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  1. Aircraft Update : Airbus A340-600 v1.1 by ToLiSS One of the most successful releases of 2021 was the Airbus A340-600 from TolIss. Users love the deep Airbus systems and clever intergrated features. Since that initial release back in October 2021, there have already been some significant updates to the aircraft (the A346 was already nicely fully formed on release) and here is the fourth, and quite a significant update to v1.1 it is. First off the base is that A346 v1.1 is now compatible with the coming X-Plane12 version, so you will be able to fly the ToLiSS A346 straight out of the box, which is a very nice premise indeed (although expect an update to switch on the X-Plane12 features). ToLiSS has also put out their pricing with the conversion to X-Plane12. And first is that the earlier A319 and A321 will have an add-on upgrade cost of US$10.99 each, however if you have the ToLiSS A321 + NEO addon and/or this A346, then the upgrade to X-Plane12 is free. Which is a very fair deal. As we know with the release of the Airbus A346. ToLiSS took control of it's modeling side of the project. The released A346 was certainly a far better design, but not actually perfect (but a very good effort for a first attempt). So to bring the modeling more into it's quality/price, here is already a rework of the original. The focus is on the rear section which has been totally remodeled along with new textures for all of the aircraft. Visually the change includes the upward sweep of the rear most windows on the fuselage... .... it is harder to achieve than it looks, because internally you just don't have the up sweep of the window line, but also the curve of the rear cabin going inwards and also upwards into the tail. ToLiSS has done a really nice job here. Because of these cosmetic changes the older liveries now don't work with the new customised tail? (hence the house livery here). The painkit has been adjusted to v.1.1, so expect the livery changes to come quickly. But it is all in the aim of authenticity. The A330 rear is very much the same configuration. The cockpit/instrument panel textures have been overhauled as well, with more wear around the knobs and switchgear and more to the blue/grey Airbus colour (cabin stays the same with no changes). While we are here, the knobs and switches have also been given improved switch geometry, so they work better from your seating angles. The flightdeck forward windows now also open... nice! Pull the handle and the window will track rearwards to reveal an open window (something I love on arrival to let fresh air into the cockpit). Notable is when you do this the air-pressure will change on the COND (Air-Conditioning) lower ECAM Screen. The air-pressure and temperature in the adjacent zone will also change if you open the any of the passenger doors. To close the side window(s), there is a little stick buffer in the lower window frame that has to be switched to do so. Don't you love arriving in the cockpit ready for a flight! Well one of the nice things to do is getting into your seat and adjusting it. In v1.1 you can now move the seats rearwards and to the side to insert yourself into the seat, when done you can then move the seat into position of to the position of where you want it to be. The seat is moved forwards and backwards via the correct switch on the lower side of the chair (arrowed), here also the armrests are in the stored position, again you can also rise or lower the armrests as well. The seat is positioned well forward here, so there is a lot of adjustment to your taste. The folding retracting armrests are perfectly done. ACARS/Simbrief All major commercial aircraft have ACARS or "Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System". Which is a digital datalink system for transmission of short messages between aircraft and ground stations via airband radio or satellite, it is a sort of airborne text system. In v1.1 the ACARS system has been implemented in two areas. One is with the excellent Navigraph SimBrief and secondly with the aircraft's TISCS menu system. First to use the ACARS system here you will need to have SimBrief and an account. It is still free, but I recommend it with your Navigraph account. To use then set up a route and generate a Flight (Sim)Brief. Like in a real aircraft you activate ACARS by tuning into VHF3 and it's "Data" uplink. If the link is active, then the "SEL" light is on. To access SimBrief you have to authorise it in the TISCS menu, under your SimBrief account settings, and use your Pilot ID (second row). And in the TISCS menu on the SOUND/ADDON ACCOUNTS tab in "ACCOUNT IDS", it will take a minute, then two options come up with... ... "Ignore AIRAC/AC Type mismatch", If this option is OFF, the flight plan download will fail if the active AIRAC cycle in the FMGS does not match the AIRAC cycle used by Simbrief for planning. In other words your AIRAC cycles (data) on the X-Plane/Aircraft and Simbrief have to match. "Set Payload + Fuel to Simbrief", If you select this option, the cargo, payload and fuel on board in the ISCS will be set immediately to the Simbrief values. This ensures that the data on the INIT B page match the actual weights, but removes one step from flight preparation, which of course you can still get from the TISCS. Loading the Data into the MCDU Looking at your INIT page on the MCDU. There is now a "INIT REQUEST", press RK2 (Right Key 2) and it will send a request for data for you, then if acquired the data is returned via "F-PLN DATALINK IN PROG" note in the scratchpad, and when done (transferring the data) it shows PERF DATA UPLINK to show the link is still open. And "wah, Wah"... all the data is filled in from the (Sim)Brief, including the Flightplan all fuel, weights, FL No., PAX, CRZ Altitude... even the Flight Number. Fuel Prediction is also ready on both INIT PRED and FUEL PRED. Notable is that the data does not include (insert) the Departure and Arrival details, so the RWY/SID/VIA and RWY/STAR/VIA approach details still have to be added in, or any approach editing can still be adjusted as normal. If you want to go to the core and load in the data directly this can also be done. You access the data by pressing the "DATA" key, and then ACARS/PRINT... FUNCTION RK6. All the data is stored here including the F-PLN INIT data, TO (TakeOff) DATA and WIND DATA. WIND REQUEST however only works with the INIT Request active and that X-Plane is set to real weather conditions (which will be very interesting with X-Plane12). Takeoff Performance Data You can fill in the PERF/TAKE OFF data by pressing the TO DATA LK6 button, and this action brings up the "REQUEST" on the RK6. Then the "TAKE OFF DATA UPLINK", will fill in your Performance TakeOff data, again very, very cool. It will however not fill in the FLEX TO TEMP category, which you still have to get from the TISCS menu (set runway), here it is F69. So much time is saved here in transferring the data, and totally brilliant at getting the aircraft quickly ready for flight. The two CPDLCs - Controller Pilot Data Link Communications are also part of the ACARS system are still not active, but next on the to-do list. Debatable is the fact do you like to do the full aircraft data set up, and could this (as really good as it is) be a sort of cheat sheet? Sometimes you really just want to fly and not go through the full setup rigmarole. In this case it is quite brilliant. Interactive Audio Control Panel The TISCS menu is big, and a few users have complained as it can't be scaled either. So ToLiSS has come up with the "Interactive Audio Control Panel" or ACP panels. These are two pop-up menu panels set out on the "Intercom" and "Cabin Communication" buttons. There are five page selections under "Intercom"; Services, Pushback, Refuel/Defuel, Cargo Handling, and Ground De-Ice • Services: Enable/disable external power, LP or HP air connections and chocks • Pushback: Request pushback • Refuel/Defuel: Change the amount of fuel on board. When using this feature, the fuelling/defueling will take time according to the refuel/defuel rate listed in the FCOM. • Cargo handling: Open and close cargo doors/change amount of cargo in the hold • Ground deice: A simple feature to prevent ice accumulation on the wings while on ground, as the wing anti ice does not work for more than 30s on ground. There are two page selections under "Cabin Communication" in Doors, and Passengers (PAX) ToLiSS notes that "For the future, we plan to include a TO calculator, a landing distance calculator and a weight and balance sheet in the EFB in order to eliminate completely the need to interact with the TISCS during a normal flight." New failure modes On the OHP (OverHead Panel), not only are the in-cockpit RESET switches (Airbus long range equivalent to in-cockpit circuit breakers) are now working, but they are also active in “recoverable computer failures” from the "Fault Scenarios". ToLISS explains how this works, "Two failure modes CPC 1 and CPC 2 are or can be permanent failures, whereas CPC 1 (R) and CPC 2 (R) are modes that can be recovered by resetting the computer. This is particularly interesting with random failures where you do not know beforehand if a reset will work or not. To reset the computers, you can use the reset switches in the Overhead panel". With the addition of these new new failure modes there is now a total of 249 different failure modes. Including also these new engine failure modes; "recoverable flame out", "engine failure with damage" and "hot start". ____________________ I did my A346 test route of EGKK (Gatwick) to LLBG (Ben Gurion) which is a 4h 4m flight. Although the A346 simulation per se is deep in flying and systems wise with ToLiSS aircraft. But because it is done so well the simulations from these aircraft can be quite easy to use. It is not only in the setting up of the aircraft (more so now in v1.1 because of the auto Simbrief data loading in route and performance). But because also the aircraft is quite sweet to fly, as is the Airbus way if you know the smaller intricate European philosophy. I have grown in X-Plane with the Airbus QPAC and now ToLiSS designed aircraft, so to me it is second nature, but that is not to say you can't learn and fly these aircraft more easily in simulation than say a Boeing, it is the difference between driving an automatic to a manual setup car. But I will emphasize again the deep existence in the systems and fault/failure detail you have here, that aspect the aircraft is extraordinary. In reality you have the best of both worlds. Now the passenger and fuel are loaded and we are ready to go. Open window is great to check everyone has boarded. Climbout of EGKK, shows the A340-600 is a big aircraft, the last of the four-engined generation as well. In v1.1 the engine model has been adjusted for more realistic thrust and fuel flow values (to follow the SimBrief numbers more accurately) and you feel the difference... ... Climb, climb, climb, it is a long way up to 35,000ft (FL350) then a step to cruising altitude of 37,000ft (FL370). Speed is per SimBrief at m.83, sky is clear and the flying is breathtaking. The significant changes of the textures and in areas of the modeling really shows. The engines and around the main inlet cowls are now also more smoother and cleaner with refined grids, internally in the pods you can now see through the High-Bypass fans. Internally in the office we are in long-haul cruise mode, and a very nice place to be it is (always a good thing on Long-Hauls)... I particularly like the animated armrests, a small thing but you can access the radios and pedestal much more easier, it feels more authentic as well... ... You can now put on the oxygen mask by removing it from its container and database holds are now also available. ProCam views! Cockpit detail and textures look far better, a small change, but a very worthy one. Arrival at LLBG (Ben Gurion) is on time and on numbers, very nice... I like to hit the numbers almost perfectly. It is a quick in landing on RWY 12 at 10,210ft (3112m) long, but the A346 copes well with the shorter runway... easy peasy. There is now a sound option to over-ride or adjust the default X-Plane sounds called "OVRD XP INT/EXT VOL" from the TISCS/SOUND/ADDON ACCOUNTS tab, this gives you more control over the Master Volume, Internal and External Sounds. Like here I want to hear those fantastic Rolls-Royce Trent 556s in reverser mode sounds louder. How good is simulation today! So this is all round a very good update for the lovers of ToLiSS A346, as noted what was really good before is now even better. As a note I redid the SimBrief briefing to go on to Barcelona, and I was re-setup (turned around) within twenty minutes and ready to fly again. So that shows the ACARS system is a very worthy addition! And oh yes, I opened the side window to let in the hot Middle-Eastern air. Comprehensive release review of the ToLiSS A340-600 is here: Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS _______________ Summary This is the fourth update to the ToLiSS Airbus A340-600 since it's release in the Q3 2021, and the biggest and most significant update yet. v1.1 covers the intergration of ACARS or "Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System" into the MCDU. Which is a digital datalink system. It connects direct data transfers from Simbrief (Navigraph, but free) and from the data (PERF) on the TISCS menu. Also new are the Interactive Audio Control Panels, that are really short cut panels to "Ground Operations" and "Cabin Comm" or doors and passenger loading. Failure modes (Fault Scenarios) have been increased with the now working "Reset" (Circuit Breakers/OHP) and different failure modes. On the aircraft there has some nice visual changes, most up the rear with a new upward window belt-line, and matching curved rear cabin, engine inlet and internal Hi-Bypass fan changes are also highly noticeable. Internally the forward cockpit windows now open and the pilots chairs are now animated in forwards and rear movement and the armrests can now be folded away. All external and internal textures have been redone and look more realistic and work style authentic (new liveries are however are required to be updated to v1.1). All in all there are a lot of changes and fixes here, and most importantly the aircraft is now also ready for X-Plane12 (A small update for the new features will be released at the same time as the new X-Plane12 Simulator). Extremely popular, the ToLiSS Airbus A340-600 is one of the very best Airbus Simulations in the X-Plane Simulator, even exceptional. And they haven't finished yet. Now also X-Plane12 ready is a big step forward, and to be flying in X-Plane12 from day one is certainly a great attraction, and also a great current investment in that the changeover for the aircraft to X-Plane12 will be free to all current purchasers. "Highly Recommended!" _______________________________ Yes! the Airbus A340-600 v1.1 by ToLiSS is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS Price is US$89.99 Most accurate system functionality for any A340 aircraft in the flight simulation world Requirements X-Plane only - not available for MSFS Support for X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.2 GB Current version: 1.1 (June 20th 2022) Changelog v1.1 A340-600_changelog.txt Full changelog details are here _____________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 22nd June 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows -S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55 Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft - EGKK - London Gatwick Airport v2 by Pilot+Plus (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$21.00 - LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99 - Full review availble here: Scenery Review : LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
    2 points
  2. I totally agree. I also paid full-price for these too. I hope they can at least work in X-Plane 12 when it releases.
    2 points
  3. Scenery Review : KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design "If you're going to San Francisco Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair If you're going to San Francisco You're gonna meet some gentle people there" The name MisterX6 changed the face of X-Plane scenery. Coming in with a freeware version of KSFO San Francisco International Airport and City 2.0 in November 2015, then a second release in June 2016 was of KBOS - Boston Logan, and both were high quality X-Plane payware sceneries and for free. They also set a standard and created a high reputation for anything delivered by "MisterX6". In reality it was crazy that this sort of extreme (for the time) work that was delivered for free, as the attention to detail was second to none. A load freeware sceneries followed with, KPHX, KPDX, KCUB, KSAN, KLAX and PAJN that were all delivered over the next few years, leaving X-Plane users begging for more. The dream run couldn't last and it didn't. With a name change to ShortFinal Design, Justin Kissling (the famed MisterX6) went payware with the "Definitive" series of scenery. So how do you top brilliant? by going extraordinary that is how. The first SFD release was KSLC - Salt Lake City, then my favorite KABQ - Albuquerque. Then Mega airports followed with KLAX - Los Angeles and EDDM - Munich of which was the X-PlaneReviews best scenery of the year winner 2019 🏅 The level of innovation and detail sets these extraordinary sceneries apart from nothing else in X-Plane, they are of a high standard if not the highest, so what comes next... KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive, and here it is. SFO is again a total revisit to the older freeware version, but a total revisit means it was completely rebuilt from nothing, so the two KSFOs really have nothing in common, but are related only to the same airport and location. San Francisco International Airport is an international airport in San Mateo County, 13 miles (21 km) south of Downtown San Francisco, California. It has flights to points throughout North America and is a major gateway to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australasia. SFO is the largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area and the second-busiest in California, after Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In 2017, it was the seventh-busiest airport in the United States and the 24th-busiest in the world by passenger count. It is the fifth-largest hub for United Airlines, which operates out of Terminal 3 and the International Terminal. SFO functions as United's primary Trans-Pacific gateway. Additionally, SFO is a major maintenance hub for United Airlines and houses the SFO Museum that was created in 1980, the first museum in an international airport. It also serves as a hub for Alaska Airlines, which operates in Terminal 2 The City and County of San Francisco first leased 150 acres (61 ha) at the present airport site on March 15, 1927, for what was then to be a temporary and experimental airport project. San Francisco held a dedication ceremony at the airfield, officially named the Mills Field Municipal Airport of San Francisco, on May 7, 1927, on the 150-acre cow pasture. San Francisco purchased the property and the surrounding area expanding the site to 1,112 acres (450 ha) beginning in August 1930. The airport's name was officially changed to San Francisco Airport in 1931 upon the purchase of the land. "International" was added at the end of World War II as overseas services rapidly expanded. San Francisco International Airport IATA: SFO - ICAO: KSFO - FAA LID: SFO - WMO: 72494 10L/28R -11,870ft (3,618m) -Asphalt 10R/28L - 11,381ft (3,469m) - Asphalt 01R/19L - 8,650ft (2,637m) - Asphalt 01L/19R - 7,650ft (2,332m) - Asphalt Elevation AMSL13 ft / 4 m KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design The airport sits directly on the west of San Francisco Bay, and almost directly opposite Oakland International Airport on the eastern side of the same bay. The runway layout is really a cross with the terminal and concourses in the upper right quadrant (looking west). SFO San Francisco Airport is built around a central core, with seven concourses, with one (Terminal 3) being a concourse/rotunda with arms. Inner core there are four Terminals, the large International, then anti-clockwise are Terminal 1, 2 and 3. Central core is a labyrinth and also the main carpark for all the different terminals. Carpark detail is extraordinary and complex as the there are so many different layers, and they are all animated with traffic. Internally looks a bit like the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame in feel, the animated building fans only heighten the effect. International Terminal The face of San Francisco airport is the large International Terminal. The International Terminal is also composed of Boarding Areas A and G. Designed by Craig W. Hartman of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the terminal opened in December 2000 to replace the International Departures section of Terminal 2. It is the largest international terminal in North America, and the largest building in the world built on base isolators to protect it against earthquakes. International Terminal detail is phenomenal, realism 101, or 201... brilliant work including the exceptional lattice work that supports the roof. Note the local branded SFO buses, detail, detail and a ShortFinal speciality. But this being ShortFinal, your going to get even more unique ideas and effects for your money... and he certainly does not disappoint here at SFO. The frontage of the International Terminal will change colours with special events! Frontage colours change on certain dates to celebrate events. New Year, President’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, Memorial Day, Pride Week, Independence Day, Labor Day, Patriot Day, German Unity Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. The same colours can however be used on different dates, like the six Red, White and Blue. It is again all so exceptionally well done. Concourses A and G Each side of the International Terminal as wings are two concourses for the International Arrivals and Departures. These are Concourses A and G. Concourse A Most international flights operated by SkyTeam, Oneworld, and non-aligned international carriers board and deplane at Boarding Area A's 15 gates (gates A1–A15). As a modern concourse (if 2000 is what you would call modern), Concourse A is all cladding and glass. Capturing the feel of buildings like this can be really hard, and can just come across as modeled. But that is not the case here as Concourse A (and the rest of the infrastructure here), is very realistic and nicely worn. Note the small ramp tower on top and end each A and G concourses. All gates in SFD San Francisco Airport are SAM3 Suite (Plugin required) activated. With up to three bridges on the International concourses which several are Cat Code F. There are defined A380/B748 taxi routes available as well. A speciality of ShortFinal is that their ground clutter is second to none, and your certainly not disappointed here either. Not are only the actual service vehicles (branded of course), but you have realistic ground personnel, AND animated walking staff as well. Glass is again exceptional and clear (or transparent), revea ling the inner fully modeled concourse interiors, again animated walkers are moving around on both fitted out levels. Again the detail is excellent and very, if highly realistic. Concourse G Most international flights operated by Star Alliance carriers, including all United international flights and select United domestic flights, are assigned to Boarding Area G's 14 gates (G1-G14). Concourse G is quite similar to A, but it has an open passenger deck at the end. Again everything associated with Concourse G is superb. Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Formerly known as the "South Terminal", Harvey Milk Terminal 1 is composed of Boarding Area B, which currently has 18 gates (gates B6-B9, B12-B14, B17, B18, and B19-B27). Prior to June 23, 2020, Boarding Area C was also considered part of Terminal 1. In April 2018, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and mayor Mark Farrell approved and signed legislation renaming Terminal 1 after deceased gay rights activist and former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Harvey Milk, and planned to install artwork memorializing him. Harvey Milk Terminal 1 is the world's first airport terminal named after a leader of the LGBTQ community. Arrival entrance is just all glass, making it a bit plain... but there is nothing plain about this very authentically designed terminal and the B Concourse. Lots of nicely defined nooks and crannies here to explore, and the rooftop detailing is excellent. Internal B concourse detail is again really well done... Terminal 2 Formerly known as the "Central Terminal", Terminal 2 is composed of Boarding Area C, which has 10 gates (gates C2-C11), and Boarding Area D, which has 15 gates (D1-D12 and D14-D16). The D gates is where Alaska Airlines has its hub. Terminal 2 opened in 1954 as the main airport terminal. After a drastic rebuilding designed by Gensler, it replaced Rotunda A as SFO's international terminal in 1983, until it was closed for renovation after the current international terminal opened in 2000. Terminal 2 arrivals feels like the older terminal redeveloped, of which it is of course. And again very well done. Side art facades are excellent, and note the animated internal AirTrain system. Part of the original International Terminal design survives as well with the "San Francisco" branding. Concourse C You immediately feel the older styled concourses and terminal style, compared to the cladding and glass newer buildings. Concourse C feels the oldest of the lot, but it is really well done here to get that older SFO feel into the scenery by SFD. Glass roof is see-though, and it feels very open from the internal view. But I love these older infrastructure designs. Going domestic to San Francisco, then parking here would be my choice of gates. Concourse D External Concourse detail is as usual in being very good, again a slight difference and feel here compared to the other concourses (except C). Internal detail is done right through the terminal and into the twin arms. Terminal 3 Formerly known as the "North Terminal", Terminal 3 is composed of Boarding Area E with 13 gates (gates E1-E13) and Boarding Area F with 23 gates (gates F1-F3, F3A, F4-F22). Terminal 3 is used for United Airlines' domestic flights. Mainline United and United Express flights that use both boarding areas. This $82.44 million terminal was originally designed by San Francisco Airport Architects (a joint venture of John Carl Warnecke and Associates, Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, and minority architects). The groundbreaking ceremony for the North Terminal was held on April 22, 1971, and Boarding Area F opened in 1979 and Boarding Area E opened in 1981. Concourse E The Initial modest renovation plans were replaced by a more ambitious project after the popularity of the remodeling of Terminal 2. After the completion of the US$138,000,000 (equivalent to $157,960,000 in 2021) project, Boarding Area E reopened on January 28, 2014, followed by Terminal 3 East on November 18, 2014. The project moved one gate from Boarding Area F to Boarding Area E to provide a total of ten aircraft parking positions at T3E. Following a 2019 renumbering of all gates at SFO, three additional gates moved from Boarding Area F to Boarding Area E, with the latter now containing 13 gates. Built to take in the view. Concourse E has a huge window for the front. Note the United gate information boards set with the current time. Note also the lower to the ground SAM airbridges for regional jet boarding... again concourse cladding and glass design is exceptional. Internal detail is again done, but the views from the concourse are simply realistically unbelievably, really real, "Being there real". There are a few gates E1, E2 and E3 between the two E and F concourses (There are more F1 - F4 gates that continues past the F Concourse entrance), and this area internally is modeled as well, and again the apron and runway views are sensational. Concourse F There are three United Clubs in Terminal 3—one near the rotunda for Boarding Area F, one on the mezzanine across from gate E2, and another at the beginning of Boarding Area E. Terminal 3 also houses the American Express Centurion Lounge, located across from Gate F2. Ramp detail is excellent, every area (per concourse) has a slightly different feel, here notice the excellent height safety bars and lower concourse detail. Airbridges on F are a different static design than the swing bridges, and well done here, and also still SAM active. Internal F Concourses are of course done as well, with a huge space around the rotunda... you can explore as much internally at SFO as externally. Views are again amazing in watching the aircraft, just like in real life. SFO Control Tower Situated in the space between Terminals 1 and 2, a new tower was built to replace the existing control tower and one that has been in operation since 1954 and was then located atop Terminal 2. The project also includes a new three-story Integrated Facility building for the FAA and other personnel, two connector walkways, and improvements to the Terminal 1 Boarding Area C Entrance. Construction of the new control tower and base building began in summer 2012, was turned over to the FAA for equipment installation in July 2015 and the tower became fully operational in October 2016. The swirl style control tower has been faithfully reproduced here by SFD, beautifully done with great design. Attention to roof top aerial detail is also excellent. Rear tower detail is worth inspecting close up. Tower view is inside the tower. Usually this aspect doesn't work, but here it is sensational, with a clear view of all the approaches. Seating only up here and with no computer screens, but still very well done. The same event colour effects are on the rear of the tower, and in the same matching the International Terminal facade event. Entrance to SFO has the "Grand Hyatt At SFO" on the southwest. Again really well done is the Hyatt and authentic to the real hotel, behind are the two western carparks for the International Terminal in G and A. The complex entrance road system is mixed in with the rail networks to San Francisco City. Called the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) it serves the airport at San Francisco International Airport station, and located west of the International Terminal. All BART trains are fully animated here, as is the full AirTrain system, it is all SO good. West Field To the north of the main central terminal hub is "West Field". Positioned here are all the airport's infrastructure facilities including Cargo and Catering. Facilities for Prime Cargo, Delta Cargo, Cathay Pacific Cargo, Turkish Airlines Cargo and Asiana Cargo. Further north is Singapore Airlines and China Southern that are all represented, as is the United Airlines GEM (Ground Equipment Maintenance) Facility and Gate Gourmet catering. Ground clutter detail is simply phenomenal. The SFO Fire Station is positioned on the front of West Field on taxiway Z. UAL Base (United Airlines Maintenance) Far north in the scenery is the huge UAL base. It is significant to note on how far away it is here from the central core of SFO that this scenery covers, and in absolute detail, a very hard thing to do, but it is also totally authentic. Note the amazingly detailed SFO bus depot SFO is home to the one of the largest single aircraft maintenance bases in the world with complete MRO base operations (maintenance, repair, overhaul, painting, welding, machine shop, tool and die, parts manufacturing, fabrication, engineering, and retrofitting (Boeing and Airbus certified, among others)). It serves as the principal Global MRO Base for United Airlines and serves over 40 other airlines, military customers, and aircraft lease operators. The main United facility is huge... ... it is also SAM powered. Open SAM and select the "Controls" icon, and you get six options. Three of the selections open the three doors on the United Maintenance hangar. East of the UAL Base is Plot 50, and the SFO major fuel depot. Plot 50 is a (remote) cargo facility for FedEx, KAL and NCA. Brand detail is again simply brilliant. USCG (US Coast Guard) Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco (CGAS) located at the San Francisco International Airport is one of five air stations in the Eleventh Coast Guard District. Currently, Air Station San Francisco operates four MH65 Dolphin helicopters that provides its primary mission search and rescue. CGAS San Francisco also supports a wide range of other Coast Guard operations such as Maritime Law enforcement, port security, Aids to Navigation support and Marine Environmental Protection to approximately 300 miles of coastline from Point Conception to Fort Bragg 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A lovely old building that screans "San Fran" that is modeled and detailed impeccably here, simply sensational for helicopter operations. The USCG hangar doors are SAM powered as well, so they open to reveal a nicely detailed interior. There is still more action at the USCG facility. On the SAM is another selection to open the gates. Press "Coast Guard Gate", and the barriers come down, lights flash and the gates all open. GA & Signature The east is where the only General Aviation (GA) area is at SFO with a Signature Aviation" facility. This is a British multinational aviation services company for personal jet services. There are both here a reception and private jet terminal and a large maintenance hangar. Again the SAM plugin can be used to open the Signature hangar door, revealing a nice interior. Superbay The eastern side of the airfield is dominated by the Superbay, a 420,550-square-foot (39,070 m2) maintenance hangar capable of holding four 747s. Originally constructed in the 1970s, the facility is shared by United Airlines and American Airlines. Sadly the doors don't open on the Superbay. Notable is that everything here is custom. Even the fencing is custom made and it comes in all various shapes and designs, no string facades here. All blast fences are perfect, and so is road crossing detail. Ground Textures Even from a distance you know the ground textures here at SFO are going to be something special, they are... ... but also a bit of a surprise, because they are not as rough (or knobbly) as I thought they would be, so they feel quite smooth. built in Burnt-in ambient occlusion effects and reflections are there but again not overly done, so to a point they look more realistic. In saying that I think these textures in the rain of X-Plane12 will be absolutely sensational. The different types of surfaces is just plain stupid here, totally everything you could imagine and far more, and again all totally brilliantly done. Grunge and oily dirt is perfect on the ramps, but overall I like the darker cuts in the asphalt and concrete for absolute realism. Notable is that there are four actual texture versions in (mostly to save framerate); No Ortho + Flat, No Ortho + No Flat, Ortho + Flat (default) and Ortho + No Flat Lighting I think by now, that if the lighting was average at SFO, it would be a real let down... NOPE, the lighting is as brilliant as everything else here. Approach lighting ha animated RAIL on 28L and 28R and 19L, and all approach lighting set high on gantries and really well done. The lighting ideas used here is quite unusual from the standard X-Plane practise of bright airside and tan landside. Unusual is the use here of mercury vapor lamps, which create a blue-green tint over remote carparks and the non-working areas. But very effective in the scenery for realism. Hub SFO centre is overwhelmingly good, that comes with the subtle uses of different lighting tones, this creates a realism of well real life. Not withstanding the colour effects. Central carpark hub looks like the core of a nuclear reactor! but brilliant. Ramps are excellent for working on at night, but the crème de la crème here is the Gate number lighting that are all spectacularly backlit... really love that, and so realistic. Backside and building window lighting is excellent, again very realistic, no average plain colour fills here. Internal concourse lighting is bright, but really well done in not being over bright to spoil the external views. Note the great ceiling lighting. Oddly there is not a lot of brand lighting on the buildings, say cargo faclities... the main are done like "UNITED AIR LINES", but not something like FedEx or the Hyatt Hotel? Ground navigation lighting is also very good. All signs are worn but effective, with excellent colour light realistic ground reflections... perfect. San Francisco Scenery Unlike with the freeware version of KSFO San Francisco International Airport and City 2.0, there are no city objects in this package, which for me is surprising. ShortFinal noted to me that he may create a San Francisco city free pack to go along with this package, of which shouldn't be too hard as it is already object created. Here I am using here the (very) good but very old Tom Curtis Golden Gate scenery package, but sadly it's not on sale or available anymore. _______________ Summary MisterX6 changed the face of X-Plane scenery. First with Freeware high quality scenery for the X-Plane Simulator, then he went Payware with his "Definitive" Series and changed his name to ShortFinal Designs. That change took the scenery quality, detail and effects into the stratosphere, but still with a very affordable price. San Francisco was one of the original KSFO San Francisco International Airport and City 2.0 freeware sceneries, and very good it is, but here is the KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive version. Like all the rest of the "Definitive" Series with KSLC - Salt Lake City, then my favorite KABQ - Albuquerque. Then Mega the airports followed with KLAX - Los Angeles and EDDM - Munich, that were all exceptional sceneries, so you expect a lot from the "Definitive" SFO. This SFO scenery has been a long time in development. I expected a release around the early months of 2022, but it was still another 6 months before it now comes to release. Having reviewed the scenery here, I can't believe it didn't take far, far longer. This is a MASSIVE scenery, in every aspect. Scale, object count, detail, effects and a realism above what we currently have. Yes there are brilliant sceneries out there, but this San Francisco sets a higher bar in almost every department... It is a colossal achievement. In every area it is brilliant. Modeling, texturing, lighting and not only external but the internal is very good as well. SAM Active, is not only for the various airbidge designs, but also to open and close hangar doors and gate crossings. This is one serious scenery with an object count to be believed. Again in every area it is covered in objects and with the massive clutter detail to burn your eyes out. Ground Textures and lighting are also extreme in detail with a few unique ideas thrown in. But the highlights are the event colours on the International Terminal and Control Tower that change with certain event days like the 4th July, Christmas and New Year and many more... Negatives, none really AT ALL. But you have to know that with an object and detail count like this and used in this scenery, then it will take up a lot of frame rate, so SFO does hurt the framerate, and no doubt ShortFinal has refined everything to the bone already. So you would need a fair bit of power to run it all. My guide would be ShortFinal's LAX, if that SFD scenery runs fine, then so will SFO, but lighter graphic cards will certainly struggle to process it all. I don't like to define the "Best of"... because it is a moving target in Simulation. But certainly this KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive scenery has to be the very best ever scenery created for the X-Plane Simulator, on the scale alone.... a masterpiece, absolutely, if even the best X-Plane Scenery was ever created for the simulator, and that SFO by ShortFinal is a big if massive achievement no matter which way you look at it. "All across the nation such a strange vibration People in motion There's a whole generation with a new explanation People in motion people in motion If you come to San Francisco Summertime will be a love-in there" _______________________________ The KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive Priced at US$26.95 High-Definition Airport Accurate airport layout (as of 2022) Brand-new Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Detailed models for all buildings with baked ambient occlusion Terminals with interiors PBR materials on objects and ground Custom dynamic night lighting Custom high resolution ground textures High resolution photo scenery (30cm/px) Taxi routes for AI traffic Compatible with any mesh scenery Free X-Plane 12 update planned Animated Airport Animated AirTrain, BART, and cars Animated highly detailed airport vehicles Animated workers and passengers Custom animated jetways and DGS (requires SAM plugin) Special lighting on international terminal and control tower on certain dates Various user-controlled hangar doors (requires SAM plugin) Requirements X-Plane 11 - X-Plane 12 (when available) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Version 1.0 (August 6th 2022) Installation and documents: SFO is download of 1.6 Gb download that is translated into a single install file SFD_KSFO_San_Francisco 2.1 Gb full install in your Custom Scenery folder. There is an OPTIONS folder for Ortho and Flat versions of ShortFinal SFO No Ortho + Flat No Ortho + No Flat Ortho + Flat (default) Ortho + No Flat You just swap over the supplied Earth nav data folder. There is a mesh patch can be used with MUXP (https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/67230-mesh-updater-x-plane-muxp/). It works with any mesh (including ORBX TrueEarth) and makes coastlines more accurate, which avoids issues like sunken approach lights. As of writing this document, MUXP is still an alpha version, so results may vary. In case you need to revert the changes, it always creates a backup version of your mesh files. NOTE, not sure on how this would work with X-Plane12, so personally I would not use it for now if using SFO Definitive in X-Plane12. SAM3 Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 3.0 is required for this scenery, Documents There is a 2 page "Instruction" page for installation and requirements Manual.pdf ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 6th August 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved  Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.55 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - None-
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  4. Hi Steven, Thanks for another excellent review for what seems to be a fantastic rendition of KSFO, which I will certainly purchase in the very near future. Regarding the absence of the city buildings, and while awaiting a potential add-on pack from SFD, I read on the dedicated .org forum thread that it's possible to install this pack on top of the freeware one, which includes the city, thereby alllowing the city part of the freeware pack to be seen. Sounds like a good idea, will definitely try it when I get the payware.
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  5. Aircraft Review: Handley Page Hampden by Virtavia Introduction The 1930s was a great period for military aircraft development. At Handley Page one of their best examples during this time was the Heyford bomber, which went into service with the Royal Air Force in 1934. The Heyford was a biplane with an open cockpit and gun positions, had a fixed undercarriage and used a mixed construction of metal and fabric. The Heyford was the last biplane heavy bomber operated by the RAF. When you compare the Heyford to the Hampden, the differences between them were huge, especially when you consider there were only four years between them. History has a great way of recounting how good or bad an aircraft performed during its lifetime, with some even being regarded as a bit of a joke or totally abysmal. Unfortunately, the Handley Page Hampden could fall into that category. A certain Charles G Grey, the founder of the magazine “The Aeroplane”, described the Hampden (without considering some of its ground-breaking assets) as a flying suitcase! Sadly, this is the nickname that stuck with the aircraft during its whole service career. The Hampden was designed and conceived by Gustav Lacmann, Chief Designer at Handley Page in a response to a request from the British Air Ministry for a new twin-engined medium bomber under the Air Ministry specification B9/32. The specification set by the ministry was quite demanding, which specified among many other requirements that it should have higher performance than any preceding bomber aircraft. The first HP2 prototype flew for the first time on 21st June 1936, and shortly thereafter the Air Ministry placed an initial order for 180 Mk.1 Hampdens. The first production aircraft took to the sky on 24th May 1938. The Hampden was quite a modern aircraft for its time as it utilised a stressed metal skin. Fitted with the most advanced wing available at the time, the Hampden had a remarkably low landing speed of just 73 mph, quite impressive for an Aircraft of its size. The Hampden was powered by a pair of 980 hp air-cooled Bristol Pegasus 9-cylinder Radial engines. These engines, along with the aircraft’s slim design, resulted in the Hampden achieving a top speed of 265 mph, as well as an impressive climb rate. Armament on the Hampden was abysmal as it only featured a fixed Vickers K machine gun on the nose, plus two in each of the rear dorsal & ventral positions. The aircraft featured an internal bomb bay capable of carrying 4,000 lbs of bombs, mines, or a single 18-inch torpedo. The crew of four consisted of a pilot, navigator/bomb aimer, radio operator/dorsal gunner, ventral gunner. Due to its design, the crew were crammed into a tight fuselage with almost no room to move and were typically cold and extremely uncomfortable during long missions. Aircrews soon referred to the Hampden by various nicknames, such as the flying Panhandle, and Flying Tadpole. The Hampden entered service with RAF No.49 Squadron between September and November 1938. While based at RAF Scampton, they were allocated the hazardous task of low-level minelaying and attacking ships during the outbreak of World War Two. Purchase and installation For this review, I am running the latest version of X-Plane 11, along with a shadow tweak to make the shadow lines in the game appear much sharper. My chosen graphics API is Vulcan, not OpenGL. The Intel I7 4790K CPU is overclocked to 5Ghz complete with liquid cooling. I have 32GB RAM, with my GPU being an Asus Cerberus 1070ti. The sounds are provided through a Creative Titanium HD audiophile card, all of which is sat on an Asus Motherboard. At the time of writing, the Hampden from Virtavia is available from the Org Store for $21.95, and upon completion of your purchase, 44 reward points will be allocated to your store account. The stated system requirements are Windows, Mac or Linux and the model requires a minimum of 4 GB VRAM but recommends 8 GB or greater. The model currently sits at version: 1.0 (December 6th, 2021) and is for use in X Plane 11 only. Virtavia indicates that the model is fully VR-ready, however, I am not able to confirm this as I do not possess a VR headset. Once purchased, you simply download the compressed files to your chosen location on your PC. No automatic installation exe is included with the product, but installation is quite straightforward, as you simply extract the compressed files to your Aircraft folder. Once extracted, the size comes to 64.8MB. Documentation The model includes a comprehensive 19-page PDF full-colour manual which is split into several sections. It contains a procedures list and makes extensive use of screen captures which feature annotations to the relevant controls being demonstrated. Another feature that impressed me was the use of instructional videos as a reference relating to various procedures such as a cold and dark start. By double clicking on the AVI symbol, a copy of the instruction video will be downloaded to your pc where you can view them as and when required. First Impressions The original model of this Handley Page Hampden stems from an FSX/P3D variant. Whilst the aircraft systems and handling in this X-Plane version are significantly better than those found in the earlier FSX version, the Hampden is still not a particularly complex aircraft, which suits casual flight simmers such as myself. The package features two variants, these being the Hampden B. Mk1 and the TB. Mk1. 1. The Hampden B. Mk1 ships with four liveries and are as follows: 185 Sqn. at RAF Cottesmore from 1939 and 144 Sqn. stationed at North Luffenham during 1942. Whilst the other two liveries feature aircraft from No. 1404 (Meteorological) Flight RAF at St. Eval during 1942 and the Torpedo Development Unit of 1939 The Hampden TB. Mk1. ships with three liveries and are as follows: 415 Sqn. Royal Canadian Air Force during 1943, 489 Sqn. of the Royal NZ Air Force of 1944 and finally, the TB. Mk.1. of the Swedish Air Force. Exterior The exterior detailing faithfully captures the quirky lines synonymous with the Hampden’s airframe. From the narrow deep-seated fuselage to the thin tapering rear leading to the twin tail, Virtavia have faithfully captured these features. With the extensive use of PBR textures throughout both the exterior and the cockpit, the whole model shines (in all the right places) thanks to X-Plane’s superior global lighting. The surface of the model also features nicely rendered panel lines and subtle weathering. The flying controls and surfaces are fully animated and work very smoothly, including the forward wing slats which are automatically operated. The cooling grills (cowl flaps) can be opened and closed by clicking the relevant control in the cockpit. The model also features a reasonably detailed undercarriage as well as two different exhaust types that were fitted to the different variants of the aircraft. Overall, the exterior model is almost worth the price by itself. However, despite all the gloss of PBR and the improvements across the model, I did feel there was something still slightly lacking with the exterior model. In short, the Handley Page Hampden was amongst the first mono-winged aircraft to feature a flush-rivetted stressed metal skin, reinforced with a mixture of bent and extruded sections in an all-metal design. Whilst the panel lines are faithfully represented in this model, the detail relating to the flush riveting and stressed skin effects are missing. It doesn’t affect the functionality of the model in the slightest, but if you know your aircraft history, you’ll notice it. A feature I particularly liked was the ability to have the crew visible or not. The crew can be toggled on or off by pressing Shift-F5 as seen below. You can select to have the upper rear gunners’ canopy open or closed, and this is achieved by pressing Shift-F2. Both gunners’ positions (dorsal and ventral) included representations of the 303 Vickers K machine gun which are adequately detailed but are not operable. The crew access hatch can be toggled open or closed by pressing Shift-F3. Another nice feature of the model is the bomb bay which features operable bay doors which can be toggled open or closed by pressing shift-F4. Alternatively, there is a switch for this on the right side of the cockpit. The internal detail of the bomb bay is rather weak but acceptable, however, there is no ordinance within the bay and no loadout options are provided with the model. It would have been a nice touch if the developer had included such an option. Perhaps in a later update? Interior Moving onto the interior and it’s clear to see that this is where Virtavia pulled out all the stops. When sitting in the cockpit, you are presented with a rich and diverse environment. It’s a complete click fest of the highest order, all laced with lush PBR textures and clear annotations to both instruments and dials. Aside from the normal functioning controls, there are numerous features available to you in the cockpit, so many in fact that it would take too long to describe in this short article. However, all I can say is that if you do decide to go out and purchase the Hampden, you won’t be disappointed with how the cockpit looks, it’s simply exquisite. Handling Like many of you reading this, I am just a desktop pilot and a casual simmer at heart, so I am not particularly well qualified to say if the flight model is accurate or not. The task becomes even harder when you consider there are no airworthy Hampdens left anywhere in the world. However, that said, in X-Plane, the Handley Page Hampden being a tail dragger, has all the usual traits associated with this type of aircraft, and as such can be quite a handful on the ground. In other words, don’t open the throttles too quickly as the aircraft will run away with you, and your flight (what there was of it), will end in tears! Once in the air and all trimmed out, the aircraft is quite responsive and is in no way sluggish. The developers appear to have replicated the response rate of the engines quite well, in that there is no instant change in tone when you reduce or increase the throttle, instead it slowly changes tone which is far more realistic. The Handley Page Hampden was one (if not the first) medium bomber to feature forward wing slats. These reduced the aircraft’s landing speed to just 73mph. The forward wing slats are operated automatically, and I found landing the aircraft in my X-Plane world, a considerably more relaxed experience than taking off. Sounds When X-Plane allowed for the introduction of FMOD sound packages for aircraft models, the sound environment changed for the better. The included FMOD sound samples in this package are simply outstanding, and in my opinion, faithfully capture the dynamic sounds of a pair of 980 hp air-cooled Bristol Pegasus 9-cylinder radial engines. This starts with the slow, rattling, popping, spitting and stuttering of the engines during a cold and dark start-up. As you slowly increase power, the engine note changes, and you can really feel the deep rumbling gentle growl as the engines come to life. When you open and close the cockpit canopy (again sampled), the sounds of the engine are subtly subdued, but still audible through the canopy. In all, the included soundset of this model is simply music to your ears! Conclusion As you can no doubt tell from this review, flying this aircraft has been a great deal of fun for me, with some of its highlights being: The massive 3D modelling improvements and increased functionality in the cockpit over its earlier FSX/P3D variant. The cockpit environment is enriched by the extensive application of PBR textures, which really makes it shine, especially when you factor in the price point. The introduction of an impressive FMOD sound pack. The inclusion of a comprehensive PDF manual, which employs links to a series of downloadable instructional videos. Looking at areas for possible improvement, it would have been nice if Virtavia had included the flush riveting and stressed panel details on the exterior model. I would also have liked to have seen various loadout options for the bomb bay, but as I mentioned, maybe these can be added in future updates. I was just a little disappointed that some of the other notable characteristics were not given the same attention to detail as they lavished in the cockpit environment. In summing up, I have to say the Handley Page Hampden by Virtavia is a quirky, yet remarkable aircraft, and in my view will deliver a lot of nostalgic fun for not much money. So, why not be like me, and pack yourself into a flying suitcase and relive a bit of history! ___________________ The Handley-Page Hampden package by Virtavia is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Virtavia Handley-Page Hampden Price at time of writing US$21.95 Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.0 (December 6th 2021) Review System Specifications: Windows 10 64 Bit Intel I7 4790K 32GB RAM NVIDIA GTX 1070Ti Aircraft Review by Nick Garlick 4th August 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)
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  6. I have recently, thanks to Org store sales bought several new GA aircraft and have been flying around the summer skies of the UK and California, or at least the Orbx representations of them. And it has been very pleasant indeed. It might be my imagination but some of the recent Nvidia drivers also seem pretty good. Which led me to the thought that XP11 is really not bad at all, and (unlike many video games and simulations) I still have a lot more to do, to learn and improve - although my landings seem a lot more consistent these days. Then when I come online I read all of the calls for more news and a release date for XP12 and I wonder why. Perhaps XP12 out of the box will be better, but then like many releases it might take a few iterations. Now in XP11 unlike in MSFS I cannot really see my house, nor fly around a more accurate version of say London. But then XP11 does many other things better to compensate. And then there’s all my investment in XP11, not just the money but the time and the tweaking and learning it to a decent depth - although there is always more to learn. So yes, XP12 would be nice, if only to get developers some much needed new sales. But in the interim I’ll just virtually fly, rather than seeking snippets from forums and videos. How does Guernsey to Swansea sound for this afternoon for example? Pleasant enough weather, but a little wet in the arrival perhaps?
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  7. Might be more interesting this time around... FlightFactor have costed their Boeing 767-400 currently at US$69, but will be US79 for X-Plane12, notable the upgrade fee might be US$10. Not the same price in X-Plane11 to 12.
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  8. it's a bit of a stretch to say the -400 is just a 3D and panel update? There is a lot more in there than that, more so in that it is a very nice aircraft thank you very much...
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  9. No the OSM in AviTab is chunky and slow compared to Navigraph charts, not at all my favorite MAP system, certainly from a Pro perspective.
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  10. Avitab can do all that and more... https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/44825-avitab-vr-compatible-tablet-with-pdf-viewer-moving-maps-and-more/
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  11. Aircraft Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate Although created as passenger variant, the MD-11's biggest claim to fame or it's success is via it's continuing Cargo functionality. The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 came into being with a huge legacy haunting over the aircraft. The MD-11 is of course a derivative of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. The culture within McDonnell Douglas towards the end of the reign of James Smith "Mac" McDonnell, moved away from their famous engineering prowess to being lead by sales and profit. This resulted in the cost savings on the design of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Series. As of September 2015, the DC-10 had been involved in 55 accidents and incidents, including 32 hull-loss accidents, with 1,261 occupant fatalities, The most ill-famed was the Turkish Airlines Fl 981 McDonnell Douglas DC-10 who operating the flight crashed into the Ermenonville Forest, outside Paris, killing all 346 people on board. The crash was also known as the Ermenonville air disaster. Flight 981 was the deadliest plane crash in aviation history until 27 March 1977 (Tenerife). The cause in the failure of the crash occurred when an incorrectly secured cargo door at the rear of the plane burst open and broke off, causing an explosive decompression that severed the critical cables necessary to control the aircraft. To maximize the working space within the cargo hold, the cargo doors opened outwards, making them vulnerable to being forced open at high altitudes under normal in-flight pressure. To prevent this, a special latching system was used that locked shut the doors under pressure when properly closed. To ensure the latches were properly positioned, a handle rotated on the outside of the door pressed small metal pins into the latches; if the latches were in an improper location the pins would not align and the handle would not close. In truth the problem haunted the aircraft for the rest of it's service life. Oddly the same culture at McDonnell Douglas then caused it to be merged with Boeing under the stewardship of Harry Stonecipher. And again the same noxious McDonnell Douglas culture of putting sales, profits and shareholders before engineering proffered deep into Boeing as well. And those aspects resulted lately with the costly issues of the 787 Dreamliner, the late development of the new 777X and the disaster of the Boeing 737 MAX program. In the middle of all this, was the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, and yet somehow the aircraft thrived and returned good service, to be basically to be seen now as the classic three engined aircraft of the period. If even spacing between the eras of the four-engined (B707/B747/A340) to the big-twins (B777, A350, B787). McDonnell Douglas had started to search for a DC-10 derivative as early as 1976. Two versions were considered then; a DC-10-10 with a fuselage stretch of 40 feet (12 m) and a DC-10-30 stretched by 30 feet (9.1 m). The latter version would have been capable of transporting up to 340 passengers in a multi-class configuration, or 277 passengers and their luggage over 5,300 nautical miles (9,800 km). At the same time, the manufacturer was seeking to reduce wing and engine drag on the trijet. Another version of the aircraft was also envisaged, the "DC-10 global", aimed to counter the risks of loss of orders for the DC-10-30 that the Boeing 747SP and its range were causing. The DC-10 global would have incorporated more fuel tanks. McDonnell Douglas was still convinced that a new derivative for the DC-10 was needed, as shown by the second-hand market for their Series 30 and the heavier DC-10-30ER version. Thus, in 1984 a new derivative aircraft version of the DC-10 was designated MD-11. From the very beginning, the MD-11X was conceived in two different versions. The MD-11X-10, based on a DC-10-30 airframe, offered a range of 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km) with passengers. That first version would have had a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 580,000 pounds (260,000 kg) and would have used CF6-80C2 or PW4000 engines. The MD-11X-20 was to have a longer fuselage, accommodating up to 331 passengers in a mixed-class layout, and a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km). On December 30, 1986, McDonnell Douglas launched the MD-11 with commitments for 52 firm orders and 40 options in three different versions (passenger, combi and freighter) from ten airlines (Alitalia, British Caledonian, Dragonair, Federal Express, Finnair, Korean Air, Scandinavian Airlines, Swissair, Thai Airways International, and VARIG) and two leasing companies (Guinness Peat Aviation and Mitsui). Orders from Dragonair, Scandinavian and UTA, and an undisclosed customer were canceled by 1988. The MD-11 however failed to meet its range and fuel burn targets. The last of the 200 aircraft was built in October 2000 after Boeing merged with MDC in 1997. Some early MD-11F freighters were built, but most of the MD-11's still flying are now mostly all converted early MD-11 passenger aircraft. The aircraft in this guise is a very attractive proposition to cargo operators, When compared to a 777F, the MD-11 can only be able to carry 81% of the same load capacity (534 vs. 653 cubic meters). However, the latter would also end up being far cheaper aircraft to purchase (even with the conversion costs) and more readily available when compared to the newer 777F. Currently Federal Express still fly 57 MD-11s, including "Jim Riedmeyer" the first MD-11 Built (48401 LN:447, First Flight 01/03/1990). Rotate MD-11 We are all very familiar with the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 from Rotate. Released on 9th Dec 2015, the MD-80 had a troubled introduction into the X-Plane Simulator. Top of the list was that Rotate as a developer back then was very green, add in also they being extremely ambitious in delivering such a complex airliner at the very first go. What did impress though was the speed and the sheer number of updates that followed in the next year (2016) to sort out the complex details and bugs. This is the sign of a good developer, with the excellent backup service and righting of the wrongs quickly.... By version v1.1 X-PlaneReviews picked up the aircraft in a state worth reviewing; Aircraft Update : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 v1.1 by Rotate (XPR did do a release preview also worth looking at). Over the years the MD-80 updates still came in thick and fast, and the aircraft is certainly in a very stable if now a slightly dated machine state. I put the Rotate MD-80 as one of my top ten aircraft, even as high as the fourth best. Yes it still has a few oddities in it's behavior, but as a simulation it is one of the most rewarding best. So how do you follow up that aircraft. Well with the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, or the bigger brother of the MD-90 Series. The aircraft has also been in development for four long years, and in context that is a very long development cycle... putting two and two together and your expectations are going to go through the roof... you are expecting a lot, and even far more than the MD-80 this time around. The result however is what I call interesting. Clarification: This review of the Rotate MD-11 was created under the Rotate Beta program, and not under a RC (Release Candidate), or release version of the aircraft, so there could be changes or even slight difference between this provided version and the final official aircraft, on current check of the latest beta version, I found there was no significant differences in the features or details provided here. The release version is the Cargo variant, which considering the very few MD-11 passenger versions flying around, it is the aircraft you would really desire anyway. There are no current notes from Rotate on if the passenger version will be developed, but on the original announcement Rotate said "It is planed (sic) to be distributed in both cargo and passengers flavors, and Rotate confirmed the passenger variant is still under consideration". When the Rotate MD-80 was released those fair few years ago. The aircraft had a very distinctive style. I called it "Ultra Realism", but a lot of users didn't like it, calling it overdone... but I simply adored it, and I still do. So would the MD-11 follow the same "Ultra Realism" route? Well it does, and again I totally and absolutely love it. Is the MD-11 an attractive aircraft? "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". My angle is that "Form follows Function", and the MD-11 (DC-10) was created inside out, as the internals dictated what the external look and feel is all about, including mounting that centre middle engine way high above the tail, and the weight distribution that went with that configuration. One thing is very clear though, is that the MD-11 has a very unique presence, a different style and it is a very big aircraft. So the aircraft does create a very big footprint in the simulator, and that aspect then does also create the fear of the MD-11 being a framerate killer. I never seen or even feel that aspect at all here, as the Felis Boeing 742 released last year, as it was in being the same large footprint aircraft that certainly did push those boundaries very hard, if over them, but I certainly don't get the same feeling here at all, but then I'm not greedy with my graphic settings either, and I am also flying on an average system... my feeling is, if I can fly it well with no framerate intrusions then so should you. If you can't then it may be time to upgrade your computer specifications. Rotate aircraft promote the "wear and tear" or hard worked "in it's life" style of design. And not only is the whole intricate detail available here, but it is tired and worn as it should be... so that "Ultra Realism" is very apparent here. The MD-80 is like mentioned is a few years old now, and this sort of approach could be actually now deemed as old fashioned, but it is totally not... as it is perfect. A "walkaround" here turns into a journey of detail, a feast for the eyes, and you will never tire of looking at this aircraft. As there is always something new to discover and absorb. If you are a detail and texture junkie, then this MD-11 will put you in hospital with an obsessive overload. Every access plate, rib, panel are all here to explore, it is all incredible stuff, and in an age of simulation of incredible stuff to feast on. Engines mounted are three General Electric CF6-80C2D1F high-bypass turbofan engines, the same that is on the Boeing 747, rated at 52,200–61,960 lbf. The engine pod design is excellent as is the chrome inlet surround, inner fan and spinner. But the real "gobsmacking" detail is the outlet, note that amazing cooper cone, all the wear feel is realism 101, or even 150%, it is all just so good. The iconic DC10/MD11 tail arrangement is also excellent. Detail is incredible, again the outlet cone steals the show... It is quite scary on how far back the GE CF6 is mounted in the tail section. There is a very long inlet to the fan section, and the rear cone and bottom section are also hinged down to remove the engine from the aircraft. If there was not enough weight back here, then why not add in another jet engine, a small one mind you in the APU unit, lower tail. Note the huge APU exhaust outlet, again extremely well done. In reality there isn't much glass in the MD-11. The front cockpit windows are clear. I would have expected a green tint? maybe later in the options? Otherwise the window frames are excellent, with tons of detail and realism. This is a converted passenger aircraft to a freighter. So some great detail from Rotate are the window plugs along the fuselage, and they look really good and realistic in the shaping of the panels. two windows (per side) are left in for wing visual inspection, again highly realistic in detail. Like the DC-10, the MD-11 has a three bogie rear and a nosewheel unit for the landing gear arrangement. A lot of developers model and detail the gear assemblies very well, but they leave them clean, nice but not what you call realistic... here Rotate has done the "dirty" so to speak with not only the full assembly construction, links, hubs and supports and what have you, but covered them all in grime and brake dust... perfection, yes it all is. All the hydraulic lines are there as is also the nice tyre construction with great tyre highlighted detail. Middle support twin bogie is again brilliantly detailed, but the central hull placement means most of the internal section is hidden, very well done though again in quality and grubby detail. Nosegear is also highly detailed and authentic in detail. Here you can see right up into the gear bay, and the great detail is also noted internally... All linkages and assemblies are all highly modeled and detailed, The taxi and landing lights are positioned up very high on the struts on the MD-11. All the gear animations are first rate (and magnificent to watch) and note the forward gear doors that are connected directly to the nosegear struts. So all the external aspects are excellent, and certainly meets the high demands of the high quality we expect from Simulation today, in this aspect you certainly won't be disappointed. MENU The MD-80 didn't have detailed menus, well sort of. There was the Manual you opened that had a two page Fuel & Load and Ground Operations set of options, and the doors could be opened via the banner menu as well. With the MD-11 there is a dropdown X-Plane Banner Menu (Plugins) with two selections; AIRCRAFT MENU and ABOUT. AIRCRAFT MENU; has four tabs... Options, Load Manager, Ground Operations and Failures. ABOUT; Is the aircraft Version Number and Rotate Credits. OPTIONS; This is the aircraft Options page with Seven option choices; - Show Ambient temperatures In Celsius - Show Weight data in Kilograms (Or Lbs) - Show Fluid quantity in Litres (or Gallons) - Reduce IRU align time to 30 seconds (align now) - Default to HPa Barometer setting - Synchronise barometer setting Co-Pilot side - Use 8.33KHz spacing in VHF Radios Lower is the choice to; "Perform Maintenance tasks to all systems", and to note to "Save Options" choices bottom. Situations; Right side has five start "Situations"; - Cold & Dark - Parked with external power - Ready to start engines - Ready to taxi - Ready for departure All selections are very good, but there is no "Turnaround" option which is interesting. LOAD MANAGER; This is your aircraft set up page for Payload and CG (Centre of Gravity/%MAC) and Fuel Quantities, Weight & Balance and Total Weights. Top is the Total Payload and Payload CG settings in KG (Lbs) and %MAC. Then the Fuel Quantities in; Takeoff Fuel, Taxi Fuel, Ballast Tank(s), Ballast Fuel, and Trip Fuel. Notable is the Fuel loading settings as the interesting part is the aircraft balance setting. The MD-11 has extra AUX tanks for the TAIL TK (Tank), CTR (Centre) TK and the AUX UP TK, of which you can select to use. This can be very hard to set up, because the MD-11 aircraft is very, very sensitive to it's CG balance. The really hard part is that where do you get your "Ballast" fuel info from, certainly not from SimBrief, as it is not listed there. I set up a route (and not using the "Ballast" function), and somehow it just didn't work for me... Rotate notes that they are going to "Rethink" the fuel layout. Basically My attitude is to fill the main centre tanks then just adjust the AUX tanks automatically to fill to the amount of excess fuel required. You can "Extend Controls" (bottom left) of the Weight and Fuel Quantities to load the different Cargo Compartments, Upper and Lower decks... "Simple Controls" returns the menu back to normal size. On the Right is the "Weight & Balance (ZF-CG and TO-CG) graph to see your loading and takeoff limits (or limitations), and below is the Totals of the TOW (TakeOff Weight), ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight), TO-CG (TakeOff - Centre of Gravity) and ZF-CG (Weight and Trim) both %MAC. Finally bottom is the option to "Apply (set) load configutation to aircraft and FMS", This will transfer the set loading data directly into the aircraft (fuel and weight) and %MAC into the FMS. GROUND OPERATIONS; This tab allows you to use "Static Elements and to open and close the aircraft doors, with a few nice features as well. Ground Services; There are six selections for "Ground Services". They include; GPU (Ground Power Unit), which is very nice (you can also use the COMMAND Toggle "GPU_power_request_toggle" as well to activate the GPU). Wheel Choks (sic)... Wheel Chocks, Cockpit Stair, a very nice RF Door set of tall stairs, Fuel Service, Load Aircraft and a Push Back option (I would still use betterpushback). Menus right side are the multitude of door options "Cabin Doors" L/R in forward and rear fuselage doors. Cargo Deck Doors have four options... Cargo Main (LF top), Cargo Fwd (RF bottom), Cargo CTR (RR bottom) and Cargo Aft (LR bottom), the Cargo aft left door is very similar to the BULK door. The "Load Aircraft" feature is very similar to the INIBuilds loading feature... Select "Load Aircraft" from the menu and the Cargo door opens... then a truck turns up with four trolleys with containers and a very nice K Loader. One by one the containers are then loaded onto the aircraft... it is well done, and I really liked the way the tug and trolleys move up to unload themselves onto the K Loader... ... but you only load on those four containers, there are no more, then reopen the LF Cargo door and "poof!" they have all gone? So I will note the feature as a WIP (hopefully), will we have later more containers (and their weights) and then actually in keeping the load on the aircraft until you unload at the destination. So far it looks brilliant, but feels currently not finished, or even feasible for a cargo hauler. FAILURES; The "Failures" feature also feels a little underdeveloped? You get nine options in; APU, Air, Electrical, Engines, Fuel, Hydraulic, Instrumentation, Fire and Other. But the options are limited to only one in "Fail Now" of which will fail the choice option. It will "Fix Now" so you can quickly rectify the failure... but there are no timer or altitude failure options. Bonus is that there is a lot of failure options to choose from, as the lists are quite long and detailed, but I feel this is another area to be improved more later. One last note on the onscreen menu. It is a fixed screen menu with no scale or movement around the screen, that is making it a bit crowded when in use, but it is simple and well done to use. Cabin/Deck The view we all savour... going aboard. External view looks good, fuselage doors open upwards and inwards, à la Boeing 767. Behind the cockpit is the crew rest area with a small galley and two armchairs, it feels far more smaller here than the same on the Boeing 777... the detail in here is extremely Lo-Res and not a priority to the overall design, Rotate says all the rear textures are this way for good framerate processing, fair enough, but I feel there was enough framerate ceiling to easily do this area in a more Hi-Res feel and detail. Objects and text are blurred and it feels ten years older in here than with most current aircraft, than it should be. The current X-Plane obsession with toilets is also not used, the toilet door is firmly closed and unusable.... shame. It is the same with the upper and lower cargo decks... HUGE, but again very Lo-Res in detail for frameweight benefits... but nicely passable. The MD-11 cargo capacity is HUGE, there is so much spare meter space... you can see why these old jets are hard to replace, as they can carry so much capacity cargo. Cockpit (Office) The feel inside is very Rotate as well, I call it "Edgy Grungy", a lived in and worked in environment like within the Rotate MD-80. Certainly this it is not a refined interior, more like a cargo ship to an ocean liner. If I could name an aircraft it would be "Nostromo", after the Space-tug in the Alien Film. It is a workman like environment. The cockpit is set up for a three person crew, but the aircraft is only flown by the two forward pilots, the third is really just a loading officer or a relief pilot in the third seat. The three seats are bulky, and expertly modeled, love the authentic chunky headrests, and the molded document storage backing frame and the molded lower seat frame. Seat material is a blue wool fabric with large sheepskin covers to keep you comfortable on those long-hauls... sheepskin is extremely hard to do with hard modeling, but it looks realistic in here. You are instantly aware of the very heavy textures of the window frame moldings. First thoughts are that they have been a bit overdone or with poor awareness by Rotate, but they are perfectly authentic (I checked out the numerous MD-11 videos), they give the aircraft a more older feel of it's period than what it actually is. Like with the MD-80 the excellent detailing surrounding you is excellent. Notable is that the front side windows that are nicely animated. Turn the handle and the lock catch works, then the window winds backwards... nice! The MD-11 could only be an American aircraft. It has a big if huge cockpit, tons of space and chunky controls, like a big American car or truck, everything in here feels oversized or "LARGE with that". Pilots love the space and oversized windows, you sit up high and proud in the machine. Textures are extremely good (and nicely worn). You have a six display screen arrangement wide across the facia, there are three displays for each pilot... ... and you instantly want to grab and to feel those lovely chunky yokes. Radio button is built in, but the electric trim switches don't work? Power on via the single BAT (Battery) switch on the Overhead Panel (OHP) and the aircraft lights up like a Christmas Tree (I put the aircraft here on EXT PWR (External Power)) It looks complex... because it is. Well that is not entirely true. As the MD11 is again a transition machine from the older analog (clockwork) era to the current automated glass cockpits, the systems are spread out and visible like in the earlier aircraft, but not yet as totally automated as in the modern era. But it is an auto glass cockpit, just with a lot more buttons. Thankfully the systems are laid out in a point to future ergonomic layouts, and there is provided by Rotate an extremely comprehensive set of manuals (20 Manuals actually) covering almost every aspect of every system. So there is a lot to learn and study in here. First you can hide the yokes. You can click (hotspot) on either base of the yokes to make them disappear, so they are each independent of each other. A lot of users hate dirty displays... I am certainly not one of them. You get the lot here in; smudgy fingerprints, cornered dust, spittled glass, it is all lovely "dirty" realistic wear and tear... the total answer to "get a life" dirt haters, this is "real life stuff". Instrument Panel The six display layout is pretty easy to understand, per each side pilot they are called DU (Display Units). They consist of the outer PFD (Primary Flight Displays), middle ND (Navigation Display) and inner EAD. The EAD is split with the left display the PED (Primary Engine Display) and on the right the SD (Secondary Engine Display). Centre panel is the Gear lever and the four gear annunciator lights. Top is the "FGCP" or Flight Guidance Panel or Autopilot. The PFD is familiar, but it isn't? Using a lot of colour (mostly orange or amber) it is unusual to the eye, but the layout is extremely highly detailed here from Rotate (call it authentic if you like). From the off you have to understand the language used in the MD-11, it is modern in a way (very Airbus, or early Airbus), but again quirky in it's own way. Again study is certainly required to master the systems, or their quirks. Speed and Altitude tapes are left and right, with a complex V/S Vertical Speed built into the right tape. Autopilot and AutoThrust (A/THR) functions are top, with a compass heading at the bottom. Centre is the Artificial Horizon with a built in pitch markers and Rate of Turn markers. We will go through the banner command FMS (Flight Mode) Annunciator system later. Interesting is the side SISP (Source Input Select Panel). Here you have options for the PFD. FD (Flight Director) Off (Flight Director 1 is always on unless turned off), FD 2 (Flight Director 2), CADC (Central Air Data Computer), IRS (Selection allows normal IRS or Aux IRS sources). FMS (Switch between FMS 1 or FMS 2), VOR (Selection of VOR Source) and again APPR, in selecting ILS 1 or 2). Here the image below right shows the options activated. It is important to understand how the upper left and right glareshield ECP (Electronic Control Panel) or usually noted as "EFIS -Electronic Flight Instrument System" interacts with the display units... the ECP looks complicated but it is actually quite easy to use. Only the Baro, in SETTING, STD and MINIMUMS (both RA and BARO) are used in the PFD, the rest of the buttons are used for the ND (Navigation Display). Top is the Magnetic North or True North selection. Then five options for the ND display in; MAP, VOR, TCAS, PLAN and APPR. MAP options include TRFC (Traffic), DATA, WPT (Waypoint), VOR/NDB and ARPT (Airport) that are listed in the left lower box (ND Display) Here (above) are the first two options in TRFC and DATA that is shown (Data puts route and speed data on the screen). You can adjust the RANGE via the two central buttons INCR/DECR. Finally are the VOR and ADF Pointers. Selection will put the details and VOR direction into the MAP, ADF is not working here because there are so few now. Frequences are set in the FMS (Flight Management System) NAV/RAD page. Other notable points in the MAP display are the GS (Ground Speed) and TAS (True Airspeed), Waypoint and Distance, and finally a Clock/Timer. Both the PED (Primary Engine Display) and the right SD (Secondary Engine Display) both show the engine performance data, here shown are both situations in (top) the engines are cold and (lower) the engines are hot or running. PED; Three readouts cover the N1, EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) and N2, TAT is top right. Lower is a "Warning Panel" (ECAM) that shows four states of warnings and alerts; CYAN Level 0 (Informative), AMBER Level 1 (Caution) and 2 (Framed Caution) and the RED (Fire) Level 3. SD; The secondary display is more flexible. Again the engine readouts dominate, but the readouts are different in Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature and QTY (Quantity). Lower is the NAC TEMP, EVH COMP and TEMP readouts Banner holds the GW (Gross Weight, and Total FUEL, CG (Centre of Gravity), Cabin Alt and Rate are all shown across the top of SD display. Two important items are also shown here (arrowed). Top centre is the (very important) STAB Trim and the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) N1, EGT, N2 and Oil readouts. The SD also has other page options... Set behind the Throttle quadrant is the SD control panel. On here are twelve buttons representing; ENG (Engine default), Blank, Blank, ND (Navigation Display - Not used), CONSEQ (Consequence), STATUS, HYD (Hydraulics), ELEC (Electrical), AIR (Air-Conditioning), FUEL, CONFIG (Configuration) and MISC (Miscellaneous). Flight Management Computer (MCDU) If you have used the MD-80 FMC then you should easily find your way around this FMC System, called here MCDU (Multipurpose Control Display Units). There is a lot more data involved, but the layout and the use is almost the same. Notable also like the MD-80 there are no pop-out (2d) panels, you go to the MCDU, it does not come to you? (all the flight displays don't pop-out either, which is bad news for home cockpit builders). Replication of the Honeywell Pegasus MCDUs is first rate, with two displays forward and one rear on the pedestal. The rear is of course for display only, but some of the basic pages work. The feeling here is that this unit could become active in the future, as certain active pages do pop-up and are active. Set between the two forward MCDUs are the backup Altimeter and Artificial Horizon, Auto Brake selector and the Brake Pressure gauge (that works). Brightness of the displays have to be all adjusted (like with the MD-80, you also update the Navigation Data in the same "nav-data" folder, so one Nav Data download can be used for both aircraft, but don't change the spelling of the folder, as it is different to the MD-80). INIT (Initial)page has three selections F-PLN, WEIGHT and FUEL. There is a lot of data to input here, but there is that helper fill in tool in the menu, data detail is very, very good. FLIGHTPLAN (F-PLN) input is very Airbus, and the route scrolls around like an Airbus MCDU screen, F/PLN has two pages, and wind input is added in later. Both T/C (Top of Climb) and T/D (Top of Descent) are both featured. TAKEOFF Preferences are highly detailed, But listed here under the TO/APPR key, note the "-STAB" balance setting with the selected Flap setting. PROGRESS (PROG) pages 1&2 are also excellent and well detailed. ECON (Economy) Pages are selected under the PERF Key... CLB (Climb), CRZ (Cruise) and DES (Descend) and are all covered DIR INTC (DIRECT TO)... There is a DIR-TO tool, but no HOLD function. The RADIO page is quite basic... note the input of the ILS/CRS (ILS/COURSE) Frequency which you have to input manually, highly notable is that you also have to insert the Frequency unusually to activate it which we again will cover later. Other option on the ILS is to just use the "LOC" (Lock) feature. VOR 1 and VOR 2 Frequencies are set in the banner. The MD-80 users will be nodding and saying "Yeah, yeah.. not to much different is it", but there is a lot of different detail or minute in this MCDU to study... a lot is straight forward, but still different, so be aware... and if you input wrong it has a huge effect on the flying (balance) of the aircraft. Overhead Panel (OHP) The Overhead Panel is complex? Three Engines makes for a lot of buttons and systems on one board. Thankfully ergonomics has taken place here to give you panel flow. The MD-11 was completely system redesigned to intergrate for two crew operation, were as the DC-10 had a Flight Engineer (and Panel) third crew member. A lot of the functions are very easily recognised, but there are a lot of buttons for side systems (Aux Pumps and so on) that are essential to the operations of the systems.... So study is obviously required to understand all the systems presented on the board.... This means, just pressing the buttons you think you need and then go flying will result in a major system failure, meaning then your going to ruin a very nice aircraft, so you can't be cocky bugger in here. Layout is column left (top down) panels; ADIRU (Air Data Inertial Reference Unit) Navigation, Cargo Temperature, FADAC (Full Authority Digital Engine (or electronics) Control)... Main centre column panels; HYD (Hydraulics), ELEC (Electrical), AIR (Air-Conditioning) bottom FUEL.... Right column panels; Service Panel, Cabin Press (Pressure), Anti-Ice, Test Panel. The chin bottom panel; Left/Right Wipers, OHP and Dome/Storm lighting, Instrument lighting knobs, EMER LT (Emergency Lighting), No Smoking/Seat Belt switches, Call Reset... External lighting (Landing/Nose), Wing/Turnoff Runway lights, NAV (Navigation), LOGO, BCN (Beacon) and HI-INT (Strobe) lights. Note a few switches in the lighting panel are opposites, off can be in or out on selection. It is clever in that the non-essential lights are in off, but the essential NAV, BCN and HI-INT are out off. Upper OHD is centre the three FIRE handles, TEST can be done far right with ENG/APU FIRE TEST button. CARGO FIRE panel is left, and the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) panel is set right and quite high up (arrowed left below). The rest of the OHD is the Circuit Breaker (fuse) panel (non-working). All the panels (annunciators) can be tested, right down to the infamous cargo door (CARGO DOOR TEST) arrowed above. Throttle Quadrant The central Throttle Quadrant is simply a beautiful thing. Really well recreated for your pleasure... Far left is the Long Trim Handle, then the T-Bar (with working catch selector) SPD BRK (Speed Brakes). Those three sublime Throttle Handles have built in reverser handles, then the right hand Flap Selector with the DIAL-A-FLAP selection (more in the "Flying" section). Front of the quadrant are the three engine starter switches, with below the same corresponding fuel selectors. Notable on the throttle handles are three buttons... at each end throttle there is an A/THR (AutoThrust) disconnect button, and a centre (white) button is to kill the alarm. Pedestal The rear pedestal is really the radio panel. It has left-right VHF and HF 1-2 CPR Radios upper with the Audio Control Panel below, and the Weather WX Panel mid-left, then the Transponder panel below. Finally bottom left is a third VHF 3 Radio Panel. Both the manual roll and rudder trim wheels are centred rear. We have already covered the upper SD Control Panel and the centre MCDU. Setup and Testing System depth on this MD-11 is EXTREMELY deep, there is nothing on show here but total realism. If you want to understand the real depth of the systems I recommend to watch this real world video before attempting to use the aircraft; MD-11 COCKPIT SETUP The cross reference to the Rotate MD-11, and the parallels are freaky close. Highlights here are the non-instrument setup (cold start). Testing the different areas are excellent... you can test (as earlier noted) all the systems and panels, the fire systems are particularly good. As all of the FIRE/APU and Fuel switches can be tested and checked. When setting the inertial navigation system or INS, it will also test the above "CARGO FIRE" panel (quite correct), or it can be tested independently... Turn on the three INS switches and the system will align, it is slow(er) than most alignments, and if you want to check... ... the alignments, then they can be found under the REF button <POS REF then page 2 IRS/GNS POS... ... you can also test such items as the landing gear... push the gear lever down (on the ground of course), and the gear system will test itself, and it is all so brilliantly done. There are so many areas that are real world duplicated that obviously can't all be replicated in this review (unless you want to spend days reading it), so these items above are just a small preview. Flying the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 In most cases when you fly big "heavies" the operations are either in one or the other, in being say before the modern era (i.e... 60s or 70s), or the modern very automated cockpits of today's era. The MD-11 is neither or sort of both, as it is set at the crossroads between the different eras. Like noted it leans more towards a Airbus style operation than the Boeing manual aspect which is interesting as this is a very American style aircraft, so if you approach the aircraft in an Airbus manner, you will find it easier to operate. For once you will need to study the operations in here, because if not, it will confuse you into doing the wrong operation protocol... and you can't do that. Lets Start... Power is already on via the Main Battery Switch OHP... I'm on Ground Power so it is time to start the APU, the APU button is on the ELEC panel. (the APU panel is also way up on the right on the OHP, this is the main APU STOP/START (arrowed below left) that can also be used), then make sure the APU is starting up via the SD (Engine) display, no action then press the button again. Once the APU is up and running then press the APU BLEED (AIR PANEL middle right) to supply air and pressure to the aircraft systems. Two backup (AUX) Hydraulic pumps need to be on, plus the SYSTEM switch by them is also turned to MANUAL... APU running you can now switch over the internal power supply feed and shutdown the External Power (GPU). Next is setting up the Bleed from the APU to start the MD-11, so you press the two ISOL (Isolate) buttons, the system should switch again to MANUAL, but once activated it will go back to AUTO. Engine Ignition (or igniters) are on the left lower FADAC OHP, these are the A and B channels and MUST be kept switched on when the engines are running or for the whole flight, "Igniters" is really the wrong word here (although everyone refers to them in that aspect), they are power supply switches and switch them off and it will shutdown the engines... .... now we are ready to start the engines. The ENG START Switch (Yellow) is below each engine throttle, and to start the engine you switch it upwards. Engine start sequence is 2 (Middle), 1 (Left) and then 2 (Right). The centre engine powers the air-conditioning and other AUX systems, so it is started first. Note a lot of MD-11 pilots only start the No. 2 Engine for taxiing on the ground, but that depends on your weight and configuration... The start sequence will show soon with action on the N2 (No.2) engine display... ... the N2 percent% will rise until you reach 17% N2, then you switch in the Fuel with the FUEL (Flow) Switch below the ENG START Switch, it does take time to get to the 17% N2 threshold, so you have to be patient, and you can't start a second engine while the first start up procedure is in progress, it won't let you do that... so starting all the three engines can take time to do. The engine numbers should settle down around 25 N1, 431 EGT and 64.4 % N2. The ISOL and APU Bleeds should then automatically cancel once the engines are running (AUTO Mode), but if not then cancel them... you can now also shut down the APU (It takes forever, so don't go pushing the button again and again, and thinking it is not working?) Then you set the STAB Trim, the trim number is shown on the TO/APPR buttom on the FMS, and ignore the -(Minus) trim, as it is not required unlike on the Airbus, you set the Trim via the Long Trim handle (left throttle quadrant) or with the keyboard trim (recommended). Another unique feature on the MD-11 is the DIAL-A-FLAP System. This gives you quite a unique variation in the flap angle than on most heavy aircraft... Select Flap 10, which is shown on the Pilot's PFD (bottom left) and then "Dial" in the finer flap angle degree by using the adjustment wheel right of the flap handle, it can be adjusted from 10º to 25º flap, I selected 11º for Takeoff. The DIAL-A-FLAP can also be used also on the approach phase, obviously not on the actual approach phase, but coming into the circuit for landing and reducing speed... so you can tune the flap to the speed exactly, and then get the perfect circuit speed you require, this is a feature I REALLY like as it eliminates that huge drop from one flap degree position to another, adjusting the wheel as fine degrees can smooth it all out in the transitioning in the slowing down of the speeds. The MD-11 is a dot the i's and cross the T's sort of aircraft. So there are a LOT of parameters to set, and you will need to cover all of them, miss a setting and the aircraft just does not like it, and the MD-11 will usually tell you. STAB (Trim) is set here to 6.0, and Flap at 15.0º The TakeOff data (TO/APPR) is very good and highly detailed. Notable is that only TO Is available at takeoff, and the APPR data only later in the approach phase. Off the (Park) brake and we're rolling. As noted three engines will move you forward, so you will need to touch the brakes frequently to keep the taxi speed under control. I checked in just using (or being powered only by) the Middle-Engine, and that is about perfect. The MD-11 is a BIG aircraft, so you need to anticipate turns... the tiller does not seem to turn, then it does! so you have to find it's sweet spot to manoeuvre the aircraft professionally around the taxiways. You are also sitting way out in front of the nosegear, so another thing to be aware of in swinging around the tight taxiway bends. Most MD-11 pilots use their own seat base position as a bearing of where the nosegear position is set to on the turns and the aircraft positioning. The FMA banner display in the PFD can be at first very complicated. Any white bands means the system is not engaged, but ready in ARMED (showing values and modes). Red bands (warning) means a primary system is disengaged (A/P or A/THR), Amber bands means a failure in the system. No bands shown around the PFD banner data means it is in ACTIVATED mode. White also represents the FGCO (Flight Guidance) values and modes, Magenta represents the FMS (Flight Management) values and modes, green is for "Dual Autolands", and again Amber for failures. Set the Ground Spoiler to ARMED, by upping the T SPK BRK lever like on the MD-80, and the AUTO BRAKE to T.O. It is Important to ARM the AUTO FLIGHT (mid-FGCP button) the bigger lower one... and this sets the A/THR (Auto Thrust) to the T/O THRUST mode on the PFD. You can put the throttles full up... and the A/THR system will protect and keep the thrust to or within the T/O thrust limits. The MD-11 can be a bit of a handful as the speed builds, so you need skill here to hold the aircraft straight down the centreline, but it is very highly realistic.... ... as the speed builds the set speed bugs will now adjust correctly to their speed positions, after v2 is FR or the +10 marker to rotate the aircraft. Set the "Positive Climb" to around 10º, (depending on the T/O weight you can go as high as 15º) and gear UP... and watch the theatrics. This show alone is well worth the admission price. You press the same AUTO FLIGHT button again to activate the Autopilot, AP1 or AP2 to your option (usually AP1), then to lock in the route you press the NAV (NAV 1) button under the heading selector.... There is no V/S (Vertical Speed) button, so you just go straight to the right V/S wheel and you just select your climb rate (or descent rate), MAX rate of climb is impressive at 6000 fpm at low altitude, but you wouldn't do that with most load rates... 4300 fpm is normal with 3,000 fpm with a heavy load. It is very important to understand the knob operation logic... very, very Airbus, in fact it is mostly similar. Most knobs have the IN (AUTO) and OUT (MANUAL) operation like on Airbuses. So you click (arrow) up or down for each operation. The difference is that in an Airbus when you change say the airspeed via the Speed selector the engines will respond straight away and change the speed.... but in here the MD-11 operation is slightly different, and in the need of getting used to. Change the speed and you get an outlined marker... but the speed itself (unlike in the Airbus) it will not change until you activate it by clicking on the speed knob (arrow down/pull out), and only THEN will the engines will power up (or down) to the set speed selection... All the FGCP command knobs act the same way... Speed, Heading and Altitude, so you adjust then activate the action. This can all be a bit time consuming, certainly when adjusting the finer speeds of say when using the ILS Slope, but you will soon get used to it. Another point is that the A/THR has a lot of safeguards built in, if you want a certain speed (say m.83), but you are already at the operating limits, it won't change the speed from your current set speed (m.80). The system calculates the current weight, power and altitude requirements and then says "yes" or "no" to your command. When that changes (say burning off more more fuel, or a different flight level) then it will allow the change. This is shown on the PFD with the SE and GE as your limits, also the limit is shown on the banner of the ND (Navigation Display)... so you set your speed to the upper SE marker, then select the down arrow to change the speed... .... this is of course depending on the weight, and you are restricted in speed. I found at FL330 (33,000ft) I was restricted to m.80, at FL350 to m.82, but my guess in that go higher to FL360 to get your M.83 cruise speed. If you force your speed, then the marker will only quickly start to fall, and keep falling, so you have to be aware of this! If not your speed will fall off completely and not recover. The same SE and GE Markers also work in reverse, in noting your landing and flap speeds. The Rotate MD-11 is a sensational aircraft to fly. But also very (if extremely) demanding and even tiring with all the work you have to do in here. This is "Simulation" not "Gaming", and a deep study and working simulation at that. You won't cover all the details even in a few flights, but you can in time become very proficient in flying the "The Diva" or the "More Death 2", "Scud" (once you launched it, you were not sure were it was going to land) or the "Marriage-Divorce 11". all nicknames for the MD-11 for various reasons. Sounds are very, very good... there is a very nice cockpit hum with the various systems being used, turn on say the Air-Con and you hear the system being activated and audible, so the sound detail is deep. You are positioned very forward of the engines, so they aren't a big factor on the ground or in flight, but they are there and sound really good, both internally and externally. All sounds are of course FMOD and extensive (the aircraft even creaks and groans under loads) so you can't fault this aspect. The same sort of shouty alerts are in here as in the MD-80, and they can be annoying if even counterproductive of the reasons they are there for, mostly I ignore them. Speed is Mach 0.88 - Max, Mach 0.83 - Cruise (507 - 479kn; 940-886 km/h), with a range of 3,592 nmi (6,652 km) (Freighter, 6,725 nmi (12,455 km) Pass). Ceiling is 43,000ft. There are working blinds in the cockpit and very good they are... they will slide around from the rear, and you can adjust the angle of the blind as well in position... I really like good working blinds, and they are very good in here. Lighting The quality of the X-Plane cockpit lighting today is extremely good. The developers have lots of tools to deliver very realistic night lighting, that is more important here as the MD-11 is a Long Hauler aircraft, 10+ Hours flying is not unusual, and being a Cargo Hauler most of the flying is done overnight... So internal night lighting has to very easy on the eye and highly adaptable. And you are not disappointed here either in the MD-11. There are three adjustment knobs with insert knobs (six) for both indirect lighting and highlight (text) lighting. Two knobs on the OHP cover the OVHD (Overhead) and INSTRUMENT lighting, and the single adjustment knob left on the glareshield covers the GCP (Glareshield Control Panel)... The smaller knob on the INSTRUMENT lighting, adjusts the light left top of the OHP which shines directly onto the pedestal area of the cockpit. ... instruments are lit in both above the FGCP, and with the lower four instrument dropdown lights, very nice indeed it all is. There are adjustment knobs for lighting on the yokes, and nice they look as well in the darkened cockpit... There are also two overhead fully adjustable spotlights (click on the light to activate). There are also two (one for each pilot) "Briefcase" lights or side panel lights, and a one (click) spot light over the rear relief seat. The rear extensive circuit breaker panels have their own lighting adjustment, it is via a knob (arrowed above left) at the end of the wall panel. There are two switches on the OHP that can select both (THUNDER)STORM and DOME lighting The panel lighting can be adjusted right down to just the instruments, but I easily found a nice comfort lighting for the important takeoff and landing periods, or if you want that quiet night cockpit environment... overall excellent. Rear rest area has average down-lighting connected to the DOME button, but the main cargo deck has no lighting at all, shame? External The external lighting is also excellent... There are four forward landing lights, two set high on the nosegear and two that pop-out forward fuselage. The Turnoff Taxiway lighting is in the inner wings with the Wing/Ice lighting... .... you can check out the wings leading edge or trailing edge, via the two observation windows... there is also good tail-lighting. There are upper and lower fuselage beacons, navigation lights, and all are nicely tuned. There is no rear tail (white) navigation light but two white navigation lights each per rear wing tip, strobes are also well refined. Time to go down... Reducing speed to the minimum setting GE, the the V/S to (here) set to 1800fpm... Altitude target markers are installed as are the Climb and TOD (Top of Descent) markers, which are both nice tools to have in planning your ascent and descent... .... with the descent in progress you now get access to the APPR mode (TO/APPR). Here you can select either a 35º Flap or the full 50º Flap approach (or the other way around). All the required landing data is also now available, including the speed limits. Notable is that the MD-11 does not have a set landing speed/flap sequence. The flap required to the speed settings depends on the landing weight? So you will need to download and print out the MD-11 "Speed Tables" to get the correct speed settings for the landing. The landing weight is shown in the APPR page RK1. You will also get a "MSG" (Message) to "CHECK WEIGHTS" before landing to finalise the landing settings. I found the Rotate MD-80 quite tricky in the approach phase with the flaps? Setting the correct speed to the flap setting was awkward in that a lot of times you got it wrong, say in the "too fast" to the flap setting, in bringing the nose or getting a pitch down condition.... In the MD-11 is is far better as you have that DAIL-A-FLAP system to even out the flap angles, it works quite well. Into the circuit of EDDP Rwy 26R, Leipez-Halle, Germany... using GOXLI1V STAR approach. Thoughout all my earlier MD-11 flights, I just couldn't get the ILS (Frequency) to work? Then I found out the issue... Being a though pilot that I am, I filled out the ILS Frequency box on the NAV/RAD panel with the full frequency. In this case EDDP 26R "108.35/263" from the Navigraph Jeppesen chart... that is Freq 108.35 and course 263º, correct of course, but in here that is incorrect, as it does not work? The correct way to insert the ILS Freqency is just to ONLY insert the ILS Freq, or "108.35" and the system fills the rest in, including the wrong course degree? If set correctly you will see the ILS runway code (ILNW) in the section above the Rwy Frequency. I don't know if this set arrangement will continue in the future upgrades, personally I don't think so, but it is a situation to be aware of before landing. Another point is that make sure you do have the correct frequency inserted? I found a few times by setting the frequency early, it was the correct frequency, but set to the wrong Airport/ILS position... checking frequencies closer to your destination airport will correct the system to the right Airport/ILS. On the last turn to finals into Rwy 26R, I drop the extensive gear arrangement... I always drop the gear on the last turn into an runway as it feels and looks very dramatic... it gets the adrenalin going, heightening the senses, shifting in your seat, getting ready for the landing, and here in the MD-11 everything "sure is heightened", it is that sort of aircraft. MD-11 as we were told, had the fastest VAPP of any civilian airliner. At MGLW (Maximum Gross Landing Weight) it was known to be landing at around 168kts. That is fast and the stopping distance was always in need of being scrutinised carefully. Here is a video showing the differences in the landing speeds to a Boeing 757 (Yes I know the angle of the camera could change the perspective). Notable also is that the MD-11 handled very differently than it's forebear the DC-10, if the the same configuration of aircraft, but the DC-10 had far larger wings and in so landed far slower. I'm sitting at 175 knts, but in reality the MD-11 is certainly a gut sort of aircraft in this phase, it has that certain analog feel that you have to go on by instinct and not be totally focused on the numbers, which are obviously dictated by your weight and approach speeds. You will need to find that perfect balance by using both the hard numbers, but then adjusting the aircraft around them until it feels perfect right. You press the upper large centre APPR/LAND button centre FGCP to ARM the approach phase (as noted this also arms only the LOC if you selected that option) If you have activated the ILS Frequency correctly it will show lower left in the PFD with the set Flap degree, you can also now set the APPR screen in the ECP, for better approaches. Notable is the auto selection of "Single" or "Dual" landing (Land) selections (green banner top right PFD) , it will flash the selection it will use then LOC it in. Setting the (ground) Speed Brake is very tricky. It is used like the same in the MD-80, in clicking it upwards to ARM the system, but it is harder to reset back to normal (click down) than on the MD-80... the Captain's position and angle does not help either. Over the threshold and your "nervous" but in command, this is a lot of fast moving aircraft to put down and stop... Notable are the AP (AutoPilot) and A/THR (AutoThrust) disconnects, there is as noted in being disconnect buttons (Yoke and Throttle), but I recommend to set another key command (I used both my joystick and X52 Rhino Throttle). Both disconnects have an A & B disconnect, so one switch is not enough to cover both systems... the biggest note here is that the same commands also quietens the alarms once the disconnect activates, they can be seriously annoying if you can't shut them down... The same FMA banner legend is used in RED Off (Warning), AMBER is failure, WHITE is not engaged (but armed).... BLANK is Active. In landing again the MD-11 is like the Airbus, as there are landing modes, certainly the callouts are very good, with also "LAND and FLARE on the PFD... I was however seriously impressed on how I could just pitch the nose up nicely in the flare to touch the main gear down first. Some if a lot aircraft fight you in this flare phase, but the MD-11 is just simply brilliant here. Your down, but now you have to stop this fast running hulk of an aircraft... I find the AutoBrake a bit too heavy in even the MED setting, MIN is passable, but in a lot of cases I leave the Auto Brake off completely. Here the excellent Reverse Thrust on all three engines is very effective, with a loud powerful thrust that rubs off the speed very efficiently. Notable is that you only use the REV setting to activate the thrust reversers, don't touch or power up the throttles in this mode, as it has the opposite effect!... ... all this comes with light touches on the left and right (Pedal) brakes to keep the MD-11 nicely centred while slowing down... ... and soon you are back in taxi mode and using the tiller. .. again I recommend to turn off the No.1 & No.3 engines and just taxi on No.2, as it makes your life far easier in a moderate taxi speed, shown on the PFD, and then start the GPU ready. Welcome to Leipez-Halle. If you think that landing looked easy, then it took about a week to work out and perfect, this is one seriously complex but rewarding aircraft... but once you get it, it delivers MASSIVELY. Riding around EDDPs long taxiway network, I could only think of one thing "Where to go next", as the list I was creating in my head for the MD-11 was already getting huge... Trans-Atlantic, Anchorage, Singapore, Japan... "Whoo" this aircraft is going to be an absolute blast! Yes the Rotate MD-11 exceeds the expectations and then some, as it is also another level of Simulation, complex and demanding.... you do have to live up to the aircraft, expect to study and spend (a lot) of time working through it before mastering it... it is just EXCEPTIONAL! Liveries There are ten liveries with the Rotate MD-11 package... these include; Rotate House, AVIENT, EVA AIR Cargo, FedEx, Lufthansa Cargo, MartinAir Cargo, Shanghai Airlines Cargo, UPS Cargo Services, VARIG LOG (Logistics) and Western Global. Quality is all exceptional, and a painkit is provided. No DHL? Well DHL don't or didn't fly the MD-11. Summary The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 from Rotate that was released on 9th Dec 2015 had a troubled introduction into the X-Plane Simulator. But the developer very quickly resolved the release issues and the aircraft went on to be one of the best simulations in the X-Plane Simulator, I even put the Rotate MD-80 in my all favorite top ten (currently at No. 4). It is very iconic and deep simulation. This is the followup aircraft to the MD-80 from Rotate, in the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, the MD-11 is of course a derivative of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. The Rotate aircraft has also had a very long gestation development period, in over four years, so we are expecting a lot, with the insane quality and the popular MD-80 are all aspects that also hover also over the project... it thankfully does not disappoint. This is a deep simulation, with all the systems and operations modelled (there are 20 system manuals alone). So the aircraft is extremely complex and requires study to anyone becoming proficient in using and flying the aircraft regularly. It also requires a lot of skill and system management to master the unique capabilities of this unique between eras TriJet. Modeling is exemplary, brilliant realism with dirt and grunge built in, which a Rotate speciality. Textures are also a extreme high quality, but not so in the crew rest and cargo decks to keep the aircraft within an average framerate balance, and the Lo-Res areas conflict with the excellent quality everywhere else. In reality this Lo-Res aspect is not required as the aircraft has currently no heavy passenger cabin or any heavy framerate details. Notable is that the passenger version is still stated to arrive, but not anytime soon. Sounds and internal and external lighting are also excellent, but again the crew rest area and cargo deck lighting could be better. Features include a good, but not exception Menu and options selections. A few areas again like the "Load Aircraft" feature is still looking like a WIP "Work in Progress", as does the options features on the menu. But you do have a nice GPU, Stairs, Chocks, Aircraft Refueling and all the doors can be independently opened. And the toilet (A current X-Plane fad) doesn't work or has been even included? (This is long haul?) Does the Rotate MD-11 live up to it's huge expectations... in context yes it does, even in areas it even totally exceeds them, there are however areas that still need fine tuning work, and bugs are to be expected on release as this is a very complex and detailed aircraft and simulation... but Rotate should cover those aspects quickly and professionally. Here is another landmark simulation aircraft for the X-Plane Simulator. X-Plane users seemingly to have to wait forever for these iconic aircraft, but again in this case it has been well worth the wait. Big, heavy, complex, demanding and seriously rewarding. The Rotate MD-11 is all of these things and more, in systems and it's depth of simulation, this is again another level of realism and can get extremely addictive... and it is absolutely another classic to enjoy most certainly... and certainly very and highly recommended to own and fly. _____________________ Yes! the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Rotate MD-11 Price is US$83.95 Features Realistic flight dynamics and performance In Depth system simulation All systems listed are simulated according to the specifications of the original model, with all redundancy relevant to the simulation and with both Automatic and Manual modes. Systems tests simulated Engine/APU Fire Test Annunciator Lights Test Cabin/Cargo Fire Test GPWS Test Hydraulic Pressure and Engine-Driven Pump Tests Oxygen Test TCAS Test Weather Radar Test Emergency Power Test Air Air conditioning Pressurization Cargo heating/ventilation Avionics cooling Air System Display Aural-Visual Warning EAD (Engine Alert Display) SD Alerts and Consequences Display SD Consequence Page SD Status Page SD Miscellaneous Page CAWS (Central Aural Warning System) GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System) TCAS (Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System) Weather Radar Automatic Flight Dual AFS (Auto Flight System), FD and ATS (Auto Throttle System) All FMA modes simulated Automatic ILS approach with dual/single Auto Land. LSAS (Longitudinal Stability Augmentation System) CWS (Control Wheel Steering) Yaw damper Automatic pitch trim Flap limiting Stall warning with Auto Slat Extend APU APU System, Indication and Control APU Automatic Shutdown APU Pneumatic System Communications VHF communications system Dual Head Communications Radio Panel Audio Control Panels Voice Recorder Panel Electrical AC power generation and distribution Integrated Drive Generator GCU (Generator Control Units) APU Generator ADG (Air Driven Generator) External Power AC Distribution (9 Buses) NBPT (Non Break Power Transfer) DC power 4 Transformer Rectifier Units DC Distribution (8 Buses) Battery and Battery Charger Emergency Power Electrical System Display Fire Protection Engine and APU Fire Detection and Extinguishing System. Cargo Fire Detection and Extinguishing System. Controls and Indications Flight Instruments Complete EIS (Electronic Indication System) Two independent ECPs (Electronic Control Panel) 6 Independent Display Units Navigation Display (MAP, PLAN, VOR, APPR and TCAS modes) Air Data Computer ATC Transponder Aircraft Clock, Timer and count-down Chronometer Standby Compass and Standby Attitude Indicator Standby Altimeter and Airspeed Indicator Source Input Select Panel Fuel Fuel System Controller Automatic Fuel Scheduling Fuel Transfer and Crossfeed Fuel Dump System Tail Fuel Management System Ballast Fuel Control Fuel System Display Hydraulics Hydraulic System Controller Reservoirs and Accumulators Engine and Electric Driven Pumps Reversible Motor Pumps Hydraulic Display Ice and Rain Protection Engine Anti-Ice Airfoil Anti-Ice (Wing and Tail) System Engine Cowl Anti-Ice System Air Data Heaters (Pitot, Static, TAT) Navigation FMS (Flight Management System) Simulated pages: A/C STATUS (2 pages) REF INDEX FLT-PLAN INIT WEIGHT INIT FUEL INIT PERFORMANCE CLB, CRZ & DES THRUST LIMITS FLIGHT PLAN (2 pages) VERTICAL/LATERAL REVISION DIRECT-TO PROGRESS TAKEOFF / APPROACH SID FROM STAR TO HOLD NAV RADIO FIX INFO NAVAID POS REF IRS/GNS CLOSEST AIRPORTS SENSOR STATUS DEFINED WAYPOINT LAT/LONG and P/B/D WAYPOINT WAYPOINT MENU MCDU Messages GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) LNAV/VNAV flightpath calculation Takeoff and Landing performance calculations (V-speeds) IRS (Inertial Reference System) VHF, DME, ADF and ILS Navigation Engines (General Electric CF6) FADEC (All regimes simulated) Custom engine model Primary Engine Display Secondary Engine Display More than 200 custom failures Dual cockpit Independent pilot and copilot controls and displays. Two independent MCDUs control two independent FMCs. Sources of instruments can be selected for pilot and copilot independently. All relevant systems have separate controllers for redundancy. Accurate 3D model and HD textures External objects and detailed animations Aircraft loading animations Cargo loader and cargo truck GPU Airstairs Cockpit window animation Cargo Doors Fully animated landing gears Winflex Engines reversers animation Aircraft Menu Options Situations (C&D, Taxi and Takeoff presets) Load Manager Ground Operations Failures Realistic 3D sounds Detailed sounds with real cockpit sources and FMOD dynamic effects 3D lights, including: Exterior lights Cockpit lights Panel lights Flood lights Dome light Reading lights Briefcase lights Floor lights Map lights Cabin lights 10 Liveries Rotate livery Avient Aviation EVA Air Cargo FedEx Lufthansa Cargo Martinair Cargo Shanghai Airlines Cargo UPS Varig Log Western Global Airlines White livery VR support Requirements X-Plane 11 (Fully updated, non beta version) Support for X-Plane 12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM recommended Current version: 1.0 (March 24th) Installation Download of the MD-11 is 1.07Gb and it is installed in your Airliner Folder as a 1.87Gb folder. Activation is via the standard authentication Key. There is no Auto-updater by Skunkcrafts for updates, so currently you have to redownload any updates via the X-Plane.OrgStore. Designed by Rotate Support Forum at X-Plane.org or http://support.rotatesim.com/ Documents Provided are three sets of documents Included with the package. It is a serious comprehensive package of manuals and information, but well worth studying. Rotate MD-11. Introduction & Product information 1. Systems description 2. Limitations and checklists (Limitations and checklists) Rotate MD-11 Normal Checklists (Systems description) 1. MD-11 Systems description-Aircraft General.pdf 2. MD-11 Systems description-Air.pdf 3. MD-11 Systems description-Aural-Visual Warning.pdf 4. MD-11 Systems description-Automatic Flight.pdf 5. MD-11 Systems description-APU.pdf 6. MD-11 Systems description-Communications.pdf 7. MD-11 Systems description-Electrical.pdf 8. MD-11 Systems description-Emergency Equipment.pdf 9. MD-11 Systems description-Fire Protection.pdf 10. MD-11 Systems description-Flight Controls.pdf 11. MD-11 Systems description-Flight Instruments.pdf 12. MD-11 Systems description-Fuel.pdf 13. MD-11 Systems description-Hydraulics.pdf 14. MD-11 Systems description-Ice and Rain Protection.pdf 15. MD-11 Systems description-Lighting.pdf 16. MD-11 Systems description-Navigation.pdf 17. MD-11 Systems description-Engines.pdf 18. MD-11 Systems description-Doors.pdf 19. MD-11 Systems description-Landing Gear.pdf _____________________ Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 24th March 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55 Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft - LEBL - Barcelona Airport XP11 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$21.00 plus - Barcelona City by Logo Projects (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$26.95 - EDDP - Leipzig/Halle International Airport by JustSim/Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$20.00 (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
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  12. Behind the Screen : June 2022 This edition of "Behind the Screen" notes that we are already halfway through the year of 2022, yes six months are already gone and we are hurtling already towards another year gone. The last six months could be divided into two quarters, the first three months of the usual X-Plane activity and solid releases (including the immense Rotate MD-11) and the last quarter in being a long drawn out waiting period... for guess what, well X-Plane12. As noted in the last few editions of Behind the Screen I took the opportunity to upgrade my "Whole" as it turned out Computer hardware to be ready... for guess what, well X-Plane12. I don't regret the timing, as prices now (In Australia) have increased, not that much but I did save quite a few dollars in context. There is never ever a good time to do this, but 2022 is one of the most unnerving years I can ever remember (and I don't even have any Crypto Currency). So timing in reflection is all about using your superpower, or simply good luck. And for that I still used my superpower cautiously and is still thankfully on the right side of good. But also sitting on this side of the upgrades it is a satisfying feeling, not perfect yet as I still need an upgraded Graphic Card, but still good to welcome into my world... well X-Plane12. Before I move on from the upgrades, I found the Hardware side changes very enjoyable, even fun... but resetting and reinstalling all the required software (actually not including X-Plane itself) but everything to support the simulator was a nightmare. Resetting things back to normal took an immense amount of time to do, worse was the recalibrating required to get things to behave correctly again, worse was the monitors in finding their ideal matching settings again, and I am still not happy with the results, but is finally getting there. The point is on how really time-consuming it all is, if also on how frustrating, change is really good, but also seriously hard work. Laminar Research have been pumping out all sorts of X-Plane12 tit-bits and the extensive Dev Deep-Dives series with FSElite, which is a long series of videos including the important developers behind the new X-Plane12's development (noted to be a series of 10). There is a lot in there, but there is also really nothing new being revealed either that we haven't already seen since the original X-Plane12 reveal back in September 2021 at the San Diego Expo. Even the Development blogs have petered out, so it is all feeling a bit-long-in-the-tooth. The aim was for an X-Plane12 release around the last weeks of July, that is in just three weeks now folks, but rumors are circulating the beta release could now be as late as September. No matter which way you look at it, it is still a long wait of maybe still months not weeks. The point is, is that pushing the boat out too far, and far too long. The simulation world is not waiting around for Laminar to perfect it's next generation of X-Plane simulation, the worry creeping in is that with the long, long wait, and the extended hype, you may get a let down of massive proportions. As noted last month, I have realistic expectations of the new simulator version upgrade, but many users don't of the coming version. Fears of the Rotate MD-11 hype could come back to haunt us all over again the longer this story goes on (and on), that aspect may happen anyway. Everything in June was heightened by the story of iniBuilds. Back last year on the 1st of October 2021 iniBuilds announced the iniSimulations A310-300 for Microsoft Flight Simulator. No big deal there as you expect a lot of cross-platform aircraft transitions. But on 12th June, Microsoft announced a partnership with inibuilds to release the Airbus A310-300 as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations in November, and that the Airbus A310-300 would also be part of the MIcrosoft Flight Simulator default fleet, or free to users that currently use the MSFS Simulator platform, still nothing of a deal there either. But it is a bit of pain in that if you had spent £69.99 on the aircraft, and you could soon get it for free if you move to MSFS. Then came the BIG news, all current X-Plane11 iniBuild aircraft would not be updated to X-Plane12. That is the A300-600R(F), A300 BelugaST and the A310-300 will be X-Plane11 only, odd was the strange fire-sale of all the aircraft early June at a heavily discounted price of £9.99, or 20 bucks $US, the sale gave X-Plane users no indication of the coming bad news, but took your money. Let us be straight. iniBuild's were always a rogue company to deal with from the start, very hard to deal with commercially and X-PlaneReviews was refused early on for any review aircraft point blank. Although extremely successful in X-Plane, I really didn't see the what all the fuss was about. Their aircraft are good, and have a lot of features (if some are quite quirky). But there are far better simulations out there for the same money, and the products were quite to very expensive. And this is the point. If you have spent that much money investing in an aircraft or aircraft's, you do to a point expect a fair amount of service and support from the developer. But basically, with the cancellation of any (even paid) upgrades to X-Plane12, it will leave you with a very bitter taste in your mouth, and certainly if you are currently getting a happy experience from your iniBuild's simulations. These aircraft have only been on the market for a few years from August 2020 starting with the A300-600R. that is not even a third of an X-Plane version (11) development run, and now already if X-Plane12 is released soon, the aircraft is already outdated, did I mention expensive at US$85 an aircraft (yes you did get a discount deal if you bought another iniBuilds aircraft). If you had bought the fire-sale aircraft, you would get maybe a few months of simulation before parking it in the old X-Plane11 hangar, at even $20 bucks that is still expensive. So if Microsoft are doing a promotional deal, by throwing a shit load of money at a X-Plane developer, then saying "Hey folks, if you still want your iniBuilds A310, you can and for free!... if you come to Microsoft Flight Simulator", stinks of poaching of the worse order. The problem with all this is that Simulation is still basically a very niche form of entertainment, many who fly in X-Plane, also fly in MSFS, and even a lot of the other aircraft simulators available, there are really no boundaries except financial. So here is the bite. If you have spent a lot of your hard earned cash in supporting iniBuilds for the X-Plane Simulator, then your getting a very shitty deal. Even if you smile and note that the A310 will be free over in MSFS, then it is not going to have the features and the flying performance of X-Plane and neither either will the coming A300-600R and A300 BelugaST MSFS versions of which you will have to pay for (again). But seriously besides a worse performing aircraft could you or should you actually trust iniBuilds again with you cash and their extremely poor service. If they have bunged you here, then they won't care about bunging you again over there. The word here is trust, and that aspect has been seriously broken. You could say I'm being platform defendant (X-Plane). But I'm not, it is the overall aspect of trust in Simulation that is accountable here. Purchasers in X-Plane also purchase in MSFS (or any other simulator). Being royally screwed in one is not going to help you gain monetary on another platform, as you are talking to the same customers. Core simmers are the ones that pay for expensive addons, not the fly in, fly out gamer crowd. Personally there is no way I would buy another iniBuilds product, if they treat their customers with such indifference for their loyalty. The really odd thing about all this saga, is that to update their (only) three aircraft to X-Plane12 is to a large development house like iniBuilds here is a very minimum aspect of keeping everyone (including future customers) happy (or the MSFS deal doesn't allow them to do that). Plus then is the monetary loss of future aircraft sales in X-Plane12, and the upgraded aircraft would also deliver upgrade fees (or money) to the coffers. In the business case sense it is a disastrous outcome for everyone involved... but the worse outcome is still that loss of customer trust and cash by not "doing the right thing, by everyone" and upgrading to X-Plane12, that just leaves a sour taste in everyone's mouth, and a lot of very disappointed customers. It certainly won't attract customers to MSFS, if the opposite in this saga... most won't care, but they should, it's your precious money going to the wall here. If iniBuilds were poached, then with Laminar dragging out their own slowly, slowly release saga for X-Plane12, then could other developers be targets for easy MSFS money. Most would say absolutely not. But in this world of stretched resources and bills to pay, then even the most stoic of developers could waver if enough cash was thrown at them, every Simulator is built on it's unique developers of products for the platform, lose too many and the platform is in trouble. A year ago Laminar had a unique situation as MSFS failed and faltered in it's early first year development, certainly in the performance and dynamics areas, but has that advantage situation now been seriously squandered in being too far to under resourced and with poor public relations from Laminar Research, and with just expecting the faithful to just keep on accepting the same as, time and time again. As times people have moved on, and Laminar needs to move on along with them and even use or need it's own superpower, the next few months until the end of this unnerving year could be quite significant for the X-Plane simulator in more ways than one, and one way or the other. See you all next Month Stephen Dutton 4th July 2022 Copyright©2022 X-Plane Reviews
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  13. As always an interesting article. On Inibuilds they always managed the message well. If you give vloggers exclusive access for reviews what do you get in return - good reviews. Make your forums only open to customers and then close threads before they get difficult and you start the magic of people believing that your products are without fault. Have a friendly discord and you get your fan base out telling the world that the A310 is the gold standard. Its not hard. Its planned, but its not difficult. On the other side we have Laminar who manage this side of the business incredibly badly. Strange whirling light presentations, long winded interviews talking about the philosophy of XP12 rather than pumping up the new features. Personally I am not looking forward to the release of XP12 because with it will come a tidal wave of sewage, online posts complaining about everything from the known (that it will not be a free upgrade) to the unknown - that it now runs like a slide show on a ten year old laptop. XP11 to XP12 - an incremental update. Manage the expectations. Now Inibuilds are on the other side and not every developer can be happy. Why did MS choose Inibuilds, with no track record on this or any preceding MS platform to be included as a default aircraft? Why did an A310 get chosen, hardly an iconic aircraft? If the MSFS A310 is study level (which I doubt) what does that say to the MSFS community about the cost of complex addons? PMDGs $70 or Inibuilds $0? Did Inibuilds get paid by MS for the inclusion or is it the other way around, a developer paying (or offering for free) an aircraft to get a lot of publicity and exposure with the community? In effect product placement. Half way through the year and the one group of people to feel sorry for is Xplane developers. With the wait for XP12 sales can’t be great. If I can pick up a big discount on a recent Thandra release on the org store it may be good for me, but it is also telling me life is not good for developers at the moment.
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  14. Aircraft Review: Airbus A300 and A310 by iniBuilds History: The Airbus A300 was to be the first aircraft to be developed, manufactured and marketed by Airbus. In 1972, the A300 made its maiden flight; its first production model, the A300B2, entered service in 1974. By 1979 the consortium had 256 orders for A300, and Airbus had launched a more advanced aircraft, the A310, in the previous year. The A300-600, the subject of this review was first delivered in 1988. It differs from the A300-B2/B4 due to the two-person cockpit, and mixture of glass and analogue cockpit similar in design to the Boeing 757/767 family and features the same design as the later A310 from which the A300 is derived. It uses 6 small CRT displays as the did the first generation of A320 series aircraft The Airbus A310 (initially the A300B10) was launched with orders from Swissair and Lufthansa. On 3 April 1982, the first prototype conducted its maiden flight, and it received its type certification on 11 March 1983. Keeping the same eight-abreast cross-section, the A310 is 6.95 m (22.8 ft) shorter than the initial A300 variants, and has a smaller wing, down from 260 to 219 m2 (2,800 to 2,360 sq ft). The A310 introduced a two-crew glass cockpit, later adopted for the A300-600 with a common type rating. It was powered by the same General Electric CF6-80 or Pratt & Whitney JT9D then PW4000 turbofan jet engines. It can seat 220 passengers in two classes, or 240 in all-economy, and has a flying range up to 5,150 nmi (9,540 km). It has over-wing between the two main front and rear door pairs. In April 1983, the aircraft entered revenue service with Swissair, and competed with the Boeing 767-200, introduced six months before. Its longer range and ETOPS regulations allowed it to be operated on transatlantic flights. Until the last delivery in June 1998, 255 aircraft were produced, as it was succeeded by the larger Airbus A330-200. It was available as a cargo aircraft version, and was also developed into a military variant, the A310 MRTT multi-role transport, then tanker. Nowadays Aircraft manufacturers design their products around a specific engine type or variant, but when Airbus built the A300, they did not have this luxury, so they took the next-powerful engine on the market to exceed their requirements. This results in a very steep take-off angle-of-attack which is might throw some new pilots when first flying the aircraft. In the case of the A300, there are two different engine variants, and each has a passenger and cargo version. When adding liveries, it's important to know that the liveries are dependent on the engine-type, so you will need to be aware of the engine-type (GE or PW respectively ) when selecting your aircraft you wish to fly. The A310 was initially launched with a choice of three engines: the General Electric CF6-80A (originally the CF6-45B2), the Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D1, and the Rolls-Royce RB211. The specific Rolls-Royce RB211-524B4 engine intended for this initial application was not developed. Installation: With the inimanager, the installation is now greatly simplified. It's now just a case of downloading the inimanager from here, and then selecting the products you purchased which then become installed to the X-Plane 11\Aircraft\iniSimulations\ folder. Before the inimanager was released, you had to download each aircraft variant separately and then download the liveries. The aircraft installation location is in X-Plane 11\Aircraft\iniSimulations. If you have purchased other variants such as the A300 BelugaST or A310, these will be installed in subfolders,so example X-Plane 11\Aircraft\iniSimulations\iniSimulations A300 BelugaST or X-Plane 11\Aircraft\iniSimulations\ iniSimulations A300-600R(F) v2 - Passenger. To get the feel of the aircraft and its systems, I decided to do a quick (but still used) cargo route from EGNX to EIDW which is enough time to get a quick flight in, but keep you busy. The flight time is quite short, ~45 minutes so you won't have much time to get bored. Before we start, here's a quick external view from both sides of the aircraft. You can see the cargo doors and texturing is very nicely done here. One of the most annoying aspects of X-Plane for me is the zooming of the views when trying to use the mouse-wheel to turn a switch or rotate a heading or speed knob, with this in mind, I really recommend the use of X-Camera, which gives you the option to disable mouse-wheel. True, this also disables the outside mouse zoom which I like, but it's a small inconvenience compared to the benefits. I would also add that you will find a Navigraph subscription very handy, as the ILS for each airport is not stored in the database unlike the later A320/300/340 families so the ability to bring up an airport from the Avitab plugin makes life a lot easier when planning your approaches. Airbus A300/A310 gotchas Even if you are familiar with the Airbus aircraft in general, there are a few idiosyncrasies that might catch you out. Some are listed below: Scratchpad entries on FMC, clear existing data before entering new data otherwise it will not show. Flex-To values will not show or become active, until you select an altitude in the ALT-SEL window. External Power will not disconnect using EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) until you select "EXT PWR" on the overhead to AVAIL V1 speed will show as default value 100 even after clicking "Send Data" - this value needs to be set manually with the "SPD/MACH" knob. In order to activate the auto-throttle system, you need to manually select the speed, then click on the dial to activate "pre set" which will show up in yellow text. You then need to click on a small area to the bottom-left of the A/THR similar to the operation of the PMDG series (small screw to the below-left of the speed knob). Engine spool-up will be slower than expected as these are older engines. Landing gear needs to be set to "neutral" (middle position),otherwise the auto-brake system will not activate. You can pre-arm the decent profile by using the mouse to the left of the ALT SEL knob. It shows as a down-arrow icon. You will then see a blue P.DES show on the PFD below the P.ALT annunciator. The course and heading displays are dependent on the toggle-switch on the cockpit VOR/NAV/ILS three-way-switch. The VOR will display dashed lines until you select VOR from the glare shield. The range values on the F.C.U (Flight Control Unit), are different to what you'd be used to in the A320, in the A300 series, they are 15,30,60,120,240 as opposed to the A320 series which show 10,20,40,80,160 and 320 There are only the iniSimulation House liveries installed by default when you install the aircraft, So you need to use the inimanager to install any desired additional liveries (of which there are many). You simply click on the livery tab and choose from Realistic or Fictional under the Freighter or Passenger versions. This is a great improvement on the original version of the aircraft which required you to download each livery manually, and if a new version was produced, it meant you had to download the new version again. With the inimanager system, you can remove or update the liveries as desired. To see the aircraft type you're currently flying, on the FMC go to REF, then A/C Status. Here you will see engine-type ie: PW 4158 PFD/ND XFR is a nice hidden gem, it switches the two displays over in the event of a CRT failure. General Electric Engines N2 is ~ 20 Pratt and Whitney startup N2 ~ 24 For comparison Framerate for IXEG 737 ~52 in cruise ~35 in Dublin (Boundless Scenery). Framerate for A300 in 55 fps in cruise. ~45 fps in Dublin cargo area. New features in A300/A310 CDLPC implementation - you can import the flights with your Simbrief username. Landing performance page Load sheet is now changed so that data is directly entered using your keyboard, instead of sliding values. Currently known issues: At the moment, the only issue I have is with the pilot's side altimeter counter. Scrolling between the units 80 and 00 shows a slight skip as the aircraft climbs or descends. Oddly enough, it only happens on the freighter variants of both the A300 and A310 models. The passenger variants are working as expected. Currently, the latest versions are as follows: A300-600 version V2.09 A300 BelugaST version V1.12 A310-300 version 1.14 You can purchase this aircraft from the following sites. https://store.inibuilds.com/pages/inisimulations (price does not include V.A.T) A300-600 (£69.99) A310-300 (£69.99) A300-ST Beluga (£44.99) Note that you are entitled to a 25% discount if you have one of their models already. Comment I would definitely recommend this aircraft as it is one of the best older-style aircraft out there. If you are getting a bit tired of Boeing and modern Airbus aircraft, this is the one for you. It's got the right blend of vintage and modern to keep you interested. Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i9-9900K CPU 5.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb DDR4 4300 RAM - EVGA GeForce GTX 2070 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55r2 Addons: Saitek Throttle and Yoke : Sound -Soundblaster Audigy Fx Plugins: : BetterPushBack - Free LiveTraffic - Weather ActiveSkyXP https://hifisimtech.com/asxp/ Aircraft Review by Jude Bradley 10th June 2022 Copyright©2022 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) - All Rights Reserved
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  15. Aircraft Review ASSP Airbus A300B2 Airbus entered the aviation scene in October 1972 with the first flight of their all-new A300 jetliner, and the first two-engine wide body to ever take to the skies. Formed as a conglomerate of UK, French and German aviation manufacturers, the A300 was built to compete with the rising US competition from Douglas (DC-10) and Lockheed Martin (L-1011 Tristar). ASSP are a new developer on the X-Plane scene with the A300 being their first aircraft for the platform. As is the case with any new developer, the first release is usually the most important as it sets the bar for future product releases. Let’s take a closer look… Aircraft Specification ● Crew: 3 (Captain, First Officer & Flight Engineer) ● Length: 53.61m (175.9ft) ● Wingspan: 44.84m (147.1ft) ● Height: 16.72m (54.9ft) ● Empty Weight: 88,505kg (195,120lbs) ● Maximum Takeoff Weight: 165,000kg (363,763lbs) ● Powerplant: General Electric CF6-50C/CF6-50C2R Aircraft Performance ● Range: 2,900nmi (5,375km) ● Service Ceiling: 40,000ft ● Max Cruising Speed: Mach 0.78 (450kts) Download & Install Installation of the ASSP A300B2 was an extremely simple affair. After purchasing it from the X-Plane.org store, you are provided with a download link and an unlock key for the product. Just drag and drop the A300 into your aircraft folder (I have created a separate ‘Addons’ folder alongside the ‘Laminar Research’ and ‘Extra Aircraft’ folder for neatness) and the aircraft is available in your virtual hangar. On first loading, you are asked to paste in your unlock key. This will activate the aircraft systems and upon reloading the sim, you are ready to fly. The A300 comes with a 9-page document that outlines the airframe limitations of the aircraft. This is handy to refer to, especially when navigating the aircraft and ensuring that you are not pushing the airframe over any defined limitations it may have. Rather than a manual, ASSP has put together a series of tutorial videos which you can find on YouTube. These videos walk you through the different stages of flight, and whilst this may not be the most popular way of doing things, I found it refreshing as video tutorials are by far the most visual way to display things. As a content creator myself, I find they show users exactly where to look and face when starting up, so kudos to them! Exterior Model The A300 features a standard wide-body base with two engines mounted, one on each wing. In the 1970s this was revolutionary as at the time three was considered the magic number when it came to wide bodies going long haul. The reasoning behind this was that if one engine was to fail, then you had the third as a failsafe. The ASSP model is a faithful recreation of the real aircraft, with key details including the enlarged side windows in the cockpit and additional vents and vanes found on the wing, common with the Hawker Siddeley design ethos at the time. Animations on the aircraft exterior are also really well reproduced, with the landing gear struts raising and dropping at a relatively steady pace, while all flight surfaces follow the pilots' input. Smaller details have also been added to the aircraft, such as the sensors and pitot tubes on the nose. The A300 comes with ten liveries. You have an ASSP ‘house’ livery and the following real-world airlines: - Airbus House - Air France - Alitalia - Iran Air - Lufthansa - Mahan Air - Onur Air - Olympic - Singapore Airlines Cockpit & Interior The ASSP A300 features a fully modelled cockpit which is very pleasing to look at. It’s a dark, grey cabin with two yokes (this was the time before baby blue and fly-by-wire) with a mix of both glass and steam gauges. Only the A300 and A310 from Airbus featured yokes, as come the release of the Airbus A320, everything moved over to sidesticks with electrical signals controlling the aircraft axis from smaller inputs. The A300’s gauges, buttons, and switches are clear to read, and simple to understand, making them invaluable during flight. Text and labels are also of good clarity, including those situated in the overhead panel. Textures are done to a 4k resolution, which means that even when viewed close up, they still remain crisp and clear. The aircraft is well optimised too, running at a solid 60fps in overpopulated areas on my 4k resolution monitor. I am yet to come across any lag spikes or major drops, making this an excellent choice for simmers on modest hardware The A300 also features a fully modeled passenger cabin, allowing you to walk through the aircraft and take a seat with your passengers. This is modeled to quite a high level of detail, with each livery featuring a custom cabin based on that particular airline. Buttons, Gauges & Functionality The aircraft features a fully functional cockpit with an engineer's bay included. You can manipulate and control everything from the pilot flying console, while I find the engineer’s bay to have 50% functionality. For a mid-level plane, this is enough to get you flying while following realistic checklists and good enough for those looking to fly something with a reasonable amount of detail. You can manage the aircraft's hydraulics, electrical and pressurisation systems, as well as a functioning fuel jettison feature, which may come in handy alongside the custom failures menu that you can play around with. You can also select and ‘age’ the aircraft which will affect how it performs in relation to speed and fuel burn. ASSP has also included an EFB tablet which gives you access to AviTab, several speed calculators, a loading manager and ground operations, as well as a settings page that lets you customise the aircraft and cockpit state. It does miss out on an ‘engines on ready to depart’ quick start mode, but you can toggle from cold and dark to a turnaround state. I would however like to see one added at some point in the future as I don’t always want to go through the startup process; just spawn in and take flight on a joyride. The HSI can be toggled from wide to bearing modes, or new to the older instruments. The A300 uses X-Plane’s Universal FMC which allows it to fully integrate with the default navigation database and systems. I have always found it easy to use and so seeing it within the A300 is a welcomed addition. This also works well with the custom autopilot unit fitted to the aircraft, allowing you to fly from either unit or switch between Navigation and FMS modes onboard. That’s not to say I don’t have an issue with a few aspects of functionality. For example, you cannot use the mouse wheel to scroll the gauges and dials within the cockpit. This means setting altitudes and speeds on your autopilot requires you to manually click and hold the numbers to reach your desired setting. This can be a drawn-out process, especially in descent where you want to quickly manage your speed reduction and descent. It can be tedious, but it’s something you can get used to, especially those that came from X-Plane 10 and previous editions of the platform where this was not a feature available. The aircraft also insists that you start with the engines off. This means you cannot spawn in on an approach to an airport as they will always power down, regardless of how you have the ‘Start with engines running’ checkbox. Overall, cockpit simulation is to a satisfactory level, but don’t expect it to revolutionise the way you fly within the simulator. Sound Sounds are one of the strong points of this product as ASSP has incorporated FMOD to the A300, and it sounds great from both within the cockpit and externally. The General Electric CF6 engines give a soft whine when powered and this has been faithfully recreated within the simulator using sound samples from the real thing. I often find myself sitting back in the cabin looking down at my ORBX TrueEarth scenery while listening to the engines whisper mid-way through my cruise. Spooling the engines up and down also changes the pitch and wave of the whine, giving you the feeling of power when you’re on your takeoff run. Within the cockpit, ASSP has included sound samples from the original Airbus GPWS which is a welcomed addition. When on final approach, you’ll hear the real Airbus voice counting you down as you approach the runway, as well as any errors you may encounter, such as overspeed and stall alarms. Flight Dynamics The ASSP A300 is smooth to fly and very stable once in the air. This makes it extremely easy to manage during takeoffs and landings, before sending it over to autopilot to take you on your way. With the lack of fly-by-wire on the A300, this means you need to start your flare a lot closer to the ground, and don’t expect a ‘Retard’ callout on the way in either. You certainly have to add a lot more control input when compared to newer Airbus aircraft to fly it on the route you want, but that’s something you’ll learn the feel of after your first few test flights. You do need to get used to the feeling of landing, but after a few circuits and approaches, it’s something that you can easily manage. I flew with my TCA Boeing Yoke from Thrustmaster (sorry Airbus sidestick, this one is not for you!) and found its handling to be very even. In a nutshell, the A300 is a steady beast to fly and one I have really enjoyed. Opinion & Closing Remarks ASSP's version of the Airbus A300 may not be study level, but then they never claimed it would be. What we have is a good, simplistic recreation of Airbus’ first jetliner and one that is a joy to fly. Strong points are certainly the audio and model design, the A300 looks and sounds great. You also have enough systems functioning to take you on a realistic flight from A to B, following checklists and managing your aircraft systems along the way. It’s definitely IVAO & VATSIM capable, giving you another aircraft to enjoy alongside your ATC. In the numerous short flights I’ve made with this model, I’ve come to appreciate the functionality and use of the plane, with many good landings along the way. While it may not be the most advanced A300 on the market, it’s a great base for those that want to look at the older generation of jetliners and see how they function with the flight engineer also in position. ASSP’s first release is a truly good start. I would certainly like to see more added to it in the future as well as an option to have engines on from start. With that said, what we have so far is a decent A300 that will certainly provide a smile to the average flight simmer looking to try something different. _______________________________ The Airbus A300 Classic B2-200 by ASSP is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Airbus A300 Classic B2-200 Price is $49.99 Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 760 MB Current version: 1.6 (March 17th 2022) Review by Michael Hayward 30th June 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications:  Windows 10 Professional, AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor, 32GB RAM, Palit GeForce RTX™ 3080 GamingPro (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
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  16. dont forget that the ini A310 is not in the market very long, was introduced mid 2021. so only after one year INI quit. thats very rude and not cusomer friendly everyone who purchased from ini did that also because of trust in the company, no matter what states in the contract on x-plane versions. with the 10 pound offer they grabbed all the money which is left in the x-plane market and now they run away. but still i see this move very rude in terms of the customers who purchased the A310, A300, Beluga for 150-200 bucks.
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  17. it would really be interesting to see an upgrade like this on the a319 and a321… even a nice discrepancy in the cockpits, the a340 is much better… I hope toliss hasn't forgotten about the 321 and 319 models
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  18. NEWS! - Aircraft Release : Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235 by Aerosphere Aerosphere Simulations have released their next Piper Cherokee aircraft in the Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235. The Piper Cherokee 235 was introduced in 1963 competing with the Cessna 182 for the four-seater aircraft market share that the original Cherokee could not fulfill. Piper added a stretched wing and 6-cylinder O-540 engine to the existing Piper Cherokee 180 and thus the Cherokee 235 was born. The Cherokee 235 also had an option to have a constant speed propeller added, and with the increase of HP and two extra cylinders, Piper included tip tanks in the stretched wing to bring the fuel total from 50 gallons to 84. Then in 1972, Piper stretched the fuselage again by 5 inches and thus the “Piper Charger” was born. With the iconic “Hershey Bar” wing, and the 235 HP engine, the gross weight of the Charger increased to 3,000 lbs. The Charger sported new throttle quadrant levers that Piper introduced in 1968, rather than the “push-pull” style throttle and mixture that debuted on the original Piper Cherokee. The Piper Charger had an empty weight of 1,550 lbs. and with a max gross of 3,000 lbs. gave an impressive useful load of almost equally the same weight as the aircraft. This impressive gentry of the Charger gave birth to the following “Pathfinder” and “Dakota” models which included rounded windows and tapered wings respectively. The increase in total fuel means that the range also increased to nearly 1,100 miles under proper conditions. The climb performance at 3,000 lbs. was about 800 FPM which is typical from a reciprocated Piper of that era. That being said, the Charger, although few in production numbers, still boasts impressive performance numbers even to this day. Features: 4 HD (4096 x 4096) liveries with a plain white texture that can be used for custom paint schemes. Steam gauge classic general aviation panel with required instruments for IFR. Garmin 530 & 430 All gauges are 3D Detailed flight model and interactive 3D virtual cockpit with animated knobs, buttons etc. cabin door, storm window and front/rear baggage compartment door. Toggle button to remove/display yoke Compatible with HDR and normal lighting effects Many textures taken from the actual aircraft Virtual Reality friendly and includes the click regions and hotspots required for VR gameplay. FMOD sounds Since the quiet withdrawal of Carenado... so then where do you get your basic General Aviation Fixes? vFlyteAir are still producing gems, but so are AeroSphere, like with their Cherokee Sixes B and C here now with the Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235... Images are courtesy of AeroSphere Simulations _____________________________________ Yes! - Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235 by AeroSphere Simulations is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235 Price is Currently US$29.00 Requirements X-Plane 11 Support for XP12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 198 MB Current Version : 1.0 (June 20th 2022) ___________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 21st June 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
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  19. NEWS! - Plugin Updated : X-KeyPad v1.5 by Stick and Rudder Studios Mark Cellis from Stick and Rudder Studios have updated or has gone final on version v1.5 of their X-KeyPad plugin. KeyPad gives you the ability to create Virtual Keyboards with highly dynamic key behavior and labels that can interact with and display data in X-Plane 11/12. These virtual keyboards can be placed on a secondary monitor, touch monitor, or using a tablet by using Duet Display or SpaceDesk. X-KeyPad also supports a rich integration with the X-Touch Mini Midi Controller and P.I. Engineering X-Keys keyboards as well as a graphical user interface to create and edit all your configurations. Using X-KeyPad with these devices makes an X-Plane 11/12 home cockpit more immersive. You will spend less time clicking with a mouse or searching for keys on a keyboard. The v1.5 update includes: Added Support for X-Touch Mini Added a Graphical User Interface for creating and maintaining configurations Significant enhancements to Virtual Device label features Added formulas and expressions Significant improvement in performance of Virtual Devices There are three videos provided to show you how X-KeyPad works... The v1.5 version is free to all current purchasers of the X-KeyPad plugin, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and download the new version... otherwise you can purchase the now on-sale plugin below. _____________________ Yes! X-KeyPad by Stick and Rudder Studios is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : X-KeyPad Price is US$15.00 but currently on SALE for US$11.25 (save 25%) Requirements X-Plane 11 or 12 (XP10 no longer supported) Windows, OSX, Linux FlyWithLua plugin is needed for a number of the sample configurations A willingness to learn about X-Plane datarefs and commands The dataref tool plugin for X-Plane is highly recommended. Current version: 1.5 (June 4th 2022) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 6th June 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
    1 point
  20. I would have to say that I would miss the A300/A310 on my fleet if they weren't flyable on X-Plane 12. I don't think Microsoft care too much about X-Plane,but I would hope that iniBuilds do not leave X-Plane 12 behind. You cannot really afford to annoy your fan-base too much in these times.
    1 point
  21. @judeb maybe. Of course we don’t know how MS are going to price this anniversary edition so ‘free’ might not exactly be what it suggests. One wonders if Inibuilds will hide behind their agreement with MS not to provide an XP12 update? If that do that their flash sale on the A300 and A310, when this news must have been known to them, would be at the very least cynical.
    1 point
  22. NEWS! - Sounds : Mango Studios Boeing Bundle Mango Studios look at the areas that BSS BlueSKyStar sounds don't compete in and do a filler package. First it was the Airbus A350 XWB, but also for the same FlightFactor Aero Boeing 757/767. Here they have now created a bundle of both Boeing aircraft and have updated and reworked the exclusive sound packages for both the B757/B767 aircraft. The changes are extensive, and there is an optional folder, to get rid of the sometimes annoying stock Flight Factor cabin sounds! Exterior: Custom sounds for tires on touchdown effects Custom sounds for hydraulic pump effect Custom sounds for fuel pump effects Custom exterior rain effects Custom fuel truck, ACU, and GPU effects New, custom sounds for APU start/shutdown New, complete, and custom exterior sounds for the Pratt & Whitney PW2000 engines, which include: -New custom, exterior startup/shutdown sound effects -New custom, exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects -New custom, exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects New, complete, and custom exterior sounds for the Rolls Royce RB211-535 engines, which include: -New custom, exterior startup/shutdown sound effects -New custom, exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects -New custom, exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects New, complete, and custom exterior sounds for the General Electric CF-6 engines, which include: -New custom, exterior startup/shutdown sound effects -New custom, exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects -New custom, exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects Interior: New custom EICAS button, switch, knob, rotary, and handle sound effects New custom FCU button, switch, and rotary sound effects New custom OVERHEAD button, button cover, knob, rotary, and switch sound effect New custom PEDESTAL button, button cover, handle, rotary, switch and throttle sound effect New custom cockpit system sound effects include: -Autopilot disengages and engages sound effects -Complete Cockpit electrical systems, avionics, battery, packs, and gyros -Ultra-realistic cockpit wiper system -Complete EGPWS warnings, which include retard callouts, callouts from 2500ft to 10ft, and all those in between. -Complete Cockpit warnings, which include Autopilot disconnect warning, stick shaker, fireball, seatbelt chimes, no-smoking chimes, and flight attendant chimes. New Custom, Complete, and ultra-realistic cockpit environment effects which include: -Cockpit landing gear effects such as gear extension, retraction, speed-brake retraction, touchdown, rolling, and drag sound effects -Other effects, such as Cockpit Rumble, Cockpit Rain, Cockpit Rotation, Cockpit Wind, Flap Drag, Spoiler Drag, sound effects New Cabin Effects include: -New Air conditioning effect -New Cabin wind effect -Reworked Fuel pump system effect -Reworked Hydraulic pump system effect -2 NEW FLAP SOUNDS, from start to finish taking off a real 757-200 as well as a 767-300, now each wing has individual flap sounds which vary in pitch for each wing. New, complete, and custom interior sounds for the Rolls Royce RB-211-535 engines, which include: -New custom, interior startup/shutdown sound effects -New custom, interior spool-up/spool-down sound effects -New custom, interior back-blast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects New, complete, and custom interior sounds for the Pratt & Whitney PW2000 engines, which include: -New custom, interior startup/shutdown sound effects -New custom, interior spool-up/spool-down sound effects -New custom, interior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects New, complete, and custom exterior sounds for the General Electric CF-6 engines, which include: -New custom, exterior startup/shutdown sound effects -New custom, exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects -New custom, exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects Custom Mango Studios is, User-Friendly UI that helps you bring some more customization to your sound pack! Brings installation instructions to make your installation more manageable, and a manual to bring you up to speed on how to customize your volume in the volume menu. Either or both in the Flight Factor 767 Pro and the Flight Factor 757 are required for the use of this sound pack. The original Boeing 767 sound package is still available at US$15.99, as is the original B757 sound package at the same US$15.99, so if you have both aircraft there is a saving in cost to update to the new sound pack. The single B757 sounds package was updated 24th April 2022, but not currently the B767. There are no notes on if there is a discount for previous purchasers. __________________ Yes! The Mango Studios Boeing Bundle is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore Mango Studios Boeing Bundle Price is US$25.99 Requirements This is a Sound pack. The Flight Factor 767 Pro and the Flight Factor 757 are required for this sound pack Download Size: 131 MB Current version 1.0 (June 12th 2022) ____________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 13th June 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All rights reserved.
    1 point
  23. I received an email for the flash sale(s) and took advantage - see they've become partners in the MSFS group which could be the end of their XP endeavors.
    1 point
  24. These are good aircraft although Inibuilds themselves are not the easiest people to work with. Both of this aircraft we recently on flash sale at hugely discounted prices (over 80% off). It was a flash sale but if like me you have paid full price for these not a good feeling.
    1 point
  25. Scenery Review SBGR- São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport Globall Art – SBGR São Paulo / Guarulhos International Airport – X-Plane Looking back through the stamps in my old passports reveals that the first time I set foot in Brazil was 17th May 1996. If memory serves me correctly, that flight was on a British Airways 747-400 which had departed from Heathrow some twelve hours previously, and which had made a brief stopover in Rio de Janeiro on its two-stop round trip to South America. Since that date some twenty-six years ago, I’ve had the privilege of visiting that amazing country tens of times, flying with many different airlines and on many different airframes, but the one thing that all my visits have in common is that my entry point to Brazil has always been through Guarulhos International Airport. In those 26 years, I’ve seen plenty of change in the airport, especially in the past ten years as domestic air travel has become more ubiquitous, and as Brazil has welcomed visitors for both the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games - although the latter were admittedly in Rio, a relatively ‘short’ five-hour drive away. The COVID pandemic has prevented my regular trips for the past few years, so the opportunity to visit again, this time in X-Plane through Globall Art’s ‘SBGR – Guarulhos Airport’ scenery package, was one that I eagerly jumped at. Figure 1 - A view of Guarulhos Airport’s Northern Side, including the freight terminal, and terminals 2 and 3. A Brief History The São Paulo Air Force Base (Base Aérea de São Paulo), some 28km from downtown São Paulo, was built on the land of Cumbica Farm (Fazenda Cumbica) which had been donated to the Ministry of Aeronautics by Eduardo Guinle. The Air Force Base was opened in January 1945, and at the time, it housed the 2nd Air Base Corps which had previously, since its inception in May 1941, been headquartered at Campo de Marte airport only 22km away. Air transport flourished after the end of the Second World War, and it was in June 1967 that the Brazilian government started looking into renovation of the airport infrastructure in Brazil. As a result of these studies, it was decided that new passenger facilities would be located at the site, although construction of the first terminal wasn’t to start for another 13 years. At that time, Congonhas was São Paulo’s main airport, but its short runways were unable to cater for the long-haul jets serving intercontinental travellers, and passengers to the city had to either change to a domestic flight in Rio de Janeiro, or fly instead to Viracopos airport in Campinas, almost 100km from São Paulo. Work was started on the new passenger facilities at the airport in August 1980, and they were inaugurated in January 1985. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before Guarulhos had overtaken Congonhas as the city’s primary airport although the proximity of the latter to the city’s major commercial centres mean that it is still a favourite of domestic business travellers. In 1989, runway 09L/27R was extended to the east to cater for the larger jets that were being brought into service, and the passenger terminals renovated and enlarged to cater for the growing passenger numbers with terminal 2 coming into service in 1993. It was in 2001 that the need for a third terminal was first mooted, but the political and economic situation in the country delayed the start of construction until 2011. Not a moment too soon as in 2010, the airport served in excess of 30% more than its rated passenger capacity. To alleviate congestion whilst the new terminal 3 was being built, Infraero, the Brazilian company charged with managing its airports, announced that two former cargo terminals at the west of the airport would be renovated and converted into terminal 4 for temporary domestic passenger use – leaving the original two terminals for international passengers – and they opened fully in June 2013. Despite the intention that they would be a transient facility, their status has now become permanent. In 2012 operation of the airport was granted for an initial period of twenty years to a consortium of private companies which form the ‘Concessionária to Aeroporto Internacional de Guarulhos S.A.’. One of the first things that they did during the handover was to rebrand the airport ‘GRU Airport’ Figure 2 - Rebranded as 'GRU Airport' from 2012 Terminal 3 was opened in 2014 – just in time for the World Cup – having taken just one year and nine months after ground was first broken to complete. And in 2015 (in a move which confused me at the time and which I’ve only now worked out whilst researching the history for this review) the terminals were renumbered with the temporary terminal 4 becoming terminal 1, and the original terminals 1 and 2 merging to become terminal 2. Most recently, the São Paulo metro system has been extended to the airport on an elevated section with a bus providing the ‘last mile’ transport to and from the terminals. This is a far cry from the original intention for the airport to sit on a high-speed rail link from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro; a project which was cancelled before it really started. It does however mean that at less than one US dollar, a rail transfer from the airport to the city is probably one of the cheapest in the world! Guarulhos airport is now the largest airport in Brazil and one of the busiest in Latin America, being second to Mexico City International Airport in terms of passenger numbers, and second to El Dorado International Airport (in Bogotá, Columbia) in terms of freight transport. That the airport is now operated as a private enterprise has upset the descendants of the original donor of the land, Eduardo Guinle, and they are arguing that this violates the spirit in which the donation was made. They have initiated legal proceedings demanding return of the land, or compensation to the tune of around 1 billion US dollars! The government’s defence rests on their assertion that the land to the south of the airport continues to operate as an Air Force base even though no permanent flying units are based there. Guinle’s descendants lost their original case, and it has now been referred to the Federal Council of Justice (Justiça Federal) on appeal. This, and no doubt other events, may well shape the development of the airport in the years to come. Installation The package I downloaded from the X-Plane.org store was a single 777Mb ZIP file which contains a couple of manuals – one in English and the other in Portuguese (not Spanish, which many people believe is spoken in Brazil as it is in the rest of South America), and a couple of folders – one containing the Airport scenery, and the other a bespoke mesh. Figure 3 - Package Contents There’s no automatic installer here, so I made a check of the manual to make sure that there are no installation gotchas, and it seemed straight-forward enough in that stand-alone installation requires that just the Airport and Mesh scenery folders are copied to the X-Plane ‘Custom Scenery’ folder; the names of the files will ensure that they’re loaded in the correct order by the simulator. Whilst not included in the downloaded package the manual offers the opportunity to download a high resolution OrthoPhoto for the whole of the São Paulo urban area extending out to Guarulhos airport. At around 5.2Gb it’s a huge download but given that it’s advertised in the manual I elected to use it whilst reviewing the package. Again, if you just copy this to the ‘Custom Scenery’ folder, the names will ensure that scenery is loaded correctly. Additionally, the manual recommends the download and installation of MisterX’s ‘Airport Environment HD’ scenery library, and the Auto Gate and SAM plugins to ensure that all animations work correctly. I already had these installed so there was no action required on my part. If you already own Globall Art’s nearby ‘SBSP – Congonhas’ scenery package and / or Paulo Ricardo’s Mega São Paulo package(s), then installation is still a manual process but much more involved requiring deletion of some the Mega São Paulo folders that contain the airport and mesh definitions, and manual edits to the scenery-packs.ini file to ensure the correct ordering of the scenery layers contained in the different products. Some elements of the installation instructions where you own multiple packages do seem a little ambiguous, so it is worth making sure that you understand fully what you’re going to do before you forge ahead. The system requirements for the package are stated simply as X-Plane 11, and 4Gb of VRAM as a minimum, although 8Gb or more is preferred. A system whose components meet the recommended requirements was used to capture the images contained in this review. Figure 4 - SBGR - Guarulhos International Airport seen from the North-West Package Features Globall Art’s ‘SBGR – Guarulhos Airport’ scenery package boasts a long list of features, claiming to accurately represent the airport as it existed in 2022, this being supported by customised textures, HDR lighting, static objects, vehicles and aircraft, and rendered interiors for some of the terminals. Additionally, the package claims compatibility with multiple third-party plugins, including custom jetways controlled by both SAM and Marginal’s Auto Gate plugins and their accompanying VDGS (visual docking guidance system) installations, taxi routes for World Traffic 3, and vehicle traffic controlled by Marginal’s Ground Traffic. And of course, the Mega São Paulo scenery package. The manual contains links to SAM and Auto Gate which are both free plugins – whether you choose to install them is up to you, but they were installed and enabled when this review was written. To avoid incompatibilities between the two plugins, the jetway serviced gates at the airport work with only one of the two systems – so if you have a preference, then you’ll need to make sure that you park at a suitably equipped gate. A look around the Airport So… with all the… ‘administration’ out of the way, it’s time to look around the airport. Initial impressions? Well… from the terminal side, I’m reasonably familiar with what are now terminals 2 and 3 and can honestly say that had you dropped me in this scenery package outside at either the departures drop-off or arrivals-pick-up areas of either of them it wouldn’t have taken me long to work out where I was, not least of which because the signs are replicas of those that you’ll find at the real airport, but also because of the modelling of the terminal buildings. And that bodes well! Figure 5 - Departures Drop-off at Terminal 2 – the quietest I’ve ever seen it! Time to start exploring, and rather than the logical clockwise roam around the airport that I usually take, I thought I’d mix it up a little, and follow the chronological development of the airport. On the south-west side of the field, the full extent of the Air Force base has been modelled, and with it extending to the limits of the forest in the screenshot it’s a lot bigger than I thought it was! Figure 6 - The São Paulo Air Force Base (Base Aérea de São Paulo) Custom objects representing the various building across the base have been developed and placed which adds to the feel of the airport as you approach it from the air. The only disappointment here, and it is a minor one, is that the X-Plane roads don’t follow their true paths, and consequently some of the buildings and trees encroach on them but you’re going to be too busy getting your landing or take off right to be able to notice! As you get closer to the runways in those spaces that you may find yourself taxiing, the attention to detail improves significantly with the buildings of the main military apron sporting the typical “welcome” and the official blazon of the 4th Air Transport Squadron that was based there, and a couple of static military aircraft stationed out front. Figure 7 - The São Paulo Air Force Base (Base Aérea de São Paulo) Main Apron Moving back across the airfield now to what was terminal 1, parking my trusty Zibo 737-800 sporting a rather splendid – and appropriate – ‘Gol’ livery on stand 212R. Just looking around the apron markings and stains on the tarmac shows how much work has gone into making it look ‘real’. It would have been easy to replicate the same marking pattern at all the gates, and whilst there does appear to be a finite set of patterns, there are enough of them to make this very difficult to spot – unless you’re looking for it of course. And, for comparison, the same shot in the dead of night. Gate 212 is one of those that’s compatible with the SAM plugin, so why not give that a go? The VGDS does provide all the cues necessary for accurate parking of the aircraft allowing the jetway to extend to the front left door. But look at the rest of the view. You can see through the glass into the terminal (more of that later), but the modelling of the airport building and its furniture together with the equipment and other objects that you can see on the small part of the apron that’s visible below give the impression of a busy airport. Figure 8 - Arriving at Gate 212R I’m a sucker for looking around inside a terminal building to see if it’s modelled and in this package the developers have claimed that this is the case. It certainly is – at least in the part of the terminal that sits at the end of the pier. The windows here are clear and from the cockpit of your aircraft parked at the gate, it is possible to see inside the building. Standing on the inside, remembering that most of us would never bother standing in the terminal building of a simulated airport, it’s a passable facsimile with rows of seats modelled, gates marked and high-resolution images of representative restaurant and store fronts. I would have liked to have seen the interior modelling extend back along the pier to the terminal building, however the windows on that part of the structure are bitmaps that look a lot better at night than they do in the daytime. Figure 9 - Inside terminal 2 Compared to the other terminals, the converted cargo facility that now operates as the domestic terminal 1 is quite bland – as it is in the real-world. There are no jetways here but there appears to have been no scrimping on the quality of the model. The different departure doors are uniquely labelled with their gate number, the arrivals entrance equally well marked and walkways between the terminal the aircraft parking spots look as if they’re freshly painted onto the tarmac. Figure 10 - The converted cargo building that now operates as terminal 1 The opening of terminal 3 in 2014 added 12 million passengers a year to the capacity of the airport. Looking at the size of it, it’s not difficult to understand how. The unusual design that was finally chosen wasn’t that originally proposed by Infraero, but one which the 2012 consortium selected at late notice. Unusually for Guarulhos, in that previously the car parks serving the other terminals are large open air car parks at ground level (not ideal in the scorching Brazilian sun), a multi-storey car park accessible through covered walkways was built alongside the terminal. All of this is of course faithfully reproduced in the scenery package. Figure 11 – The distinctive terminal 3, and its car park, from the landside. Changing our vantage point from landside to airside, the huge amount of real estate given over to serving the large jets that ply the long distant routes to São Paulo can be seen, and the terminal can manage up to ten such aircraft at the pier, and 7 more with remote boarding. From this viewpoint, you can also see the variety of surface types and markings (including those that have been painted over as the taxi and parking configuration has evolved) that have been employed to build as realistic an experience as possible for pilots visiting the airport. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t taken a walk around inside terminal 3 as well, and from a passenger perspective its recognisable. The full length of the pier is modelled this time though, providing a view into the terminal from all the gates, and there’s a wider variety of shop fronts, restaurants and advertising boards throughout. Figure 12 – Terminal 3 with its adjacent aprons seen from the airside When you’re close to the main terminal building, it’s even possible to see the baggage handling facilities underneath it. This degree of detail shows the lengths to which the developers have gone to produce an airport that looks authentic in every respect, even if it doesn’t materially add to the ‘flight’ experience. Figure 13 - Terminal 3's baggage handling area The elevated rail link to São Paulo, complete with trains that look just like those you’ll see on the São Paulo Metrô, is modelled too. Because the airport is the last stop on the line, the track really does just stop in space like it does in the screenshot, providing just enough room beyond the station for trains to change to the opposite track for the return journey, although the trains in the simulator just change direction! Figure 14 - Aeroporto Guarulhos station on the Jade line of São Paulo's Metrô system Whilst that concludes the trip around those parts of the airport that feature in the history outlined at the start of the review, there are plenty of other things to enjoy in this scenery package. The detail doesn’t drop away when you look at the rather distinctive airport fire station, opened in 2015, to the south of the airfield. The letters that make up the sign on the front of the building are full 3D models and they cast shadows on the façade of the building – although having taken another look around the whole airport, that’s the case throughout. The garage contains fire trucks of a type that is deployed at the airport, and which sport the logo of Infraero. It’s not evident from the screenshot, but I can report that the level of detail on the model means that you can also see the gym equipment in the window of the block that’s behind the garage. Figure 15 - The Airport Fire Station Immediately next to terminal 1, Guarulhos’ cargo facilities are vast at almost 100,000 m2, and they’re capable of handling all manner of goods including refrigerated and hazardous shipments. The various warehouses at the airport are all present in the scenery – modelled of course to the same high standard as the adjacent former cargo warehouse. Figure 16 - The cargo terminal at Guarulhos To the west of terminal 3 is the maintenance facility at Guarulhos which was constructed in 2017 at a combined cost of 230m US dollars. The American Airlines facility can house two wide-bodied jets of the types that they use on their routes to São Paulo (typically 777 and 787), and the LATAM facility behind it one. Both are recreated in the scenery package in the level of detail present that I’m starting to become accustomed to. Figure 17 - The American Airlines and LATAM maintenance hangars at Guarulhos Moving slightly off the airfield now, and onto the approach road connecting the airport to Rodoviária Presidente Dutra – the main road that runs between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro – a hotel that I’ve always wanted to visit but have never found the time always being either on my way to or from the airport terminals. Figure 18 - The Pullman Hotel on the road approach to the airport And finally, as another testament to the pride that the developers have put into this package, the default tower view has more detail than I’ve ever seen in a tower before – even if their screens do show them controlling a different airport! Figure 19 - The Default Tower View In conclusion… I’ve seen quite a few different aircraft scenery packages from several different developers over the years, and I have to say that Globall Art’s SBGR – Guarulhos Airport ranks up there amongst the best. The hard work that has gone into making the aircraft movement areas look realistic and the terminals true-to-life replicas of their real-world counterparts is evident, but what stands out for me is that it’s a blend of instantly recognisable detail in all the right places which extends beyond the immediate limits of the core airport buildings and infrastructure. This ensures that it’s not an oasis of accuracy surrounded by a desert of out of the box land-class and autogen scenery and this works wonders in enhancing the illusion of reality that we, as simulator pilots, all seek. If Guarulhos Airport is one that’s of particular interest to you, as it is to me, then I’d recommend Globall Arts’ representation wholeheartedly. If you’re a collector of good airports, and São Paulo falls within the criteria that you use to select what goes on your list of desired acquisitions, then make sure there’s a spot on that list for this package; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. If you’re just looking for a reason to start flying somewhere you haven’t explored so far, then South America, Brazil and SBGR – Guarulhos International Airport is, in my view at least, a great place to start. I’ve tried to cover off everything but there’ll inevitably have been something I’ve missed in the tour that I’ve taken you on. Ultimately, only you will know whether it’s right for you though! For me, it’s staying installed on my system, and I’ll be flying in and out of there until I can get back to Brazil for real. __________________________________ SBGR- São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport by Globall Art is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: SBGR- São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport Price at time of writing US$24.95 Features: Accurate replica São Paulo International Airport, Guarulhos, updated 2022. Precise modeling, based on original references, plans and other studies. Fully customized pavement, with ambient occlusion included in textures. Custom Jetways compatible with SAM plugins. Auto Gate Marginal Compatible Custom Jetways. Standard VGDS system. Controlled by Dataref Marginal Plugins. Controlled by Dataref SAM Plugins Static objects, vehicles and aircraft are present in the scene. Avenues and streets with custom and standard vehicle traffic. Controlled by the Marginal Ground Traffic Plugin HDR lighting with custom night textures. Custom textures with ambient occlusion. X-Plane standard animated traffic service. Standard Approach Light Systems (ALS). Included taxi routes for aircraft, “taxi route". Compatible taxi routes configured for World Traffic (WT3) and other plugins. Ramp Start set for airlines. Terminal 2 and 3 with rendered interior. Compatible with Mega São Paulo – Paulo Ricardo. Compatible with SBSP Congonhas Globall Art. Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows. Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 830 MB Current version: 1.1 (May 13th 2022) Review System Specifications: Windows 11 Intel i7-9700KK 32 GB RAM Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Scenery Review by Andrew Parish 9th May 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions.
    1 point
  26. On charging for updates to XP12 there are two sides to that. If developers do not update their product then they will have nothing to sell going forward. Sales of XP11 only product once XP12 is released will likely plummet There’s a balance between providing a service for existing customers in providing the update and using your existing client base to fund making your product sale able to new customers. If developers do charge a fee will they be transparent about the work that was needed to justify the charge? My view is the developers with older product, say the IXEG 733 (I know its not in the Org store) would have a case to charge a fee. Something newer, lets say the Inibuilds A300 or the Toliss A340 are so recent (XP12 was already on the horizon) then them charging would be less justifiable. If developers do charge a fee then they will also have to make some development choices. Going forward only the XP12 versions will get updates and bug fixes? Will they need to maintain two code sources for the Org store, the XP11 only version and the XP12 version for new customers and those who have paid for the upgrade? Messy. And then there’s the whole issue of protecting their product. Product key verification becomes more complex when there is the key for the original purchase and presumably a key for the upgrade (or some other sort of workaround).
    1 point
  27. Scenery Review : PAWD - Seward Airport, Alaska by NorthernSkyStudios Owing to its position at the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad and the well-developed road links to Anchorage and the rest of the Kenai Peninsula, Seward City is both a major northern end-port for several major cruise ship lines that host Alaskan cruises, such as Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and Celebrity Cruises, and a common destination for general Alaskan tourism. Huge glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield into the local coastal fjords and the township itself is surrounded by peaks, the adjoining fjords are also a whale and porpoise habitat. To the west, a trail leads to the summit of Mount Marathon (1,471 m). The Mount Marathon Race is a famous mountain race that is run every Fourth of July up the mountain. NorthernSkyStudios are alternating between scenery based in the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska. In Hawaii the releases lately have covered PHMU - Waimea-Kohala, PHOG - Kahului and PHJH - Kapalua Airports. In Alaska the last release was so much a favorite of mine in that X-PlaneReviews quickly covered it in a review; PAEN - Kenai Municipal Airport, situated just west of Anchorage. Here is their next scenery in PAWD - Seward Airport, which is directly on the other side of the same Kenai Peninsula (Dena'ina: Yaghenen) from Kenai, and a really great companion scenery to the earlier NorthernSky PAEN - Kenai Municipal Airport... so we will start there, and fly over to the newer PAWD - Seward scenery. PAEN-Kenai to PAWD-Seward Airport My aircraft today is the excellent Thranda Design C208B Caravan. In taking a little bit of cargo out to the more eastern and remote Seward airport. There is no doubt the NorthernSky Kenai is still a deeply impressive scenery and well worth exploring, certainly a must have if you love your remote bush flying escapades. So what is the trick or the value of good scenery? If an addon scenery can recreate the exact look and feel of a place, in other words, place you in an another completely different environ but a real representative of that actual place. Then it is doing of what you want you want that scenery to achieve, then that also in return gives the scenery value in it's usefulness and purchase. That value aspect certainly works here at PAEN, so the newer PAWD-Seward scenery is already creating high expectations of the same. Departure is from PAEN Rwy 02 and PAWD is directly 120º to the southeast which is 104 miles or 167 km, so I initially turn to that heading... ... and directly now ahead are the The Kenai Mountains which are a large mountain range in this eastern Alaska. They extend 192 km northeast from the southern end of the Kenai Peninsula to the Chugach Mountains, and they have an average elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet. So I set my altitude at 8,000ft to go over the top. But once heading west I saw a gap in the mountains that would take me almost directly to Seward. The entrance to the valley is over Skilak Lake, taking in the Upper Russian Lake (Not to be confused with the "Russian River" as that is further north), that in then forms into the Resurrection River that flows down an estuary at Seward itself. It is quite a straight forward route. You are in the correct valley if your going directly east, and if you see the Skilak Glacier to your right, and it is quite impressive even in this default X-Plane texture guise. You just then just follow through the valley, again there is another Glacier to your right, and this one is the "Exit Glacier"... Notable is that around this point the custom NorthernSky orthophoto textures are now part of the scenery, but they really have been so well blended in with the default textures, as it is hard to find the blending line between them, NorthernSky have done very well to create this seemless transition... ... by now you are almost through the valleys, and you should see the Resurrection Bay water ahead, and Seward is sited at the top end of the inlet, it is also time to descend down from the 8,000ft altitude. As you come out of the valley, then Seward is directly below you. PAWD is highly visible because of it's twin V shaped runway arrangement. The longer runway is 13/31 at 4,240ft (1,292m), the shorter one is the 16/34 runway at 2,279ft (695m) and both are asphalt, for the Caravan the 16/34 runway is too short, or too tight to get into (most pilots will laugh off this aspect and say the Caravan is a STOL aircraft, and so should easily land on this shorter runway), but I'm finding the Thranda Caravan currently a bit too fast on approach. (I later tried the landing and had to go around), so Rwy 13/31 it is or Runway 31. I drop down to 2,000 ft and do a circular 8 pattern to line up Rwy 31. As a good sight guide there is a small port to your right called Spring Creek (actually also the Spring Creek Correctional Center! shown here but not not in 3d, but as burnt in images). This visual point then gives you a direct line into Runway 31 at 31º. The phototextures are very good on the approach in determining the estuary at Resurrection River to your right, also strewn around are logs for a 3d effect. Over the threshold of 31, and note the great tundra style foliage. Nice also is the runway surface that is well worn, cracked asphalt with the worn out edge markings, it looks all so very authentic, I loved the ground textures here a lot, and they are as good as back at PAEN. The landing was GOOD!, then it wasn't... about a quarter of the way from the threshold there is a slope to a level line that flipped the C208B back airborne, then it came back down awkwardly... ... so it took more time and more runway to resettle the aircraft, thankfully the runway is long enough to do this. You can easily see the offending line on the approach, so I recommend to aim the landing just past it, so I will remember that for next time, as the runway is long enough to accommodate this aspect. Basically there isn't a lot at Seward Airport, as it is just really a motley assortment of cabins, portable buildings and hangars. One thing you can't miss is the welcome, certainly you know you are at "Seward". And it has a great feel here, as the buildings are nicely weather worn and rustic, everything feels very authentic to Alaska, a shame the flags are not animated though. The C208B is shutdown and it is time to unload the freight and you really like the feel here, what is the right word, "Frontier!". PAWD - Seward Airport Seward Airport is a state-owned, public-use airport located two nautical miles (2.3 miles; 3.7 km) northeast of the central business district of Seward, a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. This airport is included in the FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a general aviation facility. Seward Airport IATA: SWD, ICAO: PAWD, FAA LID: SWD 13/31 - 4,240ft (1,292m) -Asphalt 16/34 - 2,279ft (695m) - Asphalt Elevation AMSL22 ft / 7 m Seward is to be really noted as a small regional airport, because basically it is what it all is, a few buildings and an aircraft parking area. Turn down Airport Road and the first airport building is the AA Seward Air Tours office... you can't really miss it could you, the glacier airtours are quite reasonably priced as well i'm told. The internal office of AA Seward Air Tours has also been very nicely fitted out and with Alaskan decor. Next down the road is the Dogsled Tour Office, helicopters this time but with the same scenic glacier tours... For pure creativity you can't go past the next tour operator (again helicopters) with Marathon Tours, as they have an office created out a ISO shipping container in the longer 40ft length, it is very well reproduced here with a viewing platform above.... "very creative". Next is one of the four larger hangers here, this one is for TedStevens. Hidden behind it is the airport's GA Refueling tank and pump, again very well done in detail. Next is the "Alaska Civil Air Patrol" hanger with another portable office set behind, then a blue storage hangar. Note on most buildings (hangars) are some great solar panel arrangements. The next large hangar is the most interesting one... this one is represented with the door open, and in showing the hangar's excellent internal detail. Certainly highly usable as a parking hanger on your next visit. Next door is a slightly larger hangar but in the same design for "Seward Aircraft Storage" which is again nicely represented, with a large GA parking apron next to finish off the lineup of the airport. Not just with the actual buildings is all the detail very, if brilliantly done, but the ground (clutter) detail is simply realistically excellent as well and there is a lot of this detailing... and that is "Seward Airport". Seward City The city of Seward itself is modeled, but not to a perfect building and street to street perfect though, but still well recreated by generic design. The city is dominated by the harbour's obsolete conveyor-belt fed coal loading crane, they are keeping it in case they need it again... ... the Seward Boat Harbor is well represented as is the Seward Cruise Ship Terminal and wharf (a cruise ship would have been very nice here to fill it in?). To the rear are the city's facilities and a large animated wind turbine. As noted most of the building here are just generic, but they still all provide a nice backdrop and fill... but in areas it is just basic detailing. Recreational and baseball diamonds are all represented, and the whole city is covered with custom buildings... the only odd notes are that the graphic textures sometimes climb the mountains and cars move totally horizontally on their sides, it is sadly quite noticeable. Ground Textures As noted the ground textures are excellent, highly realistic and exactly what you would expect at this "Northern Exposure" sort of area. I can't fault them anywhere, but note that runway 16/34 has a same sort of nasty gradient slope (but lengthways this time) as runway 13/31. Grass and fauna is first rate, can't be faulted... lush, and you wish all of the X-Plane grasslands was like this. Another note are the background custom mountain textures... I'm not really sure about them? They are photographic, but they all seem a little artificial to me, or too light in colour, so I am not really taken with them, but these things are personal choices. There is the option provided to use the default X-Plane textures or your own custom ortho, details are provided. The Ortho4XP is default with the scenery. Lighting This Seward airport is not going to be like landing at Anchorage, there are no bright lights out here. Just a strip of street lights and the lights from the buildings is it. Runway 13/31 has lights, so a dusk landing is actually possible, and there is taxiway lighting to the apron. Again both highlights are the AA Seward Air Tours office and the very nice open door Hangar. Even the western style wheel lights are really well done done internally in the Air Tour office, the rest is all window and drop down lighting. ______________ Summary PAWD - Seward Airport, is directly on the other side of the same Kenai Peninsul in Alaska from Kenai, and a really great and companion scenery to the earlier NorthernSky PAEN - Kenai Municipal Airport. In scale this is a small frontier style Alaskan airport, but small means it is also highly detailed. Seward is just really a motley assortment of transportable offices and hangars, with a focus on local area glacier tourist air tours. So being small the scenery detail and minute is excellent, all buildings, hangars and ground clutter are all of a very high and rustic standard. Runway textures are also extremely good, but have nasty slope gradients, so be careful! 3d grass is also perfection and Seward City is also generically well represented with it's iconic conveyor-belt fed coal loading crane front and centre. Lighting is very basic, but still well done, the only comment is about the photo-graphic surrounding mountains, they are too your own taste or not, personally I would like better for the quality of the scenery itself, and a few of the graphic textures also climb these same mountain sides in not very realistic ways. So if you have NorthernSky's excellent Kenai then you must then have this great double act, and it comes at (for the quality here) also in a very good value price of only US$14.00. What more could you want! Recommended. __________________________________ Yes! the PAWD - Seward Airport, Alaska by NorthernSkyStudios is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : PAWD - Seward Airport, Alaska Price is US$14.00 Features The most detailed replica of airport buildings and vehicles High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Handplaced custom autogen buildings and forest Compatible with X-Plane 11 features Custom mesh for the airport area (Ortho4XP) All materials created for full PBR Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all airport buildings High-resolution building textures Custom orthophoto for the airport and surrounding areas World Traffic 3 compatible Compatible with with Ortho4XP and default mesh Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1 GB Current version : 1.0 (April 4th 2022) Installation and documents: PAWD-Seward is a twin download of the scenery and the separate (optional) Ortho4XP mesh NSS_PAWD_v1.0.zip (1.08GB) zOrtho4XP_+60-150.zip (2.44GB) That is then translated into a 6.83Gb install in your Custom Scenery folder. The above two install folders must be put in the order of the "zOrtho mesh" below the main "PAWD_Northern_Sky_Studio" scenery folder. The scenery is set to the zOrtho setting as default. You can also use the standard X-Plane textures, or use the provided patch for any custom ortho textures you wish to use Documents There is a Windows Word and pdf installation and requirements, and a description of the PAWD scenery. decription.txt PAWD-Installation.docx PAWD-Installation.pdf ________________________________________ Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 7th May 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved  Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.55 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - Cessna 208 Grand Caravan DGS series by Thranda Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - $US44.95
    1 point
  28. Behind the Screen : March 2022 Back in my Behind the Screen January 2022 edition, I talked about upgrading my main X-Plane workhorse computer ready for X-Plane12. Now I am on the other side of the upgrade and the process has been very interesting. Everyone at sometime or the other are faced with this nasty dilemma, unless you are still flying X-Plane9 on a Windows 7 OS (and you would be surprised how many out there still are) the problem is you are going to be looking secretly at your bank balance account. Mostly the upgrade situation is created at a new X-Plane version release or realistically about every four years, however most of my changes have been forced upon me, for the late X-plane 10 and forthcoming X-Plane 11, I literally melted my Mac's graphic card (yes X-Plane can melt or burn out graphic cards). But I needed to also move up to a Windows based system anyway, because I could then access more (mostly plugins) applications that are created only for WIN based machines and that aspect was required for reviews. In being a decades old Apple acolyte. It was a significant moment to move to the opposition's or over to the medieval Microsoft system... I loathe WIN 7, still do compared to the elegant Mac OS. But since the messiah of Steve Job's moved on and died. I feel that Apple, although still makes great products, has moved away from the Job's "insanely great" products to Mr Cook's inventory leading leadership in replicating more of the same and adding on even more money in asking for the same glossed up products. In saying that I think the new line of M series processors are very good, but paying Aus$3,000 just to get one in a computer is criminal. Windows does give you one major advantage, separate or separated components. Buy a Mac and it is a locked box, even upgrading the memory is a major exercise, and even mostly all the memory is soldered directly on to the motherboard, a new graphic card... forget about that. So Windows does give you immense flexibility in upgrading components, and that saves you money. With a Mac, upgrading means usually a completely new computer, meaning expensive (now far more expensive). I have even come to love the Windows interface, in many areas it is now even better than the Mac OS, far better since Microsoft got rid of Steve Ballmer, and became a far more progressive company. It was a big deal for me not only to move to the Win OS, but also buy a Windows Surface laptop (No touch screen on any Apple laptops is another deal breaker). As noted in BtheS in January. The flexibility of components in a Windows box means I started my "Tick, Tock" system. Buying both major components in both a chip/motherboard, then also a graphic card is seriously expensive. You just can't afford both at the same time. I did my Graphic Card (Tick) update about three years ago to a Asus 8Gb VRAM board, to be honest it still runs very well, so it is not really ready for a overhaul (maybe next year when the prices are even closer to back in being some sort of realistic)... but my chip and board (Tock) was now getting seriously outdated and it showed via my mid-20s framerates. In reality I had put myself into a corner with the chip a Intel i7-6700K CPU, good in it's time, but coupled to a very budget Gigabyte motherboard, you felt the slowness and it's lack of features and slow buses. I also came to really hate that board (Gigabyte Z170-HD3). The Gigabyte board was another issue in that to upgrade to a new processor, you also have to replace the motherboard. So with not only with the daily dynamic realism of fighting low framerates, Microsoft also deemed my chip now too old for Windows 11, then add in then the coming requirements of X-Plane12, in that coming change a lot of the processing is moved from the graphic card over to main processor. I was faced with the inevitable, a major surgery of my computer if I wanted to gain the best from the coming (exciting) X-Plane12. The process was interesting and hopefully very helpful to other users facing the same situation. My system is totally X-Plane focused, I don't do anything else on the computer (not even games) on the Windows (site image and editing work is still all done on a 12 year old Mac). There is an immense (insane) amount of choice for users in upgrading their main components, but basically it all comes down to easy choices. I think actually the pandemic actually did me a favour, by making me wait longer to do this upgrade, and in that aspect I found myself at the front of a release of a step generation of new powerful processors (Intel 12th Gen). I did consider at first a AMD processor, but I found too many performance issues and stutters. I am sure AMD devotees will put me right on that matter, but I just was not comfortable with changing to AMD, but the 12th Gen Intel chips are a serious step up in power anyway. As you know I earlier went mad and only wanted only a top of the line Intel 12900KF, but installing this nuclear power station created a lot of problems and at a far higher cost (availability is also problem here as well). I do really thank a lot of users for their advice in comments, and yes I actually in the end used their advice, but overall the item that changed my mind was the video by Michael Brown on XForcePC, if you watch this video it will explain the differences between all the 12th Gen processors, and why the i7 is the pick of the bunch price wise to performance for X-Plane users. The Intel 12900KF is nearly a grand in X-Plane money (all prices here are in Aussie $), but the blowout was the things required to go with the chip to actually run it. I settled for a Intel S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU (That can be overclocked to 5.0 GHz), it is the top processor of the i7 12th Gen range, it saved me $300 over the i9 12900K. The motherboard I selected was a ASUS S1700 ATX PRIME Z690-P WiFi DDR4. Debatable is the fact I didn't move up to DDR5 memory, but cost would have blown me out to an extra $500 for the DDR5 memory which not only currently expensive but also hard to get here. As a chip and board combination I think it is about perfect on features and price. I spent a bit more on the board for the features it provided, as the spectre of the budget Gigabyte board still looms badly over why I did that choice. In selecting any 12th Generation Intel chip, you hit what became the biggest debate of them all... cooling. Picking the chip/board was the really easy part, the hard part was picking a good cooler. I spent countless videos and going through tons of spec details for weeks in trying to choose anything to fix the cooling issue, it can get seriously expensive as well, even more than a motherboard. But the trick is to find the right cooler for your processor, in the end it came down to two, a Noctua or a Be Quiet! The Noctuas are expensive, but oddly it also looked horribly old fashioned (brown?) as well, but the cost as which was astronomical was the real deal breaker here, even if it was the best. My choice was the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, still not cheap, but very good for the 12th Gen chips. That cooler choice then created another problem, it is such a huge massive cooler, a real monster of a thing? that when if installed in my case it would stick out right of the door with the glass panel also needed to be off to fit it inside. So I would need a new case or another extra expense above my carefully considered budget to accommodate just that XXXL cooler. My choice again was another Be Quite!, a Pure Base 500DX case, WIDE but it also came with modern ports including USB-C inputs, and some nice RGB fancy lighting effects, the only thing it was short of was USB ports? X-Plane uses a LOT of USB ports, three for the Saitek joystick, throttle and rudder pedal combo, then your keyboard, mouse and external storage? with only five USBs on the Pure Base case were simply not going to cut it, so I installed a Orico 7 Port USB 3.0 PCIe card as you can do that with a Windows box, and that fixed another issue, I also upgraded my power supply from a 750w to a 1000w pack, not really needed but a nice to have (it is second hand). The rebuild took a day, but a second day was required to reinstall and rebuild my Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 2TB - M.2 NVMe storage with X-Plane and all the other software required, including now a OS upgrade to Windows 11. And that completes my Windows system rebuild. My original self created quote for the upgraded system was around Aus$1,700 or US$1,300 ($1,271) with the (Tock) rebuild and choosing the i7 and not the i9 it came in at Aus$1,350 or nearly US$1000, even including the case and USB port extras, it was all up not bad for a load of extra performance, and a nice fancy case. So what did I get for my money. I was always jealous of users having 70fr to 100fr X-Plane power, but realistically I never expected that sort of headroom, 50fr, with hopefully 60fr was to me a good upgrade result. Realistically I gained 20fr, what was 25fr is now 45fr, 30fr is now 50fr. But that is not the whole story power wise. xEnviro is simply a major excessive power sapping application, the more power you seem to give it, the more it takes, and I have a lot of the settings set currently to be very economical, but still it is guzzling up 20fr... yes "twenty bloody frames" and also gives me slight stutters. In light weather it is not too bad, but in cloudy conditions it just sucks down the frame rate like no tomorrow, it is not a very efficient application? Switch it off and I have 60fr-70fr, but then looking at a very bland panorama. But if you want to, you can currently average it out at 45fr, X-Plane is still very snappy and with headroom to easily absorb even the heaviest aircraft (Felis B747-200) and heavy scenery (Barcelona). But other benefits are also very welcome, 60% faster X-Plane loading times are a really big boon to me in that I do a lot of restarts per review, and the computer in dealing with mundane tasks is extremely quick and far easier to use. Far quicker also are buses than with the Gigabyte board means that now big files can be moved around far, far more quicker (rebuilding X-Plane with 1Tb of data to move only took a hour, not hours). The processor and board upgrade was done with X-Plane12 in mind, and the main reason to upgrade at all. If X-Plane12 will take say an extra 10fr (by my estimation), then using it's default environmental benefits, I can then remove xEnviro, I should see a balance of 55fr to 60fr, with that I would be extremely happy to have done the upgrade. Certainly a (Tick) upgrade of the Graphic Card would give me more framerate and power, but that was not a consideration of this upgrade. When after running several flights, and pushing the new system we found it was not even breaking into a sweat. CPU numbers were around only 40ºC, motherboard temps around 31ºC while still running a flight at full throttle. I'm not usually a big fan of overclocking, but in this case it may be actually warranted to make the chip work a bit harder, so we are going to do a slight overclock and hopefully gain around another 10% performance. limits are 5.4 MHz for some P-cores and 5.1 MHz for all active P-cores. I am certainly not ever going to do that, but I think I want it to get itself off it's 2.6 MHz backside and do some more work. Those numbers also vindicated our cooling choice, the system has five fans (three in the cabinet and two on the Dark Rock Pro), but the system does not get even close to hot (or even warm) at all, not even feel any heat if you put your hand over the rear fans. Overall it was in this aspect a sensational upgrade. Simulation is one of the absolute most ferocious users of processor power, it demands far more than most games on the market. To make gains within a budget is very hard, but still a necessity to keep up with the constant changing demands of even more realism and complex aircraft. This was my upgrade story, I hope it helps in your decisions and choices in getting the best out of not only the current X-Plane version (11) but to be also ready for the next step in X-Plane12. See you all next month. Stephen Dutton 1st April 2022 Copyright©2022 X-Plane Reviews
    1 point
  29. Igniters is really the wrong word to use here for the A & B channels are more of a electrical power supply. They have to be on the whole flight... we checked.
    1 point
  30. Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS Any new aircraft release from ToLiSS is always a reason to celebrate, in a short period of years the developer has entrenched themselves into delivering extremely high quality Airbus aircraft and their systems. First release was the Airbus A319-122, then the larger A321-123. Then both aircraft came with NEO (New Engine Option) upgrades. In the background however was a far more ambitious project and certainly the largest Airbus yet from ToLiSS, the... Airbus A340-600. The Airbus A340, along with it's Twin-Engined sister design A330 was built to compete with the Boeing 777 in the 1990s, in reality the A330 is only used as a long-medium range aircraft (13,450 km / 7,250 nmi), along with the Boeing 777 (13,649 km/ 7,370 nmi ), were as the four-engined A340 can do a extremely long-range (16,670 km / 9,000 nmi) in -500 guise, the -600 version produced here by ToLiSS swaps range for payload, but can still do a significant 14,450 km / 7,800 nmi range, so you would expect the aircraft to be extremely popular on long distance hub to hub routes. But fate and the growing environmental concerns have reduced the demand for aircraft in this A380, B747, A340 capacity... overall it was the Boeing 777, with it's capacity, better efficiency and the lesser ETOPS restrictions that has ultimately slowed the A340 orders and finally removed the aircraft from services... it survives servicing currently only on the ultra long routes around the world, as the airlines are slowly reducing it's serviceable numbers, the Covid19 interaction didn't help the cause either. Thankfully there are still 60 A340-600s in service with six airlines worldwide, but the numbers are dwindling away fast. The A340 was the right aircraft at the right time, but the world itself changed around it, to defeat it. The A340-600 was stretched by 20–22 frames over the -300 to 75 m (246 ft) in length, making -600 at the time the longest Airbus built until the A380 a decade later, Internal layouts are in a 3-4 class arrangement of 320–370 seats, and the aircraft is powered by Three-shaft High Bypass Turbofan Rolls-Royce Trent 556s engines at 55,780–61,902 lbf thrust output, it is a derated engine, because there are four of them, and for efficiency and the reduced fuel consumption. The -600 also has a larger wing area 439.4m², to accommodate larger fuel tanks. The release from ToLiSS of the A340-600, also breaks new ground for the developer. For the first time the complete aircraft has been 100% created in-house, were as in the past the modeling and other various elements were exported out to 3rd party commissions (most notable was Roman Berezin of FlightFactor fame), some commissions still however are in use as Ekran Design, SamWise and SpeedM have all still been assigned. But the now internal aspect of almost everything in the process was to create a far more tighter control over the quality and a faster output, plus the addition of more features and detail. External Details As noted this Airbus is now a complete in house design, and to be honest the earlier ToLiSS aircraft were good and well modeled, but not in that so called upper quality area. So there are two important things to keep in mind here when reviewing this aircraft... This is their first internal modeling project, so there will be the odd issue and quality quirk, and two with the quality now being in house, quirky areas will and can be updated very quickly and resolved... that said, the first impressions of this A346 are extremely good. At 75.36 m / 247.24 ft the -600 is a loooong barrel style aircraft, I found the -500 version quite Boeing 707 in proportion, but the -600 just doesn't have that profile, but to more the Douglas DC-8-63/73 style. Shape and barrel are actually very good, but you do feel and even in areas you can see the drawn on lines, but closer in the detail and the NML normal mapping, or Dot3 bump mapping is really very good if even discrete, and the excellent (all) door(s) and external cabin window detail can highlight this excellent mapping in the right lighting conditions. Close inspection shows Lo-Res cockpit metal window surrounds, they look okay, but are a bit washed out/buzzy close up... but the glass is excellent, right colour and the right depth of thickness, the side cabin windows are very good as well. We were not very impressed by the NEO upgrade engine modeling on the ToLiSS A321, but these Rolls-Royce Trent 556s are excellent, lovely shape and great internal inlet and external pod detail... a marked step forward. A bit more wear and burn realism on the outlet cowlings would be nice though. Wings are very nice, with still only a few noticeable lines, but overall very nicely done with perfect tank under wing access plates. Airflow markings on the flaps is nice, and note the realistic drooping of all the aerodynamic surfaces when not hydraulically powered up... ... the wing tip detail is excellent, with the winglet that are well proportioned. Tail and rear elevators are really good as well, nicely detailed and formed... the point rear APU outlet looks a little too modeled and added on, and may require later a texture with some exhaust gas markings for more realism... but otherwise the rear is very good. The main gear and the famous A340 three bogie arrangement is perfectly realised here, and really well done... ... the gear strut assembly and components are very realistic and detailed, they look and feel real, but don't feel over worn or used heavily year on year... but still it is all is very nicely done. Strut labels are good (but reversed?), and the wheel well detail looks still a bit of WIP, with no attachments or internal box textures (photos?) if you go looking. The central middle strut is mostly hidden on the upper parts, but the lower bogie assembly is excellent, and certainly around the hydraulic piston and support arms. The massive hollow gear pins are all correctly modeled, with the wheel hub and realistic rubber tyres are also very well done. The complex nose-gear also delivers brilliantly, again all struts the and linkages are perfect, and the in-built TAXI and RUNWAY TURNOFF lighting are all very realistic. So overall (discounting the inner wheel-wells) all the gear is all excellent and delivers the gear realism you need on an aircraft of this calibre. Cabin Stepping aboard the ToLiSS A340 and you are overwhelmed by the greyness, with a lot of beige thrown in... There are as noted four classes... First, Business, Premium Economy and a huge Economy class... In the forward cabin there are eight First Class seats (in a Dark Grey) in a cubicle arrangement... ... next cabin is a thirty seat Business or Executive Class layout that blends into another thirty seat Premium Economy layout, and all are covered in Grey and Teal (ToLiSS livery) materials... ... then on it goes, cabin after cabin, and the of rows and rows of grey and teal seating in economy. Seat quality and design is actually very good, with some really lovely seating materials and high quality stitching... but it will be interesting of what the painters can do to recreate some authentic A340 cabins. Galleys are nicely detailed as well, but also feel slightly bland with the samey colouring used here. Using metal surfaces (and Trolley Carts?) or creating the more realistic workplace surfaces would probably make these areas come more alive... it is early days. Unique on the A340 is the lower (economy) floor toilets... the access is via some stairs rear to the lower floor, and it is really well done (note the nice shiny metal rails!), and great for an in flight explore. The A340 is supposed to have two subterranean areas, with a forward lower floor crew rest area and toilets as well... but I could find a forward area. Two more cabin notes... One is that all the seats have a built in (forward view) screen (Larger in First and Biz) to mimic the unique tail camera on the A340, which is great for watching landings! But at night all the screens turn into a nasty green? Thankfully you can turn the screens off on the OHP, via the "Landscape Camera" switch. A great touch is that both the overhead "No Smoking" and "Seatbelt" signs actually work... and can be set individually... nice. The main front and rear cargo holds are also textured in, but not in a highly detailed design, but still another nice to have. Cockpit It is what is through the cockpit door that really counts... first thought is the overwhelming 90s feel, as the cockpit material is the dark blue and white stitched stripe in design, first impressions are very good to the very impressed and I will call the look overall very professional. Over a period of time you really come to like being in here, important for 12+ hour flights. The rear has one rear seat, and one unfolded jumpseat, it feels nice in the rear... left rear is a wardrobe (with hangers) boxes for manuals, extinguisher and other various items, the modeling is good, but not in that higher Hi-Def realism in that there is a mixture of both Hi and Lo modeling elements. Front Captain and First Officer seats are really well done, nice materials and come with a nice hard shiny shell back, but the armrests are not animated, but at least they are positioned in the stored position as to not block-out the pedestal panels. All the Instrument Panel, Pedestal and Overhead Panel (OHP) have this lovely (Airbus) bluey-grey sheen, and that shows off the very nice PBR (Physical Based Rendering) effects to their maximum, it looks and feels oh so very realistic. But far more to the FlightFactor A320 feel than the JARDesign feel. So it is really not noticeable at first, but the quality of the instrument panel texture and knobbly feel is absolutely first rate when the lighting is at it's best... you feeeel this aircraft in it's top draw quality. Overall highlight is certainly the throttle quadrant, with it's four knobby throttles (rear reverser levers) and companion fuel switches... look closely and there is some very nice scratch work for wear and tear aging on all the panels. But I am not crazy about the external wipers, they look quite clunky from the internal viewpoint, and even distracting from the pilot's seat, the real A340 wipers do have the large attachment clasp, but not the large thick body it is attached to. Power and Alignment Power up with both Battery (BAT 1/BAT 2) and I am also using EXT (External) ground power and you have two "EXT A and EXT B" inputs available on the Overhead Panel. On power up I was surprised that only the left PFD (Primary Flight Display, and top ECAM (EWD) screen tested up first (40 Secs). And not the usual all instruments "Self Test" mode, so I checked that out with ToLiSS and here is the reply... "The Captain PFD and EWD get powered as soon as the batteries are on, whereas all other displays need to wait until AC power is applied. So the Captain PFD and EWD finish their self test much earlier." Fair enough... and it is the same with the ADIRS navigation alignment. When the left MAP/NAV display is already set (MAP alignment is also nearly complete). The right MAP/NAV display however still has to wait until the alignment process has been completed. Now the reason is that the ADIRU on alignment is now also susceptible to the small pressure sensor differences between the units, and in to also the more random switching of the sources for the PFDs, in so creating the non-same time visual display differences... ... so I again enquired about that aspect of the odd screen start up alignment as well... another ToLiSS reply. "Each ADIRU aligns on its own. ND1 uses data from ADIRU1 and ND2 from ADIRU2. Each of these will transition to HDG displayed as soon as it's own ADIRU is ready. As you do not switch them all on at the same time, the situation can happen that one display is already valid and the other one is not." end of debate. Once powered and aligned, the instrument panel is all Airbus... in a six panel T panel display arrangement, in all cases Airbus panels are extremely similar, the only concessions are the engine layouts on the two central ECAM (Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor) displays, in this case the four engine arrangement. Notable is the blank lower DCDU - Data Communication Display Units, ToLiSS says they will come soon in an update. Both left and right PFD (Primary Flight Displays) are the standardised layout. Speed and altitude ribbons, V/S indicator, rate of turn high and rotating bearing lower and the centralised Artifical Horizon, the display is bright and clear and adjustable for brightness. There is a really nice rich tone to the PFD display of which I like... MAP/Navigation Display is standard fair as well, Compass Heading top, GS (Ground Speed), Adjustable range and VOR 1 and VOR 2 left and right lower. ECAM is two displays with the E/WD (ECAM Warning Display) top and the various SD (System Display) modes lower... Every ECAM profile is available...ENG, BLEED, PRESS, EL/AC, EL/DC, HYD, C/B (Circuit-Breakers), APU, COND, DOOR, WHEEL, F/CTL, FUEL, and STS. All modes are accessible via the ECAM Control Panel below the SD display. Everything feels exaggerated on the SD screens and that is because everything in the A340 is duplicated by four, and then there is the extensive fuel tank layouts and the four (nose, two main and one central) and undercarriage arrangements, comparing this SD display to the A330 or A320 ECAM arrangements, the SD feels far more crammed and more complex than on the other Airbuses except for the other Four-Engined A380. It is a marvel on how much has been now inserted with these system modes and their high complex detail in Simulation... ToLiSS was one of the first custom developers with the QPAC A320 that delivered these early Airbus system modes, and this is now a serious deep dive of system functionality, it is also all very authentic to a study grade Airbus with here there is an active 30 warnings and with over 200 caution messages built in to the system.... we have come a very long way in only half a decade. All the display panels can be popped out (touching glass).. and easily scaled (with your mouse-scroll) for screen space or home cockpit builders. Over the years there has been also the many various manipulators to try to recreate the Airbus push-pull knob system, some were more successful than others. Here ToLiSS has done another take on how to manipulate the Autopilot control knobs. The half-moon manipulators turns the knob (scroll), but to Push-Pull you press the mouse and create a fist, then drag the fist either upwards or downwards to PUSH (drag up), or PULL (drag down)... It take a little getting used to, as all the Push-Pull movements are quite if very small, and you are not sure if you have done the required action. After a while however it does easily become second nature. Multi-Function Control and Display Units The two Multi-Function Control and Display Units (MCDU) are excellent, and better still are both separate individual units for both the Captain and First Officer. The left MCDU is set for the left (Captain) MAP/NAV display and the right MCDU is for the right side (F-Officer). The left MAP/NAV shown here is set in ARC mode.. and right MAP/NAV shown here is set in PLAN mode. The pop-out plate facias however are a far more brighter bluish tone than the installed pedestal Blue-Gray units, and to a point they don't really match up together very well. You can type directly into either MCDU, by pressing the panel facia, but if you however press the glass area it simply and quickly disappear? and so it is very easy to point yourself into the wrong area and lose the unit... touching the MCDU glass on the pedestal units is the way to pop-out the units, all like the same with the PFD, NAV/MAP and ECAM Displays. Ease of use of inserting flightplans and the editing of the flightplan on the MCDU is simply excellent, it is obviously an all Airbus dialogue and layout, but it isn't hard at all to master. But be aware that you should understand the data you are inserting into the system get the correct flight profile out of the aircraft. Even small mistakes can do weird things to these very complicated machines, as we are at a study level here and the aircraft reacts only to the correctly inputted data in that aspect. Thankfully ToLiSS provides you with the most critical data required on the Menu. INIT pages 1 & 2 (INIT FUEL PREDICTION) can be inserted (arrowed below left) and the required data (ZFW/ZFWCG) and (BLOCK) data is important... ... this can relate to the separate "FUEL PRED" page, which is very good in it's in-flight fuel prediction detail. Notable is "SEC F-PLN" or secondary flightplan (above left) than can be copied (COPY ACTIVE) from the main flightplan and can then be changed and used to create a different departure or arrival route. SID/STAR and airways support also a fully custom and supporting a FMGS backbone of all A424 leg types (Arc, course or heading to intercept, Radius to Fix and Holdings). Also a note... on the TAKE OFF (Performance) (upper right arrowed) phase the FLEX TO TEMP input has to inserted as an "F" in front of the Flex Temperature to get accepted (i.e. F41). So very Flexible, detailed, the A340's MCDU, Flight Management Guidance Computer (FMGC) is excellent in the A340 and very authentic to look at and access. Pedestal The pedestal is perfect... Radios top (each side) of the fully formed four Fuel Switches (they feel gorgeous), with Radar left and ATC (Transponder) right... Notable is that you will notice that there is a basic skeleton installed for the ATC Comm page, another feature of the upgraded ATC, coming in X-Plane12. .... lower are is the Speed Brake left and Flap lever right (again both beautifully modeled). Set centre is the standard Airbus engine start (Ignition) switch and the backup (Multipurpose) MCDU. Noted here are ACMS, CMS, SAT and ATSU options, and ToLiSS notes these will later become active on all three MCDU units with the Controller–pilot data link communications (CPDLC) link as a high priority, and I like the idea of a printout option, that creates a TXT file that you can print out externally. Bottom left of the pedestal is the cockpit door lock, main PARK BRAKE and RUDDER TRIM knob. Overhead Panel (OHP) The OHP is noted as a “single slope”. with the "Forward zone" for the most frequently used functions, i.e. - System controls, that are arranged in three main rows : - center row for engine-related systems, arranged in a logical way. - lateral rows for other systems. The Aft zone (top area), is not really used in flight, and is mainly for being a small maintenance panel corresponding to some maintenance controls. Notable is the complex fuel tank arrangement of six main tanks (Two tanks each Wing, Centre Tanks and the tail Trim tank), plus each has a "Vent" tank open to the elements. Engines also have four separate electrical generators adding into the complexity. Yes study is required if you want to go deeper into these elements. TISCS Menu The menu system or "ToLiSS Interactive Simulation Control System" is a bit long winded but it is shortened as TISCS, but it is an important if essential part of the system, so we will need to go through the TISCS first. I do recommend in setting up a key command input to bring the TISCS menu up, as you will access the TISCS a lot (I use "S" and the same TISCS menu key works for all the ToLiSS aircraft, A340, A319 and A321). There are seven TISCS tabs available covering: SITUATIONS A/C CONFIG, LOADING PERFO, GROUND SERVICES, FAULTS SCENERIOS, SOUND/ADDONS, JOYSTICK ACTIONS and GENERAL SETTINGS. The default is the "Ground Services" panel Situations A/C Config The "Config page" is used to set up the aircraft with two sections, "LOAD/SAVE SITUATIONS" and "AIRCRAFT CONFIGURATION" Load/Save Situations is an absolute gem of a tool, basically it is "Save" tool, but it saves EVERYTHING including the important MCDU settings and your full route (yes even the SIDs and STARs), and better still it gives you a backup "Auto-Saving" feature in case X-Plane does a nasty CTD (Crash to Desktop) or a freeze on you, all the saved files are held in the X-Plane Plugin's Folder and not in the A340 Aircraft folder... It is years better than any other save tool in X-Plane, as it is simply golden to set up or to have your aircraft ready at a certain state of "ready to Flight" or in certain flight position or situation. So if you just want to come back and just fly from a certain (takeoff) point, then you can simply save the aircraft ready to start that way... it is just simply brilliant. The Auto-Saving function can be set at save intervals from 1min to 30min, but 5min is the best or turned off. The saved situations can be "Filtered" to find certain saved situations (image below right) Aircraft Configuration section is different to the A319/A321 TISCS layouts. Gone (for now) are the engine configurations, and replaced by; HAS BRAKE FAN (Yes/Auto/No), USE WEIGHT VARIANT (Auto/Regular/HGW - High Gross Weight) and the use of IMPERIAL UNITS (or KGS) Lower is a new TISCS option to adjust the aircraft's performance relative to it's age (NEW to OLD), on the AIRCRAFT AGE and ENGINE AGE sliders. Note: all the A/C Configurations page settings have to be saved before use. Loading Perfo This tab covers the AIRCRAFT LOADING, BLOCK FUEL, CG-GW and TO-PERFORMANCE AIRCRAFT LOADING: This setting zone sets up the aircraft's payload for; Passengers, Passenger Distribution, FWD Cargo (Lbs/Kgs), Aft Cargo (Lbs/Kgs) and then you can apply the load settings to the A340. BLOCK FUEL: allows you to set the BLOCK (to BLOCK) Fuel amount (Lbs/Kgs) with a "QUICK REFUEL/DEFUEL". CG-GW: the diagram shows you via a graph the CG Limits (Centre of Gravity) and current CG position in three colours: Black TO (Takeoff) CG Limits, Blue FT (Flight) CG Limits and Red LDG (Landing) CG Limits. TO-PERFORMANCE: This is a calculator tool to find the TOGA (TakeOff/Go-Around) performance numbers... you set the (S/F) Flap Configuration (1+F) and the calculator will give you the V1, VR and V2 ref speeds (For input in the MCDU (PERF) TAKE OFF page). Plus the CG/THS and Flex Temp (F)... ... to use the TO-PERFORMANCE calculator though you have to set the Departure Airport and Runway in the MCDU before the TO-PER calculator will work? Other MCDU input data notes are in the left side "AIRCRAFT LOADING" Section, this includes the ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight), and ZFWCG (Zero Fuel Weight Centre of Gravity), they are both inputted on the INIT B PAGE (The BLOCK FUEL is also inputted on the same INIT B page). Ground Services This tab covers the external factors on the aircraft in; QUICK SERVICES, PUSH-BACK, ANIMATED SERVICES and AIRCRAFT DOORS QUICK SERVICES: provides options for "Ground Power" (Two units in POWER A and POWER B as noted on the OHP) and "HIGH and LOW PRESSURE AIR" which is there to start the engines and provide ventilation/air-conditioning while on the ground. There are no external physical units, But there is a built in PUSHBACK feature... PUSHBACK: is quite basic in look and to use in AUTO (Set distance and Rotation) or MANUAL modes. However I always use the excellent BetterPushBack Truck as an alternative. The ToliSS A340 has also been configured correctly for the BetterPushBack use, so it works extremely well here. Note in watching the pushback operation details on the ECAM SD "WHEEL" page! ANIMATED SERVICES: panel is not currently operational at this time, so there are no chock's, flags or engine covers... as ToLiSS notes that flying performance and systems are more of a priority than any addon features. AIRCRAFT DOORS: have three selections with Auto (default) Close and Open. The Auto setting will open the doors when the park brake is set and the engines are off. But they do have a tendency to be a bit uncontrollable in opening the aircraft, and you then have to (constantly and annoyingly) reset all the doors back to the "AUTO" preference state, and as this is default auto setting it will always switch back again and have the front left and the two cargo doors open every time you load up the aircraft? The Door Auto setting is my only really pet peeve with ToLiSS aircraft and now with eleven doors and hatches... but it has gotten better in the save department if you do a "Save" on the Config page. Faults Scenerios The A340 like the A319/A321 has a great failure system, or FAULT SCENERIOS. These failures can be set up on the TISCS Panel. You can ENABLE the RANDOM FAULTS feature and set the FLIGHT TIME FACTOR of LESS or MORE Flights. You have a total random setting that covers a wide range of 140 system faults, or you can set your own failure with the options including: NOW, AT TIME(set time in Seconds from now), AT IAS (Speed), AT ALT (set altitude) or RANDOM, and you can set as many failures as you like. My selection here is ELEC (Electrical)/BATT 2/AT ALTITUDE (You can also set the altitude for the failure), and the fault worked as set, second failure was FLT (Flight) CTRL (Control)/R OUTBD AIL JAM/RANDOM/FLIGHT or Flight Control-Right Outboard Aileron Jam-set at Random in Flight. All Faults can be deleted or changed at will. Sound/Addons SOUND SETTING: panel covers the aural areas of; Engine Volume, System Volume, Cockpit sounds, Environmental sounds, Ground Contact, Aural Alerts and External Volume. Doppler sound effects and 3D Sound Fading which is an option to switch off the sounds from the PTU (Power Transfer Unit) and Flaps in the cockpit. ADDONS: Currently there are no "Addon" options at this point in time. Notable is that the JOYSTICK ACTIONS that was situated on this "Sound" tab on the A319/A321 has been moved to it's own tab (Below). JOYSTICK CONFIGURATION: selections options cover the "Primary Joystick" FOUND, and the PRIMARY STICK DEADBAND margin selection. The control of NWS (NoseWheel Steering) has been changed to select the "JOYSTICK ROLL in No/Auto/Yes options, Enable Second Joystick (For custom setups like home built panels or for training) as it supports the use of two sidesticks (pilot and co-pilot side) again the FOUND option and another DEADBAND slider is available for the SECOND JOYSTICK. Tiller Assignment. Pedal Brakes Assignment with brake strength, Smart Park Brake, Allow Brake on One Pedal are all for optional Rudder Pedal addons with built in braking actions. THROTTLE CONFIGURATION: This is a brand new option on ToLiSS aircraft, but some actions have been reassigned. One moved here is the F1/F2 Toggle reversers (I use a joystick trigger!) option, and SMART THR LVER IDLE LOCK and REV ON SAME AXIS are both new options... with CL DETENT LOCATION (Interesting?) and MCT DETENT LOCATION are both here in having adjustment Sliders for throttle addon systems. ACTIONS: include "ADIRU Quick Alignment", and "Jump to next WPT (Waypoint)". "Auto-Pause " has four settings: OFF, ON WARNINGS, ON WARN + CAUT (Caution) and ON WARN/CAUT/TOD (Top of Descent). At these points the Auto-Pause will automatically pause the (X-Plane) simulation, say as if a master caution or master warning goes off. Again you have to save the Settings on the menu for any of them to be effective. General Settings The General Settings tab has five sections in: PRODUCT INFO, VISUAL SETTINGS, STARTUP BEHAVIOUR, USER INTERFACE and MISCELLANEOUS. PRODUCT INFO: (Information) covers the current (ToLiSS) Version and build number and LICENSE ID, or Authorisation. VISUAL SETTINGS: include new options in; WING FLEX STRENGTH, WING FLEX FROM GEAR BUMPS (Landing) and (PFD, MAP/NAV & ECAM) SCREEN BACKGROUND GLOW sliders. Display (Instrument) reflections has been changed to just a REMOVE SCREEN REFLECTIONS (On/Off) selection. SKI/RAIN Windshield (Librain) effects can only be used currently in Open GL, but expect this item to change significantly with the release of X-Plane12 in that Librain/Rain/Snow features will then be the built in default effects in the new X-Plane12 version. "REFRESH PDF EVERY X CYCLES" This is an option for the weak graphic card users, in that instead of the heavy use every cycle to refresh the system displays, you can set the cycles to be redrawn either every 2nd or 4th cycle. STARTUP BEHAVIOUR : sets the aircraft to a certain startup situation (known as Cold or Hot), options include: OVHD XP START SETTING. COLD START TYPE in COLD+DARK, EXT POWER (connected) and the really all on with APU+ADIRU ON. DEFAULT TO COPILOT SEAT (On/Off). DEFAULT BARO in either HPA or InHG. Finally you can set your own default "Transition Altitude" via a slider. USER INTERFACE: are options on how you interact with the aircraft. Options include: USE MOUSE WHEEL GESTURES, SYNC BARO SETTINGS (separate or aligned Baro settings), POPOUT WINDOWS FOR POPUPS and you can save your set, or save your POPUP CONFIGURATION (Cockpit builders) on Quit. MISCELLANEOUS: ILS AUTO ALIGN is a feature in that if the custom scenery that rotates the runway; for in these cases when the ILS and the runway are not aligned anymore. The ToLiSS A340 plugin thereby contains a feature that detects if there is such custom scenery installed and then automatically realigns the ILS in the internal database to the new runway heading. XPDR COMPATIBILITY MODE, is the use of different transponder modes. CACHE ROUTES ONLY ON STARTUP; a setting that prevents interruption when you enter your FROM/TO in the MCDU. If you enable this option, the plugin will only check your fms files once on startup. and the advantage is that you do not have interruptions when entering your FROM/TO, the disadvantage is: if you created the fms file for your flight plan AFTER loading the aircraft it won't find it. ENABLE AVITAB TABLET, The AviTab tablet is installed on the lower left of the Pilot and usable if you have the AviTab plugin set in your plugin folder. For those that have an Navigraph account the use of Navigraph maps and tools are also available in the A340. You can hide or show the Tablet via this switch. Again remember you have to save the Preferences and Default values for them on the MISCELLANEOUS Page for them to be effective and in some instances a restart is required to activate a setting. ____________________ Flying the ToLiSS Airbus A340-600 First thing to get into your head is just how long the -600 aircraft is... don't think like A330/A350 or even a Boeing B787 pilot, but be in like a A380 or B748 sized mind. Code F gates are the safest (A380/B748), The A346 is actually Code E, but you will need the extra space... ... repositioned the A346 at Gatwick (EGKK) and finding a stand large enough to cater for my size was far harder than it looked, and I still felt my tail was hanging out. There are no ground vehicles or service elements (yet), and being in a beta version there is no GHD (Ground Handling Deluxe) vehicle .set yet either, but no doubt these aspects will come very quickly (there already is a .set for the JARDesign A340). Wind changed on me... so I used the "Second Flightplan" option to copy my installed route, make it active and change it for use with the reassigned Rwy 26L and SID WIZA4M to DVR (Dover). So easy to do. Yes Second Flightplans are not new to X-Plane, but here it is very easy to copy and quickly adjust the route, and that the MCDU does the job so very neatly as well is really impressive. Second (Better)Pushback of the day, and I can now start the engines, APU is running, so BLEED ON and ENGINE START to IGN (Ignition) Engines are started in sequence, preferably with engine No. 1 first, that is in order to pressurise the blue hydraulic system, that pressure also supplies the parking brake accumulator. APU bleed does however also allow you to start two engines simultaneously. The preferred order of engine start is 1, 2, 3 then 4... easy... but get the engine start sequence wrong, as I did intentionally (Starting No.4 first) and you get a load of electronic warnings (Hydraulics) and it is not at all easy to rectify. The engine bleed model is very good in considering the bleed mass flow for the engine start, in other words each engine start is not an exact replica of each other, but adjusted to each engine for realism. Engine sequence startup sounds are very nice, and now a far cry from the early ToLiSS days, all sound packages now are of high quality and come with specialised custom effects. All powered up, flaps set (1+F) and lighting on, it is time to go and the clock is now running. Notable is the set (check) the TO-Config button to display the right configuration for takeoff, very easy to forget, so I make it a takeoff mantra... Gatwick is busy, always busy... so you really feel the size of the -600 here, and of where you can or can not go. I take Taxiways AN and A, that gives me more open space to turn the A346 onto the runway RESA as the overrun at the start of RWY 26L is very large. Chrono (Clock) running and you push all the four petit throttle levers forward to the takeoff point. There is nothing like the push of a "Heavy" to get your adrenaline running, BIG and HEAVY are two words I love in aviation and the A340 fills that aspect perfectly... .... my TOW (Total all up Weight) is 269585 kg, of that my fuel load is 44121 kg, and that means I am heavy with passengers, but with a flying time of just over 4 hours (4h:08m) I am heavy on payload, but lighter (on fuel) than when flying usually a very long haul route that this A346 is quite capable of. So the speed gathers rather quickly down RWY 26L... ... Rotate is 173 +10 knts, and the lift and "Positive Climb" is clean... and your away! Tilting gear now hangs in space, outboard bogies cant backwards, and the centre bogie cants forwards... retracting the gear comes with some great sounds of mechanical and wind noise, not so much in the cockpit forward, but great in the cabin (Cabin sounds do nicely change frequencies as you move around the or go to the more front or rear of the aircraft). 90º south follows the departure track of WIZA4M, then another 90º to MAY (Mayfield 117.90) then to DVR... ... ToLiSS aircraft are amazing physically to fly (yes you can actually fly an Airbus manually). As the words "Smooth" and "Fluid" that comes easily to mind, and the aircraft will respond perfectly to your actions. So flying tight 90º turns are perfect and clean. ToLiSS has certainly set the benchmark on how these "heavy" aircraft respond and feel to your input actions. Heading towards the Channel, it is time to settle down after takeoff and fly the route, first is a change of speed to 305 kts, then a climb up to 35,000 ft, at 2200 fpm, with a reduction around 28,000ft to 1200 fpm... various weights (heavier or lighter) can obviously alter this procedure and the climb to altitude, but the A346 takes it all in it's stride. Tanking already begins... the complicated fuel system will transfer fuel as required, as the fuel system includes inflight CG control by pumping fuel to and from the tail tank. There is also here fuel jettison, manual and automatic transfers between the different tanks, and across the from the outer wing tanks to the inner tanks, all these procedures are fully automatic and every tanking action is displayed on the E/DW display. Long haulers love their toys... Flip out work tables (yeah!) and pull down front window blinds are a super nice to have now in a ToLiSS aircraft, the side window shades however don't work (yet). Greta Thunberg would stamp her little feet and wave her little finger in the air... the A340 is a serious climate killer, with four engines all pumping out that nasty oxide, "who cares", this is a great if brilliant aircraft to transport you (virtually) around the world. The Airbus A340-600 looks simply brilliant powering through the sky at altitude. Quickly we are already approaching Frankfurt, with EDDF now sliding below at 47m on the clock... .... this point in my mind brings up the debate? Over the last few years, regularly now, we have had the same repeat inquiry on the .Org Forums. "What is the best aircraft for long haul"? To be honest X-Plane didn't deliver really good Long Haul aircraft... that is not totally absolutely true, but the best ones in the FlightFactor's Boeing 777 and Peter's A380 are now very old, very dated. The FF A350 is not bad (after the last update), but the Magknight B787 Dreamliner also still falls far short of it's potential. The JARDesign twins A330/A340 are actually not bad and I like them a lot, if you like their old styling design, and finally the two 747s by SSG and Felis (B742) are quite complicated machines to fly. So there are really no clear winners here. The problem is highlighted even more in that most of the users in asking this "Long Haul Airliner" question are also very new to long haul flying... ToLiSS aircraft are interesting in this regard. They are certainly study depth, as the avionics, systems and Airbus laws are very and highly refined and ToLiSS is the X-Plane master Guru of Airbus behaviours and systems. That also makes it interesting? Because the systems in here are so highly refined and detailed, then this ToLiSS and the A346 is actually very easy to fly, even to a point being an automatic machine to Boeing's more physically manual aspect. I'm not saying you don't still need to understand the A340's systems and the flying behaviours, because you do... but the A340 is quite an easy aircraft to learn on and to fly (very) long distances, and certainly if you are new to Airbus philosophy. Basically ToLiSS is doing the heavy lifting for you here, so the A346 aircraft is currently the No.1 choice if you want to do "Long Haul" flying and are new to the genre... but don't just pop in and fly it around all the time just on automatic, learn the systems, learn the Airbus philosophy, as the ToLiSS A346 is light on the top, but very deep down below. You can jump from waypoint-to-waypoint through the cruise phase, and by-pass the boring bits... to me this is an anathema in Long haul flying, as it is about the distance covered in real time and the numbers in feedback the aircraft gives you... but the impatient out there will jump ahead to do long haul in a short haul time period, the ToLiSS A340 allows you to do this and very well in this aspect, but it goes very much against my long haul personal coda. The longer lighting as the day moved onwards (going faster as I am flying East) showed off the excellent detail and lovely textures on the instrument panel... the more time you spend in here, the more you really love this A340 aircraft. You cruise around Mach 0.82 (470 kn; 871 km/h) at 35,000ft-39.000ft, but I found Mach 0.83 to be easily achieved with no loss of extra fuel consumption. Lighting Another ToLiSS weakness on the A319/A321 was the internal lighting, before it was okayish. ToLiSS is now more in control on what features and areas than they were before... but still to a point I approached the A346 lighting with some trepidation... ... but I wasn't at all disappointed, if in the very opposite and being very excited of all the lighting possibilities in the A340. All the lighting knobs work as per Airbus layouts... including (now) all the under panel four lighting knobs. The two inner knobs cover the Autopilot panel top displays and lower text instruments... The two outer knobs we will talk about in a moment... Above on are the three spots for the (Centre) Pedestal, and the two outer Reading lights... Plus there is a MAP Switch (and even Console switches) left and right of each PFD that lights up both of your side panels. Roll out your work tables and the two outer under panel knobs adjust the lighting for each left and right tray for your convenience! Using the standard seven; FLOOD LT (MAIN and PED), INTEG LT, PFD, ND and the two ECAM (upper/lower) knobs you can successfully adjust to any sort of lighting conditions you want... including (above right) my perfect cockpit dark and warm lit instrument panel for takeoff or landing, we will see this again in action on landing. Over head cockpit lighting is the standard Airbus three way CTL (main cockpit lighting switch) and the three way set STORM, BRT (Bright) and DIM selection. So the cockpit lighting in the overhead and the instrument panel selections is pretty well perfect... The cabin is a surprise as well! In the day the cabin felt a bit grey and bland, but at night it is excellent. In the external dark the cabin comes well and truly alive, and a very nice place to be it is as well. With better lighting the cabin detail also comes out far better, including the window side panels and overhead bins. Most in here is lovely window and centre strip lighting, it is very well done. As it got darker we can now also look at some of the external lighting... ... overall the exterior lighting is very, very good. There is nice star effects on the brighter lighting, and the cabin windows at night are very nice and not with the usual over bright cruise liner look. There are four (two each side) wing lights and they light up the wing and engines very nicely externally and from the cabin (for those who love their wing lighting effects), and the strobe lighting can be a bit blobby but work well in context.. Navigation lights are all basically similar in detail but again very good. Not keeping an eye on your instruments? The flightplan will alert you to important points if you forget to do them... here it was a "Decelerate" alert in missing my TOD (Top of Descent) marker for Tel Aviv? I was bit a apprehensive of (yet again) having to learn yet another manipulator system, but the ToLiSS idea is actually very good, the trick is just to remember your PUSH (drag up), or PULL (drag down) positions, but was very quickly using it like a pro... "just a bit of practise". I like the option, that when you have taken off... the TISCS "Loading INFO" page will then show you your destinations METAR information, a great tip in getting your airports air pressure and wind direction/strength inserted ready for landing. Below 6000ft, Airbus allows you now to switch on the tail light which is an automatic system anyway, so you don't have to physically switch it on/off manually, and very good it is... ... now I set up the cockpit lighting for landing, with most of the overhead lighting off, and the instruments modes set, the visual feel is subtle in your face with that perfect view out, I find it perfect! External lighting for landing is also very good... Main landing lights and the twin taxi-lights give you a great lighting spread (and I do like the cloud reflections from the lighting, as they are excellent here). 163 knts at full flap on finals and she feels good, ToLiSS aircraft are exceptional handing aircraft for manual landings, but be aware of the length of your long -600 tail as so you don't hit the runway rear first! The Autoland system is perfect, personally you could land almost hands off (the rudder inputs are important though) and the system will automatically guide you in... over the threshold of LLBG Ben Gurion's 08L and your almost there... a nice touch is that the cabin(s) darken for Takeoff/Landing, and I really like that aspect, and the view out is excellent. After three or four landings now, I am finding I'm coming in slightly too nose (pitch) high, not that bad... but something I need to work on? On the ground and I activate the reverse thrust of those fantastic Rolls-Royce Trent 556s, the reverser sounds are really excellent, they roar and blast into slowing you down... another point is I feel the braking (Auto BRK) feels a bit weak, I set it for "2" but I still have to use the brakes a lot to reach my turnoff point (tricky here at the end of 08L into taxiway E, as it is so easy to miss and go down RWY 03/21). There are still two more nose lights available in "RWY TURN OFF & CAMERA"... with all forward lighting on, and it is excellent to find your way around the field on the ground, as the beams in spread is very good and the light goes in were you are wanting to look. Assigned Gate D7 beckons, you have to be aware of the steering, as since the QPAC days then the ToLiSS aircraft