume a little) Starting up the Hawk is actually quite easy. The T1 has a Microturbo 047 Mark 2 Gas Turbine Starter/Auxiliary Power Unit (GTS/APU) installed above the engine to permit ground self-starting and to assist in relights after an in-flight flameout. So there is no ground power cart (GPU). The system is comprised of a gas turbine air producer and a free turbine starter motor. The air producer (GTS) is at the top of the fuselage, forward of the ram air turbine. It supplies air via a solenoid-operated start valve, and when the dump valve is closed it supplies air to the starter motor which is fitted to the engine external gearbox and drives the HP shaft through the gearbox. It is really a bleed system, but a sort of that it builds up the pressure and then blows it into the starter motor, and that then turns the engine. The GTS also automatically supplies fuel to the nozzles in the combustion chamber containing two igniter plugs, then when you light the match.. oh, ignite the fuel it starts up the Adour jet engine. So fuel cock off, and switch on the fuel pump... Then you press the Start/Relight button forward on the throttle, which is a sort of primer button, but it is building up the air pressure ready to flow it into the turbine starter, and priming the fuel into the engine. When ready or primed you get a green light GTS lit up ready on the right panel... Then you just flick the start switch to "Start". The Adour's startup sounds and start sequence is amazing, highly realistic and the sort of a grin of ear to ear of excitement! Loud, keep it loud... bugger the neighbours sort of loud. Engine LP shaft rotation indicator and RPM indicator wizz around into action... then you get a "Rotation" light come on! At this point you need to nudge the throttle slightly forward, and you get the same sort of fire up that you get in an airliner when you turn on the fuel switches at around 18-20 N2, but then the Adour powers up to full power. The CWS will show HYD and AC (1-3) warnings so you have to reset them on the upper left panel by pressing the buttons (arrows upper right). And you are good to go... remember there is an easy start feature in the menu that does all this for you, but in reality it isn't that hard... If you get the start sequence wrong though it is 3 min wait to retry for another engine start. Remember to turn on the oxygen (switch right middle console), if working correctly the flow is seen via a flicking on/off flow meter upper right panel... however the rear seat oxygen switch and flow meter does not work? Ready to fly... The parkbrake lever is hard to access (or find) far right down by the seat. When moving then be aware of the front nosewheel. First it has a very long trailing link, but it can be very flickery as well (It flickers badly even when standing still?), and so it is very easy for it to go quickly at an odd angle... it works and works fine, but you have to get used to it when taxiing, it is a bit like the A320's remote tiller feel. Sounds when taxiing are excellent, with all that turbine power but whistle flow aural. Note the mirror reflections of the explosive cord. Usually I find these internal mirrors are quite poor, but in here they are the opposite and have very good and realistic reflections. Flaps are set to "Mid" for takeoff, and required if you are carrying a lot of fuel and full armaments. Your forward view is quite restricted at the normal FOV setting (73º), you could make it higher, but that is not realistic either, but it is hard to look forward and read the lower instruments at the same time at this FOV... ... throttle up and you give the aircraft about 80% RPM, not too much to make sure at first the front gear is tracking correctly... gradually to 90% then a third down the runway you give the Hawk the full 100% thrust. You want to feel that punch in the back, you certainly get the thrust but it is more slower building up speed than you would think it would be... ... I found 160 knts to rotate (officially JF note 190 knts?), and you quickly need to get the flaps to zero 0º (500 ft!) and the gear up, so I flick both switches at the same time, but remember to counter the flap lift loss! Ground and air gear animations are excellent, aural retraction (and extraction) gear sounds are also top notch, and the aircraft's excellent FMOD 360º sound externally and in the cockpit is as expected at this level are extremely good.... and yes the hairs on you neck will stand up and get quickly prickly. The Hawk's feel depends on the weight, you feel the extra weight of the T1a fully loaded compared to the far lighter T1 trainer, and although you felt it a bit sluggish on the ground the aircraft will accelerate very quickly to 300 knts in the air, and even while climbing set at 90% thrust. The T1 can climb at a whopping usual 9,300 fpm and one aircraft was known to climb at 11,800 feet per minute, light of course, but that is still phenomenal. Other statistics are still overwhelming with a maximum speed of 1,040 Kph 658 Mph/572 Knts and a service ceiling of 50,000ft and a range of (with only internal fuel) 2,400 kilometers 1,490 MI/1,295 NMI. That acceleration can deceive you, if you don't watch your artificial horizon, as with a quick glance at the Vertical speed indicator it will surprise you, for when you think you are flying nice and level as but the Hawk is still actually climbing easily upwards, so you will need to be aware of the aircraft's tendency to keep on lifting even when you want level flight and the required need adjust to that flight pitch angle and thrust requirement. There are no helpers in here to fly the aircraft for you, so this is all stick and rudder flying. To make it a bit more easy than relaxing then adjust the trim... ... the main tailplane trim is hidden under a safety cover rear left console (arrowed) and it is tricky to use as it is electric, but to be honest I have struggled with all JustFlight trims as the Arrow lll was a nightmare to trim easily. The far back position makes it hard to use as well visually (Any keyboard/joystick trim ideas are even worse), but if you do finally get the vertical trim set then the Hawk feel nicely balanced and requires only slight adjustments to it's flight path, but still watch those wide vertical speed swings with any adjustment of thrust (certainly more power). This is an aircraft to fly in the focus and fine movements as than the chucking it all around the sky, although it is a lovely almost aerobatic machine. If you want to fulfill your Airshow fantasies then this is the best aircraft into doing so... Approaching EGOV (RAF - Valley) RWY 14, you keep the Hawk at 170 knts and 200 ft off the deck, and don't forget to wave as you flypast, then just power up and climb away at 2000fpm, yes it is all as good as you thought it would be! Getting the speed down can be tricky though. You do have a two-stage airbrake far rear under the fuselage, but remember if the wheels are down, it doesn't activate? So any serious rub off of speed has to be done before you extend the gear. The aircraft systems included here are very comprehensive. Most of the major systems are covered including... Fuel system, Electrical systems, Central Warning systems (CWS), Hydraulic systems, Flight Control systems, Communications Control System (CCS), Air-Conditioning systems and Oxygen systems, Engine systems (Including the comprehensive start up system) and all systems have built in failures, and in most cases more than one system can fail at a single time. Full details of each system are well detailed in the manual. Lighting Internal cockpit lighting is excellent, as three knobs adjust the main panel and the two side consoles front and rear... ... there is "Emergy" panel dim switch, but in reality you adjust the panel lighting down anyway from the very bright full panel setting. Note the great night glass canopy reflections and to also note the reflections on the instruments and glass cannot be switched off, which may annoy a few fliers. External has both (the same) taxi and landing light in the nose, that X-Plane wise is highly visible, navigation lights and selectable Anti-Collision red or white strobes. The white flashing strobes at night are highly visible in the cockpit, but realistic. Landing Time to land... fighter jets can be tricky to land, as they are built for the extremes of speed and manoeuvrability and not the basic areas of flying. 150 knts is a nice approach speed clean, but once the flaps are down full and the gear is extended then your goal is 130 knts, but be aware of the fall in performance below the 130 knt zone as it is severe... .... I have found several times at this point in the approach the aircraft will start to behave oddly, of which I call the "Wobbles", power percentage is critical in staying out of the zone, because if the aircraft starts doing the "wobble" then in over correcting, you can lose it... more power or stopping the stall doesn't really fix it either, but helps, so the best way to get out of it is just to abandon the landing, go around and get it better and cleaner in the next approach and not in trying to fight it. It is groove thing in that when you get the aircraft into that fine groove of approach and then controlling the speed, then it can all come clean... power off to around 110knts and let the Hawk sink down, but be aware that the final stall speed is around 106 knts which is very close to the 110 knts required. Flare and touchdown has to be smooth as the gear is very supple, get it wrong or hit the tarmac to quickly or too hard and the T1 will bounce, so there is a fair bit of skill required to land the Hawk smoothly and professionally, but then again this aircraft is not for the average flier. Liveries There is a bonanza of liveries available. Twelve are provided with the aircraft package, and another twelve are available as a separate livery pack. Focus is totally on the RAF and RAF Valley, with a few international airforce users, but no Australian livery version, which is an odd one? Blank is default... The free Christophe Red Arrows "Flag" is noted here (below right) as it is a great livery. _________________________________________________ Livery pack has some excellent RAF celebration and production factory designs... Summary X-Plane has had some very good fighters or military aircraft of this category, the best is the AMX jet, FA-18F Super Hornet, X-Trident Panavia Tornado and MiG-29. But all fall short mostly now, as in most cases they are still all X-Plane10 (or with minor X-Plane11 modifications) aircraft and in reality all are very dated, only the GR4 Tornado is really what you would call modern... also they are all not in this price range or quality class, so that leaves this Hawk T.1 all in a category on it's own. The price in the mid-40's of US Dollars is to be considered in this summary. Again no fighter has cost this much, so you are expecting a high level of quality and a load of features. Yes you get both, as the quality here is exceptional and there is a realism with the cockpit from the external and internal views that is certainly a new level of real world reflection and hence the exceptional glass. So the aircraft in design is certainly top notch, and so does the custom sounds live up to their high expectations as well, the start up engine noises are simply the best yet for a small jet engine. Features are very good as well, with the expected static elements, quick engine starts, aircraft stands, opening canopy and equipment bay and yes the animated pilots are also highly lifelike and can be inserted or not, and you can also have their visors up or down, shame you can't have one in the other seat while you are flying in the front or the rear. Also the menus are good, and better than the earlier JustFlight/Thranda menus, but are not movable or scalable. The version change from T1 to the T1a is a bit of an odd one, where as the T1 is the trainer, the T1a is the armed version, the menu option just adds on a small tail extension? So there are a few quirks with the aircraft, but all are rather minor. Aircraft dynamics are excellent, but require skill and focus, but that is what you need when flying a fast small jet, and it is all physical manual flying as well... the aim here is to out fly yourself, and fly the aircraft to the best of your ability to do so, then the rewards will come. It would have been or even will become even more interesting when the aircraft acquires the X-Plane 11.30 new particle effects, as that was one feature that really kept on coming back to me as I reviewed the aircraft.. I hope we don't have to wait too soon for an 11.30 update for the Hawk as those dynamics would be excellent here. The development process for this Hawk was quite long, but the results have been well worth the wait, and the aircraft is certainly more highly refined for that wait, and overall JustFlight/Thranda are bringing a very much more highly refined and detailed aircraft to X-Plane, yes they cost more, but to have this level of quality and design, then that is also required in the new higher level of simulation that is now available to X-Plane, and it is a level we only dreamed of a few years ago, and more so. So to that person who stood looking at an aircraft and wonders what is it REALLY like to sit in that display aircraft at an airshow, and to actually fly it... well now and here with this excellent JustFlight/Thranda Hawk Trainer you now finally have that answer... Highly Recommended. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The BAe Systems Hawk T1/A Trainer by JustFlight - Thranda Design is a new release for X-Plane11 and NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore BAe Systems Hawk T1/A Trainer Price is US$44.95 Hawk T1/A Advanced Trainer Livery Pack is also available... Price is US$14.99 This aircraft is a noted aircraft for X-Plane11 only.  The aircraft is directly available from JustFlight as well. Features Model Accurately modelled Hawk T1 and T1A, built using real-world aircraft plans Numerous animations including a storage hatch, ram air turbine (RAT), canopy and crew ladder Ground equipment including chocks, access steps and engine intake covers 4096 x 4096 textures are used to produce the highest possible texture clarity PBR (Physically Based Rendering) materials with real-time environment reflections for superb quality and realism Detailed normal mapping for down-to-the-rivet precision of aircraft features Cockpit A truly 3D virtual cockpit right down to accurately modelled ejector seats and screw heads - every instrument is constructed fully in 3D with smooth animations Cockpit textures feature wear and tear based on reference photos taken in the real aircraft to produce an authentic environment Interactive checklists for every stage of flight Aircraft configuration system that will allow you to choose between 'cold & dark' or 'ready for take-off' (if aircraft is stationary on the ground) Fully functional and comprehensive IFR-capable avionics fit, including AN/ARC 164 UHF radio, plus a retrofitted modern AN/ARC-232 UHF/VHF unit and TACAN/ILS radio units Authentic head-up display (HUD) Interactive logbook panel for logging your flight details (X-Plane native) GoodWay compatible Adjustable canopy mirrors with real-time reflections of the environment Animated toe brakes Radio knob animations routed through plug-in logic, for optimum movement fidelity and sound synchronisation Aircraft systems Custom-coded electrical system with AC and DC resets and loads Realistic landing gear with slow/fast tyre rotation animation (blurry when rotating fast), precise shock absorber animation and wheel chocks Custom-coded hydraulic systems, including functioning RAT Realistic lighting system with rheostat controls Custom external light logic with custom strobe light pattern and custom light halos for added realism Capable of loading and firing X-Plane's default weapons. The currently selected loadout is automatically saved for the next flight. Requirements: X-Plane 11 CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K at 3.5GHz or faster 8GB RAM or more DirectX 12-capable graphics card from nVidia, AMD or Intel with at least 4GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better or similar from AMD) Windows 10 / 7 / Vista / XP, MAC OS 10.10 (or higher) or Linux 2GB hard drive space _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation: Download for the BAe Systems Hawk T1/A Trainer is 629.40mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 1.12gb (including all 24 liveries) Key authorisation and a restart is required. Documents: Highly detailed manual covers installation and all instrument notes, systems details, panel and menu guides and a basic tutorial flight. Hawk X-Plane manual (93 pages) ____________________________________________________________________________________  Review by Stephen Dutton  29th September 2018 Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)  Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.25 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 Scenery or Aircraft- EGOV - RAF Valley for X-Plane 11 1.0.0 by RCMarple (X-Plane.Org) - Free! 
    2 points
  20. Scenery Preview : PAKT - Ketchikan International Alaska by NorthernSkyStudio If your brief was to create an International airport with limited space and on the side of a steep hill, then certainly PAKT - Ketchikan International Airport, Alaska would be the result. Unique as well with this position is as the airport is located on Gravina Island, just west of Ketchikan itself on the other side of the Tongass Narrows, and passengers must take a seven-minute ferry ride across the water to get to the airport from the town. Around the World War II era until the early 1970s, longer range land plane air service to Ketchikan including flights to Seattle were operated via an old military airfield located approximately 20 air miles to the south on Annette Island. Aircraft operated into the Annette Island Airport (ANN) for flights in the local southeast Alaska area included the Grumman Goose and Catalina PBY with these amphibian aircraft being utilized to link the airport with the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base. The current airport PAKT was opened on August 4, 1973 and was dedicated on the following day. The airport opening was the culmination of an effort by local residents, a 1965 study by the Alaska State Division of Aviation, another study in 1967 choosing the current site on Gravina Island, and land clearing in 1969. One of the first airlines to serve the new airport was Alaska Airlines which inaugurated the first jet service from Seattle to Ketchikan International Airport on August 4, 1973 with a Boeing 720 jetliner. Alaska Air primarily operated Boeing 727-100, 727-200 and 737-200 jetliners (including 737 passenger/cargo Combi aircraft) into the airport before switching to later model Boeing 737 jets. (edited wikipedia). NorthernSkyStudio The first release in scenery for X-Plane by NorthernSkyStudio, was in Hawaii with their Molokai and Kalaupapa airport package. This was a well done package, but quite a small release that would be a great addition to anyone that need's a very good Hawaiian scenery. So here is their next release with the very complex PAKT - Ketchikan International in southern Alaska. My main connection with PAKT - Ketchikan is that is a superb supply airport for CZST Stewart, and the excellent Beti-x scenery that is positioned close by there. So I have over the years toodled back and too to Stewart in mostly Bush, 208 Caravan and the odd GA aircraft from Ketchikan. But that is not using this scenery to anything but it's full potential. The airport is of course positioned central on the famous "Inside Passage" that consists of thousands of islands that are stretched right up the upper west North American continent from Seattle to Glacier Bay, and it is noted as one as THE very best flying areas in the world, for bush pilot and regional flying services. Ketchiken is also on the famous "Milk Run”. The Milk Run are routes that are run daily by Alaska Airlines and Flight 65, starts in Seattle and stops in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg and Juneau before flying on and landing in Anchorage. The opposite route flight, Flight 66, starts in Anchorage and stops in Cordova, Yakutat and Juneau before flying on to Seattle. There used to be B737 Combi aircraft flying on the route, but the last run was completed last year, and the combi's have now all been replaced by three dedicated 737-700 freighters. Ketchikan International Airport IATA: KTN - ICAO: PAKT - FAA LID: KTN 11/29 - 7,500ft (2,286m) Asphalt Elevation AMSL 92 ft / 28 m The airport does have a very unique layout with the main runway of which is located about 30 feet (9.1 m) higher than the apron further on up the hillside, and is connected between the two areas by two sloping taxiways in Taxiway A - RWY 29 and Taxiway B - Rwy 11 for departures. From an X-Plane modeling point of view this multi-elevation layout is extremely hard to get right as you can't rely on the initial mesh layouts, so everything has to be modeled to fit. Get it right, like here at this PAKT and it makes for one of the best arrival experiences in X-Plane. To fit aircraft parking areas on a hillside, it requires different parking zones and there are two (another zone looks like a parking area on TWY A but it is large turning or holding area.). The lower, lower zone (above) accessed by TWY C is for all General Aviation parking and it is quite a large area. The upper apron in front of the terminal is the main commercial zone. If International in the broad sense is the general idea, then PAKT is not in the same capability as say like KDEN - Denver or KLAX - Los Angeles. To put that into context it is to say international here is going from the USA into Canada, not to Japan or Europe. So in that context you have one (yes only one) airbridge and only one large stand or two large (B737/A320) parking slots. The (small) international terminal and it's very striking offset control tower is excellent, really well done with even the local carving set out around the building for authenticity, all the areas around the terminal are also very authentic and highly realistic... .... including the ferry connection ramp system landside, which is highly detailed. The Ferry itself "Ken Eichner -2" is also animated and docks on both sides of the Tongass Narrows waterway. On the airport side it perfectly fits into the wharf. Only comment is that the single airbridge is static and not animated, which is a shame as that would have been a big feature for the scenery. Next to the main apron is a commercial apron for local services, in i.e. charter, sightseeing flights, and island hopping. On the apron are four large hangars of which the first "Aero Services" of who is the cargo handler for the airport. All four hangars have been faithfully reconstructed and are simply excellent. Note the excellent grass and foliage, that is done all around here very well. Ground clutter is again excellent, with correctly branded and shaped custom cargo pallets (called cargo Igloos!), ramp aircraft boarding stands and branded baggage trolleys. Static aircraft are also provided with 208 Caravans and Lear Jets and are all also correctly locally branded. Detail is also really well done. With all the correct fencing and airport aids (including the ILS System). Seaplane base is also highly detailed, beautifully done. There is also a tunnel under the runway, a small thing but again great detail. Textures and surfaces are good, but feel a little light in colour and especially with the runway and taxiway A, which both needed to be both slightly darker, and note the excellent steel drainage grids. The odd looking light green colour surrounding the runway and taxiway areas is actually correct, and not a faded poor texture as it must be a coloured concrete mix (I checked). Port of Ketchikan Where as the airport island scenery is excellent, the port area on the other side of the narrows is a mixed bag. The area looks fine from the airport view point, but I feel the issue here is the underlay ortho textures in being far too light (washed out) in colour. The textures are flat around the wharf edges and level with the water and that creates a non-realistic feel? Worse there are a few important buildings missing that in their distinctive style and roof colour looked poor in being flat, and are as well front and centre visually... overall there is that "okay we will stop there, why bother doing any more" sort of feeling. And missing is all the shipping at both here at the port zone and in downtown Ketchikan (cruise shipping) as well and because they would be noticed from the airport on arrival or departure it makes it all look again rather more empty than it needs to be ... ... there is a huge slipway building, but I can't find the same on any maps? but it looks visually very good. The sailboats don't work either? They are all a bit bright and samey... I'm not expecting every one to be different, but a few changed styles would have made it that all the more realistic. Lighting The lighting overall at PAKT is excellent... Approach lighting is fine. The signage though looks totally out of scale... ... the sign looks as big as a Cessna 152? The colour brightness reflection is far to strong as well and not realistic. A shame because the terminal building and ramp lighting is absolutely first rate. So many developers get night lighting textures so wrong? but here they are perfect and highly realistic. Detail lighting including the excellent down lights are very well done... Ketchikan Port side is more simplistic, but fine and still includes nice lighting window textures, so the lighting is very good all over the scenery. WT3: WorldTraffic GroundRoutes are provided with the scenery, and over all they work very well including the hard situation of a taxi and turnaround on the end of RWY 29. But don't expect a lot of traffic here at PAKT as it is pretty quiet operations wise. Preview Notes I was actually pretty surprised by this PAKT - Ketchikan International Alaska by NorthernSkyStudio as it is really very good, even excellent. Quality and detail is very through and there is a lot in this scenery to consider it's worth. And plus Ketchikan as in it's position is a pretty important airport for not only recreating the "Milk Run", but for a base to cover and explore this excellent "Inside Passage" area, as it is a bush pilot, and regional service supreme flying area. There is a lot of excellent work in here, and to say that NorthernSkyStudio is a developer to watch in delivering quality scenery, but there is the odd fumble in here that needs to be watched, but overall from them this is an excellent release. Positives: Great modeling with a very difficult X-Plane terrain (mesh) to recreate. All airport scenery is absolutely top notch, and night lighting is first rate, detail is excellent with the terminal and ferry ramp and ground clutter is branded and well recreated in detail. Negatives: Ketchikan Port feels like a bit of a left over from the main airport scenery, and feels a little half finished, no shipping is a big visual emptiness that shouldn't be? Signage is out of scale to the airport, looks odd at night and the single airbridge is only static. ____________________________________________________________________ Yes!... PAKT - Ketchikan International Alaska by NorthernSkyStudio is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : PAKT - Ketchikan International Alaska Price is US$25.00 Requirements : X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended Current Review version : 1.0 (August 6th 2018) Download Size: 1gb : Install Size 2.29gb Installation is the airport folder must be set above the "terrain" mesh in the .INI order PAKT_Northern_Sky_Studio (2.25gb) PAKT_Terrain_Northern_Sky_Studio (35.80mb) There is optional 2K textures if you run a lower powered computer, but to be honest they are not really needed as there is really nothing around PAKT to overuse your processors, running 4K textures my framerate was well within the 40's to 50's Extras and Documents: Manual in txt PAKT Installation manual ______________________________________________________________________ Preview by Stephen Dutton 13th August 2018 Copyright©2018 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.25r2 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free Scenery or Aircraft - Boeing 737-800 - Default X-plane by Laminar Research
    2 points
  21. Yes I'm with you all the way on this, I am really, really disappointed there is no internal cargo option... 😢
    2 points
  22. Behind the Screen : June 2016 June started and ended with aircraft. But for a change not the virtual versions but actual real aircraft. I had a quick break at the start of June to go to Tasmania, which is the forgotten apple isle at the bottom end of the Australian continent. Beautiful beyond belief, but freezing wet and cold in winter and that makes the airfares very cheap when the weather is rock bottom, that my brother also lives there was the actual reason for the visit. The bonus of the ride to Melbourne was the chance to take a ride on Jetstar's Boeing 787 Dreamliner, con (36227) and rego VH-VKA. In the strange world of Qantas's route economics the B787 was going 2000nm in the opposite direction of its final destination at Narita in Japan, and the aircraft was barely occupied by only about 30 passengers. You had to check-in as an international flight and then go through arrival customs in Melbourne without actually leaving the country as this was classed as an international flight. Qantas does this route gymnastics quite often as when I went to Hong Kong I went from Brisbane to Sydney before flying back over the same airport four hours later that I had departed from earlier? and Qantas wonder why they are losing money with their shares going south. But a very lightly loaded new generation Boeing was going to be interesting. The pilots decided to have some fun before doing the hard yards to Japan. So it was a +3000fpm climb to a final altitude of 42,000ft, straight up and almost close to space. Up there it was more like being in the Gemini capsule in that the aircraft was static and the world now moved around under you and not the other way around. I could have balanced a pen upright and it would not have fallen over as was so smooth the Dreamliner, the landing was also one of the most slowest I have done in an aircraft of this size and well under 150knts, amazing stuff. The return trip was by bumpy bucket class A320 via Sydney. The block end of June was fun as well with an "Open Cockpit" day at the Queensland Air Museum (QAM) at Caloundra. Here they open up the aircraft so you can crawl all over the aircraft and make buzzing noises in the pilot's seat. But there was a serious side to getting up close to some really interesting aircraft. A KingAir 200B (VH-FII), Fokker F27 (VH-FNQ) and a rare Beech 2000A Starship (N786BP) and for myself to compare the real deal with the virtual versions. The main things to stand out is that the real aircraft inside are very small and tight, but huge outside in context to the actual space you work in. Vision is surprisingly limited, yokes are beyond small and tiny, levers and controls are heavyweights and very clunky to use or move and getting into and out of cockpit seats requires a circus diploma in acrobatics. Overall it gave a vital comparison to the computer versions and I will fly all very differently with the new perspectives. The Starship was an amazing aircraft that usually flew at a ceiling of 35,000ft, but sitting in that passenger and later the pilot's seat, I don't know if I would like to be that high up in it, it is very tube like and tight inside with just a small window look out on to those vast sweptback wings, the panel and instruments were quite standard early glass-era Beech. A final interesting aircraft that was in poor condition was the Cessna 336 Skymaster VH-CMY C/N 336-0005 with another very tight lovefest of your fellow pilot cabin, but those huge twin boom tails were very impressive. X-Plane 10.50 Release X-Plane beta 10.50 crashed and banged into our lives that 10.50b1 soon became 10.50b5 and now 10.50b6. But thankfully all is well with our X-Plane world now. Although the upgrade list is large, I haven't found the total complete love yet, in that I can't see any new autogen in density and it is all restricted just to the US doesn't bode well for the rest of the world where we really need it. My early framerate was shocking as well but settled down to a reasonable level, so I decided to let the waters smooth down a bit before making any major assumptions, but overall it is still too jerky and frustrating when flying even with a frame rate running high (50fr) and perfectly fine for my tastes. Like most new X-Plane versions released lately they seem to be getting shorter but are also much more stable and that is reflected in the now (slightly) larger team at Laminar Research and it shows. That said I was seriously impressed by the new features including an all new X-Plane menu and interface shown at Flightsimcon 2016 watch the video and see your new brave world coming soon, X-Plane will be seriously (insanely) good when we get to that release with it maybe even noted as X-Plane 11. Officially X-Plane11 doesn't still yet exist, but 10.50 is looking very much like the final complete 10 version run. Laminar can't hold X-Plane11 back for ever either, as it makes them huge instantaneous money or a load of new income by a new version release that goes a long way into paying the bills and wages. FlyJSim Boeing 727 Study v2 I had a strange issue with the the FlyJSIm aircraft when I moved over to the Window's killer thriller. Both the B727 or B732 would not work (the Boeing 732 still doesn't) so it took nearly a week of pain and problems to finally get the new v2 version to finally fly on the computer. Something with the sound files and the dreamengine, just wouldn't let the full loading of the files happen. So I missed the release date because of the issues, but what annoyed me more was the issues could have been cleared up months before when I first reported it, as noted the Boeing 732 is still in some sort of intergalactic machine limbo and I have just given up on flying it in Windows? I have spent over the years a fair few hours in the Boeing 727 and it certainly is right up there with the best of the best in X-Plane aircraft, the v2 update puts it even higher in quality and with the 60's style flying experience, but for all the brilliance, I just want to look out of the cabin windows at my takeoffs and landings in the replays? Is that too hard a request with an aircraft in this price range. As when all the hard work is done you can sit back and revel in your supreme handiwork and replay the whole flight and convince yourself you now really brilliantly good at this flying caper, well not still in the B727 you can't and I am now going to believe that I will go to my grave and not do so. PMDG and the whole damn fine thing Precision Manuals Development Group have a huge reputation in the Microsoft Flight Simulation (FS) world. But that doesn't say the same model works in X-Plane as many other FS developers have found out. The clever ones bridge the gap by using top X-Plane developer specialists and really circumnavigated the obvious issues, and in the process they have done very well in X-Plane. PMDG's approach is unique and clever in the fact that to just create from the ground up an aircraft just for X-Plane, and not try to bend the FS product to run on X-Plane's rules. It is certainly a brave and costly approach. But with this approach the return information on the inner workings of the X-Plane environment will pay out dividends when you really understand how the simulator deep down really ticks. You feel this newly acquired knowledge in the product and how far PMDG are willing to go to understand the platform and this approach has to be seriously applauded. So the released DC-6 Cloudmaster is quite a different but very interesting aircraft to fly and use in X-Plane. PMDG's willingness to create different but clever new features does really standout as well and mostly in the areas of usability that actual aircraft features, very clever and certainly made the flying and the use of the aircraft far more enjoyable than I ever expected. It is not totally perfect, but it is very good... ... So yes I was very surprised and very impressed by what PMDG have achieved. But as a caution to note that this release is not the best style or type of aircraft to make final surmise of the X-Plane platform for future releases as the aircraft is too much a niche product. If PMDG were to release one of their mainstream aircraft and there is a lot to choose from in the MD-11, Boeing 747-400 and 737NG series, then with the current detailing of what is included with the DC-6 then PMDG would do very well in X-Plane and certainly create a devoted following of their products like Carenado have done. My choice would be their Boeing 747-400 series and that aircraft would certainly be a notable seller on the X-Plane platform, overall I was seriously impressed by PMDG and their X-Plane approach. The paradox This of course brings us to the paradox that PMDG and Aerosoft and their like are caught up in. Can they afford to ignore X-Plane and it's small user base in terms of sales. Still the FS world is a huge but it is now a seriously aging simulator, 32bit and all as is Prepar3d. Dovetail have bought the FS rights and are claiming to reinvent and upgrade the simulator to a more modern platform, but my personal view it is just a repackaging exercise to keep the platform at least viable and Dovetail's first average training release seems to confirm that view. The problem for PMDG and Aerosoft et all, is just that elephant in the big room... 64bit? Laminar Research bit the bullet and did the switch a few years ago, but our base plugin aircraft back then were few and not the huge range we have today, but now consider Flight Simulation's huge mammoth user base and even X-Plane would struggle to cover all the aircraft that would now have needed to be converted over. Ben Supnik was right and it would hurt and it took three months to clear and fix all the plugins, but could FS do the same? or lose such a huge amount of unusable aircraft as success and market domination can at times turnaround and kill you. And then consider that X-Plane year on year well past the cut off date of FS as it has been updating and beta-ring away with very detailed new X-Plane versions of a very current simulator and soon as noted above X-Plane will be going into another new version cycle with X-Plane11, like it or not X-Plane cannot be ignored, and how many of the adopted ones that have come over to X-Plane have noted they would simply love to go back there, and the only reason they do is for the likes of PMDG et all, but most if not all love their new X-Plane environment. So still on the X-Plane.Org forums we get the cry of "why don't we still get the big names of Flight Simulation in X-Plane". Well if you look around you a lot are already here. But it does come down to fear or even survival in simulation. The ones I can't understand are scenery developers are like FlyTampa, as most airports are mostly the same objects and textures on an X-Plane base then why don't they develop for X-Plane, it is a market easy transferred as aircraft are harder to translate with X-Plane's basic "blade theory" and the way the aircraft interacts with the simulator makes it a completely different build than with FS, but in strangely weird way we get more FS aircraft than scenery? But there has to be the point of the seesaw moving the other way, as pure survival will make the difference as to change or die, can you see FS in another four or five years time as X-Plane swings into X-Plane12 (unless Austin Meyer kills himself in his driverless Tesla car). Four years is not a long way off and yes even I would admit anything can change in that period. Will X-Plane11 finally be the circumstances of change and mass migration from FS to X-Plane? The main issues in change is one the X-Plane interface as FS users hate it and won't use it, but that issue is being fixed in X-Plane11 with a whole new visual interface. The other huge barrier is the actual developers themselves... ... the biggest issue is the the huge investments that have been made in FS in aircraft and scenery, reverse the situation in that would I go to FS with all the investments I have made in X-Plane and the answer is no. So why can't the developers drop the barriers and let their clients transfer their already paid investments over to X-Plane, or ask a nominal fee to do so as it is in their own interests to do so. If you are not going to lose your favorite aircraft or scenery then the choice to change is not going to be hurt by the fact that you have to pay the same amount again to get the same thing in another simulator. Once the migration starts then all the other scenery, plugin developers and effects houses will quickly move over as well. My favorite words are "critical mass", once it generates its own power it will continue to do so, and it just takes a small amount of energy to start the process... But when will X-Plane hit that "Critical Mass" point. Like everything else in life and even for Apple Computer with the iPhone, it will be an interesting few years ahead for the X-Plane simulator. Stephen Dutton 11th July 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews
    2 points
  23. X-PlaneReviews - Yearly Review 2015 “So this is Xmas, And what have you done, Another year over, And a new one just begun, And so this is Xmas, I hope you have fun, The near and the dear one, The old and the young… A very Merry Xmas, And a happy New Year, Let's hope it's a good one, Without any fear (Happy Xmas “War is Over” John Lennon). How many years since that recording was made? 44 years believe it or not and it feels that not much has changed with the world, so how would have John Lennon felt today, maybe like then it is simply a fruitless campaign, there is just too much hate around us that it still overwhelms the love. But thankfully that hate does not spill over into our X-Plane world (except on some forums), but there is certainly a lot of love around here for all of us in creation, cooperation and the love of sharing shows that it can be done when you focus and love something as much as we do with our digital and online flying, we get it right so why can’t everyone else… Overall it was another standout year for the simulator, there was no real highpoints or low points, but just a steady stream of releases and great ideas. Cohesion is certainly covering the simulator and it feels now more solid than ever, but that also depends on the huge amount of add-ons in plugins that you can hang off X-Plane now, personally myself I don’t throw everything into the box, as the main reason is I need a pretty solid platform for reviews, so when thoroughly tested and proven and mostly if it can add in a real benefit and then and only then does it go into the plugin folder. One major annoyance that I have found this year is the growing amount of developers that will only create “Windows” only applications (they say they will do Mac/Linux version but never do). One issue is that this treatment means they won’t get any exposure from this site (meaning sales) but X-Plane is a multi-platform simulator and not FS based windows sim, noting I should use “windows” is defeating the idea as Mac/Linux users still don’t have access… the total reality of this approach is the losers are the developers themselves as their sometimes brilliant work is usually mostly not taken up as a global application in the simulator and is usually then left sidelined and waysided in the process, it is not easy I admit to convert Windows code to Mac/Linux based code, but that is what the simulator is built on and more Macs than ever are being sold today as desktop systems, it is your loss dev’s not mine. Laminar Research As usual the beta run from Laminar Research is usually the high point in changes to the simulator. This year it was the v10.40 run that was very successful in being very solid in it’s underlying foundations. The highlight was of course the extended scenery and the option to load area in 4×3 DSFs (tiles) for less blurry long distance viewing. LR at the same time provided a new way of loading the DSF’s and with more multicore processing to get faster load times for more area being loaded. The result was a transformation of your X-Plane landscape that was wonderful to behold (if ages in coming) and certainly made the simulator far more competitive. The global airport domination carried on with now thousands (2,306) of 3-D default airports in situ ready and waiting for your personal use. However my original fears came back in receptive horror that every airport I landed at then had double objects and nothing looked anything like normal, so “Global Airports” are now always out of my custom scenery folder more than being actually in it (usually in there just for beta upgrades) so it is of simply no use to me? Laminar Research notes that it is the responsibility of the add-on developers to make sure there is no conflict, but I always thought that was a huge big ask from the first off anyway and that is certainly turning out to be so, the fix needs to come internally. There was some nice changes in v10.40 and some really backward steps in the lighting, before you had small tight lights but now huge blobs of lights all over aircraft and airports. If there is one area I hate it is in the lighting, awful stuff, I understand that with the change of view the light definition source becomes larger or smaller, but the overall lighting look is a severe backward step in mostly very few are adjusting their lighting to the new format. Touches were made to the weather (winds aloft and METERS, GPS, new failures, views and multi-core AVI based Video was restored and certainly a lot of great bug fixes were addressed and overall the X-Plane simulator runs far more smoother and more cohesive, and in context 10.40 was a very good clean upgrade. But, but and more but’s in the main context 10.40 didn’t really deliver in the other areas that are well overdue for attention, Clouds are still a major feature of the X-Plane 10 launch feature list, but are still as we start to pass the middle section of the beta run an area that has had the least amount of focus and is causing the most anguish to simulator users. Light clouds are fine but when they get grey or go darker you are hit with a total wall of framerate pain. No one is immune and users have been drove to desperation in creating lighter textures, adding weather add-ons and mostly screaming at their computers in frustration as aircraft will not fly in these conditions, why have all these glorious weather options when you can’t use any of them? And the moon (that jagged piece of crap in the sky), and the stars are still, still reflecting on the ground as you fly? Water and certainly your tropical waters are basically still in the X-Plane stone-age and not to mention the poor ATC (ATC is finally getting attention in v10.45) but as a warning to Laminar Research in that if these areas are not addressed soon, then users will get more and more vocal and certainly their patience will certainly finally wear out in waiting for any relief from the cloud pain… ditto for night textures as well. Plugin Add-ons Again the creative of you all brought out some great ideas and refined older ones, there was hundreds of great ideas but like mentioned not many actually came through to the mainstream (see “Windows only” above) Lots of Soundsets, Planners, Checklists, Cloud and Water options (see above) FMC helpers, Ebags and a great selection of library management tools. A few did stand out. Headshake and Expansion Packs from SimCoders were great and realistic additions, in Headshake it needed to be finely tuned to your needs, but when done was a great advantage to flying. FSFlightSchool created far more interesting tutorials, and are certainly worthy for getting your flying skills just right JARDesign brought out a great plugin that created animated “Ground Support” called “Ground Handling Deluxe”, certainly a plugin in its infancy, but its potential is enormous in the X-Plane landscape. The standout plugin application was not one that was released in 2015, but certainly matured in mid-year and that was “WorldTraffic” from Classic Jet Simulations (Greg Hofer). I started out the year in 2015 in wanting to conquer the WorldTraffic world, and even I admit it was tough going in setting it up and creating the ground and air routes, but suddenly with the v2.0 release in September it all fell finally into place and the airports were also suddenly groaning under the weight of movement and traffic. WT sits there in the background buzzing away and now I can’t get enough of it. Scenery Freeware Scenery In Freeware MisterX6 dominated all with his excellent KSFO - San Fran City, KSAN (San Diego), KLAX - Los Angeles (upgraded), KPHX - Phoenix and KPDX – Portland International. tdg went awol in the middle of the year, but still delivered some stunning and efficient scenery. And the usual suspects kept the home fires burning brightly… overall it was a very good year for good quality freeware scenery, in this area X-Plane still delivers really great work, so a slap on the back and lots of accolades to all those who put in the hours is always certainly a worthy cause. An annoying trend developing in 2015 was developers now creating many versions of the same airport in various degrees of quality, to a point it is waste of time and lots of work done for nothing, If you can design a better version than the current version then fine, but why create an inferior one? I like the approach of LIRF - Roma in that the earlier original version by Wehrlipub was passed on to Seaman and he added and kept the scenery moving and improving ever on upwards with updates, and this approach this creates great progressive scenery instead of the hundreds of stalled projects that litter the downloads section. Freddy De Pues decided enough was enough and noted that 2015 was his last year in creating scenery, so the whole kit and caboodle was handed over to Nicolas of X-Plane.Org fame to relist and host in the saving of a great legacy of work for future generations, thanks Fred, we will miss your input. Payware Scenery The United Kingdom got the best of the payware scenery this year with EGCC - Manchester from Icarus first out of the box in 2015 which was excellent and so was a big hole filler in EGLL-Heathrow from Aerosoft. PilotPlus delivered huge in EGHI - Southampton and EGGD - Bristol and the quirky EGTR - Elstree, the lighting in all was sensational, but overall all were good quality solid scenery releases. Tom Curtis recovered from cancer to deliver upgrades to Glitter Gulch (Las Vegas) and a cityscape for his huge San Fransisco “Golden Gate+South Bay” sets. Southern American State airports were in vogue in 2015 with KAUS - Austin (great first scenery from Airportech), KTUS - Tuscon, KDAL - Dallas Love Field (last two are actually freeware), KRSW - South Florida (Aerosoft), KATL - Atlanta (Butnaru) all delivering great destinations. Overall Butnaru was quieter this year with the fore mentioned KATL and KFLL Fort Lauderdale as his only two releases with a new rejigged updated ORD (O’Hare) just released with also new name in “Nimbus Simulation Studios. MB Sceneries (formerly SkyHighSim) delivered an outstanding LYBE - Belgrade, and DAI - Media revised all their main sceneries and debuted LEBL - Barcelona. Newcomer Richard G Nunes provided some interesting scenery in the first set out in the central country area of Brazil with SBDN - Presidente Prudente Airport then the Brazilian Monolith of SBGL - Rio De Janeiro with a presiding Jesus Statue (Christ The Redeemer) in October. Drzewiecki Design created some really great (and needed) scenery for X-Plane in 2015, but it was all let down by poor and difficult installation design and on my Mac sceneries there was bad pink staining on all the water boundary edges (Windows is supposed to be okay). Overall the quality of scenery is still improving with the now required inclusion of animated vehicle traffic as a default and rather than a feature, lighting design was one of the real advances as developers really created some amazing effects with little or no framerate penalty, textures were very good as well. The only area that had issues is still night glass transparency in just being grey or not in reflecting real glass well. So any payware that did not deliver animated vehicles, good lighting, perfect textured runways and taxiways and great building textures are now the default and required to be considered as payware quality, thankfully very few actually under delivered in these quality areas. Notable this year was that as these complex highly detailed object sceneries are still going higher in quality, they are also reaching a border line in framerate. Remember that the processing is not just there to deal with the actual scenery, but surrounding the scenery is not only filled with heavy autogen (and usually other airports) but also usually a very heavy complex (payware) aircraft. This is not now the light processing scenery of X-Plane Christmas past, but the really heavy X-Plane processing effort that is required for today’s Christmas present and yes you can buy a computer that can process this lot, but not everyone can afford that upgrading cost on a yearly basis, certainly if you are an Apple devotee in their high cost and lower performance yields. X-Plane is certainly more efficient (clouds aside) and aircraft developers have certainly done a major effort in scaling back errant frame weight (some like the new FlightFactor Boeing 763ER is amazingly light in performance), so that leaves the Scenery Developers to make sure that not only should the scenery be the best you can provide in objects and high-resolution textures, but take more into account that the scenery has to be highly efficient as well. Many do the works as Aerosoft’s EGLL - Heathrow was excellent for the amount of objects that is in the product, and it shows how far they have come since their EHAM - Schiphol that is still a ram crusher of immense proportions. It is not now that the problem exists, but in the Christmas future and non-efficient scenery will be sidelined which means no sales if users can’t access it. A final note on scenery in 2015 was the explosion of object libraries are all welcome of course but two things became really annoying. One was the constant updates (some even days apart) that usually crashed the installed scenery and you had to totally redownload the latest library version to get it all to work again, yes we love your enthusiasm and certainly your contribution to the cause, but just package less and more importantly note the new upgrade of the library. Which brings to the second note on object libraries, certainly a cull is needed and place to have them all accessed from one area and listed in categories. Too many now have only a few objects in them, and I would prefer less with better quality objects certainly with aircraft. (OpenSceneryX is sadly now the worst offender for poor resolution aircraft textures) Aircraft Freeware Aircraft It was noticeable this year the growing gap between freeware and payware aircraft, with their full on bangs and whistles even cheap payware aircraft were overall a better download. That is not to say there was no good freeware because there was like Beber’s Rafale C, and the AN225 by rihardstuka. The line though now is a 3-D cockpit… personally if there isn’t one in there now I will pass. Notable in freeware was ex-payware which was usually old but there was some good stuff if you liked that sort of design or aircraft, highlights of course in this vein was Mr3d’s Zero which is a masterpiece, and the Yak55. One aircraft in all it different versions was the Pilatus PC6 Turbo Porter of which I like to fly around mountainous areas and DDen’s Shavrov Sh-2. Overlooked I think is the Eclipse 400 from XPFR. Payware Aircraft It was again a full busy year in 2015 for excellent add-on aircraft, detailing and quality again went up a notch, features abounded as well but mostly notably in the areas of G-Effects and deep menus with full maintenance procedures (we will have to outsource soon. Overall it is the sheer quality of product and range that is available to you now, just think only a few years ago and how we squealed over even the smallest release (bigger than a new Star Wars movie!). Special feature of the year was the Holy Grail of Shiny Objects and Chrome for X-Plane. Dden brought out an early version for the Challenger 300, but FlightFactor created perfection with the Boeing 767-300ER, that was so realistic you were totally blown away by the detail. Lightsports Lightsports or ultralight aircraft were very abundant this year, The Cruz PiperSport from Alabeo was a cool small aircraft and Alabeo threw in the excellent DiamondStar DA40 as well. The Tecnam P2002 from DMAX was a fun machine. The Cirrus SR20 will appear in two categories it is small but “light” enough? We will move that one to the GA section. And finally the double act of the Aquila 210 and A211G that was an impressive debut from PicusX. General Aviation No category is more crowded and more competitive than the General Aviation (GA) area (yes even more than Airliners which there are less but far bigger releases), and 2015 was a bumper year in GA releases, all good and all very top quality. Overall Carenado had a quieter year than they usually do with the full range of their aircraft having an v3.0 upgrade at the start of the year, and another to close the year off with v3.1 (to cover the X-Plane 10.40 upgrade). Most of the main Carenado GA releases are now Alabeo brand releases, but in reality there is nothing to separate them now from the usual Carenado releases of only a few years ago in quality and price. I have noted the PiperSport and DA40, but I really liked (far more than I thought I would) Alabeo’s C404 Titan, a simply great cruiser and a lovely aircraft, and the lovely Alabeo C207 Skywagon was a blast from the past Carenado’s 2015 focus was on creating a viable advanced Garmin G1000 system and that system debuted on the CT182T Skylane G1000 HD Series in September, it is a complicated self focusing system but it has huge potential. VFlyteAir also released a G1000 system in the Cirrus SR20 Perspective® G1000 which was a very good and interesting machine. RW Designs Beechcraft Duke was different from the usual GA standard and Aerobask’s ViperJet was really out there in design and speed, but still a GA in everyday use. The standout GA however came from nowhere in AirfoilLab’s amazing Cessna 172SP Skyhawk. This aircraft shook the establishment to the core, as it was full of clever features and special effects. Not all of them worked mind you out of the box but in the basics as a great trainer it really totally delivered. On a side note it was as already noted the extension of these ideas to SimCoders in their Reality Expansion Packs for the Carenado CT210 and the F33A… no doubt both AirfoilLab’s and SimCoders will be interesting areas to watch in 2016. Helicopters 2015 was a poor year for our rotary right seat pilots, well nothing was released all year after a very productive 2014. Only X-Trident gave us some great updates to their excellent AB412… otherwise an empty basket, 2016 has to be better. Classic and Utility Aircraft RW Designs did a release in February and a nice upgrade in November to their DH6 Twin Otter, a better aircraft than it looks on the surface. Shade Tree Micro Aviation updated their DHC-2T Beaver Turbo and a good clever upgrade that was. STMA also took over Heinz Dzuirowitz’s Beech 18 after his surprising passing in May and updated that classic aircraft in November. The highlight of releases this year in Classic Aircraft was the excellent SoulMade Simulations DHC-2 Beaver, and what an exquisite aircraft that was and a really top notch simulation of a great old timer, one of the very best of the year. Regional Aircraft Airliners are now THE releases of the year, but they are releasing so many that they needed to be broken into different categories, “Regional” aircraft are so popular that we will note now them apart from the heavy, heavies… STMA started off the year with the Pilatus PC12/47G update, but hot on its heels was another Pilatus PC12-HD from Carenado. The Carenado PC12’s version’s reception was lukewarm, and that was a bewildering and perplexing train of thought? The aircraft was one of the best from Carenado in quality, sheer brilliant design (a cockpit to die for) and even a great special effect in a working stick shaker. Later in the year users finally started to warm to the aircraft and that was one of the big head shakers of the year. Dreamfoil Creations then surprised everyone with their release of the amazing EMB-110 Bandeirante. Better known for helicopters this was Dreamfoil Creations doing a fixed-wing aircraft? Well the situation was not what it seemed as it was not created by Conex but Lidimar Santos under the Dreamfoil banner, the surprise was not that the aircraft was coming as it was in the development pages for ages, but how brilliant it actually was when it landed, and how hard it is to fly really well, one of the other standouts of the year. Airliners The “Heavy” category in X-Plane is always the battle royal of effects, FMC’s, systems, quality textures and the sheer bloody “mine is better than yours” boasting rights. In effect there was no clear winner in 2016, as three contenders battled it out for the top honours, another in the IXEG Boeing 737 Classic is still in release limbo on this yearly summary posting, but I don’t think it would change the final outcome anyway. We will cover the smaller contenders first. Peter Hager released the Airbus A319 mid-year, but it didn’t have much of an impact, personally I have flown Peter Hager’s Airbuses more this year than ever and don’t miss the extensive set up time that you need in JARDesign’s Airbus A320neo. It is accessibility more than absolute functionality that wins here, time is short when you need to be in the air and flying a route for a review, and Peter’s Airbus is usually the best way to do that, in saying that a more better set up in the 3-D cockpit would not go astray, and his A380 Series is certainly really feeling its age now. Two developers that made a big impact on the Airliner scene in 2014, came back a little less green and far more experienced in 2015 was DW Design and X-Crafts. No doubt both these talented developers grew at phenomenal rates to deliver aircraft more mature and far better than both their debut aircraft. DW Design was even more ruthless in re-starting his A330-300 v2 from almost total scratch and delivering a really nice clean aircraft that is far better than it looks on the surface. X-Crafts also totally recreated his original E-195ER to release the smaller E-175 and did not fall into the trap of just merging everything over (keeping the best bits) and making a smaller aircraft from the original E-195ER version which was good anyway. In view the E-175 looks absolutely the same as the E-195ER, but it isn’t and it is a really nice good little aircraft when you spend the flying hours in that aircraft, quality is outstanding and the new FMC is a brave start into the complex and hardest section of all in FMC programming… both parties have learnt that the developer game is certainly not an easy one, users only see the end results, but it is a very hard game to do from scratch and the learning curve is absolutely straight up vertical, but both have certainly delivered and deserve the plaudits they deserve. The third of the top honours goes to Rotate’s McDonnell Douglas MD-88. In all honesty it would have never been the aircraft of the year as a first developer release was never going to achieve that, but third is no slouch either given the competition. This is a glorious machine, it provides every area of sensual satisfaction of flying on a computer. Before you start a comments war in “are you really kidding me!” there are here several points to be made. First the MD-88 is a completely new initiation for the developer and for what it delivers, it is not in the now but in the future that can its real impact be totally accessed. No new developer is going to deliver totally top absolutely pitch perfect product out of the box, as that is not possible anyway (just ask DW Design and X-Crafts on that issue), and to a point as a purchaser you are putting a bit of faith into a developer to deliver the full context of to fulfill the full goal of an aircraft’s full potential. The developers that have achieved this (coming next) are the ones that sit at the top of heap and they deserve to be there. So that brings us to the next thrown around question of “is the Rotate MD-88 worth $US60?” many (most) say “no” and many say “yes”, I am firmly in the “yes” camp. It is worth the investment, because that is what you are buying is an investment… and this is certainly not an aircraft for a quick flight around the block and to then announce to the world “this is rubbish” and give another throw of an aircraft into their already discarded list of so called “rubbish” into their broken toybox. I got totally angry at this comment on the X-Plane.Org because it shows the users absolute incompetence and ineptitude in understanding of what simulation flying is really about, and that incompetence can hurt a developers sales through just pure ineptitude of their own flying and assessment skills, in other words they are an “Idiot”. It took me three days just to basically access the MD-88 and never mind a few clips around the paddock. And still I have not fully accessed the aircraft to its full capabilities (note I did a preview not a review of the MD-88), these aircraft need a long period of accumulation and a deep understanding of their complex systems, just like the real aircraft do in the real world. No doubt at this release point is Rotate’s MD-88 not absolutely perfect, it is far from that point, but it can’t be anyway. No matter how much beta testing is done, things are very different in the actual open world in X-Plane with thousands of users and three different platforms and computer systems and the sheer amount of work required to deliver that in context. But still many still squawk at the top of their high pitch screams that they want their money back… The deal is here now on the developer to close the gaps and fill in the blanks, yes the MD-88 is worth US$60, but only after a few updates and changes that in most cases that usually takes about three to six months, and even twelve months is acceptable and then you can ask for your refund. But you won’t do that because the aircraft will be what you wanted in the first place and usually better, that is part and parcel of what simulation is about. And absolutely no doubt some aircraft are total dogs straight out of the box and you have every right to get a refund. But for the pro’s then let them do their job, as it is their reputation that is on the line here. If they don’t deliver or walk away leaving a totally unfinished product then they can’t ask for your investment the next time around, it is a two way deal. Two of the top releases for 2015 were JARDesigns Airbus A330-243 and FlightFactors Boeing 767-300ER (IXEG’s Boeing 737Classic is still a no show to date, even if it was released right on Christmas it would probably be pushed into 2016 as we will be by then all be drunk around the Christmas Tree anyway). In reality it is a classic Airbus v Boeing aircraft choice of personal preferences. It is a sliver of margins on which aircraft is better and both deserve the accolades of the sheer complexity and features they both provide and both certainly highlight of the level of skill and complexity that the new heights that X-Plane simulation has achieved. Both come out of former great products that shows both developers are so willing to push the boundaries and make the next one better and bigger than the last. In JARDesign’s case it was the A320neo that is an airbus aircraft through and through, and in FlightFactor’s case it was a hard step up from their Boeing 757 series that was the best aircraft in X-Plane for two years running. But both developers did push the envelope even way past those already huge successes, and that to a point is why they are both so good. The guys at the top keep on pushing the boundaries and keep on improving even the small stuff, as they say… “It is not getting to the top, as that part was easy the hard part, it is just staying there”. And not only do they keep improving with new aircraft but also keep your older investments up to date and current with X-Plane that is what you pay for in your US$60 investment at this level. If pushed I would declare the FlightFactor Boeing 767-300ER the winner by a slice, but it is a draw in reality. Some developers where very quiet this year. FlyJSim was notably absent, and we miss their excellent aircraft. Khamsin only had his Pacific Island release and Dawson Designs has sorta of slipped off the radar, at least Ddenn is back with the Bombardier Global 6000 in development, but PMDG is still deep in beta testing with its DC-6B (come on guys the water is not that hot over here). Overall it was a another masterful year in 2015, so busy now and a lot of changes to the better. X-Plane is still growing, still delivering great simulation and giving us a lot of great moments and satisfaction. We all want more out of the simulator… of course we do, but I see the journey and not the destination of part of why we are all in here together and no doubt again 2016 will deliver even more in great aircraft, scenery and add-ons to keep us more than happy with our deepest love of aircraft and aviation. This is the last post of the 2015 year and X-PlaneReview’s will be back on the 5th January 2016 with a special review to really kick off 2016 with a blast. And thankfully my computer survived the onslaught better this year without popping off or totally destroying its internals. I have to thank Joe Charman again for his huge contribution this past year and his contribution to X-Plane, thanks Joe and to all the many people behind the scenes that usually get a frantic email for help and support. The incredible developers that provide me with their amazing work and the valuable information to make these reviews work and happen. I am as always in awe in what they do. Finally to Nicolas Taureau and the backing of the guys of the X-Plane.Org that keeps the site running smoothly (a lot of changes were done this year) and give me great advice and assistance. To wrap up this review of 2015 and the year, I will now list my Best of the Year 2015: Best Aircraft (any Category): FlightFactor Boeing 767-300ER and JARDesign A330-243 Not a whisker between them, both great aircraft for X-Plane 2015 Honourable Mention : None (split between the two winners) Best Regional (new Category) : Embraer EMB -110 Bandeirante by Dreamfoil Creations Great design and a great aircraft to fly, The EMB-110 really delivered Honourable Mention : Embraer E175 by X-Crafts A huge step forward and a lovely flying aircraft Best Classic Aircraft : SoulMade Simulations DHC-2 Beaver Just a beautiful aircraft and worthy aircraft of its heritage. Honourable Mention : DHC-2T Beaver Turbo by Shade Tree Micro Aviation STMA just keep flying on… Best General Aviation Aircraft : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs Moved the line forward in design and ideas. Honourable Mention : CT210 Centurion II with G1000 avionics by Carenado Pushing the envelop in avionics, the future. Best Helicopter : Sadly none Honourable Mention : AB412 by X-Trident for great updates and features Best Scenery Payware : EGCC - Manchester by Icarus EIDW- Dublin was a great debut for Icarus and Manchester was a greater sequel Honourable Mentions : EGLL - Heathrow by Aerosoft for payware, in a great scenery desperately needed in the X-Plane universe and PilotPlus in EGHI - Southampton and EGGD - Bristol and EGTR - Elstree which was great solid quality scenery. Best Scenery Freeware : KSFO, KSAN (San Diego), KLAX, KPHX (Phoenix) and KPDX (Portland International) by MisterX6 All masterpieces, thank god he only does freeware. Best Plugin : Ground Handling Plus by JARDesign The potential of Ground Handling Plus is stratospheric, basics are all in there to totally change the look of your ramps. Honourable Mention : WorldTraffic by Classic Jet Simulations WT came of age in 2015, amazing plugin when running full throttle… get with WT in 2016 Best Moment of the year 2015 : Realising that the Rotate MD-88 would actually run on my computer without actually crashing it. Worst Moment of the Year 2015 : Heinz Dzuirowitz’s passing, one of the great X-Plane originals Biggest distraction of 2015 : Reloading crashing library scenery and editing poor photo underlay textures. Person of the Year 2015 : Eugeny Romanov JARDesign Delivered huge in 2015, a masterpiece aircraft in the A330-243 and a great clever addon in the Ground Handling Plus plugin Honourable Mentions : Roman Berezin and Daniel Klaue Roman Berezin and the FlightFactor Group deliver great consistent professional product for X-Plane and Daniel Klaue is the grand wizard who is always helping others and leading us on the way to X-Plane nirvana, like every other year you don’t see what Dan does, but you fly it all the time. Personal Favourites of 2015 : The X-Trident Bell AB412, Carenado F33A Bonanza, Dreamfoil Embraer EMB -110, Carenado C208B Caravan, Avro RJ100, FlyJSim Boeing 727 Series, JARDesign A330-243, Ddenn Challenger 300 and FlightFactor Boeing 757 and 777 series aircraft (Boeing 767 and MD-88 are too late in the year to be considered for 2015) So to all the X-Plane flyers, thank you for your constant support for X-Plane Reviews and have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year 2016!… … more to come in 2016! “ And so a very Merry Xmas, And a happy New Year, Let's hope it's a good one, Without any fear…. War is over, if you want it, War is over, if you want it…. Yeah! Merry Christmas!” Yearly Review by Stephen Dutton 22nd December 2015 Copyright©2015: X-PlaneReviews
    2 points
  24. Airport Review : EGGD - Bristol Airport by Pilot Plus In early February 2015 Pilot Plus released their first airport scenery in EGHI - Southampton (Airport Review EGHI-Southampton by Pilot Plus). And in the now increasing competitive world of X-Plane scenery here is their second release for Bristol in the south-west of the United Kingdom in EGGD - Bristol Airport. Reputation can make you or kill you, so like a good song or film you are only as good as your last one. So consistency and quality is everything to making sure that the investments in your aircraft or scenery keep coming... So how does EGGD - Bristol compare with Pilot Plus's first release of EGHI - Southampton which was by all accounts very good. To find out we will start at EGHI - Southampton and do the quick flight over to the Bristol Channel in the leg of England and see this latest airport from this very promising developer. The Avroliner Project's Avro RJ100, is the perfect aircraft to do this short slightly circular hop. First Impressions This is not my first visit to EGGD - Bristol and I have done both approaches to the single absolute angled West-East runway of 09/27. In either direction the approaches are slightly hidden by low hills. So at first you can't actually see the airport from a distance? This makes the airport quite hard to a ) actually find and b ) centre the aircraft directly into the runways path, it is not bad... bad, but you do need to have some sort of navigation direction in say the NDB (BRI-414) which is the best solution if you don't have ILS-Localiser equipment on your aircraft. And you will need to be quite aware of your height in a GA (General Aviation) on finals if you don't want some branches and Stirling nests in your undercarriage. Pilot Plus has again done a magnificent job of inserting the scenery in the X-Plane surrounding areas, the use of trees to cover the boundries, like with EGHI - Southampton is again very well done. My approach is from the west into RWY 09. Runway 09/27 is 2,011m (6,598ft) long and had been totally resurfaced between November 2006 and March 2007. In fact the whole of "Lulsgate Bottom" (Ex RAF Lulsgate Bottom) which is a great if very British name has seen quite a significant amount of development over the last few decades, and they are not finished yet as the the £150 million plan is spread over 30 construction projects with plans to include a doubling of passenger terminal floorspace, new piers and aircraft parking stands, extensions to the apron, two multi-storey car parks and a public transport interchange. Half of the development and represented here in Pilot Plus scenery is already done. So on landing for a smallish west country airport you are surprised to find that the airport at Bristol is quite a significant and large facility that has significant links to almost all of Europe from and to Hungary, Iceland, Finland, Morocco and even as far away as Egypt? All the commercial terminal and ramp areas are on the north side of the runway, with a Flying club and GA parking area known as "Southern Parking" in the south-eastern corner area. Taxiway B is the final turn off towards the north. The main terminal areas are really two... the new and the old. My parking is at gate16 in the eastern old area which is the old Bristol terminal and ramp area. First thing you notice on reaching the (old) Main Apron is that EGGD is a very busy place! You can download a "Static aircraft and people" package to fill EGGD to the brim with every conceivable ramp and maintenance worker(s) known. Is there too many? well that is debatable, but certainly you have to be careful not to suck in a few hats into your engines on your way to your gate, but personally I love it... it makes the airport very alive, busy and vehicle animations are plentiful as well. So your first impressions of EGGD are simply brilliant. EGGD - Bristol Airport Overview (Google Maps - NATS-UK Copyright©) Bristol Airport (IATA: BRS, ICAO: EGGD) 09/27 2,011 (6,598ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL 622 ft / 190 m Landing on RWY 09 will put you close to the terminal areas, but with RWY 27 there is a taxi period to take into account with. The Terminal areas are split into three areas with the "West Apron", "Central" and "Main Apron". The new area covers the "West Apron" which has remote parking ramps, but is mostly just for aircraft parking, The "central" area is the main terminal building (rear) with a set of large covered walkways to the west of the terminal building connecting it to eight pre-boarding zones. No autogates here, strictly walk on - walk off boarding. The area is separated by a Fuel Storage depot... Ramps are what you would call slightly chaotic, busy but very well set out, and marshals will call you into the gate areas. The huge covered walkways are really well recreated with the glass connecting walkway a very realistic highlight. Terminal Building The big terminal building is excellent, but the glass on the real building looks more lighter and clearer than here, which makes the building feel more darker than it is? Control Tower Central to the complex but situated just behind the walkways is the control tower which was completed in 2001. Tower design is very good, but the real version has a sort of steel/aluminium finish? Tower view is excellent, not only for the runway, but for any of the areas below on the ramps. Main Apron East of the new terminal area is the older original section of the airport called Main Apron. The old Bristol (Lulsgate) Airport terminal is still there and is very well recreated here, even if the area behind is now just a carpark... All around this scenery are bulging full carparks, very well done and it gives this scenery a sort of completion and overall perfect view and realism. Southern Parking Area Not the most exciting name for the area across the start of runway 27 on the eastern-southern section of the airport. Here is the Bristol and Wessex flying Club, their hangars, restaurant (The Flight Lounge) and general aviation parking. The area is however dominated by huge parking areas for cars. But a great place to park you GA aircraft if flying cross-country. Nightlighting Like everything else in this Bristol scenery the lighting is not done by halves... the candle-power is breathtaking and can bring your computer down a few notches... Runway and taxiway lighting is excellent and the taxiway signage is a stand out. All the main areas are very well lit, including great coverage on all the ramps and remote parking areas. Highlights are the different (whiter) lighting for the main road and access ways and the general airport lighting. You would expect the terminal building to be quite lit up, but here it is quite dark and even dull. HDR "on" and the sheer amount of lighting in here does affect your framerate, but still it is great to look at it all. Services You don't get a lot of big widebody's in EGGD (Dreamliner is coming), but you would get everything else in the single-isle type variety. EGGD is very big on charters and tours, and so the big tour operators like Thomas Cook and Thomson Airways have a lot of seasonal departures from here. LCC's Ryanair and Easyjet dominate, but you have a lot of interesting operators that you don't usually see in this part of the world like WIZZ air, Air Malta, Austrian Airlines and even SAS. Close European connections to Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich and Paris keeps it all very interesting. Closer in Ireland, Scotland and the Channel and Isle of Man islands give you great regional and quick routes. Aer Lingus Regional operated by Stobart Air - Cork, Dublin Air Malta - Seasonal: Malta Aurigny Air Services - Guernsey Austrian Airlines - Seasonal: Innsbruck[72] BH Air - Seasonal: Burgas, Sofia Blue Islands Jersey BMI Regional Aberdeen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Milan-Malpensa, Munich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle : Seasonal: Bastia, Nantes Brussels Airlines operated by BMI Regional - Brussels EasyJet - Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast-International, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bilbao, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Geneva, Gibraltar, Glasgow-International, Inverness, Isle of Man, Kraków, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Madrid, Málaga, Marrakech, Murcia, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Pisa, Porto, Prague, Reykjavík-Keflavík, Rome-Fiumicino, Tenerife-South, Toulouse : Seasonal: Bodrum, Bordeaux, Catania, Corfu, Dalaman, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, La Rochelle, Lyon, Mahón, Marseille, Naples, Olbia, Salzburg, Split, Zakynthos. Flybe - Seasonal charter: Lleida Jet2.com - Seasonal charter: Chambéry KLM operated by KLM Cityhopper - Amsterdam Mistral Air - Seasonal: Verona Ryanair - Alicante, Budapest, Castellón, Dublin, Faro, Gdańsk, Gran Canaria, Kaunas, Lanzarote, Málaga, Malta, Poznań, Tenerife-South, Warsaw-Modlin, Wrocław : Seasonal: Bergamo, Bergerac, Béziers, Bologna, Chania, Girona, Ibiza, Knock, Limoges, Palma de Mallorca, Reus, Rzeszów, Treviso, Valencia Scandinavian Airlines - Seasonal: Stockholm-Arlanda Thomas Cook Airlines - Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife-South : Seasonal: Antalya, Bourgas, Corfu, Dalaman, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Mahón, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Skiathos, Zakynthos, Geneva Thomson Airways - Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Málaga, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South : Seasonal: Alicante, Antalya, Bodrum, Burgas, Catania (begins Summer 2016),Cephalonia, Chambéry, Corfu, Dalaman, Enfidha, Fuerteventura,[77] Geneva, Heraklion, Hurghada , Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Marrakech, Menorca, Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Reus, Rhodes, Santorini, Sal, Salzburg, Sofia, Toulouse, Turin, Zakynthos Wizz Air - Katowice. Routes 1 Netherlands - Amsterdam : 350,097 2 Ireland - Dublin : 331,655 3 United Kingdom - Edinburgh : 322,760 4 Spain - Málaga : 280,713 5 Spain - Palma de Mallorca : 273,371 6 Spain - Alicante : 271,457 7 Portugal - Faro : 269,899 8 United Kingdom - Glasgow International : 245,286 9 United Kingdom - Belfast International : 230,833 10 Switzerland - Geneva : 188,384 11 United Kingdom - Newcastle : 174,461 12 Spain - Tenerife : 165,519 13 Spain - Barcelona : 127,606 14 France - Paris Charles de Gaulle : 120,341 15 France - Toulouse : 112,061 16 Italy - Rome-Fiumicino : 107,364 17 Spain - Lanzarote : 103,540 18 Turkey - Dalaman : 94,304 19 Spain - Girona : 79,941 20 Spain - Madrid : 79,124 Total Passengers 2014 - 6,339,805 Summary EGHI - Southampton from Pilot Plus was very good scenery, but EGGD - Bristol is outstanding scenery. In every area except the few issues with the windows - glass (day and night in being too dark) with the main terminal building the airport is excellent. It is like noted if there is just too much equipment and people on the ground, as it does look like an airport running at full speed in the summer holidays and the carparks are overflowing. But that is okay if you like your scenery like that. Animations are thoughtful and not over done. And the lighting in here however is enough to send your power bill into orbit, or at least your computer down into the negative zone with HDR "on". Insertion into the X-Plane scenery is very good as well, with great photo textures to blend in (for absolute detail though you need the textures set very high to extreme or it gets a little buzzy) and the traffic flows are around the airport in very good and realistic. Overall... Brilliant, great outstanding X-Plane scenery... and highly usable... Love it. __________________________________________ EGGD - Bristol Airport by Pilot Plus is now available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : EGGD Bristol International Airport and it is priced at only US$22.95 Features : High Resolution ground imagery Custom night lighting Optional (free) download to add static aircraft & 3D people Animated Ground Marshaller guides you into the gate Ground traffic that brings Bristol to life! Installation : Download is 91.40mb that is unzipped to 243.70mb and placed in your Custom Scenery folder. "Static" aircraft and people add-on can be downloaded from the X-Plane.Org site - (Free Payware extension) Pilot Plus EGGD Statics and then deposited in your custom scenery folder (note: static aircraft file must be placed above your EGGD-Bristol scenery in the "scenery_packs.ini" file to work!) Documents : 1 Manual pdf, 4 STAR, 3 SID, Airport and Parking Charts and ATC minimum altitude surveillance chart. Developer Site : Pilot Plus Requirements: X-Plane 10.30 Windows XP/ Vista/ 7, Mac or Linux. Multi-core processor @ 2.6 Ghz or faster, 4GB Ram. 3D video card with at least 1GB YOU MUST HAVE OPENSCENERYX INSTALLED FOR STATIC AIRCRAFT TO APPEAR. Current version: 1.0 (Last updated April 24th 2015) __________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 24th April 2015 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb - Seagate 256gb SSD Software: - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.32 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose - Soundlink Mini Scenery - EGHI - Southhampton by Pilot Plus (X-Plane.OrgStore) US19.95 Aircraft - Avro RJ 100 by the The Avro Project (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$22.95
    2 points
  25. John Spahn from Maxx-XP has announced the SkyMaxx Pro of which is a new cloud engine for X-Plane10. The SkyMaxx pro is not an add-on that just over-rides the default X-Plane10 weather, but it is integrated into the actual weather component that you use everyday now including METAR settings. Also you will be able to use the system's own custom settings. The system allows for clouds to move and rise with the noted wind speed and temperatures and the dreaded grey blackout is also banished. Crepuscular Rays will also shine out behind from behind clouds and move with your point of view. All clouds are full 3d in effect - and is noted to be frame-rate friendly and the performance is configurable! Maxx-XP has released a promo-video of the system in its beta form... As the new SkyMaxx-Pro is interconnected within the main X-Plane programming it requires changes that will be part of the beta 10.30 cycle release and so the actual release of the SkyMaxx Pro will be sometime within the beta 10.30 program period. More Information can be found at the new SkyMAXX site : skymaxx-extreme Development thread is here : SkyMAXX Pro Stephen Dutton 14th August 2013
    2 points
  26. Scenery Review : LGMK - Airport Mykonos by Aerosoft This is my review of LGMK Mykonos, having been there myself I hope this review gives you a detailed insight to how Aerosofts rendition of Mykonos compares to the real thing! Publisher and Developer: Mykonos LGMK is Aerosoft's latest scenery release! Developed by Icarus, this scenery is definitely one not to ignore. Aerosoft have released many sceneries in the past, but none live up to the standard of Mykonos! LGMK is Aerosofts first scenery using new developed features such as, animated ground traffic and Ultra HD textures. This is also Aerosofts first scenery covering a whole island in lots of detail! This release is the first time I heard the name Icarus, after some research I found out that the team are also developing a DC-9 which is very exciting! So LGMK Airport Mykonos can be found on a small island of Mykonos off the coast from Athens in Greece. In Greek mythology, Mykonos island named from Mykons, son of Greek God Apollo. The place of a big battle between Zeus and Titans, where Hercules killed the powerful Giants. Even now it is rumored that the large rocks over the island are corpses of the Giants. Mykonos is the most famous island in the heart of Cyclades and Aegean Sea, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. Installation and Documentation: Mykonos could not be easier to install, just simply run the installer that you download and select your x-plane folder. After entering your activation code it will start installing. In the past I have had trouble using the installer provided by Aerosoft, others seem to have had the same issue, but installing Mykonos worked perfectly. If you are new to x-plane in general then you may install the scenery and load up the sim and see your new airport, however you can find the manual within the three folders that are installed. First locate your x-plane 10 folder and click into 'custom scenery' in here you will find three folders each with Mykonos in the title. The folder you need to open is called 'Mykonos Airport' in here you will find the very detailed 16 page manual. The manual tells you everything that you need to know, and includes extensive explanations of certain things including a FAQ (frequently asked questions). Unfortunately no charts are provided with the scenery, this could be something forgotten or the charts were intended not to be included. Anyhow it doesn't matter too much as many charts can be found online. Features: From Aerosoft: "This scenery package has been designed to take advantage of the most modern X-Plane technologies, like HDR lighting, texture detailing, object instancing, and many more. In order to experience the feeling of the actual airport during the night, the HDR option, in the rendering options, should be checked on. The night lighting was carefully designed to represent the real life lighting with the minimum affect on frame rates. The Airport is represented as close as possible to the real counterpart, with the combined use of Ultra High Definition (UHD) textures and High Definition (HD) textures. The ground is represented with custom textures with resolution 3-5cm/pixel. The whole island is covered with 50cm/pixel satellite imagery (orthophotos) with added shaders for increased resolution, with hundreds of the well known white/blue “Aegean Sea” type houses and local vegetation (trees), giving an accurate representation of the island. For the towns of Mykonos (Chora), houses are almost 1-to-1 ratio to the real world, giving you the feeling of the dense town. Moreover, every light is a “real” light, emitting and lighting the surroundings. There are plenty animations providing a “living” environment, like the windmills. Also there is maritime traffic around the island." Highly detailed rendition of Mykonos International Airport (LGMK) Complete coverage of over 140km with high resolution satellite imagery (0.5m/px) High resolution day and night scenery complex terrain mesh animated car traffic around the airport complete reconstruction of airport's lighting equipment realistic 3D grass and vegetation complex reconstruction of the town over 2,000 hand placed objects animated windmills Highly detailed manual compatible with x-plane 10 HD Mesh Scenery v2 x-plane 10 HDR lighting custom ground textures with about 5cm/px (only airport area) First Impressions: The first thing that stood out to me was the scale and complexity of the scenery, every house on the island has been placed on top of an orthophoto at high resolution! This airport is great for VFR circuits over the main town, so that is the first thing I did. I started up the Carenado Malibu Mirage and taxied to runway 34. After take off I turned left and flew over the small town. Flying over the town was great fun, from 1,200ft you can see the windmills turning and boats slowly sailing around the island! If you look closely you can also see small smoke puffs coming from the cruise ships parked in the docks! The town looks very clustered with houses from 1500ft, however close down the houses can appear to be spaced out. I have pointed this out as when I visited Mykonos the public foot paths were only about 3 meters wide! You can even tell from google earth how crammed the houses are in the town. After flying over the town I turned left and set my heading back to runway 34. The approach was actually quite challenging! As the runway is slopped at 400ft above sea level it is a difficult approach. Nether the less it was pretty fun, trying not to touch the roofs on the big hotels! Also the other thing that stood out first was how detailed the ground textures are at the airport, the 5cm/px looks excellent especially when taxiing off of the runway onto the apron. Location: Having been here myself I personally love the location of Mykonos, surrounded by islands in the Aegean Sea! But currently this gives us all one issue, where can we go to do a short flight from Mykonos? You are probably thinking of the small islands around Mykonos however there is no amazing scenery to fly to. I have done a few long flights to Mykonos however sometimes I like to jump in a small cessna and island hop! It would be great to island hop to Tinos (the island next to Mykonos) or all the way to Athens! Having been to Athens as well, it would be great to see some fantastic sceneries for around there! So the x-plane.org downloads would be a good place to search however we are in need for another good quality payware airport near Myknonos that we can fly to! Apart from that Mykonos is a nice destination for flying around europe. Textures and Frame Rates: The textures on the airport buildings are all standard white with a slight layer of dirt which looks good as the airport looks a little worn and not brand new. Cracks can also be noticed on the walls and pillars. The roof textures have to be the best, all colours match the same as real life and the roof window hatches have cloud reflections! By the way I should point out that the reflection is a picture within the texture, there are no 'actual' reflections. The ground textures on the beaches and slightly out to sea look phenomenal! The sea looks great and I feel as though I want top go swimming in it! The orthophoto sea also fades out nicely into the default sea. Overall the textures and 3D modeling within the airport from Aerosoft, summed with the high resolution orthophotos and great visuals, puts this scenery in the top list of airports ever made for X-Plane 10! Despite this the control tower windows look very dark and they do not have reflections. I believe that the texture needs to be brightened up and reflections should be added, this will then make the control tower look identical to the real one! Also the A320 parked on the apron has low resolution textures compared to the rest of the scenery. It would look great if the textures where sharpened up on the A320, in turn it would add more realism. With the addition to better textures brings us onto frame rates. All textures within this scenery are .dds, this adds performance which is good. On average I get around 28 fps. Sometimes this does drop, for example the 3D lighting has a negative effect on fps. As each light in the scenery, including the island, casts a spill on the XP environment. Overall the frame rates aren't too bad, but I would advise you to check your system first before purchasing as you want to make sure that you can run it and get good performance. You can read the manual and follow steps to increase performance however be warned you cannot change the number of objects. Changing the number of objects in the settings menu will not alter the amount of objects you see, your computer has to render each object wether it likes it or not! To improve your frame rates the most drastic thing you can do is turn HDR off,I do not like doing this as the quality of the sim gets reduced when this happens. Light is not reflected etc.. and when flying around Mykonos with HDR off you can considerably notice the difference day and night. 3D Modeling: The 3D modeling is great and very creative. Mykonos can look a bit square but thats how it looks in real life! The 3D modeling in this scenery is not ground breaking or overwhelming, but simple and life like. The architecture of the airport at Mykonos is very simple anyway so the icarus team have a faithful replica. Other Aerosoft airports can be known for their bland and emptiness, Mykonos is totally different. The best 3D model has to be the turning windmill don't you agree? The windmills turn not to fast and not to slow, a very good rendition! When I visited Mykonos the windmills were barely turning, this is because there was not enough wind that day, just blazing hot sun! Obviously the windmills in x-plane are not wind dependent but still operate great! 3D modeling just outside the airport is also very good, the benches, bins, people, signs, railings all are very detailed. The vegetation has many different varieties, shapes and sizes, lot's of work has gone into that end of 3D modeling as well. Every model is custom made with precision and high resolution textures, some models are basic but this reflects the style of the real Mykonos. Night lighting: The night lighting in the town looks okay, you definitely know you are entering Myknonos, the white walls are even further emphasized by the lights! The airports runway is extremely dark and hard to visually find 15nm from the island but this is nobodies fault, just the airports fault for not installing more lights! The main Apron lighting is sum what special. The bright cast of pale white light shines on the side of your aircraft as you move about the apron, the light even lights up inside the cockpit! However the light is very pale and not appealing to the eye. Also another thing that could be added to the light casting are rays of light coming from the bulb, I have seen this in many of Aerosofts airports for FSX, there is a picture below. There is not much else to comment about the lighting apart from it being very dark over the otherside of the island where no houses have been modeled and therefore there is no night lighting. What to find on the Apron: During my initial wander around the airport the apron looked very basic. However that's simply because there are not many object where you taxi your plane, most airport objects such as portable fire extinguishers, buses, GA Aircraft, stairs, the Aegean Airbus, cones, GPU's, belt loaders and cars etc.. As you can see the list is long and therefore creates a realistic environment. The apron is also home to the "ultra HD Ground Textures", written on paper can still impress but walking around the apron whilst oil spills reflect the sun is just great! As well as the oil spills and concrete cracks the grey grained ground looks good in HD as well. Before seeing the ground textures I did not know what to expect, I thought that the ground textures would look like the default repetitive design however I was totally wrong. The main missing item on the apron is taxi lines and markings, but this is accurate to real life as pilots have to rely on ground crews to guide them in! This is very realistic as you feel as though you have to wait for the ground crew to turn up when you're in your aircraft ready to park up! In all, this creates a very realistic experience. The biggest objects on the apron are the apron lights. These lights stretch high into the sky and have been modeled with precision, just like everything else on the apron. Summary: So is this scenery on the Beti-x Stewart level? Unfortunately no, not quite, but close! It is very nice to have a whole island with an airport, especially with orthophoto under everything. This airport brings something special to x-plane, a realistic experience wether your in a GA Aircraft or a heavy 737. It is difficult to make a replica of an international airport, also very time consuming. Despite that Mykonos is very close to the real thing, every building and visual. I would most certainly recommend Mykonos to any FS enthusiast, even though the airport is small and basic the icarus/aerosoft team have re-created the airport and island with precision. When flying long haul to Mykonos you are waiting desperately to land just to see the airport in it's beauty. It's as though you can feel the heat when you open the door and put on your sun glasses, looking around at the airport as you walk toward the enclosed passenger terminal. When flying around Mykonos I also sense a colour scheme, it's as though I have a product like Maxx-fx running (which I don't). Everything seams light blue and bright, just how I experienced the real Mykonos on my real life trip. "Overall the textures and 3D modeling within the airport from Aerosoft, summed with the high resolution orthophotos and great visuals, puts this scenery in the top list of airports ever made for X-Plane 10!" For the price of this scenery at $21.48 it is worth the purchase. Don't think of this airport as small and basic, there is so much to explore! There are always ways in which things can be improved, more objects around the dock and town area could be a start. But then people with low end machines will not be able to run the scenery, icarus can either find a balance or have an option to show certain types of objects etc.. Also it would look great to see moving objects around the airport such as belt loaders and even 3D people, such as the ones Orbx have! One last thing was the difference of colours between two of the orthophoto's just past Ornos, this left a line between the two. Just a simple fix though of changing the brightness/contrast (pictured below). But don't let this put you off, so much is already included much of which is explained above. This scenery is a great rendition of Mykonos for x-plane. Orhtophoto issue: So why not wait, you can buy LGMK - Mykonos Airport for $21.48 on the X-Plane.OrgStore. Please comment if you have any further questions. Aircraft Featured: - Robinson R66 by Alabeo - A230neo by JARdesign - C208B Grand Caravan by Carenado - PA46 Malibu Mirage by Carenado - C172RG Cutlass by Alabeo - B200 King Air by Carenado - 732 TwinJet by FlyJSim Review System Specifications: Computer System: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650 1 Software: - Windows 7 64 bit - X-Plane 10 Global version 10.25 - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - LGMK - Mykonos Airport by Aerosoft - Skymaxx Pro Review by Joe Sharman 29th June 2014 Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews
    2 points
  27. Stephen

    Competition! : Winners!

    Competition! : Winners! X-Plane Reviews have listed the winners below in no order, as per usual we had four that we just could not divide on and so we have given out a special commendation prize for the huge effort put into the entry... and so a huge congratulations to them for their entries. And a huge thanks to all who spent their time to note their views on X-Plane. If you are wondering if the competition was an exercise in feedback on the site, it was not planned that way but on how you use X-Plane and how it relates to you as a simulator and this is the aspect that X-Plane Reviews based its final decisions on.. The comments are interesting in hindsight because it does mean X-Plane Reviews are on the right insights on what you want to know and read in reviews, and the pros and cons of the releaes. We could easily post photocopy (or Xerox) style reviews on every new release in X-Plane (just the facts) but that would be boring. In all scenery or aircraft there certain known items that would be boring to repeat ad nauseam in every review which would go for pages and pages. So our point is that the aim is to focus on the features and the things that make the aircraft different and attractive and the things that are not, and in doing the review process if we find something that should be explained to get yourself up to speed quickly (In other words, we have spent the time, spending days to get our heads around the issue or screaming at the computer in frustration) to fly and enjoy the best aspects of the release in X-Plane. Again to highlight the notes on frame-rate, if I don't mention it then it is fine, as my Mac is semi-powerful my point of difference is that if it works well for me then 95% of computers will have the same results. And secondary aspect is to see how the release relates to being in the simulator itself. I want to put the release to work so to speak. If it is in service or has a job to do and how well it relates to that scenarios and then shows us its strengths and weaknesses, There is nothing more valuable that running a "heavy" from one side of the world to another as it not only shows how it works in that environment, but also how the X-Plane simulator as a whole has progressed in relation to the release. In fact you are evaluating two aspects at the same time with one the release and then secondary the simulator as it progresses. Both results I will always pass on to the users. A final aspect is just to explore our X-Plane world, go to places you would never go and note the reasons we go there and the history of why it is significant, I was top every year in school for geography... my guess is I am still exploring. So the selection of the winners are based on this aspect of you getting the very best out of the simulator. Investing in add-ons is money to be just that in investing in the simulator, and we all purchase for many different reasons. If I do occasionally (okay a lot) get over excited it is because of the simple fact that "I love this so much, then you should to", a bit biased? No not really because if it is that good then you will love it as well, and share the love. Not every time does it have to be totally perfect at release, if you are paying monies then should it be? The simple fact is that simulation does not work that way. All and even the very best will be updated over the next 12 months of their release, our position is that we need need to gaze a little and see the investment in six or twelve months time and where it will be and not where it is now, many would be confused when we have effused a lot over something that quite obviously has flaws. But we are looking at the things that are quality of the basic elements and not the usual in your face issues that are usually fixed in an update or two, The Boeing 748i from SSG is a good example of a poor release version to the excellent aircraft it is today. Above all else I am very proud of our track record in that area. But the last thing to say on reviews is that the one thing that has become most important of the three years I have posted reviews is that the first impression is not always the right one. Quite a few have become firm favorites only after flying them after a period of time. Many a review has been late (even by weeks) because I have to scrap the original assessment of the aircraft (and scenery as well) and reassess it a different way, and unexpectedly many have wound their way into my heart in a way that was totally unexpected and many are not the ones that I expected to be part of my hangar collection or would have personally invested in them. So to the winners.... tsmercer - FlightFactor/Vmax Boeing 777 My favorite aircraft review was for the B200 King Air. I had been eagerly awaiting the B200 having once flown a full motion B350 sim before. I was hoping that the file would be an accurate modeling of its flight dynamics and the details in the review gave a great impression of how it flies. I love how the details of the review are presented in the context of a multi-leg flight. It gets all the details in there, but gives I nice narrative to keep it interesting. The thing that I loved most about the B200 review in particular was the not only the history of the development of the B200, but the history of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. It was a neat bit of history that gave the aircraft a mission other than the executive hamburger run. It was also great how that mission lead into the context of the review flights. Thanks to the descriptions of the review, I purchased the aircraft. The review accurately captured the nuances of the aircraft and it's my favorite turboprop in X-Plane. The aircraft hits a great sweet spot in my hangar. I love that I can get in and out of nearly any airport with it, but still be fast enough that I don't get bored with long stretches of en route flight. It doesn't require nearly as much setup time as the CRJ that I also fly regularly, but still offers enough performance and complexity to be a handful and keep me engaged. On top of all that it's an absolutely gorgeous model with great cockpit ambiance. Congratulations on one year of great reviews! PJS37 - FlightFactor/Vmax Boeing 757 My favorite review is the Final Frontier Scenery review. The reason this is my favorite is because the reviewer understood my plight it felt like when he started off with Juneau (Juneau being where my wife is from an somewhere I am familiar with and enjoy flying around). Every sim I have tried the default Juneau is usually way off. Heck half the time I couldn't even find mesh scenerey that didn't incorrectly render the Juneau area. So when I saw X-Plane had an nice Juneau scenery upgrade I began my migration to X-Plane 10 (Ever so slowly) I hadn't bought the scenery however because I was worried that there would be issues with it or it would look too dated in X-Plane 10. Then I found xplanereviews.com and boy was I glad I did. You guys have single handily reviewed everything I had the slightest interest in an helped me make clear and informed decisions. The final frontier review was just what I needed to jump head first into X-Plane finally after many many month of waffling and retreating back into the safe comfortable arms of the familiar. So I reformatted my PC a week ago have only X-Plane installed as my civilian sim and started buying up add-ons. The Final Frontier review is an excellent example of the work you guys do so well. It is objective; it shows the clear issues (Such as the texture blurriness of the add-on) but also compares it across the spectrum to add-ons available elsewhere and explains to me as a consumer why this is the one I should spend my money on. Darrick - SSG/Vmax Boeing 748i Happy 1st Anniversary X-Plane Reviews!!! I might be a new member here but i've reading your reviews since last year. I really like all your reviews, so it was very hard just to pick one. But in the end i decided to go for your Aircraft review of FlightFactor Boeing 757RR-200, Cause It really is just mindblowing your review is 100% accurate describing this add-on. The Details in the 757 is just gorgeous, I enjoy looking at every detail of this 757. I also like how it handles it is a very nice and fun aircraft to fly. I also like how its nit really complicated and very user friendly. I really think all the measurements in this add-on is perfect. As soon as the FlightFactor B757RR-200 I was really excited as it was one of my 4 Favourite Aircraft. Since it was a new release I need to get reviews first before bought it, I could not find a very Detailed review till i found your review. As soon as I red the review over and over again I decided to go on and buy the add-on. Your review is different. Its more reader Friendly, It made me easier to understand for I'm still a learner to Xplane. Your reviews are very 'light' but has very deep and detailed information users should know. I like how you Divide the parts by sharing your first Impressions and share people who and what is FlightFactor. Pictures!!! Your Pictures are top notch shows the detail of the aircraft form beginning to the end. Your exterior and interior Pictures of the Aircraft is quite a lot so it gives the user lots of pictures to see before they buy the add-on. I also enjoy reading cause you tell us how the plane works so we sure know when we own the add-on. When I first tested my FlightFactor B757RR-200 I did not regret it at all thanks to your review I was sure to buy this add-on. I really like your Conclusion it gives the readers mind a confident and ready feeling when buying the add-on. X-Plane is a great game with your reviews its even better. Thank you for all your Reviews! Two Thumbs Up! Wish you all the best for xplanereviews.com and Happy Birthday!!! Hope I can be one of the 3. Thanks. Yes you are! special commendation prize MadMckMax - Daniel Klaue Embraer ERJ 140 Choice of Review Although I'm very new to this website (I was introduced via forums.x-plane.org). I've had a quick look at the content and I've chosen the since it is the review that I can most relate to. I've bought other products from this developer, and was considering this aircraft as a result. Motivation for Choice Speaking as a 13 year old wannabe pilot, one of the most exciting things about this article is how it links the simulation to the real world with historical references. The down to earth nature of the review raises its credibility and motivates me towards considering purchasing the 732. The fact that Stephen Dutton has conducted a full documented flight also adds value. His balance between opinion and fact is just right. eg."The chunky (and quite worn) Pilot and Co-Pilot yokes do take up a lot of the panel view, removed you can now see the instrumentation clearer." Good terminology, paints the picture, combined with vital information, exactly like you'd want it! Note Due to the quality of add ons and reviews here, I will be visiting this site often as long as I still fly on X-Plane (likely a long time, as I am starting gliding training this year!). Also, the community here is just superb, so far I feel very at home here and I admire how much effort the managers of the site put into communicating with the brilliant community they've created. Summary · Stephens review of the 732 offers an excellent balance of information, and personal opinion · Immersive and thorough review · Helpful when comparing products · Adding confidence to the consumer · Supplying advice/feedback to the seller/developer · Overall positive contribution to the X-Plane Community. Thanks for taking the time to read this, Max His prize is the ERJ-140 by Daniel Klaue! everyone else is a runner up... well done. A small note in some out worldly spelling mistakes that creep in, The system we use has a final click that switches the review to HTML before posting, In the process I have found it does strange odd things to the text (plus block text whole paragraphs), I fix most but some still creep on through... odd business. Stephen Dutton Copyright©2014: X-Plane Reviews 15th August 2014
    2 points
  28. Congratulations and I'll echo others comments - you know how to describe the nuances of each piece of work, call out the unique and special features and generally encourage us to part with our £££s and invest in the payware economy! You've also saved me a few quid by telling it how it is when developers can do better... For me, the best review has been the I would never have played around with the auto-hover so much if you hadn't called this out in your review: Like all your reviews, this has the "scene setting" info to get me interested, the install details, critique of the modelling detail, a walk through of how it flies and excellent screenshots of the included liveries - all your screenshots are fabulous and really add to the articles! Well done on the first year and thanks for all the effort and time you're giving to all of us!
    2 points
  29. X-Plane Reviews, Congratulations on your one year anniversary. Though I am very new to this website, I have read a couple of your reviews, and I am impressed with their accuracy and exhaustive description of every detail. This attention to detail is most evident in your review of the freeware A-4 Sky Hawk by Midnight7. Personally, I think this is one of your most brilliant reviews because of its accurate description of the airplane's agile flight characteristics, and because of the amount of time you spent talking about the real aircraft's historical significance. You describe the airplane as being so sensitive and agile that you could fly it with your "finger and thumb on the stick." This nails the sensation you get while flying this plane. Also, I appreciate that you gave us so much background information about the real airplane: its historic significance and role in naval aviation. As an aspiring naval aviator, I love to find out as much as possible about a naval aircraft's history before I fly it in the sim. As an X-Plane enthusiast, I appreciate the time you spent reviewing this freeware aircraft. I am grateful of the detail included in your description of one of my favorite airplanes available for the sim, and I look forward to reading more of your pay ware and freeware reviews. When I read a X-Plane Reviews review, I know exactly what I am buying before I make my purchase. Sincerely, Swimmer Pilot
    2 points
  30. Aircraft Review : Boeing 732 TwinJet by FlyJSim Route: KDFW (Dallas Fort Worth) to MMUN (Cancun) The Boeing 732 TwinJet is the third major release from FlyJSim after the Bombardier Dash-8 and the Boeing 727 Series. Without doubt the Boeing 727 Series was the aircraft of the year for X-Plane in 2013 (It was released just before Christmas 2012) and this Baby Boeing is in a very similar if not a perfect compliment to the bigger Tri-Jet. The 8000th Boeing 737 has just been delivered and that makes it the most built Jetliner in history, But this Boeing 737-200 known as the B732 is very different and from another totally different era than the common -800NG series that dominates our skies today. First thing to note is which Boeing 737 is which. The launch aircraft that was rolled out on January 17, 1967 was the -100 version of which only 30 737-100s were ordered and delivered. Then there was the -200 version rolled only months after the -100 version June 29, 1967, and entered service in 1968 of which was an extended fuselage version of the -100. This aircraft and this aircraft released here by FlyJSim was successful at 991 sales (C-Cargo 104), but not straightaway as in fact In 1970, Boeing received only 37 orders and facing financial difficulties. Then after the cancellation of the Boeing Supersonic Transport and the scaling back of 747 production, enough funds were freed up to continue the project. Next was the Boeing 737 Classic -300/-400/-500 Series built between 1984 to 2000, 1,988 aircraft were delivered. The next version was the Boeing 737 Next Generation −600/-700/-800/-900 Series, commonly abbreviated as Boeing 737NG. which brings us up to the present day. 4,887 737NG aircraft have been delivered by the end of April 2014, with more than 6,700 ordered. In the future is the coming 737MAX and that aircraft is scheduled for first delivery in 2017. The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range twinjet narrow-body airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engined airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 it has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers. The 737 is Boeing's only narrow-body airliner now in production. The -200 seats 136 (maximum) and 97 (2-class, typical) and is powered by the Pratt & Whitney JT8D 14,500–17,400 lbf (64–77 kN) low-bypass (0.96 to 1) turbofan engine that is also in the Boeing 727. Performance : Maximum speed Mach 0.82 (544 mph, 876 km/h) - Cruising speed Mach 0.74 (485 mph, 780 km/h) - Maximum range, fully loaded 1,900–2,300 nmi (3,500–4,300 km; 2,200–2,600 mi) - Service Ceiling 35,000 ft (10,700 m) Weights: 69,800 lb (31,700 kg) empty : 128,100 lb (58,100 kg) Takeoff. FlyJSim Boeing 732 TwinJet This review has to be considered in if the user has flown the FlyJSim Boeing 727 series or not. If you have then the conversion to the B732 is quite straight forward and although the cockpits are arranged quite differently (The B727 has a third flight crew member in a Flight Engineer) the systems are organised and used is a similar way but for two engines on the B732 and not the three on the B727. If you are new to the FlyJSim Boeing aircraft then there is a bit of a learning curve to understand the various systems and procedures. The aircraft handle very differently as well, in mostly their age and the era that they flew in... There are no mod-cons on offer here. However like with our Aircraft Profile : Boeing 727 Series by FlyJSim (Part Two) "Flying the Boeing 727" we found a certain and if not more fulfilling and simplistic way to fly these aircraft and the B732 here is no exception. Looking into the cockpit of a cold (unpowered) B732 aircraft and the difference of the era compared to today's glass cockpit driven aircraft is quite a shock. How could you believe that these aircraft could and did transport millions of passengers with such naked little instrumentation, mostly from the navigation perspective. They did and they did the work very well and even today there are some aircraft still flying around up there still doing so. There are some great detailed cockpits in X-Plane today, but in both the B727 and here in the B732 the design is simply brilliant. Big clunky switchgear and almost to the touch flick switches, you are in cockpit heaven. The cockpit panel is all dials and gauges (sometimes known as clockwork cockpits) and the detail is simply overwhelming. You really do get the feel of the sixties style cockpit in perfect perspective. The chunky (and quite worn) Pilot and Co-Pilot yokes do take up a lot of the panel view, removed you can now see the instrumentation clearer. The standard six aircraft instruments are as they should be are front and centre. Very clear and easily readable. The Standard Six are - Artificial Horizon (sometimes known as the attitude indicator) with built in turn indicator, Heading with built in OBI, Compass, Vertical- Descent Speed, Altimeter and Speed (in knots and Mach speed). Then there are the back up instruments of Artificial Horizon, Altitude (spare), Radio Altitude, Clock (large) and the DME 2 - NAV 2 (distance) is also situated lower down. The compass allows for the VOR and NDB to be switched on two separate pointer needles, VOR 2 on the pilot's side and VOR1 on the Co-Pilot's side. The Co-Pilots set of instruments are very similar except they have the (outside) air-temperature, hydraulic Sys, Oil and Brake temperatures and the DME 1 - NAV 1 (distance) indicator. The landing gear lever is also on the right side of the panel. Centre stage of the panel are the main engine instrument sets of two engine dials covering "Engine Pressure Ratio" (EPR), N1, EXH (Exhaust) Temp, N2 (Percent RPM) and Fuel flow to each engine. Left of the main engine dials are the three fuel tank gauges, and to the right the twin Engine Oil - Pressure, Temp and tank quantity. Finally the Auto-brake selection switch is here as well. If you know the B727 panel you would feel right at home here as the differences are quite small, just twin dials instead of the three on the larger jet. The biggest difference of a few years of development between the Boeing 727 and the Boeing 737 is the "Sperry SP-77 (option version)" auto-pilot (A/P). In the B727 it was a very simplistic system set behind the pedestal. But here it is more of a modern version set out on the glareshield. Not quite the standard layout version we know today, as that A/P version was fitted to the later B737-200ADV. It is split between the F/D (Flight Director) on the left and the A/P (Auto Pilot) on the right. Still simplistic in nature, it was and is very powerful in operation as we will see in flight. Besides the change of position of the A/P to the glareshield. The removal of the Flight Engineer's station on the B727 also moved the aircraft's systems and operations to the now more familiar place on the overhead panel (OHP). looking over the panel quickly it hasn't really changed much since either on the subsequent B737's versions, and yet it would be very familiar to you as well as it was laid out on the B727 engineers station. Only now a few items have been made automated. They are however still grouped together in their various areas of systems (mostly in long tall sections) in hydraulics, boost fuel pump switches, electrical, APU, air-conditioning, de-ice, bleed and all the various lighting switches. The engine start is now the familiar GND-OFF-LOW IGN -FLT switches. The pedestal is almost identical to the B727 version except it is now for two engines and not three. In craftsman like work the pedestal can not really be bettered. It is sublime in detail and so real in operation you can't really believe it is only a computer generated image. in the cockpits 3d world it is realistic in every form. Besides the beautifully crafted throttle levers there is the speed-brakes (with auto), park brake, engine fuel flow idle/cutoff's levers, stab trim (electric) and flap indicators for the outbound and Inbound flaps (0º, 2º, 5º, 15º, 20º, 25º, 30º and 40º settings). The radio is set out behind the pedestal below the three red fire handles (two for engines and one for the APU) and is very easy in operation. Just set you frequencies and flick a switch to make one or the other active... how easy can that be. Comm's and (early digital!) transponder are set out here as well. Above the pedestal is an early weather radar that just shows the standard X-Plane weather images. Detailing on the rudder pedal's is to be admired. Like everything else here in the B732 cockpit they are extremely well crafted and designed. Missing from the radio panel however are the ADF knobs... they are both (one each side) situated high up besides the throttle part of the pedestal, and have a three way setting that is excellent and very easy to tune. Powering up the Boeing 732 TwinJet Nothing is more exciting than bringing a machine to life. Certainly with a flying machine, and the B732 is no exception. But first we have to set up the aircraft. There are four menu options on the middle-lower left of your screen - V/Card - WnB (Weights and Balances) - OP (Options) and INS. We will start with the "Weights and Balances" menu (manager). Here you can set all the aircraft's weights and fuel and passenger/cargo loads. And as you do so the system will calculate for you the correct number relating to the aircraft's status and also show you your CofG (Centre of Gravity). The important number is your "Max landing" number shown in red. Here I have made the aircraft quite heavy at 117988lbs but I have a fair distance to go so I will certainly be under the landing weight. Cleverly if you open the Vref menu (or V/Card) the Vref's are calculated for you correctly and so are the landing vRef's, note that if you change the flap degree the vRef will change as well to compensate... a more clever idea again. Another note is that the landing speed is incorrect at this point because the aircraft's weight is wrong, this will change as you burn off the fuel or the weight. The other Menu item is the "Options" card. Here you can set all your options in: Cold and Dark startup or Engines running (hot) and set the time to Zulu. Hide the yokes and set weights to Kg's and finally select if required the Ground Power and Air Cart (to start the engines). Views and sound adjustments can also be adjusted. Weights and fuel set we can now power up the aircraft. Battery on via the "battery switch", You know that this does give the aircraft power but not for very long. You do have the Ground Power and Air Cart in the options menu to use. I found that in many instances they don't work? or connect up to the aircraft, which is slightly annoying. You don't get a power cart or air cart either outside the aircraft which are now usually de rigueur with aircraft of this price category. Here at KDFW it does connect and you can connect up the power via the switch and turn the AC switch to GND/PWR. Another option is the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit), start it up via the switch and wait, the unit takes it time to warm up... and then switch it over to APU/GEN on the A/C bus. Now ready to start the engines we can switch on the fuel pumps and hydraulics and the outside anti-collision beacons. The panel is "if it is lit, it is not active" so as you do the start up the OHP should clear until all the lights go out. Here FlyJSim has done a brilliant amount of work to make the panel so authentic, in most cases we take it for granted by using it all the time. But this is great work in that how you interact with the panel now is so real. APU to bleed and make sure the L & R Packs (air-con) are off and you are ready to turn on the engine switches to GND (start) if you are flying you then re-start via the FLT (start). As the engines power up then add in the fuel via the levers on the pedestal, and the rest of the engine start up is automatic. The engine gauges in the centre panel will spiral and note the conditions of the engine to the idle position. then all you have to do now is clean up the OHP with turning on the aircraft electrics (buses), pitot heaters and when running at idle turn off the APU bleed and the (air-con) packs on. As they say "A clean panel is a good panel" and you are good to go. One other option is the INS menu... You can purchase the Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System. Nicknamed "CIVA", CIVA Navigation System for $US10.00 that is a basic navigation system that can give automatic navigation of up to 9 waypoints. (you can load X-Plane .fms plans) and it can be used in the FlyJSim B727 as well as other aircraft of that era. Well worth the addition cost. The JT8D's are whining now outside, sounds are excellent and 3d in rotation of the aircraft and has the "Realistic Sound" engine provided by DreamEngine & Turbine Sound Studio sounds. These early engines are noisy and smoky, but you certainly miss today the futuristic missile look of those long engine pods, beautifully done here... they just were not what the future turned out to be. The original engine nacelles incorporated thrust reversers taken from the 727 outboard nacelles. Unfortunately they proved to be relatively ineffective and apparently tended to lift the aircraft up off the runway when deployed. This reduced the downforce on the main wheels thereby reducing the effectiveness of the wheel brakes. In 1968, an improvement to the thrust reversal system was introduced. A 48-inch tailpipe extension was added and new, target-style, thrust reversers were incorporated. The thrust reverser doors were set 35 degrees away from the vertical to allow the exhaust to be deflected inboard and over the wings and outboard and under the wings.[ The improvement became standard on all aircraft after March 1969, and a retrofit was provided for active aircraft. This accounts for the odd angle of the thrust reverser doors and the very long tail pipe, but the main reason was that in thrust reversal deployment the original B727 version would actually lift the aircraft off the runway on landing! The undercarriage is excellent as well, great linkages, legs, tyres and animation. the engines hide most of the work, but it is worth checking out. The wings are very similar to the B727 in forward leading edge slats (inner and outer) and the seven position trailing edge flaps. wing and flap detailing is overwhelming and work to be admired, certainly in the powering out of those flap extensions. The landing light pops out under the wing(s) as well on the flap runners, the lower the flap position then the lower and change of angle of the landing light... great detailing. Flying The Boeing 732 On the options menu you have a pushback built in. No truck outside but the aircraft will pushback when the brakes are off and you press the pushback tab. It moves a little to quickly for me, and turning is via the rudders. Brake to stop and disconnect the pushback. A final check of the takeoff vRef charts shows me my markers, note that vR (rotate) is vR (vRef) +15knts, the bugs will call out the vRef's as you pass them (you get the landing heights as well) which is very authentic. A last check of the gauges at the hold and when cleared the B732 is on the KDFW runway 17R. Power goes up but the JT8D's take a little while to build up the thrust, once there the push is long and quite powerful, the noise builds as well into that unmuffeted roar. Vr and you only need a light pull back of the stick to get airborne, once clear of the runway and you are heading slightly to the right and you can feel the great central balance of the aircraft in the yoke, the aircraft is just under MTW, but the B732 feels very good and turns and climbs without much drama. Boeing pilots note it was always the best handling version of the B737 series, and here you can quickly feel why. In this era it was mostly VOR to VOR navigation, with a few NDB's thrown in for good measure. If you have the mentioned CIVA then you have a flightplan to fly to, If not then the navigation come down to you. It is best to be well prepared with the correct headings and VOR/NDB frequencies at hand. I found like with the B727 that the VOR's can be a little slow coming on line sometimes. NDB's seem to be slightly better for giving out the right direction. It helps here that the NDB knobs are in a great place just down to your right (pilot's side, left Co-Pilot) so I found I used them more in the B732. You want to fly the B732 by hand all the way to your destination as the B732 is so easy on you. But the autopilot is very good as well, if not excellent. You do wonder if change does make system better. In this case the A/P is so simple but so powerful you wonder why they had to change it. The Sperry SP-77 (option version) is a brilliant bit of kit. As you are already pitching in your correct angle, you will notice the pitch knob is following you, engage the autopilot via the big switches and the aircraft just holds the pitch! Select the altitude you want (8500ft transition) and click on the ALT HOLD on the top of the A/P panel. Make sure the IAS-OFF-ALT HOLD switch is in the off position (It should be already) and the aircraft will then climb and level out to the selected height. Want to hold any altitude then flick the switch to ALT HOLD. Note: that to change the pitch (climb or descend) you have to OFF the ALT HOLD first. The pitch is analog so you have to be aware that it won't go back to dead centre when leveling off, It seems to wander around, in that you set it correctly on the straight and level, you could however be descending down (or up) a little. The pitch is also a little big in its click settings as well, A click up or down and you are going 400ft, a second click is nearer 2000ft in pitch, you really need more intermediate settings to get a finer pitch adjustment. but overall the pitch system is excellent in just turn the knob (ALT HOLD off) and up or down you go... You have to click on a separate switch to activate the heading mode, and the Flight Director (FLT-DIR) switch as well, then the aircraft will turn to the heading bug. you can adjust the heading bug on the A/P panel and on the heading instrument as well for ease of use... In fact it is good to note that most adjustments have two sets of manipulators, arrows and curves and both work fine to what you like to use best. The VOR needle will note your direction and the distance is shown in the lower display. The aircraft will climb very easily but don't over stress the engines (they will burn out), keep everything well with in the green or with just a little yellow if required on the dials. As noted you don't need to stress the aircraft even while it is still quite heavy. I am flying quite high at FL350 and only 500ft under the service ceiling, That will cost me a little in a fuel penalty, but still better than the stronger winds just below. At altitude the aircraft is nice and clean everywhere (OHP is nice and blank) and I only have to watch the navigation points. The route took me down the east coast of Mexico as far as Corpus Christi. The Boeing 737-200 could not operate over water as there was no ETOPS (Extended range Twin Operations) allowed in the 60's and 70's in fact only one B732 was made certifiable. most 2-engined jets were restricted by the 60-minute rule. So I kept a visual sight to the coast all the way down before heading out to cross the coast at Campeche. Liveries You get seven liveries with the aircraft and unlike the B727 there will be no livery packs for the B732. A paintkit is coming. All liveries are excellent, but a few more American based liveries would have been nice... The Westjet is the best on the aircraft, the KLM is good as well. Also I checked and there was no hull fatigue cracks on the Aloha... so you are safe there. Night-lighting The cockpit lighting in HDR is gorgeous and yet you only have two adjusters in behind the dials and a flood up high. But you can find that perfect lighting setting and just the dials for landing in the dark. There are two fully adjustable spot lights overhead either side of the OHP. Turn on at night with the switches by the captain left side you can illuminate almost anything, the lighting detailing and reflection is amazingly good. Beacon, navigation, tail (logo) and strobe lighting is very good, but the cabin windows are dark and not lit making the aircraft a black hole at night, FlyJSim says this will be fixed in the update. Landing at Cancun You have to watch your speed on the descent. Pulling back the throttles means losing the power, but the aircraft will still gather speed as it descends. so allow for a period of space to get the speed corrected just under 200knts before your final approach. Yes you can use the speed-brakes but most pilot's pride themselves on not doing so, however sometimes you have no choice if you stay at the cruising altitude to long. The speed can be controlled though but don't expect it to recover until the aircraft is absolutely level again, and then the speed falls off quickly. You will again find the handling of the aircraft to your wishes while manoeuvring the aircraft though the turn to the heading of the airport and switch the A/P back on to use the near perfect VOR alignment to the runway for Cancun MMUN's runway 12R. Be careful though as RWY12L is noted and displayed, but it does not exist in reality? So don't select that one unless you want to land on the grass. Be careful of the speedbrake arm as it doesn't click into a position, only a green light on the panel shows you it is armed. Autobrakes are set to MED. Coming in close to the airport I recheck my land vRef card at 30º flap I can use 126knts, which is very slow... As the flaps go down each notch you need to work the throttles to keep the aircraft from not going into the stall while still losing off the speed. I settled at 130knts going into the ILS system and the really slow approach allows you the one thing you never get in big jets... time. One thing noticeable was that it was also in the daylight back at Dallas are the strong light reflections from the panel. Here on approach with the setting sun behind me some parts of the panel were blanked out, it is authentic no doubt, but it makes you work just that a little bit harder. At 130knts your ride over the runway keys is very slow and the B732 giving you all the time in the world to position the aircraft down on the tarmac right where you want it. No autoland here either, so watch that float. Those wonderful clamshell engine reverser doors bang into place and start the pushing out thrust to slow your speed, but they are not nowhere near as powerful as today's powerful reversers, so don't rely totally on them to slow you down. Power off and you are in the pace taxi mode and clean up the aircraft ready for the exit to the taxiway. X-Plane's HDR lighting is great on the ground. Strobes, strobe brightly and red and green nav lights illuminate the runway, you have four landing lights that can all be turn on with a flick of a small panel behind all the switches. there are also taxiway turning lights and a turning front wheel position taxi light. All lights illuminate the areas around the aircraft to making taxiing at night one of the best and easiest yet. (hard to do in X-Plane) only the RWY turn taxi-lighting is a little dim at the source, the actual lighting is however fine. A taxi to the bay and the flight distance was 1114nm, Fuel was getting low as well with that high altitude at just over 5000lbs left. But a shutdown and connection to EXT Power and the aircraft was ready for the morning return to KDFW. Summary The Boeing 732 will be certainly compared to the FlyJSim Boeing 727 Series. If you liked the B727 then you will certainly want the B732 and you won't be disappointed. In quality and detail they are exactly the same. The B727 was a bit of a drama queen, but then that is what you really loved about the aircraft. The B732 is a more neutral flying aircraft and is really more composed in balance compared to its bigger sibling. The B732 feels smaller than the B727 and in that context you may feel your not getting as much aircraft even though you are paying less (there was three variants as well for the B727 with the full series). But that will be missing the point. there is really not much to slip between both aircraft, They would really depend on your mood in that if you want to wrestle an aircraft (B727) or if you would just want a good no-nonsense aircraft (B732) that is very nice to fly over a continental distance, and both have a time and a place and both aircraft hark back to an era in that when aircraft were in a period of a glorious adventure and breaking aviation records. If you have flown the B727 then you will easily slip into the left or right seat of the B732 and feel right at home. If you are new to these FlyJSim 60's era aircraft, then yes there is a bit of a system's and operation's learning curve, but the results are well worth the effort. All aircraft systems including: Air systems - Anti-Ice - Autopilot(SP77) - Com/Nav radios - Electrical - Fire protection - Hydraulics - Fuel - Weather radar - Warning systems and cockpit call outs are fully active. There are a few more benefits with the B732, the Sperry Autopilot is a gem to use and not hidden away behind the throttles (B727) but right there where it should be on the glareshield. The lighting (except for no cabin lighting?) is excellent and the whole aircraft is so well put together in every area. You don't get a lot of extra features with FlyJSim aircraft, but you do get quality and great flying machines. And the Boeing is certainly a great if not a sensational aircraft to fly and great overall value. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Boeing 732 TwinJet from FlyJSim update is now available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Boeing 732 TwinJet - Price is US$47.00 Installation and documents: Download is 294.40meg and the aircraft is deposited in the "Heavy Aircraft" X-Plane folder at 381.80 meg and requires a key-code for activation. Note: If you have purchased the xCIVA navigation package it goes in the B732 aircraft "plugin" folder and not in the X-Plane plugin folder... There are three documents covering the aircraft: -Designed by FlyJSim (Jack Skieczius and Joe Vermeulen) Developer Site: FlyJSim Dev Support : FlyJSim Support Small note : in that the actual review was conducted in X-Plane version 10.25, I also flew the aircraft in the b10.30b1 to check for any differences (there was none and the frame-rate was excellent in both versions) a few of the images however were taken in b10.30b1 to check out the clouds... In frame-rate it is worth noting that if you switch off the "draw per pixel lighting" which highlights textures you will gain 30frames!. The aircraft will look slightly plainer outside, but 30frames is still 30frames... And yes I know that Southwest Airlines fly from Dallas Love Field and not KDFW, but there is sadly no KDAL scenery in X-Plane? _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review By Stephen Dutton 30th May 2014 Copyright (2014) : X-PlaneReviews 2014 Technical Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux X-Plane 10.20 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. X-Plane 9 is not supported Recommended: 1+ GB of VRAM, and 8+ GB of system memory Current version: 1.0 ( v1.1405.1025 ) - Last updated May 28th 2014 Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.25 (final) - Hi rez planet textures from ISDG - Hi-Res Runway textures by Jack Skieczius Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Scenery - KDFW - Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport by Brian Godwin (X-Plane.org) - MMUN - Cancun International Airport Mexico by 5171 (X-Plane.org)
    2 points
  31. Happy Birthday! : X-Plane Reviews is One Year Old... Yes! X-Plane Reviews is now One Year old today and counting. This time just only a year ago we were sitting here facing a completely empty site. Nothing except the challenge ahead. And we have exceeded even our own expectations, but without X-Plane's constant evolution and expansion then we could not have reported and reviewed so much in such a short time. Without doubt the biggest surprise over the year was certainly the amount of releases and projects that have filled these posts. We expected busy times but also the many quiet times and they never seemed to come to pass, as releases are now almost year round and average about one every two weeks, with a very large project release about every three months. Above that is simply the high quality of these releases, many are simply extraordinary in quality and features and there are very, very few that don't come up to mark. So every review was pushed higher and higher as the months went by in every area in features and quality that really any purchase today is not going to fail your expectations or live up to your investment into the simulator. The amount of releases can also push your own boundaries in that there is so much to absorb and then learn as the ideas and features are sometimes quite complex, but still need to be dissected and then explained so everyone can understand and get the very best from the project. In most cases what you see on the site posts is only a quarter that we do behind the scenes to post the very best information to you. I don't do all this by myself and I have a big thanks to Adrian, Wycliffe and Joe for their invaluable contribution and mostly giving their valuable time to post on this review site over the past year. More people to thank is Nicolas Taureau from the X-Plane.OrgStore that gives us the support and quick updates to bring you the latest reviews almost as they are released. To Dan Klaue who can explain things that are simply unexplainable (To me anyway) and to the amazing developers that have created the amazing world we fly in and let us bring their efforts and skills to our reviews. So we start another year, and still there will be more and more great projects that will excite us and to be explored and reviewed. And X-Plane will continue to become one of the very best simulators ever released and we are living and enjoying the journey that will continue well into the future. Its been an amazing ride to date and it won't slow down anytime soon... and most of all is our thanks to you the users for joining us and giving us the great feedback that is required to run sites like these, this is your site more than anything and the best place to get the best reviews in X-Plane. And to celebrate our first anniversary X-Plane Reviews is going to run a Competition! Prizes are in no order of a: FlightFactor/Vmax Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional FlightFactor/Vmax Boeing Aircraft:757 Professional SSG/Vmax Boeing Aircraft:747-8i Advanced Details and conditions will be posted on the Competition post, So get in and have a chance to win one of the most significant aircraft that has been released in X-Plane over the last two years... Stephen Dutton 1st August 2014
    2 points
  32. Aircraft Review : MiG-29 Fulcrum by Colimata Sorties : Frankfurt Hahn EDFH Created as a Cold War intercepter, the Mikoyan MiG-29 (Russian: Микоян МиГ-29; NATO reporting name: "Fulcrum") was a direct Soviet reference to combat the new American fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. Known as a Fourth Generation fighter, It was really a bit of a third generation as well as it had no fly-by-wire or flight protection control. It was built in conjunction with the Sukhoi Su-27 (Flanker) and although slightly out manoeuvred by the F-15, The Mig-29 was certainly above the F-15. The western Allies found this fact out after the end of the Cold War In 1997, when the United States purchased 21 Moldovan aircraft under the Nunn–Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. Fourteen were MiG-29Ss. And the Western counterparts were quite shocked to find out how effective the aircraft was in air combat training. It had formidable armaments on fitted the MiG-29 which includes a single GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon in the port wing root. This originally had a 150-round magazine, which was then reduced to 100 rounds in later variants. Original production MiG-29B aircraft cannot fire the cannon when carrying a centerline fuel tank as it blocks the shell ejection port. This issue was corrected in the MiG-29S and later versions. Three pylons are provided under each wing (four in some variants), for a total of six (or eight). The inboard pylons can carry either a 1,150 liter (300 US gal) fuel tank, one Vympel R-27 (AA-10 "Alamo") medium-range air-to-air missile, or unguided bombs or rockets. Some Soviet aircraft could carry a single nuclear bomb on the port inboard station. The outer pylons usually carry R-73 (AA-11 "Archer") dogfight missiles, although some users still retain the older R-60 (AA-8 "Aphid"). A single 1,500-litre (400 US gal) tank can be fitted to the centerline, between the engines. The baseline MiG-29B has a Phazotron RLPK-29 (Radiolokatsyonnui Pritselnui Kompleks) radar fire control system which includes the N019 (Sapfir 29; NATO: 'Slot Back') look-down/shoot-down coherent pulse-Doppler radar and the Ts100.02-02 digital computer. Tracking range against a fighter-sized target was only about 70 km (38 nmi) in the frontal aspect and 35 km (19 nmi) in the rear aspect. The MiG-29 is powered by two widely spaced Klimov RD-33 turbofan engines, each rated at 50.0 kN (11,240 lbf) dry and 81.3 kN (18,277 lbf) in afterburner. The space between the engines generates lift and thereby reducing effective wing loading to improve maneuverability. The engines are fed through wedge-type intakes fitted under the leading-edge extensions (LERXs), which have variable ramps to allow high-Mach speeds. As an adaptation to rough-field (gravel) operations, the main air inlet can be closed completely and alter using the auxiliary air inlet on the upper fuselage for takeoff, landing and low-altitude flying, preventing ingestion of ground debris. Sharing its origins in the original PFI requirements issued by TsAGI, the MiG-29 has broad aerodynamic similarities to the Sukhoi Su-27, however, there are some notable differences. The MiG-29 has a mid-mounted swept wing with blended leading-edge root extensions (LERXs) swept at around 40°; there are swept tailplanes and two vertical fins that are mounted on booms outboard of the engines. Automatic slats are mounted on the leading edges of the wings; they are four-segment on early models and five-segment on some later variants. Situated on the trailing edge there are maneuvering flaps and wingtip ailerons. The MiG-29 has a ferry range of 1,500 km without external fuel tanks, and 2,100 km with one external tank. The internal fuel capacity of the original MiG-29B is 4,365 litres distributed between six internal fuel tanks, four in the fuselage and one in each wing. First Flight was on the 6 October 1977, with entry into service in July 1983. Most MiG-29s have now been refurnished as multirole fighters capable of performing a number of different operations, and are commonly outfitted to use a range of air-to-surface armaments and precision munitions. The aircraft was exported to 32 operators with India being the largest non-block country with 87 aircraft. The Luftwaffe inherited 24 aircraft from its reunited East-German cousin after the end of the Cold War. Two Mig-29's famously crashed while doing an air display at 1993 Royal International Air Tattoo (UK), Both pilots survived. The Mig-29 is still in production and has yet to be replaced. The Sukhoi PAK FA is still a stillborn project and another is the MiG 1.44 demonstrator which failed in the 1990s. Over 1600 Mig-29's in various variants have been produced. MiG-29 Fulcrum by Colimata Flown here is the updated 1.5 version of the MiG-29 Fulcrum by Colimata. This release was in May 2013 and includes a completely redesigned Instrument panel(s), New low speed flight model, AoA (Angle of Attack) protection, Breathing cockpit sounds, New Flaps, New normal (exterior) maps, Hideable stick, XP10 lighting and Autopilot features and forward HUD. The extensive design by Colimata is very good, with the basic shape and details of the Mig-29 in design is first rate. These Fourth Gen aircraft are extremely beautiful aircraft for the deadly killers they are with their pronounced high-arcing cockpit to the low wide twin-set engine and twin-tail layout. Close up inspection shows great detail but many items (all over the aircraft) are untextured or use the basic 3d colouring to cover the item. Like the Landing Gear (front and main) are very well done but here are still in their 3d light Grey. But as noted the detailing is very good with piping and struts carefully modeled. The tyres are excellent close up but boxy at a distance, the green inner wheels are however excellent and very Russian in-design. The rear engine outlets have also great 3d design inside and the cones contracting actions (when putting the power down) work with great authenticity. The panels, Wings and tails are all very good with great detailing, but you will need a high texture setting to get the most out of them, and the overall finish is very glossy. Fighter interceptors don't like the sun-shining off them for the obvious reasons... It can get you killed. The Mig-29 comes with a Virtual 3d cockpit (VC) that is extensive in layout. The opening canopy has three actions : Open, Taxi and Jettison. Sitting inside the aircraft and your view is dominated by the huge HUD (Head Up Display). The unit is highly configurable and effective with 8 modes to chose from : Nav mode, Radar Mode, Infrared Mode, Close Combat Mode, Helm Mode, Gun Mode, Recticle Mode and forward HUD that puts you directly into the action. The cockpit is fully functional but not very Russian. All instrument detailing is in English, It certainly helps enormously in helping you to find your way around the cockpit items, but you wish it was a little more Cyrillic in operation for authenticity. At first glace it looks quite complicated but it isn't. Most functions are grouped together in panels and if you learn where the panels are located then they are quite easy to find. This is also helped by the very prominent set Checklist right in front of you. It is tabbed and very easy to sign off each item as you swing left or right setting up the aircraft. One run through the checklist and I was ready for flight, when done just click it out of sight... Brilliant. You can set up a flightplan with the pop-up standard Xplane fms. This again is clickable on or off in your view, a clickable GPS data screen is also available. The main aircraft (standard six) instruments are organised within a white line to separate them from the complex set of dials set out on the main forward panel. Two interesting instruments are the AoA and G indicator and the TAS Mach gauge. both are invaluable at high speed and with the AoA at low speeds. The aircraft is very sensitive to CoG (Centre of Gravity) settings and you need to make sure the setting is correct to get the best supersonic cruise and at takeoff and landing balances. As the machine does not have flight protection (fly-by-wire) you need a gauge to note the limits of the aircraft to avoid (dangerous) stalls and spins. The Panel is also dominated by the RADAR DISPLAY - NAV SCREEN. This display provides Nav and weather Information, and you can select map+radar+weather - map + radar - map (Nav). The visual was confusing at first but then I worked out that the aircraft is situated at the bottom of the screen and not at the centre-cross line(s) and after that it was easy. Standard Xplane weather and Nav points are used. The radar is great when hunting down a foe as it appears in orange if you use the Xplane Aircraft & Situations "Chase" feature, using the radar and the RWR Radar warning receiver that points out the direction to the enemy. The good news is your aircraft is far faster and more deadly than the poor foe you are chasing. The panel here is so called dirty? and the textures were upgraded in v1.5. A look at a real cockpit of a Mig-29 and it looks almost pristine. You have the option to put in the choice of "nearly clean - no dirt - weaker spots" textures if you want them. Side panels provide the most switches for the aircraft's functions. Left side is your throttle, Flap, Fuel, chute release, cabin and oxygen pressure. The oxygen switched on creates a breathing effect sound that drives you nuts after 20 min in the air. The manual says it can be turned off but it annoyingly doesn't work, You can however switch the .WAV files in the aircraft folder to finally get some sanity back. Right Side Is Electrical, Systems, APU start, Transponder, Canopy Jettison and all the aircraft lighting except for the taxi/landing lights which are on the main panel. There is an excellent Telelight or warning panel on the right upper side with a AEKRAN (Failure) display on the main panel. The navpanel (Radio) will mean you can pre-set 3 VOR (DME) 3 NDB and an extra ILS (VOR(DME). It is tricky to use and in some cases I couldn't get the system to accept my VOR (2) frequency Above the Left panel forward is the Autopilot. (A/P) it is pretty basic, in that it is just a heading and altitude hold, and there is a rudder damper and APP (Approach) button for using the ILS. The joystick (by clicking) can be hidden and over all the cockpit and functions are very useable and realistic. The gauges are reflective and well created, some are slightly confusing to use until you settle in there for a while. Time on the machine helps in familiarity. When not flying the Mig-29 you can (By pressing a zone by the left side of the canopy) deploy a ladder, Chocks and flight tags Flying the Mig-29 Fulcrum There are two aircraft versions to choose from, Standard and Armed (both Xp9.7 and Xp10 compatible). And both are flown here as the standard is basically a clean aircraft and the armed is loaded to the teeth. There is another two versions (lite) for X-plane 9&10 that uses less frame-rate and a standard 2d cockpit layout. I never had any frame-rate issues with the 3d cockpit version and there is a render setup panel available in the manual. The Armed version carries 4 Vympel R-73 / AA-11 "Archer" Infer guided missiles and 2 Vympel R-27 / AA-10 "Alamo" radar guilded (fire and forget) missiles. External fuel tank (dropable) is 1.500 lit. The standard GSh-30 30mm 2,000 round cannon is on both aircraft. Engines running the taxi speed is very easy but slow. You keep the speed low to counter the braking, in that to touch your brake handle and the aircraft will simply bounce badly (high) on the nose. I noticed in the thread notes to adjust you CoG to counter this effect. Otherwise the aircraft will trundle nicely all around the airport, unless on hard turning when the front wheel does not completely turn inline with the radius?... Notice the Engine ramps are down and the flaps open above the intakes to stop dirt being inserted in the low lying intakes. On power up they automatically open up for the required bigger chunks of air. You don't need any flap for takeoff, Someone noted on the thread that all Fulcrum's use flap, But I didn't need it on a light aircraft (No armaments), But it helped if you are very heavy. You don't use your afterburners either as that is just wasting precious fuel that is required later to go supersonic. Just under the afterburner ignition is enough to make you go skywards very quickly. The aircraft is very natural in the air. You can position it easily with lovely sweeping turns (but watch that turn stall if you go too slow). The Mig-29 powers quickly through the air. There are 3 large rearward mirrors above you that can be distracting. Going low and fast is easy with the stick, and you soon get into the flow of the aircraft and find yourself into a nice groove. There is the option of the Forward HUD that puts outside the front of the aircraft for extreme low runs that can be exhilarating if you love that sort of thing (yes I do!). In fact all the different variations of the HUD system are excellent for flying or killing. The control surfaces are excellent and the leading edges will pop out for you to get those tight powered turns to the foe. So this is a supremely nice aircraft to fly, the protected fly-by-wire aircraft can certainly go more closer to the limits and are more agile. But this aircraft is a more natural machine and it flies that way, It could be noted today as a pilots aircraft and not a technical tour-de-force. You can certainly see how deadly the Mig-29 aircraft could be in the right capable hands. It is best to set up your Joystick as a trigger to fire the cannon (I usually have reverse thrust set on the joystick trigger), and the space bar is used to fire the missiles in sequence. A sound barrier graphic appears as you hit the .m number and vortices appear when you hit certain speeds in turns or steep climbs. You can like this sort of feature or not. For me it depends on how well they are done and here they are middle of the road. One clever feature is the eject. Blow the canopy and then pull the red eject handles and you are out of the aircraft, which then disappears into the distance (arrowed). You then swing slowly down to earth, only a restart will give you your aircraft back again. You can also learn the "Cobra". (pdf included) that is a stall manoeuvre that takes skill and a steady hand to complete - It virtually sits the aircraft on its tail. Mach! To get into the best speed zone I flew up to 37,000 feet and then hit the afterburner to go supersonic. You need your CoG to be pretty good to get the balance right to get to the Outer Limits. But you are now seriously moving across the landscape. Using the AP is the best way to hold the aircraft steady at this speed or getting to the higher .M numbers as any slight wobble suddenly becomes a serious wobble and the aircraft feels very vulnerable under you. You can fly by hand of course but you really need to hold that stick steady. Using the afterburners can use your fuel at an astounding rate so you have to conserve fuel to get home or use the speed wisely. Turning off the afterburners and your speed quickly drops under the .M. You can turn now, but only in a very wide arc. Pull the throttle to zero and you are still heading forward like a bullet. The speed is dropping but you will be half way across Europe or into Russia before you can get to a lower altitude. The air-brake is in two settings and the first will get your nose down. In fact the air-brake is your best friend on this aircraft because at even lower speeds in neutral the aircraft holds a lot of speed. To get the wheels down and use the single flap setting for landing you need to use the air-brake in both settings in popping it up and down, It is like in trying to brake a runaway train. The air-brake is highly effective so now down on the lower speeds and you have to be careful not to stall your speed, again I have the air-brakes set up on my throttle system buttons and that works very well. Colimata has done a lot of work to get the lower speeds close to the numbers and the aircraft feels stable on approach if you get the speeds just right. Once on the runway you have to slow the aircraft down. Colimata has recreated the parachute. It still works with the default Xplane keyboard setting of the default parachute of which I approve of for ease of use. Once you have run off all the speed then ditch the parachute and the mission is over. Lighting and HDR The cockpit lighting for panel and overhead is fully adjustable. But there is a marked difference between using the HDR feature on or off. With HDR off you can't get the main panel to lower the backlight, with HDR "on" (third image) then that lower style spot lighting is available. Without doubt with the HDR function switched on the lighting is much more effective and the good news is it that it doesn't come at too much of a frame-rate kill. Overall the cockpit lighting is excellent. On the aircraft with HDR "on" the spots are behind the lighting fixtures. On the standard mode you have the small blobs of light. Taking off (or landing) in HDR and the lighting is excellent with three separate spots of broad lighting. HDR 'on" and the rear afterburners and the rear exhaust gases look great and authentic with the HDR shimmer effect. Conclusions The Mikoyan MiG-29 by Colimata is an exciting machine, certainly if you like going very, very fast. For carrying out missions or shooting at other aircraft it is like its real counterpart in being highly effective. Overall the detailing is excellent, but I would like just one more version to clear up a few odds and ends. The landing gear needs textures (and the steering fixed), and so does the inside of the front engine intakes. The Mig is too glossy for me, but that is a personal choice. A few more slightly reflective details of texture work (oxygen gauge/Hydraulic - Pneu gauge is at odds with the rest of the panel in quality) in the cockpit with some Cyrillic lettering would make it perfect. And even again it still needs to even a little more dirty and used. I'm not to crazy about the yellow afterburner glow either... it looks too average for an aircraft of this scale and price. In a features wish list it could use an GPU and fuel tanker. That aside you get really great value and an amazing flying machine for your money. The cockpit is fully functional and if you feel like topping it all you can then eject yourself out of the aircraft. Four versions and in both Xp9 and Xp10 is available for "standard" and "lite" aircraft, and you have options on normal image maps and different panel textures. Sounds are all round excellent (except for the annoying breathing) and are created by Artymowicz Aviation and the 14 liveries (listed below) cover almost every operator and an acrobatic version. The checklist is a great feature in setting up the aircraft ready for flight and the Manual (In Engilsh & German) is very comprehensive and easy to follow. Like many aircraft it will take time to learn the Fulcrum in depth to get the very best out of its flying abilities. It is easy to learn as already noted, but you will need time to be really as one with the machine. The more time you have on the airframe then the more you come to like it. Setting up missions will allow you use the aircraft to its full potential and certainly in the high-speed seek and destroy mode. Overall the Mig-29 is an amazing aircraft. And as good as any interceptor you can get in Xplane. Liveries Documents: Yes! the Mig-29 Fulcrum is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgShop : MiG-29 Fulcrum Price is US$24.95 At the point of press of this review the Mig-29 Fulcrum is on sale at only US$19.95 - Which is amazing value! Installation : Download is 301.80mb, and installation size in your "Fighters" Folder is 446.30mb. It is certainly recommended to set your key and Joystick settings for flying a fighter in - Cannon, missile and chaff. I also recommend to have the Air-brake function set at your fingertips for ease of use and for easy control of the speed. All the settings required are very well documented in the excellent manual.There are various other variations of the panel in nearly "clean - no dirt - weaker spots" textures that are stored in the "customize" folder, here also you can change over the normal maps and change the checklist over to German Support Forum : Colimata MIG-29 Fulcrum Review By Stephen Dutton 8th January 2014 ©copyright 2014 : X-Plane Reviews Technical Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux. 512Mb VRAM X-Plane 9 or X-Plane 10 fully updated - 32 and 64 bit compatible (The store will deliver the v10 version. If you need the v9 version please send an email to sales@x-plane.org once you place your order) Current version : 1.05 (last updated May, 2013) Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.25 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Scenery - EDFH - Frankfurt Hahn - Aerosoft (.orgStore
    2 points
  33. Ramzzess Aircraft and Phillipp Munzel have announced the imminent release of the Boeing 757-Series. Their Boeing 777-Series was the aircraft of the year in 2012/2013, So will the Boeing 757-Series be the same for 2013 and 2014? There is no doubt that the B757 is one of the most anticipated aircraft in X-Plane at the moment. If you already have the Boeing 777, then you would already know what to expect in detail and depth of systems... Officially licensed By the Boeing © Corporation Accurate dimensions based on 2D and 3D drawings supplied by Boeing © For X-Plane 10 64bit- Mac, Windows and Linux The Cockpit is comprehensive and highly detailed in systems and functionality. With a fully integrated FMC that is separated for use on the Pilot or Co-Pliot stations. The menu and Checklist system is also comprehensive and excellent in detail. Highlights are - Easy settings for aircraft functions - Full compliment of ground vehicles including Pushback Truck) - Custom failures - Brilliant cabin announcements (PA) - Opening Cabin Doors - virtual cockpit with crisp details - Dynamic reflections - Custom 3D sounds. The comprehensive checklist has the feature of leading you through the correct procedure of switches... Is just brilliant. Detailing (below) is also highly visible and outstanding in quality. Special Effects include - Aircraft Fire and Rain (Window) effects - Active window blinds and a fully detailed cabin. Price will be US$59.95 for the standard RB211-535E4 Release Version. Liveries will be US$1 per livery in packs of 10. Four liveries with the release version are British Airways (classic), Air France, Lufthansa and the Boeing House. There is no doubt this is an outstanding aircraft and once released X-Plane Reviews will give you a thorough detailed review of the aircraft and its systems. Some features: Detailed and functional FMS - Works like the real 757 FMS Advanced auto-pilot Super high resolution 3D cockpit with every switch functional Multilayer dynamic reflections on all glass objects Spatial rain simulation with high detail Very detailed passenger cabin graphics (kitchen and toilets) Inn-cockpit custom sounds 3D stereo sound system for the engines In flight announcements Interactive communication with the crew (fault reporting) Ground vehicles and push back track – all operational Very detailed exterior modeling with extensive use of normal maps Blue-out and other visual and auditory reactions to the situation Additional eye-candy features: real working oxygen masks both in cockpit and cabin, dynamic window shatters that react to sunlight etc.. Use of particles to generate smoke, fire, sparks…. Detailed and deep simulation of almost every system in the real aircraft A multistage custom failure system with in-browser instructor’s console Ability to fix failure by following proper procedure Interflight failure and maintenance system – something will spill over to the next flight Custom menus for loading/unloading fuel and passengers, calling for pushback… Ability to customize the plane with winglets and set other options to be saved or default A fully interactive electronic checklist with all procedures programmed in Auto mode for the checklist where the AI automatically preforms the procedures and the pilot only watches and checks Tutorial mode where the pilot follows the AI’s instructions and visual aids Stephen Dutton 2nd November 2013
    2 points
  34. Great analyze, If I may add, Austin did say they are ditching OpenGL, but this is just for the main world renderer and not for the plugin (confirmed with Ben Supnic). My concern is with the ground textures, although personally it is not a priority for me, I think that if they won't ramp up these textures they would be mocked although their other efforts in other areas. I guess only time will tell.
    1 point
  35. RJAA Narita is very good, but yes there is a very bad (you could call it a anti-MSFS) feeling in that we can do the same thing but for free. That is bad for the business, you need quality in the simulator and no matter how good the Global Airport tools are, they are still not a complete reproduction of the airport... this is damaging the simulator on many levels.
    1 point
  36. You are right about having airports that form route networks, or at least provide some interesting alternatives in routes to fly. Looking at some of the airports under development or recently released for MSFS there’s a lot of niche stuff coming out. This for Xplane seems a worthwhile buy. Having said that I do wonder if developers really think about their release dates as carefully as they might. This appeared just as Steam, and to a less extent the Org store are having sales. That means you’re competing against 50% off items. There’s always a temptation to buy those items when they appear. This is well priced and I will pick it up. Your comment about the disappearing runway lighting is interesting. How did they achieve that? It’s not something I’ve noticed in other sceneries.
    1 point
  37. Aircraft Review : Glasair Sportsman 2+2 by GHansen Glasair Aviation is one of the most known companies in the Experimental Amateur-Built Aircraft industry. Founded in 2001, the company is located in Arlington, WA. The Glasair Sportsman 2+2 is their main product, offering many customizing options. It can be built in a tricycle landing gear and conventional landing gear configurations, as well as amphibious floats or tundra tires. The Sportsman 2+2 is a very versatile aircraft, being able to carry 4 occupants, a useful load of 1,000 lbs and an impressive 140 kts cruise speed. The fuselage can be made of fiberglass or carbon fiber, and the wings and empennage are made of metal. It can be equipped with a 180 hp Lycoming IO-360 engine or a 210 hp Lycoming IO-390 engine. There is a third option that features a Thielert Centurion 2.0S diesel engine. Sportsman 2+2 The exterior modeling is very nice, being a good representation of the real aircraft. The nose spinner has very nice reflections, the props, landing gear and wings are very nice too. All the fuselage is reflective and full of details. Interior modeling The cockpit may be one of the main for buying this aircraft. It has high-resolution textures and very good 3d modeling. It is very important to note that the aircraft has both IFR and VFR panels modeled, this way you can select that best one for your flight. You can change the panels by accessing the aircraft menu, which is very simple and intuitive. The aircraft has Avitab integration. Sounds It is very important to note that the aircraft has FMOD sounds, which gives you a lot of immersion. There are custom sounds for doors, switches, engine, and many more. Note that the external engine sounds change when the doors are opened. You won't be disappointed with the sounds while flying the aircraft. Flying the Sportsman Today I am going to make a very short regional flight from Jundiaí (SBJD) to Campinas (SBKP). Starting the Sportsman is very easy, batteries on, engine start and avionics on, simply like that. Here we go for another flight. The Sportsman is very beautiful and has an outstanding performance for its category. This short flight shouldn't take more than 15 minutes. Another successful landing. This is a really fun aircraft to fly, especially when you don't use the autopilot. It gives you the feeling of flying the real aircraft. Other Features Here I will list and show you things that are included with the aircraft. Lights: The aircraft has the minimum lights you would expect, navigation, strobe and landing lights. The interior is very beautiful at night. Variants: The aircraft contains 3 variants, conventional landing gear, tricycle landing gear, and conventional with tundra tires. All three are very nice and unique. Menu: The aircraft comes with a small menu. There you can open the doors, set weight and passengers as well as the static elements. Liveries: The Sportsman comes with 7 different liveries, plus a blank one. All of them are very nice and well done. __________________________ Summary The Glasair Sportsman 2+2 by GHansen is a very fun aircraft to fly, especially when you use a joystick. It is very powerful, resulting in an outstanding performance for its size, meanwhile, it is very easy to fly. Probably this is one of the most versatile aircraft in its category, being able to carry a lot of weight, takeoff in short runways and fly in exotic locations. It would be very nice to see a variant equipped with floats and a 3-blade prop. For the price of only US$20.00, this is one of the best plane you could buy in the X-Plane.Org Store. High-quality textures, FMOD sounds, interactive menu and three different variants are its main qualities. At first glance it may seem too simple, but I can assure you that this plane is very fun and nice to fly, this way you will always want to fly it more and more. Even though it could have some little improvements, it is a highly recommended purchase. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Sportsman 2+2 by GHansen is available at the X-Plane.Org Store. Sportsman 2+2 Price is US$20.00 Features Three versions included! Conventional gear, Tricycle gear and Tundra gear. Accurately modeled Sportsman 2+2 200+ animations for an accurate simulation Fully VR compatible with preset seating locations for all four seats. Realistic modeling and texturing Ground equipment including chocks and tie-downs 4096x4096 textures to produce the high quality textures PBR (Physically Based Rendering) materials Detailed normal mapping with down-to-the-rivet precision 3D virtual cockpit, instruments are constructed fully in 3D with smooth animations Dimmable cockpit lighting Realistic and accurate flight dynamics based on real-world performance, handling and input from pilots Authentic sounds, created using X-Plane's FMOD sound system Custom sounds for switches, Doors, Engine and more, featuring accurate location placement of sounds in the stereo spectrum, 3D audio effects, adaptive Doppler, exterior sounds spill in when doors or windows are open, different sound characteristics depending on viewing angle etc. Adjust your Weight, Fuel load, ground equipment and passengers via in cockpit clipboard AviTab integration Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 671 MB Current Version : 1.3 (April 14th 2020) ------------------------------------------------ Aircraft Review by Bernardo Casa 28th April 2020 Copyright©2020: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Intel Core I5-9600K 4,30GHz / 2x8 Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 3200MHz - Gigabyte RTX 2070 - Z390 Aorus Master - Kingston A1000M.2 SSD 240GB Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41 Addons: Logitech Pro Flight Yoke/Pedals/Throttle Quadrant - Logitech Extreme 3d Pro Joystick - Sound: Samsung Home Theater System J5500WK Plugins: Environment Engine v1.13 by xEnviro US$69,90 Traffic: Traffic Global by JustFlight US$52.99 -SBJD - Jundiaí Aiport (X-Plane.Org) freeware -SBKP - Campinas airport (AxScenery) -SBSP - Congonhas Aiport (AxScenery) -Mega São Paulo (X-Plane.Org Store) (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)
    1 point
  38. I wasn't completely happy with the "lazy " comment, so that has been changed. But I disagree with you on your other comments. This "Traffic" application is priced at US$50+ and at that price then realistic approach, landing and departure profiles are a necessity, the so called "immersion" factor does just not cut with me as that makes the application a sort of plaything and not a realistic traffic environment. My biggest confusion is that in most areas the application is simply outstanding, but one of the most important and actually the most simplest procedure factors has been overlooked or very poorly implemented. As I noted in the summary "to create a realistic traffic application for any simulator is is a very complex undertaking" so I know how hard it is in creating something of this scale, but again these flight profiles are actually quite simple to implement and should be the heart of a US$50+ product and not just be an after thought. SD
    1 point
  39. Classic Aircraft : Rutan Model 61 Long - EZ by VSKYLABS In the early evolution of aircraft design it was the singular force of an pioneer engineer that drove the design and innovation. Think of the names of Curtiss, Boeing, Douglas, Hawker, Dornier, Junkers, Hughes and many more. But as the designs became more complex and they required more od the differential skills then most of these individual pioneers were replaced with teams or companies to build the aviation industry into what we know today, most of these manufacturers were still exceedingly clever in what they produced, but were also very conservative in the same sense in that their expensive products had to also be sold and be highly reliable, and so the maverick pioneer of the early times was reduced to the outcast nutjob the dreamer who lacked funds to create their designs. The only major aviation advances then mostly came from the expensive military aspect of pushing the boundaries, and then out into space itself. But one man in the last half decade has still been a total maverick an honor back those earlier pioneers and in the process has turned the principals of aviation on their heads, his name is Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan. Burt Rutan is now retired but his legacy is certainly amongst being one of the aviation's greats. A "maverick" and yes that title is perfectly acceptable for Rutan, but his list of achievements is simply extraordinary... early designs were mostly homebuilt aircraft and specialized research aircraft, but it was the Voyager project in designing an aircraft that could fly a nonstop, unrefueled flight around the world, and do something that had never been done before. In December 1986, Voyager took off from the famous Edwards Air Force Base in California and flew around the world (westward) in nine days, fulfilling the aircraft's design goals. The oddly shaped Voyager was retired and now hangs in the Milestones of Flight exhibit in the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) main exhibit hall, alongside with the Wright Flyer, Spirit of St. Louis and Bell X-1 and all barrier breaking aircraft.Then came the GlobalFlyer which set a record for the longest flight in history at 41,467.53km (25,766.73 mi), and in doing so gaining the third absolute world record set with this aircraft. Then later again came Virgin Galactic SpaceShipOne and its carrier aircraft in the White Knight Two, and that is the spacecraft to bring space travel to everyone or anyone that can afford the 200,000 seat cost. His name is forever associated with the company he formed called "Scaled Composites" or SCALED and they are based in Mojave and only a stones throw from the huge Edwards Air Force Base complex in the high southeastern California and southern Nevada desert were Burt started his career in 1965 to 1972 , when back then Rutan was a civilian flight test project engineer for the U.S. Airforce. Rutan's first personal projects were the VariViggen and VariViggen SP which first flew in April 1972. It had the large rear wing, forward canard, and pusher configuration design elements which became his trademarks. But it was the VariEze and Long-EZ that came next that became the default Rutan design, in that with the unusual aerodynamic surfaces they were also built of the then new composite design. It was a collaboration with the great English Formula One designer Colin Chapman that both men wanted the new material to create both extremely light but far stronger racing cars and aircraft, but sadly Chapman died before the ideas were brought to fruition. (John Barnard created the first carbon-fibre composite chassis that was first seen in 1981 with McLaren F1 Racing). Rutan Model 61 Long - EZ Although the VariEze was a successful design, Rutan thought the idea could done be better with the use of the more readily available Lycoming aircraft engines in lieu of the VariEze Volkswagen-derived engines and so the Long-Ez was clean-sheet scaled-up total redesign of the earlier aircraft. Changes from the VariEze included a larger main wing with modified Eppler 1230 airfoil and less sweep—the canard uses the same GU25-5(11)8 airfoil as the VariEze—larger strakes containing more fuel and baggage storage, and a slightly wider cabin. Plans were offered from 1980 to 1985. As of late 2005, there is still approximately 700 Long EZ's are FAA registered in the USA. At that time Scaled Composites was then known as Rutan Aircraft Factory, Inc. But some owners complained of the "rain trim change" that had been experienced by all Long-EZ pilots. This trim change is usually a nose down trim change experienced when flying into rain and then requiring a small aft force on the stick to maintain altitude, which is easily trimmed out, using the bungee trim system. So a new canard was designed with the Roncz R1145MS airfoil, which produces considerably more lift than the original GU25-5(11)8 airfoil. Any Rutan design is always going to throw the aviation rule book out of the window, and so the Long-Ez looks nothing like your standard GA or even a homebuilt aircraft. It looks more like a sports racer from Star Wars film or any futuristic video game. Performance: Maximum speed: 185 mph (298 km/h; 161 kn) (max cruise) - Cruise speed: 144 mph (232 km/h; 125 kn) (40% power) - Range: 2,010 mi (1,747 nmi; 3,235 km) - Service ceiling: 27,000 ft (8,200 m) and the rate of Rate of climb: 1,750 ft/min (8.9 m/s) There are two liveries provided with the original test aircraft N79RA and a "Thunderbirds' (aerobatic display team) Red, Blue and White scheme, there is a very nice Swiss version but that is not included here. I'm going to stick with Thunderbirds as the original test livery is a bit bland. My thoughts of these series of aircraft was to create an aircraft that were extremely easy to fly, more car like in operation with fewer controls and sturdy handling than the rather with the complexities of flying normal aircraft. It feels and certainly flies that way compared to a normal general aviation aircraft There is a double-seater glass canopy, but the high lower sides means only your heads sit right above up there in the glass, it feels all very 70's Formula One one sitting in here with the high sides and with the front canard also highly visible... The view all round though is very good and the aircraft would certainly be great as a VR (Virtual Reality) candidate and is already VR compatible and the Long-Ez sorta also handles like a flying F1 car as well, tight but with flowing in directional changes. Instrument panel is quite comprehensive for such a small tight aircraft. Top row are all the electrical power and lighting switches... Standard six flying instruments are not all here with just the four in... Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator on the top row and the Vertical Speed Indicator bottom far right. An excellent EXPERIMENTAL/LSA autopilot type system is far left (we will come back to that instrument in a minute) and a Garmin OBS VOR indicator (VOR1) dial centre, below is a Bendix/King KT76 Transponder with a Mitchell Volt meter left... note the Heading Dial down lower centre. Key start and panel lighting knobs are far, far left. Native X-Plane GNS 530 also the standard pop-out, a floating compass is far right. Engine gauges are grouped lower left with a large manifold pressure (inHg) and fuel flow (gallons per hour) and RPM gauge. Oil temperature and Oil pressure gauges are above and below the centre Cylinder Head Temperature (CHT) gauge. On the right side wall are three gauges that cover both 26 GAL fuel tanks and an outside VDO temperature gauge ºC. Left side is the connected canopy release with below a trim lever and BRKE (airbrake). Mixture, Throttle and Carb Heat levers are front. Right side lower is the joystick and Aileron trim rear... The aircraft design plate is nicely well done here as well. The big handle is to retract or extend the front landing wheel gear, but the X-Plane key setting will do all the work for you... the (arrowed) hole allows you to see if the gear is down. Behind is the fuel tank switch in Left - Right and OFF. The internal cabin materials are excellent, with the weaved carbon-fiber matting and exposed fibreglass surrounding you and your single passenger... ... the aircraft has "EXPERIMENTAL" pasted across the glareshield, but that is what this aircraft actually is, a basic bare-bones flying machine, there are no comfort features in here, and the well created detailing also gets that message across, and you also feel the slight age now of the aircraft as well (1980) as that aspect has been very well recreated, in the wear, tear and soiled fabrics as this X-Plane aircraft has been designed around the original Long-EZ (NR79RA) prototype. Some Long-Ez's are equipped with a rear-seat fuel tank, and a Long-EZ has flown for 4,800 miles (7,700 kilometers) in this configuration. Flying the Long-Ez Externally the aircraft is of composite construction, and in X-Plane that aspect can come across as a little bland, but if you look closely then VskyLabs have created some nice wear, tear and visual points to give the fuselage some detail and aging, but it is still a hard aspect to cover completely. The pods beneath the wings are not fuel tanks but luggage containers or really places just to stow items than say full sized luggage. The undercarriage is unusual in that the rear gear is a one piece molded s-fibreglass/epoxy (resin) set out as two struts that is extremely strong but also flexible with excellent energy absorption, and also highly efficient aerodynamically. The front gear is as noted manually retractable, but again immensely strong. Most owners usually retract the front gear when parking up the aircraft to create a sort of nose down attitude and to start the engine via handpopping, the nose down in the dirt stops the aircraft running away from you... which when you think about that it is a good idea. One of the most interesting aspects of the aircraft is it's rudder arrangement... the rudders are on the end of each wingtip. But when you yaw or use the rudder pedals then only one rudder then moves while the other rudder stays straight, and vice-versa, both rudders can also go outwards to act like an airbrake but that is not simulated here. That nosewheel can be tricky? It is freewheeling or a bit like a taildraggers loose tail wheel situated on the nose and not the tail, so if you try to turn too tight it flickers from side to side... there is a trick to turning and taxiing smoothly and you will soon master it, but it is a strange feel to get right at first. Sounds of the Lycoming O-235 air-cooled flat-four engine, 115 hp (86 kW) are spot on and highly realistic, a pair of headphones can highlight the air-cooled engine. Sounds are 180º FMOD and I particularly liked the lower idle throbbing... With the Long-Ez I use the XPRealistic Pro dynamic movements plugin, which I highly recommend here, make sure you have the engine throttle movements (shaking) quite high to get the engine shake for realism... Throttle up and it is a neck back snapping experience, the Long-Ez just goes like a rocket with so little weight and the power of the 115 hp Lycoming. Rotate is around 70knts, and watch for any directional wind as this light aircraft can easily be buffeted off line by even just a breeze. There are no flaps at all, just rudders and aileron's, and the huge canard forward which does the lifting and the balancing act. If the trim is correct the Log-Ez is super easy to fly as you would expect it to be, as the turns and manoeuvrability are excellent, but don't go doing over excitable acts as this aircraft does have odd performance areas that you just don't want to go there, full performance and their limits are provided in the manual. The EXPERIMENTAL/LSA autopilot type system is an interesting tool. It has a built in rate-of-turn indicator by the red five boxes set either side of neutral. Then to hold an altitude and the heading you press the "ALT" (mode) button which acts like a hold and you get a green marker to say that action is activated... ... if you use the UP (Climb) or DN (Descend) buttons the green turns to yellow for the ATT mode, pressing the ALT returns you to the (ALT Mode) or straight and level. If you press the LT (Left Turn) or RT (Right Turn) buttons it stays in the ALT mode but banks to the required turn red box, clicking the opposite direction button will neutral the turn. I found that when in the normal ALT mode you need to centre the LT/RT to keep it tight on the heading or you will drift to the left or right (sort of trimming the heading), once set right the heading will stay on course. To disengage the LSA just press the ALT again to disconnect (cycle). The LSA is extremely easy to use and is very effective for long flights like In 1997, when Dick Rutan and Mike Melvill flew two Rutan Long-EZ aircraft that they had built, side-by-side around the world. This "around the world in 80 nights" flight was called The Spirit of EAA Friendship World Tour, and some of the flying legs lasted for over 14 hours. Landing can be a bit tricky with no flaps, but you have a great almost fishbowl outside view that helps in the coordination and focus of the runway. You have a two stage airbrake situated under the fuselage that helps in controlling the excessive speed, but the full position can easily stall you if you use it wrongly, but it is good in the case of losing height and speed. The single extension gives you the best option, but again you use it sparingly... The trick is to believe in the aerodynamics in that both that huge delta wing behind you and that canard in front of you will totally support you and give you the efficient lift you require, it takes a few landings to trust them, but in doing so and then the landing phase become easier, although I did find I used a lot of runway before accepting the ground as the ground effect lift is quite strong... You need to keep the approach above 70knts, but you landing speed target is usually around 55knts, but I found just under 60knts was fine, and overall the aircraft is quite stable unless you have a strongish crosswind, and then it is simply horrible! Lighting The Long-Ez has very simple lighting, the two knobs on the instrument panel control the main instrument lighting and the avionics lighting... ... but the instrument lighting does look nicely aged and authentic, as all the dials glow sweetly in the dark. External has the navigation lights and a two stage single light in the nose that covers the different taxi and landing light brightnesses, not totally effective, but most Long-Ez's don't have landing or taxi lights either. The strobes are very bright at night and it feels like your are flying through a bad lighting storm most of the time... Summary It is important to note that all VskyLabs aircraft are "Projects", and are not completed aircraft, in other words the work is on going and you must be aware of that in the purchase, this aircraft doesn't even have rudder pedals? which seems to be a really odd missing item, even on any launch aircraft. But they will come in an update soon, as with more canopy detailing (internal - strut), back cockpit detailing and extra liveries. The aircraft is basically a simple machine, not only to use but to also fly, but that is also the same brief set out by it's designer in the first place. There are no menu's, static elements, pop out checklists (they are checklists in the supplied extensive manual) or any other fancy features to devour, this is all about the unusual flying characteristic of a very if again unusual design and a Burt Rutan design at that. In that context VskyLabs have done a brilliant job in creating this classic aircraft, it is far harder to do than you can imagine as the flying performance is quite different from your usual GA aircraft, but the Long-Ez does fly and perform very much like the real aircraft. Certainly a lot of thought, sweat and tears have gone into the aircraft to do justice of it's original design and honor one of aviation's greats. So here is the test... would you fly right around the X-Plane world in the Long-Ez, and that alone is great challenge, but a worthy one. So overall this Long-Ez is a great aircraft, but still slightly unfinished in a few areas, but that is the "project' aspect of the deal. So if you like the very different, challenging experimental style of aircraft then this is your type of aircraft, it is certainly different and also very interesting at the same time. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Rutan Model 61 Long - EZ by VSKYLABS is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS Rutan Long-EZ Project Price is US$27.50 Features The project is designed and engineered around the original 1980 'LONG-EZ Plans' and 'Pilot Operating Handbook' (N79RA). As a result, the VSKYLABS Rutan LongEZ Owner's manual is based on the real LongEZ owner's manual. The manual for the VSKYLABS LongEZ aircraft can be downloaded for free. The core of the project is a superb flight dynamics model with authentic aircraft performance and handling characteristics. Aeromatic propeller configuration (fully automatic variable pitch propeller). Highly detailed and animated aircraft model along with 4K textures. VR-READY - Highly detailed and functional 3D cockpit environment. FMOD sounds engineered with a 'rough and tough' feel for enhanced flying experience. IFR capability. Autopilot - Experimental/LSA grade autopilot included. Additional Features: Highly responsive support system/forum. The VSKYLABS Rutan LongEZ Project is under constant development. All updates are free. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Requirements: X-Plane 11 - (X-Plane 11.20+ is required for VR) Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM minimim. 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 220Mb Installation Download of the Lon - Ez is 216mb and it is installed in your General Aviation Folder as a 302mb folder. Documents Documentation is excellent with one (large) manual included: VSKYLABS-Rutan-Long-EZ-POH-001 (download) More Information: BurtRutan.com: Burt Rutan's web pages - contains interesting articles, 'must read' PDF documents etc... Burt Rutan Wikipedia page: The Aerospace Legend Burt Rutan Wikipedia page. Rutan Long-EZ Wikipedia page: ez.org - A community of Rutan canard aircraft enthusiasts: Includes Forum, articles, links, various downloads (drawings, POH plans etc...). Canards for X-Plane: An interesting resource of freeware, good quality models for X-Plane: _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 9th May 2018 Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.20 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 Scenery or Aircraft - KMHV - Mojave Air & Spaceport - Scenery Packages (v11,v 10, v9) (X-Plane.Org) - Free
    1 point
  40. Scenery Preview - LGRP - Rhodes International Airport by JustSim When JustSim released their excellent LCLK - Laranca only six months ago, it felt like it was the far end of the world, or Europe at least, as it was a lonely outpost on Cypress on the far eastern end of the Mediterranean. But that far away point is now not so isolated in flying terms. A flurry of excellent sceneries have now filled in the void, including LTAI - Antalya International Airport again by JustSim, Chios Island National Airport by Descent2View and of course Corfu with FlyCorfu XP by FlyTampa... you can also add in a few freeware sceneries for more routing out here, but going or crossing these areas of Greece has now become a busy pastime... now JustSim have added in another very desirable destination with LGRP - Rhodes or as it is known locally as Diagoras International Airport. Obviously you had to connect JustSim's LCLK - Laranca to their newer LGRP Rhodes as it is only a 300 nm hop from one airport to the other... ... basically it is only an hour's flying time, but who would not miss that perfect flying day and in that Cobalt blue sky (pun intended), the ToLiSS319 also helped things along enormously. Approach is into RWY25 from the East and there is something about this area in X-Plane11 that brings out the best in the scenery, the light and the soft mist on the mountains. This approach path takes you over the port of Rhodes itself and the harbour. There is a mix here of (German) autogen and custom local buildings, and they all well meld into each other well (more on this later) LGRP - Rhodes (Diagoras) International Airport Rhodes International Airport "Diagoras" Διεθνής Αερολιμένας Ρόδος "Διαγόρας" IATA: RHO - ICAO: LGRP 07/25 - 3,305m (10,844ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL6 m/19 ft Rhodes (Diagoras) International Airport is situated on the north side of the island of Rhodes in Greece. The facility is located just north of the village Paradeisi (really the airport is in or part of Paradeisi), and about 14 km southwest of the capital city, Rodos. Interestingly is that the airport is open to the sea to the north and hemmed in by a hillside to the south. First impressions are impressive, this is a JustSim scenery after all as you know what to expect in good modelling detail and excellent blending in with the custom to default mesh and textures. The blending in is even better here as the hillside is very lush with vegetation, fauna, custom trees and bushes. As noted there are custom buildings to compliment the autogen as JustSim usually do provide a little local flavor to their sceneries and don't restrict the scenery just to the airport, in this case it covers the village of Paradeisi, which basically surrounds the whole airport to the east and west. JustSim have been smart in not making their custom buildings completely Greek, in say white, white. but a sort of mid-way but still custom. This does blend in well with the German autogen although you can still tell the difference in the different areas, but it not as bad a it really could have been. In other words it all works very well as a complete scenario from the air on both approach paths. The german autogen however is more noticeable in the Rodos city itself and the lack of local colour and port facilties. Where as Rhodes should be Greek Classic white, it looks more of an Italian port than Greek. This is where FlyTampa gave the Corfu scenery a boost in covering this city area as well as the airport itself in the same feel and architectural design, it also highlights the limitations of Laminar Research's current situation with regional autogen, as white Greek/Turkish Mediterranean default autogen should be now a no brainer and available for X-Plane these days. Another small oddity is the none development by JustSim of the airport LGRD - Martisa which is positioned (arrowed) only just behind the same hill that covers LGRP... ... It is highly visible, but it only required a few buildings and a few bits and pieces to make it a great GA viable alternative to LGRP? Instead it is a wasted blank area in the middle of the scenery? LRGP - Diagoras The airport layout is one large apron and remote stands, and no airbridges. Stands cover 1 to 7 in front of the terminal with semi-circle parking and stands 8 to 14 are set in a line farther out. Stand 10 covers the entrance to Taxiway B, so don't depart the runway there! and stand 14 is a large stand that is noted to cater for a wide-body ICAO category E and F (65m (213.3') - 80m (262.5'); 14m (45.9') - 16m (52.5') or Boeing 747 size. Terminal The single terminal is impressive, if an odd colour that does not translate well. The terminal construction and materials/textures are excellent with the well done lighting ramp towers. Airside detail is excellent with walk-on ramps from the terminal down to the apron, clutter ramp detailing is also top notch. There is a huge amount of animated vehicles that are mostly baggage carts and maybe to many, and to the point you have to be careful taxiing around the ramp and not squashing one or two of them, but there is a huge amount of activity to be had. Landside is as good and if not better than Airside. Loads of people, taxi's, buses and god knows what else creates a dynamic environment. Only odd thing is the colour of the roads and carparks, which are more green and grass like than the required asphalt grey/dark roadway, it tends not to blend in more than it should? High view down on Diagoras is complimented by the high positioned (PARADISI - 108.6 PAR) DME navigation aid, not to be confused with the close by (RODOS 115.8 RDS) Nav-Aid for LGRD - Martisa. Note the great view over the Aegean Sea and the coastline is Turkey. Control Tower The tower is on the west side of the terminal and connected to the terminal. Detail and the all important tower glass is excellent, it is a nice great reconstruction... The tower view of the approaches by Just Sim is not set (Again!). Ground clutter is excellent and fully detailed, I particularly love the jet blast screens, they look great. The Terminal approach roads have associated businesses... ... garages, car rental... usual stuff but well done. Most areas however are not set to the OSM (Open Street Map) settings, so buildings, trees and signage cover roads and are set out in areas that they really shouldn't be in, it makes the scenery quite messy and not authentic in areas, a bit more time in laying out these items would have made it far better, it feels rushed? Ground textures Runway and taxiway surface textures are excellent, and highly realistic with tar, cracks and general repair work visible, Apron square concrete textures are very authentic... .... grass is 3d and excellent, although in parts the navigation signs are covered with grass, but then this is Greece! Water is also blended in well to the ground textures for that nice shallow water feel. Runway textures are reflective in the right wet conditions, and looks excellent if you land late in the day. Lighting JustSim's LGRP has great lighting... ... approach lighting is very good from both directions, but it is slightly better from the east. All taxiway lighting have no centreline (green) markings as per most airports in Greece, so you will need the aircraft side turn lighting to find your way to or from the terminal area. Apron lighting is very good, but only on the terminal side, as if you get to park on the outer stands then you are sitting in the darkness. Debatable is the reflective blue terminal glass, as many people won't like it, but I really liked it a lot, and for me it works very well with the contrasting control tower base lighting. All landside lighting is very good as well, as all areas are covered including carparks, terminal approach lighting, and general areas. Apron lighting stands 1 to 7 and 14 are great and well lit working areas and any arrival here after dark is very impressive. Exceptional is the custom building lighting, windows at night are not those ugly grey rectangles, but ar eas good as the quality autogen lighting, so they all blend in well together. I have wondered ( and complained) why it is so hard not to do good custom building lighting? If you get it right as it is here it make a huge difference to the approaches and also to the quality of the night environment. Overall the lighting is excellent. Preview Notes: JustSim again really deliver, as LGRP is great scenery at an unbelievable price, and like all JustSim sceneries which are not ultra high detailed scenery, but you do always get the latest in X-Plane dynamic features (like reflective glass), great lighting, lots of animated items like ground traffic and wet surfaces and the modeling is usually of a very high quality... and they just deliver. The experience is full, from the approach (at night it is brilliant) to the quality aprons and with surrounding clutter and detail and the X-Plane11 dynamics, LGRP - Rhodes well worth the investment and a worthwhile companion to LCLK - Laranca and JustSim's other local airport in LTAI - Antalya... highly recommended. Features noted are: Detailed airport objects and vehicles Custom textured taxiways, runways and apron Custom surroundings Custom airport lights Compatible with X-Plane 11 features Animated ground vehicles (X-Plane 11 only) Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on terminal and other airport buildings High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Excellent night effects Realistic reflections on glass World Traffic compatible X-Life traffic compatible Optimized for excellent performance WT3: WorldTraffic GroundRoutes are provided ready to be included with the scenery. Overall the airport functions perfectly fine in giving you that full running airport and full traffic activity. And the aircraft will also loop to the correct stand parking position. A few private jets take up stands that they shouldn't do, but otherwise it is full marks. Positives: Mostly everything, lighting is excellent, texture and building design is first rate and all with excellent clutter and traffic animations. Excellent value. Negatives: Rodos City and Port would have been a nice addition, even for a higher purchase price. Tower View is not really usable (again), buildings and trees are not aligned to OSM layouts, so roads are full of trees and part buildings. Landside terminal roads and carparks are the wrong colour (very light green?).... and why wasn't close by LGRD - Martisa airport added into to the scenery? ____________________________________________________________________ Yes!... LGRP - Rhodes International Airport by JustSim is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : LGRP - Rhodes International Airport Price is US$17.20 Requirements : X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb VRAM Minimum - 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended Current and Review version: 1.0 (September 26th 2018) Extras and Documents: - Optional ORTHO4XP Custom DEM - RAW files - WorldTraffic3 Ground Routes and /Parking Def's - Install pdf ______________________________________________________________________ Preview by Stephen Dutton 12th October 2018 Copyright©2018 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.25 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free Scenery or Aircraft - ToLiSS319 (A319) by ToLiSS (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$69.00
    1 point
  41. Behind the Screen : September 2018 Most online fliers don't really care about scenery, it is all about in the way the aircraft flies, handles and feels. To a point they are correct, but if the aspects of the way you use and fly an aircraft is not accurately represented in it's correct environment then without that reflection you are seriously missing something else in the dynamics of simulation. Almost all of the early simulators certainly followed this aspect, as scenery or the replication of the real world environment was not back then a high profile item on their feature lists, obviously detailed aircraft were not available either, but if the general view of the land (ground) and sky was represented then the focus was on the flying of the aircraft. Even when I came into X-Plane with v9 nearly nine years ago the scenery mesh was still quite primitive, you accepted it because it was the best it could be at the time, even if the mesh and objects was still basic, airports were a little better but were mostly converted early FlightSim 2004, because they were the only objects that would sorta of convert over to the X-Plane's initial OBJ8 format. If you wanted some sort of a realistic environment what you really needed was a very good if warped sense of imagination, thankfully I was equipped with such a heightened awareness. X-Plane10 came in with a focus more on the environmental aspect than the actual aircraft. the base mesh came now with complex mapping built in, which replicated better water areas and most importantly included the OSM or Open Street Map data that replicated real world traffic and street layouts, it wasn't perfect in that it relied on real data, and so if you flew to say China, it looked like the Chinese were still back in the water paddy era (it still does to be honest). With X-Plane10 also came "Autogen" which was a set of library objects built in to the simulator to replicate housing and urban infrastructure, it worked and it didn't, because at first there was too few art assets of which then basically consisted of SoCal houses (South California) and a few factories... The idea of X-Plane autogen was to not totally replicate absolutely real world objects, but to sort of create a generalisation of what a urban areas looked like, the plus is that the objects were highly refined and extremely efficient, if a little samey compared to the real world, worse was the fact that the SoCal minority objects severely restricted a worldly view and to a point even se in their own American landscape as well. Secondly is that when X-Plane 10 was released all of those 6 years ago, as then computer power or graphic card power was still quite small anyway and if you had 2K of graphic power you were in the top order of trendsetter of gamers, and even with that title then full maximum object settings were just within your reach and not in to the full capacity you really needed to create a realistic urban world around you. The last aspect of X-Plane10 that made a difference was the extension of the area tiles, from a meager 50nm outward to 100nm or . From any altitude the small tile footprint was dismal in the early X-Plane environs, but the 100nm extension did make even a horizon look plausible, but still and even today some mountainous artifacts can still creep into the visual extreme boundary. The odd thing was that X-Plane11's focus was not on the environmental areas, but in some ways X-Plane11 has had an even more larger impact on the realism factor of X-Plane. PBR (Physical Based Rendering) with reflections and it's better shadow and lighting effects now brought the objects to life, and scenery and mostly airports became a much more real place to work of fly into or out from. Then more autogen objects in the form of Germanic style housing really changed the outlook of areas, as the German feel is more representative of areas not only in Europe (including the UK) but even in Asia, Russia and even Japan than the restrictive American architecture. Other areas have changed significantly as well, mostly in graphic power. In 2018 you should have at least a 4K graphic card, a 6K is better, but in reality a 8K card is now required, with a 11K card as a target soon. The line should level off around 15K of which is still a generation of graphic cards away. the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the current champion of the best of the best with 11K, but even with this monster installed then you will still not get every setting slider set to maximum, as the killer here is the texture quality. So why the X-Plane history lesson? Well it is important to note that In 2018 a line was crossed, an important line on several points. One was that more European urban (meaning industrial) autogen was added now into the mix (which was covered here) and the American set of the same medium industrial autogen is coming in the 11.30 beta. Also scenery developers finally got the message that using the autogen to your advantage can create a better product, in that if the gaps between the autogen and the custom scenery was reduced it made a huge difference to the overall scenery. That aspect is also covered even in a larger picture in that if you create city sceneries with using the autogen as a major fill around your city central items. It is important to note that to get the full effect now, you do need your object slider set at full maximum, in the past this was really never possible, but autogen efficiency is getting better, but obviously there has to be a trade off, even for me. That comes with dropping down your texture quality slider to "high", and yes you lose a little quality, but not as much as you would expect in this age of high quality textures. But find the balance and you can get a high object count and still have a quality custom scenery and still mostly use or get through with the settings on a 4K graphic card. The current effects of all this is that now X-Plane11 scenery is getting mind bogglingly good, the images created for the reviews shows those aspects on how far X-Plane has really now come. There is no way even a year or so ago you could get the scenario of Florence, Italy or the mega Seattle size sceneries to deliver the sort of full visual impact that they are now delivering, in airports with ShortFinal's KLAX and Nimbus's KORD they are not now islands in the landscape, but part of the landscape in a whole. I have always championed the use of the efficient autogen coupled with custom scenery to get the best visual representation and efficiency out of X-Plane and the current development certainly bears that out, yes I accept the Ortho4XP route is very popular, but expensive with hardware and not very efficient. But to date you can see the effects of just have one artist doing the work, as very good and talented as it is, it is just too slow a progress, ditto the excursion for city landmarks as only a few can be produced for each city, leave landmarks to the custom payware addons and add in more regional autogen for more impact, that fact has now been proven. But I am not denying that in areas the autogen model is still wanting and many blank areas do still show uncomfortably in your eyeline. And in another aspect it also now shows the limitations of the X-Plane autogen spread as being now very severely limiting. Certainly the Seattle scenery made that very obvious, with if you sit at Sea-Tec airport and turn your viewpoint to the Seattle city, then the autogen stops about halfway into the scenery, and from above it shows the spread limitations quite badly, and that is not to get started on the limitations of the traffic/road night lighting. But the x square of adjusting the autogen spread like with the earlier load of mesh tiles maybe more of a backward step at this point than a forward one. But that ultimate of nirvana is now getting extremely close as well. Views of horizon to horizon autogen and full city landmarks will soon create a full vista of reality. Helped by (hopefully) the huge efficiency of the Vulkan/Metal api's and the next generation of computer power, then the doubling of current processing power should get the deed finally done, and all should come together around the time of X-Plane12's release. This is also very prominent in that the Laminar Research road map (hint X-Plane12) will mean a major focus on efficiency, so the biggest changes will be internal and not visual, with all the expanded updates and versions over the last decade, and that is not overall a bad thing, as it is a clearing out of the dated aspects of X-Plane that are holding it back and not allowing the simulator to move forward, and obviously we will lose some very cherished areas, which is very Apple, but we know that the benefits will always highly outweigh the losses. The point is that finally X-Plane is starting a new era in realistic visual simulation, yes there is still a way to go, but finally the blocks are now falling into place, and it has been a very long difficult road to get to this point... but we are getting there. Ground Routes Many new airport payware scenery releases are featuring and including WT3 - WorldTraffic3 ground routes and airport operations as part of the package. The included routes are excellent in a drop in and get instant perfect traffic activity at the airport. These provided routes have a load of advantages, mostly in saving you time in either waiting or generating the said routes and then getting on with this flying business. Get it right and it is an instant high satisfaction rating. But many if most scenery releases with this new feature now being released, is this aspect really not what it really seems at all, and in some ways it is a total backstep to the sceneries benefits. In most cases those so called provided "custom created" ground routes are just a generation of WT3 application, packed up and packaged. And in most cases they are not even tested. The issue really goes far deeper than this. Most developers understand the creation of the ATC ground route system in WED (WorldEDitor), but only on a superficial level. So yes they create the ground routes and what is done is done and expect the routes to be perfect, but the problem is that all traffic applications and certainly in the far more clever and more complex WT3 application, in that it requires the far, far more detailed and correct flow information in taxiway and runway routes, correct stand information (open stand or bay stand), and more so in the state of the stand (correct stand information). I admit is it very complex layout to understand and can take a fair bit of time to configure correctly and yes only a few brave souls have gained this specialised skill, and the very best is Brian Navy or K-Man. And to a point that is the problem. Start up a newly installed scenery with these so called provided custom routes inserted and they either work perfectly or worse horribly in they simply don't. The thing is here you are paying for them to be honestly perfect. But too many sceneries lately have been totally horrible, with traffic aircraft running around in circles, running across the grass, departing right through terminals and the list goes on, in fact they are worse than the generated versions in the first place... the worse issue is the landing connection to the gate or stand. This is actually caused by the stand information not being the correct data wise, but the results are when even an aircraft lands correctly it will simply disappear instead of taxiing off the runway to the gate. That is fine but in over half an hour and all the ground aircraft will have then departed and then with no resupply of arriving aircraft, the airport then empties out to a complete blank or a wasted few. Worse this month was LEAL - Alicante Airport by VirtualDesign3d, followed by KORD - Chicago by Nimbus, and the list this year has been extensively long, and do you yet see any reviews on these pages for the said scenery, no, and that is because the traffic systems just don't work, and if you haven't see a review for a released scenery, you can always guarantee it is always this same issue. Thankfully Brian Navy has fixed up KORD, as he fixed up KSEA and KLAX as well and a mountain of others, so we should send him some nice fat food parcels or slabs of beer. But that does not fix the problem? The thing that really annoys me! is that to get the ground routes checked out for these mistakes is not THAT hard to do. I certainly don't want K-Man overloaded with fixup issues to save us all, but obviously he and a few others could advise on what is wrong the ground routes and where to fix them. Developers think that the scenery highlights are the 3d buildings, great animations and specialised glass and as much clutter as you can fill in there... but if the traffic activity does not work, then for everything else it is a dead airport, or a flat simulation, or worse a lot of wasted purchaser's time in getting it all fixed up to the point that it should have been done in the first place... ground routes and airport activity is the No1 feature of every scenery, not the bottom of the list feature, if the traffic does not work correctly you won't use the scenery, buy another one from the developer or worse just bin it... and worse still I won't review it, because the punters deserve better. X-Plane11.30 It is almost here... The next X-Plane11 update in beta 11.30 is due imminently, and my guess at the UK Cosford FlightSim on October 6th. A note that the speaker at Cosford for Laminar Research is not Ben Supnik or the Grand Poobah himself in Austin Meyer's but Philipp Ringler. That denotes that Ben is staying back to cover the XP11.30 beta fallout, of which means the release will be the same time as the presentation and not a delayed release date.... excited, you should be. This update is full of features, but it will still be the small fixes that will have the biggest impact on your day to day flying. Obviously it will be the new particle effects that will create the most drama, and the game is on in that who will get their aircraft out first with the effect feature? Or will we get the same deal as when X-Plane11 came out in that many developers will wait until v11.30 goes final before updating? personally I don't think so, as the effects have been in development for a very long time and also they should be be very well tested by now. One thing will be for sure, there will be a lot of updating to do, and it will be very busy until at least the USA Thanksgiving day 2018 marker. The update will of be covered in detail by X-PlaneReviews as per usual, and by the time the next "Behind The Screen" comes around in November then v11.30 will have been released and all the results will be in... so until then, just keep on downloading and updating! Stephen Dutton 1st October 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews
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  42. Aircraft Review : 727 Series Pro V3 by FlyJSim The release of FlyJSim's Boeing 737 TwinJet v3 Pro earlier this year was a landmark moment for X-Plane11. This outstanding aircraft was really the very first large scale aircraft to really use all the full features and elements of the X-Plane11 simulator. You would note that there was already aircraft in X-Plane to take note and use the XP11 features, but the FlyJSim B732 TwinJet was really the first to do so from the ground up and not be converted across to or from one simulator version to another, and that difference was very apparent. The original aircraft here for X-Plane is not actually new, as FlyJSim released their initial Boeing 727 Series just days before Christmas back in 2012, that is now nearly eight years ago. So it was for it's time a very advanced and certainly in it's modeling it was a very high quality aircraft. In the mean time to date the aircraft has had numerous upgrades, including collecting the status of being a "Study" style aircraft and in that the B727 was then designated as a "Professional" or "Pro" Series in the v2 upgrade. The last upgrade was just to allow you to fly the B727 Series in X-Plane11 was just last in March 2017, it was fine, sort of... but in reality it was just a few performance tweaks to make the aircraft behave correctly with the very different X-Plane11 dynamics. I flew the aircraft a lot, but you felt it was not quite, quite there, then the B732 TwinJet X-Plane11 comparison then made the point that the Tri-Jet was now feeling it's age a little. So to here is now the full (and it flies only in the) X-plane11 upgrade that is designated as v3 (Version 3). First of all let us get one major point across early. This Boeing 727 Pro v3 Series does not have a cabin installed like the B737 TwinJet did... that item was noted very early on by FlyJSim and they have re-enforced the position that no cabin is forthcoming, well not in the anytime near or distant future. I personally found that item a bit of a head scratcher, because the Boeing 727 has the same barrel size (Fuselage) as the already completed B737? So a conversion, in details like the internal barrel, panels, doors, galley and seating are all in all exactly the same and just needed to be a little bit longer to fit the longer fuselage of the B727 compared to the B737? But I do acknowledge that it would have taken time to do all three versions to cover the full series here which includes the original B727-100 (short fuselage), B727-200 (most popular) and the B727-200 F (Freighter). As all are different and all would require three different internal layouts... and that is a lot of work. Boeing 727 Series v3 Pro From the very start there was these three versions of the Tri-Jet in the B727-100, B727-200 and the B727-200 F, and in the v3 Pro Series all those same three aircraft variants are still part of this v3 package, but are now not sold as separate aircraft. B727-100 Airliner short version The 727 followed the 707 quad-jet airliner of with the same upper fuselage cross-section. The 727's fuselage has an outer diameter of 148 inches (3.8 m). This allows six-abreast seating (three per side) and a single aisle when 18 inches (46 cm) wide coach-class seats are installed. And could carry 149 passengers in one-class or 131 passengers in two-classes. B727-200 Adv Airliner Long version The stretched version of the 727-100 became the 727-200, which is 20 feet (6.1m) longer than the −100. A ten-foot (3-meter) fuselage section ("plug") was added in front of the wings and another ten-foot fuselage section was added behind them. The wing span and height remain the same on both the −100 and −200 (108 feet (33 m) and 34 feet (10m), respectively). The original 727-200 had the same max gross weight as the 727-100. The MTW became 184,800 lb (83,800 kg) but the range was decreased to 1,700 nmi (3,100 km). At that short range the aircraft then evolved quickly as a series of higher gross weights and more powerful engines was introduced along with other improvements, and then from line number 881 727-200s where then dubbed −200 Advanced (Adv). The aircraft gross weight eventually increased from 169,000 to 209,500 pounds (76,700 to 95,000 kg) for the latest versions. The range increased slightly to 1,900 nmi (3,500 km) (Standard) but if you loaded the aircraft carefully you could get 2,600 nmi (4,800 km) (Optional) range with 189 passengers (one-class) and 145 passengers (two-class) with a higher Cargo capacity which was the same for the standard -200 version. Ceiling was increased to 42,000 ft (13,000 m). The first 727-200 flew on July 27, 1967 and received FAA certification on November 30, 1967. The first delivery was made on December 14, 1967 to Northeast Airlines. A total of 310 727-200s were delivered before giving way to the 727-200Adv in 1972. B727-200F Freighter A freighter version of the 727-200 Advanced became available in 1981 was designated the Series -200F Advanced and was powered by the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17A engines. The F (Freighter) version featured a strengthened fuselage structure, with an 11 ft 2 inch by 7 ft 2 inch forward main deck freight door and a windowless cabin. This was the last production variant of the 727 to be developed by Boeing and 15 aircraft were built, and all for Federal Express. The last 727 aircraft to be completed by Boeing was the Series 200F Advanced for Federal Express in 1984. In all the total Boeing 727's built was 1,832. Although only fifteen Freighters were actually built. Many Series -200Adv passenger versions were converted to -200F's. The 727 is one of the noisiest commercial jetliners in service and was categorized as Stage 2 by the U.S. Noise Control Act of 1972, which mandated the gradual introduction of quieter Stage 3 aircraft. Current regulations require that a 727 in commercial service must be retrofitted with a hush kit to reduce engine noise to Stage 3 levels. All current flying -200F's are stage 3 except for some flying in parts of Africa. Other versions of the B727 were C's for convertible - passenger/cargo version. The C had an additional freight door and strengthened floor and floor beams, with three alternate fits: 94 mixed-class passengers 52 mixed-class passengers and four cargo pallets (22,700 lb, 10,297 kg) Eight cargo pallets (38,000 lb, 17,237 kg) Detail Even the earlier converted X-Plane10/11 727 version looked great in X-Plane11, but that version still used the original textures and older lighting dynamics. The new 727 v3 textures and developed X-Plane11 dynamics are a world away from the older versions, for one the scale is far bigger at 4096x4096, and printed out together in their real size they would cover the wall like with a large Beastie Boy poster. So certainly with that large a scale you are going to get really excellent detail and quality, but they also going to tax out your graphic power as well. I found I had to drop my texture resolution a notch to "High" to accommodate them, but the scale is so large that you lose nothing in the quality of the detail (you might lose slight detail with your airport scenery or A.I. traffic), but these big scale textures are the normal now. As with the earlier FJS B732 TwinJet the quality is now just astounding, jaw dropping... as metal (in aluminium) is perfect with highly realistic reflections and are bringing in a realism that you could have only dreamed of when this aircraft was originally released, don't get me wrong the FJS B727 was always good in this area, but now it is levels again higher. Certainly the X-Plane11 dynamics do a lot of the work, but the right grading of metalness also now brings out the shear realism. Boeing standard rivets are perfect and would pass the inspection. Engine inlets and external details of the T8D-15A engines are excellent. Exhaust outlets are highly realistic and detailed, and inner Cam-Shell thrust reversers work as required, and it is superb detailing. The series comes with different engines for different variants as with the JT8D-9 for the 727-100, JT8D-15 for the 727-200 and the JT8D-17 for the 727-200F. Cockpit glass is excellent with that rainbow effect that shows off the depth and strength of the glass. Side cabin glass is fake, and it is noticeable compared to the excellent B732 TwinJet cabin windows, as you lose all those reflections, the depth and the inner cabin detail. Wing detail is better with the higher grade textures, but overall all the detail here is all carried over from the original version. The animations of the complex systems are still one of the best in X-Plane, as the Boeing 727 flap system it is very complicated to allow the aircraft to land at very low speeds (130knts!). There are leading-edge devices (Krueger, or hinged, flaps on the inner wing and the extendable leading edge slats out to the wingtip) and trailing-edge lift enhancement equipment (triple-slotted, aft-moving flaps) are in a 0º, 2º, 5º, 15º, 20º, 25º, 30º and 40º selections, but the 40º is rarely used. They also create a lot of if a huge amount of drag. Landing gear is also carried over, but it was excellent in the first place, again the higher graded textures bring out more of the detailing, and in flight the animations of retraction and extraction are again first rate. It is surprising on how low actually the Boeing 727 sits close to the ground. 8 FlyJSim was always one of the best modelers in X-Plane, and the aircraft has lost none of that experience and quality in the upgrade, in fact everything is and feels more highly evolved, and in most areas have been touched upon and the quality has been enhanced. Menus The menu arrangement is upgraded to the same layout and system as on the Boeing 737 v3 TwinJet... the only difference is the missing "Doors" panel. FlyJSim pioneered originally some of the best menu ideas in X-Plane like with their Vcard, Weights & Balance menus. This layout is now the new standard throughout all of FJS aircraft and replaces the older layout. There are five panels accessed by the pop-up tabs on the left side of your screen. The five panels consist of : Vcard, Weights & Balance, Options, Maintenance System and Pilot notes (Checklist) Vcard and Weights & Balance The Vcard works in association with the Weights & Balance manager and so we will look at them together. The Vcard is your Vspeeds for takeoff and landing. These selections are reflected in the way you load the aircraft via the Weights & Balance panel. The Weights & Balance is powerful but a very easy way to set up the aircraft with fuel, passengers and cargo and it notes the aircraft CoG (centre of Gravity) of MAC (Mean Aerodynamic Chord). Most functions given are to load the aircraft in three options with F - Full. E - Empty and R - Random, of course you can add or subtract passengers and cargo via the blue containers or set the exact fuel required. The Red items denotes aircraft over weight or warnings. The aim is of course to create the best balance on the aircraft to make it fly easier, the wrong settings on this aircraft can make it a very big handful of trouble. Options The options panel allows you to select certain general options for the aircraft. On the panel you can : Select the aircraft's time to be local or zulu... the note system (arrowed) on the bottom of your screen will also tell you the various operations and tips for using the aircraft Have the Co-Pilot call out vSpeed's for you or not. Yokes (below) can be visible or not.  Weights can be in Pounds or Kilograms Weights & Balance, Enabled or Disabled - This will disconnect the Weights & Balance system for the use of FSE compatibility Cockpit Windows can be Dirty or Clean (can be seen later in the review)  TCAS VSI A new feature in the v3 is the TCAS VSI (Vertical Speed Instrument). This instrument is a dual digital instrument that combines the TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) display and the Vertical Speed Instrument. This option allows you to have the new instrument or switch back to the older original VSI. The TCAS has full integration into the VSI including full TA/RA. There is the option to turn on the Ground Power Cart and Engine Start cart. The power can be selected on the upper Engineer's Panel and is registered power on, on the DC Dials... ... but there are no physical carts sitting outside the aircraft, which is disappointing considering the overall detail and quality of the aircraft? To get around the missing items I use the JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe (GHD) plugin (US$14.95) that will provide the power cart and other aircraft service vehicles as shown above. Field of View, Exterior and Interior Sounds can all be adjusted. You can have three settings of options for the FMC (Flight Management Computer) and first is the clear empty blank panel... Second option is the for the Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System. Nicknamed "CIVA", CIVA Navigation System which is purchased as an add-on for $US10.00 and it is a basic navigation system that can give automatic navigation of up to 9 waypoints. (you can load X-Plane .fms plans) and it can also be used in the FlyJSim B737 as well as any other other aircraft of that 60's/70's era. It is well worth the additional cost. (note the CIVA plugin is loaded into the "Aircraft's" Plugin folder and not the X-Plane/Resources/Plugin folder... and you need to load it separately into each aircraft variant). NOTE. To use the CIVA in X-Plane11.20 or higher you will need to use the recently updated version v1.31, any earlier X-Plane version or X-Plane10 will still require the v1.20. Third option is the native X-Plane FMC. The X-FMC option has been dropped, which I think is disappointing as the X-FMC is far more powerful than the native basic version as was in the earlier v2 Boeing 727 which I find a little bland and not as versatile. At least you get the pop-out feature. Maintenance System  The aircraft comes with a built in Maintenance System that covers the Airframe, both engines and the APU. If you have used the FJS Maintenance System before you will know it is quite unforgiving and all repairs can only be done on the ground, but it is highly realistic. But if you can't handle the surprises then turn the system off. Pilot Notes This is in reference a checklist... or setup helper in both ways to get through the myriad of switches and systems. Easy to use and scalable... You can also create your own notes and then add them into the book... it comes with a max of 32 pages, which is very helpful and professional. Cockpit Overview It is hard to imagine that this cockpit design is now six years or more old. So brilliant it was in the first place. But that is only really half the story, as yet over the years the cockpit has also changed quite significantly with more and more active systems being added in and more design items have also been included, as the original OverHead Panel (OHP) if you remember was actually quite blanked out and very empty compared to the comprehensive OHP version in this Boeing 727. One of the very best cockpits in X-Plane? as that point is always debatable, but certainly in a clockwork environment then the answer here is yes. As noted the aircraft went to a "Study" level in v2, but I felt compared to other study level aircraft this B727 just finely and slightly missed the mark, but here and now in this v3 then does this B727 now come up certainly to that required level of Pro skill. And so the question is to be put forth in the point "is the FJS B727 now a full Professional aircraft" The title notes that "Pro" moniker of course, but sometimes that title can be shall we say exaggerated a little bit to create sales. But not here, the one thing that really strikes you with this v3 B727 like the with the companion FJS B732 TwinJet is the true completeness of the aircraft, a single whole in feel, as systems wise this B727 was always a complicated aircraft, as it should be to reflect the 60's era design. But "Study" is now the point in question, remember you are doing the flying in this aircraft for three people?, The Pilot, First Officer and the Flight Engineer on the rear right panel, and that is a lot of workload, and a lot of systems to understand, so yes now the "Study" aspect is heightened certainly more to the fore than ever. The cockpit could be called "simple - complicated" in that the era required a simple design but it looks complicated to the untrained eye. All these flight panels are completely active, every switch, knob and dial all work and are connected to the realistic systems to fly the aircraft. Only a few panels on the rear bulkhead are active, like the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) panel and the fuel transfer panel, the rest are just perfectly matched images. Setting the texture quality to the lower setting of "high" does make the images a little if slightly blurry, but not enough to make them a visible annoyance. Detail is beyond glorious, and now with the X-Plane11 dynamic PBR effects to highlight more the pure 60's feel and environment. You pay for quality and that uber detail.... well certainly you get your money's worth here, and more. Just the best of the best. Cockpit Lighting Cockpit lighting was improved in v2. And it was extremely good before, but is even more outstandingly brilliant now. You have that great collection of eleven dials and switches (four more dials and a dome switch are on the engineers station). Left and right flying instrument and centre engine instrument panels are all fully adjustable as is the OHP and the central throttle quadrant. There is the choice of red or white cockpit illumination. This feature was on the v2, but just as a hidden colour, now in v3 you have the actual lighting domes on the ceiling for both the red and white illumination, the difference they make is excellent in lighting and also as a visual representation. Add in two fully animated reading spotlights and your life in the dark does not get any better than this. Another v3 new lighting feature is the amazing fluorescent lighting, there is one light over the main instrument panel (below right)... ... and the other fluorescent light is over the Engineers Station, turn either on and they flicker realistically and noisily as they illuminate, just brilliant and perfection. You can change (or play?) around with the huge range of various lighting conditions that can satisfy even the most dissenting pilot for low lighting judgement conditions, but remember to fly the aircraft as you can become seriously distracted with all this extensive lighting knob tuning.  Main Panel & Instruments The 727 cockpit is very different in that it is all gauges and dials (known as a "Clockwork Cockpit). There are no glass screens or menu driven tabs in here. There is also a third person to help you handle out with the aircraft systems as well with the Flight Engineer (FE) who is situated sitting rotated 90º behind the First Officer. His panel is bigger than the main panel and in today's modern aircraft as then most of his systems have been transferred over to the Overhead Panel (OHP). The instruments are all the basics that are required for flying. The Standard Six - Artificial Horizon (sometimes known as the attitude indicator) with built in turn indicator, Heading, Compass, Vertical Speed (both versions), Altimeter and Speed (in knots and Mach speed, added to the SS is the back up instruments of Artificial Horizon, Altitude, Radio Altitude, Clock and (outside) air-temperature, the DME 2 - NAV 2 (distance - in Miles) are also situated lower down. The First Officer's set of instruments is very similar except they have a TAS (True AirSpeed) dial and DME 1 - NAV 1 (distance - in Miles). The landing gear lever is also on the right side of the panel. The Flap indicators are here as well for Outbound and Inbound flaps (0º, 2º, 5º, 15º, 20º, 25º, 30º and 40º settings) dials. Lower down are the dials for Pneumatic Brake Pressure and hydraulic Brake Pressure. The center of the panel is dominated by the sets of three engine dials covering "Pressure Ratio (RPM), N1, EXH (Exhaust) Temp, N2 (RPM) and Fuel flow to each engine. To the left is the there items of the Altitude select panel, Total Air Pressure and upper and lower rudder trim pointers. The detailing of these dials is breathtaking and simply eye-widening in operation and in fact the whole panel is exquisite in detail and great design from FlyJSim. I doubt you will never get a better 60's cockpit like this. Step out of a General Aviation aircraft and into this B727 and you would feel more at home than a current line pilot would in the way you interact with the instruments. The three red fire handles are on the top of the glare shield that twist and fire for each engine and the fire system can be tested. Left is the Flight Director (FD). The full flight director system is worked together with the authentic Sperry SP-150 Block V autopilot that is situated in the middle of the throttle pedestal. The autopilot system is quite basic, and it does not pop-up either, so you have to set a point of view that where you can see the autopilot and the vertical speed Instrument at the same time, it is slightly awkward but you do get used to it. For a large airliner it is quite rudimentary. In fact your GA has probably a far more powerful AP than the Boeing 727. The AP may be rudimentary, but it is still highly effective in its simplicity. Radio Panel is also very authentic to the period. The frequency is set and then you just flip a switch over to activate the frequency that you require in all settings from COMM, VOR 1 and 2 and NDB (ADF or Automatic Direction Finder here). Below the radio are the large Rudder and Aileron "Trim" knobs. New to v3 is a fully operating WRX weather radar. which has accurate cloud reflectivity, full simulation of energy dissipation and signal attenuation and simulation or radar returns and terrain interference. You can also tune the gain and tilt to scan through the cloud layers appropriately for your position in fight. The differences with the Overhead Panel are highlighted here with the original (left) and the v3 (right). One thing to note is that the aircraft's manipulators are new and clever. They come in two forms in half-moon for each side movement and a circle to drag (and turn) in the centre, and the ease that you can adjust knobs and switchgear is excellent and fast. There is a full Anti-Ice panel and Window heat, engine start and full external and internal lighting switchgear that are all now active on the OHP. One feature has however been deleted from the last version and now the same as the FJS B732 TwinJet is the is the pushback truck. FJS recommends now to use the BetterPushBack Truck as the alternative. The aircraft has been tuned so the BetterPushback works perfectly with the B727, and the same feature is also available in that if you press on the OHP the "Ground Call Button" on the OHP the BetterPushBack truck will answer your call.... great. Flight Engineer's station is quite simply perfection... ... and it is quite complicated to use as all the major systems in : Electrical, Pressurization, Air-Conditioning, Oxygen, Air-Bleed, Heating, Fuel system, Hydraulics are all active in use and operation, yes you need to study the systems in depth to understand them all and the provided manual is a good place to start in explaining the systems, but in not confounding you in too much jargon... it is called a "study" aircraft for a reason. Flying the Tri-Jet v3 The flight today is from EDDL (Düsseldorf) to ESSA (Stockholm - Arlanda). I set my passenger and cargo loads to a ZFW of 126030lbs and a fuel load of 25710lbs for a total of 151740lbs GW, and I selected the native X-Plane FMC and I used the standard .fms file but adjusted the Departure (RWY 05R-Meve3T) and Arrival (RWY 01L - NiLU1J) routes to match the SimBrief routing. The rear stairs do work (sort of) but the view inside is quite weird with no internals? use the (shift) F1 key to raise or lower the stairs. You can start the aircraft with the provided GPU and Engine Start cart, but I started up the APU on board to make my departure quicker. It takes about a minute to power up and settle. The checklist is quite comprehensive and there is a lot of items to check off and test. The passengers are boarded and we are ready to start the engines. So first it is... Window Heat "on" (OHP) and Beacons "on" (OHP). On the FE Panel right down low you turn on the hydraulics and then the eight boost fuel pump switches on the fuel panel. High right is the Air-Conditioning panel, but right now we are only concerned with the "APU Bleed" switches (magenta arrows) to start the engines. So the Air-Con (A/C) packs (green arrows) must be off and with the bleed switches open and then the PSI will show on the dial. As noted you know the APU is pushing power to the aircraft by the AC (centre) dials (It will show the same power output on the APU panel as well). The three engine start switches are on the very top position on the OHP and are covered by black covers, flip each one open and the inner switch can go into two settings "Flight" and "Ground". Here we are starting on the ground so you would use "Ground" selection as the other setting is for restarting the engine in the air (Flight). Clicking the switch down on number 3 engine (Start sequence is 3, 2 (center) and 1) and the dial will start to move in the n2 gauge, when it reaches 17-20% you introduce the fuel by flipping up the "flow/cutoff valve" up. From here on the engine will power up to full idle and you can now start the other engines in sequence. The start up sequence still has that "oh wow" factor even after all this time, watching the dials turn and work, then settle down is highly realistic. When done you can switch on the electrical power from all the three engines and close down the APU (before flight). In it is now not requiring the "Bleed" function, then you can set your Air-Con A/C packs to provide bleed to the aircraft's pressure and cooling systems. Easy to do? yes after a few run throughs it does actually get easier. In knowing what dial or switch does what easily helps you find your way around. The trick is understanding the bleed and A/C packs and that the required pressure is correct in starting the engines. The sound of a Boeing 727 in idle is that loud whining squealing noise that was so familiar only a few years ago. The FlyJSim sounds are extremely good... Noisy, but good. And they get better. But I have a AC generator failure on Engine no.3... damn? It shows if I turn the switch to Gen 3 and the low power is shown on the no 3 Bus Tie. So I now have two choices, fly with the fault (yes you can) or fix it now by shutting down almost every thing including the GPU and doing the required maintenance. I choose the latter, fix it now and so you don't have to worry about a broken generator all the way to Sweden. All restarted and we are finally ready to go.... As I am sitting on a remote stand, and so I don't need the BetterPushBack option. The B727 needs a bit of thrust to get moving but once it does, then you can pull the thrust back a bit... At the RWY 05R hold point there a few items to checklist... Flaps at 5º, Getting the right flap setting is crucial between lift and drag... There is a hidden active area (arrowed) in the green area to set your current takeoff trim, this is one action you must not miss... unless you want to end up a crash statistic. Use the Vcard to your Vspeeds (bugs) for takeoff, i also usually note them down and add 10+ to the v2 rotate. Power up and keep the power around 90% rpm, no need to go to absolute full throttle, and if you do you will regret it. Takeoff roll start is slow, but you build speed very quickly and you need some forward yoke to keep the nosewheel on the ground until the rotate point. Rotate at v2 is here around 150knts. The B727 may look dramatic, but in reality you have to fly it with skill. On rotate you keep the pitch at around only 5º-8º until the aircraft actually drags itself into the air and then has some space under the wheels before then gaining pitch to a more 15º or 2000fpm. You have a rear skid under the rear in case you mess it up, but that would be a sign of a poor pilot if you scratched it?... The aircraft handles very smoothly under the climb and you can hold the pitch perfectly. The aircraft does have pitch hold system if you require it. The aircraft is very hands on, you are working very hard in there and you have to be very disciplined in your actions, and procedures. Aircraft handling is very, very good. FlyJSim were always the masters of getting a lot of feel into their aircraft... but now there is the added dimension of the X-Plane11 dynamics and performance. Compared to the v2 the B727 it does feel different, depending on your overall weight. So your focus is on really flying the aircraft via throttle control and with the balance of the controls, and to be honest your whole focus at this stage of the flight is just on doing all that, and even a simple thing like turning off the wing lighting and the passenger signs are usually left far later than you would usually do... Flap retraction for 5º is 189 knts, 2º 190 knts and all in just below 200 knts. You have to maintain your vigilance and focus on your "Press (pressure) Ratio". Go above the marker at 19 and nasty things can start to happen. The B727 does not have any engine management systems, so you (the pilots) are responsible in keeping the engines within their operating limits. push those JT8D engines too far and they will burn out... or you will be pulling fire handles. You work with "aims". I set up to aim for a certain speed and altitude and more importantly aim for a certain position... or waypoint. Once there you can activate the Sperry Autopilot to take over a lot of the workload, but have to know or set every thing up in advance to make sure you know in what direction you have to go (with the course needle), where you need to be when you get there. So following a set of headings to the flight-plan markers will help... ... as you simply you don't have any helpers in here, as there is no Navigation/Map display? the WRX says map, but it is only for the weather aspect, so you have absolutely no idea of where you are unless you plan it out before hand... a bigger trick is locking into your FMS flightplan, because you can't see it or even know where it actually is? the earlier X-FMC option had a built in route map pop-up, but you now don't have that feature available in here. Most departure SID's usually have a VOR point as their exit from the controlled airspace zone. Here in my case it is MEVEL, on track to the OSNABRUCK (114.30 OSN) VOR dial, so I set my VOR pointer to lock into and fly that radial that will take me to OSN via MEVEL, once close to MEVEL I do a "Direct-To" to lock in the flightplan and activate the waypoint as my next position on the flightplan... as you can guess you have to work all this out before departure, so the procedure goes as smoothly as you can execute it, so you will need your charts, heading numbers and distances to make it all work, or you can cheat and use the built in X-Plane local map, but you don't do that... do you? These 60's jets are fast, really fast... the B727 will cruise easily at m8.5 or if you want to even at m8.6, so you have to keep a sharp eye on the speed and adjust the throttles to keep the aircraft from going over it's limiter (warning), as at the same time to adjust the throttles for the lighter fuel load as you cover the ground speed rather quickly. There is not of a lot of automation in the B727 cockpit, so you have to take the notes and do the adjustments. range in the -200 adv is quite limited at 1,900 nmi (3,500 km), both the -100 and the Freighter have far more range at 2,250 nmi (4,170 km). Of course there is also the differences again with the different versions of the JT8D engines installed in each variant with each individual performance tuned to that type of engine. Now and again you can look out of the windows at that incredible view. There is the option to clean the aircraft's windows, but the "clean" option is that the window surrounds are darker than with the "dirty" option? The exceptional original wide range of sounds are still here, but the DreamEngine that has been on the aircraft since 2012 has been removed for the now standard native FMOD engine... like I noted, nothing really has been lost and in fact I found a more sonic change in moving around the cockpit (more realism) and the full 180º range around the external aircraft as well, and even down to the detail of the buzz of the fluorescent lights, and the APU is quite loud. Arlanda The trickiest part is getting the B727 down into the lower speed zones, the different markings on the Speed dial do show you where you can use which flap setting and when. But getting the aircraft down under the initial 200knt zone without putting your nose high is a bit of a skill, worse is that the initial 2º are just the forward edge flaps and not the nose leveling rear, so you need to get your speed down to the 15º flap to have that flap speed control, and it is not as easy as it looks. I have got to know the aircraft very well over the years, but the X-Plane11 dynamics have created a whole new ball game in the way the aircraft flies and you are having to relearn a lot of the differences between the new and the old, like I have already mentioned in that the FJS aircraft are very finely tuned, and this newer XP11 version now lift's your game again into that higher skill range. The Sperry Autopilot is very accurately modeled including the manual glideslope with intercept mode and altitude capture, which is available here with mode interlocks. Again even in auto mode or with your manual flying the pure thrust throttle control is highlighted on your approach slope... you can see why older pilot's enjoy the purity of this era's aircraft, as your flying skills are highlighted. One bonus is that your approach speed can be quite low, almost GA speeds. This was to help with landing at remote airstrips that isn't done with aircraft this size anymore. So 140knts and 25º flap can be used on arrival, and this gives you a great steady platform to get your landing correct. But the thrust is high compared to the speed to overcome the huge flap drag. Final approach and 130 knts with 30º flap is about perfect, and it is a total feel thing... speed, thrust and handling, as it should be. The aircraft does have both Autobraking and Flare, but you don't really need either, as for one your approach speed is quite low and you sorta automatically use your throttle and lower the speed once you are over the threshold and create your own perfect flair as the speed rubs off. Like all rear-engined aircraft (MD-88) you need to watch the nosewheel doesn't get too high, it needs a firm hand to keep it under control and also keep tracking the aircraft directly. If you watch any videos of aircraft flying and landing like this you usually see some pretty violent yoke movements at these points to keep the aircraft steady. Even though the engines are a fair way back from the cockpit... the huge roar of the reverse-thrust is still highly noticeable, and it is brilliant if seen and heard externally... a note is that these era aircraft Autopilot and Flight Director don't disengage on landing, you have to switch them both off manually. Cleaning up the aircraft and taxiing to bay 38 is a doodle after all that, you certainly get a serious workout with these older aircraft. The B727 is fully VR (Virtual Reality) compatible for the very best immersive experience. External Lighting All external lighting is excellent. There are four landing lights, but the outer lights are covered by the forward leading-edge flaps if the flaps are retracted, front wheel strut taxi (moves), runway turnoff, wing/ice, navigation, strobe and beacons are all covered as is the logo light on the tail. All lighting reflects on the ground including the strobes. Liveries All the original liveries are available, but that huge B727 collection that you built up over the years is now useless, as the paintkit has been changed to accommodate the larger scale files and quality. The painkit is already available for use, and so it won't be long before they will start reappearing again... FlyJSim have also created a site for these liveries to be hosted and can be downloaded here... FlyJSim Liveries the Painkit (1.04GB) is on the same page. Provided liveries are: 727-100 American (N1996), United (N7001U), Eastern Airlines (N8102N) 727-200 Alaska Airlines (N294AS), FlyJSim v3 House Colours (N727FJ), Lufthansa (D-AFBI), Pan Am (N4737), PSA (N533PS) 727-200F DHL (N741DH), FedEx (N466FE),Kelowna Flightcraft (C-GWKF) Summary To a point this review is preaching to the converted as this Boeing 727 Series from FlyJSim has been around since late 2012. Some of the basics are still here of that initial aircraft, but in reality this is a very different aircraft from that earlier aircraft in almost every way. Earlier updates mostly focused on systems including Electrical, Pressurization, Air-Conditioning, Oxygen, Air-Bleed, Heating, Fuel system, Hydraulics, Anti-Ice, and then the layout for both the FD-108 flight director that is fully independent from the Sperry SP-150 autopilot to bring it into the full "Study" paradigm. Even taken into account of the era of the aircraft it is at it's heart still very highly technical, if old school flying machine. This v3 upgrade is more than simply making the B727 X-Plane11 compatible, as it has been totally revised in many areas, the details covered here are huge if only intimate in changes, it may not look so from the surface, but you know the difference when you fly it. Dynamically in texture quality and performance it is levels above the previous version and this is certainly in every way THE X-Plane11 version and delivers the overwhelming features that X-Plane11 has to offer, but that is also noticeable on your computer in the effect it has on your graphic power, a step up in all the sheer detail available here, this also means another step down in the way you have to absorb it. New v3 features include the custom weather radar modeling that simulates realistic cloud reflectivity, radar scanning, energy attenuation, and interference. and the full TCAS integration into a VSI instrument, including full TA/RA. A few changes from the v2 with the removed X-FMC, which was better than the native FMC, and the older livery collection does not now work and the menu system is improved. The release of FlyJSim's Boeing 737 TwinJet set the bar very, very high, to the point it could be even be one of the very best aircraft ever created for X-Plane. The Boeing 727 is overall a far more dramatic aircraft than the B737, and so the B727 Series should be even better again, but as the B737 was a totally complete airliner, then the B727 doesn't have it's cabin and rear internal features, including opening doors. But to compensate for that you do get in almost every area better and bigger systems and the best cockpit in X-Plane, but also the three different variants of the same aircraft. FlyJSim is an exceptional developer, now not one but two of their aircraft with the release of the Boeing 727's v3 after the earlier Boeing 737 v3 TwinJet as they both sit at the top of the list or pile in their sheer dynamics and quality, both give you an extraordinary experience, but also come with the requirement that you have to study and fly them like a Pro or with the professional approach they both require, but at least you know you are getting your money's worth back with all that work you have to put in, and know in the knowledge that you have mastered and is flying the very best of the best old school airliners... Highly Recommended _____________________________________________________________________________________ The 727 Series Pro V3 by FlyJSim is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : 727 Series Professional V3 Your Price: $59.95 Currently the package is now for all three variants, the aircraft are now not sold separately. The v3 upgrade is however not free but it is an pay upgrade and the deal is for those who bought the complete earlier 727 Series package can get this new aircraft package at 50% off the purchase price - Find your coupon code in your original 727 order. Optional : The plugin for the CIVA Navigation System addon that costs US$10 is here: CIVA Navigation System Features Study Level Systems and Dynamics Designed with input and testing by former 727-200 pilots and mechanics. FD-108 flight director that is fully independent from the autopilot. All modes accurately modeled and with accurate mode interlocks and animation. SP-150 autopilot accurately modeled including MAN G/S intercept mode and altitude capture. Accurate mode interlocks and animation. Altitude alert system acquisition and deviation modes and flaps 30/40 cutout modeled. Autobrake system modeled to match real world data Fully custom weather radar modeling. We now simulate realistic cloud reflectivity, radar scanning, energy attenuation, and interference. Full TCAS integration into a VSI instrument, including full TA/RA. Compatible with the Pilotedge network. Accurate simulation of an APU, ground power, generator paralleling and sync lights system. Every annunciator light is push to test. Bulbs burn out, so be sure to spot the burnt out bulbs during preflight! Independent and functional navigation and communication systems, including separate nav radios, adf radios, VHF radios and more. Bleed systems and performance physically modeled, and respond to temperature, altitude, wear, and humidity. Pressurization and environmental cabin control systems faithfully modeled. Get the packs on before loading passengers on a hot day, and watch the cabin temp cool as the sun sets. Auto, Standby, AC and DC manual modes all faithfully modeled. Aft cabin zone heating system is modeled. Duct overheats and pack trips and resets are modeled. FMC and CIVA units realistically coupled to pilot HSI for improved situational awareness Fully custom hydraulic systems and electrical busses Instrument Comparator GPWS including test functionality Warning systems Fire protection systems Weather radar Extraordinary Exterior Incredible textures. Revamped textures show every rivet, crease, dent and oil stain on the exterior of our aircraft. Watch as light realistically reflects and reacts with every corner of this aircraft Detailed animations. All exterior control surfaces animated accurately to real world behavior and smoothly driven even in replay using our enhanced custom replay system. Accurately animated control surfaces, landing gear, flap deflections, and wing flex all help immerse you when piloting the aircraft. Detailed lighting. Lighting is based off real 727 data. Landing, taxi, taxi turnoff, strobe, beacon, navigation lights, wing and even logo lights have been faithfully modeled using the real angles and dimensions from real 727 documentation. Sound They called it the whisperjet… but the sounds are anything but quiet. Continuing from the success of the 732 Twinjet, FlyJSim has developed an accurate and immersive FMOD sound pack, which provides a fully 3D positional experience. Experience the realistic screech of a 727 JT8D engine at full power. You will hear every engine, switch, and greased trim wheel. Definitely an experience you will want to keep the headphones on for! Comprehensive Menu System Redesigned and unobtrusive menu that dynamically appears only when moused over Weight and Balance Manager provides detailed loading of passengers, cargo and fuel to accurately and dynamically shift the aircraft’s center of gravity (CG) V-card popup provides dynamic V-speeds for landing and takeoff including improved flap schedule calculations for user selected takeoff and landing flap config Additional customizable options menu to configure the plane and navigation systems Checklist and notes provided in sime with a 32-page fully customizable window that includes checklists and an overview of the aircraft. Have something you need to reference in the flight? Add it into the notes page! Our menu system is now 4K ready and can be easily scaled and moved to best suit your screen resolution X-Plane VR compatible For anyone who is as excited as we are for the technology, the FlyJSim 727 Series Professional is now fully compatible with X-Plane’s VR system. Now with custom and interactive manipulators, teleport hotspots and magnetic surfaces. Requirements: X-Plane 11.20+ Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb+ VRAM Video card Current review version: 3.0 (August 10th 2018) Installation : Download file size is 1.4gb and is inserted into your X-Plane - Aircraft Folder. All Installed file sizes are 2.31gb 727_Series_Pro_V3_-200Adv_C2 (847.40mb) 727_Series_Pro_V3_-100_C2 (931mb) 727_Series_Pro_V3_-200F_C2 (708.20mb) Documents : Four documents that cover almost everything you will need to fly the Boeing 727 Pro. The procedures manual is really well done. 1. FJS 727 Series Manual.pdf 2. FJS 727 Series Procedures.pdf 3. FJS 727 Series Manoeuvres.pdf 4. FJS 727 Series Systems.pdf FJS - 727 Series - Support forum FJS - 727 Series - Developer Site _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton  10th August 2018 Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.25 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free Scenery or Aircraft -EDDL- Airport Dusseldorf by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$27.53 -ESSA- Stockholm Arlanda by tdg (X-Plane.org) - free
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  43. X-Plane Version 10.50: What is new Laminar Research has released version 10.50 of X-Plane. In this article we are going to explore what was part of the 10.50 release and the changes that are relevant to the simulator. Closing of the door Version 10.50 is more relevant than most X-Plane updates in the fact it could be the last version of series 10 of the simulator. Certainly there will be increment releases still coming in the 10.50 timeline and maybe even up to v10.55 or even v10.56, but otherwise the development stops here in what is this series version of the simulator. So did Laminar Research set out to achieve its goals and what do we now have in the original promises on the release 24th November 2011 of this current X-Plane version 10 or did they fall short. My personal view is that Laminar certainly delivered on all the promises and a lot more on top for extra measure, so you certainly got your money's worth (in time) and you did get the constant revisions that make the simulator relevant and they delivered great value. Some areas are still not quite perfect, but in most areas the simulator is a huge and even massive step away from its v10.00 origins. In reality X-Plane10 was a game changer for Laminar Research, and even in hindsight it was a precarious gamble to lift the simulator from its basic hobby based background and foundation, to be a more worldly product in that could be even be the "best" Flight Simulator system on the market, and even live up to founder's Austin Meyers boasts that X-Plane could mix it with the big boys. All that risk was based on if X-Plane10 could deliver on its promises, but those risks were based on solid foundations and very good developmental ideas. So what where the X-Plane10 promises... Better Weather A "Plausible" World with autogenerated scenery Global Lighting system (HDR) Detailed Terrain with accurate altitude data Detailed roads ATC - Air Traffic Control In almost all cases the v10.50 update touches on all of the above, so we will answer the final verdict on the promises as we detail the v10.50 update in detail. Startup v10.50 brings you a new startup screen, with white bands and the loading information that goes right across your screen. But don't get used to it as it is only a temporary layout and the X-Plane11 startup will be totally different. It feels brighter (on a big monitor) and more basic than the older blue box for information version, there is possibly a reason for a change this late in the version run, but I really can't see why? Updated default simulator aircraft Throughout the X-Plane10 run the default aircraft that comes with the simulator have had a few revisions and updates. The biggest revision was two years ago in v10.30 when Laminar Research added in the Garmin 430/530 gps system. This was an extra major feature not promised or charged for and no doubt it had a lot of developmental cost, it is now our main gps system and proud of it we all are. Another item that affected default aircraft was X-Plane moving to 64-bit and away from the 32-bit 2-4 GB memory restrictions. Again another v10 bonus that leapfrogged the simulator forward by a huge step, but then most aircraft that used plugins had to be adjusted over to the 64-bit format. Two default aircraft have had a big workover in v10.50 in the King Air C90B and the Beechcraft Baron 58 (the Cessna 172SP has already had a big upgrade a few years ago). Beechcraft Baron 58 The revised aircraft are now easily payware quality. Great detail and with very few bugs, they fly great especially this lovely Baron 58. They are however no Carenado level of quality and features and you notice the missing menus, VOR distance and better sounds.... but they are free after all. Outwardly the aircraft looks the same as the earlier version when you first get into the aircraft, but your eyes deceive you. Put the Baron 58 aircraft side by side (v10.30 to the left and v10.50 to the right) and the detail differences are absolutely huge in quality (look at the door frames and rivet work in the engine cowlings), instruments are cleaner and clearer as well. So there has been a complete overhaul of the design. King Air C90B The chances are the King Air C90B was your first serious aircraft for doing professional VOR flying. The Boeing 747-400 had limitations once you cleared away the wow factor, and the tiddler 172SP didn't have any speed. So when you came into X-Plane the C90B it was where you learnt to manually fly, navigate and get in that first longer serious flight. I did, and the memories still linger. The revision throws in more quality and the refinement is very high, again up there with payware money. Only things that are not up to scratch are the low idle sounds, and too much power for taxiing. Even if you pull back the mixture to idle and almost feather the propellers, you are still constantly on the brakes to slow the C90B down, on hold and ready to take-off with the levers all forward... it is like holding back a pack of rabid dogs. Global aircraft enhancements in 10.50 include better prop disc visuals and they now work correctly in the replay mode, auto-pilot can now hold a basic rate of turn, elevator deflection in trim has been refined, stall warnings are now more realistic and the crash limit has been reduced from 20g to 10g. Finally developers can insert datarefs to adjust the volume on the radios, this means different volumes for different radio channels and thankfully there will be no over loud shouting anymore in your ears. On both of these aircraft the deal feels more towards X-Plane11 than X-Plane10. Get them ready and get them up too scratch and that has certainly been done here, but the surprise here is the default and the icon of X-Plane10 in the Boeing 747-400, there has been no update there and that is the aircraft really needs the attention after nearly five years flying, and surprising also because it is by far the most flown default aircraft in X-Plane by 5% of all flights in the simulator... I'll shake my head on that one. ATC - Air Traffic Control and A.I. Artificial Intelligence The X-Plane ATC system feature has been a difficult one since day one of X-Plane10. To a point it was put into the Laminar "too hard" basket for years until the feature had to finally have the much required attention or be dropped for a third party plugin version. A big part of the X-Plane ATC is the "Artificial Intelligence" or A.I. feature and as they are both very closely interlinked and so we will look at them together. My earlier periods of interaction with the ATC are mostly consisted of multiple swear words and mostly I never used the ATC. A period of the personal challenge of mastering the ATC did result in a truce between the feature and myself, but the famous "you are off course!" alert showed that overall the bugs were too notable to be worth the more grey and the less hair than I have now. At its core the ATC - Air Traffic Control is very clever and even very good, but it is also hopelessly complicated and very buggy. No doubt a third party plugin like X-Life could do the whole idea better (the interface is excellent), but the ATC was an X-Plane10 debut feature and it had to made to work at least at a reasonable level. To a point I think that Laminar have succeeded with the ATC in v10.50, and no doubt it is still very basic, however it does work well with a few tips and hints. There are no changes to the "Flight Plan" input panel. But the route codes can still be tricky to input. I found sometimes if you cut and pasted in the route it wouldn't accept it and at other times it worked fine. To be sure if it refuses to file then add in a few waypoints and then press return to activate the flight plan, if accepted then go back and input more waypoints and so on... Two new items added into the ATC interface has highly reduced the work load. The first one was in v10.45 actually at my request and that was a reply to the ATC controller was done with just another return key click. The problem was that before this every time you had to use the mouse or cursor to click on the reply or repeat the instruction back to the ATC. this meant taking your attention and hands away from flying the aircraft to do that instruction, and repeat that operation five or ten times early in the flight and it would mean mostly you would fail in your timing or keeping up with the constant ATC instructions, it was mind numbingly hard to do, and even the real pilots only have to press the radio button on the yoke to activate the radio and not manually use a pointer. Now if the instruction is highlighted you just press return to reply the instruction and in a high work load period it works really well, however the instruction is not always highlighted and you still have to use the pointer to do so... but overall it works very well. Another ATC change is the with the pop-up "Nearby Air Traffic Controllers" frequency inserter panel that added in v10.40. On the panel there is now a checkbox to allow to "autotune" in the next correct frequency you require. This is a huge time saver as some radio panels can be awkward to get to. A note though is that the pop-up panel still has to be opened to reset the next frequency. I use a key command toggle (A) to open and close the ATC panel in two quick keystrokes to do the action. You can debate if these aids are cheating? Should you do all these instructions manually like you in an aircraft environment? My answer is that in a basic GA then you should not need the aids, but in a standard larger two crew aircraft then in most real time cases the pilot not flying does all the radio work, and in this scenario then yes the aids are valid. The optional taxiway arrows are a great idea, but they do totally depend on if the airport scenery ATC routes and taxiway flows are correct. In most cases you just don't know? In many cases most scenery payware developers do note the ATC work has been done, but in most if not all cases it is a lottery ticket. Laminar Research note they can't enforce all global airport sceneries to have conforming routes because it is a skills area were as many of the scenery developers are very good but many are not, but I feel it should be a heavy standard in passing the scenery for distribution or give us a tool or note that the scenery is certified with the correct layouts. I think this aspect is one of the biggest drawbacks to the ATC, A.I. aircraft and the taxiway arrow features in working effectively. The number of A.I. aircraft assigned in your aircraft/situations/other aircraft menu can have a big bearing on your flight. If you set a high number of say 15 to the 20 limit, then the wait and hold times are long until your turn comes around. Ditto the amount of ATC commentary going on in your ears and not only on the ground but certainly in the air, but you may like this high ATC commentary activity (until it goes wrong). I found about five to six was better if you want a quieter flight. Another issue with the constant high number of calls is that your last instruction soon zips up the screen and disappears, so if you forgot your last instruction or heading change then you are in trouble, I have asked Laminar for a "request" command to do just that, there is the "report last transmission" already on there but It doesn't show when you really need it. The ATC still currently has bugs that I will note but will probably be addressed quickly. ATC will clear you for takeoff and then in an instant then clear another aircraft to land? You can go now or wait until the runway is clear... the second issue is that I set the A.I. aircraft to be mostly single aisle aircraft in the B737 or A320 categories and the ATC wanted them to fly at FL400 or Forty Thousand feet (climb and maintain FL 400), when they didn't the ATC kept on asking them to so, over and mind-numbingly over again in the shades of the nasty "you are off course!" coming back around again. A tip is to follow this mantra... reply, action then change. First is to reply to the instruction, then do the action (heading or V/S) and doing both quickly will keep the ATC off your back, but it is a bit backward in the way you usually fly. If you are given the instruction to go to a heading and then changing to an altitude, there is a lot of work to be done. So in most cases the ATC is quickly on your back as you are still going through all the motions. The problem one is the change in altitude and your normal sequence is to change the altitude counter and then hit the V/S button and do the pitch change, but that path course is too long. The only way (at this point) around the ATC is to adjust the heading, activate the V/S and pitch to get the aircraft to start the climb or descend and then finally set the altitude counter, which is not very realistic. But the system demands that the both actions are noted quickly, but with practise or skill you can allow yourself to set the altitude earlier and be ready if you are good at it. Checking out the A.I. airport circuits on the local map can also prepare you for what heading and landing direction the ATC is going to give you can also help with ATC timing. Overall the ATC is now quite to very good. It does allow for mistakes and will align you up ready to continue with your programmed (GNS) flightplan. The controllers are still very, very impatient and are still asking "are you still there?" And you really need a bit more time between the instructions and the actions. But with practise and a rhythm you can finally turn the ATC into fun and it is not the huge headache it was. A.I. Aircraft The A.I. aircraft feature in X-Plane has been given attention as well. They should now fly and land more realistically. The A.I. parking at gates has had a big workover as well in not only making sure they appear but are also more highly randomised, they now also load by their correct category as well in say heavy or regional aircraft. You can select to have have the parked aircraft appear or not via a tickbox on the Render Options "Stuff to Draw" panel. But like I mentioned is that the A.I. aircraft totally rely on the airports ground routes to operate correctly. If they don't then they still behave badly as noted while doing this review. More times it was wrong than right, they still taxi too fast through terminal areas and the odd aircraft still plummets to the ground in the distance. Here it is parking in a carpark and queuing up at an empty airport. When it works A.I. it is very good... but in most cases the hidden disjointed WED airport routing lets it all down. Autogen Autogen or automatically drawn objects has had a fair amount of attention with v10.50. One of the big features of X-Plane10 was the "Plausible" World concept, it is clever and highly realistic in terms of using your computer's rendering system resources to recreate a realistic world to fly around in. In parts I have found the views unnervingly very realistic, but in other areas wanting. In 10.50 two areas have been covered. One, is the earlier original autogen has been tightened up with mostly the actual ground areas around the objects (houses) to make them fit in better. From the air the autogen does look more complete, but too many of those open spaces still remain. My object settings are "Too Many" here, and set just under the extreme setting that you really need but that setting uses just too much framerate. The second and new feature is that the autogen now has tall buildings again, but only in limited regions. This is Memphis, Tennessee and the overall the cityscape was impressive. Buildings are highly realistic, original but use only the U.S. data for the scenery... In English that means for now it only work in the U.S. But in reality it is in the other parts of the world that X-Plane really needs this feature and not the U.S., but it is very good. I found though that the tall building autogen fades away very quickly? A few miles out and they are skeletons, and by the time I was flying over Elvis Presley's Graceland the cityscape had gone? In reality they should be visible (with the right visibility setting) for quite a distance to make it realistic, because there is nothing like seeing a cityscape from the airport when you have just landed, taking off or overflying the city, so it is at this point all a bit wasted unless you do low GA passes. So the autogen is still a little way off the completeness mark. It is five years since it was introduced, and it does work, but still very patchy and mostly still focused on the U.S. but the full total potential of the feature is certainly in there. If anything in X-Plane11 is that Laminar should throw a lot more resources at the autogen art, but then again I said that four years ago. Weapon System X-Plane is noted as an aircraft simulator and Laminar Research are very anti-war. So fighting aircraft and killing things in the simulator has been usually relegated over to the game industry rather than simulation. But the gaming industry is a huge business and war focused simulators are very popular in their appeal in mustering our basic (if male) instincts that goes a long way back to slaying mammoths. So Laminar have added in a lot of weapon system functions into v10.50. Weapon selection is now better with flashing selected armaments. You can now also steer or aim in a direction a gun, even with a second joystick can be added in to do the delivery job. Unguided bombs and rocket numbers have been added with up to 24 bombs and 99.999 rockets! that is if you can carry that heavy load. Air to ground bombs and missiles can now be laser or GPS guided to their targets. Either by a gun/bomb steering with a joystick axis or by locking in on a target and then firing letting the bombs or missiles go to their assigned target, and all can be set via your on-board aircraft situation display monitor. In the upgraded weapons package is another feature that could be used also by other aircraft developers. This is a new on board aircraft "Camera" feature that can be steered (again by a second joystick) and zoomed with my guess a joystick top-hat, key or similar adjustment. There are at this point no aircraft with these new features, but I don't doubt they will appear very quickly on up-dated or new versions of military aircraft. Weather Austin Meyer's "little puffs" have been the most contentional and has created the most angst of all the X-Plane10 features. Clever and there is no doubt about that, but they have been the one feature that has ripped the heart out of X-Plane by the sheer amount of processing power they require to create those zillion million "little puffs" that makes up the weather system of the simulator. The problem is most computers can't cope, and if you had like I did an average processing machine, you were mostly reduced to very light cloud formations no matter where you flew. And even with the mega graphic monster I use now, that frame rate will still halve just running the weather with just good and average settings, but go dark and stormy and so does your framerate. All though the X-Plane10 development cycle it has been for Laminar a war to get the framerate down by refining the "puff" system. To a point they have been successful, but the amount of time and resources it has taken, has also meant that other weather features like different cloud formations, anvil storms, 3D volumetric cloud layers and crepuscular rays have not been forthcoming and making most users have had to seek out third party products to fill in the gap. One area that has been covered was downloading high wind data (in v10.40). This area has had more refinement in 10.50 but I was not a big fan as I see it as a little buggy. As I fly a lot of long haul (or long flights) I have found the high winds quite unrealistic and mostly always in the high 80's or 100knt ranges? In some cases when the new download comes in, I have had the aircraft almost at a stand still at full power at 37,000ft until I adjust the setting down a little to continue my flight... If that high wind angle comes from a side wind, your dead. Wind data is now displayed on your local map. There are three new tickboxes on the top right of the panel with: NEXRAD wind 12k wind 34k NEXRAD will show you your current weather or cloud situation, and the wind direction and speed is now shown on the map profile as well. The 34k selection will over-ride every thing, so you have to disable it to get the 12k selection. I noticed that the 34k selection covers the high-altitude box layer and the 12k covers the mid-altitude box layer and wondered why there was no setting for the low-altitude box layer? As the weather data is now loaded from two sources in; METAR and global NOAA data for the high winds. There is the option in 10.50 to download both loads of data in one operation on the X-Plane startup panel. Main refinements to the clouds in 10.50 are the stratus clouds which look better from above, Strobe lights in the clouds are set now to only happen when completely in the clouds, and they don't also affect the scenery at night when turned on, and the break-out to visual at the cloud bases now works very well. Laminar Research have worked hard on X-Plane10's weather. Translucent clouds and better fog have created a better and more realistic look when flying through cloud masses and you don't now get that constant jumping to the hard grey screen of blankness and a runaway framerate. I flew the DC-8 after completing the review in tracking back in the newer 10.50RC1 from KDFW to KATL in a more heavy weather and HDR night flight (both don't look good in reviews) and was very impressed on the smoothness of the simulator and the better cloud processing that has been done. So there is definitely an improvement and a bonus small framerate gain from the changes. Terrain and global airports One of the main advantages of X-Plane is that anything in every area can be refined and updated. It is astounding that how far back it is to the original X-Plane10 release and what you actually received in the boxed package... If you take a moment and think about it, it was quite basic. X-Plane global scenery is provided on those nine CD's that you get when you buy X-Plane and in most cases you would have to wait for a new X-Plane version to update the scenery in those discs. But the internet and download speeds have come a long way in those five years as well, and Laminar Research through the work of alpilotx has been very generous in providing updated scenery HD (High-Definition) mesh to replace the more populous and most scenic flying areas of the world of those original scenery tiles (files)... with these more high density and crowded data tiles to give the simulator a more realistic view. They don't cover all the areas, but certainly the most important ones. How X-Plane11 will be distributed will be interesting and will these HD files be included with the packages, or will there be a totally new way to buy and distribute the simulator? I don't use much HD replacement scenery for the reviews because to get an real accurate account of the scenery and the framerate, I keep the simulator pretty close to the basic specifications, but they are a worthwhile if very large download expansion of X-Plane. Global Airports X-Plane10 also came with a set of tools (named Lego) that allowed you in blocks (hence the name) to create airports quickly and easily for the X-Plane simulator. Some developers have become masters of these tools and most notably they are tdg, Mister6x and relicroy in their prolific output and quality. To build these global "lego" airports the original WED (World EDitor) application has gone in X-Plane10 from being a basic airport ground layout tool, to a full complete airport scenery building application. Originally most "lego" airports were just posted up for download on the X-Plane.Org. But mid-way through the X-Plane10 cycle Laminar Research created a "Global Airport" library called the "X-Plane Scenery Gateway" to not only catalogue the scenery, but to in updates also insert these airport sceneries as default airports and creating for any new or current user of the simulator a vast set of built in variety of destinations. To date 7,092 global sceneries have been created and 5,191 of them have been created with 3d objects by 1,862 scenery artists. To a point the "gateway" was created to offset the criticism that X-Plane was poor in the scenery area for most new or current users. It is a fair comment, but one of the big features and certainly the shear number of sceneries now available, in not only the "gateway" and "payware" created scenery that has been one of the biggest changes and introduced the total transformation to X-Plane10 from its introduction. Since X-Plane 10.45 there has been 626 new 3-D gateway airports added, and 147 more airports was added in with 10.50, with 718 sceneries having also being updated. There was to be another large batch of airports to be inserted before 10.50 goes final, but they have been withheld because WED 1.5 is not ready. But they will be inserted with 10.51. (see post here). Key selection changes With every X-Plane version update the minor changes can be hidden. The Joystick & Equipment, key and button menu selection is a case in point. One item I change a lot is with the way I have to switch on my joystick (trigger button) the "Thrust Reversers" into two different modes. For the heavies I use the trigger to open the doors (Toggle Thrust Reversers) before putting up the throttle for the reverse thrust. In a regional propeller aircraft the same reverse effect is done by "Hold Reverse Thrust at Max", and so you have to change between each setting to get the right action on landing. Before both selections where set out together above one another, but in 10.50 they are not. Now they are separated quite a distance from each other, but they also now have new selections on each action for each separate engine, with up to eight engines that can be individually selected via button or key selections. So in 10.50 there is more variety and more menu functionality available, but check that your settings are correct and their new place settings on the menu. For developers there are a few new datarefs: sim/operation/override/override_airport_lites – int y boolean overrides when the airport lites go on and off. sim/graphics/scenery/airport_lights_on – int y boolean Are the airport lites on? set override_airport_lites to 1 to write this. sim/private/controls/puff/terrain_dust_ratio – 0 is none. 1.0 is X-Plane default. sim/cockpit2/weapons/gun_offset_heading_ratio – float y ratio Heading offset of the gun from within its maximum heading range sim/cockpit2/weapons/gun_offset_pitch_ratio – float y ratio Pitch offset of the gun from within its maximum pitch range Plane Maker 10.50 and WED 1.5 applications have both been updated to include the 10.50 features and known bug fixes. A good simulator is a clean one... I made some notes in the post X-Plane version 10.50 has gone release candidate 2 with "getting a clean install" on how to get the best from the latest 10.50 update by creating a clean X-Plane application install, it is worth reading. Summary One thing that comes out of this X-Plane 10.50 version and it is certainly more noteworthy if 10.50 is the final release of X-Plane10. And that is how much the simulator has changed over the last five years. In time X-Plane10 will be known as the gamechanger version of X-Plane, the one that brought the simulator to a world standard. As noted in this review in that a few areas the signature features were not completely totally refined at this point and are still a work in progress in the Weather and Autogen, but you have to admit a lot of ground was covered and changed in that 5 year period also. Exclusive features like the HDR (High-dynamic range rendering) rendering are as even now a great step forward with 64-bit memory allocation allowing the simulator to be world class and ahead of the simulation game (no pun intended). Other simulators can deliver a higher visual quality and a higher immersion, but none can do this on a global scale or with as much flexibility as X-Plane can. X-Plane is certainly an investment that unlike most products delivers far more that it advertises when it is released, and this 10.50 release is mostly to tie up those original promises and get ready to move on to the next stage of the simulator's future development in X-Plane11. Outwardly there is not much to see in 10.50. As most of the things noted here are mostly in the areas of refining off the original release features, bug killing and making the simulator more efficient in many areas. And for that 10.50 is a great and even brilliant upgrade, but it is low on the "wow" factor in the visual or with any special features departments. In the very end the overwhelming result is... a really great simulator. X-PlaneReviews can't cover absolutely every change or bug fix, and so those notes are avaiiable here at the Laminar Research Development pages: X-Plane 10.50 Release Notes X-Plane 10.50 is available now for download. Run your X-Plane installer application or download from Steam. ____________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 19th August 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews
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  44. It's a shame to spend that money and then not have it's proper FMS (rockwell collins FMS6000) . for VFR Flying I could just use any cockpit display. I obviously would not trigger anyone to start programming and implementing the entire jeppesen routes into planex .. but for the FMS, I think that is really crucial on this plane.
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  45. Happy birthday X-plane reviews ! My favourite review you have ever done is the VMAX 777. That review is the best! The detail of it is incredible just like the time you put into studying and learning the aircraft to make the review. You outlined all of the aircraft's features, and all of it's capabilities and made me switch my favourite aircraft from the JARDesign a320neo to the 777. It has all the real 777's features and all of it's flight characteristics (at least from what I've seen on Youtube) you really nailed that one . Although I was an Airbus fan, the extreme detail of your review has won me over and I really want to spend time and experiencing for myself this great bird. I decided to enter this competition in the hope that I could possibly win the 777 and start making my wish of becoming a real 777 pilot a reality. I am a junior with plans to become a pilot in a few years time. Again, happy birthday and good work guys. Keep it up and take care.
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  46. The Dash is on sale now and again and certainly worth the purchase, I flew it only on the weekend and it is so good. No we have not reviewed it and yes we will do so. When we started last year a big part of the plan was to go into the back catalogue and relove the best and bring them out to show why and how good they still are. In that list is the Dash Q400, C-17 and the CRJ200, and X-Plane Reviews will certainly cover them in the next few months. The biggest surprise was that how little time we had to do this between current releases. We covered a few but we will try to move more very soon. SD
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  47. Choice of Review Although I'm very new to this website (I was introduced via forums.x-plane.org). I've had a quick look at the content and I've chosen the since it is the review that I can most relate to. I've bought other products from this developer, and was considering this aircraft as a result. Motivation for Choice Speaking as a 13 year old wannabe pilot, one of the most exciting things about this article is how it links the simulation to the real world with historical references. The down to earth nature of the review raises its credibility and motivates me towards considering purchasing the 732. The fact that Stephen Dutton has conducted a full documented flight also adds value. His balance between opinion and fact is just right. eg."The chunky (and quite worn) Pilot and Co-Pilot yokes do take up a lot of the panel view, removed you can now see the instrumentation clearer." Good terminology, paints the picture, combined with vital information, exactly like you'd want it! Note Due to the quality of add ons and reviews here, I will be visiting this site often as long as I still fly on X-Plane (likely a long time, as I am starting gliding training this year!). Also, the community here is just superb, so far I feel very at home here and I admire how much effort the managers of the site put into communicating with the brilliant community they've created. Summary · Stephens review of the 732 offers an excellent balance of information, and personal opinion · Immersive and thorough review · Helpful when comparing products · Adding confidence to the consumer · Supplying advice/feedback to the seller/developer · Overall positive contribution to the X-Plane Community. Thanks for taking the time to read this, Max
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  48. Nice work all around. While I've enjoyed your wide range of reviews, I'll say my favorite is the AB412, for one reason: The 412 is on my list for my next purchase. Your reviews have shaped several of my buying decisions. Thanks.
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  49. Happy 1st Anniversary X-Plane Reviews!!! I might be a new member here but i've reading your reviews since last year. I really like all your reviews, so it was very hard just to pick one. But in the end i decided to go for your Aircraft review of FlightFactor Boeing 757RR-200, Cause It really is just mindblowing your review is 100% accurate describing this add-on. The Details in the 757 is just gorgeous, I enjoy looking at every detail of this 757. I also like how it handles it is a very nice and fun aircraft to fly. I also like how its nit really complicated and very user friendly. I really think all the measurements in this add-on is perfect. As soon as the FlightFactor B757RR-200 I was really excited as it was one of my 4 Favourite Aircraft. Since it was a new release I need to get reviews first before bought it, I could not find a very Detailed review till i found your review. As soon as I red the review over and over again I decided to go on and buy the add-on. Your review is different. Its more reader Friendly, It made me easier to understand for I'm still a learner to Xplane. Your reviews are very 'light' but has very deep and detailed information users should know. I like how you Divide the parts by sharing your first Impressions and share people who and what is FlightFactor. Pictures!!! Your Pictures are top notch shows the detail of the aircraft form beginning to the end. Your exterior and interior Pictures of the Aircraft is quite a lot so it gives the user lots of pictures to see before they buy the add-on. I also enjoy reading cause you tell us how the plane works so we sure know when we own the add-on. When I first tested my FlightFactor B757RR-200 I did not regret it at all thanks to your review I was sure to buy this add-on. I really like your Conclusion it gives the readers mind a confident and ready feeling when buying the add-on. X-Plane is a great game with your reviews its even better. Thank you for all your Reviews! Two Thumbs Up! Wish you all the best for xplanereviews.com and Happy Birthday!!! Hope I can be one of the 3. Thanks.
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