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  1. 3 points
    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of the very best looking machines ever built, The modeling is slightly old, but not enough not to make it feel totally outdated.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
  2. 3 points
    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. 3 points
    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
  4. 3 points
    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.
  5. 3 points
    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!
  6. 2 points
    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)
  7. 2 points
    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.
  8. 2 points
    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!"
  9. 2 points
    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! 
  10. 2 points
    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
  11. 2 points
    Yes I'm with you all the way on this, I am really, really disappointed there is no internal cargo option... 😢
  12. 2 points
    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
  13. 2 points
    Stephen

    Behind the Screen : June 2016

    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
  14. 2 points
    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
  15. 2 points
    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
  16. 2 points
    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
  17. 2 points
    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
  18. 2 points
    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
  19. 2 points
    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!
  20. 2 points
    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
  21. 2 points
    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)
  22. 2 points
    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
  23. 2 points
    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
  24. 2 points
    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
  25. 1 point
    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
  26. 1 point
    Well I don't mind if they are this good, I mean how many C172's do we have...
  27. 1 point
    Aircraft Review : Antonov An-2 by Red Eyes (X-Plane aircraft design Bureau) The Antonov An-2 is known endearingly by the Russian nickname of "Annushka" or "Annie" that was built by the Antonov Design Bureau (now State Company) to meet a 1947 Soviet Ministry of Forestry requirement for a replacement for the then popular Polikarpov Po-2. It is a Soviet mass-produced single-engine biplane for utility/agricultural use and hence its other nickname "Kukuruznik" which means literally "cropduster". The Antonov An-2 was a large single bay biplane of all-metal construction, with an enclosed cockpit and a cabin with room for seats to accommodate up to twelve passengers and cargo. The first prototype was designated SKh-1, and was powered by a Shvetsov ASh-21 radial engine, and it first flew on 31st August 1947. The second prototype was fitted with a more powerful Shvetsov ASh-62 engine, which then allowed the aircraft's payload to be significantly increased from 1,300 kg (2,870 lb) to 2,140 kg (4,720 lb), and it was in this form it was ordered into production. It was first built in the State Factory 473 in Kiev, in the Ukrainian SSR where the bulk of up to 5,000 units had been produced by 1960. Later Soviet production (after 1965, of model An-2M especially) was at the State Factory 464 at Dolgoprudniy, Russian SFSR. After 1960, most of the remaining An-2s were built at Poland's WSK factory in Mielec, with over 13,000 aircraft being made there before full production ended in 1991. For the long period of 45 years the An-2 held the record of the aircraft of the longest period of any aircraft in production, that record was held until just recently when it was finally exceeded by the Lockheed Hercules. The An-2 has many design features which make it suitable for operation in very remote areas with unsurfaced airstrips. The features include a pneumatic brake system, with the option of an air-line which is fitted to the on-board compressor. With the air-line you can change the pressures in the tires and shock absorbers which can then be adjusted without the need for any other special equipment, the batteries are large and very easy to remove, so the aircraft does not need a ground power unit to supply power, There is no need for an external fuel pump to refuel the aircraft, as there is an on-board pump that allows the tanks to be filled from simple fuel drums, the crucial wing leading edge slats that give the aircraft its slow flight ability are fully automatic, and are held closed by the airflow over the wings. Once the airspeed drops below 64 km/h (40 mph) then slats will extend because they are on elastic rubber springs! And the An-2 has a very short Take-off run of 170m and a landing run of only 21 m (these numbers will of course vary depending on take-off/landing weight, outside air temperature, surface roughness, and headwind). Antonov An-2 To recreate a modern airliner there is without doubt a multitude of resources. But what about an aircraft that is over 64 years old? There are a few An-2's still flying and at last count it was around 72 aircraft. However you would be pushed to find the harder details to put such an aircraft together. Once over that hurdle then where would you start? To a point all modern aircraft have a sort of similarity, but the An-2 was created in a time before standardization became the normal and then on top of all that it was then created in Russia. Russian aircraft were very advanced for the period. But also Russian Aircraft tended to be more agricultural, practical and stronger than their western counterparts, because of their poor distribution and service networks over a very vast area. The Antonov An-2 legend would come out of such beginnings and to make it one of the most versatile and practical aircraft ever built. However to recreate the legend it was going to take far more than being a hobby project - It would require dedication and passion for the aircraft to bring it to life. One look of the cockpit alone and you can see the scale of the problem. The panel is a complex design of switches, dials and levers. Not a computer in sight or any real electronics either. This was the world before the micro-chip, silicon chip and even before the potato chip as they were called "Saratoga Chips" back then. So the first view of the An-2 is it looks at first like a complex mess. and made worse in that it is all written in cyrillic. And is totally indecipherable to anyone this side of Poland. It is not that you couldn't work out where everything is, because there is a very ordered configuration of the items.... But what they are and what they do is another thing entirely. Ignore this and just go for a flight will mean you will just crash... badly. At the heart of what everyone calls lovingly "Annie" is a deep procedural mechanical system, that has to followed to the letter to make "Annie" performs or at least fly a decent distance. Close up the panel detailing is extraordinarily beautiful, gauges and dials are like crafted jewels and their glass has excellent reflections. The central pedestal is festooned with levers and switches that you can't wait to get your hands on. To be able to zoom in close with the 3d cockpit is a huge advantage in finding out the detail (or details). The Yoke is restrained by a tie to the crafted rudder pedals and has to be removed for flight. The visual aspect is quickly added by the aural as well... A ringing telephone sound that sounds like the Kremlin is calling you. It is a low fuel warning that can be silenced (thankfully) by a switch on the pilots side panel. But where to start to understanding the An-2? The best way is through the Menus's which are activated by a zone on the glareshield and they pop up on the lower left of your screen. There are four menu's available, and here are the first two. External Visual Inspection/Ground Service : In the top section you can see the views on a walkaround of the aircraft and install or remove the tie-down cables, Tags and rudder-tags. In the lower section you can: Connect the "Ground Power", "Recharge the Fire Protection System", Add the "fuel pipe", add or remove the "recoil devices" (or Chocks to you and me) and Repair (Or reset failures). Weight and Balance : Another menu is the weight and balance (W&B)sheet. To use the the W&B sheet is to use the first An-2 feature, which is using the on-board pumps to fill the tanks. The fuel system consists of 6 tanks with three connected each side. On the side panel there is a big switch to select each set of tanks or back to the flow of fuel to the aircraft. First in the "Ground Service' menu you connect the external fuel pipe. Connect to "ground power" or the battery and then select the set of tanks you want to fill, when selected then flip the switch under the red cover. Deep within the aircraft the pump will then noisily fill the tanks selected and it will show the amount on the W&B sheet. The sounds on this aircraft are extremely realistic. pumps whirr and switches clunk and handles crank... Get the process wrong and the aircraft will complain at you very loudly. So you are very much involved in the process of the aircraft through these aural connections. You can then select in the menu the cargo weight and the number of passengers (and their weight), assign the fuel required to each wing and when completed you can press the "Load" button to activate the configuration (and the total weight). Electrical Systems Understanding the An-2 can go a long way if you can know how the way the electrical systems are installed on the aircraft. The An-2 has a main power supply unit : TCH-3000 that provides a DC voltage at 28.5V (volts) and a current supply at 100A, The standby (large batteries are 25V at 27Ah. The An-2 has an automatic system that if the Ah drop below 15-35A then the system will switch the supply to the batteries. You can see this on the Volt-Ammmeter (long yellow arrow) when the engine is past the idle position and is providing engine RPM. Pull the throttle back into idle and the voltage will suddenly drop to zero as it switches over to the battery supply (Short Yellow arrow). You can select either the battery supply or the External power supply by the second switch on the lower row of switches (for refueling). There are other items however that require an AC voltage. To do this there is another converter, the NO-500 that converts the DC power of 27V to AC Voltage of 115V. And that is situated on the central panel. The NO-500's main purpose is to supply power for the APK-5 which is an early Navigation tool that can select the operation of the compass selector and adjust to a frequency of a Non-Directional Beacon (NDB) in the Ranges: 150 to 310khz - 310 to 640khz and 640 to 1300khz. A warning in switching on the AC current of the radio altimeter and the APK-5 (loading devices before the NO-500 is switched on. There are two NO-500's - a main and a backup that can be switched to by putting the three way switch to the bottom and the switch is noted as "operation - Off - Backup. Pneumatics The An-2 has an interesting pneumatic system. The red lever behind the pilots wheel (yoke) is your braking system, that uses compressed air to turn the aircraft and control the brakes. You can see (and hear) the system in operation by pulling on the red lever, which is set up using the X-Plane key request "brakes_regular". I already have that set on my trigger on my joystick and that works very well. Pull the lever to help with your taxiing and general braking conditions and the pressure is noted on the dial (both sides) on the dial on the side panel. Starting "Annie" Slightly different variations are required to start the An-2 with hot or cold conditions. Engine and Oil cowl's must be closed in cold weather and the start depends on ground power, or if enough voltage then you can start from the batteries. Set the switches, then make sure the fuel tanks are "open". Then pressurize the fuel line by the knob by your left, Then prime engine cylinders by cranking the arm down to your right of the pilots seat. Setting the carburettor heat (green lever is to get the right setting). Pop the red lever full up to "open the cocks". The starter switch is on the top panel and set the Magneto switch to 1+2. Ready to start then pull then pull the (lower) KC-3 (starter, spin-up and clutch) when the engine starts to fire, then adjust the throttle to catch the sequence of cylinders lighting up the fuel... when you have a running engine then let it settle to 700-800rpm and then as the engine warms up up the throttle to 1200rpm. Sounds easy. It isn't. It takes practice and a lot of patience to get it all right. This An-2 is a cantankerous old bird to get the sequences right, and you will never get it right the first time or the second. Do it four times wrong and you are looking at a grounded aircraft. Checklists To help you there is a set of "Checklists" in the menu to help you along. You go through the list and tick-off the done jobs. Ready to fly the An-2 is holding on the brakes. The detailing overall is very good, but there are a few unfinished objects like the flap runners, aerials and the front suspension. They could be noted as metallic gray, but they really look like untextured objects. The double-wing flaps are unstepped, and so you really have to chose your degree of angle by just guessing and looking at the actual flap position. The An-2 is a tail-dragger and that creates a lot of unintentional fun while taxiing, It can flip on the tail if you push the rudder to far, but after a bit of practise you can steer "Annie" quite well. Power up and the short take-off is very short. The flaps depend on the weight, and even then you don't need much angle. "Annie" will climb with all that lift as its cropduster heritage shows through. But don't get carried away... ...nothing is more critical that pleading with "Annie" to keep herself in the air. You have to caress her and gently adjust her controls to keep her in a very tight band of happiness. To help you there is a performance and data menu that you lie in bed at night and recite it, until it is known off by heart and then still do the mantra all over again and again. If you don't want to pop off! a cylinder or two, then "Annie" has to be kept quite cool and at or under these critical numbers and data. It is not as easy as you think it is to do. Each lever is crucial in adjusting the dials to keep everything in check. Yellow Arrow: Throttle or boost pressure. This matches the "Vacume Manometer" boost pressure that must be kept between 6-8. Purple Arrow: Propeller pitch that has to keep the revs at 1600 in the Tachometer Green Arrow: This is the carburettor heat/cold lever (Green) and dial. and the setting must be kept at 0 (zero) Easy, from a distance yes. But it can be challenging over a period, get it right and "Annie" will fly all day. Another help to keep the engine cool is to adjust the cowlings for the Oil and Engine heat (The switch is behind the levers) Once airborne "Annie" is endearing and great fun, The aircraft clatters it's way across the country side as you hold on to the vibrating yoke. The view is magnificent out of that huge glass cockpit. You have fans on each side that rotate (I had a fan at home and set it up next to the computer for realism... It stops the sweating from the stress). The windows open, and the wipers work and the ancient radio sits on the side. It is quite brilliant to fly. Heavy as you would expect but not ponderous, turns have to be watched for loss and gain of height, stall is quite non-existent unless you do some thing really stupid, but otherwise fun to toggle along behind the banging and poofing cylinders. No autopilot? Well yes there is actually. It called a Co-Pilot!. Red Eye has created an autopilot where you set up a Keyboard "Key" function (Via the custom cmnd) and assign a key (You can set the Scoop function the same way). Set "Annie" level and at the right height and speed and press your assigned "key". At first you think the Co-Pilot is a bit of a dork as the aircraft lowers or rises as the idiot takes the control "He say's something like "OH God" in Russian as well. But then "Annie" rights herself and flies on that heading until you change it. Then the aircraft will just keep the new course until you take command again via the say key stroke.... Brilliant. Liveries The liveries are exceptional. And there is a lot of them to choose from. Aeroflot has the most in "Wright" (default) (top line) Blue - Red -Yellow (second line) Alaska - Arizona - Green - MCHS (third line) Orenair - Polar old - VVS (bottom line) "Polar old" is a masterpiece of faded paint, however all are very good. Nightlighting Back on the ground. The night lighting is very good. The cockpit is sensational at night with the glow from the instruments and lit switches. The yokes are also beautifully spot lit, Forward lighting has taxi, landing in the lower wings and Nav lights on the ends of the top wing. The aircraft has ultraviolet lights as well in patches over the wings and fuselage. The cabin is quite basic with no cargo or any finer detailing except for some curtains and shelving. The rear door opens but only the cargo (larger) section via the F2 key slider. No frame-rate issues were noted - as the An-2 never went below 30fr in any situation. Conclusions In the first week "Annie" will make you curse. Then in the second week you will caress her and lovingly guide her and will be hoping you are doing everything right to keep her happy. If any aircraft has personality then the An-2 has it spades, Red Eyes has put his personality into the aircraft as well, with not only the great design and the detailing of the cockpit. But also with the sounds and mechanical movements of the activity of this past history of Aviation. It is a very hard aircraft to understand and to get behind its Soviet - Russianness. The manual In English and Russian does not help in the matter either. It is very authentic. And detailed. But it is missing the vital information that connects you to the aircraft that bridges the gap between helping you understand the systems and design. There are however excellent video's that can help (and the music is great as well) - all are listed below. But the An-2 does bring something very unique to your simulation world. An experience of the past and the joy of flying in an aircraft that was both before its time and now well behind its time. Loving "Annie" is sitting behind all that noisy chatter of that huge radial engine that shakes you and your yoke across the sky. This means you are flying in a time of freedom and the clear skies before the world closed in and regulated the dream to just regulations and on-time performance. This versatile machine stayed in production for so because it could do so many things. Master the machine and the An-2 gives you the challenges to do so much. If any aircraft is as rewarding as this for the experience that is returned - then I have yet to fly it. ________________________________________________ Yes! this amazing Russian aircraft is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgShop : Antonov An-2 Price is US$35.00 Documents : Dev Thread : AN-2 Support - videos avaliable Video 1 - Video 2 - Weight and balance - Startup - Shutdown ________________________________________________ Review By Stephen Dutton 24th November 2013 ©copyright 2013 : Stephen Dutton Technical Requirements: Windows XP , Vista, 7 or 8 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.3.9 (or higher) or Linux X-Plane 10.20+. 32 or 64 bit. or X-Plane 9.70 4GB RAM- 1GB+ VRAM Recommended. X-Plane 9 version is not included in the download package but it is available on demand. Just place the order and send us an email to get it. 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 10.22 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - General Electric 9 inch Fan Scenery - EDFH - Frankfurt Hahn : Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgShop US$17.06)
  28. 1 point
    I once had a Cessna 140 that, in the Alaskan winter, you primed 'til gas ran on the snow (carb prime rather than cylinder) then hurried around a carefully marked trail to shake hands with the prop. When the engine fired you hurried back along your carefully marked trail, continued pumping the primer 'til it ran smoothly. This was a difficult start.
  29. 1 point
    Tadeus72

    Behind The Screen : April 2019

    The season thing wasn't bad. From what I remember Laminar has mentioned that IF they would do seasons, it wouldn't be texture-based, but they would have to develop a new way to do it with shaders. So this would be for sure new technology that people would be glad to pay for.
  30. 1 point
    News! - Beta Release! : Laminar Release's v11.30 beta Laminar Research have released their latest beta in v11.30!.... First impression is.... very, very impressive! It is a rather large install of around 2gb... yes two GB, so make sure you have enough space to install it. To install the new beta then run your X-Plane Installer. It is to be noted that this IS a BETA! and not a full release version of X-Plane11, so yes there will be bugs, glitches and whatever, If you don't want a buggy simulator then PLEASE opt out of the beta release and still run v11.25, by not ticking the "Beta" checkbox on your X-Plane installer. Here are the release notes for beta 11.30b1 Known bugs XPD-9388 Software hangs upon exit when using VR. XPD-9495 Particle effects get cancelled by replay. XPD-9501, XPD-9449 AMD driver bugs with displays & weapons. New features and improvements New ATC voice system. Particles editor for aircraft. Autopilot & aircraft systems updates: Summary of AP changes in 11.30 Propeller feathering Anti- and de-ice systems Oxygen system Autopilot parameters Fixed turboprop engine governor Vacuum systems Vacuum gyro limitations & caging Improved industrial zones in US autogen & reorganized library. FM improvements / experimental FM UI option Shader system rebuilt as part of port to Vulkan. All of X-Plane is now 8.33kHz aware. Panel res bumped to 4k. Updated airspace to 2018 & Navigraph default data 1708. Added sector altitudes in VFR map. Updated joystick config files to use sim/autopilot/servos_off_any. New UI options to enlarge font size. New UI for manually setting joystick curves per axis. Settings UI for re-enabling notification windows that have a “don’t show this again” checkbox. Situation files get you close to landmarks for quick sight seeing. User submitted joystick config files. Flight model improvements Now we find ground effect for each BIT of the helo rotor! This phases in the ground effect from front to back as we approach a tall helipad! Wing force improvements: New drag coefficients in the airfoil files are now much more accurate POST-STALL. This new improvement makes ZERO difference when the wing is not stalled, but post-stall, the drag is now much more accurate. NOTE: This is NOT a change to X-Plane! It is a change to Airfoil Maker and the airfoil files that we distribute! If you want to realize this new accuracy in your personal or third-party aircraft, then fire up Airfoil Maker and do the batch-update to update all of your airfoils. (BUT BE WARNED: IF THIRD-PARTY ACFT MAKERS HAVE TWEAKED THEIR AFLS TO BE JUST PERFECT FOR THEIR PLANES, THEN THOSE MODS WILL BE OVER-WRITTEN!) So, for third-party aircraft-makers, do a batch-convert on your airfoils in Airfoil Maker, and then re-test any post-stall flight that you want to. You will see that the drag is initially higher than in previous versions of X-Plane. As well as the more accurate wing forces post-stall, in Plane Maker we also draw little spheres where the wings connect, so you can see where you have (or don’t) connected wings in Plane Maker. Propeller and propwash modeling improvements: Now in Plane Maker, engines screen, you will notice some really cool new stuff. It’s in the engine screen, prop tabs: Ellipse ratio: Enter a value of 1.0, or approaching 1.0, to get elliptical props for more efficiency… X-Plane will take the Oswalds efficiency to 1.0 as the ellipse ratio goes to 1.0. Root AOA, tip AOA, and power to interpolate: Now in addition to the helix-angle prop-twist, we add some AOA to the blades to get us to the optimal AOA for the airfoil… with some washout near the tip to reduce induced drag if desired. And in X-Plane, the propwash is now much nicer: Rather than just applying wash behind the disc, we now ACCELERATE the air leading up to the disc over a distance, then ACCELERATE it behind the disc over a distance, as happens in reality! This increase in propwash speed over distance is modeled after charts showing inflow of air into the prop disc, watching the air accelerate as it is pulled into the disc, and pressurized to continue speeding up behind the disc! Hit the control-m key a few times while looking at a propeller airplane at full thrust and not moving (or slowly moving) to really see this effect. Downwash modeling improvements: I’ve combined data from a number of NACA tech-reports, and confirmed them as follows: Flight-test on the Boeing 707 in the 60’s showed that the reduced downwash over the tail due to ground-effect threw the nose down about 2.5 degrees if you never flared. With update from NACA tech reports on observed downwash, we now see the same thing on airliners of that configuration in X-Plane! So, the technical reports have been taken into X-Plane, and the results match flight-test on large aircraft where these pitch changes can be most precisely measured. Engine improvements: Better jet engine modeling: We now have single-spool and twin-spool jets selectable in Plane-Maker! We used to have only a single GEARED spool, giving the appearance of a twin-spool jet but not REALLY tracking n1 and n2 separately. Now, you can select single or twin-spool jets in Plane-Maker to really get the jet engine dynamics better in the spool-up and spool-down, watching N2 lead N1 on the spool-up, or the other way around on the spool-down. I have validated this model against careful recordings of engine starts and throttle run-ups and shut-downs taken on a (real) Airbus A-320 to make sure they match perfectly. (I’m working with some Airbus pilots to make an Airbus sim for actual Airbus pilot training, so I’m getting the Airbus engines and flight control systems really dialed in, to satisfy Airbus pilots that want to use X-Plane for training). As well in Plane Maker you can specify the correlation between N1 and N2, so even though the two can turn freely from each other, aero loads will ultimately drive them to the ratio you specify in Plane Maker (which varies with N1 and N2!) Jet N1/N2 windmilling are now a bit more accurate, based on windmilling data I found in a POH for the Boeing 737. Nice little improvement in the manifold pressure model for non-turbo airplanes (ones where you entered critical altitude of zero in Plane Maker engine window), where the sim now understands that lower back-pressure at altitude for non-turbo airplanes provides a bit more power per inch of manifold pressure. So, a nice little bit of improvement in the manifold pressure model. Nice little carb ice improvement: We now look at the actual dynamic pressure and resulting Bernoulli effects in the Venturi tube itself to see when ice will form! So this is a nice way to use physics to predict carb ice. Free N1 turbo (old) This is the PT6 turboprop model from X-Plane for many years now, where the N1 is used as the compressor Ng in the real engine. This is a rather old model, and using N1 for Ng is perhaps a bit awkward, when you understand how the real engine works. Free N2 Turobrop This is the NEW PT6 turboprop model, where the N2 is used as the compressor Ng in the real engine. This is the new model, which is more accurate and very carefully matched to real PT6 performance. This uses N2 for Ng, which makes a lot of sense, when you understand how the real engine works. As well it uses N1 for the turbine that is attached to the prop, so the N2 drives the torque, and the N1 is spun by that, just like a high-bypass turbofan engine. So, this use of N2 for the Ng makes much more sense, and the model is more accurate as well, so this is the new turboprop model that you should use. Fixed turboprop Unchanged for years, roughly modeled after the Garret turboprops. A much better Garret model is indeed coming! Jet 1 spool This is the jet engine model from X-Plane for many years now, and is simply not as good as it could be. This model always has the N1 spinning at a ratio to N2 that was a simple power curve. This is good enough to mimic a real jet engine sort of closely, if you don’t look at how fast the various turbines spin up and down compared to each other, and how they differ under load vs windmilling. It was just barely good enough to work, but not as good as I want for X-Plane now. Jet 2 spool This is the new jet engine model for X-Plane: The N2 is the power turbine in the hot section, spinning up and down as fuel is applied. Totally INDEPENDENTLY from that, the N1 is spun by the torque generated from N2, spinning the bypass fan. This is more accurate, since N2 can surge while N1 takes some time to respond, and N1 can windmill briskly even if N2 is shut down and barely spinning. So this is a nicer model because each system can spin up or down ahead of the other to really bring those dynamics into the sim! Body drag and sideforce improvements: OK this one is NICE! Look at the fuselage and nacelle and misc bodies section in Plane Maker: now there is a RECOMMENDED Cd (coefficient of drag) for that body! AFTER you have entered the V-speeds for your airplane, AFTER you have entered the geometry for that body, you can see that recommended Cd and use that as your Cd if you like. This Cd looks at the V-speeds of the plane to estimate Reynolds number, which it then uses to estimate skin friction drag, which it then applies across the surface area of the body, which it then multiplies based on the thickness of the body compared to its’ length, which it then compares to the frontal area of the body to predict a reasonable coefficient of drag if the body is streamlined and in un-disturbed airflow. Whew! So, this is a really nice way to get a good guess at the Cd for an airplane fuselage, and all the other parts on the airplane. Historically, people have not known what Cd to enter for the fuselage and other parts, so this is a really nice way to get a good estimate based on known skin friction drag and wetted area and aspect ratio. Also, we have refined the side-force on bodies tp be more accurate, and also improved WHERE on the fuselage that side-force is applied! The force application occurs at 25% of the body length at zero sideslip or angle of attack, and moves back to 50% of the body length at 90 degrees offset to the airflow, following a curve in between. So the bodies now have better lift and drag estimates, as well as proper placement of that force at the right point on the body. Now, various reports I could find do a decent job of estimating WHAT the side-forces are on a streamlined body, but i could find few references clearly showing WHERE those forces act. So how to find out? I need to find the pivot point of a streamlined body at various angles of attack… how to do that? Answer: THIS! And this is very cool: Wings and stuff that are INSIDE of bodies are now automatically hidden from the airflow! Ditto the parts of wings that are inside of engine nacelles! Cool! This takes away that little bit of lift on twin-engine props, for example, that have the nacelles hiding away part of the wing! This adds a nice little extra bit of realism, especially if you have wings going inside the fuselage or something like that, where the wings do not see any air and therefore need to be removed from any airflow. You see, the simplified theory says that the lift of the wings goes across the fuselage, but we are now better than that: We now find the lift and drag and location for those forces on the fuselage and nacelles and all other bodies, so the time has come to take the wings OUT of the bodies so lift is not double-computed! So that is the next level of realism, and is done automatically: You don’t have to take any action to hide the bits of the wings that are hidden away inside the fuselage or nacelles: Just hit control-m a few times in the external view when in flight to see how the lift vectors of the wings are gone for all parts of the wings that are hidden away inside a fuselage, nacelle, or misc body. A few tweaks for gliders: We now have give tow and get tow and also get winch locations.. so we have all 3 hook locations now. As well winches we have speed commands: faster/slower winch! DEFINE_CMND_KEY(cmnd_win_faster ,”sim/flight_controls/winch_faster” ,”Winch faster. (for gliders).” ,0,0) DEFINE_CMND_KEY(cmnd_win_slower ,”sim/flight_controls/winch_slower” ,”Winch slower. (for gliders).” ,0,0) I cannot imagine ever choosing anything except “FASTER!”, but I admit that some people use the sim differently than me. Trim and flight control deflection times are now a bit better: When you enter the deflection time of either flight control or trim in Plane Maker, X-Plane automatically scales that time DOWN for deflection-directions that are smaller in magnitude. So the control or trim SPEED is the same in both directions, even if the deflection is smaller in one direction than another. This holds constant trim speeds and control deflection speeds, regardless of direction and deflection, which is how the mechanical systems typically behave in reality. Various systems improvements: Also, for other flight-model improvements, we now have: Flap lockout if wings are swept. This keeps the flaps from deploying by mistake when the wings are swept, as is done in the real F-14. Sweep lockout if flaps are down. This keeps the flaps from deploying by mistake when the wings are swept, as is done in the real F-14. Auto-flaps near the stall, but only partial deployment, as is done in the real F-14. Auto-speedbrakes with pitch input for precise glideslope control to carrier landings, called “direct-lift-control” as is done in the real F-14. Fuel tanks can be set as being in any wing, so the fuel load sweeps back and comes inward with increasing wing-sweep, to really get that center of gravity aft, and moment of inertia in roll down, as happens in the real F-14. We now have 3-dimensional specification of the tail-hook location, which useful for airplane that have tail-hooks, like the F-14. We now apply the actual arresting-gear hook location to the arresting wires on the carriers to see if we have made arresting-gear contact. We used to just check the airplane-center location for arresting-wire contact, but this oversight has now been corrected and we check for the actual hook location. X-PlaneReviews will provide a full analysis of the new beta version soon, until then enjoy. ________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 27th October 2018 Copyright©2018: 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)
  31. 1 point
    Thank you for the review! All negatives will be considered except one, gate can't be animated in this case because gate parking placed in 8 meters underground. If we find a solution we will animate it.
  32. 1 point
    News! - Next Aircraft from vFlyteAir - Comco-Ikarus C42 C VFlyteAir have announced their next aircraft release as the Comco-Ikarus C42 C. Not sure what that is? Well it is the the bestselling ultra- light aircraft in Germany and over 1450 aircraft have been built since 1996. As with all vFlyteAir aircraft the simulation version aircraft are based on real machines in this case two C42Cs (D-MYSF and D-MNLN) based at Flugschule Magdeburg (flying school Magdeburg, at EDBM airport in Germany). This is a very basic aircraft as the Ikarus C42 is a single-engined high-wing monoplane with side-by-side seats for two in a 1.22 m (48 in) wide cabin. The C42 is manufactured with either an 80 hp (60 kW) Rotax 912 engine or a 100 hp (75 kW) Rotax 912s engine. The Rotax engine has a low fuel consumption and relatively low noise. The engine drives the propeller, which has ground-adjustable pitch, through a gearbox with a 2.273:1 reduction ratio. The aircraft uses very different materials on the exterior: Wings are made both of fabric and plastic material, and they are semi-transparent. All FMOD sounds are from the original host aircraft for realism. Release was noted as "Summer 2018", so expect it to be available before Spring! No price or feature list was announced. Images are courtesy of vFlyteAir ________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 29th June 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews
  33. 1 point
    There is a switch in the REP Settings menu? it is called "Enable hypoxia effect" a secondary hypoxia tickbox is on the X-Plane Menu "General" page under "Simulate blackout, redout and hyopxia effects".
  34. 1 point
    Why can't you set the idle RPM with REP, at the carb like in RL? Just kidding .
  35. 1 point
    Aircraft Review : Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (S-61) by Virtavia and Dawson Design Route : RAF Valley (EGOV) to Caernarfon Airport (EGCK) to Liverpool John Lennon Airport (EGGP) to RAF Valley Introduction In the 1960's or 70's the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King was everywhere. You couldn't miss it. If it wasn't fighting in Vietnam it was pulling someone off the side of a mountain or out of the sea. Or more famously it plucked the returning moon astronauts out of the South Pacific or the aircraft flew the current American President around the country as "Marine One". In tactical roles it flew from ships to search out Cold War foes and was unbeatable in Anti-Submarine warfare (ASW). It was a major asset in the Falklands War, The first Gulf War and the Balkan war - and one Sea King had also the option of being outfitted to deploy the B57 nuclear bomb! It's main roles were more mundane however, ship to ship supply, SAR (Search and Rescue) and Coast Guard duties. But one thing was sure, It was a significant contribution to aviation. Ask anyone to name a helicopter, any helicopter and the answer will usually be either... "The Huey" or "The Sea King" The Sea King was a considerable advancement over previous helicopters because of its twin-turboshaft powerplant layout, which gave the gave the SH-3 a heavier payload capacity and a high level of reliability far in excess of previous anti-submarine helicopters. The S-61 is a Cold War creation as the Soviet Navy had elected to construct a large fleet of over 200 submarines, the US Navy then chose to counter this threat by investing in newer and increasingly capable ASW technologies and platforms. Sea Kings operating in the anti-submarine capacity typically had a four man crew; a pilot and copilot in the cockpit and two aircrew in the cabin area to operate and monitor the aircraft's detection equipment and to interpret the sensor data; the two rear aircrew were retained in other mission roles such as cargo transfer and rescue operations. The cabin can accommodate up to 22 survivors or nine stretchers in addition to two medical officers in a SAR capacity; up to 28 soldiers can be accommodated when operated as a troop transport. The The first prototype took flight for the first time in March 1959, and carrier suitability trials were conducted on board the USS Lake Champlain; the trials were completed successfully in mid-1961. Production deliveries of the HSS-2 (later designated SH-3A) to the US Navy began in September 1961, these initial production aircraft were each powered by a pair of General Electric T58 turboshaft engines. In late 1961 and early 1962, a modified U.S. Navy HSS-2 Sea King was used to break the FAI 3 km, 100 km, 500 km and 1000 km helicopter speed records. This series of flights culminated on 5 February 1962 with the HSS-2 setting an absolute helicopter speed record of 210.6 mph. This record was broken by a modified Sud Super Frelon helicopter on 23 July 1963 with a speed of 217.7 mph. Sikorsky also developed a variant of the Sea King for the civil market, designated Sikorsky S-61L. The first operator of the S-61L was Los Angeles Airways, who then introduced them to service on 11 March 1962. Another variant with a conventional hull, the Sikorsky S-61R, was also concurrently developed for transport and search and rescue (SAR) duties, and it was this type was that was extensively operated by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Coast Guard. Considering the success of the S-61 program, Sikorsky stopped production of the aircraft in the 70's to focus on the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. But the Sea King story didn't slip away into history there. The British who saw a good aircraft when there was one, then licensed the design and redesigned the S-61 into the - Westland WS-61 Sea King. Westland by integrating a significant proportion of components from British suppliers, and with key changes include the use of a pair of Rolls-Royce Gnome turboshaft engines and the implementation of an automatic flight control system made it a formidable aircraft. And the Westland's Sea King despite outward appearances is a very different aircraft from the original Sikorsky design. The first Westland-built helicopter, Sea King HAS1 first flew on 7 May 1969 at Yeovil. This aircraft was produced 1969–1995 and 344 aircraft were built. WS-61 Sea King still remains in operation in Britain, as well as multiple export customers (some under license) to: Germany, Norway, Egypt and India. The aircraft has been highly successful in the Westland guises, it has performed in many different roles and with all branches of the British Services, notably with the Royal Navy and SAR. The Royal Navy also created a extensively modified variant called the "Westland Commando". The Commando (Sea King HC4) had capacity for up to 28 fully equipped troops and had originally been developed to meet an Egyptian Air Force requirement. It first flew on 26 September 1979, and has an operational range of up to 600 nautical miles without refuelling. Highly successful In British service, the Sea King HC4 was deployed on operations in the Falklands, the Balkans, both Gulf Wars, Sierra Leone, Lebanon and Afghanistan and 330 Sea Kings were built. Exports to the Indian Naval Air Arm, the German Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, and the Royal Norwegian Air Force were also highly successful. (Specifications are for the Westland HAS 5) Maximum speed: 129 mph (112 knots, 208 km/h) (max cruise at sea level) : Range: 764 mi (664 nmi, 1,230 km) : Rate of climb: 2,020 ft/min (10.3 m/s) : Powerplant : 2 × Rolls-Royce Gnome H1400-2 turboshafts, 1,660 shp (1,238 kW) each. Dawson Design and Virtavia and Installation Virtavia produced the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (S-61) for the FSX/P3D market. But after the successful redesign of the Globemaster C-17 from Dawson Designs, the Sea King was chosen as the next conversion. There are many improvements for X-Plane over the FSX/P3D version that includes autopilot, hover control, working winch with winchman figure and rebuilt main and tail rotor heads, Higher graded textures, X-Plane 10 HDR lighting and the DreamEngine 3d Sound and many other new features. Installation is to unzip to your upload file (326.80mb) to your Aircraft/Helicopter folder (full size file 620.70mb). To note there are two different Aircraft versions in the Standard SH-3 and the Commando version. You can also map your joystick buttons for use in the "Hover" mode AFCC and activation (recommended). Included is a manual (24 Pages) and full checklist (3 Pages). First Impressions The Sea King is an iconic design, There are nine variations included in this series, the default version is the Royal Airforce HAR Mk3 in "Rescue Yellow". It is a five bladed design (Tail rotor is also five bladed) that was later upgraded to the "Carson" composite blades. First to note is the External Power (GPU) unit that is typical of what the RAF use. A switch on the OHP (Over Head Panel) or the menu selection will deploy the unit connected to the aircraft. Externally the Virtavia design work is excellent. With excellent textures (updated by DD) and excellent features of the winch (and belly hook) radar domes and other major external fittings. One highlight is the bubble windows that protrude from the rear aircraft fuselage that are excellent in their design and glass reflection, notable also is all the excellent cockpit glass with the green overhead panels. Many of the variants also have different equipment attached from Flir cameras to flares and low flying-aids. The main fuselage door opens via the menu (or key shift-F2) to reveal the winchman. Split left side is the crew hatch (door) that is also key switchable (shift-F1). Fuselage detail is enhanced by the excellent panel work (rivets) and detailing and aerials (including wire aerials). The Sea Kings wheel pontoons are expertly created with the (retractable) undercarriage, support legs and arms are perfect as are the wheels and tyres. In the variants (via the liveries) you can choose to have the huge FOD or Engine Advanced Protection System (EAPS) boxes in front of the engine intakes or not. Foreign Object Damage is icing, snow, dust, salt spray, sand, debris and hot gas ingestion (HGI) that can cause problems when flying at extreme low altitudes or in the hover mode. The main rotors and the tail rotors and their linkages are the heart of any helicopter design. These have been totally reworked for the (finicky) X-Plane users. Get this part wrong and you can say to your credentials goodbye. Dawson Design's is however one of the best in the business. and the rotor head construction is first class craftmanship... so fully detailed, and you can move your controls to see the perfect movement of all the links and pieces. Up the built in ladder and into the cabin and the S-61has and does give you a military machine feeling. I have been in a real S-61 many times and to a point the cabin shows its 1960's heritage. They are more basic in design than you come to expect today (The UH-60 is very basic as well with exposed wiring and pop-riveted panels. No composite in sight). The panel and OHP layout is exceptional and very functional (but again quite basic). All the detailing is first rate. The seats are metal piping with canvas packs and the pedestal is built up of metal paneling. Rearwards it is mixture of SAR and ASW in the fit-out. SAR in liferafts, canvas seating and a stretcher, brightly coloured oxygen and fire bottles and the ASW in a operators post (cubicle) and (boxy) equipment racks. You notice the lower texture quality in the rear and if your render setting are set low, then ASW post and equipment racks and the rear cabin matted walls are a little more fuzzy than the rest of the aircraft. Set in "too Much" in the render settings then it is not to bad. but the art and detail is quite basic but still authentic. There are no problems however where it really counts, which is the main aircraft panel, OHP and the pedestal. All instruments and gauges are crystal clear and highly detailed. Knobs and switch gear is perfect and only a very few are not operational. The main panel consists of the engine dials (centre), warning lights (caution panel), Nav-aids (very few), fire/DC test and the pilots instruments (Radar Altitude, Altitude, Speed, Artifical horizon, compass rose/course, RPM, climb in feet, clock and engine torque) the last dial (hover gauge) I'll come back to later. The pedestal is dominated by a huge green radar screen that has been converted to the standard Xplane map function. It is very realistic and the screen controls are set out below. Radios are very basic in VOR 1, ADF and COMMS1. Having the VOR 1 is a bit of a non-event in a non-ILS equipped aircraft. At least with VOR 2 you can use it for navigation, and to a point you still can as you can set the higher frequencies into the radio set and you do at least get a distance to the VOR. But you would think an SAR aircraft would be better equipped. and the ADF will give a direction to a nav-aid. The other notable panel on the pedestal is the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) that can hover the aircraft at a set height and give you a flight pattern into and out of the "Hover mode", We will demonstrate this feature later. Centre of the main panel is the Fuel gauges that are easily set with a pop-out fuel panel. Just use the slider to quickly set the correct fuel load.... nothing can be easier. Twin sets of gauges show the engines RPM (percent), Exh (Exhaust) temp, Oil pressure (psi), Oil Temp, Transmission (gearbox) pressure/temp and Hydaulic pressure. So the aircraft is not complex to use and to operate, of which would be a surprise in that you would really expect the opposite in such a large machine... Take starting the engines for example. All the main engine and lighting controls are set out on the OHP (Over Head Panel). The manual is good at noting the switch gear and dials, but there is no start up instructions. Print out the checklist a that is all you really need. most of the checklist is testing lights and functions of the aircraft. To start you first need the EXT power (red ring centre) or the APU running (Pedestal). You can use either system. Then switch on the "Master" and then the "Battery". Nothing really works until the "Battery" switch is thrown, then you can set the panel lighting via four knobs (excellent). Set the two Ignition switches to on (purple circle) and the two "Firewall fuel Valve" switches (on main centre panel) to on. Start the beacon, anti-collision lights and the POS (nav) lights, pull off the Rotor brake (side/green arrow) and if you and the crew are all ready then start Eng 1 by pulling the main throttle/cutoff lever to GND idle (first position). With that last action the turbine above you stirs and the whine and start-up procedure gets into action mode. The dials come to life and then start Eng 2 by just pulling down the second lever to the GND idle position. Soon the gauges will show you your torque, temps....... Click the switch to hide the GPU and switch on the generators (1&2) and your ready for flight. At this point you will need some paracetamol, The noise is deafing inside (but far quieter outside?) and we are still sitting at idle. This is a good point to use the "Menu" system. The "menu" is situated on the main panel by the pilots instruments. It is a similar circular concept of what is in the AS350. You can select Liveries, views (inside and outside), Stability (It is set at 50%), (Sound) volume, FOV (zoom) and extras that can open the main/cockpit doors and switch on/off the outside GPU. (The action to swivel the large ASAC Radome should be here as well, but it isn't?) Flying The Sea King S-61 Pull both throttle levers right down to the bottom and 100% of power and wait while the engines scream louder and settle. Like starting the Sea King. Flying it is just as easy! The side thrust from the rear rotor is not very strong at all and with a pull of the collective and a slight rudder correction and you are very easily airborne. Pulling away with more collective grip the Sea King will easily move to a direct flight angle. low and fast is the best way to fly helicopters and the Sea King certainly does not disappoint. For the purists they wouldn't like the Sea King. They like nervy, edgy machines and that is nothing like the S-61. It may be its weight factor and you can in the menu adjust the feeling to a more harder flying machine. But overall it is almost too easy to fly at the 50% setting. Don't get me wrong in that for the rest of us the Sea King is an open door to helicopter flying in all its forms. Anyone can really fly this helicopter and get so much in return in flying it around the area. I still recommend a good joystick and more importantly a throttle system set in reverse on the "Collective" setting to control the machine well. My route from RAF Valley was to collect a injured person from EGCK (Caernarfon) which is only a very short ride over Anglesea. North Wales. Then fly him to Liverpool Airport (EGGP) just up the coast. 2000ft is enough to enjoy the scenery without running into it. The Sea King is very quickly up to a cruise speed of 130knts and the scenery is flashing quickly under me, reducing speed and landing is an art form, the hardest is the transition from forward flight to the hover mode or vice versa (called translational lift), the hardest of all is just stopping the aircraft from going forward... rule No.1 - The brakes don't work 50ft up off the ground!.... It is an art to get the process right. But the Sea King is very kind to you in all these areas. It will easily run off speed with a lift of the nose, and an easy balance between the collective and the cyclic (the stick between your legs) will easily help you put the aircraft down right (in my case in the centre of the runway) of were you want to land. The rules of flying helicopters still applies, so if you are totally inept then you will still crash. But the Sea King is far kinder than most I have flown. As a learning tool it is exceptionally very good. But most of all it is good just to fly without all the sweat and tears that can accommodate most flying in this genre. It is just good genuine fun of an aircraft to fly. Leaving EGCK I head north to EGGP, 2000ft is again my choice, It is very noisy and after a while even tiring over a distance. There are no pilot-aids, Your only aid is to find a comfortable grip on the cyclic/joystick and try to keep the aircraft as smooth as possible, and that is far harder than it looks. For ten minutes or so you are fine and then you are then slowly drifting up or down as your arm or wrist tires. You become obsessed with the rate of "Climb/Descend" (arrowed) instrument to keep the aircraft level. it is easy to do, but you keep tiring yourself out over a period of time. There are Pitch/Roll/Yaw Stability switches on the pilots side panel that helps. Landing was a breeze of coming into the hover and a slight move to the right to land on a blocked off taxiway. Departure back to RAF Valley was just before dawn the next morning, You have a main cabin light on the rear bulkhead to bathe the cabin with a bright light, that is perfect solution for setting the aircraft up in the early light. In the dark the instruments show the great lighting and detail of the pedestal and the switches by the pilots right armrest have the cargo switch, audio switches and stability switches. The bulkhead light can be switched to red as well. This bathes the cockpit in a red glow for night flying, both lighting modes look excellent. There is a main cabin light. but I couldn't find any lighting for the rear cabin? Above the main panel are two spot lights that can switched on to illuminate the centre of the panel (one light really) The external lighting is very flexible. Standard Nav (pos) lights,Beacon and Anti-collision on the tail and under the hull. On the collective are two switches for three lighting functions 1) "Master-On /Retract-Off" will give you two main landing beams. 2) "Hover LT" will give you a single large light aimed downwards, "Flood LT" gives you a barrage of downward lights (one under the aircraft, one on each pontoon (2) with a third in the rear of the right pontoon. The Pos and Beacon lights are average with just really the colour of the light. In the daylight they can't really be seen at all. Departure was in the first light and you were soon cruising along at 140knts and again at 2000ft. first again I followed the coast south and then cut straight across Anglesea. It was a long way back - but you were guided by the line of the beacons of EGOQ (Mona) and behind RAF Valley. I was not going to be on the ground very long. There was another job on the board and it was to deliver a cargo pallet to Caernarfon Airport (EGCK). Cargo Hook You can attach a cargo pallet to the hook under the aircraft (switch is on the Pilots side panel). First go to the "Weight, Balance & Fuel" menu (aircraft) and you will see a new menu section. Here you can load a "cargo.obj" that is located in the main Sea King folder files under "Cargo Crate"... load the object and set the weight you want with the slider. "Slung load size is the length of the cable? but I am not sure about that. Putting a large weight (max 8000lbs) under the helicopter will mean you skills in flying is about to get a whole lot harder, You have to lift it cleanly straight up or you will drag the load across the ground, or worse when it breaks free of the drag it will swing you violently from side to side or even pull you back down into the tarmac. Which is very expensive for the UK MOD. Even when flying nicely in straight line you have to be careful in that you don't allow the load to swing or gain momentum under you. If you do your ship will rock badly as well in the same direction. The more weight you select for the load means more care with the extra pull of gravity. But it is a whole lot of fun, coming in to place the load is getting the approach right and touching it softly on the surface. You can cut the cable via assigning a joystick button or key in "flightcontrols/jettison_payload". (only sad thing is the pallet disappears from view because Laminar Research has a bug in that the pallet or any load won't stay on the sim surface... annoying) With the slung load gone we can see how the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) works. The idea is to help you hover the aircraft in an automatic mode. It also allows the winchman in the rear to take control of the aircraft to position it in various directions to use the hoist. AFCS The system is located on the rear of the pedestal. You can set the hover height (50ft) and the "Exit" speed (60knts). The "STAB" button activates the system. TRANS Down will take control of the aircraft and transition you down to the 50ft setting were it will hover there for you. It take a little getting use to and the aircraft shakes out of your control as it does the transition. You can help the system by positioning the aircraft where you want it and then pressing the button. If you want to go lower or higher then just change the height setting and you will go down or up very slowly (great fun). In the rear by the door (use the views in the menu to get there quickly) is a control joystick which is activated by the "Aux Hover Trim", and you can move it in four directions to position the aircraft. You can also switch the system back to the cockpit (Aux Hover Trim Off) so the pilot can regain control. Pressing TRANS Up will make the machine transition up to the "Exit" set speed 60knts) out of the hover mode. to get control back for the pilot then just press the "STAB" button again. But a bit of a warning on repressing the "STAB" button again. It comes out of the system with a thunk, and it takes a bit of practise to get a smooth line of control back with the collective and the cyclic. Hover Gauge Another tool you can use to control the hover is the "Hover" Gauge. This is a cross-hair tool to create and keep a standing hover. and it has 3 modes (A,C and D) A mode monitors the ASE coupler and displays the milliampere input to the pitch, roll, yaw and altitude (but doesn't work here), C mode is off. D mode connects the hover indicator to the Doppler and you can use the horizontal and vertical bars to align your hover speed to zero. It is best used with the Radar Altimeter (left). But be careful as you align your hover as at that point you also lose lift. More collective for lift will then move the aircraft off your perfect cross-hair... practise makes perfect and you soon learn how to hover easily. The hover gauge is then a great tool to learn how to do this, and those skills can then be translated to other types of machines. Liveries... The amount of liveries 17 and 9 different variants is mind boggling... The Default is the HAR_Mk3 with the FOD box You have so many (to note) different attachments which include different radar domes and retracted refueling probes. The famous "Marine One" livery is missing from the package (In fact sadly there is no passenger civil version S-61L/N or Coast Guard either) but there is a (rough) Marine One version by PetJedi on the .org. Westland Commando The second aircraft in the package is the converted Royal Navy assault and utility Westland Sea King - Westland Commando. The pontoons are gone and have been replaced by outriggers to support the landing gear and various lighting and infrared devices. Inside it is a troop transport layout for 28 troops. As noted this version was a highly effective machine. There are three liveries. "Default" Royal Navy, Royal Navy IFOR and AREAF (Eygpt) Conclusions To sum up the Virtavia and Dawson Design Sea King in one word is easy, as it is "Accessible". The accessibility to easily get through the startup from cold to flight is not going to keep you in bed for hours reading manuals, a quick run through the checklist and your ready for flight. That is not to say the Sea King is not authentic because it is, and very good it is too. But the aircraft itself is not very deep. Secondly from the moment you first take off you realise that this aircraft is going to give you a lot excellent flying without all the worry of mastering a delicate helicopters (nervy) control needs. All helicopters are still basically unbalanced, but here you can at least enjoy the machines with out to much of the heartbreak that goes with them. In fact the Sea King is down right enjoyable to manoeuvre and fly (except for over very long distances with tiring wrist wearyness with no pilot aids). The combination of Virtavia's FSX/P3D design and quality and the extensive reworking and added features for Xplane is a total win-win situation for us, and the aircraft is very good and that huge selection of liveries are excellent in design and quality. (on small thing to note is if you have an Xplane shutdown issue it is the Dreamworks sound engine, so update to the new version 0220 to rectify that (don't forget to install the plugin in both aircraft versions). Sounds are excellent with blade slapping, torque noise and 3D positioning but I did find the external doppler effect good and then to drop away a little too quiet as you move around the aircraft, inside it is just plainly noisy and hair tingling good. There is the feature of the Ge-Force plugin simulates the characteristics of human head behaviour as your brain instinctively usually stabilises your head (eye) movements. here the plugin flattens that feeling out and gives you a natural feeling of flying the aircraft. Channel your inner English Royal family and join in their careers moments with the Sea King, Prince Andrew flew Sea Kings in the Falklands War and the current third in line Prince William flew Sea Kings out of RAF Valley on SAR missions (both were very good too). No real faults except with the slightly average textures in the rear, but a few wishes. Rain effects would be great feature on the Sea King as you try to find that ship or oil rig in a storm, A passenger version would be also great for island hopping, and a Coast Guard version for those who love to guard coasts. In real life the Sea King was a formidable aircraft, and its final service life was very long. For us we can with this V/DD aircraft find out why and enjoy this aircraft for its shear versatility and features. Every simmer dreams about flying certain aircraft. And to fly the Sea King was a childhood dream come to life. The most important thing is the Virtavia and Dawson Design Sea King didn't ruin a great aircraft but enhanced it beyond measure, Could that slip in a little bias in a review?. not in this case as it is so very good and a great investment in pleasure and flying... It is also excellent place to start to learn to fly rotary aircraft because of its stability and hover tools. Overall the Sea King SH3 an excellent aircraft. Yes! the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (S-61) by Virtavia and Dawson Design is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgShop : Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King Price is US$35.00 Developers Sites : Virtavia - Dawson Design Support forum: Sea King Support Review By Stephen Dutton 7th December 2013 ©copyright 2013 : Stephen Dutton Technical Requirements: Windows XP , Vista, 7 or 8 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.3.9 (or higher) or Linux X-Plane 10.20+. 32 or 64 bit. (X-Plane 9 is not supported) 4GB RAM- 512Mb + VRAM Recommended. (no framerate issues) Current version: 1.0 (last updated November 13th 2013) 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 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Scenery - EGOV - Valley : rcmarple .org - EGCK - Caernarfon Airport v1.1 : supersport .org - EGGP - Liverpool (John Lennon) : xplaneuser .org (there are a few Liverpool city sceneries also well worth downloading on the .org)
  36. 1 point
    Stephen

    Behind the Screen : September 2017

    Behind the Screen : September 2017 You get great months and then you get those really hard draggy months and guess which category September 17 fell into, yes the second one. Part of the issues is that there is a lot of betas flowing around and September became the update and rerelease month par excellence. The two biggies came out with xEnviro finally coming out with their v1.07 and finally is the word here. And then there was WorldTraffic3 in release as well. Secondary was that a lot of airports scenery (mostly Aerosoft) was also updated to X-Plane11 and so much was updated X-PlaneReviews found it all a bit overwhelming, but as they say when it rains it... All these plugin releases also created a bit of a issue on the system side that has severely slowed the site down over the last few weeks. Plugin conflict is one of the worst things to fix, and far worse when you can't see the actual cause? I actually don't have a lot of plugins running, but three I think are essential in using X-Plane11. One is xEnviro, Two is WorldTraffic3 and last but not least is XPRealistic the excellent motion and effect plugin... I just can't run X-Plane11 with any of those excellent addons running alongside me in there. But here is the sudden issue in that none of the plugins above suddenly like each other, even if they have all been very good friends all year. Every time I run two or more of the plugins together now I lose my mouse pointer and screen input, menu bar works fine, but not in my main screen, and this issue has caused havoc for weeks now? Your point of view is that why bother and just do the reviews? That is all and good, but that will give you less of the full experience and and very visually with xEnviro and WT3, but underlying is the fact that you need to find the cause and because if it happens to me then it is not going to be before too long before you start being mouseless as well. You expect plugin issues while there is a beta program running and I was running a few side by side, but not with releases? So it is all very confusing. WorldTraffic3 I have been a big part of the development of WorldTraffic3 from the start. But don't get me wrong this is all Greg Hofer's work and not mine, I can only help or encourage where possible and add in ideas on how to make it all work as best as possible. First to note is that the plugin is totally and absolutely horribly complex, that it works at all is simply up to Mr Hofer's genius, but it does work and extremely well, but there are a few comments that have to be laid out to understand that the release of WorldTraffic3 does not mean it is a completed project and that point is actually very far from reality. Mr Hofer can only do so much in making the plugin as efficient and durable as possible, but overwhelmingly WT3 does totally rely on outside layouts being correct and set to being totally effective. If you have any issues with WT3 then look inward at X-Plane11 far more than the actual plugin itself, yes there will be bug fixes and more refinements to come and quickly, but 90% of WT3's issues are not residing in the actual plugin itself but in the X-Plane11 framework that it now uses. Even though the tools to create a really good ATC and ground route structure at airports with WED (WorldEDitor) has been available for awhile, and even if the released airports and mostly with the default Global Airports that reside in your custom scenery folder it doesn't mean that these ATC structures are all created equal. In fact of the many I checked, they were all really quite average with most missing parking position lines and traffic flow lines that are not completed or simply missing. And then WT3 has to interpret this poor layouts and try to make your airports look busy and exciting. When you have a correctly set up ground route structure and I use Aerosoft's ENGM - Oslo scenery as a benchmark, then WT3 is simply astounding in it's operations, but in most cases the layout even if it says on the packaging that the scenery is ATC- Traffic flow is WED compatible is that they usually are not, and this is the biggest hurdle that WT3 and to a point X-Plane itself has to climb over, and not just for WT3 either as these ground routes are becoming more and more important to the effectiveness and general everyday use of the simulator. Then there is the factor of many sceneries and mostly freeware that don't have any ground route layouts at all, and yes I am poking an stick at tdg here as although he makes simply excellent scenery and does astounding work, this one little oversight will cause for most of his work to be totally unusable in the WT3 universe and I am quite angry about that because to insert ground routes for someone as talented as he is at WED is just simply astounding as well. So the point is for WT3 to be a major and important part of your X-Plane experience is that a very significant focus will have to go on and be made on the WED ground route layouts... then and only then will WT3 deliver the incredible return on the investment you require, in other words don't blame WT3 but fix the fundamental basic issues of WED first and make the whole system work together. I have also noticed that some users are generating auto ground routes and posting them up on the X-Plane.Org. This is really a waste of time and actually a big diversion in the fact these ground routes can for one be very easily generated within WT3 quickly and easily anyway, but worse are they actually "Corrected" or refined ground routes with the sorted correct parking assignments completed and in most cases the answer is no. Again you want fully well defined or completed ground routes and not just quick and nasty setups that users will take for the real thing and only they make your airport sceneries totally functional with the WT3 plugin, this is an IMPORTANT point to understand, in that the layouts required by WT3 need to be the best we can distribute and fully setup for instant use and be secure in that they will deliver the required standard that we require to make X-Plane the excellent simulator it is. Over the last few months in checking most sceneries we do fall very short or if anywhere near the mark to make WT3 effective at this point. But what I love about X-Plane is that as a collective clever set of tinkerers and changers we do have the skills and talent to fix this ATC WED layouts for the better and quickly, and then distribute the changes for everyone else to benefit from, that is the promise of not only X-Plane as a simulator but for WT3 as well. From this point forward this WT3 icon will tell you in a review of the WT3 layouts and notable points on what does or doesn't work, or if that scenery even does not have the required layouts to generate ground routes. To a point I found most good payware scenery released recently are doing very effective ground routes or at least acknowledge that well set up WED ground routes are now as big a major feature or is a major feature on selling their product. I would like to thank everyone who participated in our fourth anniversary competition in August, of course X-PlaneReviews would like to pick many winners but we have to settle for just five, it was very hard in the end but the final choices were the worthy winners. See you all next month Stephen Dutton 1st October 2017 Copyright©2017: X-Plane Reviews
  37. 1 point
    X-PlaneReviews : 4th Anniversary Competition! X-PlaneReviews : 4th Anniversary Competition! Winners! Thanks for everyone who entered our 4th Anniversary Competition and the winners are! Tinmug - Finalist DC3 FlyGal - Finalist MD88 Grant543 - Finalist A330 Pilotofnothing - Finalist PA28 vFlyteAir Sukhoi Baron - Finalist - B737 Winners will be contacted by the X-Plane.OrgStore over the next few days (Don't email the store till they contact you). Thanks Again... X-PlaneReviews is four years old, but who is counting? age is in the mind not the body right. But with all the seriousness around us we should celebrate a significant milestone and so we shall, by feeling great and giving lots of free stuff away. So thanks to the generosity of developers and the X-Plane.OrgStore we have a lot of very nice aircraft for you to win. Five Winners can choose one aircraft from: FlightFactor/VMax Boeing 777 FlightFactor/VMax Boeing 767 FlightFactor/VMax Boeing 757 FlightFactor Airbus A350 FlyJSim Boeing 727 All aircraft are on offer in the competition and only for the month of August 2017 and CLOSES midnight 31st August 2017 So how do you win the prizes! We want to know what you think is the best aircraft in X-Plane, but the aircraft must have been in a review that has been released by X-PlaneReviews. So you have to refer to the review in X-PlaneReviews... a link is worth more brownie points... Example: ------ Aircraft Review - DC-3/C47 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project Then give us 150 words on why you think it is the best aircraft in X-Plane and why it is worth the purchase. ------- Conditions for entry Just insert your entry on only this page below to enter and sorry only one entry per user is allowed so make it count. No X-PlaneReview review connection will mean your entry is invalid for the competition. The competition is only open to joined members of this X-PlaneReviews site, so you have to log in to enter. X-PlaneReviews have the rights to republish the winners on this and other sites. Winners will be picked on detail and originality of their answers, and winners prizes are final and the prizes are supported with updates, but not upgrades. Winners are drawn 1st September 2017. Do your best and enjoy, I am looking forward to seeing what your views are on X-Plane products. Stephen Dutton 5th August 2017
  38. 1 point
    Sorry but that reads as if you’re trying to gloss over something bad and make excuses for it and to be honest the negative points in a review are just as important as the positives. So, we all know X Plane 11 has ground handling that feels like you’re on ice but what you’ve managed to confuse me about is if the 1900 is actually better or worse than normal.
  39. 1 point
    Aircraft Review : de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter -300 Series by RWDesigns DHC-6 Twin Otters were quite thin on the ground for X-Plane a few years ago, but now that has all changed. First there was a great conversion of Syd Adam's version by Pedro van Leeuwen into his own freeware aircraft, and this was a great conversion. But it still had mostly default X-Plane switchgear and instruments and considering this the aircraft has still been overwhelmingly very popular. Now Jetsim has released their own payware version and this version is a complete ground up built aircraft of the veritable famous "Twotter". The DHC-6 is a Canadian 19-passenger STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) utility aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada and is currently produced by Viking Air. Some places note the aircraft is not in production anymore, but it is. After Series 300 production had ended in 1988, the remaining tooling was then purchased by Viking Air of Victoria, British Columbia, who manufactured replacement parts for all of the out-of-production de Havilland Canada aircraft. On February 24, 2006, Viking purchased the type certificates from Bombardier Aerospace for all the out-of-production de Havilland DHC-1 through DHC-7 aircraft. The ownership of the certificates gives Viking the exclusive right to manufacture new aircraft. Currently the production restarted on July 17, 2006, at the Farnborough Air Show as Viking Air announced its intention to offer a Series 400 Twin Otter. On April 2, 2007 production of the Viking Twin Otter, equipped with a more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engine was initiated and construction began and Zimex Aviation of Switzerland received the first new production aircraft, serial number 845, in July 2010. As of summer 2014 Viking has already built 55 new Series 400 aircraft at their Calgary facility. Serial number 900 took flight in spring 2014. The production rate as of summer 2014 is approximately 24 aircraft per year. To date there has been just under a 1000 Twin Otters of all series produced. Development of the aircraft began in 1964, with the first flight on May 20, 1965. A twin-engined replacement for the single-engined DHC-3 Otter retaining DHC's renowned STOL qualities, design features included double-slotted trailing edge flaps and ailerons that work in unison with the flaps to boost STOL performance. The availability of the 550 shp (410 kW) Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-20 propeller turboprop in the early 1960s made the concept of a twin more feasible. To bush operators, the improved reliability of turboprop power and the improved performance of a twin-engined configuration made it an immediately popular alternative to the piston-powered Otter which had been flying since 1951. The first six aircraft produced were designated Series 1, indicating that they were prototype aircraft. The initial production run consisted of Series 100 aircraft, serial number seven to 115 inclusive. In 1968, Series 200 production began with serial number 116. Changes made at the beginning of Series 200 production included improving the STOL performance, adding a longer nose that was equipped with a larger baggage compartment (except for aircraft fitted with floats) and fitting a larger door to the rear baggage compartment. All Series 1, 100 and 200 aircraft and their variants (110, 210) were fitted with the 550 shaft-horsepower PT6A-20 engines. In 1969, the Series 300 was introduced, beginning with serial number 231. Both aircraft performance and payload were improved by fitting more powerful PT6A-27 engines. This was a 680 hp (510 kW) engine that was flat-rated to 620 hp (460 kW) for use in the Series 300 Twin Otter. The Series 300 proved to be the most successful variant by far, with 614 Series 300 aircraft and their sub-variants (Series 310 for United Kingdom operators, Series 320 for Australian operators, etc.) sold before production in Toronto by de Havilland Canada ended in 1988. (wikipedia). Performance : Maximum speed 160 knots (297 km/h at cruise altitude) 170 knots (314 km/h at cruise altitude) : Cruise speed 150 knots (278 km/h at cruise altitude) : Stall speed 58 knots (107 km/h at cruise altitude) : Range (Max fuel, no payload) 771 nmi (1,427 km) 775 nmi (1,434 km) 799 nmi (1480 km) 989 nmi (1832 km) with long range tankage : Service ceiling 25,000 ft (7,620 m) RWDesigns de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter Yes this is a great looking Twin Otter from RWDesigns (formerly Jetsim). It is the long nose version (no notes on if a short nose version will happen?) and finally we have a quality version of this great and versatile aircraft. These short distance regional aircraft are some of the best to fly in X-Plane, because they are just that... very versatile. They give you great flexibility in island hopping or airport hopping around touristy areas and delivering people and cargo to remote areas and even supplying supplies to people who have a habit of doing badly planned adventures and even then saving them from themselves (or mostly getting them back to the nearest hospital). In most cases you need an aircraft like the Twin Otter in most or all of those scenarios. Modelling wise the Twin Otter is pretty good, with great detailing of rivets and paneling from the X-Plane "draw per pixel lighting" shading effects and aircraft body fittings, although it is still a high step up into the cockpit. looking up the cockpit looks excellent in detail. This is the office and you will spend a lot of time in here and so you will require it to be very good... thankfully it is. The Twin Otter cockpit is quite short as the pilot's and co-pilots seats are resting closely to the rear cockpit bulkhead, there is not much room in there or space. the two yokes are on a V central column and are expertly created. the main power (throttle), feather and fuel (cutoff) levers with the flap selector set out behind are all arranged on the centre overhead box structure. Once up in the left hand pilot's seat the panel looks quite basic for a two engined regional aircraft. The pilot gets most of the instruments and the co-pilot really gets only the standard six instrument pack and a turn indicator. Power "on" is on one of two small switch panels on the left and right side of the main overhead structure. If you want the main switchgear then it is directly above your head and right up against the rear cockpit bulkhead. Main panel lighting are three rotary knobs right above you rear with two for the Panel/Eng-Inst pilot (left) and one for the radio/co-pilot (right). twirl them all up and the overhead and panel comes to life. And it all looks really great. Point to be aware of is you need to set your X-Plane views to cater for this straight up extreme switch and knob position, you will go up here quite a lot and you need to get there and back quickly. Not everything though is now switched on... you have to also now switch on the equipment stack one radio set at a time. A feature I really like, because it is very realistic. You have the 10.30 Garmin GNS 530 gps with a pop-out screen, to turn on it is a two button press activation with the .C button first and then an "OK?" by pressing the "ENT" button. Below is Bendix/King KX155A TSO which is COMM 1/NAV 1 only (sorry no COMM 2/NAV 2). Next down is the KT 70 TSO Transponder and finally a KR 87 TSO ADF radio set. You will find the equipment here more interactive with more changes than the standard radio sets fitted to X-Plane aircraft, button work and settings can be changed more than the basics... The KR 87 TSO X-Plane manipulators however are quite difficult to use, the worse are the smallest -/+ adjustments, they are also very hard to find sometimes. Top of the equipment stack is the standard KMA 28 TSO audio selection panel. No NAV2/VOR 2 direction finding is a real loss in an aircraft of this type? The NDB setting doesn't give you enough range and as we will see you have to take short routes across open water. I found a trick around this by using the GNS 530... Find the VOR radial that you want and put it into the GNS gps as a "direct" position. In this case it is "SSR" TACAN RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland. It will give you range, direction and your position. The good news is that the GNS can accept VOR radials. The autopilot in the DHC-6 is a Collins AP106. the system is centre right on the panel and the altitude selection is just below. The altitude selection works with two buttons on the upper top of the pilot's station panel. There is an activation and adjustment button and knob missing from the AP panel... I'll let you think about that one for a moment. Engine display panel is beautiful, with great lighting. Dials include - Torque Pressure Gauges - Prop RPM Percentage Gauges - T5 Temperature Gauges - Gas Generator RPM Gauges - Fuel Flow Gauges - Oil Temperature Gauges - Oil Pressure Gauges and Fuel Quantity Gauges LEFT gauge is AFT and RIGHT gauge is FWD. An excellent Fire protection panel and DC Volts/Load Indicators. As my route today was quite long, I have put in 13 X 100 Ibs of fuel in each tank On the centre yoke support column is your "Yaw" damper button and the trim knobs are down by your right arm rest. Overhead is the twin throttle levers and propeller feather levers, far right the two fuel valve levers, all are excellent with the throttles levers having built in reverse thrust. Small panels either side cover electrics/landing lights and starters on the left and wiper switches on the right. The lighting switches are set out all over the rear of the overhead panel so you have to remember their placement, De-iceing and heating switches and controls are all up here as well. Detailing is great with attention to detail like with this overhead light and switch. Flying the DHC-6 Twin Otter One of the most highly used routes of the talents of the Twin Otter are found in the upper top reaches of Scotland and the accompanying northern islands of Orkney and Shetland. So my route was from Aberdeen/Dyce (EGPD) to Kirkwall (EGPA) via Lossiemouth and Wick, then on to Sumburgh (EGPB) in the lower Shetlands. The return route was a nonstop flight back to Aberdeen/Dyce via Kirkwall and Wick and then direct back over the water to EGPD. The area is suited well for the Twin Otter, but it is also known for its constantly variable changeable weather and add in a mid-February winter period and it was going to be interesting flying. There are two baggage compartments with one in the nose and a larger one aft of the passenger cabin. All doors open by a hand on the inside of each door (including the pilots/co-pilots doors), here a door menu would be a better fit, as the two baggage doors are quite hard to open, as you have to find the doors from the inside to open/close them? At least you can just twist around in the cockpit to open/close the main passenger doors through the cockpit/cabin opening. Passenger cabin is bright and cheerful, but a bit too bright with the cabin lighting switched on. Great baggage seen in the compartments and with the passengers on board we are ready to depart to Kirkwall. Engine start is quite easy. Ignition "on" for each engine and make sure the fuel and feather/prop levers are forward, then flick the starter switch on which engine you want to start. The process is automatic and it will take a little while to turn over and power up. You will need a little power to get the aircraft moving, but in the taxi mode it is quite easy to control, just make sure to control the taxi speed. Lighting is fine with two landing lights in the wings and a small taxi light on the front nose gear. It's not brilliant but good enough for what you need. The landing lights will work on/off by the X-Plane menu (set on my joystick), but the taxi light has to be switched off manually... which means a visit to the overhead panel every time to just do that. You set the flaps by the positioner on the overhead panel and the flap position is shown on the central window strut. The system is not notched but a continuous linear movement up or down, so you can set them where you like within the flap range of 0º to 40º Most aircraft are built to a compromise. In the Twin Otter's case it is it's low speed and STOL (Short,TakeOff and Landing) capabilities. These aspects are great in their right situations, but can work against you in other areas. In the Twin Otters case it is its speed and climbing ability, so this aircraft is not going to win any awards in either of those areas. That huge tail works against you in other ways as well. I found the aircraft is not great in cross winds, so taking off in a stiff crosswind North Sea breeze is going to make the aircraft a handful. You will have your work cut out at low speeds until that tail starts to bite the air. So your yoke is a blur and your working the throttle to get the best compromise of keeping the aircraft sorta straight. Once you get to a certain built up movement of speed the aircraft settles down quite nicely and once in the air is also nice and easy under the yoke and rudders. You are not going to do aerobatic turns or somersaults in a utility aircraft like this but it will turn and climb well within reason. A small annoyance is that after leaving the runway the wheels will continue to rotate? they will go on turning like this for ages unless you use your brakes to stop them, If you do use the brake then make sure that it is off again to land... or you may go and burst your tyres. If you have looked closely at the Collins AP106 system you will notice there is no V/S (Vertical Speed) button or V/S climb or descend knob? The Collins system does not use that type of system to climb or descend, instead it works this way. You set your speed and pitch (usually at 1000fpm) and then turn on the Collins AP system by the switch, then to activate you then press the IAS (speed) button to maintain the climb (pitch) and lock in the speed you have chosen. The aircraft maintains the pitch and holds that speed, and once it has settled its position you can actually change the pitch up or down by using more or less throttle... but the speed stays the same. It works quite well once you are familiar with how it works and how it adjusts your pitch, the tricky part is getting the right pitch and speed to be locked in at the right point so the transition from manual control to auto control is smooth and the aircraft does not go nose down and then pick up speed to adjust itself. At first I didn't like it or was simply not used to that way of adjusting my climbing vertical speed. But time and practise and I can now easily set the system smoothly, it is just getting both pitch and speed correct. As the aircraft climbs and the speed stays constant then the vertical speed will adjust to the power available and your pitch will decrease from usually 1000fpm to around 500fpm, and it works very well when you are used to it. You set the "ALT ALERT" on the panel to tell the system when the set altitude (8500ft) is achieved and the aircraft will then level off and release the throttle hold, you then need to adjust your throttle speed to the airspeed you require. The speed band is quite small with 90knts minimum and 140knts the usual cruising speed or 160kts if you are really lucky. Once in the (slow) cruise Scotland turned on an early cold morning soft misty light show. And as the sun rose more I headed north. The cockpit is a nice place to be. You work hard in the office of the Twin Otter, but the rewards are there. Those big Pratt & Whitney PT6A-27 turbine turboprop engines are right there powering away in the background. Sound from them is not extreme but still constantly slightly high. Overall the sound is very good but not exceptional. Sound is also 3D directional and non-adjustable. With the Scottish Mainland behind me I headed up to Wick and then the islands started to flow under the aircraft. Close up detail of the aircraft in flight shows good detailing of the wings, tail and I like the external metal plates that strengthen the hold of the wings on to the fuselage... gives you good feeling that they won't blow off. Arriving at my first port of call in Kirkwall, Shetland and I found it difficult to lose height? Pulling back the power and pushing the yoke full forward still means the aircraft was slow to drop down, holding the IAS button on and no power didn't work either? I finally got the aircraft down to a 1000ft and studied Kirkwall below from a bypass, before looping back around to RWY27. I had good reasons to check out the lay of the land, as the blustery North Sea wind at Aberdeen was now a full blown gale of 20kts, I didn't so much land at EGPA but crab in totally sideways. The low Twin Otter 75knt landing speed gives you more space and it is very wide. once down reverse propeller thrust can stop you within a very short distance, it looks and sounds great from the cockpit as well. I was down and my passengers still were on friendly terms with me as well. But I was not happy with my approach or landing at all, at least the route did not end here so I would get more chances to put things right. It was mostly going to be all over water to the next stop at Sumburgh (EGPB) lower Shetland. And almost when I had reached my height of 12,500ft and as quick as a throwback of a dram of Scotch the weather turned even worse and darker. I climbed more up to 10,000ft to get above the cloud tops, but the Twotter did what it was best at... just kept on Twottering along. Liveries There is not a great selection of liveries, because the Twin Otter has so many operators it would be impossible to cover even a few of the best... The painters are going to have a field day with this aircraft. There are seven liveries, two white in clean and dirty, A British Airways, British Antarctic Survey and Royal Canadian Forces designs and a Maldivian Air Taxi. The other one is the Flybe livery in use. It was time to descend and I checked out the manual to see if I had done anything wrong, as this Collins AP system is quite different from the standard V/S versions. Well I had missed something and that was you had to not only set your throttles to idle... but also feather your propellers as well? I did this and down slowly I descended. It was odd (and slightly disconcerting) just having the props just windmilling around out there with only the sound of the wind showing you your speed. You have to get you distance to height right as you drop usually at 1000ft per minute. I found that if you adjust your feather angle (I have mine set up on my keyboard) you could adjust the pitch from 1000ft to 200ft per minute to get the best glide down. The IAS switch on the Collins has to be on and you select the "MDA" button (minimum descent altitude) to target the set altitude like you did earlier before when going up. I pulled the throttle power back in to give me more power as the MDA reached clickoff point to get a smooth transition from descending to powered forward flight. Down at 1500ft I couldn't see anything in front of me though the foggy windows, and I knew on the approach to EGPB that there was a big dirty mountain of a rocky point to the left of me. I saw it finally through the gloom and used the ILS Horizontal Situation Indicator alignment to guide me to end of the runway 09. The ILS beam is actually offset on RWY09 and too tricky to use in these conditions, so I just used the beam to align the Twin Otter with the runway and flew down the runway to get the correct bearing and wind direction, which I found that RWY33 would give me a direct approach with the wind directly behind me which is hard enough, but at least the bluster is not throwing me stupidly sideways. A clear 90º to 90º circuit to RWY33 and the approach was perfect and I was soon down and parked up. The Twin Otter comes with full systems including Electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, Anti-Ice and Fuel System. Return to Aberdeen Dyce was a straight through route. So I set up the Garmin GNS to cover all the bases including a few waypoints over the water section. I like to fly VOR to VOR but here I wanted to test out the NAV gps system. My route was just under 250nm and I was going to fly at 12.500ft. Just a quick ride home was the idea... but coming over Kirkwall you could see my problem? I had a 22knt headwind, and at that point only a 120knt groundspeed, it was going to take hours to get back to EGPD and it did. But that is not a bad thing in here. I just sat back and enjoyed the flight back, I had become quite smitten with this aircraft and you can see easily why it is so popular. Over Wick I turned out over the North Sea and headed for the Scottish mainland. Once the coast was in view I was ready to feather the props and pull back the power and head down to the coast to fix "NOBAL" then down the coast to Aberdeen/Dyce NDB "ATF" which gives you an almost 160º turnback to runway 34. As with everthing else today I was not going to get off easily as there was another heavy crosswind approach to the airport, but by now I was pretty confident of my abilities to touch this Twotter down as smoothly as possible. Wind, it had caused me havoc today, but I had flown well and the smile on my face proved all the hard work had not been in vain. There are four variants in the RWDesigns Twin Otter package... The standard version as flown above. A "Float" version. A "Ski" version with large ski's on the wheels. And a "Tundra" large tyre version. Summary At its heart the DHC-6 Twin Otter is a bush pilot's aircraft. It was built in Canada for the Canadian wilderness, and that makes it a tough no nonsense sort of machine. Speed is not the issue here, getting in and out of tight areas in bad weather with passengers and cargo is what it does best. At first it is an aircraft that will take a bit of time to master, that Collins autopilot is different but interesting and also quite easy once you understand it and use it. By the time this review was completed I found how much I really like this aircraft. It has some small comparisons to the FlyJSim Dash 8 in that it is an aircraft to master to fly really, really well. But once you get there it rewards you. As a design the Twin Otter is excellent from RWDesigns, but remember this developer is still very new to X-Plane (They also designed the A330 last year), and few areas still need some polishing. The missing COMM2/VOR2/NAV2 radio is strange when you have two COMM1/NAV1 settings with the one already in the GNS530. There are no menus and they are really required for the door operations, likewise there are no static ground objects that would go very well with the aircraft. Liveries are few, but good and some modeling work is still a bit chunky and some panels are bare and not textured, like the bulkhead behind the pilots and parts of the cabin... the wipers are a bit chunky as well. But where it is good it very good... The panel and instruments are excellent and so is all the switchgear including the equipment designs. Overall the modeling is very good and this is certainly the quality Twin Otter we have all been waiting for. Detailing is very good and the aircraft is a challenge to fly like a professional. As an investment the Jetsim Twin Otter is a great addition to your flying career, if you like to fly around the tough areas of the world like Alaska, Africa, Northern Europe and Australia... then this aircraft is invaluable to have. My first reaction on first seeing the Twin Otter was "wow, finally a great usable Twotter.... I love it" Now after spending sometime with the aircraft "I really love it!".... It is a great aircraft. The de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter -300 Series by RWDesigns is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : DHC-6 Otter 300 Series and is priced at only US$27.95 Features: High-Resolution 3D Model 3D Cockpit Hi Res 4K textures Full 3D exterior model HD Night Lighting Interchangable liveries between versions. 7 paint schemes Custom Prop/Engine sounds Custom Systems Programmed Radios Customized GNS 530 Custom airfoils and flightmodel Custom electrical and de-Icing systems Installation : Download is 273.70mb that is unzipped to 368.80mb. And a Serial Number is required for installation. Documents : DHC-6 AOM (Aircraft Operating Manual) and DHC-6 Flight Tutorial _____________________________________________________________________________________ Requirements: X-Plane 10.30+. Windows, Mac Linux 4Gb RAM. 1Gb+ VRAM Video card Serial Number required during installation RWDesigns - Are the same team that brought you the A330 _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 20th February 2015 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 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 10.35 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose - Soundlink Mini Scenery - EGPD Aberdeen Dyce for XP10 4.1 by anthony_d (X-Plane.Org) - Free - EGPA Kirkwall Airport 2.3 by dkm (X-Plane.Org) - Free - EGPB Sumburgh (sorry I can't find this original scenery?) EGPB is however included the X-Plane "Global Airports" 10.35b2 - Final Frontier version 10.2 by Tom Curtis (X-Plane Store $24.95) X-PlaneReviews review of Tom Curtis's "Final Frontier" here: Developer Update : Final Frontier version 10.2 by Tom Curtis
  40. 1 point
    Aircraft Review : x737project v5.0 by European Aircraft Developer Team (EADT) The x737project goes a long way more than just being a project to design and create one of the all time great versions of the Boeing 737NG or Series -800 aircraft. It is and always has been a project that became the soul of the X-Plane simulator. It is created by self-less and inspired creative people that not only spend a lot of time in creating brilliant work but are also willing to do the work for free and for the good of not only the simulator, but to every one who dares to dream in flying in this one of the most successful aircraft ever built. It has to date been over a decade since the original first x737 version was released in X-Plane 864, yes that is X-Plane Version 8® (v8 was released in 2004) and it is still available for download if you want to see the original release from the EADT site. That is well even before my time in the simulator so I have no recollections on what that aircraft was like back then, but I knew when I first downloaded the x737 in X-Plane9® that this was something special and why the simulation bug bit hard in the fact that aircraft like with this level of quality was available and could be easily downloaded for nothing. But to a point that the x737 is free or not, it is in my eyes always been in the level of payware in quality and I never saw or classified the aircraft as freeware and it is and has always been in the realm of payware and I respect that and cover this review in that aspect, and you can donate to the project (details below) and give your respects to the time and commitment that has delivered to X-Plane the latest and certainly in this the greatest update release in the aircraft's history in Version 5 (v5.0). Externally the x737 is identical to the current v4 series that most X-Plane users have downloaded. The external fuselage is not changed in any aspect and really there is no need for that as the original aircraft design is very good and delivers a highly detailed quality aircraft. One external change is that the x737 can now use 4K HD (High-Definition) textures for liveries and with the v5.0 release they can also be downloaded from the EADT site along with an amazing collection of over 200 liveries for really any part of the world and for most of the operating airlines for the aircraft. As the x737 has been around for what seems eons and is used by so many X-Plane users. Then the aircraft does have a lot of extra freeware support to surround it. Payware add-ons also accommodate the aircraft and one of the best is the JARDesign Ground Services plugin that with my own (QF) Qantas livery you can service the aircraft in getting ready for departure in perfect realism. A new notable feature with v5 is you now have opening lower cargo hatches with internal baggage inside, and it is with great realism to set out your ground services to do the work for you. So far the x737 seems to be your old same favorite that already subsides in your aircraft folder... But go onto the flightdeck and then you will notice the v5 is absolutely nothing like the one in your aircraft folder! That old central 2d cockpit screen is gone and it has been totally replace by an amazing 3d virtual cockpit that will make you just cry with excitement (well I did!) The old famous central 2d panel has sadly been relegated to the past. It was just not compatible with the new functional 3d cockpit. It is not just that the virtual cockpit is very good, but there is a very different feel to the cockpit as well. Nothing in X-Plane currently is like this cockpit in its look and feel. It is modern, very high quality and very sharp right down to the smallest details, and even better than payware! Yes the design here is well within the sort of aircraft US$50 price range that you expect on the X-Plane.OrgStore. To highlight the sheer depth of design and detail you have in this x737, then lets look at the crew seats, as they move! Not only do they move but are also fully adjustable on their tracks in a forward and backwards motion, the backrests can be also adjusted forward and backwards as well.... and even adjustable are the headrests! Side armrests can be stowed or lowered and note that dropped under the seat company Visa card that you will need for paying for the fuel. Fussy and still not happy with your seating position... Then you can also adjust your rudder pedals for reach via the centre turn handle. The Boeing 737 has a unique iconic pedestal. And EADT have recreated the design in all its glory, beautifully rendered and detailed the mechanisms are a sight to behold and you just wish that this 3d cockpit was 3d real world to touch and use. Levers click and move with metallic precision and those huge trim wheels do trim and whirr magnificently in flight. note here is that the x737's trim is separate from the X-Plane's version so you can't use the standard X-Plane settings to use it, but you can still set up your keyboard to adjust the trims via the provided settings if you wish. The engine and APU fire panel is well executed and fully workable. Radio console is excellent but still a bit bare in areas, it is missing the lateral trim, HGS, Cargo Fire and weather radar panels. No doubt they will come later as they are not currently essential. The overhead panel is complete. Every switch and every dial is there and all are extremely well done, perfect in fact. All systems are active including hydraulics, electrical, environment, bleed, lighting and APU. Switches can be pushed and twisted with clever manipulators, like with the engine start switches. The hardest thing to convey here is how different this panel is in use and feel, everything is very well done and very efficient and smooth in its operation, in be it a switch or a dial that needs movement. x737FMC You can buy from EADT an add-on for the x737 in a fully working FMC (Flight Management Computer) by Javier Cortes. This plugin has been completely designed for the x737 aircraft and the FMC is also fully intergrated into the aircraft. If not installed you have the standard X-Plane default FMC in its place. This fully working xFMC has been updated for the new 3d virtual cockpit and has had new features added into the system. This route is from YBCG (Gold Coast) to YMML (Melbourne). Qantas - QF881 SID and STAR's can be inserted and in this case you are using APAGI2 (APAGI) for departure and LIZID2 (LIZZI) for Arrival. Route waypoints are easy to insert and you can save the route when filed or EXEC (EXECuted) for an easy load next flight. Aircraft PERF (Performance) including N1 and Takeoff/Approach Ref's (References) can also be inserted with the settings intergrated with the aircraft's autopilot systems. On the keypad there is no radio button to get access to the RADIO functions, but it is there in the Menu index under "Nav Status" The essential PROG (Progress) page is very good with secondary Nav (waypoint) information also available. x737FMC does pop-out for ease of use, but I prefer to use the pedestal version to be closer to the Nav display. There are some tricks (mostly in updating or EXEC) in completing certain inputs like SID and STAR inputs, so you really need to read and follow the manual and video's to tune yourself into the system as it is not as forgiving as some built in FMC's. Overall the x737FMC adds in a great dimension to the x737 project aircraft. Menus The standard x737 menu is still there and basically the same with the pop-up overheads panel still usable, but really they are redundant now with the full 3d overhead panel to use. Only additions are the two front and rear lower cargo doors. Fuel request is still the same and a procedure that needs a stick-it note in your eyeline. Forget to put enough of the go A-1 spirit and you can not add in the fuel later in flight... Okay hands up who has done a long glide down to nowhere by running out of fuel! Guilty m'lord as charged! Add in the JARDesign Ground service fuel truck for added realism when refueling the aircraft... perfect. Walkround Time to go, and a quick walkaround confirms that the x737 is still one one of the best Boeing's in X-Plane. Certainly years of refinement has been done here, but the aircraft has always been really great in detail and in any lighting conditions. The x737 does not come with a pushback feature. So i use JARDesign's great iTow plugin, which works extremely well with the aircraft. Starting the engines on pushback is the normal now... APU running and the bleed is set, fuel valves to idle and a turn to GRD for each engine gives you that familiar whine in the background, but it is not the usual x737 start up sounds you are hearing here. All sounds are now directional and have been completely redone for v5.0 and the difference is really very good and to excellent compared to the original sound packs. Startup is very good, and so is takeoff, but at altitude those noises are the standout sounds here which are really, really good and very realistic and complete with those lovely whirring trim sounds. Flaps set to 5º and the x737 flap and leading edge spoiler arrangements are still very good. Taxi to RWY14 is cleared by the tower and a nudge of the throttles and we are moving. You can adjust the POV (Point of View) on the fly by grabbing the central windscreen column, and pulling it backwards or forwards. Quick and much easier than delving into the X-Plane settings. You set the LNAV to "ARM" and advance the throttles to full power. Ref callouts are good and you rotate around 165knts (155knts + 10) "Positive climb" and you find even with a full gross weight you can climb at 2500-3000fpm, most users know the x737 backwards, but the FMC does give you more options and those great takeoff Ref's, then climb settings. In full climb you love the sounds and feel of this great aircraft, it is in no doubt the huge extra dimension that the 3d virtual cockpit give you with the x737, it is magnificent. The CTR function gives you three modes in the NAV (Navigation display) in forward, rose and rose + altitude, which gives you a reference to your climb and height to altitude. Target altitude for V/S (Vertical Speed) is always a useful tool for set climbs and descents, one small annoyance is the below altitude warning that goes off (sometimes for no reason). switching over to manual and resetting the altitude will stop it going off, the horn (silence) is a button to the left. Panel lighting knobs are behind the yoke (two more on the overhead). great design on the yoke with the built in trim buttons... and yes they work! Main panel displays are superb, in clarity maybe some of the very best in X-Plane. The red line with the x737FMC installed is very slightly noticeable, but not distracting. Overall the PFD (Primary Flght Display), NAV (Navigation) Display are fully adjustable in position and totally functional. Slight annoyance is the VOR/NDB waypoints are overridden by the waypoints until you get to 80nm line, so clogging up the display on arrival when you need a clear screen and the approach NDB waypoints. Central upper display shows Fuel, Primary and Secondary Engine Indications in full, sadly the lower display does not have the secondary engine indications but just the aircraft situation page, which can make it look empty and well... useless in flight, once the wheels are up. Sadly we just can't cover each item on the panel in detail here, but everything you see is switchable and fully functionable, this is the best B737-800 glass panel you now have in X-Plane. Glareshield autopilot and EFIS control panels (left and right) are excellent and again fully functional. Highlight of the 3d virtual cockpit are the manipulators. They have been uniquely created and are quite different an very easy to use. vertical and horizontal movements will allow you easily change the knobs requirements. Could they be too loose? Some users might not like them or even hate them, but I am in the love them camp as they can be so easily moved to set your requirements, going from 34,500ft to 7,000ft is just an easy slide down... brilliant. Other working manipulators are small arrows that are again very easy to use and are very effective. NAV display shows the X-Plane weather WXR very well on the display, with great smooth movement and detail to avoid those storms. I recommend as does EADT the use of SimCoders HeadShake plugin (Free), it is very good but use with the settings in the low positions for realism. The x737 has a sort of weird shake of its own, a slight movement that needs attention and so the two together can be too much movement. But HeadShake is worthy at the takeoff and landing phases for total realism. Overall this cockpit is the place to be, still do you note this 3d cockpit as freeware? No doubt the best freeware possibly ever created. Note the rear of the cockpit and the fuse panels. All panels are extremely detailed and beautiful to look over. Small things like the grab handles are also animated. Another feature is the x737 now has split scimitar winglets. Already famous is Aviation Partners when they formed a joint venture with Boeing, called Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) to license the Blended Winglet Technologyfuel system which can enable a 737-800 to increase its payload up to 2,500 pounds or increase its range up to 75 nautical miles. By adding in a new Scimitar (STC) tipped ventral strake. This more advanced modification demonstrated approximately 2% drag reduction over the original basic Blended Winglet configuration. Coming soon to an airport near you. You can add in the new scimitar winglets to any livery, and you can change from the Blended Winglet to the newer Scimitar Winglet by just changing to the livery you require. Arrival at Melbourne is gloomy, but not my mood. Entrance to RWY27 is via STAR LIZZI to EPP NDB approach via MAITE waypoint. A simple arrival but requires the correct height (high hills at LIZZI) and speed to get it right. It was only a few years ago when I came into X-Plane that 3d virtual cockpits were a rarity, now you really would not fly without being in one... but not in your wildest dreams back then would you expect this sort of detail and design around you. This review is a strange thing really as this aircraft has been available for so long and flown. But the strange aspect of it all is the x737 is to a point a very different animal than the aircraft you have used for almost a decade now, not only in feel, but visually and in those great heightened awareness with those new sounds. With this completeness even the exterior feels different because you know how changed now it all is on the inside. You do get a completely different experience from the v5 x737. Lighting Cockpit lighting is as dramatic and as good as everything else on this new version. That newness of feel again comes to the fore as you gasp at the beautiful design of all the lighting highlights. Lighting is fully adjustable, on the panel (highlights both main panel and glareshield) and instrument and switch illumination. Only missing feature is the instrument and switch illumination does not work in the day, which I find strange with all the rest of the detailing as it would look as amazing as it does at night... you really miss it. The lighting highlights here are the two roof mounted spot lights (one for the captain and one for the first officer) that are controlled by side knobs that give you at a switch full brightness or adjustable manipulators, great stuff. You can very easily find that perfect ambience and clear vision for night flying (even lowering the monitor brightness) to get that perfect clear view out for landing... It is great stuff. External lighting is the same as the v4, and is very good. Liveries There are four HD (High-Definition) liveries with the download: TUI, American Airlines - One World, QF Qantas (Wagga Wagga) and SAA - South African Airlines (Fly SAA.Com). There are of course 200+ liveries that can be downloaded from the EADT Liveries site. Cabin The bulkhead behind the cockpit is still a work in progress, but you can already see the end result in quality. Cabin is stock x737. One of the great things to do with the x737 is to tailor it to your own requirements. Here on this aircraft I have created the QF interior in the cabin, and the aircraft looks all the better for it. It is a bit bright in the cabin, but still better than nothing. More cabin details from EADT are yet to come. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Summary The release of v5.0 to the x737 Project is another significant milestone of one of the greatest projects ever started in X-Plane. The aim in not only delivering this great 3d virtual cockpit, but to go way above the cause and design the cockpit to such a high quality and really deliver not only a fully-functional cockpit, but also one that delivers some landmark making design features as well. It would have been so easy to have taken the easy road and just done a basic working virtual cockpit. But to deliver greatness is a testament to Benedikt Stratmann and Pierre Stone's skills and sheer devotion to the cause with all the EADT team in designing the aircraft for over a decade, no doubt this is their finest hour and they deserve it. A small note in that although this release is a major milestone, the aircraft is not totally complete with this release, it is still an ongoing project and small things, bugs and future features will continue to be fixed or completed, your feedback is important but don't criticize in the fact that you expect it in this v5 to be a complete final design because it isn't and the x737 should always be viewed in that way. It is also a note that this updated v5 design comes with a significant frame-rate kick. Surprisingly the new 3d virtual is very efficient, but the older outer skin of the exterior is not as good, so all this quality comes at a price. So it is my recommendation that you will need a powerful computer to get the full experience and certainly with HDR on at night. Reducing texture settings does not help either, it is really quite heavy on your computer processing power, but EADT will work on that aspect as already some efficiency work has already been done. There is something quite more to the x737 project than it just being a free download and a great aircraft. It is of the communities love and involvement of this and other projects that signifies the heart and soul of why we love X-Plane. To create the best and to enjoy that though collaboration and the sheer involvement that together we can do something great and all share in the benefits. You can share as well by donating to the x737 Project cause, this not payware, but you are getting payware quality and even a small token of your gratitude can be shown by tipping your hat to the sheer volume of work and discipline of the aircraft you can download here. If you thought you loved the x737 before... now you will be overwhelmed by why we fly X-Plane. The best simulator out there. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Although the aircraft will be free to download, there are several ways (to ease the guilt) of repaying the team for all this excellent work. You can make a donation to EADT here : Donate for the x737 Project! Or purchase the excellent x737 add on in Javier Cortes x737FMC which a custom fully built in FMC made for just this x737 aircraft. This plugin will be totally updated to v5.0 for this significant release. The X-Plane.Org is a proud sponsor of this x737 project and has supported the project since its inception almost 10 years ago. For more information go to the EADT x737 website here: x737 Project for X-Plane Download the x737 v5.0 here: x737Project - EADT Requirements X-Plane 10.45+ Mac/Windows/Linux 32/64bit are all supported Installation and documents: Download for the x737 is 160.00meg and the unzipped file is deposited in the "Heavy Aircraft" X-Plane folder at 380.40mb. A README (important) and Quickstart manual, excellent set of three flight planning manuals. There is also a huge amount of downloadable manuals and details for flying the B738. One of the best is here at SmartCockpit _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 1st May 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews 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 : Headshake plugin Pay Addons: JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin - US$14.95 and JARDesign Tug Master Deluxe - US$9.95 Scenery or Aircraft - YBCG - Gold Coast by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free - YMML - Melbourne by ISDG (X-Plane.Org) - Free - Winner best scenery 2014
  41. 1 point
    Aircraft Update - Coming! : Challenger C300 10.50 by DDen DDen has announced that his Challenger 300 Private Jet will have a 10.50 makeover. The developer always does a quick update to his aircraft once the latest X-Plane version goes final, but there are a few nice extra tweak's coming along here as well. The upgrade will have an upgraded version of DDen's excellent "Reflections Plugin", the one now is very good, but a little too over shiny. Those amazing cabin and cockpit textures will get even better with new techniques in textures and lighting... Internal natural cabin light with overhead lighting off is improved (nice) Cockpit gets the same treatment and a better feel... ... textures are improved for better resolution at lower levels. The flight model will have a tune-up as well... DDen's updates are usually very quick, and to keep informed on the progress of the update then go to the 10.50 dev page here: Update for 10.50+ in the works on the X-Plane.Org. ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 1st September 2016 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews 2016
  42. 1 point
    The complexity of FMC's varies model by model, and possibly it's an unavoidable fact of aviation life that the more FMC's can do, the more we will need to learn them on an aircraft by aircraft basis. In fact, and just like any other aircraft FMC, once the Embraer FMC becomes known to you, it becomes an familiar old friend, so just give it time, but do try to check-out the PDF I mentioned as it may give you some pointers. I once mentioned to a E-Jet Captain friend of mine about the apparent complexity (or did I mean difference?) between Boeing types and the Q400 FMC, and he said that up until he flew Embraer after Q400's, that the Dash FMC was "normal" and that he hadn't considered that other aircraft FMC were really any different. Just wait until an accurate facsimile of the Q400 Universal FMC comes into XP, there'd be no point in talking to the developer!... However, until FMC's are 100% accurately portrayed within X-Plane, we might need to apply a little bit of Boeing, Airbus or Embraer know-how into our button pushing, but in essence it is the delivery of accurate FMC's that is mission critical if developer's wish to enter the upstream market, and in this regard SSG, FlightFactor, and even IXEG have work to do, some more than others, but as it is, they are mostly doing OK, just a few more tweaks and we will be there, of that I am sure. BTW, I am not discussing the intention of delivering fully fledged FMC's, I am considering what we have right now. We are seeing improvements everywhere. are we not?
  43. 1 point
    Hi we make planes for XP because we loves it, don't take it for this side , not all is money, Expend too much money if you don't care for systems and a complete FMC with SID,STAR, APP, plus a very fine flight dynamics don't make much sense. We will keep updating our products, may one day you will get ours . thanks
  44. 1 point
    Fab10

    What's next for Flyjsim?

    Fitting XFMC into the FJS B732 VC would seem to be logical. Not that I can remember precisely where, but there's a nagging thought in my head that suggests his Q400 is next in line for a revamp. Now that would be very welcome news!
  45. 1 point
    News! - Scenery Released! - LFKC Calvi (Corsica) Airport by Aerosoft Aerosoft have release an Corsican scenery with Calvi Airport in Sainte Catherine in the North-West of the Island. Calvi - Sainte Catherine (CLY / LFKC) is located in a beautifully embedded valley 6km to the south-east of the town of Calvi. Features Include: Realistic rendition of Calvi St. Catherine based on real life images Photo real buildings Large Aerial image with 50cm/pixel in the surroundings and 25cm/pixel on the airport, carefully fitted into the default X-Plane landscape and colour-adjusted Customized terrain, runway follows terrain Realistic reproduction of ground markings including old, painted-over markings Animated marshaller (additional plugin ‘Autogate’ required) Customized night illumination Custom made trees and forests Very good performance and implementation Animated bar on the entry of the parking lot Numerous details Changing static airplanes including wreckage to the south west Animated road traffic Recreation of the citadel of Calvi and vessel Requirements: X-Plane 10.45+ (any edition) Windows 7/8/10, OS X version 10.6.8 or later, Linux Ubuntu 12.04LTS or compatible 3 GHz, multi-core CPU (or, even better, multiple processors) 8 GB RAM - 3D graphics card with 2GB+ of on-board, dedicated VRAM Download-Size: 300 MB LFKC is a destination for for Air France, the German TUIfly, Air Berlin, Germanwings, Swiss, Luxair, HOP, Brussels Airlines and a hub for Air Corsica. The 18/36 2310m long runway is used over 2500 times a year and is is a popular destination among private pilots as it is close to the French Mainland. ______________________________________________________________________ The LFKC Calvi (Corsica) Airport by Aerosoft is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : LFKC - Calvi (Corsica) Airport Price is US$18.99 ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 22nd July 2016 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews 2016
  46. 1 point
    Stephen

    Behind the Screen : May 2016

    Behind the Screen : May 2016 How far should you go before you go too far? When is the line of obsession passed and you are in the position of complete neurosis in the fact that it could even be a serious addiction. I think I went very close to that line on a Saturday afternoon when I did actually have some spare time after a long week. Any normal person (are X-Plane users normal?) would have done something to make life fun and enjoyable, in going shopping, eating out, playing golf, watching a movie, reading or spending a nice time with the wife or girlfriend… fun things. Me no, I spent two and a half hours looking for a misguided lost object. Not a thing object like shoes, phone, hat or something made from physical atoms but a .obj in a scenery. No, as a sensible person would just yank the problem scenery out of their custom folder and fix the issue of it ruining the flight by constantly bringing up the bad scenery alert box. But this scenery is Aerosoft’s LSZR - St. Gallen–Altenrhein Airport and the problem with LSZR is that it’s position at the foot of the Swiss Alp’s would mean that the scenery was a major annoyance in that if you flew north-south over the alps, west - east from France to Austria or was flying anywhere in southern Germany, northern Italy, most parts of eastern France and any part of Switzerland then the painful annoying LSZR would ruin your flight. In the last few months I have reviewed Joe’s excellent LSGG-Geneva and Aerosoft’s excellent updated LSZH - Zurich and this damn LSZR scenery was always causing me to tear my hair out… It is in the wrong place or the right place if you like Swiss scenery. So I had to fix it. Why not just throw it away? Well it is great scenery, brilliant in fact and if you are flying over this area of which I do very regularly, then the scenery is very good there visually, certainly if you are flying VFR in a nice general aviation aircraft. There was a few terrain files but they were easily found and deleted. The main culprit however was a small .obj file called XP_LSZR_Ter_005.OBJ. I tried just deleting it, and that didn’t work, pull it out of the files and no that didn’t work either. Opening LSZR - St. Gallen–Altenrhein in WED just crashed it, and so the last resort was the venerable overlay editor. But finding a small .obj spot in a terminal building was like looking for an ant in a woolly carpet. I looked everywhere and restarted X-Plane maybe 20 or 30 times to get the still same annoying alert box… aggggh. I crawled the scenery almost pixel by pixel till I saw the tell-tale stripes of the offending .obj sitting by the entrance of the terminal. It was hard to see as the awning of the terminal hide the .obj from the direct above position, only with a slight angle and crawling bit by bit over the scenery did I finally see it, a delete, a restart and finally no alert box and all was right with my Swiss X-Plane world. But I lost a good two and a half hours of my life I won’t get back… do I need help yet? The point of all this is that you can’t cheat in fixing wayward things like this because I tried every single trick in the book, and in the end it really all came down to one thing… finding the offending .obj and then deleting it is the absolutely only way to fix it, I hope there is a lesson in there somewhere. I like things to surprise me and I got a few this month. VflyteAir’s excellent Piper Cherokee PA 28 140 was a real big one. I will be honest and when I opened the aircraft up for the first time I admit I was not very impressed, it looked average to be honest. But this amazing aircraft peeled itself back like layers of an onion and just kept on giving, and totally proves that first impressions are not always the right ones. X-Plane aircraft like that sometimes, as you are at first looking at something that you feel is quite average. But the PA28 140 is anything but average and I take my hat off the the developers in getting the aircraft so right and making it a really great aircraft to fly. You must sometimes dig deep and use some aircraft to understand how really great they are, in doing reviews you are lucky in a way because unlike just a purchaser you have to keep on going and keep on flying the machine to find out every last bit and item that makes up the package. Some are not great, they do happen… but some are amazing, and the more you dig, the more you fly you create a relationship with an aircraft that goes beyond just enjoying a product, they become part of you, when you fly, when you enjoy being high at night above your X-Plane world and just bouncing along and hoping the flight or this feeling won’t end…. You just want to fly forever (well till the fuel runs out). An aircraft doesn’t have to be the best, or the most featured or even the most expensive to find a way in to your X-Plane soul. The Avro Project is one constant that has continued for as long as I have been in X-Plane. The heart is in this aircraft, certainly it is a constant always being upgraded project that will never ever really be finished, a lot of things don’t actually work either and it is far from perfect, but a lot does work as well. But the point is that it doesn’t matter as this aircraft has soul, and it is fun to fly and it just keeps having to come back for more and more flights, and really is that what X-Plane is all about… I think so. For really never ending projects the CRJ-200 was back into my radar again with Blue Sky Star Simulations latest sound package, and wow that was that an ear opener. JRollon’s CRJ-200 and myself have a bit of a history going back over the years. I bought it years ago when the aircraft had just been released, but our relationship was… let us say rocky. It spent a lot of the last few years just sitting in the hangar and too a point I could have spent my money at the time on something more usable. I just could not get my head around the aircraft’s slow speed flying, I found it complex and confusing. I would pull it out and usually put it away again, but in my defence I never gave up on it. It was in the end the X-Plane learning curve. Learning how to program a FMS system correctly, knowing how to use the correct speeds for landing (and taking off), knowing how the aircraft’s complex systems work and on and on the learning goes. But at a point it did all come together to allow me to find myself suddenly flying the CRJ-200 well, really well and finally I could understand the accolades that the aircraft had gathered over the years. Then you add in those amazing sounds from Blue Sky Star Simulations and you can’t believe how good simulation is today, yes I admit the CRJ-200 would benefit from a little bit of updating and love from Javier, but this is still an outstanding aircraft and it dominated my flying month this past May, and I enjoyed every last minute. If you have the CRJ-200 then go and get the BSS sound package, you would be crazy not to. There is no doubt the impact that Blue Sky Star Simulations has made with these outstanding sound packages. Every aircraft these packages are released for is then amazingly transformed into a completely higher orbital level of simulation. I was not a big believer in great sound, but I have now been totally converted to the amazing aspects that these sound packages can deliver, they are not cheap, but they are certainly the best thing to have come to X-Plane in a long time. Crazy is a word sometimes on what you have to fly next in reviewing. One moment you are skimming the sky above Dallas Fort-Worth (Uncle Tom’s great DFW scenery) in Rotate’s MD-88. The next you are with wind in the hair and going full speed at 100mph in a World War One Tri-Plane! It was such a disjointing of the senses flying the Fokker dr.1, but I can’t say it wasn’t fun because it was, and a very different flying experience, and all in a day's X-Plane flying. Didn’t end there either because then next I had to then take the controls of Felis’s outstanding Tupolev Tu-154M. A great aircraft but very hard to understand in the Russian systems approach and the flying aspects as well. It will take time to learn this one and I doubt I will really be able to understanding at a realistic deep level for a few months either, but I am looking forward to the challenge as the aircraft is another great outstanding simulation for X-Plane. An observation to note… If you look at the lower left of the portal window of the X-Plane.Org you will see that the .Org now has (to last count) 385627 members, When did we just only pass the 300,000 mark, well it was just the middle of last year and that means we are now closing in on the 400,000 mark of users signed up to the simulator, granted not all are active, some even for years. But a gain of 85,000 members in not only a year means we are growing still very rapidly, and who says Simulation is dead… long live X-Plane. With this post it will be quiet around X-PlaneReviews for a week. I am taking a break and going to Tasmania, that Apple shaped island at the bottom of Australia. Flying for the first time on the B787 Dreamliner is something I am very excited about, and hey let someone else do the driving for a change, but if they need any help then ask the guy in seat 33A. I'll be back on the X-Plane ride on the 9th June. Stephen Dutton 2nd June 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews
  47. 1 point
    Aircraft Review - Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs That first flying lesson and the moment you are free to do your first solo, are two moments in your aviation career that will always be burnt hard deep into your memory. Just you and the machine and the freedom from the earth, you are flying and you now have no bounds to the earthly core below you. There are more chances than not that both of these great moments in your life will be behind the controls of this aircraft... The Cessna 172SP. It is the trainers, trainer aircraft, the workhorse of most flying clubs around the world, first flown in 1955 (nearly 60 years ago) and there are 43,000 172's scattered around the airfields of the world. They are the backbone of the General Aviation world, the Volkswagon Beetle of the plane world, the everyman's aircraft... In other words there is a lot of them and they are all part of the aviation scenery all around you. Things you did erase however out of your gilded memories are that the 172SP is morbidly slow and shockingly noisy, but lets not damage the cloud high dream. The venerable Cessna 172 started life as a tricycle landing gear variant of the taildragger Cessna 170, that had a basic level of standard equipment. In January 1955, Cessna flew an improved variant of the Cessna 170, a Continental O-300-A-powered Cessna 170C with larger elevators and a more angular tailfin. And although the variant was tested and certified, Cessna decided to modify it with a tricycle landing gear, and the modified Cessna 170C flew again on 12 June 1955. To reduce the time and cost of certification, the type was added to the Cessna 170 type certificate that then became known as the Model 172. Later, the 172 was given its own type certificate, 3A12. The 172 became an overnight sales success, and over 1,400 were built in 1956, in its first full year of production. Early 172s were similar in appearance to the 170s, with the same straight aft fuselage and tall landing gear legs, although the 172 had a straight tailfin while the 170 had a rounded fin and rudder. Then later 172 versions incorporated revised landing gear and the swept-back tailfin, which is still in use today. The final aesthetic development incorporated in the mid-1960s, was a lowered rear deck allowing an aft window. Cessna advertised this added rear visibility as the "Omni-Vision.", and Cessna has not changed the airframe configuration since then, except for updates in avionics and engines, including the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit in 2005. Production halted in the mid-1980s, but resumed in 1996 with the 160 hp (120 kW) Cessna 172R Skyhawk. Cessna supplemented this in 1998 with the 180 hp (135 kW) Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP. AirfoilLabs This C172SP is the first design from Czech studio AirfoilLabs. And being a new design from a new direction it is quite a different feel from most X-Plane standard aircraft. No doubt the starting brief was to create the most outstanding C172SP in X-Plane, and the aircraft is nothing but highly ambitious in creating that standard and refinement. But even at this point the skill and quality is there and there is no doubt about that and certainly AirfoilLabs are another welcome addition to the X-Plane world. Cessna 172SP X-Plane comes with a default Cessna 172SP and it has already a 3d cabin and controls, It is very good and of course free if you have purchased the simulator. For many this aircraft is their first introduction to the simulator, but most new users will usually fly the huge default Boeing 747 which is a really silly thing to do as the aircraft requires a little experience with all that weight and heavy aircraft flying characteristics, and I am as guilty as everyone there. The aircraft comes in three versions: Low-res : Medium-res : High-res Which is the weight of the textures in low/med/high in quality. The first thing you notice is that the aircraft is heavy, not only in the download but in the simulator and that is the penalty that comes with quality. No doubt that AirfoilLabs are aware of that and so hence the three choices, and the "Low" is well too low, in blurry texture writing on the panel and liveries, and the high is for only people that have computers that are run directly off nuclear power stations. So the "Medium" is the best compromise and that is what we are flying here. First impressions are of a highly detailed design and the forementioned quality, no doubt this is an excellent 172SP. Detailing is deep and significant, with ribs, great paneling, riveting and the whole lot of screws and bolts holding the aircraft together. Glass is first rate and the whole machine has a real authentic look from the start. For a first time effort it is a very good design. The aircraft is fuselage full of features, there is a lot on the aircraft. But we will start with the menus. The five "Menu" tabs are situated left centre of your screen. They represent (Q) Quickstart - (C) Camera - (P) Payload and Fuel - (S) Settings and (E) Engine Service Panel We will start with the (C) Camera because it is important to understand the view system. In X-Plane you use a view system that is mostly set by using your keyboard to represent a certain view and your position inside and outside of the aircraft. The AirfoilLabs view system mostly over rules that feature by taking control of your views and giving you certain actions within that view field. That can cause some conflict between the two systems as we will see. But the way you should approach the views is to say be inside the AirfoilLabs views or out of them. The idea is to give you a full view and control of the aircraft, it is very clever but has some restrictions. On the (C) Camera menu you press the "Go Outside" box to go into the system and that is noted by the notice at the bottom of your screen " Manipulation Mode Active" you can still use you left- right and forward - back movement keys to move around but they are slower (even with the -Shift double speed pressed down). But you can then also access the many active zones all over the aircraft that are represented by the hand, press the zone areas on the forward upper and lower engine cowling panels, and there is a whirr of bolts coming off and the panel then split and rest on the ground in front of the aircraft and reveals the internal uprated Lycoming IO-360-L2A (200hp - 149kW). The beautifully constructed but fragile looking Lycoming is very well detailed and a great feature. These active zones are positioned all over the aircraft. To check your fuel, you press on the step on either the side of the aircraft, and you are lifted onto the wing and the fuel tank cap rotates off. You can then adjust the fuel load of each tank via the menu. Pressing on the flap on the cowling will show you the oil stick. You can pull (manoeuvre) the aircraft by pressing on the front strut and pulling the handle and there are check items on the wheel covers. All static items like tie-downs (wings/rear) wheel chocks, pitot cover can be individually attached or hidden. (note: when starting the aircraft and giving the aircraft throttle you may wonder why? It doesn't actually move?, it is usually the wheel chocks are still in place, but to remove them you have shutdown the engine again and move outside to do so, move again back inside and then restart the engine) Doors (Pilot's and Co-Pilot) can be opened by pressing on the latch and so can the baggage door to the rear. All move-able surfaces can be checked on the walk-around, by placing the hand on the surface, items that can be checked (they move for you) are the flaps, ailerons, rear elevators and rudder. A lot of the items noted will only work if you are close to them, any distance and they don't work... the oil stick is quite hard to animate. From the menu you can connect an external GPU (Ground Power Unit) but only if the cowling is on the aircraft, again you press the small hatch (left high) to connect. Get close to the door and the internal cabin is extremely well done, only the rudder pedals are a bit too shiny and not worn for my liking. The seating is well done and the internal fittings are first rate, the aircraft is however not grubby and tired like you find in an Carenado, but still very good. The panel is very authentic and well done, highly realistic. To get into the aircraft you press the centre of the seat and with that you are in the pilots seat. To get out again you press the step on the wheel support. Both actions are on the view "menu" and Pilot will put you in the drivers seat and Go Outside will put you on the ground again. You realize sorta quickly that you are a little restricted? you can rotate and angle up or down but not move actually left-right or up-down like you can with the X-Plane keys. To move you have to use the view menu and go to that position. You do get used to it... in time, but you feel restricted overall. A fellow user that tried the system hated it, and if it gets confused with the X-Plane system you get a bad shudder and no more movement is possible. An escape from the shudder is press your X-Plane "Cinema Verite" key or (view) menu option, it is the only one that works? In the rear it is nice and cosy back there. And the door can be closed by touching the catch, the window opens on both doors as well and the external sounds go up or down with them open or closed. A nice touch is when the engine is running the doors and windows if opened will vibrate in the slipstream and can't be fully opened, but will thankfully close. The (C)-Camera (views) menu covers a lot of options internally (including the various equipment views) and externally. The POV (Point of View) can be adjusted to get the best position and that is usually a required adjustment as it is too far back. Panel and Instruments This being a trainer then the panel is set out in a basic configuration, just the main flight instruments front and centre. But the aircraft and instruments are not basic, basic... there is a bit of power in there to do more than circuits. The standard six instruments ( Airspeed Indicator, Attitude Indicator or Artificial Horizon, Altimeter, Turn Coordinator and Vertical Speed Indicator) are large and clear as they should be. Below is the engine RPM dial. To left are the four clear engine instruments in Fuel (both left and right tanks), EGT (exhaust gas temperature) and fuel flow, Oil pressure and Temperature and VAC (Vacuum) and AMP (amperage). In a bit of modernity there is up at the top a digital display for Temp, Volt and timer. Right of the Standard Six are two CDI (course deviation indicator) for VOR OBS (Nav2) and NDB direction, a third (top) is a ILS alignment vertical and Horizontal) dial (Nav1). Top of the panel is the NAV/GPS switch. And on the Co-Pilots side you get just a large clock. Lower panel is the main key start switch, Power switches (master) and Avionics power switches. Set out between are the seven switches for lights, pitot heating and fuel pump. All the relevant push/pull fuses work, so don't mess around with them. Lower centre is your panel lighting, throttle and mixture push/pull knobs, (note the small "lean" knob between the throttle and mixture knobs) flap lever is to the right in four positions 0º... 10º, 20º, 30º. A large lovely trim wheel is beautifully done and nice to use On the floor is a fuel tank selector (all or left/right tanks) and fuel cut off push/pull knob. The central equipment stack is quite comprehensive for a small trainer (and making the aircraft more powerful and versatile). So as we turn on the power and avionic power then the Eq Stack starts up. It is becoming common now in X-Plane to switch on individually the separate radio sets and you do so here as well. It is a full Benedix/King suite with the standard X-Plane Garmin GNS430 GPS. Top to bottom is the standard COMM KMA 26 TSO, then the Garmin GPS which is also your COMM 1 and VOR 1 settings. The KX165A radio is your COMM 2 and VOR 2 set that works in conjunction with the very bottom KN62A for VOR distance, speed and time to the set waypoint. Then your KR87 is the ADF and flight time unit and the XPDR (Transponder) is a KT76C. The autopilot is a comprehensive KAP 140 which we will come back to later, but all the equipment radio sets are excellent to use and are very authentic. A nice detailed compass sits mid central pillar. On the (P) Payload and Fuel menu there are a few options in setting up the aircraft for flight. If you don't want to go scrabbling over the wings to put fuel in the aircraft then you can do so here, and adjust the oil quantity. You can add or takeout baggage in the small compartment behind the cabin and choose not only if you want a passenger but also very cleverly both the pilots and co-pilots weight in five settings, and the full payload and gross weight of the aircraft is shown. You can adjust both front seats front and back which is a nice touch and gives you a set up your right position feeling. Yoke is beautiful, certainly it is an added bonus if you have a Yoke and Rudder pedal set up, you can hide both yokes if you want more of a panel view, but they are nice to have in view. Flying the AirfoilLabs Cessna 172SP Two more menu pages help with the start up and settings while flying. The first is (Q) - Quick Start, that gives you options on either the aircraft is quick start (auto) or cold when starting up (cold and dark is the default), "Secure aircraft" will shut the aircraft down and add in the static elements in one click. "Prepare for Start" will have the aircraft ready to the point of turning the key. The option to connect the GPU and flashlight. The other menu is the (S) - Settings menu. This page is more for the special effects (Smart Camera) and sound. You can select to start with the engine running, pilot in the seat on startup (never saw any pilot?) and a footer menu at the bottom of the screen for flight data. There is a final menu tab for (E) Engine Service Panel but that system is not yet implemented, but looks very interesting. A lot of thought has gone into making sure the 172SP is totally authentic with the real Cessna. That is apparent in the way you start the aircraft. Make sure the fuel shutoff is in on the lower pedestal (fuel pump is on), and so is the lean knob... mixture knob is too the dash and turn the key to start the engine. The propeller will turn but stutter? Try again... no it still won't start? Give the aircraft a little throttle, another key turn and... the Lycoming IO-360-L2A will burst into life! Let the engine warm up and then settle it back into idle. Love it. As the engine crackles your vision is slightly moving with the vibration. This is the G-Effect feature, and it is to give you an authentic movement as you fly the aircraft. Before departing I try out the lighting. The Navigation lights are beautiful and well done, and so is the tail beacon. There is a taxi and landing light in the left wing, but looking closer the actual light is a bit like a rough diamond than a smooth surface, but the light itself is good. Park brake off with a loud thunk and we are moving. Touch the brake to check the forward speed and Whoa! You get this severe forward movement that your head is about to go through the windscreen? Don't like that? It is not the idea doesn't work it is the severity of it. X-Plane has two brake modes "regular" in 50% brake action and "Park" for 100% brake. Here you get 100% every time you even lightly touch the brakes, so you don't actually taxi but hop and bounce your way to the runway, so you try every angle not to "touch that damn brake", on landing it is a real pain in freezing the wheels and catapulting you out of your seat and into the glass, just for trying to slow down the aircraft. It is just too violent and at 50% would have been far better and softer, I didn't like it at all, and I doubt the real aircraft is as severe (I hope). The visual G-Effect movement is quite odd as well but you soon get used to it. Sounds are exceptional, there no doubt that AirfoilLabs has got the rough aircooled four-stroke clatter down right. On the hold the aircraft sounded perfectly authentic and real, throttle up and you get that roar and wind you know well. The aircraft has the excellent DreamEngine Sound plugin with 140 different sounds and range with Doppler Effect and Atmospheric Attenuation... So okay it is very good. Throttle in and you are moving with the featured visual movement backwards, the thrust will send you slightly off line to the right but that is normal and needed to be corrected. At 65knts and the aircraft wants to fly and a slight pull of the yoke and your easily airborne. The aircraft is jittery when you first get all the axis loose together and you will find yourself looking for the aircraft's balance, certainly experience with the aircraft will smooth this out, but this is a first impression. Once found it is great to balance and fly, this a basic trainer after all. It will however if you are not smooth then give you a very moving and visual disorientation, that can be again a bit too severe, and too the point here that I couldn't fly the aircraft and had switch it off as my pitch was sending me into the ground even as I was trying to keep the aircraft level, It is distortional to what is natural if you are trying to fly the aircraft. The basics are correct but it is just too disorientating for my tastes. All these movements are certainly great, but too violent and disorientating if you don't keep the aircraft very, very smooth, but even a bank turn can make you think you are on LSD! Trimming the aircraft is essential, and it takes a little practise to get the balance right. but you can feel the changes and the feel of this C172SP is very good so that helps. But trimming the Cessna perfectly has another reason to get it right... The KAP 140 Autopilot is a real sensitive bugger unless that trim is absolutely, perfectly, annoyingly, frustratingly on the button in being absolutely minutely perfect to lock on. If not you get a beep, beep... and no activation. You actually think it is broken, but it is not... It just hates you! Once (finally and ten NM off course) activated it is thankfully very good. You will love the Yoke action that follows the autopilots commands, but if you pull on the Yoke it will also disconnect for manual flying. You are not going to go very fast anywhere in the C172SP, this little aircraft goes slower at 122knt cruising speed than most aircraft go on final approach, some even on the runway in reverse thrust... So you have tons of time to take in the very slow moving scenery, Vertical speed is not riveting either at a top of 700 fpm or usually 500fpm and wanting to test out the aircraft's ceiling altitude 13,500 ft (4,100 m) is going to take an afternoon, going down thankfully is a little faster. Once you get over the embarrassment of the laughing birds as they overtake you, it is a lot of fun up here. The aircraft just trundles along and you enjoy watching people spend their hard earned cash at Walt Disney World Florida below you. The aircraft comes with fully working systems (temperatures, electrics) and perfect performance data. Weight & balances replicated from an original aircraft with perfect lateral and longitudinal loads placement. Finally you turn to approach KORL or Orlando Executive Airport RWY25. There is a noted gap in the green speed zone between 85knts and 90kts and it is ideal to drop the flaps 10º, C172SP pilot's note the flaps come down like barn-doors and create lift, but I found it not so savage in this zone and you can easily adjust the flap setting to revolutions of the engine to maintain a good speed to lowering the altitude feeling, in other words you have plenty of control. Keep the speed in the green zone and around 50knts and the aircraft will fly there all day, but it is perfect on approach, again the aircraft has good balance when trimmed correctly. Sliding under the 50knt zone will allow you to bleed off height and the slow speed can rest as low as 40knts when kissing the runway. You feel totally in control, and just don't spoil it by smashing your head against the windscreen by touching the brakes. I couldn't sit on the ground at KORL very long as it was getting darker by the minute, and I had a long slow flight back to KLAL Lakeland-Linder. So once the passengers and their baggage was deposited I headed straight for the runway. Lighting Panel lighting is gorgeous and similar to the Carenado CT206H Turbo Stationair, in you have that strip lighting under the glareshield. The dials are clear and bright and very nice to fly by in the dark. There are two switchable spot lights over the front seats, but the rear cabin spot light does not work. A nice touch is the light over the lower fuel tank switch. External lighting is good as well in the dark. The Navigation lights look great as does the tail beacon, the taxi and landing lights are as noted before well don. In the cabin the strobe can be seen and you get this slight light flash as you crawl along. Earlier flying in the dark in X-Plane was a fraught dark affair, but with the improvements and the better HDR it is now quite exciting to do. KLAL slips by on my left as I fall into a circuit to land on RWY 05, I used WIREY (227) NDB as a pointer to the lineup. With the slow approach speed of the C195SP, you have the one thing you never have on an approach and that is time. Time to get the centre line correct and the time to get speed exactly right. Coming in over the threshold and the single landing light starts to work, the instrumentation lighting is simply excellent as you can adjust it to stop glare but have good visual readings off the dials. As you come closer to the runway, the more the offset lighting beam becomes more focused and you can see the offset spill just from the one wing distinctively. It looks very realistic and I loved the effect it gave in front of the aircraft. Back at the office I shut the C172SP down and set out the static elements and a day's job was done. No doubt this is a great aircraft in this General Aviation category. Liveries are few in - One blank white and two designs, but I sure many will soon grace the download files as every one creates their personal or private favorite. Summary For a first time release as a designer then AirfoilLabs have done a sensational job. Their aim to create the best C172SP in X-Plane is certainly a very highly ambitious, but they have certainly had a very good stab at it and to a point succeeded in that aim. The basics are very good, and there is no doubt about that. but it does not feel X-Planey in that context, but pilots that own or have flown the C172SP say that the aircraft is very true to the original and so that is the whole point. Updates and feedback from users has created a quick succession of revisions (and another to come in 1.40), but I would stress that the original release was very good anyway, this is just refining around the edges and tightening up, again AirfoilLabs are responding to the multitude of variables that can't be foreseen in the development stage, but their quick response shows skill and the ability to make this a top quality aircraft. Certainly I really liked the aircraft, but found the views system a bit tight (but you get quickly used to it). The G-Effect feature is very good, but too dramatic in that you can even get disoriented in the aircraft and those brakes are so sharp and neck twisting... ... the aircraft is very clean, nice but needs a little more realism, like the huge amount of exhaust smoke (that looks really authentic) would certainly leave a trail of soot on your pristine paintwork, so a bit of airflow dirt or worn items and marked seats would build the aircraft to a more world weary state that Carenado do so well. It can be done as the propeller wear shows off that effect well. But no doubt the list of features (and more to come) is long so you get a lot of aircraft for your investment. But that does come at a small cost with heavy textures in framerate. The Carenado C208B Caravan is 8frames lighter in the same context and X-Plane settings. That does not sound a lot, but it is the difference between dropping too low and having a smooth simulation and the AirfoilLabs C172SP did struggle in areas. Certainly AirfoilLabs are aware of this as to provide three settings (low-med-high) but really "med" is the only usable setting for most, unless you have a power computer. But you feel the frameweight. But this is nitpicking on a very good aircraft, and details around the quality that you expect at this level. For feature wise and design/detailing it is exceptional and certainly anyone going for their PPL (or have one) this C172SP is a perfect training tool, and to a point that is the aim of the real aircraft's role, I would however as a complete novice start on X-Plane's basic C172 before graduating into this AirfoilLabs version, as it is more advanced and the features can be confusing if you can't fly the aircraft on the very basic level. Ambitious, clever and fun, words you would never use for a basic aircraft trainer, but that is what the excellent Cessna 172SP Skyhawk is from AirfoilLabs, It is slightly different in feel as well but to the benefit... Yes a great aircraft and another new standard in X-Plane in General Aviation. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs is available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk And is priced at only US$34.95 _____________________________________________________________________________________ Fully featured and including: FLIGHT MODEL Very accurate Flight Model. Tested and approved by real world Cessna 172 SP pilots and flight instructor Realistic weight and balance - lateral and longitudinal loads placement Custom made flight characteristics derived from the real aircraft flight recordings and based on real flight manual performance data Calculation of real KIAS based on KCAS according to flight manual Realistic stall characteristics Climb performance according to flight manual performance data Cruise performance data precise match (PRESS ALT, TEMP, POWER, KTAS, GPH) Electrical system derived from the real ELECTRICAL SCHEMATIC Functional Circuit Breakers logic HIGH QUALITY 3D MODEL, TEXTURES AND ANIMATIONS High resolution 4K textures Easy to read, high-resolution panel All switches, buttons and knobs animated Volumetric side view prop effect Realistic 3D night lights effects. Dynamic loading/unloading of 3D parts and plugin logic for FPS optimization _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download file size is 585.20mb to your X-Plane - GA Aircraft Folder. Installed file size is 914.90mb Notes: None Documents : You get a Manual that at this point is still a bit of work in progress. Requirements : X-Plane 10.36+ - Windows, Mac or Linux - 64bit version- 8Gb RAM - 2.5Ghz CPU - 1Gb+ Dedicated VRAM Video Card Current version: 1.31 - Last updated on August 15th 2015 Developer Support Site : (AirfoilLabs X-Plane.Org Support) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 10th September 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 10.10.1 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.35 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : WorldTraffic v2 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: personal added items in an office (okay demountable building and vehicles) - KORL - Orlando Executive Airport/Destination Florida v8 by Tom Curtis (updated to Destination Florida 8 WED Edition 105 by Rocketman X-Plane.Org) - Free
  48. 1 point
    Stephen

    Aircraft Review : Aerosoft ATR 72-500

    Aircraft Review : Aerosoft ATR 72-500 If not anything else the Aerosoft-McPhat Studios ATR-500 has been controversial. The release deadline was moved back more and more until the aircraft was finally released early in December 2012. Then it really divided the users into those who really liked it and those who just didn’t like it at all. Even I was disappointed by the amount of issues that it was released with and many of them were just minor. The extremely large file size and as some perceived the high price in that the aircraft is known as a systems “lite” machine in the fact that many of the aircraft’s in-depth systems including parts of the hydraulics and electrical, Air-Con and others are just blanked out and not accessible to the user. The idea of a “lite” version was to capture a market that didn’t want to spend 10-20 minutes in just getting the aircraft ready to fly. To also spend two weeks with your head in a manual to work out how to turn off a single light on the overhead panel that was bleeding air off from the engines. This sort of in-depth simulation is what aircraft simulation is really all about - but sometimes you just want to start the engines and go. The the point of the ATR-500 was in just doing that with some very nice visual aspects to help the cause along. Now almost 8 months later after the release the first upgrade in Version 1.10 is here and how does it all shape up after a period of time in our hangars. Regional aircraft are the most interesting aircraft you can use in simulation. With that aspect they sell very well and are used a lot by users, because one they are great as the distances are usually very short in around a 200-500nm radius. That is really just a morning or afternoon in flying time. If you want some more extended flying you can then rope in together two or three sectors and do a service loop around a country or an area, or just simply fly back to your original departure point after a brief turnaround. This gives you a satisfying experience that won’t keep you up all night in having to land 6000nm away in Singapore or the Far East. The ATR 72 was developed from the ATR 42 regional airliner built by the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR (Now Airbus (EADS)) in order to increase the seating capacity from 48 to 78 passengers by stretching the fuselage by 4.5 metres (15 ft), increasing the wingspan, adding more powerful engines and increasing the fuel capacity by approximately 10 percent. The 72 was announced in 1986, and the aircraft made its maiden flight on 27 October 1988. And only one year later on 27 October 1989 Finnair then became the first airline to put the aircraft into service. Since then at least 611 ATR 72s have been delivered worldwide with orders pending on at least 28 more. Cruise speed: 511 km/h; 318 mph (276 kn) : Range: 1,324 km (823 mi; 715 nmi) : Service ceiling: 7,620 m (25,000 ft) : Takeoff Run at MTOW: 1,165 m (3,822 ft) Installation Aerosoft use an install system to place the aircraft into your “aircraft” folder. The (v1.10) download is huge at 1.80gb and is expanded out to 3.14gb on installation. The installer requires a registration number and will only install the aircraft in the “Heavy Metal” folder, which slightly annoys me in the fact I have a separate “regional Aircraft” folder that I would usually use for this category of aircraft. There are two manuals - One the main “manual” “In (English and German) and one for “Procedures”. Aircraft Textures McPhat Studios in Holland are one of the great simulation studios in the business. Their quality in texture design is one of the best regarded all round, but until the ATR their work was only available in FSX land. And a high quality this aircraft is. The detailing on the liveries are really second to none... the detail in close-up is simply amazingly good. But it does come at a cost in downloading these huge 80mb files and they take a long time to create. They are also highly shiny? This is a debatable issue. Are aircraft this shiny? Most Aircraft I have flown on are quite a semi-gloss unless they have just come out of the paint shop... But here it can be hard to sometimes get a clear image because the shininess wipes out bright white on most of the lines of the aircraft. So am I a fan? no not really, but that does not takeaway the quality of these 12 excellent liveries and the default livery of which is the TRIP... These complex livery files are split into almost every panel or item on the aircraft to achieve this sort of depth of detail. Because the aircraft itself is quite light in frame-rate it can carry these heavy files without sending your computer into meltdown and that is part of the tradeoff. You can open the large front baggage door and the rear passenger door by using the F1 and F2 keys. A few bags in the front baggage area would be a great addition as the area is very empty. Internal detailing is just as good, if not one of the best cabins I have seen in this scale of aircraft. The graphic text detail is a little blurry at a low texture setting but otherwise it is excellent - and the whole cabin is even better at night. In the Cockpit The first view of the cockpit is of a high quality in depth and colour... But you need to look closer. First off is that there are two cockpit colours in Blue and Brown. These different setups can change with a selection of a different livery. You can note the slight colour seep of blue on the brown panel when it gets slightly darker. but otherwise they both look great. At one look the quality is outstanding with amazing quality and detail and the standout areas are the black textures around the main instruments, central engine dials and the gear lever. The whole panel of light reflections are simply excellent as the glass is in parts almost fully reflective of light. The Autopilot and Radio (COMM and NAV) frequency panel is first rate in set up and usage, and I really like the heading large and small degree adjustment feature. The centre pedestal is also a great work of art in design and function. Levers are excellent in operation and feel, and the MAP (zoom), NAV1/Nav2/FMS selection knobs are slightly twiddly but very clacky in operation and you soon get used to using them. FMS panel is standard X-Plane with default layout and the same default but in this case separate correct COMM/ADF/TRANSponder instruments. One feature I really like is the window blinds and shades, pull up or move down they are great while cruising high with the light on the wrong side of your face. I use them effectively all the time. One issue is the difference in texture quality with the render settings. Set the “texture” setting on “high” in the render settings menu and although many of the main dials are perfectly fine, many however are very blurry and mostly so is the label text on the side panel knobs .. If the texture setting is on “Very High” the problem mostly goes away. You can still see the differences between the two types of textures but now they are more aligned. In version 1.00 these textures were even worse and McPhat have totally redone in v1.10 the textures to be better and use less memory, of which now differences are now much closer. But they are still slightly noticeable if looking at detail and if you can’t run the “very high” setting, then even more so. On the OHP (Overhead Panel) there is not a lot of functionality, Lights and and some Electrical/Hydraulics/Pneumatics and the vital ice and rain protection items work and so the knobs and switches required to start the engines... But the rest is mostly just for show. In three areas the needles on the dials are missing altogether, but my feeling is that they will be made to correctly work in a future version. The altimeter on the main panel only clicks down to the last four digits at 3000ft... before that it still shows 14000ft for 1400ft? My biggest annoyance is the wipers. The switches are there and so are the beautifully rendered items on the windscreen... but they don’t have any animation?... Nothing is better in a regional aircraft than battling down to a runway with a rainstorm in your vision. But with no wipers flapping in your face it sorts of ruins the whole experience. Another small irritant is there are two 1px wide lines on the otherwise excellent propellers. They rotate in your view and if you like to do the view from the passengers perspective in the cabin then they are all you see outside of the window... It is noted the lines were fixed for v1.10, but they are still there? Engine smoke is above the wing and not below by the exhausts. The flap and undercarriage animation is excellent and well created as is the lighting at night. The standard Strobe, Nav and Beacon lighting are all well done. The aircraft has two landing lights under the fuselage and the lighting from the cabin from the outside view is very realistic. Most of the outside lighting has had a lot of attention in the v1.10 upgrade, the main landing lights, the taxi light now works and the lighting does not show through the cabin (floor) anymore (except for the taxi light). The main panel looks gorgeous at night and a place you want to be and so is the well rendered OHP. HDR on or off does not make that much difference. Flying The ATR 72-500 At first count I didn’t know what I really felt about the ATR72, mainly because I couldn’t read all the graphics in the cockpit. But I have had this aircraft for 8 months now and the upgrade has helped to fix many of the small issues. In simulation what is the main value when buying an aircraft. It is in the amont of time you use the aircraft. You could spend US$50 on an aircraft and fly it only a few times and no matter how well created it is, you have to ask yourself if that was good value? With the ATR I found myself flying it almost every week in one form or another. The biggest draw-card was it is an interesting aircraft dynamically to fly. It challenges you to fly it really well and hit the numbers on the money. Jack’s Dash Q400 from FlyJSim is the same and it is not a coincidence that both of these aircraft are direct competitors in the market place. It may be systems “lite” but you still get a very big reward in flying the ATR. Speeds are crucial to every point of the flight from takeoff to landing. There is a “power management” system that adjusts the engine power for a certain segment of the flight from MCT, TO, CLB and CRZ. but be wary in the fact it could bury your power if not used in the right segment as in some cases you need the speed momentum to set the correct power. Leaving the runway requires you to use the power wisely. The ATR is in a way like a big GA and so you have to gain height slowly and it takes time to get to 15,000ft which would be around your average cruise altitude. On a longer sector 20,000ft would be your aim. You are very conscious of the wing. It is a strange beast in its function and so the extension of flaps can make the wing do different things in the way the aircraft will balance on the pivot of the wing behind you. It creates a very small speed zone to work in as well around 120knts to 115knts under full flap, too much power and your nose is going to angle (very severely) down very awkwardly, set the power too light and your nose is soon at a strange stall position, no doubt this aircraft has a very small slow speed window in which to set your flaps, but when you get there then the balance between flying and stalling is very small. The balance is the skill you are willing to give the aircraft. Under the throttle for landing you are very conscious of the speed in that small zone. Using the ILS can give you a false sense of security in that you can easily adjust the nose angle by the slightest of speed adjustments, but coming out of the ILS you can find yourself either going to fast (usually) or going to slow and both actions will give the aircraft a major bounce on the runway. Coming in too fast is usually always the safe side of the equation... But too fast is still to fast. You don’t have any airbrakes and so the reverse pitch is the only means of slowing the speed once on the hard stuff and sometimes the landing is like hitting the deck on an aircraft carrier... Your job is to avoid that sort of flying and try to make it more like a nice smooth touch and reverse thrust approach. Duplicate that by three or four landings and takeoff’s a day and you are in the zone. The reward is in getting it all right every time. And that is the attraction. The pull. The ”I really want to give that run another go” thought. So with every spare few hours that you have you “do have another go” and that is the constant and always repeatable use of the aircraft because... It is challenging and it challenges you hard to fly it really well. Conclusions The ATR72-500 from Aerosoft/McPhat is if anything a “Tour-de-Force”. On one side the graphics and detailing is totally outstanding... but in other areas of simple items and a few extra features still persist that could be quickly fixed with an (no livery) update. It is an almost there aircraft. Most aircraft released over the last year and some noticeably from JARdesign and FlightFactor have had regular updates and extra features that tweek their product into perfect shape. If only the ATR could have that same lavish attention. It is again an aircraft that will certainly divide the punters. But after using the ATR72 for a period since its release I will note it is an aircraft that really gets under your skin, It challenges your skills and it keeps you interested month after month in various ways to get you to keep on coming back and wanting to fly another sector, try another route... It is so addictive in that only and if a few other aircraft have held my attention for these sort of long periods. And with that it comes back to value... If you use aircraft as much as I have flown this aircraft then the value is in there and in a way it starts to deliver on the original promise now with the update (1.10) and with more liveries added in to the package. In the end in context. Even with some compromises with systems and a couple of slight issues that I really try to ignore - The ATR72-500 is with out doubt one of my favorite aircraft that I use constantly and relish in testing my skills and just enjoy flying. And in the end that is what good simulation is all about. The Aerosoft ATR72-500 (ver1.10) is available now from the X-Plane.org Store : Aerosoft ATR72-500 Price is US$32.05 This Aircraft is only available for X-Plane10 Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7 (updated), Linux, Mac CPU: 2,6 GHz (Duo / Quad core recommended) Memory : 2 GB RAM Review By Stephen Dutton Note: I listed four other liveries available for the ATR72-500 by Elanport here : Developer Site : McPhat Studios Ver 1.10 list of changes - Landing lights illuminate brighter. - Landing lights don’t illuminate the Cockpit any longer. - Taxi light works and steers with wheel. - Cockpit textures are brighter and better readable. - Strobe lights now illuminate objects (plane, runway etc). - Camera movement is limited inside the cockpit, so you can no longer go through the walls. - Engine start works as described in the manual for X-Plane 10. - Fixed prop animation. - 5 new UHDT repaints: Air Nostrum, Azul, CSA, Flybe Nordic, CSA Skyteam - Added wing registration to the existing and new liveries. - Fixed Air Austral registration on fuselage. 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 MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle
  49. 1 point
    Aircraft Review : Carenado C90B King Air HD Series v1.1 Route : KHND - Henderson Executive to KGCN - Grand Canyon NP One of the great tourist routes (on everyone's bucket list) is a flight over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, US$250 is the average fare. Nowhere else does the aircraft really come into its own for viewing spectacle than from the position of a couple of thousand feet above this monstrously huge gnawed dug out mountain in the Arizona desert. Most operators leave for the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas's, McCarren International. But if you want the private exclusive tour then you would then head up north to Henderson Executive (KHND) and pick up a private operator that will treat you like a VIP or a celebrity for the day. It costs a lot more of course but you also get the free French champagne thrown in as part of the deal. The ideal aircraft to fly four to six passengers in comfort is the Beechcraft C90B, with its big windows, but also the power to get to the Grand Canyon quickly adds to the benefits. In the fleet we also have the X-Plane Default C90B, and a very nice aircraft it is. If you have already bought X-Plane 10 (It comes with X-Plane9 as well, but not the upgraded version) then it comes free with the simulator, and it is with no-doubt the best default aircraft in your General Aviation Folder. For me though today I got the newest addition to the fleet the just released Carenado C90B. Outwardly they look very much the same aircraft but then get closer to the Carenado version and things start to get a lot better. Carenado provide a menu (O) of Options (bottom left). Here you can give the C90B tinted windows, static elements (including chocks, warning cones but no tags, and the pilots stay seated in the cockpit), You can open the main "Passenger door" on the left rear and even open up the left and right engine cowlings. Want to check the engine oil or fluids before flight then, well now you can.... this adds to a great feature on the aircraft walkaround. The C90 is a seriously nice looking aircraft, it comes with Carenado's HD (High-Definition) series textures (2048 x 2048) and it shows in the quality of the livery. Get in very close and the detailing is superb. Panel detailing (with rivets) and vents are all very lifelike. The undercarriage is excellent with full struts, hydraulics and braking systems, and are all as real as... the real things. The Propellers are the standard quieter Hartzell four-blade, constant-speed and full-reversing 90-in diameter versions. And not the Raisbeck Swept Blade Turbofans, which were retrofitted to later C90 models. The C90's four distinctive chrome exhausts are beautifully crafted here. The wings with the updated (v2) lighting is excellent and so is the tailplane and tall tail, looking side on at the dimensions and the full perspective of the aircraft - it looks perfect. History of the C90B King Air The Beechcraft King Airs are a little confusing as they are listed in to two separate families. The Model 90 and 100 series are known as King Airs, while the Model 200 and 300 series were originally marketed as Super King Airs, with the "Super" being dropped by Beechcraft in 1996 (although it is still often used to differentiate the 200 and 300 series King Airs from their smaller stablemates). The Model 90 King Air was conceived as the Model 120 in 1961. In May 1963, Beechcraft began test flights of the proof-of-concept Model 87 with a modified Queen Air and fitted with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-6 engines. On 14 July, Beech announced a new type, and a month later began accepting orders for the "King Air", with deliveries to commence in the autumn of 1964. After 10 months of test flying the Model 87 was delivered to the United States Army as the NU-8F in 1964. On 24 January 1965 the first definitive prototype, by now designated Model 65-90 and also fitted with PT6A-6 engines, flew for the first time. The first production aircraft was delivered on October 8, and by the end of the month 152 aircraft had been ordered. The Model C90 was introduced in 1971, with the wingspan increased over earlier models by 4 ft 11 in (1.50 m) to 50 ft 3 in (15.32 m), Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) increased by 350 lb (160 kg) to 9,650 lb (4,378 kg) and it was fitted with the newer upgraded PT6A-20A engines. The C90B (and C) were marketing names for the updated versions of C90A which were produced between 1992 and 2005 and were 456 built. Maximum speed: 311 mph TAS (270 knots TAS, 500 km/h TAS) : Cruise speed: 260 mph TAS (226 kts TAS, 416 km/h TAS) : Stall speed: 90 mph (78 knots, 145 km/h) IAS (flaps down) : Range: 1,530 miles (1,321 nm, 2,446 km) : Service ceiling: 30,000ft (9,144 m) : Rate of climb: 2,000 ft/min (10.2 m/s) The default C90 suddenly powers up and departs for its tour. So it is time to get on board and get the aircraft ready for our own passengers. The easiest way to get inside the aircraft is using Carenado's © Camera menu. It is the standard menu on all Carenado aircraft. And it makes it easy not only to jump quickly into the 3d mode and into the aircraft, but you also have 9 other views and a "Point of View" slider. Inside there are 4 large leather seats in a club layout. And two other (smaller seats) in one facing inwards on the right and one situated on the rear bulkhead. In theory you can carry six passengers, or four and an attendant or two. The internal cabin doors can be closed via the (O) Options menu for privacy in the cockpit. The shutdown cockpit is unfussy, very clean and business like. It is not hard to find your way around everything, but there are some specialised items that we we will come to. On the overhead panel (OH) there is only the electrical dials and the lighting knobs for all the instruments and cockpit overhead lighting. One big switch on your left of the panel will turn everything On/Off in a one click each way. The power now on and the panel lights up nicely with reflective lighting. All the main power/lighting switches are grouped down low behind the pilots yoke (removable). There is a Ext Power (External Power) supply that you must remember to switch off when not needed. On the pilots side wall there are the (twin) fuel gauges and fuel transfer and supply switches. The text here is quite blurry, but easily remembered. The small windows open on both sides and the engine noise is quite significant when the open gap is there. This is great for starting the engines. Detailing is simply excellent, some switches are hard to read but very much in keeping of the panel design... Carenado are masters at this sort of detail application and it shows here with this sort of depth and quality. Each engine has its own "Ignition ON" switch, and then another switch to start the each engine that both sets are situated low and behind the yoke. It takes awhile to wind up and then start each turbine to full power. Multi-track stereo sounds are excellent as the whine and then the power as the engine comes into life. When running, don't forget to turn off the Ignition ON switches as displayed on the glareshield. Ignore the RVS, as it notes the levers are not in the up position. You can do a full test of all the alerts and very impressive it is. I set both the Prop (feather) and Idle to as low as I could get away with... In the full up position of both of these levers the C90 will taxi like a speeding bullet, you need to calm the engines down for an effective taxi. One of the highlighted features now on Carenado aircraft are the rain and Ice effects. The rain drips down the windshield, and the wiper clears it away (but the rain spots are not replaced), Ice covers the windows (but I couldn't see anything on the wings). But with both the rain and ice together is very effective. Pulling away from the stand the taxi is good if you have controlled the RPM, only small nips of the brakes are required to keep the speed. You don't use much flap, just 20º. On to the power slowly because it will leap away, and then build up the speed. As both props rotate together in the same direction there is a slight pull to the right, but only a little left rudder is required to keep the center line straight. Rotation is clean and you don't need a lot of angle to climb out, once you have a certain speed then let the C90B climb. In The Air If you have flown the X-Plane default C90, then at this point in climbing away from the runway, you will have to usually move to the Autopilot (A/P) that is situated down behind the pedestal. The problem with this is that you have to scroll away from the horizon and your forward view. To a real pilot it is only a glance down to the right and then adjust the autopilot by feel... but for you it is usually the situation that when you come back to the forward view after setting the A/P that you will either be - inverted or going in a totally different direction? In Carenado's version you have a popup (A/P) that is selected by the (A) or Autopilot on the lower left menu. This beautiful rendered panel is an excellent A/P, but it is quite large. It can thankfully be moved anywhere around you screen, It can be also resized as well by the lower right corner into any size you like. Close the A/P and come back to it later and it keeps the position and size. "Heading" is selected with the left knob and the "Course" is selected with the right. Press the center of either knob to select current heading or course. Vertical Speed (V/S) has a few different variations. You can either just set the V/S or press the rocker switch to go either up or down. The best however is "CLIMB" or "DEC" (descend). Select your height (higher or lower) in the center panel and then press either the CLIMB or DEC buttons and the A/P will set you on a - or + 800fpm altitude change. It will set the ALT SEL (Altitude Select) automatically as well to level you out when you get to correct set altitude. The Autopilot is also connected to the EFSI (Electronic Flight Instrument System) that is connected to the Electronic Attitude Director Indicator (EADI) and the Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) on the main (PFD) aircraft panel. The EFSI is very detailed and functional and the displays on the small Glass panels are excellent. The EDHI has many functions including Autopilot Mode Annunciators, Marker Beacon indicator, Glide Slope Indicator and Lateral Deviation Indicator (bars), Flight Director Guide, Ground Altitude and Decision Height Annunciator. The EDSI panel has Identifier and distance to VOR or Waypoint, Course Control Symbol, VOR TO/FROM indicator, selected pointers and lateral deviation and Course selection (degrees). The various EHSI functions include In-depth and accurate fuel logic and it works like the real thing, and also takes all the failures into account. However you must turn the system EFIS system on, and the switch is on the A/P panel? Note above the EAHI is the terrain (TERR) warning system, turn it on and you get alerts from 1000ft to 500ft of your lower terrain values. In the center of the main aircraft panel there is an AVIDYNE Entegra EX500. This unit is very good but limited in application. It has fixes, but they are way to small to register. And you can have the Heading or Rose modes. The weather is also displayed and this is best function of the display. A standard GARMIN GPS400 and the standard radio (COMM and VOR) tuning knobs complete the equipment package. All powerlines lead to our first attraction - The Hoover Dam. The C90B was powering along at comfortable 200knts and easily climbed to 12,500ft. (it will climb 2000fpm with ease) In the air as on the ground the C90B is a lovely aircraft. At every angle you like the silhouette against the desert sky. It flies wonderfully as well, light to the touch and easy on the turns (just a touch of power sometimes). There is a small warning though in using to much power in the cruise as if you push the engines too hard for long periods at full throttle they will simply burn out. The trim is easy to set up and you have to be careful because the trim switches work on the craftmanship yoke. The window shades (both sides) are clever as well, They are movable right around their tracks and adjustable up and down as well. The main cabin windows can also be dimmed as well. Liveries Liveries are the standard white (default) (top), BlueGold, Deepbluered, Silverblue (upper line), Beigered, Ejercitodelaire and the famous Japanmaritime (lower line) The Grand Canyon (Hopi: Ongtupqa; Yavapai: Wi:kaʼi:la) is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet or 1,800 meters). It has been carved over billions of years as the plateau raised up out out of the desert to the elevation of 2,600 feet (800 m) to an average of 8,000 ft (2,438 m) above sea level. In fact the Canyon is a big plateau with a huge gap carved through it. The biggest misnomer is the that everyone thinks the canyon was big cut down into the ground, when in fact it is the opposite in that it rises up very high. To cover this you have to quickly fly high. 12,000ft will then put you only at a slight height above the canyon. For the C90B this was an easy task. I started my run from the west looking for Point Sublime and then followed the zig-zag off to a slight angle to give the passengers the best view. The French champagne was out with a small meal that is helped by the foldaway tables. The view outside the windows was spectacular and so was my view from the cockpit. Keeping close to South Rim and over the Grand Canyon Village you turn North at just before Zuni Point and then held that heading until past Chuar Butte and then flew out over the plateau before doing an almost 170º turn back and heading down the eastern side of the "Palisades of the desert". The view right out of the cockpit windows was spectacular, and every time you do this Canyon run it will always run a tingle up your back. The Carenado C90B has great nightlighting... The panel is simply beautiful at night and entirely adjustable via the OHP selection of lighting knobs. There is the new feature of the swivel lighting on the roof of the cockpit. You can move the light in any direction and bright or fade the lighting on the light itself. This shows the power of the HDR in X-Plane and how versatile the HDR system is. In the rear cabin (switchable) the lighting is spot lit on to the seating. The ambience inside is excellent, but the HDR switched on is a real framerate buster. down to only 2-3 frames on my system. Grand Canyon National Park Airport (IATA: GCN, ICAO: KGCN) is just south of the South Rim and Village. I did another 90º turn to the West and another 90º turn to line up with RWY 03, but watch your elevation here as it is 6609ft (ASL), and the C90's height radar is the item you keep your eye on. Reducing height with the DEC makes your life very easy, and the EADI shows you your cross hairs with the glideslope. Manually or automatic the descent is very easy as you reduce your speed. Flaps will slow you effectively, and the deployment is not going to give you too much lift if you get the correct speed at each drop, but watch that stall speed that is quickly in the red zone at 80knt's, so you aim for just above at 90knts to 95knt's. In the flare you add a little power before settling down the wheels and reversing the propeller pitch for reverse thrust. (well noted on the pedestal) The thrust is very effective and KGCN's runway 3/21 at 8,999ft (2,743m) is very long for a General Aviation aircraft so in fact you can take your time to slow down or flare late to get to the terminal that is situated at the far north end. The company does the tagging system to return passengers back to Henderson, I will sit here and refuel quickly as the first group will return soon that went out on an earlier flight, my group will come back to KGCN in a few hours of seeing Canyon from the visitor centre. Conclusions As Carenado aircraft get larger, then so does the file size. The C90B will average around 460mb so if you have only 512 VRAM (like I do) available you are going to start to feel the pinch. 1gb VRAM is recommended by Carenado and I second that recommendation. If you have downloaded your C90B from Carenado (ver1.0) then I recommend to update as soon as possible because the 1.1 version (the .org version is the correct 1.1 ver) fixes a lot of - if not all the issues with framerate on the Mac and a few lighting issues. The review here has been updated to the v1.1 version. And the updated version is now very good. And yes because of the minimum VRAM available you are going to have to compromise somewhere if you are running very large sceneries or if the weather is heavy on your system. In this review I averaged 50-40fr dropping as low as in the high 20's with clear skies, and that is very good. Direct comparisons to the X-Plane default C90B is always going to be put forward. Because the aircraft is very good in its basic form. I have had many hours behind its controls and it has a place in my heart if not the earliest of my own X-Plane experiences. The Carenado C90B is however a far more advanced and far better quality machine. It's detailing and functionality is way above the standard version. Outwardly they look the same. But on closer inspection they couldn't be more further apart in quality, equipment and certainly in the outstanding features. Fly the C90B once and you won't want another twin. And that is big claim with so many twins in the Carenado hangar. It is a lovely large machine. The A/P is very comprehensive, convenient and resizable. The only issue is the HDR on less powerful equipment in that it brings the framerate to its knees. But in every other area of quality, functionality, cockpit lighting, excellent 3d surround sounds and system realism it is simply outstanding. Value!... In value it is a Carenado aircraft, and that is always a great investment. And the bigger the Carenado aircraft grows then the better it seems the value and the return for your money. Overall the Carenado Beechcraft C90B HD series is excellent. Yes! the Carenado C90B King Air HD Series is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgShop : C90B King Air HD series Price is US$34.95 Documents : Developer Site : Carenado Dev Thread : X-Plane.org ___________________________________________ Review By Stephen Dutton 20th November 2013 ©copyright 2013 : Stephen Dutton Note: Carenado have released an C90 King Air Service Pack, dated 20131119. that addresses the ver1.0 framerate issues, HDR lighting has been updated and other minor tucks and fixes. Go to Carenado to login and download this updated 1.1 version Technical Requirements :Windows XP, Vista 7 or 8 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.3.9 (or higher) or Linux X-Plane 9.70 or X-Plane 10.20 (or higher - 64 bit compatible) 4GB RAM/1GB VRAM Version 1.1 (last updated November 19th 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 10.22 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Scenery - Hoover Dam & the Grand Canyon version 10 - chris noe (X-Plane.org) - KLAS - KHND (Glitter Gulch) - Tom Curtis (X-Plane.OrgShop US$24.95) - KGCN Grand Canyon National Park Airport - myb (X-Plane.Org)
  50. 1 point
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