Jump to content


X-Plane Fan
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Reputation Activity

  1. Like
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.09   
    NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.09

    Rotate have released v1.09 for the McDonnell Douglas MD-11. Earlier in a noted "beta" release for testing, this now the formal release with a load of great improvements added to this fabulous authentic Simulation.
    First it tests support for Apple Silicon architecture, which has become a more restless problem for developers than first realised, developers are getting on top of the problems, but Silicon is certainly not of the same configuration of the older Intel based processors.
    Another big new feature is the "pop up" instrument displays are now available. Rotate aircraft (MD88/MD11) have always had fixed displays/screens.

    Now you can "popout" the instrument panels including the MCDU units. It was always hard to programme with their position relative to the MAP display (PLAN MODE)...  You still have to use the MCDU for inputs, but it saves you from flicking back and forth between the MAP display and MCDU. Yes all the popouts are scalable in size and can be used in Home Cockpits in the usable Window configuration. 

    And YES I really "loved" the new feature. Lighting has also had a bit of a revision, fine tuning you can all it. The lighting was always really good in the MD11, but it feels now more natural, Softer? but it looks excellent.

    Windows are now more cleaner, clearer... I personally found them a bit "Too" clean, clear... I would like the option for dirty windows as my preference, or the dirtier the better.

    There has been attention on the landing roll. The MD11 has one of the fastest landing speeds of any aircraft, so this aspect point is important. Here several areas on the approach phase have been tuned. Including AP1/AP2 annunciator in (the) FMA during dual land mode has been fixed, FMS SPD deceleration select/preselect now have safeguards during approach, FMC now does calculated IAS values for deceleration configurations. The MS speed target was rising above the approach speed below 100AGL in some cases...   and finally the landing roll brakes have better deceleration. All are aimed to the approach and landing phase sequences.
    The v1.09 changelog is the usual lengthy output from Rotate, mostly nips and tucks to this of one of the very the highly specialised Simulations for the X-Plane 12 Simulator...
    - Added pop up windows for screen displays.
    - Implemented MIN PROF field in STAR page for RNAV procedures.
    - Implement FMS SPD deceleration select/preselect safeguards during approach.
    - Show FMC calculated IAS values for deceleration configurations.
    - Improved VNAV descent prediction during non-clean configuration.
    - Improved VOR interception accuracy.
    - Tuned landing roll brakes deceleration.
    - Added VERT ALERT annunciation in FMA when approacing T/D.
    - Filter airports displayed by runway length.
    - Reset CLB/ACCEL FMC fields.
    - HDG SEL (pull) must allow edition of the heading target until <3º difference.
    - Pushing FMS SPD (with no wheel change) resets to ECON.
    - Added warning and logging for route loading process.
    - Improved LED lighting of LCD displays.
    - Inhibit DEFINED WAYPOINTS deletion when used in the flight plan.
    - TCAS TA Only mode should be engaged automatically on ground and below 1000AGL.
    - Improved manipulation of ELF switch.
    - Reorder SID/STAR listing after applying filters.
    - Reset ADG with maintenance button.
    - Reduced dirt on windshield texture.
    - Fixed FMS SPD indication glitch during climb at cross-over altitude.
    - Fixed a problem with navaid selection with duplicate names.
    - Fixed AFS pitch limits during SOP.
    - Fixed a problem when transitioning from PROF to ALT HLD/SOP during descent.
    - Fixed navaid DESELECT for ILS navaids.
    - Fixed APPR/ILS guidance response when signal is not available.
    - Fixed HDG turn direction problem when crossing 0.
    - Fixed HDG bug reset after being hidden.
    - Fixed AP1/AP2 annunciator in FMA during dual land.
    - Fixed a bug in bank limit during non curved transition.
    - Fixed FMS SPD target rising above approach speed below 100AGL in some cases.
    - Fixed draw order of flight director bars in PFD.
    - Fixed Aircraft floating over the runway during autoland in XP11.
    - Fixed DME only stations not showing correct data in ND.
    - Fixed ATS too responsive during cruise.
    - Fixed compatibility problems with A Pilot's Life and other plugins.
    - Fixed N2 going over red arc during TO in high altitude airports.
    - Fixed bug in FPA discreet stepper when going down.
    - Fixed problem in "fix all failures" function.
    - Fixed a bug in landing gear disagree lights.
    - Fixed a typo in stby airspeed indication.
    - Fixed a bug in logic of CRZ and CLB thrust mode auto-selection.
    - Fixed A-ICE ALL ON shown along with all other A-ICE alerts.
    - Fixed reverser indication color during deployment on air.
    - Fixed engine fire handles annuciators.
    - Upgraded to newer Aerosoft database.



    The update v1.09 now also available to download from the Skunkcraft Updater, or use your X-Plane.OrgStore account and download the latest version in v1.09.

    Support Forum at X-Plane.org or http://support.rotatesim.com/

    Yes! the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.09 by Rotate is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Rotate MD-11
    Price is US$83.95
    The feature list is HUGE, so if you want to read it, then open the text file.
    Feature List.txtUnavailable
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows 8 or  Mac OSX 10.12 or newer (M Processors supported) , Linux Ubuntu 64b 18.04 or newer 8 GB+ VRAM recommended Current version: 1.09 (May 16th 2024)   You can download this updated v3.0 Updater free here; SkunkCrafts Updater Standalone client
    Full download v1.09 changelog is here;
    Changelog v1.09.rtf
    ________________   NEWS! by Stephen Dutton
    17th May 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.  
  2. Like
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in NEWS! - Laminar Research releases v12.1.0   
    NEWS! - Laminar Research releases v12.1.0

    It felt like a long time coming, and I haven't used the X-Plane Updater since December 2023? But here is the next update for the X-Plane 12 Simulator, it has a new name code as well in v12.1.0, with an extra digit added for incremental updates (that should mean more updates? but I'm not hopeful, given Laminar's past track record). This is a "beta" release, and that comes with ongoing development.
    The update list is extremely long (there are 354 bug fixes alone!), but the main feature areas are;
    Anti-aliasing (AA): Improved quality with better scene handling and coverage for alpha-tested surfaces (those with transparency).
    Depth of Field: More control with a setting for Real Camera Shake (RCAS) and a notification when textures are reduced due to memory limitations.
    Lighting: Bloom Effects and overall a more focused sources of lighting.
    Shadows: Smoother shadows overall, cloud shadows on water, and faster rendering times.
    Lightning: v12.1.0 features more realistic visuals with subtle color adjustments, distance variations, and bolt thickness changes via distance. Sound effects have also been improved for a more immersive experience.
    Particle Effects: The new system allows for particles on ground contact, easier editing with copy/paste, and datarefs for better control. Pre-built effects include jet engine afterburners (JATO), water bombing, ground scrapes, and rotor wash from helicopters. Aircraft configuration files (ACFs) let you disable these effects if desired.
    G1000 navigation system: including an accurate startup splash screen, a NAV page, a stormscope, datalink weather support, Terrain, a WPT page, an AUX page, and new datarefs. 
    Water: Fixed water clarity issues, with color and transparency depending on location. Cloud shadows are now visible on water surfaces. Compatibility note: existing X-Plane 11 water scenery packs may not work perfectly due to differences in water rendering and might require updates from the creators.
    Autogen: Enhanced visuals for high-rise buildings in European cities and improved parking aircraft placement at airports, prioritizing larger planes for bigger spots.
    Supported flap systems: allowing the accurate simulation of manual flap controls such as the one in the Piper PA-28, with precise and gradual adjustments, and the dial-a-flap system, which is present in some McDonnell-Douglas aircraft.
    Early v12.1.0 images are simply breathtaking...

    Notable is the adjustable sharpness of the instruments...  a huge difference in quality!

    You can find the full ongoing v12.1.0 beta details here: X-Plane 12.1.0 Release Notes
    To update v12.1.0, then just run the X-Plane Updater, it is a 5.3 GB update. Note that this a beta (beta tickbox is required to download the update). So expect more development as the v12.1.0 is consistently updated to the full v12.1.0 release.

    X-Plane 12 is purchased directly from Laminar Research for US$79.95 and the download file size is 86 GB
    X-Plane 12
    Price is US$79.95
    Minimum Requirements
    Disk space: 25 GB
    CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with 4 or more cores, or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7 or 9
    Memory: 8 GB RAM
    Video Card: a Vulkan 1.3-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 2 GB VRAM
    Note: Intel GPUs are not supported by X-Plane 12
    NEWS! by Stephen Dutton
    15th May 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved

  3. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Aircraft Review - Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter - DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design   
    Aircraft Review - Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter - DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design
    In June 2020. Thranda Design released the X-Plane 11 version of the utility Swiss aircraft, the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter. The aircraft was a more modern replacement for the long-established DHC-2 Beaver in the highly competitive utility role.
    The first PC-6 version came with a 254 kW (340 shp) pistoned-engine, it first flew in 1959. But it was when an early turboprop powerplant version that became available for the PC-6 with the Garrett Air Research TPE 331, that the aircraft really came then into it's own class. But the TPE 331 installation didn't last long either, as in May 1996 with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engine performed its own maiden flight and the PT6A really then cemented the Porter's reputation and as a direct replacement for the DHC-2, the Beaver's production ended just two years later.
    A rugged utility design the PC-6 is...

    The aircraft and the excellent modeling was extremely good in X-Plane 11, even if the XP11 world was flat compared to the realism of XP12. The conversion to XP12 keeps the dynamics of the earlier aircraft, but now places it in the highly developed world of X-Plane 12 ULTRA hi-res PBR realism, it stands out, brilliantly in the world it richly deserved.
    Design wise there is not much difference, but the XP12 version comes with the newly created PBR textures, are all 8K now as well (four times the resolution), so the detail is far more highlighted, even extremely so. Admire the perfected riveting, the panel construction, ribs...   all so very good.

    Rugged landing gear is intricately done, all the struts and built in dampers are beautifully realised, gotta love those tyres, also available are the bigger Tundra sizes as well. Daniel Klaue is one of the most prominent X-Plane developers so you are going to get nothing more that the very best, and certainly that is the case here.

    In the XP11 review I admired the wing profile, it's worth repeating again here...  as it is an almost perfect sculpture.

    A lot of the glass areas are just flat, but the main windscreen is a complex, convexed shape and has a large helicopter feel...  here again with all the glass it is highly realistic, and you can have the tint on or have clear glass.


    The cabin has a two-abreast layout in six seats, in the same check blue trim as XP11. Still very modern, and looks more towards the higher quality in XP12.
    Side doors can be left open in flight if required, but that would scare the bejesus out of anyone actually sitting in there, unless you were going for a parachute jump. Seat backs can be moved forward, and any, or all of the seats can be removed.

    The aluminium wall panels and riveting is still worth admiring, it looks and feels very realistic, note the parachute rail above.

    The PC-6's cockpit is very basic in a utilitarian way, with just metal frames with all the controls or instruments added or bolted on...   note the very rudimentary window air blower, it is basically a pipe with holes drilled in it?

    Still the quality of the instrument panel is absolutely first rate, it comes with lovely authentic instruments.
    The prominent forward metal frame bar also creates a shelf, and items like the quadrant and flap switch/rudder trim, clock (right) and Interrupt and the alternate trims are bolted directly on to the frame...   note the loop wire park brake, it is really basic.

    ...    three levers control "Prop", Throttle "Power" and Mixture "Idle" which has a safety gate. The lever to the panel push-pull rod is expertly crafted and has excellent realistic animation. T shaped throttle lever looks like a twin throttle handle but it isn't, but does carve out a working handle feel. Lower Flap selections are UP (0 degrees), TO (28 degrees) and LND (35 degrees).

    Rudder pedals are as basic as the ones you use with your simulator, it is just a simple moving bar and the extra pedals for brakes. The air and heat piping is visible and again something you would buy from your hardware store.
    Lovely simple control stick, with a PTT (Push to Talk) button front and has a trigger switch behind. Front seats are encased in a bucket style frame, and those hanging seat belts are still awfully well done.

    Instrument Panel
    The instrument panel in this PC-6 is unique as it can be configured to your own personal preferences in the menu, a unique feature by Thranda, but first we will look at the default layout of the panel.

    The Porter is a strictly one pilot operation, rarely does it have two aviators flying, but the stick and rudder controls are provided in the second seat. So all the instrumentation is to the left and set around the pilot's eyes. Clear and concise, most instruments are quite large and really well done here.
    Standard Six covers Airspeed Indicator (knots), Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator on the top row. Below is a ADF/VOR pointer, Heading Dial and Backup Attitude Indicator. Third row has a Vertical Speed Indicator, Turn Coordinator and Fuel Gauge (litres), far left lower is a Radar Altitude Dial.
    A note about the two Altitude Indicators in that the top row version only moves per hundred feet in a click, which I really like, unlike the backup standard clock dial version.

    Avionics package includes both the GNS 530 and the GNS 430 GPS units, a Garmin GTX327 transponder and bottom is a Garmin GNA 340 radio set.
    Centre panel left has four dials with two small top and two larger lower to cover the engine performance with (small) Prop RPM speed x 100 and gas generator RPM or Ng %, and below below (large) are the Torque psi and ITT or "Inter Turbine Temperature" gauge.

    Right side instrument panel has a few more engine readouts, these include the Indicators for the oil temperature, pressure, and fuel pressure which are combined into a single gauge...

    ...  below is a ammeter and an voltmeter, the PC-6 utilises a 28V electrical system. A single 24V battery is installed to provide power for engine starting and as a secondary source for DC power. A 300-amp starter generator provides normal power at 28 volts. Far right is a suction gauge (Vacuum). Centre right panel is a Hobbs counter and a lovely Whisky Compass centre screen.
    There are two wing tanks of 170 US gallons each (643.5 liters, 1147.5 lbs, or 520.5 kg) of total of usable Jet-A fuel. These wing tanks gravity-feed into a small 2.9 gallon collector tank located behind the cabin rear bulkhead, which feeds the engine. The twin fuel tank gauges are lower right, in compliment with the total fuel gauge at the lower SS position. Dials are really well done and look really nice. All lower circuit breakers are active. The electrical switchgear are set out in two rows, top external lighting and lower Master (Power), Generator and various other generic electrical power switches.

    There is a panel each end of the instrument panel. To the right is a De-Ice system with ampere gauge. Left is the optional external fuel tank panel...

    ...   each under-wing optional external tank holds an additional 49 gallons (185.5 liters, 330.7 lbs, or 150 kg) of usable fuel. The external tanks are really well done, but also makes the Pilatus look very military.
    Notable is the ADF panel sitting down between the two front seats, very hard to use in a simulator way, but again well done. At each of the end of the shelf, there are airvents which are fully animated for movement and flow.

    Menu - Tablet
    Biggest difference between the earlier PC-6 Porter in this updated XP12 version is a new menu...  well sort of? The side Arrow window tab is still there, and it still does the same pop-up menu, but it is now in the shape of a iPad - Tablet.

    There is a reason for this change...  the same iPad/Tablet can also be used as a Tablet in the aircraft. There is a brown circular patch on the window, if you press the hotspot, then the IPad/Tablet will appear, and the same tablet is also attached to the right hand side window. The iPad/Tablet can be adjusted, but not too far in movement as the window's glass gets in the way.

    The original seven menu selections have now been almost doubled to 13 selections, the side menu is also gone and they have all been replaced by square icons;
    Aircraft Options, Weight & Balance, INSTR Options, Panel Editor, Static Liveries, DYNAFEEL, Log Book, Checklist, Ground Handling, Dynamic Liveries, Flight Computer, Equipment and AviTab...   at the bottom is a "Brightness" slider. Missing from the earlier menu is the "Camera" selection?

    Notable is that the screen tablet is set in a "Window" frame, and these window popups can be moved around the screen and also scaled in size...  

    Aircraft Options
    This page menu is also changed from the earlier "General" selection, but the options and the layout stays the same, the layout is still as highly detailed and as very comprehensive as before in the General tab.

    Three selections cover group items, but any one item via "Click Spots" can be individually selected or hidden via the aircraft graphic.
    "ALL COVERS" will select engine inlet/outlet covers and pitot cover, "ALL TIE-DOWNS" for propeller and wing tie-downs and "ALL DOORS" for both cockpit doors, both cabin sliding doors and the twin engine cover doors, and open the forward panels and it exposes inside a lovely recreated PT6A-27 turboprop, flat-rated to 550 SHP (47.3 psi at 2000 RPM) as this is the Pilatus PC-6 B2/H4 version represented. The Engine can be set into two modes...  SIMPLIFIED or REALISTIC

    In Simplified mode the engine will automatically limit the engine to remain below the maximum torque of 47.3 psi. In Realistic mode it will be up to the pilot to avoid exceeding the engine limitations. The propeller gearbox or propeller shaft can break if the torque limit is exceeded by a certain margin, resulting in engine failure and smoke in the cabin (the smoke can be cleared by pulling the firewall air shutoff control closed). There is also a very nice GPU (Ground Power Unit) and an Electric Tug on the rear tailwheel, that is controlled via your joystick.
    There is the selection of a SIMPLIFIED or REALISTIC tailwheel actions. in Simplified mode the tailwheel is standard X-Plane rudder connected yaw in a range of +- 30 degrees, In Realistic mode it functions as in the real aircraft. There is a section in the manual relating to steering in the freewheeling mode.

    Other Aircraft Options menu selections cover; Window and Instrument Panel Reflections on/off, Startup Running on/off, External Fuel Tanks show/hide, Chocks and brakes on/off. All EXT - External Lights can be switched on and off as can ALL INT - Internal lights. The lights can also be accessed on the aircraft graphic including the extending and retraction of the end of the wing landing/taxi lights, this action can be a bit fiddly and slow but clever. The lights on the PC-6 are now all LED.
    Weight & Balance
    The PC-6 has the same intricate great "Weight and Balance" menu as earlier. In both Lbs and Kgs, which can be selected via the toggle...

    ...  Fuel can be added, and you can also use the twin-external tanks if they are then shown, and both are adjustable in the menu as well.

    Pilot, passengers and cargo can all be set for their individual weights (scroll), and the CofG (Centre of Gravity) parameters are all shown on a graph and with a marker on the aircraft of it's physical CofG, when done you can save the configuration and later reload it.
    As noted you can show/hide any of the rear seats, by pressing the X by the seat. Add in weights to the two front seats will also add in the Pilot (Dan) and his lovely female Co-Pilot. But adding in cargo (weight) will not put anything in there rear, unlike on some Thranda aircraft.

    INSTR Options
    A new menu item is your "Instrument Option" menu page.

    There are four options available; GPS #1 Popup (GNS 530), GPS #2 Popup (GNS 430), STEC 55 "Fifty Five X" Autopilot Popup, and there is also the option to change the Baro Units from mb to inhg.
    Panel Editor
    "Panel" is now "Panel Editor"...  part of the Thranda "Dynamic Generation Series", also re-authored for XP12. More about the DGS Series

    The Thranda PC-6 Porter can be highly customised in two areas to suit your taste. First in Dynamic Panel, as there is no default instrument setup, as you can customise the panel to suit your own flying preferences. In the new iPad/Tablet configuration the screen space is now far larger than the old "Panel" Menu. This is good, because as some of the small access zones before tended to overlap each over, so you always found yourself adjusting (scrolling) the wrong item.
    Top row of options are 4 different panel backgrounds, Default Grey, White, Black and Blue. (Note all options can be mouse scrolled)

    There are also Five Panel "Presets". For most selections you have to save (overwrite) the preset you want, then reload the aircraft to get the panel configuration you want?

    Alpine Avionics Evolution
    Part of the options available is the EFD 1000 which is a self-contained multifunction digital display that is divided into a Primary Flight Display (PFD) in the top half, and an Electric Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) in the lower half. As EDF 1000 systems go it is not highly featured system, with the GPSS, MAP,  360 and Menu functions all not simulated, but the display does pop-out...  It works of course with the S-TEC Autopilot.

    Laminar Research G1000
    Also part of the options is the duel screen Laminar Research G1000 GNS system, both the PFD and MFD/MAP pop-out for convenience.

    The RealityXP GNS 530W/430W or GTN 750/650 Touch 3D bezels are also available if you have these optional addons.

    The "Dynamic" in the panel is another featured DGS. Besides having different custom panel configurations, you can also customise the instrument panel by selecting "ENABLE 3D PANEL EDIT MODE". This will highlight the available instruments you can change in green.

    Selecting an instrument via the "INDIV INST" (Individual Instrument) and "ACTIVE INSTRUMENT" it will highlight the instrument you want to say, move to another place or adjust the position on the Instrument Panel...

    ...  or hide the instrument completely to make space, say you don't want the Autopilot? then simply delete it.

    You can also add in tools and instrument features, like the "Switch Panel", or the Aspen EFD 1000, or the Reality XP bezels.

    You have access to all of the 44 individual instruments and avionic units...  and basically you can also start with a completely blank panel and then create your own unique or personal instrument layout...  and can have up to, or can save 14 different panel layouts (presets)
    ...   so for absolute layout choice it is crazy!
    Static Liveries
    This was earlier called "Painted Liveries", now named just Static Liveries. There are only eight provided liveries, down from 16 earlier choices.
    But they are the best of the bunch. Thranda is the Default. The earlier twin white of the liveries that were noted as "DynamicLiveryResources" and "ZZTEMPLATELIVERY" liveries are now missing? as the DGS system has be refined, it is now more smoother and the long wait pause times have been reduced.

    There is a white "Blank_Livery" available (in the Documentation) as a template to add in more Static Liveries.

    "DynaFeel" is a system that dynamically adjusts the rate at which the controls deflect, in Pitch, Roll and Yaw. It is based on airspeed and how much the control's are deflected. This means the controls will feel light and responsive at low speeds and with some small deflections, but will get progressively heavier as the airspeed increases.
    This is one feature adopted from the JustFlight Menu. This Icon will just show the X-Plane Logbook window.

    New to the Thranda PC-6 is Checklist.

    A 36 page checklist is very comprehensive set in the iPad/Tablet. Navigation is via the lower left/right arrows, or you can scroll the pages via the centre box bottom. The Checklist will also pop-out into a scalable window, to make the list available anywhere in the cockpit....  You tick off the list one-by-one (green), but there is no default to clear the list in one click?

    Ground Handling
    This Ground Handling Icon is also new. This option just views the X-Plane default "Ground Handling" window. if you prefer that tool over the Thranda electric tug.

    Dynamic Liveries
    Earlier we saw the available "Static Liveries". Here you can actually design your own livery and save the livery.

    You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want and then adjust (scroll) the RGB colours for that area. Other options include changing the Registration of the aircraft and putting the "PC-6" logo on the tail. It looks hard but you can easily design a very nice livery in about twenty minutes...

    To help there is already 31 liveries already completed to choose from, or to adjust the finer details of any of the presets to your liking.

    ...  when done you can "Save" (Add) the livery and then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. When you apply the livery the screen will then freeze for a few minutes, and go a bit weird?  The results are however excellent.

    A note...  if the created livery does not appear correctly? Then go to the Static Liveries and select "Apply", then go back to the created Dynamic Livery and do it again, this time it should create the livery you wanted.
    A feature is the (Quick) selection of Dirt via percentage selections you can adjust the amount of Dirt, Scratches and Dirt Int on the aircraft (0%-255%) and apply it instantly. So you can have either a pristine or a very grubby aircraft with just a twirl of the numbers. Also changes can can be made to the Metal or Rough surfaces, this can be applied to any of the liveries. Note you can apply the same Dirt and Scratches onto any of the Static Liveries directly via that menu.

    As noted before. the DGS system is far smoother in this new layout, it is also far easier to use as well with the larger scalable panel.
    Flight Computer
    Another new feature from the JustFlight menu. This shows you your current aircraft data including; OAT, GS (Ground Speed), Endurance, Range, NMPG/SMPG, Altitude, TAS (speed), Fuel Flow, Fuel Used, Headwind (knts) and Crosswind (Knts). Both units in Metric or Imperial are also available.... and you can reset the fuel burn.

    Under the "Equipment" Icon you have several items as external options, these items were originally under the MISC tab

    There are Five Equipment options. Top is the Regular or Tundra (large) Tyre option.

    A set of Skis.

    Mud Flaps can be used with either the Regular or Tundra tyred settings.

    Forward passenger window can be either sizes in Small or Large.

    And the optional twin wing tanks.

    AviTab is a PDF viewer, Airport info, METAR info and ILS frequencies information tool, it also has a moving map that supports online maps and offline maps, Navigraph integration in that you can link your Navigraph account and see the charts right in the cockpit. In the PC-6 the Avitab is available in both the 3D tablet and a scalable pop-out window.

    The lighting on the PC-6 is very utilitarian both externally and internally. Note the images here are from the X-Plane v12.1.0 beta, which is a huge improvement over the earlier X-Plane 12 lighting. There are two underwing Landing/Taxi lights, Red beacons top and lower fuselage (selectable) or you can have bright white Strobes, and the three standard Navigation lights.

    Instrument Panel is lit by a simple red light on the roof. And there are two sidewall mounted cabin lights for the rear.

    Most Thranda X-Plane 12 releases now include both the wheeled version and also the Amphibian variant.

    There is no "Float" version here, only the Amphibian variant, but very good it is. The aircraft looks excellent in the air, but you have to be aware of the extra weight in takeoff and manoeuvring, the so called "pendulum" effect.
    Float design is the usual excellent Thranda thorough design and detailing, hull shape is excellent.

    Rudders are raised and lowered by a lever right forward side of the pilot's seat, or do as I do in using a keyboard command

    Excellent retractable gear is also very realistic, gear control is by the additional panel set on the beam in the centre panel.

    The performance on water is again absolutely first rate, water craft have come a long way in better realism since the introduction of X-Plane 12, here you are seeing the latest incarnation with the v12.1.0 water...  it's now just perfectly brilliant.

    The "Equipment" Menu is also different in the Amphibian version. There is all new menu order, from top; Water Rudder (retracted/extended). Ladder Left, Ladder Right, Windows (Small/Big), Wing Tanks (Disabled/Enabled) and Docking Hold.
    We will look at "Docking Hold" first. This is the same tool as earlier noted as the "Slew" feature.
    Docking Hold mode allows you to manually move the aircraft around in a disconnected X-Plane space. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the X-Plane settings, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired. This feature is however highly touchy and it is used mostly only really with the Amphibian/Floats option in docking the aircraft to say a pier or marina. But it works extremely well.

    The optional Left and Right ladders are connected to the wings.
    Both the Menu options of the same "Static LIveries, and "Dynamic Liveries" are also available for the Amphibian, with the floats being colour matched to the fuselage.

    Flying the XP12 PC-6 Porter
    First you have to understand the unique attraction to the PC-6 Porter. It is as they say a "Seat of the Pants" aircraft. True pilot's love the Porter because of the feel and reaction the aircraft has under their control. So if you need to get into an impossible remote landing strip then in most cases it will be with a Porter...  short, rough even steep gradients are all challenges that the PC-6 can take on with it's incredible STOL - Short Takeoff and Landing capabilities. But also remember that in front of you is a massive PT6A-27 turboprop, flat- rated to 550 shp, turning a large Hartzell 4-bladed constant speed propeller. It is like having a powerful V8 engine attached to a Go-Kart, and in your case a monster of an engine attached to the light frame that you are sitting in...  so the PC-6 is unique in the way you handle it, or fly it... overall you can see the immense attraction to pilots it has.
    So put on the power, and you get a serious "whoa!" in that PT6A-27 t will pull you left off the runway quick smart...  even if you are ready for the pull, so slow power on to start, then build up the speed.

    Rudder action is however very good (considering the petit size), so you can easily straighten up the line, only 30 knts and the tail is off the ground...  70 knts and your flying. Use only one stage of the flaps (28º) and your flying even earlier, as the STOL effect is very good. 

    The PC-6 has a rate of climb of 1,010 ft/min, or a 1,000fpm. But it can easily out-climb that rate at the limit, and still gain speed. Service ceiling is 8,197 m (26,893 ft).

    Thranda do note the engine limits for the PC-6, and to certainly the need not to exceed the parameters, as that would be easy with the power you have available, but now in the air and at your altitude it is time to trim the Porter. The electric trim is on the joystick and very easy to use (I have a keyboard trim setup), the trim display is left top on the instrument panel (arrowed).

    The PC-6 is super easy to trim via the vertical and a couple of flicks left of the rudder trim should have you easily flying hands off stick neutral, in fact you don't need an autopilot as the Porter will fly trimmed straight into the horizon very easily... one note though is there is no rudder trim, so the aircraft has a tendency to pull left under power, which you have to manually correct.

    I don't have any qualms at all in recommending the PC-6 as a "Pilot's" pilot aircraft, a bush plane that is easy to fly. For a novice flier, this is also a great starter aircraft, "Seat of the pants" sort of thing, you feel the Porter as much as fly it.
    Sounds have been re-authored in FMOD, capturing the subtleties of the PT6 engine and its very dynamic 4-bladed prop, with a lot more authentic wind noise and background sounds.
    Maximum speed is 232 km/h (144 mph, 125 kn) Vno, Vne: 151 knots or cruise at 213 km/h (132 mph, 115 kn). Range is 730 km (450 mi, 390 nmi) with maximum payload and Ferry range is around 1,612 km (1,002 mi, 870 nmi) with maximum internal and those twin-underwing fuel tanks.
    I checked out the banking again, and yes you still need that stick back-pressure to turn cleanly, but the stick feedback is very, very good, in fact the handling overall is quite superb. So the flight dynamics have also been extensively overhauled for both for the land and the amphibian version, and to closely match XP12's new dynamics.

    You can even adjust your altitude just by reducing the power, pull the throttle back and down you go, too steep then you can climb back just as quickly by pushing the throttle back up to counter the fall, and all without moving the stick...

    .. at the right height flare off the nose down attitude to rub off the speed...    when the speed is around 80 knts and a good 15 knts into the white zone you can drop the flaps to 28º, this effect will then drag the speed down to the approach speed of 60 knts, lovely is fact there is no flap lift, or unbalance as the aircraft slows down, you feel the lift but not that secondary sinking feeling with less power...  and it is all smooth as.

    I will note that with the no backlit instruments...  in some lighting conditions the X-Plane 12 heavy shadows can make them hard to read, it is a very dark panel.
    Drop the flap to the full 36º and your speed will rub off to 55 knts, you are still flying well at this speed, but any less power and then you will lose height. Stall speed is only slightly below your approach speed at 96 km/h (60 mph, 52 knts), and you have a red light on the panel if you exceed this low speed.

    The trick is to go as low to the low speed warning without lighting the red light, it is the perfect landing speed as you will also wind down slowly to the runway.

    Only a slight flare is needed, it's a taildragger after all....   and your down!

    Yes flying the Porter was easy, but let us not get too cocky here as this aircraft is not for absolute total amateurs, skills were needed to do the right procedure, right speed at the right place to get that extremely exciting landing, but if you are good at flying like this, then the Porter will reward you back a thousand times over...   as the PC-6 is brilliant to fly.

    One of the most versatile and even a workhorse background utility aircraft, the Swiss built Pilatus PC-6 Porter is on of the most coveted pilot dream machines for its basic but powerful design, extremely flexible for its amazing STOL capabilities this is one of the most rugged and the best get in and then out of remote areas fixed-wing aircraft available.
    Daniel Klaue needs no introduction if you have been in X-Plane for a period of time, certainly one of the most innovative and one of the most talented developers out there that is highly regarded within the Simulator.
    This is a Dan Klaue aircraft and so you expect tons of ideas and clever features and certainly the PC-6 Porter does not disappoint in that department. Modeling and detail is absolutely first rate, this is an excellent Porter aircraft with a lovely design and high quality. 
    For  X-Plane 12 the PC-6 has had a very comprehensive overhaul, including all new authored textures in 8k (four times the higher resolution than before) it shows of course, but without the framerate hit. The EFB: Electronic Flight Bag, or the Thranda Tablet is all new, with now 13 options (up from seven before), and all the pop-out windows are scalable. Flying Dynamics are also completely revised for XP12, as is the better LED lighting. Advanced FMOD (2)-based sound system has also been extensively overhauled for XP12, and all of course recorded from a real PC-6 and it's PT6 engine,
    The innovative menu system "Dynamic Generation Series", in you can create your own instrument panel layout or layouts as up to 14 different layouts of 44 instruments and avionics can be saved with 6 default layouts including a Aspen EFD 1000 with S-Tec 55x autopilot, and the panel is also RealityXP GNS 530W/430W or GTN 750/650 Touch with 3D bezels ready. A huge selection of 32 liveries is still complimented with a feature to create your own colour scheme and livery, then you can save them as well. The feature list is huge, and the excellent Amphibian variant is now part of the package. This aircraft is X-Plane 12 only, but the X-Plane 11 version is still available.
    Simply a pilot's aircraft to fly and love, the Pilatus PC-6 Porter is extremely responsive to your inputs, but that is why you love this aircraft, skills are required to get the very best out of the machine as it is a powerful taildragger, but even the most early cadet pilots will still love it.
    That huge feature list and a great value price, all now in X-Plane 12, so this is the perfect PC-6 Porter you always dreamed of, and what more can you ask for!
    Yes! the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter - DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : 
    Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter - DGS Series XP12
    Price is US$34.95
    Retail Price:$44.95- you Save:$10.00(22%)  
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB VRAM Recommended Download Size: 4.1 GB Current version  1.0 (May 4th 2024) _______________________________________________________________________
    Installation and documents: Download is 4.05Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder.
    Installation key is required on start up and is supplied with the purchased download file.
    Full installation is 4.94Gb
    Documents supplied are:
    Blank_Livery_For_Painting ChangeLog.txt Thranda PC6 Documentation v1_2.pdf Thranda PC6 Expansion Pack Manual.pdf Thranda PC6 Manual XP12.pdf Thranda PC6 Performance Charts MASTER XP12.pdf Thranda Pilatus PC6 Graphics Settings XP11.pdf Thranda Pilatus PC6 Graphics Settings XP12.pdf Thranda Pilatus PC6 Joystick Settings.pdf X-Plane G430 Manual.pdf X-Plane G530 Manual.pdf  
    A Blank Livery (PNG) of four files are provided for painting. Checklists, setting and loads of Performance graphs are provided in the various manuals
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.05r1 (note, during the review X-Plane v12.1.0 was released, and features in the update are noted and shown in this review)
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - PAWG - Wrangell Airport, Alaska by NorthernSkyStudio-PAWG (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$29.95
    Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 
    16th May 2024
    Copyright©2024 : X-Plane Reviews 
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)

  4. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Aircraft Review - AgustaWestland AW109SP by X-Trident   
    Aircraft Review - AgustaWestland AW109SP by X-Trident
    The helicopter category is one of the most competitive in features and innovation than any other area in the X-Plane 12 Simulator. To a point it is brutal, as developers are consistently upping the standards to higher and higher levels. Can you go even higher? even to the next level? We are all about to find out with the release of X-Trident's next project...   in the AgustaWestland AW 109SP.

    The AgustaWestland AW109, originally the Agusta A109, is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter designed and initially produced by the Italian rotorcraft manufacturer Agusta. It was the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced. Its production has been continued by Agusta's successor companies, presently Leonardo S.p.A. (formerly AgustaWestland, when merged into the new Finmeccanica since 2016).
    The AW109 is a lightweight twin-engine helicopter, known for its speed, elegant appearance and ease of control. Since entering commercial service, several revisions and iterations have been made, frequently introducing new avionics and engine technologies. AgustaWestland have promoted the type for its multi-role capabilities and serviceability. The type has proven highly popular with VIP/corporate customers (Think Succession TV Show); according to AgustaWestland, 50% of all of the AW109 Power variant had been sold in such configurations. Other roles for the AW109 have included emergency medical services, law enforcement, homeland security missions, harbor pilot shuttle duty, search and rescue, maritime operations, and military uses. In 2008, AgustaWestland claimed the AW109 to be "One of the industry’s best-selling helicopters".
    X-Trident have a lot of experience and also have a great "Track Record" in the X-Plane Simulator, certainly with quality helicopters, with the formidable Bell AB 412 and the CH-47D Chinook being the class of the field. X-Trident have also dabbled with the Tornado and Harrier AV-8B in the fixed wing military arena... but it is their rotary-aircraft that they are mostly aligned to.
    Like noted, quality is extremely high in helicopters. So any new debutant release has their work cut out to deliver something special. A first look at the AW 109 is really a special moment to savour, as the aircraft is totally eye-catchingly brilliant in detail. We have found the quality of dedicated X-Plane 12 aircraft to be already very good, even standout by a totally different level from even of the very best of older X-Plane aircraft, of say like Rotate's MD-80 and MD-11...  Good X-Plane 12 aircraft have that standout believability and crediblity of realism.
    Note this aircraft is the AW 109SP. The "SP" is different by being a single pilot IFR, TAWS and EVS, with new avionics in Genesys Aerospace systems and the front section of the fuselage made from carbon fiber to reduce weight. Also it has the "S" lengthened main rotor blades with a different tip design from the Power version.

    When you first look at a lot of Simulation detail, it usually looks very good. But go close up and REALLY up close then the detail usually falls away. But not here with the AW 109, as when you get in close, you are just blown away, by not only for the excellent detail but also for the sheer quality of the work, it is "Realism 101", right down to every small rivet and joint. Your paying for this quality of course, but it is nice to admire the realism of it all.

    It feels factory fresh, but still a working machine as well. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206C Turboshaft engine, 418 kW (560 hp) each, are both semi-visible, another X-Trident speciality (think CH-47D Chinook)...  and all vents and lockers are perfectly done, as are the massive exhaust cones at the top rear.

    Glass is perfection, lovely tinted, deep and have great surrounds... you won't get better detail than this.

    Helicopter detail is highlighted by one area, rotor movements, or the rotor system. X-Trident was one of the first to do detailed links and hub mechanics...  so I expected the same here, I was not disappointed.

    Rotor hub assembly detail is intricate and fully detailed right down to the last cotter nut and pin. The red centre rubber cone is also highly realistically animated (the same on the tail rotor assembly), so you can spend a lot of time in moving it, and personally working it all out to your heart's content.
    Roll (right-left)

    Pitch (forward-back)

    Collective (down-up)

    Tail rotor detail, shows a developer at the very top of their skills development, it is a piece of simulated art. YAW is animated (right-left rudder).

    Retractable landing gear is excellent. Not only the perfect tyre and rim detail, but the internal bay is fully detailed as well, rear gear is perfectly realised to near perfection...  it is about as good as you could do, and I love the scruffed tyres for ultimate realism.

    Both front pilot and co-pilot doors open, and both rear doors slide open, but you can't hide them. You manually internally have to open the doors, first by moving the latch, then physically moving them open or backwards. There is a menu option as well. Note the fold out step...

    There is only one cabin option...  VIP or "Succession" layout, all in white luxurious leather. Tricky is moving from the cockpit to the rear cabin, as the boundaries are very tight, there is a (very small) gap between the seats, so the best way is out one door and back in via the rear door?

    There is only the pilot provided and his arms are animated to the controls...  there are no provided Co-Pilot or Passengers in the package.

    The "AW109SP" menu is set in the X-Plane banner....  It has three options; Options, Windows and Operations...  there is the "Toggle FPS", but this is just the X-Plane framerate data for development.

    Options (Configurations); In the options tab there are six available choices; Controls, Options, Sounds, Anim, Maps and Obstacles.

    Controls; There are a lot of options to set the AW109 controls to your best feel and reaction, in fact a full page of adjustments.
    Main are the "Damper" adjustments for Pitch, Roll and Yaw rates, a Non-Centreing cyclic, Servo (Autopilot) motors (off-on-test), Rudder Ovrd (override), lower are sections for "Collective", Pedals, Power Levers, Auto Mute, Auto HDG (Heading) and VNAV. Right side adjustments cover the Collective, with; FT rel (release) mode, Threshold, Pedals FT rel mode and pedals threshold. Collective Input can be via the keyboard, throttle or auto-detect, you can also reverse the settings as well.

    Options; X-Trident give you a lot of setting options. Synt Vision Range  (0-2400 meters), Instruments (Standard or Performance), Popup (Standard, Performance or Show in VR), Scale, (0.5 - 1.5), APMS ALT knob mode (Select or Pre-Select), Collective Cue (Off, Normal or Bright)
    Tickbox options include; Auto load windows, Hide Frames Labels, Duplicate Popup, Hide 3d model...  the "Hover" can be set to; velocity, Position or Auto. You can Enable the PFD-HDG, have a Realistic "Direct To" and a Custom VRS-Vortex Ring State (X-Plane 12 only).
    You can enable the "Replay mode", Show VFR labels, Hide the main rotor, Force the collective for ALT, and Use the collective with ATT.
    Notable is that the above is for what you would call a professional grade setup, another layer of adjustment above the normal conditions.

    Sounds; Top is the "Master", then you have two separate selections for both the Interior and Exterior sounds...  Engines, Starter, Transmission, Main Rotor, Avionics, Cockpit and AWS - Advanced Warning System

    Anim (Animation). Left are the door sliders; Pilot, Co-Pilot, Rear Right & Rear Left. There is a glareshield animation which we will see soon. Bottom is a "Rotor Demo" that turns the rotors. MISC. are optional objects; Top are a pair of headsets in the cockpit, you can also touch them to hide.

    You can have the choice of putting the duel UHF aerials under the front fuselage, or a single one on the roof left.

    The sliding Step on the lower right fuselage can be seen or hidden if required. Detail of the step is excellent, only a step, but so well done.

    Last two options is an external Camera, and Anchor Plates on the fuselage.

    Crew...  is the Pilot setting, Off (hidden), On (visible), or Auto (pilot visible only from the external view).
    Remove Before Flight...  This set of options will put a load of tags, covers and plugs on the AW 109, including; Engine cover and plug (left and right), Pitot (left & right), cowlings (left & right) and set some nice wheel chocks. You can also "Ignore RBF" or hide them all.

    Maps; On this menu page you can insert custom area maps on the central "Mission Display" (MFD Multi-Functional Display).

    Obstacles; Selections of "Obstacle Groups" can be selected from this menu page. 

    Windows: You can load and save instrument windows, and there are ten pop-out options available, SBY (Standby), EDU (1&2), PFD (Pilot/Co-Pilot), ND (Navigation Display), RTU (Radio) and Mission Display. The popup Window panels will also be seen soon.

    Operations: under the "Operations" there is only one option...  to hide or show the rear wheel chocks.

    First view of the AW 109SP Instrument panel is a moment...  Your actually shocked on how really good in realism it all is, it just "Blows your mind".

    The trick is in the instrument displays, they are an unusual colour in a dark, dark purple. But they give the panel a feel and look of complete absolute realism....  "oh wow".
    As noted you can move the glareshield towards you, if you want more shade over the instruments.

    OHD (Overhead Panel) is excellent, and big for a small helicopter...  Lower panel is also really well done.

    Like noted earlier, the boundries are very tight in here, so moving around for a different angle to the instrument panel is quite difficult, hence the odd FOV angles to see the lovely white leather front seats. The VIP fitout and cockpit/cabin materials are all top notch, beautifully done and all very real. It is a seriously nice workplace. Look hard at the majestic fitted carpet... incredible, and the door frame moldings, perfection!

    Another "blows you mind" moment is when the instruments are powered up, it is not just blown this time, but your head explodes by the sheer detail before you, it is a kaleidoscope of colour...  "wow', simply, "wow, wow".

    I will first note the excellent power up on all the displays, as each can be activated/shutdown separately via the units power switches (arrowed below). The procedures are beautifully activated, the centre EDU has a brief colour on startup, then it will "Test" the system, finally the IDU will display the current system information. The lower radio panels also take time to focus and turn on...  it is all so very authentic, also highly realistic.

    All four IDU's popout in windows by pressing the centre of the IDU screen, also in the "Windows" menu as noted earlier. All the popout windows are scalable and can also be moved anywhere on the screen.

    Other popouts include the top Mission Display, SBY (Standby Instrument), EDU (Engine Display Unit) and RTU (Radio)

    Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS
    The highlight here is the Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System). It comprises of two IDUs (Integrated Display Unit)s. Top the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and lower the MFD (Multi-Functional Display) with MAP. This set up is per normal with most Aircraft Avionic suits, but here the IDU-450 takes on a different concept. Notable is that the AW-109 has it's own dedicated set of EFIS flight systems software 8.0E, created by Genesys just for this machine, and that software version is replicated here by X-Trident. Note the 8.0E Manual can be downloaded directly from Genesys Aerosystems, the link is set below.
    In the last two decades, cockpit resources have followed the commercial carriers’ trend toward “Automation Centered” systems. These sophisticated systems minimize pilot involvement and automate control of the aircraft and its systems to the greatest extent possible, “pilot-centered” system. While still highly automated, this type of system, common in other military tactical applications, presents the pilot with information necessary to make decisions about the flight and take the appropriate actions. A good example is the Highway-In-The-Sky (HITS), which allows for highly automated approaches, but its predictive nature provides the pilot unprecedented awareness of upcoming maneuvers.
    EFIS Flight Logic goal is IFR-VFR equivalence and the basic concept of the FlightLogic EFIS is proven HUD symbology overlaying a real-time 3-D virtual reality view of the outside world. The resulting “Synthetic Vision” provides the pilot in IMC with the same simple visual clues for navigation and aircraft control as those used in VFR conditions.

    UPPER IDU (PFD) has the standard flying instruments, which are set out before the "Synthetic Vision" background, including the Speed and ALT tapes, Pitch and Artificial Horizon, Rate of Turn, and top a compass, also V/S Vertical Speed indicator is visible when used.

    The IDU has a simplistic military feel to the layout and to use. Access and selection is via the eight buttons set around the instrument. Left; FPL (FlightPlan), ACTV (Active), INFO and OBS...  Right; MENU, BARO, NRST (Nearest). The MENU brings up the selections. (ZOOM, DCLTR, HRZ SYNC, DESIG and TIMER). BARO shows Barometer selections. NEAREST and OBS are also available.

    One tool is the "HORIZON SYNC", that locks the Artificial Horizon to the SYNTH VISION.

    IDU Menu selections are deep, and they need time to learn and navigate, there is a manual provided, it is also 500 pages long!
    LOWER IDU (MFD) The access buttons around the MFD are the same as the upper IDU, so do so the same menu actions... The MENU however has also a few different options; PAGE, FORMAT, DESIG and TIMER.

    Under PAGE you have eight screen options; MAP (Main), HSI (Horizontal Situation Display), NAV LOG, STRIKES, TRAFFIC, DATALINK, HOVER and WEATHER RADAR.

    HSI is your standard degree navigation tool, NAV LOG will show you your Flights, STRIKES (not yet implemented) will eventually show your current data, TRAFFIC will show the aircraft around you, DATALINK, the actual datalink page is not implemented here, but shows your control position (Cyclic & Rudder) and WEATHER RADAR shows the current weather. HOVER gives you a radar look of your hover position, movement and speed...  we will look at this more in the flight section.

    The IDUs are brilliantly brought to life here, highly realistic and have excellent working menus. There are also like mentioned, a "deep dive" of branches of detail to get the most out of the Genesys system, "Study"...  oh yes, certainly a study depth learning curve.
    Centre instrument panel is the EDU (Electronic Display Unit), there are two units in EDU 1 and EDU 2. The EDUs are installed on the instrument panel and are identified as Primary EDU (EDU1), on the pilot side, and Secondary EDU (EDU2), on the co-pilot side. During normal operation both displays are operative.

    Important is that if one EDU goes out of operation, then the basic requirements of that EDU unit are then transferred to the other EDU unit called REVERSIONARY Mode. That aspect is really well done here.

    EDU 1 details N1, - TOT - TRQ - NR - N2 &  Caution, Warning and Advisory messages
    EDU 2 details - Engine 1 oil pressure - Engine 1 oil temperature - Transmission oil pressure - Transmission oil temperature - OAT - Engine 2 oil pressure - Engine 2 oil temperature - Main hydraulic pressure 1 & 2 - Fuel Quantity - Fuel Pressure - Utility hydraulic pressure - DC current - DC voltage - AC voltage - Fuel flow - Normal utility hydraulic pressure - Emergency utility hydraulic pressure and Advisory and status messages.
    ON-OFF is the EDU power switch, BRT-DIM the unit's brightness. You can CLR mesages, and ENT (Enter) details, and the non label right lower scroll switch is for editing the Caution, Warning and Advisory messages (CWA), or new options to be scrolled.

    Caution/Warning menu is  – WARNING messages (red) – CAUTION messages (yellow) – ADVISORY messages (green) – STATUS messages (cyan).

    M - Menu. Lower on each EDU is a menu button "M". This gives you a lower menu that covers three main options...
    - START. This key selects the START mode on the EDU1.
    – CRUISE. This key selects the CRUISE mode on the EDU1.
    – MAIN. This key selects the MAIN mode on the EDU2.
    Secondary options include
    – AUX. This key selects the AUX (auxiliary) mode (i.e. hydraulic, electrical and fuel information) on the EDU2.
    – TEST. This key initiates the BIT of the IDS system. It can be operated only when the helicopter is on the ground (WOW active).
    – POWER CHECK. This key initiates the Power Assurance Check recording.
    The "TEST" mode is particualarly well done..

    RMS & APMS
    Centre lower panel are both the Radio Management System (RMS) panels, each side of the Automatic Pilot Management System (APMS)

    RTU 1 is right (Pilot) and COMM 2/NAV 2, RTU 2 is left (Co-Pilot) and is COMM 1/NAV 1. The central APMS is part of the AFCS - Automatic Flight Control System, and is basically a SAS or Stability Augmentation System. It stabilises a helicopter against pitch and roll disturbances due to wind gusts and turbulence. Modern systems include yaw as well and are sometimes called “three-axis systems.
    But the APMS is a far more advanced SAS in being say just an Automatic system, rather than a Manual action, Airbusie to Boeing if you sort of know what I mean. We will look at the APMS in more detail when flying the aircraft.
    Mission Display
    Located top central of the Instrument panel is the large "Mission Display". It has four options, PiP - Picture-in-Picture with a compass, "North UP" is also available.  There are two settings for the External "Video Camera", close (ENHC - Enhanced) and long. You can zoom the MAP all the way out and in, via the Pop-out panel, there will be the option to add in moving maps.

    OHP (Over Head Panel) covers ELEC, LIGHT (Internal and External), FIRE EXTINGUISHER, VENT, AVNX BAY and ECS - Environmental Control System. All Circuit Breakers (Fuses) work. Both Throttle handles control the power to each engine, in set positions, and there is a very nice Rotor Brake as well.

    Lower panel covers Landing Gear lever and indicator lights, Park Brake, Fuel Valves, Engine Modes, AHRS - Attitude and Heading Reference System, and AURAL WARNING options.
    Cyclic and Collective
    There is great detail and functionality on both the Cyclic and Collective controls, slightly less on the Co-Pilot's control set.

    Pilot's Collective has 2 engine GOV (governors), Engine Trim, Float, Main Trim, Search Light and Landing/Taxi lights, there is a Master rest on the handle. On the Cyclic is a ATT (Attitude Retention System), Wiper (right), NR, Main Trim and a AP DISC (Autopilot disconnect.
    Co-Pilot's Collective is slimmed down to Engine Trim, External Search Light and Main Trim, on the Cyclic is the ATT button, Wiper (left), Main Trim and AP DISC.
    AW109 Lighting
    In my version the lighting feels not finished? There are three adjustment knobs for the INST PNL (Instruments Panel), OVHD (OverHead Panel) and PED (Pedestal), mostly the highlighting. There is a Cabin light, but it doesn't work? and the two overhead spot lights are dead as well. There is a DAY and NIGHT lighting mode and the Passenger Warning Lights work in the rear.

    External Lighting has very nice Landing/Taxi lights in the stub wings, Navigation Lights (Stub and Tail), Two Beacons (top and bottom fuselage). Under nose left is also a retractable "Search" light.

    Flying the AW109
    The first question is...  is the AW109 easy to fly? This is still a helicopter with helicopter controls and feel, so you still fly it like a helicopter. But the trick here is that like an Airbus, it also has control laws and protections. These so called "helpers" do however smooth out your inputs and give you more control in the hover, modes you could call them. But it does make it a far more easier machine to master and control, so it is a very nice helicopter via it's controls, a sort of Limousine for the air, also noted as "Ferrari of the skies" because of it's speed.
    Now a note. You don't get an external power unit with the X-Trident AW109? So when you want to fly from a "Cold" set up, you have to move quickly once the battery switch is thrown, as your then on a "Battery Drain" timer, so you will need some engine/generator power as soon as possible. If you do go dead... the AgustaWestland is "dead, dead". And only a complete restart will get you back to life (a fault fix doesn't recharge the battery).
    In most cases I don't usually do flightplans in Helicopters, as most flights are usually only short distances, or a circuit back to the same airport. But the AW109 is a more of point-to-point aircraft, and the flightplan system is extremely good here, so we will take a look at it...
    Select FPL (Flightplan) and it will show two options... SELECT and CREATE-EDIT. SELECT is a selection of .fms flightplans from your X-Plane/Output/FMS plans folder. The navigation of the flightplan selections is very easy via the right knob, press the centre to activate!

    CREATE-EDIT allows you to create a flightplan from scratch, or edit a flightplan. In CREDIT-EDIT mode you now have a menu option, CREATE FLIGHT PLAN, ACTIVATE FLIGHT PLAN, EDIT FLIGHT PLAN, (Reverse Flight Plan), (Delete Flight Plan), CREATE USER WPT (Lat-Lon) also (Rad-Dst), EDIT USER WAYPOINT, DELETE USER WAYPOINT and (Raim Prediction).
    Selecting "CREATE FLIGHT PLAN" will bring up the Flightplan editor....    with two options "EXIT" or, and back when editing ICAO codes.

    Press ADD to construct a Flightplan. You are given options in NRST APT, NEAREST VOR, NRST NDB, NRST FIX and NRST USER (AIRWAYS is also available). Then your Airport ICAO code can be directly keyboard entered via the lower box, return works as well.

    If you press NRST APT (Airport), the IDU will bring up a scroll box of nearby ICAO airports to choose from, again navigation is by the right knob and press the centre to activate. ADD again and this time a FIX (Waypoint - OKTOV), then build up the flight plan with the required VOR - NDB - FIX - USR - AIRWAYS...    then another APT at the end. The system is very simple and extremely easy to use. When done you can SAVE the Flightplan to the the .fms folder.

    You can (edit) via INSERT or DELETE. Select the FIX or Navigation ICAO via the scroll knob, then select, or DELETE the FIX, INSERT is very much the same, by selecting the fix you want to add next, then fill in the ICAO.

    Flightplan competed it shows in the MAP and on the NAV LOG page. Other MAP options include; CENTER, N (North UP), PAN ON, SYMB DCLUTR and FNCT DCLTR (hint here, the TERRAIN selection is hidden in the FNCT menu).

    MAP RANGE (zoom) is also available, and DIRECT-TO is also great for changing the flightplan in flight. Just add in the FIX ICAO code lower right, or select from the NRST scroll list

    The flightplan mode is a very solid piece of work from X-Trident, and it is very well replicated from the original Genesys system.
    LFML (Marseille Provence) to LFMN (Nice Côte d'Azur Airport)
    Fuel selected on the lower console, and the Throttles are both set to Idle....  the engine starters (1&2) are on the top of the throttles, then you watch the EDUs come alive as the aircraft goes into a start mode. It is all Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC), so the start procedure for each PW-206C is fully automatic...  In come the start up procedure sounds, the start whine then the rotor clatter, but clatter is not the right word, an air-conditioned high whirr is closer in sounds to this modern machine.

    Both throttles go forward to "Flight" and the "NR" goes to maximum, wait a few moments to gain the extra thrust, then your ready to go... 
    Feel is everything with helicopters, hands and feet. With the AW109 the feel is slightly different? The software helps in the controls, helping you manoeuvre the machine, mostly by giving you more of a wider parameter to work with. The effect is opposite...   as the machine will take smaller inputs, as explained by the yaw in the tail-rotor...  so usually in most cases you have to use a LOT of right rudder to control the tail rotor thrust, but here you don't as the thrust is more centralised, so you don't have to push so hard, as the system compensates for you.

    So getting up into a hover, and keeping the AW109 straight is very easy. I can even store the gear in the hover, just by holding the machine static with absolutely no effort.

    Slightly nose down and bit of collective and your moving forwards, more nose and more collective, and your now gaining speed.

    So manual flying with the AW190SP is excellent, a pussy cat really. As you can easily get the altitude and adjust forward speed that you want.
    Here now I am doing 131 forward knots and 1600ft. There is a reason for this? I need a steady forward speed and height to activate the APMS or Autopilot.

    To activate you select the AP1 & AP2 buttons, Then press the ALT pyramid to hold the altitude, then HDG for the heading selection. All your APMS selections are shown in the lower box on the upper IDU. The APMS does require a bit of study, it is a complicated system to a point, to navigate, but once you have worked it out, it is brilliant to use.

    Some adjustments work on the fly, like speed (IAS) and V/S, but a few are select, then press the button on/off, in this case the HDG, select the new heading then click the HDG buton off then back on,  and only then will the AW109 go to the new heading.

    Now the Autopilot is flying the aircraft, and so I head back to the start point of my flightplan...  I spent time doing the flightplan, because it is an excellent requirement for one of the best features of the Genesys system...   I get past the first APT waypoint then line up the flightplan, then I press NAV to engage the AP to the flightplan.

    Once you activate the flightplan, you get a tunnel of wireframes on the upper IDU, that you will fly though, and they are your route guide right through the flightplan...   first you align with the wireframe tunnel, then it becomes the central part of the PFD.


    It is exceptionally well done, beyond brilliant, so very authentic.

    The machine is quite automatic, the APMS system will adjust for you in Speed (collective) and Altitude. Select a new altitude and then set the V/S for the speed of the climb (or descent), press ALTA to hold that altitude and the aircraft does the rest. Both IDU's are also independent of each other, so you can have different range (zoom) levels on either display

    At each waypoint you will get a symbol in the PFD IDU, a circle that gets larger as you approach the FIX...  as go though the circle you will then go to your new heading, again it is all fabulously well done. Selecting the NAV LOG will give you your full Flightplan with detailed Waypoints, Path, Distance, ETE, ETA and your Fuel useage.

    Other waypoints use other symbols, here an NDB waypoint shows the point of the position of the NDB on the forward IDU map.

    The AW108SP has a maximum speed of 311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn), a cruise speed around 285 km/h (177 mph, 154 kn) and a never exceed speed of 311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn). The ferry range is 932 km (579 mi, 503 nmi) and the the Rate of climb is 9.8 m/s (1,930 ft/min).

    Spectacular is the cockpit in flight, the rear cabin is not bad either for the Logan Family, as we cruise by the French Riviera heading towards Nice.

    Now at the final turn to Nice (LFMN), the final turn has a different fix symbol in a diamond on a point.

    I am now down to an 80 kts approach speed at 200 ft... time to activate another brilliant feature, "HOVER" mode. The button is however slightly hidden on the very right middle on the APMS panel.

    Once activated the HOVER display is automatically shown in the lower IDU. Activating and the AW109 with then slowly come to a stop at the designated height.

    On the display the Flight path marker is removed at low speed, <30 knots groundspeed, and is replaced with hover vector symbology. The hover vector indicates direction and groundspeed of drift at low groundspeeds (when lower than 30 IAS) consisting of Large Aircraft Symbol Reference Marks, an inner concentric ring indicating ten knots groundspeed, an outer concentric ring indicating 20 knotsgroundspeed, and a vertical and horizontal dashed line passing through the center extending to the outer ring.

    You manoeuvre in the HOVER by using your HAT (Joystick) set to Trim, Up, Down, Left, Right and a purple circle is your target point (arrowed) that moves at your commands, then the AW109 will follow in that direction... The pad's H will also show in the display to get the perfect alignment of the landing pad...   You then use the RHT knob on the APMS panel to descend (or gain height) with the Vertical Reference system VRS-3000, which is also available to make an absolute perfect landing!
    It is totally brilliant, simply easy to use and a dream for those that struggle to land Helicopters... the old way to manually fly to a hover then land, still works, but this is way more fun and engaging. By the way I landed with my feet off the rudder pedals!

    I can't even get close the detail and symbology available here with this Genesys System in a review and provided here by X-Trident, as noted the manual is 500 pages long, highly detailed, but well worth studying...   I will note it is certainly another major level in helicopter flight immersion, I was totally captivated by what you have here at your disposal...  unbelievably brilliant by X-Trident.
    There are four liveries (with more expected). Default is the Brazilian Havan PP-UUU, plus MountainFlyers, Silver OM-TVR and a clever Thunderbird 1.

    The AgustaWestland AW109, originally the Agusta A109, is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter designed and initially produced by the Italian rotorcraft manufacturer Agusta. It is known for its speed, elegant appearance and ease of control.
    X-Trident have a lot of experience and also a great "Track Record" in the X-Plane Simulator, certainly with quality helicopters, with the formidable Bell AB 412 and the CH-47D Chinook being the class of the field. X-Trident have also dabbled with the Tornado and Harrier AV-8B in the fixed wing military arena.
    X-Plane 12 is delivering exceptional quality aircraft for the X-Plane Simulator, and the AgustaWestland AW109SP is certainly well within that "Excellent" category. Quality and detail is off the chart, as we approach perfection in realism, as there is nothing to fault here, just to admire.
    The rotor head/tail rotor is fully animated and detailed, right down to the last nut and screw, perfect glass is highlighted by the top rated undercarrriage with it's realistic hubs and tyres. The P&W Canada PW206C Turboshaft engine is only partly viewable, but well done.
    The focus is on the avionics, or the installation of the Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS. This is a deeply conceived system with built in “Synthetic Vision”, there are two sets of IDUs for both PFD and MFD for both pilots. EDUs (Electronic Display Units) are also highly developed as is the Backup Instrument, and Radio RDU. Another highlight is the Automatic Pilot Management System (APMS) Or Autopilot with built in Auto hover. The APMS is a highlight of the machine, but in also adding in the flightplan capability and symbology, it is a major step forward in Helicopter flight immersion. Both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 separate versions are part of the package.
    Sounds are not a highlighted feature here, but they are FMOD 2 and quality based from a real AW109, I really liked them and the 3d dynamic sound was very good internally and externally.
    Features are however not overly represented for a helicopter, with the focus on the Pro market for menu settings and features. Only one cabin version, and even missing a Co-Pilot and Passengers, the usual wire cutters, mirrors, doors off, belly hook and even an external Ground Power Unit are all missing.
    The AugustaWestland AW109SP represents another level of immersion in the competitive X-Plane arena of vertical flight, big words can be said here, Amazing, Incredible, Category Dominating, Totally Immersive....  The AW109SP is all of these things and more, another step forward, another height achieved, overall it is a damn nice helicopter to use and fly, and a totally worthwhile investment.
    Yes! - the AgustaWestland AW109SP by X-Trident is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    AgustaWestland AW109SP
    Price is US$45.00
    Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 2 Separate files are provided at no additional cost Mac, Windows, Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 593 MB Current version: 1.0 (May 11th 2024)   Designed by X-Trident
    Support forum for the AgustaWestland AW109SP
    The AW109SP is a 432Mb download with an installation size of 934Mb, in your X-Plane Aircraft folder, this is an X-Plane 12 aircraft only.
    All updates are via the built-in Skunkcrafts Updater
    There is excellent full coverage documentation and installation details for the AW109SP, including;
    10_AW109SP for X-Plane - quick guide v1.0.pdf 20_AW109SP for X-Plane - AP and FMS  tutorial v1.0.pdf 30_AW109SP for X-Plane - CHECK LIST v1.0.pdf The Full "8_0E-IDU-450-Rotorcraft-Rev-A" Genesys System manual is available for download here;
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.05r1
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LFML- Airport Marseille XP by At (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99
    - LFMN - Nice Cote d'Azur v2 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$18.50
    Review by Stephen Dutton
    12th May 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved

  5. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: KDCA Washington Airport & City XP12 by Drzewiecki Design   
    Scenery Review: KDCA Washington Airport & City XP12 by Drzewiecki Design
    By DrishalMAC2
    Situated in the bustling heart of the nation's capital, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (KDCA) serves as an essential hub for both business and leisure travellers. Located along the scenic banks of the Potomac River, this airport offers a gateway to the iconic landmarks and political intrigue of Washington, D.C.

    KDCA boasts three runways (01/19, 15/33, and 22/4), providing a seamless travel experience with its modern facilities and efficient operations. Its advanced amenities ensure smooth departures and arrivals for various aircraft, from regional jets to larger commercial airliners. Besides its operational capabilities, KDCA also holds historical significance, reflecting the rich heritage of American aviation. Named in honour of Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, the airport serves as a tribute to his legacy and ongoing impact on the country.

    Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., KDCA provides convenient access to the city’s diverse attractions, including the significant monuments of the National Mall and the legislative activity at Capitol Hill. Whether visitors are exploring political landmarks or engaging with local culture, KDCA serves as an efficient and welcoming gateway, reflecting the standards of excellence and innovation characteristic of American aviation.
    This is Drzewiecki Designs' first XP12 scenery, which enhances parts of the city and upgrades some nearby buildings with helipads, making them “landable”. This feature is especially appealing for X-Plane users who enjoy flying rotary-wing aircraft.

    Installation Process
    Once you've downloaded the ZIP file, it's 1.5 GB in size; when extracted, it expands to 3.4 GB. This size is quite reasonable given the extensive content included in this scenery package. The installation process itself is straightforward: upon opening the extracted folder, you'll find three additional folders. Simply drag and drop the "DD Washington City XP12" and "DD KDCA Washington XP12" folders directly into your X-Plane 12 custom scenery folder.

    The download includes four documents. Three of these are installation instructions available in Russian, Polish, and English, and are clearly written and simplify the installation process. The fourth document is a "manual" that provides an overview of the airport, condensed installation instructions, links to relevant charts, a list of scenery features, links to support pages, credits, and a license agreement.

    Satellite Imagery
    The satellite imagery directly surrounding the airport is of decent quality, though there are better examples available elsewhere. The package also includes ortho satellite imagery for the entire surrounding area; however, this is of noticeably lower quality. While it improves upon the default textures by X-Plane (what wouldn’t), it would be beneficial to have the option to remove this layer and use our own, self-generated Ortho4XP tiles instead. The lower zoom level of the satellite imagery particularly affects the depiction of the Potomac riverbanks, which appear quite harsh and do not look as impressive, especially when following the DCA river visual approach. In future updates, an option to replace this with self-generated ortho tiles would be highly welcomed.

    Ground Textures
    The runway textures in this scenery are reasonable, enhanced by additional tire marks to convey a sense of daily use. However, there is a notable issue with texture uniformity across all three runways. For instance, the real runway 15/33, features a mixture of different coloured surfaces, which has not been replicated here. Introducing more distinctive runway textures that reflect these real-life variations would significantly enhance the scenery's authenticity. Additionally, the edges of the runway textures appear quite harsh, so incorporating some kind of transitional texture could greatly improve the overall appearance and integration with the surrounding environment.

    Similarly, the taxiway textures, while visually appealing, suffer from repetitiveness, with the same texture used across approximately 90% of the airport. This does not accurately reflect the actual variety seen in aerial images, such as those on Google Maps. 

    Despite this, the added tire marks and wear and tear effects on these textures do lend a highly authentic look.

    Signage and Navigation Aids

    The airport signage in this scenery has been handled quite well, with all the necessary runway and taxiway signs positioned accurately. The signs are sharp and easily legible, which enhances navigational clarity for simmers. Additionally, the Washington (Ident: DCA) VORDME has been included and correctly placed, which is particularly noteworthy and adds a realistic touch to the scenery.

    GA Terminal and Hangars
    The GA terminal is modelled to a high standard and seamlessly integrates with the main passenger terminal. The GA hangars are also well modelled, with a few having open doors, revealing aircraft inside, and include detailed interiors, including general clutter like ladders, cones, and boxes, adding to the realism. Additionally, banners inside the hangars indicate their specific functions, such as “American Airlines DCA Maintenance” and “Signature Flight Support.”

    Outside the hangars, there are two corporate jets parked, one of which has its main door open, showing people engaged in conversation. This area also includes the U.S. Coast Guard ramp, where two Coast Guard helicopters are stationed at their designated spots.

    Terminal 1
    Terminal 1 has been modelled to a high standard, effectively replicating the real structure. However, the textures sometimes appear flat and could benefit from more variation to enhance realism. In contrast, the ground texturing around concourse A is notably well-executed, featuring oil spills and signs of wear and tear that add authenticity to the environment. The various concrete and asphalt textures around this area have been accurately reproduced, confirmed through comparisons with Google Maps images of the actual airport.

    Much like the exterior, the interior of Terminal 1 is also modelled to a high standard, including detailed elements such as airline signs at each gate, reflecting real-life arrangements. Additionally, numerous 3D figures are positioned throughout the terminal, creating a bustling atmosphere that enhances the view from the cockpit of aircraft at the gates.

    Terminal 2
    Special attention has been given to Terminal 2, making it instantly recognisable. The exterior is modelled to a higher standard than Terminal 1, with improved texture quality that enhances its appearance. 

    Inside, Terminal 2 excels at capturing the distinctive atmosphere of DCA with its beautifully recreated roof and glossy floors that contribute to a polished look (pun intended). Each airline is provided with a realistically designed check-in desk area, enhancing the authenticity of the terminal. Although the various shops are represented only as 2D images, this decision is practical, considering that simmers typically spend limited time inside scenery terminals. 

    The concourses B, C, D, and E have also been replicated to a high standard, featuring beautiful ground textures that add to the overall aesthetic quality.

    Ground Clutter and 3D People
    The ground clutter around the airport is varied effectively across different stands, contributing to a dynamic and realistic environment that avoids a repetitive "copy and paste" appearance, which is sometimes visible in other payware sceneries. Some of this clutter is airline-specific, featuring items like U.S Airways coaches and Delta baggage carts, although the presence of U.S Airways equipment may not be entirely accurate given the fact that the airline has ceased operations. 

    Whilst the terminal interiors are nicely populated with numerous 3D people, adding to the bustling atmosphere, the ramp areas show a noticeable lack of ground personnel. This absence detracts from the realism on the airside, where the presence of staff is critical for an authentic airport experience.

    Night Lighting
    Night lighting is executed exceptionally well, featuring bright white lights around the ramp areas that enhance visibility and ambiance. The taxiway and runway lighting also receive high marks for their clarity and precision, with special attention given to the approach lighting. This is especially notable for the RNAV approach into runway 19, which follows the Potomac River. The approach lights mounted on various bridges along the river are synchronized to flash together, providing a striking visual reference for pilots. Overall, the night lighting is impressive, incorporating several thoughtful details that greatly benefit the night-time flying experience.

    At night, due to the way the lighting has been applied, the building interiors really come alive. During the day, the lighting comes across as slightly dull, but at night, it is transformed, giving the buildings a vibrant, welcoming glow. The contrast between day and night is quite remarkable.

    The Capital 
    In addition to the airport, the package extensively covers many of Washington D.C.'s landmarks and a significant portion of the inner city. To the west of the airport, areas known as "Crystal City" and "Pentagon City" are modelled to a high standard, featuring custom buildings that are accurately placed, surpassing the autogen quality provided by simHeaven’s X-World America. 

    The downtown D.C. area, including iconic landmarks such as The White House, Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, is also included and modelled to the same standards. 

    In total, the scenery features over a thousand landmark buildings in the vicinity of the airport, each contributing to the authenticity of the package. If you've visited Washington D.C., you’ll certainly enjoy exploring the area; just remember to bring a guide!
    Performance Impact
    I'm pleased to report that the scenery is very well optimised, with no noticeable loss in performance on my system (specs below). This is particularly surprising given the extensive detail included in the package and the generally high demands of the Washington D.C. area. 

    Having explored the enhancements to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport by Drzewiecki Designs, it's clear that the improvements to both the airport and the surrounding Washington D.C. area is impressive. The package excels with its detailed rendering of terminals, hangars, and particularly the night lighting along the Potomac River. The accurate depiction of landmarks and key areas such as Crystal City and Downtown DC significantly enriches the overall experience. Although there is room for improvement in texture quality, particularly the supplied orthos, and a more 'populated' ground environment outside of the terminals, these issues do not significantly detract from the overall high quality of the scenery.

    In summary, with its thorough execution and extensive features, this scenery provides substantial value, enhancing the X-Plane 12 flying experience in the nation’s capital.

    KDCA Washington Airport & City XP12 by Drzewiecki Design is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    KDCA Washington Airport & City XP12
    Priced at $30.00
    A high-quality model of KDCA Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, featuring the up-to-date version with extensive details throughout the whole airport FPS-friendly design, with epic night textures, dynamic lighting and PBR materials Performance-friendly interior modeling at terminal buildings, control towers, and some hangars, static aircraft, advanced night lighting (incl. River Visual and dual PAPI), animated trains Animated jetways, VGDS, marshallers (SAM plugin) Washington D.C. city scenery included, with over a thousand landmark buildings surrounding the airport, ortho coverage and some lite airports Requirements
    X-Plane 12
    Windows, Mac, Linux
    8 GB+ VRAM highly Recommended
    Download size: 1.5 GB
    Current version: 1.1 (March 22 2024)
    Review System Specifications
    Windows 10, Intel i5-12400F, 32GB RAM, RTX 3070Ti 
    Scenery Review by DrishalMAC2
    10th May 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).

  6. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Behind the Screen : April 2024   
    Behind the Screen : April 2024
    By of Easters past... it was a very quiet month this April 2024. X-Plane again played the game of each other waiting for the other. The worst was the extended X-Plane 12 development period, until the beta release in September 2022. Then things moved forward, if in only dribs and drabs. In fact X-Plane 12 wasn't actually of what you would call completely "usable" until v12.0.8 (rc-3).
    Here we are again... in waiting. This time it is the newly numbered or categorised v12.1.0. This version was publicly given a performance at the FS Weekend in Lelystad, the Netherlands, then a week ago another windowshop was done at the "Fun and Sun Aerospace Expo" in Florida. All very nice. Of course the current simulator is usable, you can still fly your beloved dream machine anytime you want to, so what is the problem you ask?
    The problem is that this latest v12.1.0 version is the most important since the release of X-Plane 12. In some ways more important in that it will finally bring all the threads together, and FINALLY fix problems that have gone on too long. Remember X-Plane 12 was 16 months late, v12.1.0 will be to date over five months late...   and yes I am going on about this again.
    Easter is the big release month of the year. You would think Christmas was the biggie, but it's not from a sales perspective, not counting Black Friday (does X-Plane count as cyber Monday?). But the problem for Christmas is that if you have some saved cash to spend in this holiday period, it is not going selfishly to you now is it? You may get away with a great sale purchase on Black Friday, but honestly that spare cash is going to have to go towards lavishing presents on your loved ones and covering the costs of a thanksgiving turkey, or Christmas dinner. Worse is that any available free time is also in being wanted to be with your loved ones, extended family loved ones or stuck at the airport in waiting for the snow to clear.
    Christmas is like that, as you simply have no time and absolutely no money for yourself.
    Now Easter is perfect...  You have already worked your guts out hard for over three months, so are wanting a little reward for all your hard earned efforts. There is usually a nice sale on at the Store, but more importantly is that after Easter there are two perfectly clear weeks with no commitments, plus besides opening an Easter egg, you can selfishly hide away and fly to your heart's content, no commitments, pure unabated freedom...  two whole weeks of flying, and no guilt!
    Although you will find something nice on the Store for this unconfined period, the really nice, nice thing to have is something new, even better is something really special to learn and fly. You can then spend all that time delving through manuals and learning those complex cockpit tasks to your heart's content, the most committed will even do a really long haul, a 12 hour crusade from one part of the world to the other...
    So where is the problem?
    Snazzy developers know this. So they are in wanting to put their bright shiny (usually expensive) new project right there on the Store for you to absorb, usually make it wanting in those precious few weeks leading up to the Easter holiday period. The only annoying thing is you are faced with is usually which of the biggest of the glittering projects are you going to purchase for those available spacious two weeks.
    So what could go wrong? Top level developers usually get an advanced Alpha copy of the latest X-Plane version from Laminar Research. This is a two way talkfest to find mostly the hidden bugs and if the newly inserted simulator features will work correctly on the current aircraft. Here is a hint in the rain feature on aircraft windows. Originally it was Librain, then the rain was internally converted into the actual X-Plane Simulator. Laminar should do more of these outsourcing of ideas, for two reasons, it speeds up development and a lot of these third-party gizmos are very clever. To their credit Laminar have finally absorbed a few of the better ones with X-Plane 12.
    So in the Alpha, you can see or test if the new feature works as required, the bonus is that the developer can then also incorporate the same feature on their incoming latest release. v12.1.0 has a lot of lighting changes, so it is a lot of work to refine all those lights to match the newer requirements of the coming version release.
    But from the developers point of view, you can't release the new project with all the latest wizz-bang features built in, if the Version release is not released to the general user public.
    You have a choice, put out the current model, then update later with the official release when finally out there. But that is releasing two different projects within weeks of each other, plus you can't take advantage in your marketing of those new features that will all be bright and sparkle on your aircraft (even scenery has a load of lighting effects)...  second choice is hold off for the v12.1.0 release, then put the project up for sale.
    The ongoing delayed release then creates another problem? If every developer holds off for the imminent release, then they are all piling up together behind the V12.1.0 intergration...  so once that is implemented, then you get a rush too the store.
    For most users you only have a set allowance of disposable funds, yes you might buy one top level aircraft ($70-$90) range, maybe even a lighter release ($30-$40) range, but if you have four or five big releases coming at you at the same time, your not going to, or be able to purchase them all.
    In most cases releases are staggered, usually two to three weeks apart so the market can absorb these disposable income funds. So the release date for a developer is extremely important to get right, for a maximum return on their work.
    Even if Laminar Research release v12.1.0 in the next few weeks, then the developers have spread out their wares as well. We saw this with the over long X-Plane 12 release itself, and it took ages to sort out, mostly six months... but that was a different time and story.
    So there is a queue building out there, but it does give developers a little more time to fine tune their project, make them better, and when they do arrive they will also have the latest X-Plane 12 v12.1.0 features available as well. And they are certainly worth waiting for.
    But that queue is a problem, go with the others put up the product on the store and compete hard for your disposable dollar, but in this aspect you will lose, certainly if FlightFactor releases the Boeing 777v2, everyone will want that. Your other choice is to wait, spread out the release date, and it is a better deal for you...  in the end. So at this point you have nothing, then you will be faced with everything all at once?
    In looking at the now X-Plane 12 defined aircraft. You do get this highlighted quality that is head and shoulders above the last X-Plane versions, users have had some excellent and quality releases over the years, but nothing can even come close to what X-Plane 12 can really deliver to Simulation...  both the maturing of the X-Plane 12 Simulator, and the ever advancing quality from developers is colliding together to create amazing experiences, and many of those incredible experiences will be released in the next few months and over the Northern Summer.
    It is a very exciting time to be in Simulation, but everything also depends totally on Laminar Research delivering the next step in v12.1.0, and soon? To drag on the release slowly again will cause a lot of headaches, even a few getting out of the simulation business, and you can't blame them at all. So as Astronaut Alan Shepard remarked... “I'm cooler than you are,” he barked. “Why don't you fix your little problem and light this candle?”.
    See you all next Month
    Stephen Dutton
    3rd May 2024
    Copyright©2024 X-Plane Reviews

  7. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to skytitude in Scenery Review : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude   
    Hi guys, just have to notify that I did an update 1.20 for Tallahassee, it will be uploaded at the upcoming weekend.
    So the update itself include's many improvements and fixes of issues described above.
    Attaching you a few images. Also a lot of ktlh store images will be remaked as well since I did too many changes in ground poly's and some other stuff..
    - Significantly improved airport pavement textures and their specular pbr effects
    - Increased quality of grass and soil textures within the airport area
    - Added more custom apron mast's models
    - Added night light textures for terminal and tower windows, cargo facility logo's
    - Added missing rooftop attributes on general aviation terminal
    - Better ground traffic and airplane routes
    - Added some moving ground vehicles
    - Fixed bunch of minor mistakes

  8. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Aircraft Review : de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter -300 Series v2 by RW Designs   
    Aircraft Review : de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter -300 Series v2 by RW Designs   
    It is just under three years ago in Feb 2015 was when RW Designs first released their version of the DHC-6-300 or the Twin Otter. It was a competent design as we saw in the review : Aircraft Review : de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter -300 Series by RW Designs.
    The aircraft did however have some traits that divided the purchasers into the "very much like" and the "missing something" divisions, I personally didn't mind it as it was at least a decent Twin Otter to fly. And here now is v2 or the X-Plane11 version of the aircraft and at first glance it looks like the the next update for X-Plane11 for the aircraft.
    But to think that and you would be wrong, and in fact completely wrong as this Twin Otter is a completely new design from the ground up, and only a few elements have been passed over from the original design. Everything has been completely remodeled, from the actual aircraft, its systems and its features and it is also X-Plane11 tuned and uses X-Plane11 features in its design.
    So this DHC-6-300 is a full upgrade, not an update. And what you are purchasing here is a completely new aircraft, but there is also a discount for users to update from the original version to this all new v2 aircraft that allows access without the full cost of the purchase price.
    The overall external design of the original was very good with great detailing of rivets and paneling from the X-Plane "draw per pixel lighting" shading effects and the aircraft body fittings, but there was also a few clunky areas of like the thick rear doors and the average cabin, but overall in the right lighting conditions the original DHC-6 did look very nice.

    But that was three years ago, and an eon of ages in X-Plane terms and with all the changes to X-Plane11. It was a smart decision to not to try to and simply adjust the design to this new era, but to create a completely new version directly for the changes. Yes that does create a lot of work, extra work, but it also puts you in a far better position because you will have raised the quality standard at the same time and also the intimate quality of your own work. Yes starting afresh allows you do it better and with a better design and a far better approach than just trying to fix up those poor kinks that would be hard to fix anyway.
    So looking closely at the v2 aircraft the distinct quality is certainly far better, and the aircraft more far more detailed.

    Certainly the X-Plane11 PBR features help any developer, but to use them effectively still takes skill, and you see that here on the excellent external area and flying surfaces, and also where it counts and this new aircraft can look spectacular in the right lighting conditions.
    Here is the original design...

    ...   and the new v2 design. The quality and detailing is quite significantly modeled far better with the specular lighting effects bringing out the quality.

    Baggage areas (front and rear) are now lined, but we have lost the bags in transit? The cabin window detailing is now excellent and they are a huge difference from the original bulky frame idea.

    And were as the cabin in the original felt like an after thought, the v2 cabin is now excellent. For the insanely beautiful steel floor and the exquisite leather seats.

    Now this Twin Otter feels like a complete aircraft.

    The aircraft also now has menus...  The menus are located in a flight book down in the pilot's door pocket.

    The main menu also opens up three more menus in Radios, Checklist and Weight/Balance
    The main contents include a flashlight (X-Plane native) opening the front and rear baggage doors, external power supply and GTN 750 Support...  but no menu options to open the main cockpit and cabin doors, of with which with the rear doors being hard to move to every time you want to open/close them is a bit of a side head scratching moment.
    Lower menu is four cockpit colour options...  In Green, Blue, White and Black.

    Green is green, but the Blue feels like very light Grey, White feels Grey and Black feels light brown. Only the cockpit colours change and not the cabin textures including the seats, which would have been a nice touch.
    The Checklist is excellent and covers all aspects of operation from start up to shut down, and the binder is moveable and scalable for ease of use.

    There is a very good "Weights&Balances" menu as well. You can set the fuel in kg's and the weights of baggage and passengers (Payload). Your aim is to keep the CoG (Centre of Gravity) around 30% of MAC. The full Empty Weight and Total Weights are all shown.
    Nose versions
    There are both the "Long" and "Short" nose versions available. They are switched via the liveries with "LN" denoting the Long Nose and "SN" denoting the Short Nose.

    Besides the Standard wheel version there are three other variants in Float, Ski and Tundra tyres.
    The float version is well done and the undercarriage can be raised up into the float via the undercarriage lever, but there are no rear float rudders for water steering to raise or lower...

    ...  the aircraft handles nicely on the water (without a high swell) and with the opening rear doors, they both open out and not down for exit and entrance.
    The ski's are fastened on tight, as some developers make them raise or lower below the wheels. Overall the quality is very good.

    The huge balloon Tundra tyres are very well done here, and you don't get that bouncy floaty movement on landing but a nice grounded feel.

    Flying the DHC-6 Twin Otter v2
    The early morning service today is the from EGPH (Edinburgh) to EGPD (Aberdeen) a simple hop of 93nm.
    Aircraft was set up with 611kg of fuel and 1380kg of payload (passengers and baggage), for a gross weight of 6147kg.

    You need a bit of thrust to get the aircraft mobile, but once moving you can mostly keep it back in the idle position, and contain any speed with the brakes.

    Flaps are set at 10º and the indicator is on the centre windscreen bar. A final check and it is power up or power forward with the twin overhead drop down levers.

    Rotation is around 95kt to 100kts depending on the wind direction, but the aircraft is nice in the pitch and then the bank...


    ....  The differences with the X-Plane11 performance is quite considerable. The original was not in performance as close as it should have been, certainly in the handling as this Twin Otter feels far much better as of the simulator changes. As with a lot of moving over to XP11 style flying, you need a short time to adjust to different feel and reaction, so any first flights won't give you the feeling you would expect from the aircraft straight away, but it does come in time and then and only you start to really love what you then have to fly, and after a few flights you will really understand what I mean.

    In the original DHC-6 we were a little confused by the Collins AP106 system and as you will notice there is no V/S (Vertical Speed) button or V/S climb or descend knob? Only an Altitude (ALT) and Heading (HDG) buttons. As the Collins system does not use that type of system to climb or descend.
    The AP106 is tricky to still use, but as the actual aircraft performance is better, then it works better in here now as well. The trick is to find the right speed in your throttle position and then lock that speed in via the IAS button. The system works by then adjusting the throttle to climb or descend. You aim or goal is for a speed of around 105kts to 110knts and a climb rate of around 1000fpm as noted here for the best of both worlds, and the specified climb rate is around 1600fpm. To descend you do the reverse in reducing and locking in the speed around 80knts and descend around the same 1000fpm. This is a big change over the original version as the aircraft wouldn't descend at all unless you went to extreme measures like even setting the throttle to idle and then even feathering the propellers to go down, which was ludicrous.
    ALT ALERT button is really the altitude hold button for the selected required altitude, and it works in both modes of ALT and IAS disconnect when the set altitude is attained, but it can be tricky to set sometimes. A note on to have the trim correctly set is now important, not only for the initial takeoff but for the AP106 interaction...  if the trim is out, then the AP106 will do silly things like climb or descend too quickly. so a set trim and a level aircraft helps in AP106 transition. An item to note is that you have to manually disconnect the AP106 by both the buttons and the switch. If you use a key or in my case a joystick button to disconnect the autopilot then here it doesn't deactivate the AP.

    Debatable is the sound package on the aircraft. It is a FMOD setup and has 3d surround sounds and good variation in sound. The package uses a professional PT6A soundpack, which is noted as one of the best for the Twin Otter. And in most areas like start up, idle and takeoff power the sound is very good, but the in flight internally sounds are very buzzy, light and don't have much depth or even drone and the sound pitches don't change much with any throttle changes. The sounds do come well regarded and so I am going to put the aural question out there as some aircraft like the Twin Otter do have a particular feel and sound, so feedback is welcome, but they did grow on me.
    Another point to make is that the RW Design's Twin Otter doesn't like the xEnviro weather plugin very much in the visual stakes, the view from the cockpit is fine, but if you look at the propellers at any time they show the real scenery through the movement. This of course an X-Plane/xEnviro issue and not the developer's issue, but it is currently not the best external view with xEnviro active and the normal X-Plane weather is used here in this review.

    Although a few of the original elements like instruments have been moved over and updated, in context this is a completely new cockpit and instrument panel.

    The main panel does feel slightly duller and flat, than the lighter smoother approach on the original, but the quality is far, far higher and detailed. We are used now to excellent metal style instrument panels, but here it is authentic to the flat grey used on the aircraft. The excellent glareshield is really well modeled and textured, so overall it works very well. The classic dual yoke is well reproduced, but it can't be hidden.
    The iconic Twin Otter overhead panel (OHP) is excellent, fully featured and really well produced.


    The OHP was good before, but this complete redesign is now even more authentic and realistic, but you do have to set a key "quickview" to get a quick upside down view of the rear of the panel if you want to access the switchgear, overall it is all really well done.
    Under the panel and floor is also very well completed and realistic, with lovely crafted DHC rudder pedals, centre upright fuse panel with built in fuel gauges. And note the great Brake Temperature display panel.

    Cockpit quality and seats are as good as the cabin, and the only noticeable point is the cockpit/cabin divider is not a clean arch. The excellent trim controls on the pilot's right seat arm, are however beautifully created and authentic and very nice to use..


    The Instrument panel layout has had a few changes. First up is the completely new BendixKing electronic Artificial Horizon, replacing the flat (awful) design of the original on both sides is a huge improvement there. The Collins AP106 system's button panel has been moved from the right-centre instrument panel to the pilot's side for easier use, and there is now both a VOR(2) and ADF dial bottom left (only a single ADF dial before). The Course Deviation Indicator (OBS) looks like it was moved, but in fact it is still in the same place, as the Radar altitude has been moved below it to allow the fitting of the AP106 button panel above.

    The equipment avionics stack is different as well. The KMA 28 audio panel is top, with the GNS 530 below. The radios are more basic, but also more realistic with two KX 155As for COMM1/VOR1 and COMM2/VOR2 receivers. A KR 87 is your ADF and centre below is a KT 70 BenedixKing Transponder.
    You can if you have purchased the (expensive) RealityXP GTN 750 or GTN 530, use them in the aircraft and replacing the native GNS 530.

    The GNS 530 and the radio panels all pop-out for ease of use. All instrument and radio panels have nice reflections, real, but not overly done. Panel lighting is indirect, but looks great even in the daytime.
    On the lighting theme, the cockpit is very good, in a black and white way. But the dials are very clear and concise for night landings. All instrument lighting is adjustable and the cockpit is lit by only one light above your head.

    The cabin is sensational with pairs of spot lights for each set of seats...

    ...  The seatbelt and no-smoking sign is nice touch.
    External lighting is very good, with a single front strut taxi light and two wing mounted landing lights, standard tail-beacon and navigation lights and excellent strobes. Landing light throw is very good as is the powerful single centre taxi light.

    Aberdeen is waking up as we arrive at Dyce.


    After doing the controlled descent, with the IAS set at 80knts and around 1000fpm to 1500ft. You set the approach speed with 20º flap and just in the green zone at 90knts. Remember this is a STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) machine, so those flaps act like barn doors when lowered, but give you super slow control.

    Full flap at 40º will give you a slow speed of around 70knts, but if the sea breeze is strong you have to work the rudders hard to keep the runway alignment as that large DHC tail works for you and against you at the same time.

    I took me a few landings to get the feel just right...

    ...  it is an aircraft to get into the right groove with, but once there you are really into the aircraft and it comes to you.

    Landing speeds can border on the 60knt stall, but you seem to hold it fine to gently touch down, the speed is so slow you can just roll the speed off more, but if you need it then there is reserve prop thrust by setting the "Full reverse thrust" setting, but I never did.

    As the propellers wind down, you notice the animated feathering of the blades, they are really well done...

    ...  but is quickly time to load up and return to Edinburgh, not a bad way to make a living is it...

    There are nine liveries with two as the short nose version with a very nice RWDesign logo (default) and a Kenn Borek Air

    The rest of the liveries are all long nose and every livery works with every variant in Float, Ski and Tundra. All are excellent Hi-Def quality with the lovely Air Seychelles a highlight.

    First glance is that the Twin Otter from RW Design's is just an update, but this aircraft is very, very different from that fact. This is a complete rebuild of the aircraft and only a few of the original elements are actually present. This comprehensive upgrade is really an all new aircraft and with the excellent quality to match the better detailing.
    Highlights are many with an excellent cabin with lovely well done textures and realistic metal flooring, and luminescent lighting. A menu system that can change the cockpit colours and an easy to use Weights&Balance page, Checklists and pop-up radios. The depth of the quality grows with every flight.
    X-Plane11 features have made the aircraft far more dynamic, not only in the way the aircraft uses the PBR, but with the better X-Plane11 performance dynamics, something in performance was missing on the original release aircraft, but fully restored here and the images here in this review don't lie as the aircraft looks brilliant in great lighting.
    Four variants with the Standard Wheels, Float, Ski's and Tundra tyres is a value four aircraft, with also Short and Long Nose versions available.
    Overall this is an outstanding upgrade, but I question the sounds, and they are FMOD great, and they do actually grow on you, but can be tiring over long distances. More menu options would be a nice option and certainly for opening all the doors (the rears can be hard to reach), hiding the Yoke, static elements and making the change of the colour scheme to cover the cabin as well as the cockpit. A cargo version with that metal floor would be nice as well.
    Currently if you own the original version v1 then you can get an upgrade to this excellent v2 for 50% off, which is great deal, so be quick.
    Overall this is a comprehensive upgrade to a classic aircraft, in reality it is completely different design in every area, but a very good one. It is also a significant upgrade of quality and design from RW Designs, who was good before, but design is now at that much more a higher level...  It was a brave thing to do to completely redesign an aircraft in time and dedication, but that has paid off in spades here...  and that is in making this DHC-6 Twin Otter -300 v2 an excellent aircraft to own, fly and use.

    Yes! the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter -300 Series v2 by RW Designs  is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 Series v2
    Price is US$29.95
    Note  - If you have already purchased the DHC-6 Twin Otter v1 you can purchase this new v2 Twin Otter for 50% off. Find your coupon code under your DHC-6 Twin Otter invoice at the store (doesn't apply to Twin Otters from other designers).
    Four versions included in the package ! Standard Tundra Floats (with the ability to remove gear entirely) Skis All of which work with both short and long nose variants!   High Resolution 3D Model Brand new model built from scratch for X-Plane 11 X-Plane 11 specular lighting Detailed exterior model New high resolution 4K textures Interactive night-lighting Choose interior color Rain effects Superior Interaction New scroll manipulators for finer tuning of interaction New menu's allowing extended interaction and choice of aircraft parameters Radio pop-up with improved 3D input methods. Mutli-phase checklist Real-time weight and balance manager Improved Sounds FMOD Powered 3D sound High quality source files recorded from the real Twin Otters High fidelity flight model Custom airfoils Developed in conjunction with Twin Otter pilots Custom Systems Custom electrical and anti-ice systems Programmed radios RealityXP Compatible GNS 530 GTN 750 AutoUpdater Always fly the recent aircraft version! AutoUpdater Licensed from STMA  
    X-Plane 11+
    Windows, Mac Linux
    2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended
    Current version: 2.0 (January 20th 2018)
    Installation Download of the DHC-6 Twin Otter -300 Series v2 is a huge 547mb and it is installed in your Aircraft Folder as a 671mb folder. There are four different aircraft files in the aircraft menu to access depending on the variant that you want to fly in :  Standard Wheels, Float, Ski's and Tundra   Documents Documentation is excellent with a AOM (Aircraft Operating Manual), Aircraft performance charts and Flight Tutorial included:   AOM.pdf Charts.pdf Flight Tutorial.pdf  
    Review by Stephen Dutton 20th January 2018 Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)   Review System Specifications:
    Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.05
    Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini
    Plugins:  XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGPH - Edinburgh Airport UK 1.0.1 by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free
    - EGPD - Aberdeen Dyce for XP10 4.1 by anthony_d (X-Plane.Org) - Free
    - Forth River Crossings 1.2.2 by  John M D (X-Plane.Org) - Free

  9. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Aircraft Review : Embraer E-190 by Flight Procedures Simulation   
    Aircraft Review : Embraer E-190 by Flight Procedures Simulation
    In July 2023, Flight Procedures Simulation released the Embraer E-195 for the X-Plane 12 Simulator. This aircraft although all new for X-Plane 12, also has a historical connection to the SSG Supercritical Simulations Group E-Jets version, but now called under another name in "Flight Procedures Simulation" (FPS), it is in many ways related to the same aircraft that was earlier released by SSG in X-Plane 11.
    SSG had released both the E195 and the E190 variants of the Embraer E-Jet, so as the E195 is already available, then the smaller E190 was expected to follow...  here it is, and in many ways it is the same aircraft as the E195, but with a few new extra features added into the aircraft. Notable is that the same new features released in the E190, will also be cross-updated to the E195 if you own that aircraft.
    Actually the E190 variant is the pick of the E-Jet Series, E 170 - E 175 - E 190 - E 195. As it has the best of both worlds, it has a high passenger load (114  seats) as in being slightly shorter (36.25 m (118 ft 11 in), but also comes with a longer range in 2,450 nmi (4,537 km; 2,820 mi) and being able to fly an extra 150 nm than the E195 (124 Seats). The E195 feels long, even tube like, but the E190 is the more better and proportioned aircraft.

    One of the highlights of the E-195 by FPS, was the very good value price to features and quality, in being set in the mid-$50 price range. In other words you get a lot of quality aircraft for your money. The SSG/FPS also had great value to the featured systems provided, even right back to the early days, then there was a authentic FMS (Flight Management System) as part of the price...  most deliver the same now, but that is just to highlight the point of the early advanced features from SSG that other developers didn't provide.
    The FPS E-190 is obviously almost identical to the earlier E-195, just a little shorter airframe. Both aircraft have been totally revised for X-plane 12. It shows in the quality of the modeling and detailing, that X-Plane 12 "shine" or aura is very evident.

    Same nice tinted glass and reflections....  the detail is nice, landing light surrounds and lovely flared winglets are also well carved and designed. All wings have the more variable Wing Flex animation for more realism.

    One area I thought on the E-195 that was clunky, were the internal mechanisms for the leading edge, still the same here sadly, so I disappointed it wasn't attended to...   it's just feels a generation behind the current formula of detail in these current intricate leading edge, flap and airbrake combos...  as which it is from the earlier SSG E-Jet Series. 

    Undercarriage is very well conceived with highly detailed strut body and pistons, all hydraulic lines are well detailed, as are the scissors....  The side strut, although well done, is still left hanging in the wheel bay with no upper connection, as again on the E-195...  this connection should have certainly been fixed by now (on both aircraft)...  worse it is so highly visible from many visual angles, certainly on the approach/landing.

    Engines are the GE CF34-10E with 20,000 lbf (89 kN) thrust, compared to the 8E on the lower E-170/175 Series with only 14,200 lbf (63 kN), both engines are equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). Engine pod detail is again excellent, great intake and the exhaust detailing is very well done.

    External features include all opening doors, Passenger left forward and aft, right Forward Service door, two Baggage holds and rear Service door. There is a nice GPU (Ground Power Unit) and you have wheel chocks on all wheels.

    Internal Cabin
    The E-Jet cabin for X-Plane 12 (E-195) was totally redone, or modernised. It's the same cabin here in the E-190, but it is a nice cabin with some really nice detailing. Seats are modern, as is the upper luggage bins are all also the new style with working Seatbelt/No Smoking signs and lit EXIT signs. Only niggle again are the differently set window shades from open to closed, still something I don't like?...  same also is you have these excellent seat-back screens with the Airline logo, a highlight is that the seat colours/logo can also change with different liveries.

    Front and rear galleys are well done, but not overly meticulously detailed, a bonus for framerate.

    In the cockpit, you could be in the E-195...  It's exactly the same, great for your type rating!

    Both pilot chairs were all new on the E-195, they came with better sheepskin covers and hard-back rears, sadly the armrests are still fixed. (another area I thought would be updated for the E-190). The rear bulkhead was also completely different, and so is the entrance/door, and a modeled (non-working) jump seat on the bulkhead. Overall all the cockpit fixtures and textures have been totally redone with the same colour. Note the nice stitching, and netting rear on the pilot seats.

    EFB Tablet
    The Tablet EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) is also the same as the one in the E-195. One tablet each side for the Captain and First Officer and both are not changed in their detail.

    The Tablet menu screen on the left side is a huge step forward and it is easy to use. When turned off you can then use it as an AviTab, via the button top right of the screen. (plugin required)

    The Tablets can be added or removed on both the pilot's and the First Officer right side, but you have to select (On/Off) EFB or AviTab from only the left side tablet, but once the mode is selected it works on both as the tablets mirror each other.

    There are ten icon options across the top of the tablet...  The first three options cover the GPU, Chocks and Cabin Lighting selections. The Circular arrows icon is the INIT page that has three options; "Unpowered Cold & Dark", "Powered at the Gate" and "Unpowered And Parked". You select the flight state, then press the green button left to activate that state....  it works well.

    Fifth Icon is the External options page has two options...   "Doors" and "Pushback". You can open and close all six doors noted, but only from here in the Tablet and not manually. The Pushback mode is a bit limited...   There is only the option shown to pushback in reverse or forward, brakes have to be off to activate and there is a procedure to follow to turn.

    Sixth icon is the Payload page...  here you can add in your Passenger, Cargo weights... It is a single entry (Payload) entered via the keys 1K/100/10 then you load the aircraft (or compute the load)...  you can change from Kgs to Lbs in the lower centre icon.

    Seventh Icon is Fuel. Basically the same as the payload page, you enter your Block Fuel load, then on pressing Fuel/Defuel it will load/unload the aircraft, the page will also display your fuel trip prediction (but only when you have programmed the FMCU.
    Eighth icon is the Takeoff Speeds. Here you select the Takeoff mode, or derated power setting (T01/T02/T03) then flap position. It will insert the current (airport) outside Temperature º and the set Gross Weight, then compute the V Speeds, CofG (Centre of Gravity) and Trim position ready to insert into the MCDU Takeoff page.

    All three set up pages (Payload-Fuel-Takeoff Speeds) are extremely easy and fast to do, so setting up the aircraft isn't going to take ages if you just want to fly.
    Ninth icon is the Sound page. Seven sliders cover three areas of Engines, Flight Deck and Environment, with a Master slider right.

    Final and tenth icon is the Options page, divided into "View Options"; Hide Yoke Captain side, Hide Yoke First Officers side, Hide Outside Pilot Figures and Show F.O. Side Tablet. "System" Options include; Link Baro Instrument Settings and Pause 10 NM to TD, again the Weights from KG to Lbs can also be changed here.
    Obviously the Tablet is a huge change from the fiddly X-Plane 11 window idea, far better for access and for setting up the aircraft...  it is simple but also well done to use and mirrors the E-195 tablet as well.
    Power on via the Battery power and the systems show the "Backup Mode". Only when you add in the direct power (GPU/APU/Engines) that you get the fully loaded system. Most of the Systems are a carbon-copy of the E-195 instrument layout and functionality, so a lot is repeated here as described in the E-195 Review.

    The Embraer E-Jets systems use the Honeywell Primus "Epic", Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) glass cockpit. It is very nicely done, the system CAS (Crew Alert System) messages, Aural warnings, Takeoff configuration warning, Stall protection system, Windshear detection and escape guidance, Non-normal operations are all represented. The SSG/PFP E-Jet basic systems has evolved over many years, improved and is now quite substantial, I was very impressed by the CAS warnings and alerts.

    Five displays across, with outer main displays PFD (Primary Flight Display), MFD (Multi-Functional Display) and in the middle EICAS (Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System), they all pop-out via the left corner screw, are scalable, also home cockpit ready.

    The PFD displays information such as airspeed indicator, altitude indicator, ADI, HSI, vertical speed indicator, radio aids, autopilot, flight director and radio altitude data. In the event of a display failure, information will be automatically presented in the MFD.
    The display controller portion of the guidance panel allows the selection of PFD HSI formats, navigation sources, weather display, and bearing pointer selection.

    The MFD presents map and plan navigation formats and various systems synoptic formats that are all selectable. The MFD provides redundancy to display both the PFD and EICAS formats based upon reversion. It also has the ability to display maintenance information. The MFD consists of menu softkeys, on the top and bottom of the screen, which are used to select formats and to control the various systems.
    Note the lower screen "Vertical Profile Display", SSG was one of the first to include the feature on their aircraft, and it is very good here.
    There are three option menus; Map, Plan and Systems...

    And six system displays; Status, Flight Ctrl (Controls), Hydraulics, Fuel, Electrical, ECS and Anti-Ice.

    The EICAS displays engine and system parameters such as flap, gear, spoilers and trim positions, total fuel quantity, APU and environmental information. The EICAS also displays warning, caution, advisory, and status messages. In case of failure in the EICAS display, its information may be presented in the MFD by appropriately setting the reversionary panel. An automatic mode de-clutters the EICAS after takeoff. De cluttering occurs 30 seconds after landing gear and flap/slat retraction.

    The Advanced Advisory System CAS logic has more than 100 messages in logic, comprehensive, and I love the block alert system flashing it is very visually authentic.
    Multifunction Control Display Unit (MCDU)
    The FPS E-190 uses the same FJCC UFMC by Javier Cortes, again the same as installed in the E-195. Also refined over the years, it is pretty solid now. Based on the EPIC Load 27 FMS it is easy to use and has also quite a lot of functionality built in... both left and right UFMC units are individual and can be used separately by both pilots.
    The MCDU allows FMS control, radio tuning, PFD radio tuning display setup, manual engine rating selection, engine takeoff data set and
    avionics display setup and test.

    There is also a UFMC pop-up, activated by the F8 key, there is no pop-up for the right hand display.

    If you haven't used the FJCC FMS before, then you have to install the UFMC data (folder). This is stored in the X-Plane12/Custom Data folder...   FPS supplies a full AIRAC-2303 set of data, in the "Documentation" folder, and the full contents are all to be put in the said Custom Data folder...  notable is that if you use Navigaph or Aerosoft data, then a separate update link is required to this folder to update the monthly AIRAC. Note- If you already have the UFMC installed and updated to the current AIRAC, then there is no need to do this step.

    Also notable is that the Flightplans for the E-190 are stored here as well, again if you use the Simbrief Downloader, an address link is required to direct the file to the right flightplan folder. The Flightplans also use a unique .ufmc lauguage, so you have to specific with the flightplan.

    The colourful FMS Flightplan requires THE full insert of TAKEOFF REFERENCE DATA (3 pages). There is a reason for filling in the FMC data to the full extent as we shall see later, and it requires every i dotted and T crossed.     PERFORMANCE PLAN pages (5) show fuel predictions for each waypoint, CLIMB/CRUISE/DESENT/LANDING pages show full flight performance and detail, including vRef landing speeds...  PROG (Progress) page is highly detailed as well.     The flight system provides Full TOGA/VNAV/LNAV/RNAV/LOC/GS/Missed APPR functions. SPEEDS with CLIMB/CRZ/DESC come with a custom Autothrottle system. All speeds thoughout the flight phases can also be changed into the flight plan and on the performance pages.     Overhead OHP is the same/identical to the E-195, so there is no need to relearn anything...     X-Plane 12 brings a different feel into the cockpit, provides more feel and depth to the controls and instruments...  Centre console was also retextured, and still you have those lovely ceramic throttle levers, you can feel them, the smoothness of the surface, and the Auto-Throttle disconnect is built in...  works as well.     The lovely Ram Horn yokes are also still perfectly nice. They come with built in (working) Trim switches and a working PTT button.     Lighting First lighting impressions are excellent. You have a lot of adjustment via five knobs at each end of the glareshield, and three (MAIN PNL/OVHD PNL/PEDESTAL) knobs on the OHP, plus the standard DOME switch.     DOME lighting is very effective via two (bright) lights in the roof rear. Each pilot also get a MAP light which is also very good...     ...   so you can also tone everything down to just the instruments, or just to find a little down-light to see the console switch gear, perfect for night landings or takeoff phases...  its all very good, and have a very nice place to fly in at night as well.   If you remember the E195 cabin lighting was a bit unfinished, as in being only half way completed...  In the E190 it is done, but the light spreads don't match up to the light source on the fixed rear zone? A shame as it looks great.      You switch on the cabin lighting via the button on the Tablet, off and you get only the floor light strips. More so is that both galleys are connected to the cabin lighting, so all ON or OFF, they should be separated for better illumination. Another small annoyance is the red beacon still flashes in the cabin like on the E-195?     Externally it is very good. All lighting is the X-Plane 12 lighting, so it is more XP12 LED in feel...  notable is that the lighting will be updated in the next X-Plane 12.1.0. release by Laminar Research, so what is seen here could be even more refined.     Navigation, Strobes and beacons all look good, as does the Tail lighting. There are runway turnoff lights, three landing lights that covers both wing and nosewheel positions.     There are very effective Wing/Ice lights (here noted as "Inspection", which are great for cabin views at night.     Flying the Flight Procedures Simulation E-190 Yes we are in Brazil...  this flight is from SBGL (Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim In, Rio) to SBSV (Dep L E Magalhaes Intl, Salvador). Starting the E-Jet 190 is Simple Simon, no bleeds to worry about here, as the start is fully AUTO, once you have turned or selected each engine switch.     Then watch the ITT (N2) kick off and start the start procedure, which is very long here and takes around a minute per engine, as you hear all the separate processes come in and the fans starting to twirl, its all very, very good and very authentic in realism, as you see the full authority digital engine control (FADEC) in operation. Startup sounds are excellent, thankfully with those engines sounds with their many startup stages that are recorded from real GE CF34-10E engines. That explains the perfect if long start up procedure, as they are timed into the soundtrack of the real thing, and it is very good aurally to listen into the full startup experience. The adjustment of the sounds is excellent as well with the great sound control (tablet) to get the right external, internal feel.   The "Pushback" system is a little tricky until you work it out, devilish simple when you do...  Release the brakes activates the Pushback mode, then press the pushback option... the tricky part is having the tiller selection up, to steer the aircraft yaw (Joystick), if not you can't steer.     Select to Pushback in reverse, or when you are ready to pull forward, then use the other arrow...   centre selection is STOP.     Just using the park-brake will disable the pushback...  you will soon get to like it. Betterpushback is however not an option here as the plugin does not work with this built in system, and thankfully the old silly stick pushback on the X-Plane 11 version is gone, of which I really didn't like at all. Note that to switch the Tiller back to normal to steer with the Yaw.   On the E-195 I wasn't very happy with the touchy yaw steering (joystick), so I adjusted the yaw sensitivity way down to give me more leverage on my yaw axis. Here I found I had more rudder travel in the steering, so I didn't adjust the sensitivity this time around, but you do use a lot of rudder movement in the fine tuning of the centring, but now more evenly than using the sharper joystick (yaw).     So what is new compared to the E-195 on the E-190? Well the E-190 has a completely new LNAV/VNAV alghoritm, that is different from the earlier version. So the note made earlier on making sure the FMS input data is completely done and correct is important, as the E-190 will follow this data absolutely, certainly the VNAV profiles that are all shown in the "Vertical Profile Display".   Also new to the E-190 are the RNP departures (Required Navigation Performance). RNP is a family of navigation specifications under Performance Based Navigation (PBN) which permit the operation of aircraft along a precise flight path with a high level of accuracy and the ability to determine aircraft position with both accuracy and integrity. It is well worth studying the differences between RNP and RNAV procedures.   Before you start the takeoff roll...  you set the LNAV and VNAV modes ready.     Power up and put the throttles to the full (takeoff) position, now once moving and the PFD will show the system is active...   ...  it doesn't matter into regulating the thrust power, for as one you have set that in the FMCU, and so two, the FADEC system will keep the engine thrust within the limits or 92.0% (TO.1). The CF-34 wail is nicely heard in the cockpit, a totally different sound as it is in the cabin, but highly realistic, and all sounds are doppler and 3D.     There is a full "Custom Fly By Wire" system that provides flight protection limiting and control laws according with the FMS Protection System logic, again all very Airbus.      The flight model performance has also been revised from the E-195 to the E-190, and yes it handles even far better and it feels now very good. I found the E-190 more refined, certainly from the earlier E-195 climb, and this time with no engine surging...  "Thank you very much, I will take that one".     Once in the "Positive Climb", now select the AP (Autopilot) and both the LNAV and VNAV modes become active...  note the VNAV now goes into the FLCH (Flight Level Change) mode and then chases to your VNAV set altitude. (LNAV will follow the Flightplan route)     Even if you break the profile and level out at say 15,000ft. Just reclick the VNAV button for the aircraft to resume the profile.     When in the VNAV mode. The ALT (Altitude) will change from green to magenta, not only will the aircraft follow the vertical profile, but it will also select the Flightplan set speed (m.65) and adjust were required, like say TOC (Top of Climb). But you have to be aware of the Airspeed - Mach switchover point. You need to check the fightplan of the point it changes over from IAS to Mach, and to physically do the switch, or the VNAV speed gets confused on the wrong setting, same going back from Mach to IAS.     Note the excellent rate of turn indicator when in the "Bank" mode.     In X-Plane 12 the FPS E-190 looks amazing in the right lighting conditions, high in the FL330 cruise level, you are purring along, sounds are really good and authentic...   the FPS E-190 looks excellent against the real time cloud formations.     Max. speed / Ceiling Mach .82 @ 41,000 ft (12,000 m), Cruise Mach .78 (447 kn; 829 km/h)...  It is also a very nice feel on the E-190 flightdeck, and the great thing about flying in the cruise, is that you can just stop sometimes, just look at the world around you.      
        TOD (Top of Descent) and you watching the VNAV (PATH) to see if it will perform the action of going into the descent phase...  it does, but I found you still have to control the speed, if not the steep descent will runaway with the speed as the descent vertical speed is steep at around 2600 fpm?     The system will also alert you that you will also have to reset to the landing altitude (here 2,000ft), if not the system will recapture the altitude and not descend correctly...  so you will need to do this altitude reset before reaching the TOD point.     The initial descent angle I found a little too steep, but it levels off around the approach phase...     I like a descent speed of around 2200 fpm, but here like noted it is around 2600 fpm, so the cause of the excessive speed. But like I mentioned in controlling that speed, certainly if you have the correct velocity in the final approach turns, it IS important, as you will then have better control in the approach phase...     You can now use RNAV approaches (and their charts) with the FPS E-Jet Series, in so making for tighter arrival procedures. Autoland 1 and Autoland 2  and CAT I, CATII approaches are also now all available, but Autoland 2 is only active at FULL flap with the ILS APP selected.     Great immersion on the final approach phase, a good simulation is when everything is working together, sound, instruments, control feedback...  your in there!     The E-190 has a very low final approach speed (Full Flap) of 120 knts, 115 is the absolute minimum, or below the stall speed.     Disengage the Auto-Throttle at 500 ft and cruise into a slightly higher final flare. Spoilers activate automatically with pressure on the wheels, then retract again when the wheel speed is below 45 kts for at least 5 seconds. Reverser sounds are really excellent, as you can hear them roar from the cockpit, and they are very effective as well.     Autobraking was set to "Low" as I like a lot of foot braking control in the final landing phase, this aspect also worked very well, with a nice braking feel. Note the great view from the cabin of the spoiler rear internal detail.     Again rudder steering comes into action on the ground, don't touch the joystick yaw though... it is too touchy. And we are in Salvador.     Liveries There are a couple of liveries from the older X-Plane 11 batch, namely the Alitaila and Air France HOP!, KLM and LOT (Polish). Missing again however is the nice Dolomiti. Some new ones provided as well, Azul, British Airways and Breeze all part of the download pack...  more have also been added by FPS to the X-Plane.Org, these liveries include JAL, Lufthansa Regional, Alliance (Australia) and two Jet Blues   __________________   Summary This E-190 is the follow up aircraft from Flight Procedures Simulation (ex SSG Supercritical Simulations Group) of their released the Embraer E-195 for the X-Plane 12 Simulator in June 2023. SSG released both the E-195 and the E-190, so this release is the shorter, but the more potent in the E-Jet Series of the E-190.   The E-190 has a higher passenger load (114  seats) as in being slightly shorter (36.25 m (118 ft 11 in), but also comes with a longer range in 2,450 nmi (4,537 km; 2,820 mi) and being able to fly an extra 150 nm than the E195 (124 Seats). The E195 feels long, even tube like, but the E190 is the more better and proportioned aircraft.   In most cases there is not much difference at all between the E-195 release and this E-190. The Systems and cockpit layout is exactly the same between both, so that is great for your cross type rating. Obviously the cabin is shorter with less seats, but the E-195 updated cabin and those lovely (logo) seat back screens are also moved over. The cabin lighting has also been fixed, well sort of.   SSG provided one of the first and best E-Jet FMS systems, the same has had consistent updates over the years and is now very good and stable here. Notable is that study and a complete install of flight data is required for the use of the completely new LNAV/VNAV alghoritms behind the systems, it is again very good, but speed control is required on the descent. RNP departures and RNAV approaches are also now possible. Autoland 1 and Autoland 2  CAT I,CATII landings are also available.   Externally the modeling was again updated from the SSG version to X-Plane 12, and the aircraft looks and feels very good in X-Plane. But a few areas like the leading edge tracks and gear support are dated or not connected, these niggles were still passed over to the E-190 from the E-195. The Tablet and it's features are very good in not being over complicated, and the in-built pushback tool is really very clever.   The biggest benefit of these E-Jets in both the E-195 and this newer E-190 is the value price to the feature and quality ratio. You get a lot of aircraft for you money, and a great E-Jet as well with all the trimmings. If have purchased the E-195, you can also get the E-190 with US$10 off the price...  so another saving there. So the Flight Procedures Simulation E-190 like the E-195 are both a great investment all round. __________________
    Yes! - the Embraer E-190 X-Plane 12 by Flight Procedures Simulation is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    FPS Embraer E-190
    Price is US$55.00
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
    Windows or  Mac (not compatible with Linux) 8GB + VRAM Minimum Download Size: 626 MB
    Current version : 1.0 (April 20th 2024)   Owners of the E195 by FPS can get the E190 for $10 off. Coupon can be found in the original E190 invoice   Designed by Flight Procedures Simulation (ex SSG)
    Support forum for the FPS 190
    The FPS E-190 is a 626.00MB download with an installation size of 2.34Gb, in your X-Plane Aircraft folder, this is an X-Plane 12 aircraft only.
    All updates are via the built-in Skunkcrafts Updater
    Notable for new users, is you have to install the FJCC FMS data in the Custom Data folder, install instructions are provided and so is a more up to date current 2303 AIRAC data pack.
    There is excellent full coverage documentation and installation details for the FPS E-190, including;
    AIRAC_2303_manual_install.zip Custom_Commands.txt FPS EMB 190_Checklist.txt FPS EMB 190 - Lights and Switches v1.0.pdf Installing the  FPS EMB 190.pdf FPSEmbraer_190_Changelog.txt Installing the  FPS EMB 190.pdf Normal_Procedures_EMB190.pdf _____________________
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.05r1
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - SBGL- Rio de Janeiro International v2 by Globallart (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$29.95
    - SBSV - Salvador/Bahia International Airport by Globallart (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.95
    Review by Stephen Dutton
    24th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved

  10. Like
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in NEWS! - Aircraft Announcement : Toliss notes the Airbus A330 as next project   
    NEWS! - Aircraft Announcement : Toliss notes the Airbus A330 as next project

    At the developers conference in early February 24 in Toronto... ToLiSS put up a chart in the session to note the already released fleet from the developer, but of also which aircraft could come up for development next...
    Candidates included the A318, A330ceo, A330neo, A340-200/300 and of course the Airbus A380. The A350 (v2) has already been announced as a joint project with FlightFactor (same arrangement as the current FF A350) at the same conference.
    The choice is now between the A330ceo (Current Engine Option), and the A330neo (New Engine Option)...  image depicted here is the default Laminar A330-300, so it is a not a signal of the coming ToLiSS A330 type.

    The question "But Which One?", will keep you guessing, but on past record ToLiSS has usually kept away from competing directly with already released products, also they usually always do the NEO versions of the same aircraft (hint A320neo, A321neo). So the A330neo is probably the pick of the two versions. And into also not competing directly with the same A330-300 Laminar offering.
    The A330neo has two variants, the -800 based on the older ceo -200 and -300 variants, that has a range of 8,150 nmi (15,090 km; 9,380 mi) with 257 passengers. The second variant is the -900, it covers a range of 7,200 nmi (13,330 km; 8,290 mi) with 287 passengers. Both variants are powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 which has double the bypass ratio of its predecessor.
    ToLiss Features include...
    Accurate Systems ToLiss Fly-by-wire and autopilot module, with support for Alternate and Direct Law Unique feature: Control Surface hinge moment modelling allows the surfaces to float to the appropriate position after loss of all actuators on a surface or to not reach full deflection if running on a single actuator. fault injection interface allowing to inject custom selected failures, or randomly selected failure based on fault probabilities with over 210 failure modes available. Custom TCAS with resolution advisory function. Terrain on ND and Weather radar available (WX radar works with default X-plane weather engine) Brake temperature model based on the detailed physics of heat transfer between the individual brake components Hydraulics model with proper hydraulic flow computation as function of surface motion, flap/slat motion, gear extension etc. You will see this by the pressure dropping when flying on RAT Custom engine model for accurate thrust and fuel flow modelling including oil pressure and temperature model as well as many engine failure modes. Thrust and fuel flow modelled for each engine type. Special engine logics, such as dual cooling on the PW1127G engine, are also modelled. Detailed model of each ADIRU including alignment, small pressure sensor differences between the units, switching of sources for PFDs and Aps Quantitative bleed system modelling affecting engine fuel flow Electrical system simulation with correct bus reconfiguration and load distribution, simulated electrical transients as well as emergency generation from the blue hydraulic system. Fire detection simulation for engines and APU Custom radio navigation computations including ability to perform backup RADNAV tuning through the RMPs Custom air conditioning model supporting high altitude operations at airports like Cusco in Peru or La Paz in Bolivia without spurious warnings Flight warning system with ECAM actions supporting numerous system failure scenarios, e.g. engine failures, generator failures, hydraulic failures. Custom indicating system including DMC and SDAC simulation. Choice between Multifunctional runway lights or the classic landing light configuration Useability features
    Situation loading and saving. It is possible to save the flight at any point in time and resume it another day. This can also be used, e.g., to save the position just before approach and practice just the approach many times. This feature reinstates the complete aircraft state (except communications with ATC, such as AOC and CPDLC messages or ground service states.) Autosaving allows recovering where you left off, should the X-Plane session end unexpectedly. Jumping waypoint-to-waypoint through the cruise phase: Shorten your flight to focus on the more interesting parts as you like. Integrated takeoff performance calculator supporting the use of flex temperature. 4 different start-up configurations from Cold and Dark to engines running and ready to go In-screen popup displays or use of x-plane windows for popups Interactive audio control panel to change ground services, fuel, loading, passengers etc. without breaking immersion Electronic flight bag on both sides with Avitab integration, weight and balance computation, take-off and landing performance calculator as well as a user customizable interactive checklist. Print function for AOC messages, CPDLC messages and selected FMGS functions  
    Release would be around October, as this is also a ToLiSS release period with the other time in being March...
    ToLiSS notes that the new A330 is obviously compatible with X-Plane 12, but will also support X-Plane 11 backwards compatibility, but without the X-Plane 12 effects.
    Start saving now, price should be around US$89.99!
    News! by Stephen Dutton
    16th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved

  11. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Sound Addon Review : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series sound package by Mango Studios   
    Sound Addon Review : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series sound package by Mango Studios
    As noted in the review/tutorial of the modification of the Rotate MD-80 Series to use the IAE V2500 Series engines. That coming soon from Mango Studios would be a sound package to modify the original P&W JT8D-200 sounds to the IAE V2500 engine sounds.

    This is that sound pack, and both JT8D-200 and IAE V2500 sounds are included, plus both new bonus external and custom internal sounds are also provided in the package. The feature list is extensive as noted here...
    Custom Sounds for Exterior Aircraft Systems
    -APU, Hydraulic Pumps, Fuel Pumps, Packs, etc
    External Environmental sounds, including light and hard rain
    Custom Engine Sounds for the Pratt & Whitney JT8D Engines
        -Exterior start-up/shut-down sound effects
        -Exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -Exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects
    Custom Engine Sounds for the IAE V2500 Engines
        -Exterior start-up/shut-down sound effects
        -Exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -Exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects
    Custom Sounds for cockpit switches, buttons, covers, knobs, and handles
    -Overhead Panel, Pedestal Panel, Autopilot Panel, and Eicas Panel all reworked
    Custom Cockpit System Sounds Including
    -Higher Quality GPWS Sounds, all the way from 2500ft to 10ft aural warnings.
    -Higher Quality McDonnell Douglas Warning Sounds
    -Higher quality and realistic Battery, packs, wipers, and avionics generator effects
    Custom, and ultra-realistic cockpit environmental effects
    -High-quality landing gear roll, cockpit rattle effect, gear retraction, gear extension, gear drag, and cockpit wind.
    New cabin effects include
        -New Air conditioning effect, Fuel pump, Hydraulic Pump, Flaps, Slats
    Custom Interior sounds for the  Pratt & Whitney JT8D 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
    Custom Interior sounds for the  IAE V2500 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
    Downloaded the Sound Pack looks like this...  how to install.

    First there are two options in "Engine Volume 1" and "Engine Volume 2"...  the choice is that Eng Vol 1 has "Realistic" normal volume sounds in the cockpit. Eng Vol 2 has a "loud" (or higher level) engine noise in the cockpit... it's your choice?
    Note; If you created a separate aircraft for the modification of the "IAE" engines, then you would need to install this Sound Pack in Both of the aircraft files.  
    Then just select the optional FMOD set you have selected and move it to the Rotate Aircraft root folder.

    Next to be installed is the "Plugins", select both "MangoStudio MD80" and "MD-80 Core" folders and install them in the (MD-80) Plugin folder...  It will ask you to replace 102 files in the MD-80 Core plugin folder, select to overwrite the files.

    Last install item is the "Sounds". Open the MD-80 Sounds folder, and now replace the "Alert" folder, again you will be asked to overwrite 25 alert sounds.... 

    ...   now the Mango Studios Sound installation is completed.
    Starting the Simulation, I loaded the IAE V2500 Engine aircraft. In the X-Plane Plugin Menu, there is now under the "MD-80 Soundpack", a settings menu "MD-80 Sound Preferences".  This is a selection and sound adjustment panel.
    There are Options on the left, and a "Volume Control" panel on the right...

    In the options we will look at the most important one first. This is the "Engine Select Option", or the selection of either the IAE V2500 or the JT8D-200 Engine sounds. Selecting either will allocate (save) those engine sounds to that aircraft. Here I have selected the IAE V2500 engine.
    Other selection options include; "Speedbrake Deploy Sounds", or the sound the Speedbrakes make on landing, "Rotation Noise" the noise when the nosewheel lifts off the runway, here you can also set the point of the rotation degreeº point of when this effect comes into play (5º is default), and finally you can have "Passenger Noise" in the cabin.

    There are seven Volume 0%-100% adjust selections; Master, External, Interior, Radio, Environment, User Interface and CoPilot volume adjustments.
    Aural feedback
    Obviously I want to hear the sounds of the IAE V2500 engine...  It's actually really "weird", but not in a negative way. You are always used to to the lower raw compressor sounds of the P&W JT8D, however here it is the high whine of a Airbus A320, on a McDonnell Douglas MD80?
    It sounds like the Airbus in every way, even in the reverse thrust mode. I like it because it is what I wanted, a differential feel and environment to the standard MD-80 Series aircraft. The sound is "doppler" in the source, and there is also different source sounds in the rotation from front to back (180º) and so you are highly spatially aware of all the different changes of direction.

    Externally the sounds are VERY loud, and my External percentage was finally set as low as 60%, (but I don't like large volume changes from the Internal to the External)...   Start up and spool down sounds are excellent (great spaced timing), however so different in the engine being a more modern installation than the 60's based Pratt & Whitney.  
    In the cabin, the rear is aurally loud, with the set passenger noise coming in on top, and the engines are set only in the idle mode....   move to along to the front of the cabin and the distance to engines make a difference to the lower sound levels, very good. But oddly so does the noise level of the passengers also decrease, which feels very odd? I am sure they talk as much at the front of cabin, as they do in the rear.

    The Rotate MD-88 cockpit was always a very "clickity clackity" cockpit, and one of the main reasons why I love it.... the Mango Studios cockpit sounds are certainly not as loud, or as noisy as the default sounds, even hard to hear. So you have to put the volume up (a lot) if you want to hear them as you do in the Rotate MD-80?
    So it is very noticeable in the far lower Speedbrake arm and the trim setting noises, and you can barely hear the usual noisy landing and taxi light switches? This is with the "User Interface" settings set at 100%? They are definitely good sounds, but they are simply not loud enough, or you also don't have enough adjustment to find your own personal level of acceptable switch noise.

    In the taxi, the IAE MD-80 sounds great, nice roll sounds and engine noise...

    ....  power up the throttles (N1) and you get this lovely high IAE whine rising from the rear, runway rumble is also very good, but those engines sound so excellent as the power gets to the takeoff throttle speeds, this is the point of difference...  I absolutely really love the aural feedback you get here as those IAEs reach full thrust power.

    Externally the takeoff noise is really good. Once off the ground you get that nosewheel gear custom wind sound, it is good, but to be noted as far too loud on a quiet cockpit to be realistic? Yes you can turn it off, but that is in creating the opposite effect, volume just needs to be turned down a little to be authentic.

    Climb-out and altitude climb sounds are very good, then cockpit settles down into a background rumble in the cruise, that I also like.

    Once at cruise altitude I run a flypass of the IAE MD-80...  It is very good, but the rear exhaust sounds when in view are very loud, and stay loud even as the aircraft retreats well and long into the distance... doesn't feel very realistic to be honest.

    At each step of the approach, first with the flap extension in that the sounds are extremely realistic, and the engine note also changes with any extra drag applied, then say the lowering of the gear, in it then adds on another heavier layer. Yes this is what should happen on the approach phase, but the point here is in how well you can differentiate between the different wind or drag sounds, as the layers are very well done for a feel of the spatial direction of that particular sound. Get it right as it does here, and it sounds all very realistic.

    The real action starts when you touch the runway, up go the spoilers, and then the reverse thrust powers up. Again the spoilers feel a little loud (like the front wheels on takeoff), but the IAE engine reverse blast is excellent, again very A320 IAE in reflection. Aurally the landing noise (touch), drag and thrust noise is excellent from the cockpit, but extremely loud if you are anywhere near the engines in the rear.

    I think the idea here is to make the engine package "dynamic" special sounds in being heightened (i.e. nosewheel on rotation and airbrakes), but in other areas the sounds are quieter, in say the cockpit switchgear and in the various sound directions. So you need a bit more of a balance for it to be perfect. So there is a case for some sounds need to be more reduced, and others more heightened to find a better balance...  otherwise the overall dynamics here are very good, even extremely good.
    Now you select the JT8D-200 selection on the MD-80 Sound Preferences panel.

    Externally the JT8D-200 version sounds better? The rotation of the sound (rear to front) is far better, and feels more authentic. There isn't that blast of consistent rear engine exhaust noise like you get with the IAE, until you push up the throttles, then it sounds excellent.

    Again the rear cabin is also extremely loud, even with the interior sounds set at 40% and the throttles set at idle? but the aural reduction to the front of the cabin is excellent, but also set higher level than the IAE, same with the cockpit sound level in the front, higher volume than the IAE. This aspect is to be realistic, the noisy 60's era engine compared to the 80's higher bypass era.

    Switchgear noise is the same as the IAE, as you can't again hear them working? unless you increase the volume (a lot). I again miss this interaction with the aircraft. Power up and the JT8D goes LOUD, okay I can live with that, and you feel the louder noise in the cockpit.

    Rotate and the nosewheel drag is highlighted, again I feel it is too loud...  but the climbout and the doppler sounds are really, really good...

    ... certainly the JT8D is more balanced all round than the IAE. You however get the same high exhaust note when past the camera position, as the loud thrust is still very audible as far or as long as this last image shows, and so again rumbling too far into the distance from the viewer to be realistic.

    But don't get me wrong, in flight the JT8D sounds brilliant, in the cockpit, on the flypast and in the air from most directions. Rear cabin passengers would however ask for their fare back with the consistent high noise level? Notable here is that the high rear cabin sound level stays the same at engine idle, and the same in flight (increases though on a full throttle setting), and so why does this annoy me...  because I do a lot of replays sitting in the rear cabin, so to use I would have to turn the volume right down to be seated back here in comfort.
    On LEBL (Barcelona) approach, with the gear down and full flap, the wind and drag sounds are again really good, yes in context very similar to the IAE in the audio experience, but certainly not in engine tone, so it is very good expression between both of these aircraft and their different powerplants.

    Good sound, or an all round high aural experience can certainly give any simulation a more credible immersion to the user/pilot. It is Simulation's ongoing advances that seeks to create the real environment in your own world. Sound is as important as the visuals, so these sound-packages are a very important addition to your flying, and one of the best options to heighten the simulation...  as I go over the fence at LEBL's Rwy 02, I am totally in there, eyeballing the runway, but also in needing the feedback aurally from the aircraft, that is the important statement, it is what is being signaled to you or is reverberating around you can be the difference between the best experience, or just an average one.

    On touch down and into reverse mode, the aural sensation is excellent, yes you get the extra noise from the speedbrakes, but you can turn that off in the options.

    Gotta Love the Maddog!
    Mango Studios released a modification for the Rotate MD-80 aircraft to add on the IAE V2500 engine to the already installed Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200. Here is a sound package to deliver custom sounds for both those engines IAE V2500 and JT8D-200 and aircraft interaction.
    The package is most effective when you have both engine types installed, as you get both custom sound packs for both engine types. So the IAE V2500 Engine Addon from Mango Studios is highly recommended here.
    This is a very good high quality sound pack, that can differentiate the unique sounds of both the IAE V2500 and JT8D-200 engines, the IAE is of course the more modern engine and is mostly associated with the Airbus A320 Series.
    The range of custom sounds here are excellent on both engine type installations. Great doppler effects, different source sounds in the rotation from front to back (180º) and so you are highly spatially aware of the different changes. Both engines have excellent spool up/spool down sounds and the excellent reverse thrust activity. Flap, gear and wind noise is also very good and engine thrust realism is excellent. With options that cover custom "Speedbrake Deploy Sounds", "Rotation Noise" the noise when the nosewheel lifts off the runway, and "Passenger Noise" in the cabin. Option for "Loud" or louder engine noise in the cockpit.
    However there are few consistencies highlighted the same on each pack. Switchgear/Interaction sound levels are very low compared to the excellent default Rotate MD-80 sounds...  rear engine exhaust is also too (extremely) high and remains too long after the aircraft has passed your point of view. Rear cabin sounds even at throttle idle are not realistic, passenger chatter also disappears as you move forward in the cabin, optional custom sounds (nosewheel & speedbrake) are set higher to be "dynamic" when selected, are not very realistic.
    The attraction here with this package is the sounds for the IAE V2500, the tone and feel is completely more modern than the 60's inspired feel of the JT8D low-by pass engine, effectively an Airbus engine on a McDonnell Douglas MD80 aircraft. In this aspect the package is excellent and a great companion to the MOD pack for the IAE V2500, the JT8D-200 is as good, with extra features over the original Rotate sound pack.
    Overall I totally love the idea and the choice of the two different engine types for the MD-80. It gives you a very and more flexible choice in flying this unique McDonnell Douglas aircraft, not just in appearance, but also here with a unique aural experience for both types...  well worth the investment!

    Yes! the Mango Studios MD-80 Sound Pack is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    Mango Studios MD-80 Sound Pack
    Price is US$14.99
    The Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 is required for this add-on. The Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on is highly recommended.
    Requirements This is a Sound pack. The Rotate MD-80 is required for this sound pack. Will not work with any other MD-80
    Download Size: 52 MB
    Current version 1.0 (April 16th 2024)   Documentation
    Manual provided by Mango Studios is a bit basic, hence the Tutorial here in this review
    Rotate MD-80 Soundpack Manual.rtf _____________________
    Aircraft Sound Addon Review by Stephen Dutton
    19th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.09rc5
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIRF - Airport Rome XP  by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.99
    - LMML- Malta International Airport by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$22.30
    - LEBL - Barcelona XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$27.99
      (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

  12. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: LFKF - Figari, Corsica XP12 by FSX3D   
    Scenery Review: LFKF - Figari, Corsica XP12 by FSX3D
    By Dominic Smith
    Welcome to another scenery review, this time set in the beautiful surroundings of Corsica. Unlike most youngsters, my initial curiosity about Corsica was sparked by an unlikely source, the comic book "Asterix in Corsica". While the story mainly highlighted the island as a unique spot off the coast of Italy and focused on the adventures of Asterix and Obelix, it greatly captured my interest. Since that initial discovery as a child, and despite numerous "unfortunate" geography lessons (my teacher just didn’t have Asterix’s appeal), I have come to appreciate Corsica as a place of considerable natural beauty and historical depth. This appeal extends to both the casual visitor and the avid explorer, although I have yet to visit the island outside of X-Plane.

    Figari South Corsica Airport, located just 3 km northwest of Figari in the scenic Corse-du-Sud département, serves as a vital hub for accessing this enchanting Mediterranean island. Since opening in 1975, the airport has become Corsica’s third-largest, facilitating connections to major cities via airlines such as Air France, British Airways, easyJet, and Ryanair. Conveniently situated 25 km southwest of Porto-Vecchio, it handles upwards of 639,916 passengers annually. More than just an airport, it serves as a gateway to exploring Corsica’s stunning coasts and ancient mountain villages.

    Installation & Options
    The main airport download size is 815MB, with an option to install additional photographic scenery tiles of the area, totaling just under 9GB. Although this might seem large at first, the tiles have been created using a reasonably high zoom level, making them a worthwhile addition, especially for users of simHeaven. Alternatively, you can choose to create your own photographic tiles with Ortho4XP. For this purpose, the developer has included patches to ensure the airport aligns correctly, applicable to users of AutoOrtho as well. There's no online activation or third-party wrappers involved, so while the installation process might differ slightly from the norm, it remains relatively straightforward.
    The provided documentation is quite comprehensive; it includes text documents detailing the various installation options and a full-colour chart of the main airport along with its layout. Given the relatively low cost of the scenery package, I was quite impressed with what was provided, especially considering that more expensive sceneries often offer less.

    Initial Impressions
    Upon opting to install the additional photographic tile of the area, I was immediately struck by its quality. The documentation reveals that this imagery was created using zoom level 17 (ZL17) with custom elevations. From the views provided, it was evident that this enhancement significantly surpasses the default textures and mesh included with X-Plane 12. Beyond the undulating hills, the Mediterranean Sea stretches into the distance, presenting a captivating sight even in this virtual setting.

    Ground Details
    As you descend closer to the ground, the custom orthos remains sharp and clear. This level of detail is particularly beneficial for those who enjoy flying low in general aviation (GA) aircraft. Indeed, if you’re exploring Corsica by air, there really is no better way. However, while the runway textures were sharp and clear, they appeared somewhat clinical. The asphalt's colour was overly intense and seemed unbalanced. Additionally, the transition from asphalt to grass was too abrupt, lacking a smooth blend which could potentially be refined with further development.

    Taxiway & Apron Textures
    On the flip side, the textures of the taxiways and apron were far more aesthetically pleasing. Here, the asphalt and concrete had a more subdued appearance, which seemed more fitting with their environment. The edges where the asphalt met the grass were well-executed, featuring realistic cracks and wear. Moreover, the presence of rubber marks and oil or chemical stains enhanced the authenticity, contributing significantly to the overall visual appeal.

    Airport Signage
    One of the features of the scenery I was most impressed with was the custom airport signage, particularly noticeable on the taxiways and apron. The detailed guides for taxiing aircraft are well represented. A comparison with its real-life counterpart on Google Maps shows that the layout is almost identical, which greatly enhances the authenticity of the scenery. Parking areas for both general aviation and business aircraft, as well as helicopter zones, are clearly marked. Closer to the main terminal, the stands are accurately laid out with all the correct markings. Overall, I was very impressed with the signage accuracy and detail.

    Airport Foliage
    The airport is bordered by several wooded areas that extend right up to the boundaries of the scenery before stopping abruptly. It’s worth noting that with Global Trees installed, this coverage might continue beyond the scenery’s limits; however, I haven't tested this add-on as I do not own the product. However, I did have X-World Europe installed, which might have accounted for the slight increase in tree variations. Situated around the airport buildings, particularly the terminal and control tower, are small shrubs, flowers, and a few mature palm trees. 

    Main Terminal Building & Surroundings 
    The main terminal at LFKF, while lacking an interior, is well-modelled and effectively represents its real-life counterpart. Along the length of the terminal, bollards and benches contribute to the overall visual appeal, and the texturing on the concrete walls shows a realistic degree of weathering. However, the terminal area lacks airport signs or posters and feels somewhat lifeless, particularly in what should be the busiest part of the airport. There are a few cars lined up for passenger drop-off and collection, but the noticeable absence of passengers diminishes the overall effect. Hopefully, future updates will address this issue, but as it stands, the terminal building, whilst impressively modelled, requires a bit more liveliness to truly come to life.

    Directly across from the main terminal entrance is the main airport car park, which features a variety of custom-made vehicles. These vehicles are a significant and highly welcomed improvement over the stock models typically included with X-Plane. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of seeing the same old models all the time! The vehicles, all European makes, fit the Corsican setting perfectly and add a touch of authenticity to the scenery.

    Close to the car park, you'll find several car rental facilities, including Ada, Hertz, Avis, National, and Europcar. These buildings are modest in size but effectively serve their purpose. Given Corsica’s expansive landscapes, renting a car is almost essential for visitors.

    Additional Airport Structures
    Adjacent to the terminal lies the control tower, which I found to be modelled to a slightly higher standard than the terminal. The control tower's numerous angles and curves lend it a quite unique appearance, and the central staircase is a welcome touch.

    Next to the control tower is the Terminal Aviation d’Affaires, catering exclusively to business travel. The modelling here matches the high standard of the control tower, with notably good texturing that includes realistic weathering effects. The large glass areas are particularly impressive, although it's a pity there isn’t an interior modelled.

    A few metres away from the main buildings, there is a small maintenance building, and next to it, a fire station. The fire truck is positioned further up on the apron, perhaps there was some emergency I missed. Nearby, several smaller buildings of various types and a fuel service area contribute to the functional diversity of the airport. Completing the scene is an animated radar dome, faithfully watching over the airport.

    Night Lighting
    The night lighting at the airport is primarily provided by dynamic lighting from street and airport lamps, which stands in stark contrast to the complete absence of lighting effects from the buildings themselves. This omission is rather disappointing, as it contributes to a rather lifeless atmosphere during nighttime hours. Much like the notable absence of 3D people, I really do hope that the developer will address this issue in future updates.

    Overall, I found the performance at LFKF to be pretty impressive, allowing for all settings to be maxed out, apart from anti-aliasing, while running at 1440p. At this resolution, I managed to maintain roughly sixty frames per second during the day. However, during nighttime hours, there is a noticeable drop, with frame rates dipping to the mid to high thirties. This significant reduction may be more reflective of X-Plane's general performance quirks during certain times of the day, nighttime in particular, rather than a specific issue with the scenery itself. Nonetheless, it's an important consideration for those using lower-end systems, as these performance shifts could impact your experience.

    Reflecting on my time at LFKF, it’s clear that the experience was, on the whole, rather enjoyable. The airport features some well-modelled buildings, especially considering its low price point, and an authentic layout which closely matches its real-life counterpart. The addition of the optional ortho tiles significantly enhances the value of this scenery package, offering a level of detail not commonly found in more expensive counterparts. However, it’s not without its shortcomings. The absence of 3D people and the inadequate night lighting stand out as the most notable flaws. Addressing these issues in future updates could transform this from a good to an exceptional scenery package.

    As it stands, I am happy to recommend LFKF to those who have a fondness for Corsica, and perhaps an affinity for adventure reminiscent of our beloved two Gauls. Just as Asterix and his companions would conclude their adventures with a grand feast, albeit always without the bard, this scenery too promises a delightful exploration, if not a perfect one.

    LFKF -Figari, Corsica XP12 by FSX3D is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    LFKF -Figari, Corsica XP12
    Priced at $14.99
    Ultra detailed car parks, taxiways and track PBR on all objects Ambient occlusion (Objects and ground) Wet track effects Dynamic lighting Animated Radar Pylon Altimeter patch for Ortho4XP Compatibility AutoOrtho Requirements
    X-Plane 12
    Windows, Mac, or Linux
    8 GB VRAM Minimum
    Download Size: 815 MB
    Review System Specifications
    Intel i5 12400 – 32GB RAM - Nvidia Asus RTX 4070 – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
    Scenery Review by Dominic Smith
    19 April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).

  13. Like
    Kiwiflyer reacted to skytitude in Scenery Review : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude   
    Thank you @Stephen for your honest review, much appreciated. As developer of KTLH I would like to add few comments and explain some decisions in this airport for X-Plane Reviews readers and you.
    Regarding custom buildings and objects within the airport area, I focused most of the power on the ATC Tower, Cargo Apron Facility and Ivan Munroe terminal, this objects are the most important for virtual jet airliner pilots. Also I tried to represent the Custom Hangars surrounding South Ramp with Million Air terminal very close to real airport.
    Unfortunately due to the development cost and profitable reasons nowadays I was forced to pay just a little less attention to a few secondary objects and hangars far away from Munroe terminal. Also meanwhile development process some details like logo's on Million Air terminal and some hangars was missed, now I'm figure it out and I will add them back in further update with some fixes as well.
    Ok then I would like explain the airport lighting, most of lights looks pretty accurate on your images (my custom lights with custom masts) except few weird over bloomed light apron masts taken from laminar's library. I partially used them to save time and they were looking very good when I was taking release images, I guess maybe something has changed in latest X-Plane update that I got few days ago but they wasn't looking like presented. I will investigate it soon and will replace them with custom masts as well.
    Briefly about ground poly's and airport surfaces quality, I figured out why they are depicting in lower quality than I had, I will fix it and also will add better fidelity decal with solid normal map underlaying all current layers to make surfaces looking more crispy and bumpy from closer look.
    I carefully read the review and I promise I'll take a look at how to make the airport more dynamic with ground traffic.
    Regarding the 3d people I would like to say low poly 3d people are quite expensive for me and I can't promise to add them in large quantity. Also they are absolute static and almost impossible to animate them due to very old x-obj x-plane object format, Ben says laminar's are looking forward to transition from old x-obj to glTf, it will make such things like animated mass of peoples much easier.
    Instead of conclusion I want to add that I love X-Plane and it's wonderful community.
    Everyday I'm studying to do better things and this days I'm engaged in X-Plane more than ever before.
    Thank you Stephen for your time and majestic review this is incredible helpful.
  14. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Scenery Review : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude   
    Scenery Upgrade Review : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude
    One American State that is highly supported with X-Plane scenery than most, and that is Florida. From the lowest point of Key West, to the state boundary in the north, there are some really great quality destinations for you to chose from. My flying time in X-Plane has found me chris-crossing this one state more than any other. Some developers like FS Designs specialise in the Florida State, another in Skytitude has a few quality destinations in there as well.
    This is Skytitude's upgrade for their original KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport X-Plane 11 scenery, released only in November 2021, so it is not as would say an old scenery in quality, it is still available if required for US$19.95. Before that release the only scenery available for KTHL Tallahassee was an odd version from Rim&Co. A messy piece of work, that was discontinued as it had illegal, meaning stolen objects from other developers work, so best forgotten for more than one reason.
    So here is the X-Plane 12 upgraded version of KTLH Tallahassee International Airport, which is not actually an international port, as it doesn't have any international services to other countries. However KTLH is noted as a full-service "Service Port" for U.S. Customs. The title allows international cargo and general aviation flights to directly come to Tallahassee, which is the leading cargo handler in the Panhandle area of Florida. Tallahassee handles around 9.5 million pounds of cargo a year,
    Most services here are what you would call feeder (Hub & Spoke) regional routes, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Dallas and Washington DC. But Tallahassee is also the Florida State Capital, it is the largest city in the Florida Big Bend and Florida Panhandle region. Tallahassee is also a college town with student population exceeding 70,000, home to the Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College, a large state college that serves mainly as a feeder school to Florida State and Florida A&M. The KTLH city-owned airport is situated five miles southwest of downtown Tallahassee, in Leon County,

    The airport covers 2,485 acres (1,006 ha) at an elevation of 81 feet (25 m). It has two runways: 09/27 is 8,000 by 150 feet (2,438 by 46 m) and 18/36 is 7,000 by 150 ft. (2,134 by 46 m). Helicopter operations are generally confined to the Runway 18/36 area, or direct approaches to the Million Air FBO ramp area.

    Tallahassee International Airport

    09/27 - 8,000ft (2,438m) Asphalt
    18/36 - 7,000ft (2,134m) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL81 ft / 25 m
    A new passenger terminal was built just north of the new 09/27 runway on November 2, 1987, and the new terminal prompted officials to rename the airport from Tallahassee Municipal Airport to Tallahassee Regional Airport. On December 3, 1989, the city opened the $33 million terminal, and on February 20, 2000, the terminal was soon renamed the Ivan Munroe Terminal in honor of Tallahassee aviation pioneer Ivan Munroe.
    It is a simple layout. A terminal building with a pier that is connecting to a concourse, or a split single concourse into A and B, from the side it is in a H design.

    The Munroe terminal is really well replicated here by Skytitude, very realistic with very good building detail and adornments. The terracotta roof is in contrast to the brown main building and pier exposed concrete.

    Scenery clutter is very good, but not overwhelming... there are no animated service vehicles here, and it is noticeable in creating a static sort of environment. Note the excellent aerial installation on the forward part of the connecting pier, and the very nicely done ramp lights.

    There are eight detailed, white Airbridges A1-A6/B1-B6, like the real ones they come with no branding...  they are powered here by the built in X-Plane 12 "Ground handling" menu. A lot of developers are moving away from the SAM system (and it's problems) and back to this updated older version, in lots of ways it is currently a better solution than the fiddly SAM experience. There also five static walkon/walkoff gates for smaller regional aircraft in A7, A4, A2 - B2, B4, B7.

    The landside terminal is very nicely done, even in a walkaround way, with nice well done 3d vehicle carparks and really reat fauna. But there there is no internal terminal detail. There are also no people, or traffic, again in creating a more static feel at TLH than an active one. On the roof are solar panels, in fact there is a loads of solar panels here as we shall see later.

    Trees are all X-Plane 12 3D quality, seasonal as well, but you won't get a lot if any snow in Florida. But the fauna quality is high here.

    Million Air FBO
    Next largest facility at TLH is the Million Air Fixed Base Operator. Besides for private operators, Million Air also provides contracted fuel services to U.S. Military and Department of Defense aircraft. TLH is regularly visited by U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft, Lockheed Martin C-130 family aircraft, as well as Dornier C-146 and T-6 Texan II aircraft on training missions and practice approaches from nearby AFB.

    The ramp area is massive, and surrounded by maintenance hangers and aviation services FL Aviation and Flightline group. Main large FBO executive building is really well done in brick, next to it is the field's FireStation. Missing is the "Million Air" sign that sits outside the entrance, a small but noticeable overlook, but any signage is also missing here at TLH. But overall the detail and fill of this FBO area is very well done with a heliport with 6 landing pads located at South Apron.

    Aero Center Tallahassee
    North is another large ramp for Aero Center Tallahassee and the Epic Flight Academy. The buildings are basic here, as the entrance to the Aero Centre is quite ornamental, missing also is the roof detail of the air-conditioning systems. The brickwork however is well done.

    Far north are rows of aircraft storage, and this is a great parking ramp if flying into KTLH while exploring the region to refuel, as there are a few refuel stations set around these aprons for your convenience.
    The freight facility is FedEx. It has two major gates (1 & 2), and three regional ramps for the FedEx feeder network. But as noted it is used as a U.S. customs international feeder "Service Port" area coming into the US.

    Control Tower
    The KTLH field tower is set on the Southside. The facility and its surroundings is excellent, with great roof aerial detail.

    Is this where all digital pilots go when they leave the X-Plane mortal coil? Yes it is a cemetery, set to the east of the airport called Southside Cemetery, a big one at that, and well done.

    Also west is the City Of Tallahassee Utilities Water Treatment plant, really well done with real (X-Plane) water in the large pools and even in the treatment ponds...  note in the background are the six animated wind turbines.

    Before leaving the west it is interesting to note the excellent merging of the Custom TLH airport to the default autogen, here the commercial Infrastructure blends in well with the airport boundary, making it a realistic viewpoint if arriving on Rwy 27.

    Obviously the Tallahassee City owners are very big into efficiency and saving the planet. Surrounding the south approach and the left side of Rwy 18/36, are hundreds of solar panel farms. And all well done here, but I wonder if these massive sun farms could blind a pilot on an approach? The noted "largest airport-based solar station in the world" here is however excellent for the visual detail on approaches 36 and 09.

    Ground Textures
    The ground textures are fine, but have no depth of detail, only a sheen, could be even noted as flat to the eye. They look okay with nice grunge, but they are not what you would call "high quality".

    As this is an X-Plane 12 scenery, you get the excellent weather effects. And again X-Plane 12 does it's miracle showing...  water/rain and reflections are all very good, certainly in the right lighting conditions... so the PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion works well.

    Highlight here is the 3d grass, it is excellent and not prone to LOD visuals. The main infield areas are all covered, but there are a few blank areas with no grass...  the grass realism makes a big difference to the quality of the scenery.

    TLH Lighting
    In the overview of KTLH the lighting is good, with the expected (XP12) ICAO lighting standards adhered to...

    The ramp areas and external terminal/concourses are nicely lit, with intelligently placed drop lights. Carparks all look great as well...  but the terminal/concourse has no window lighting, making the buildings dark, even blacked out at night?

    Other building lighting in Aviation services hangars are also well done with the well done drop lighting, but the main ramp lights for the Cargo ramp area and FBO ramps are weird, they glow, but don't give out any reflective light to the ground or their surrounding area?

    I'm going to throw the problem to Laminar Research and not to the developer here, as this new light (flare) bloom effects are coming in the next X-Plane update v12.1.0. We will look at this lighting again when that update is released, so ignore it for now.
    Florida is a very well serviced American State for X-Plane pilots to explore with consistent quality destinations. Here with Tallahassee International, it is a very Northern State airport, with great regional connections to Atlanta, Dallas and the Florida State. International in the name is for U.S. Customs "Service Port" only.
    The KTLH Scenery from Skytitude is overall excellent, with great field landscaping and and excellent reproduced terminal and the Million Air FBO centre. Aero Center Tallahassee is also very good but missing the finer details. Grass and X-Plane 12 weather effects are also excellent. Fauna and overall layout is also first rate. The minor details are just that in minor, but they still count. Terminal Window lighting is missing, ground textures are a bit plain but have nice grunge, and not a lot of signage except for a FedEx sign, and non-lit at light? No ground or traffic animations also give a very static feel to the scenery.
    Yes I really like this excellent Tallahassee scenery from Skytitude, it has a very nice quality about the package, better as well with the X-Plane 12 effects, and has excellent performance or a very light impact on your computer. This KTLH is an upgrade to X-Plane 12 from the still available X-Plane 11 version, but it is a heavily revised and more modernised scenery than the one released in late 2021. There is also an upgrade offer of 25% off for previous users of the XP11 scenery.
    How much do I like it? well certainly expect to see KTLH Tallahassee appear in many future reviews from X-PlaneReviews, if any scenery passes that substantial test then it must cover a lot of credentials, most of all in a realistic visual quality...  for that aspect alone, it is great investment!

    Yes!  KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12
    Price is US$19.95
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
    Windows, Mac or Linux Download Size: 703 MB Current version : 1.0   Owners of KTLH XP11 can purchase this new XP12 version for 25% off, please find the coupon code in the original KTLH Invoice.   Installation and documents:
    TLH is download of 520Mb download. There are two folders as part of the installation;
    skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp-b The second "skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp-b" has to physically moved (cut&paste) lower in the scenery_packs. INI, below the main "skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp" folder. All details are noted in the provided; "INSTALLATION GUIDE.
    648Mb is installed into your Custom Scenery folder.
    Review System Specifications
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.07r1 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    -Rotate MD-80 Pro XP12 - (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$59.95
    Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    11th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved

  15. Like
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine   
    Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine
    The McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series MD-80 was the second generation of the DC-9 family, originally designated as the DC-9-80 (DC-9 Series 80) and later stylized as the DC-9 Super 80 (short Super 80). It was a stretched fuselage, enlarged wing, and was powered by higher bypass Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 engines. The MD80 Series made its first flight on October 18, 1979, and was certified on August 25, 1980.
    In response to the environmental concerns that began in the 1970s, Pratt & Whitney began developing a new version of the JT8D engine, designated the JT8D-200 series. Designed to be quieter, cleaner, more efficient, yet more powerful than the earlier -15, -17, -11 and-9 series on the DC-9. The -200 Series power-plant was re-engineered with a significantly higher bypass ratio (1.74 to 1) covering the 18,500 to 21,700 pound-force (82 to 97 kN) thrust range and became the standard engine in powering the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series. This is the engine on the Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD88. It's a long thin (still low) higher-bypass engine with clam-shell reversers.

    Mango Studios have done a modification (MOD) to change this JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine.

    The look and feel of the V2500 modification is really well done, with high quality 4K Textures and new PBR (Physical Based Render) effects, the quality and installation is simply excellent. Internal exhaust detail is totally authentic, with the correctly fitted outer fins for the correct airflow around the engine pod.
    The V2500 does not have the clam-shell thrust reversers, but the same arrangement like on the A320, were as the full cowling door opens for the thrust reversal. This aspect is very nicely done here as well, nice operation, with great internal detail of the air vent grid and internal mechanism.

    This IAE engine was installed on the next stretch of the MD80 Series, third generation of the DC-9 family in the MD90. The engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
    The V2500 Series is a two-shaft high-bypass turbofan engine built by International Aero Engines (IAE) which also powers the Airbus A320 family. This engine also has an option to add 3,000 lbf for use in Hot & High conditions if needed by activating a switch in the flight deck. The V2525-D5 is fitted with different mounting hardware and accessory gearboxes to facilitate the rear MD-90 T-Tail installation, than say the under wing pylon of the A320.
    First look at the larger style of the IAE engine and as the MD90 Series had later the enhanced MD-90s glass cockpit, you could say it is the Boeing 717 aircraft, but it's not, as the 717 (MD95) had Rolls-Royce BR700 family engines installed, not IAE Engines.
    Important to note that with this modification, there are no IAE Engine sounds, strangely odd as Mango Studios are well known for their Sound Packages, and the quite different IAE engine note would have been a nice feature, but it has been noted by the developer IAE sounds are coming real soon. The performance of the Rotate MD88 is not changed either, so any power (V2525-D5 111.20 kN (25,000 lbf)) and fuel-efficiency benefits of the IAE are not available with this installation.
    Installation Tutorial
    It is a slightly tricky installation, to switch the original JT9D-200 to the IAE V2525-D5. In the downloaded "IAE V2500 Engine Model" pack there are four three folder items; liveries, objects and a paintkit (psd)...  there is also a manual supplied.

    First you have to "duplicate" the original Rotate-MD-80 aircraft, and add into the title "IAE"

    From the package objects folder you transfer the 12 files to the MD-88 IAE "objects" folder, and replace (overwrite) the noted 4 files with the new files.

    Now for the tricky bit...  You have to go and open up the X-Plane-planemaker application (in your X-Plane root folder), and open up the MD-80-IAE aircraft (acf) file. Under the banner menu "Standard" is the "Objects" selection.

    You have to scroll to the bottom of the objects tool, and then using the "ADD" button, insert THREE new layers...

    Far right on each layer is a slot to insert the file, with the selection button to the left of the slot... then insert the three new objects (V2500_I.obj, V2500_r.obj, N1_fast.object) in the MD-80 IAE "Objects" folder...  into the correct slot, then "Save" (File) the changes.

    If correctly done, then the new IAE powerplant should be seen on the main planemaker page...  and the MD-80 IAE aircraft is now ready in the X-Plane Configuration menu.

    Although there is a folder called "liveries", they are actually only the MOD files FOR the liveries, not the completed new livery. So you will still need the original "livery" to add in the MOD livery files...   Each livery folder includes four files; md80_cola_der.png, md80_cola_izq.png, V2500_l.png, V2500_r.png and all four are transferred to the said livery "Objects" folder...

    Again you will be asked to overwrite two of the object files. You have to do this same process for ALL the liveries provided.

    Note the livery "Delta retro" is in fact Delta Old, or the default livery?

    Five livery conversions are provided; Allegiant, Delta (Old), JAL, Lion and Scandinavian. All look excellent, and note how the larger engine can highlight the decals.

    If you want to update another favorite livery, there is a paintkit (photoshop) provided, the paint kit covers the L & R engines, so you also have to still add in two files "md80_cola_der.png" and "md80_cola_izq.png" to each new set of the new livery conversion into the same objects folder.
    In the air the IAE V2500 conversion looks amazing!

    X-PlaneReviews - Rotate MD80 X-Plane 12 update review is here... 
    Aircraft Upgrade Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate
    This is a modification to change the Rotate MD80 (MD88) from the original install JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine as found on the Airbus A320 Series. The IAE engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
    Mango Studios have provided a modification kit to change the over the engines by duplicating a Rotate MD80 aircraft and installing the V2500 engine via X-Plane planemaker application, it's not too hard to do, and the tutorial is above. Also provided are MOD files to change five liveries to match the new engine installation and paintkit to do your own changes on other liveries.
    This modification really gives you a more modern looking MD Series aircraft, sounds for the IAE are coming soon as well to highlight the package from Mango Studios, that will also be noted here when available.
    Simply... a big yes, I love the Rotate MD80 in X-Plane 12, this conversion gives you another engine version to widen the aircraft's appeal and only for less than US$6, so a big yes, yes and it comes more flying options with the Rotate MD80 Series...  winner, winner.

    Yes! the Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on
    Price is US$5.99
    The Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 is required for this add-on.
    Requirements The Rotate MD-80 is required for this add-on.
    Download Size: 415 MB Current version: Initial Release (May 9th 2024) Documentation
    Manual provided by Mango Studios is a bit basic, hence the Tutorial here in this review
    Manual.pdf _____________________
    Aircraft Modification Review by Stephen Dutton
    9th May 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.09rc5
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIRF - Airport Rome XP  by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.99
      (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

  16. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Aircraft Review - Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA by vSkyLabs   
    Aircraft Review - Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA by vSkyLabs
    One of the most interesting things of the changing of the eras, is the transition point, or a certain revolutionary design that in itself creates the new era. These time periods are interesting, exciting as well...  as you are seeing the forward advances of a particular genre. In Aviation's case, these forward advances in design and increasing engine power was in the early to late 1920's, this period was breathtaking in the changes of aircraft. From the frame and fabric (tri) biplanes of the First World War, to the first steps of commercial aviation that changed the world.
    Center of this explosion of sweeping change, is Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG, a maker of boilers and radiators. "Junkers" as they are known created the first all metal designed aircraft in the Junkers J1, nicknamed the Blechesel (Tin Donkey or Sheet Metal Donkey), that was the monumental transition point from the frame/fabric to a Monocoque construction. The J1 was only an experimental aircraft, but it did create a subsequent series of monocoque metal based airframes, and created success for Junkers.
    With this success, Junkers wanted to expand into other aircraft categories. Most current Junker aircraft were medium to large by the day's standards, but what of a Junior or smaller "Sports" aircraft or "Sportsplane".
    The Junkers A50 Junior was the first sportsplane designed by Hermann Pohlmann. It had the same modern all-metal construction, in being covered with corrugated duralumin sheet as the larger Junkers passenger planes. But the A50 was small, only a crew of two, sitting in tandem in separate open cockpits (if it flew without a passenger, one cockpit could be closed with a cover). powered by a Two-bladed propeller, and had a conventional fixed split axle mainwheel landing gear, with a rear skid.
    The first flight of the A50 took place on 13 February 1929. It was followed by further four prototypes, in order to test different engines,
    but eventually they settled on a 80-hp, 5-cylinder radial engine. Junkers expected to produce 5,000 aircraft, but stopped after manufacturing only 69, of which only 50 were sold. The high prices probably inhibited sales...  but the design had created a new category in aviation. However the Junkers A50 Junior was able to set a number of FAI world records around the world and became famous, amongst other things, because Marga von Etzdorf was the first woman to fly her Junkers A50 Junior from Berlin to Tokyo in several stages in 1931.
    The aircraft however has not been resigned to the original's past. In 2022, (The new) Junkers Aircraft Works began production of a modernized version of the A50 for LSA approval. This new A50 features modern avionics, a 100 hp Rotax 912iS engine driving a composite MT-Propeller, and a ballistic parachute. As of May 2023, 27 of these new A50s have been sold in Europe, and plans have been made for the American WACO Aircraft Corporation to produce aircraft for American customers. Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category is a small 2 seat aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 600kg.
    The modern interpretation of the Junker A50 is the version here for the X-Plane 12 Simulator by vSkyLabs. This aircraft is part of the ‘Test-Pilot’ Series, an open ended on going project with regular updates and changes as part of the process. The vSkyLabs Junkers A50 Junior is based on the modern German version, there will also be no X-Plane 11 version.

    Like a flying cigar, the A50 is long and very sleek. Although this version is the modern interpretation of the 1929 classic, the lines and construction are exactly the same. It is very easy to behold this futuristic design in those early days, it looks and feels very Pre-war WW2 Junkers as well.
    The reproduction of the corrugated duralumin sheeting or an early type of age-hardenable aluminium–copper alloy is excellently well done here. The term is a combination of Dürener and Aluminium. It was also used extensively on Zeppelin Airships of the same period.

    The aircraft is all basically duralumin, except for the shiny Aluminium engine cowl and wheel struts. The propeller is actually a modern composite MT-Propeller, than the old wooden version, for weight and strength. On the real A50, you can remove the wings, or fold them backwards, but not on the vSkyLabs version.

    The exhaust is modern as well, and the oil cooler gives the modern engine type away. The gear design from the 1920's however has been retained, with a bicycle spoke style design, pencil thin tyres and with disc brakes. It is a basic arrangement, but works and it is very nicely replicated here in it's simplistic but metallic splendour.

    The twin cockpits are wildly spaced apart along the narrow fuselage, not at all combined together forward like of the Tiger Moth and such aircraft.

    The brown leather cockpit surround is lovely, but missing is the cover for the front cockpit when empty? expect in an update...  There are two pilots (slightly animated) and lifelike (meaning realistic). They are selected via the X-Plane "Weight, Balance & Fuel" via the sliders. In the rear is the pilot, in the front is the passenger...  and to note the severe Centre of Gravity position with only the rear pilot in the aircraft, so you have to find ways to balance the aircraft in better to compensate for the odd weight distribution.

    Both pilot and passenger are not hands or legs animated as noted, but if you press Command "G" (Toggle landing gear) then the front passenger will slip sideways for the rear pilot to see ahead, a nice feature. And an override of the fixed landing gear on the A50.

    In the (rear) cockpit it is all metal inside. Incredible is the design of almost 100 years between the two generations of A50s. But in here the metal design and construction it is almost the same, it is like living in the past, now in the future.

    It is very well done in recreating this construction aspect of the aircraft. Simple stick and rudder pedals are well done, as is the housing for the cables. There is a "Remove Before Flight" safety pin (Emergency Parachute) that is stored in the right side satchel. On the left side are two levers, rear is the Elevator Trim, front the Throttle...  left rear floor is the fuel tank selector.

    The real (modern) A50 Junior has installed a Garmin G3X Touch 10” with a Garmin G3X Touch 7” or GI 275 with Winter altimeter/Winter airspeed indicators as instruments. Here in the vSkyLabs version we have the customised Laminar Research Garmin G1000 fitted.

    And nicely intergrated it is...  Power switches and start button are on the left, (active) Circuit Breakers (Fuses) with ELT and USB Charge panels on the right. Up top are the two bus (ECU) lights, and on the very top is a AOA (Angle of Attack) avionics upgrade, based on the 'Alpha Systems AOA' Eagle AOA kit. (we will look at this in flight)
    The G1000 is the standard default Avionics system...  Speed and Altitude/Vertical Speed tapes, Artificial Horizon, Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) with NAV 1/GPS BRG (Backgrounds), Speeds, Baro, Altitude, Wind, HDG (Heading) and CRS (Course) are all shown.

    There are however two configurations (custom) of the PFD (Primary Flight Display). One (above) has three readouts, in being overlaid with top left Cylinder Head Temperature (CHT), below is the Manifold Pressure and for right lower is the Engine RPM. Turnoff the "AVIO" switch far left and the screen changes to the standard G1000 engine readout panel.

    Here now shown is the RPM (top), FF (Fuel Flow), Oil Pressure, Oil Temp, EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature), VAC (Vacuum), Fuel Quantity, Electrical (Bus/Volts) and Battery (Amps).
    Pressing the P/MFD (red Button) with change the screen to the Multi-Function/MAP Display.

    Standard adjustable G1000 popouts are available in both engine display modes, but the three custom instruments don't show on that setting.

    Obviously a very simple instrumentation set up, but really well done here in this basic Sports style aircraft.
    Flying the (Modern) Junkers A50 Junior
    Turning on the power, even selecting the twin ECU Buses doesn't bring the A50 alive. So there is also the need to push in all the CBs (Circuit Breakers/Fuses), then while doing so you see the different systems on the different CB selections relating to the various avionics.
    Fuel selector is on the floor, and their is no "All" tank selection, just Left-Right (tanks) or OFF, so you have to select one of the L-R tanks for fuel flow...  Fuel capacity is 95L (25 US gal; 21 imp gal), Range is an amazing 600 km (370 mi, 320 nmi). When ready just press the Starter Button to easily fire up the engine.

    Unlike the original A50, this is a modern powerplant, a 100 hp Rotax 912i that comes with more power as well than the older original installation of the  Armstrong Siddeley Genet which is a five-cylinder, air-cooled, radial engine for aircraft use, that was then built in the UK, and first run in 1926. 
    The Genet developed 80 hp at 2,200 rpm in its final form and was in this era a very popular light aircraft powerplant. The later Rotax 912 is a horizontally-opposed four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated, four-stroke aircraft engine with a reduction gearbox. It features liquid-cooled cylinder heads and air-cooled cylinders. Originally equipped with carburetors, the later versions are now fuel injected. It sounds brilliant, although these Rotax engine sounds are now very common in the X-Plane Simulator.
    There is no "Novice" setting for the tailwheel, it is either locked or free castoring under the X-Plane "Toggle tailwheel lock" setting... so taxiing is a tricky business, either power up with the tailwheel locked and use the toe-brakes heavily to drag the tail into the direction you want to go. Or use a combination of going straight, then "Toggling" the tailwheel on/off by the key Command and using a lighter touch on the toe-brake to turn, or if the aircraft is actually castoring in the right direction...   then locking the tailwheel again to go straight when turned to the right direction of travel...  messy and hard work, especially if you are not very competent with this taildragger style?

    You can't see much either when taxiing, as your just not positioned close up front behind the passenger, but sited way down in the rear, but central position in the aircraft.

    Overall the A50 Junior is just a simply Stick and Rudder aircraft, with a few modern tweaks. So you fly the machine in a very basic way.

    Tons of right rudder is needed to keep you straight and you will have to find that sweet position to counter the engine asymmetric thrust, your tail lifts just after 30 knts (33 knts) then the rudder aerodynamics now need the control, still giving right rudder, but your moving the pedals around now a bit finer. Takeoff is around 45 knts and officially noted as 250 m (820 ft), no flaps here.

    You don't really have a Vertical Speed, just a gradual climb out of around 400 fpm.

    You feel like Louis Blériot, the first person to cross the English Channel in 1909...   exposed in a simple aircraft, the wind rushing past your face (a small in your face fan helps with the effect)...  but it's great fun, aviation in it's very basic form in this very striking looking aircraft.

    Unlike the 1929 version, here you have on your A50 a few modern conveniences, like a full G1000 avionics package. So this gives you an Autopilot, and even Flightplans at your disposal (handy if you want to actually cross the English Channel).

    Only one slight annoyance is that to switch between the PFD and MAP/Flightplan popup displays, you first have to close the current screen, then move over to the other selection, and then reopen the other pop-up, it is slightly annoying when setting up a flight plan and having to keep going back and forth to each of the different popup displays.
    As noted you can move the head sideways with the front passenger, but the head still moves as well with the angle (bank) of the A50, which is very realistic, and both pilot and passenger heads move together in partnership.

    There are no liveries with the package. Although there is a choice of colours of the fuselage from the Modern Junkers A50 brochure, including; White Aluminium, Glacier White, Deep Black Pearl Effect, Papaya Metallic, Saffron Yellow Metallic and Frozen Blue...  I think they would be a nice addition to the package here.

    Lighting is of course extremely basic... no landing lights, just wing navigation and strobe lights. Light comes from the G1000 displays, but there are two side lights that have no lighting source. The AOA base is pretty as well.

    The A50 Junior is actually very nicely balanced if you get the Elevator Trim right, like most of the era, these light aircraft are fun and fine to twirl around the sky in, with no loss of height in steep banks or with heavy manoeuvres...  lovely actually.

    But these Light-Sports are very susceptible in winds, and the forces will shake you and buffet you around, as seen in this video.

    I need to have a look at my landing field, EGHR - Goodwood in the south of England. So I do an orientation pass over the field, and note the grass strips are very hard to see?

    But the G1000 does give you a few tools to help...  the Course Pointer in the HSI is great for aligning you going downwind in the landing pattern (then for runway course alignment). The G1000 HSI also has ILS alignment, but not here with the grass landing strips, but good to know if you want a landing alignment tool.

    Going downwind I drop down to 300ft and 73 knts, ready for the approach...  then a 180º turn back to the field, again using the course angle to set the Runway 32 approach. Now down 200 ft and dropping the speed to get the best descent angle...  a lot of feel (feedback) through the throttle is very good.

    There are no flaps here to reduce the speed zone, but it feels like a bi-plane in lift, pulling back on the stick, the A50 easily rubs off the speed to make the approach quite perfect, the Junkers Junior handles so well.

    Coming into finals on the 32 Approach, I'm not familiar with the airfield, so I'm a little off angle, but I'm fine with that...  Now the AOA "Eagle" feature comes alive, and I'm tracking too low at the rear...  gradually I adjust the pitch nose down to move the AOA upwards.

    It is very good, it sets the A50 up to the almost perfect angle for landing, throttle power is now my other tool to control the final descent. consistently adjusting the speed and AOA angle until they both perfectly match...

    ...   On the perfect AOA blue circle, and your set, and then you glide down onto the grass, and then touch!

    Then let the rear settle.

    Considering the almost One Hundred years between the first A50, and this new modern counterpart. The flight aspect in the stick and rudder, metal long tube fuselage and lovely wings. It is just the instruments that are different, but the actual A50 flight experience is remarkably the same.
    The Junkers A50 already is a legend. As it was the first Sportsplane, and designed by Hermann Pohlmann in the Junkers works. The first flight of the A50 took place on 13 February 1929. It was followed by a further four prototypes, in order to test different engines, but settled on a 80-hp, 5-cylinder radial engine.
    The A50 was an all metal construction sports plane, conventional in layout, with low cantilever wings and stressed corrugated duralumin covered, the same material as used in the Zeppelin Airships.... Two-spar wings could fold rearwards or be detached. Crew of two, sit in tandem, in separate open cockpits (if it flew without a passenger, one cockpit could be closed with a cover). The A50 used a Two-blade propeller and conventional fixed split axle main-wheel landing gear, with a rear skid. Junkers expected to produce 5,000 aircraft, but stopped after manufacturing only 69, of which only 50 were sold.
    The aircraft however has not been resigned to the past. In 2022, Junkers Aircraft Works began production of a modernized version of the A50 called the "Junior S" for LSA approval. This new A50 features modern avionics, a 100 hp Rotax 912iS engine driving a composite MT-Propeller, and a ballistic parachute. As of May 2023, 27 of these new A50s have sold in Europe, and plans have been made for WACO Aircraft Corporation to produce aircraft for American customers. Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category is a small 2 seat aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 600kg.
    This A50 aircraft is from renowned vSkyLabs, and it is based on the modern German version, it comes with a dual display G1000 Avionics system, 'Alpha Systems' Eagle AOA (Angle of Attack) and semi-animated pilots. Beautifully designed and well recreated of the original look and feel of this unique material, it is also tailored for perfect VR (Virtual Reality) realism. Flight dynamics and (Rotex) engine sounds are also first rate.
    Basically the A50 is a simple stick and rudder aircraft, from originally a dynamic era of change in aviation. So the aircraft to use and fly is simply excellent for novices, but beware the taildragger steering is tricky and difficult to use on the ground with no artificial helpers.
    So recreate and fly in this 1920's innovative era aircraft, with a modern twist, I really loved it...  once in the air, and to have the features of using modern tools (Autopilot, Flightplans, HSI, ILS alignment) should feel odd in this environment, but I still loved it. Even if I will always desire the authentic 1920's experience. The vSkyLabs A50 Junior is great value as well, as is the excellent on-going support from vSkyLabs...  so in my eyes the Junkers A50 Junior is an all round winner.

    Yes! Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA XP12 by vSkyLabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA XP12
    Price is US$29.00, on sale for US$20.30, You Save:$8.70(30%)
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac and Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.0 (March 29th 2024)  
    Project Main Features:
    VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot' Project: designed for use with X-Plane cutting edge flight model environment, featuring superb flight dynamics with authentic performance and flight handling characteristics. Superb Flight dynamics: The VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior simulation is a highly engineered, robust tail-glider S-LSA simulation model which makes use of X-Plane 12 sophisticated flight dynamics and physics simulation, extracting it to its limits. Simulated systems: The VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior features X-Plane 12 latest native features, systems and physics. This assures a 'high airworthiness' in X-Plane, throughout its update process. Some systems may be restricted to X-Plane default systems algorithms. General cockpit configuration: Equipped with a full-scale and fully-featured X-Plane 12 G1000, in a single-screen / dual-display configuration, to allow maximum usability. Equipped with Alpha Systems AOA 'Eagle' indicator replica. Passenger leaning-aside feature for better takeoff and landing forward visibility (by demand via interaction/assignment). Built for VR: development was tailored specifically for VR, and optimized for 2D usage. Perfect fit for beginner and expert pilots: The aircraft is designed to be flown from the back-seat cockpit. This configuration requires higher piloting skills, and it *will* make you a better pilot!. The front-seat cockpit is fully functional as well, with the limitations which are derived from the real-world Junkers A50 Junior front-seat operations). Wonderful FMOD sound package that includes authentic Rotax 912iS engine recordings and an interactive set of dynamic sound layers that will "wrap" your open-cockpit flying experience, setting a whole new level of immersion! Autoupdater based on the SkunkCrafts autoupdater (XP12 only) - all updates are being pushed smoothly without the need to re-download the entire base package (base package will be updated every once in a while to minimize the gap).   Note: In order to use and enjoy VR environment in X-Plane, user hardware and system specs should meet the required specifications for OS, CPU, GPU, MB and RAM which are specified both in the given VR hardware websites and at X-Plane.com.   Aircraft download is 290.1 Mb, and unpacked then installed in your X-Plane  Aircraft folder 408.5 Mb   Documents How to INSTALL your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf How to UPDATE your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf  
    VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior ESSENTIALS.pdf VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior POH.pdf  

    Designed by VSKYLABS Support forum for the Junkers A50 Junior _____________________
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGKA - Shoreham - Brighton City Airport by NKdesign (X-Plane.orgStore) US$15.00
    - EGHR - Goodwood Chichester 1.0.0 by  jbnemo (X-Plane.Org) - Free
    Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    5th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved

  17. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Dominic Smith in Aircraft Plugin Review: Reality Expansion Pack for DHC-2 Beaver by Simcoders   
    Aircraft Plugin Review: Reality Expansion Pack for DHC-2 Beaver by Simcoders

    By Michael Hayward

    The de Havilland DHC-2 "Beaver" is a well-loved high-wing propeller aircraft that was produced in Canada from 1947–1967. With over 1,600 units produced, many continue to grace the skies today, demonstrating exceptional performance in rugged terrains and on water with the addition of floats.

    In 2020, Thranda released their rendition of the DHC-2 for X-Plane, later updating it for X-Plane 12 compatibility. This model has garnered praise for its attention to detail and realism, as highlighted in Stephen’s thoroughly detailed review.

    This review takes a closer examination of the Reality Expansion Pack (REP) by SimCoders for the Thranda DHC-2. This enhancement introduces a plethora of features and adjustments that elevate the aircraft’s realism beyond its original release. It includes a virtual economy system and improved flight checks, offering a more immersive flying experience.

    Having had some experience with the aircraft prior to the expansion pack, I am keen to explore the depth of enhancements SimCoders has integrated. Let's delve deeper, shall we?

    It's a tricky installation, because you are installing a package (REP) on top of another package (Thranda DC-2). Then have to blend them together. Note that you will need the original DHC-2 Beaver - DGS Series XP12 Package to install this Add-On. First you will need to duplicate the Thranda DC2 aircraft to create a secondary aircraft file folder...
    When downloaded in the REP Package, there are two Folders, a read-me installation pdf and a REP user Manual.

    One folder "Into-aircraft-main-folder" goes into the main DC-3 Beaver root folder. It will ask you to overwrite two files...

    Second install folder is the "Into-aircraft-plugins-folder" which is put in the Thranda DC-2 Plugins folder.

    On Startup of the REP-Thranda DC-2, you will be asked to authorise (Enable) two items, both the original Thranda DC-2 Aircraft, and the separate REP Pack...  this is done via the REP Pack menu in the Plugins folder.... "Enable package"

    Then the REP Installation process is completed.

    When installed the REP Menus are accessed via both the side quick "Pop-out Menu", and the more detailed menu in the "Plugins Menu".

    The Pop-out Menu has Six Options; Show Checklists, Show Fuel Management, Toggle Walkaround Mode, Toggle Low Mode, Toggle Maintenance report and Engine autostart...  these items are reflected in the Plugin Menu. 
    Added options in the Plugin Menu include; Settings, Wear out to (Brand New, Privately Owned - New, Privately Owned - Old, Flying Club), Check Fuel Price at airport, Toggle Static Elements, Disable Package and About.

     Key Features Overview
    SimCoders have introduced several key enhancements to the Thranda DHC-2 with their expansion pack, each designed to deepen the simulation experience.

    A hallmark of X-Plane is its ability to replicate realistic flight dynamics, significantly influenced by the aircraft’s airfoil shape. In this expansion, considerable effort has been invested in refining the DHC-2’s flight behaviour. This includes modifications to stall speeds, climb and cruise speeds, weight distribution, and balance, as well as enhancements to taxiing behaviour, contributing to a more authentic feeling, both on the ground and in the air.

    Included in the expansion is an economy system that allows pilots to accumulate virtual currency through completed flights. This currency can then be allocated towards fuel purchases and aircraft maintenance, enriching the Beaver experience with an added layer of strategy and management.

    Another notable feature is an enriched walkaround system, enabling pilots to conduct thorough pre-flight inspections outside the aircraft, enhancing the realism of pre-flight preparations.

    A significant overhaul detailed by SimCoders is the re-engineering of the engine system. By replacing the default engine with a custom-designed alternative, they introduce a range of factors for pilots to consider and manage. This, along with modifications to the electrical systems and battery configurations, will be discussed further in this review.

    Additional improvements include simulation state changes, maintenance protocols, and pilot behaviour adjustments, all aiming to mirror the lifelike intricacies of operating a DHC-2.

    These enhancements collectively serve to elevate the simulation experience, introducing a variety of real-world considerations into virtual flight that offer a comprehensive and educational exploration into the mechanics of flight.

    Flight and Ground Dynamics
    We begin by exploring the enhanced flight and ground dynamics of the DHC-2 Beaver. 

    Flying the Beaver is relatively straightforward, offering a smooth experience when airborne and requiring minimal pilot intervention once properly trimmed. A comfortable cruise speed is approximately 125 knots, though it's capable of reaching 140 knots at full throttle, with the propellers set to high RPM and the mixture at maximum rich. These performance figures align closely with the real aircraft, which is documented to cruise at 124 knots at 5,000 feet and can achieve a maximum cruise speed of 137 knots under ideal conditions.

    The aircraft's climb and descent profiles have been carefully adjusted to mirror those of the actual Beaver, with an average climb rate of about 1,000 feet per minute. Its maximum cruising altitude is noted to be 18,000 feet, adhering to the US standard for altimeters. Note the "Tips" in the REP banner, they guide you through areas that are the best to fly and maintain the Beaver in flight.

    Maintenance of your aircraft is key, as parts wear down over time, directly impacting fuel efficiency and flight performance. For instance, a clogged fuel filter will manifest as reduced fuel flow on the gauges, limiting engine power. Consequently, pilots must manage their aircraft's condition and flight performance proactively to extend its operational lifespan.

    The development team at SimCoders, comprised of pilots with real-world experience possibly even with the DHC-2 itself, has dedicated substantial effort to ensure the flight dynamics are as true to life as possible.

    The Beaver is equipped with five ground configurations: standard tires, tundra tires, skis, floats, and amphibious floats, each altering its separate distinctive handling characteristics. With tires, it operates as a taildragger, incorporating a redesigned suspension system for smoother navigation across soft terrain. Pilots are cautioned against oversteering, as locking the wheel can lead to abrupt stops.

    Water operations offer a distinct and enjoyable challenge, as the Beaver handles well on calm waters, but adverse weather can necessitate skilled corrective manoeuvres to maintain control.

    Engine and Systems Complexity
    A standout feature of the SimCoders DHC-2 Beaver expansion is the overhaul of the engine function and logic. Rather than refining the existing Thranda engine, SimCoders dismantled it to construct an entirely new engine, integrating this with their unique maintenance and damage model.

    This reimagined engine now accurately reflects the performance of the Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior, the powerplant used in the aircraft. Enhancements even extend to the propeller animations, offering more realistic visuals through subtle vibrations and speed fluctuations with engine and throttle adjustments.

    With the introduction of a new engine comes a detailed startup procedure. While it's technically possible to initiate a cold start, it's ill-advised due to potential wear on the engine and the need for precise priming to get it running. Instead, SimCoders added a preheater option to warm the engine chamber for a smoother start, negating the need for priming. This attention to detail includes the low-tension booster coil, critical for initiating fuel combustion during engine startup. If you don't want to do this, then there is the "Autostart" feature that does the tricky work for you...  the startup procedure is shown in a banner top of your screen, and the startup process is extremely authentic including exhaust effects.

    Fuel and oil dynamics are more sophisticated, with temperature variations influencing fuel viscosity. This affects how easily fuel can be pumped through the system, highlighting the challenges of cold starts and the potential for fuel flooding if the engine is shut down shortly after starting. These issues can be identified during pre-flight inspections and addressed through maintenance.

    Pilots must also pay close attention to the avionics state during engine startups and shutdowns to avoid damaging the systems. I learned this lesson the hard way, failing to notice my attitude indicator was inoperative after takeoff, leading to unintended banks and, subsequently, a costly virtual repair.

    These intricacies significantly enrich the experience, demanding more attentive micromanagement from pilots to maintain safe and efficient aircraft operation.

    Economic and Custom Systems
    SimCoders introduces an economy panel for the DHC-2 Beaver, drawing parallels to virtual airlines where good flying earns points and promotions, but here, it's all about the financial health of your aircraft. This feature, while optional, adds an additional intriguing dimension to the experience, allowing pilots to manage the economic aspects of aircraft operation.

    Damaged a gauge? That’ll hit your wallet. A broken flap and its linkage might just make you consider remortgaging your virtual home! The more damage your aircraft sustains, the more you’ll find yourself investing in repairs. And it doesn’t stop at repairs; even refuelling the Beaver costs, with fuel prices fluctuating based on your global location. On the lookout for savings? Word on the street is that Venezuela offers the world's most budget-friendly fuel prices! 

    The economic system is designed to integrate seamlessly with well-known virtual airline platforms like FSEconomy and X-CPL-Pilot, enhancing the experience for pilots already engaged in virtual aviation careers. And you have to access, or create an "Aircraft Key" to use the Economy System...

    Another enjoyable feature is the towing system. Although straightforward, it provides a practical method for aircraft positioning on the ground. Pilots can secure the aircraft when parked and then manoeuvre it using the joystick, offering a user-friendly and realistic ground handling experience.

    Additionally, the Beaver is fully compatible with VR, inviting pilots to immerse themselves in a highly realistic virtual cockpit and environment, enhancing the overall experience of flying the Beaver in X-Plane.

    Interactive Walkaround and Maintenance
    SimCoders’ pièce de résistance in their DHC-2 Beaver expansion is the comprehensive damage engine and maintenance panel.
    Operating an aircraft that has been flying for over sixty years, requires special care and attention, especially as a lot of the technology used is now dated. SimCoders emphasizes the necessity for correct pilot procedures to prevent wear and tear. An early lesson I learned is the importance of deactivating avionics during engine startups and shutdowns to avoid system failures. With the economy feature activated, repairs come with a price tag, proportional to the damage extent. The risk of overstressing parts to the point of affecting flight surfaces and potential failure highlights the significance of careful handling. Indeed, a malfunctioning Beaver is an unwelcome scenario for any pilot.
    On the ground, pilots can generate and review a maintenance report detailing the aircraft's condition, including the state of engine cylinders, oil, filters, and pumps. Over time, these components degrade, presenting the pilot with repair decisions to maintain optimal performance.

    A notable addition is the virtual walkaround, allowing pilots to exit the cockpit and conduct a thorough visual inspection prior to flight. This interactive feature includes a checklist for assessing potential wing damage, ensuring engine components are intact, confirming cylinder integrity, and verifying the pitot tube is clear. Successfully completing these checks ensures the aircraft is flight ready.

    This system not only emphasizes the necessity of maintaining operational safety but also introduces the realistic challenges and expenses associated with aircraft ownership. As systems wear and potentially fail, constant vigilance over your Beaver's condition is crucial for sustained operation.

    Embarking on the journey with the Thranda Design DHC-2 Beaver, supplemented by the SimCoders Enhancement Pack REP, which introduces a captivating complexity to piloting this beloved aircraft. The addition places a significant emphasis on engine performance and maintenance management, transforming routine flights into a series of informed decisions and actions.

    The degradation of components serves as a constant reminder of the aircraft’s demands, underscoring the importance of thorough management and adherence to operational protocols. Piloting the Beaver not only becomes an exercise in flying skills but also in vigilance and preventive care, ensuring longevity and reliability.

    This enhancement pack enriches the original aircraft with a deeply immersive engine simulation, where even minor variations in engine startup procedures can influence the entire flight experience. This level of detail demands a more nuanced understanding and appreciation of the aircraft’s operational characteristics.

    Adding to the complexity is the virtual economy feature, which introduces financial decision-making into the mix. Pilots must carefully manage their virtual funds, prioritizing repairs and maintenance to ensure the aircraft remains airworthy, while also navigating the compromises of system management.

    To benefit from this comprehensive enhancement pack, pilots must have the Thranda DHC-2 Beaver for X-Plane 12 in their collection, as it is not backward compatible with X-Plane 11. For enthusiasts of the golden age of aviation who desire a hands-on, intricate flying experience, this enhancement pack is an invaluable addition, offering a richly detailed and rewarding challenge.

    The...   Reality Expansion Pack REP for DHC-2 Beaver XP12 by Simcoders is available from the Org store here:
    Reality Expansion Pack for DHC-2 Beaver XP12
    On sale: $US19.99 US$13.99
    You Save:$6.00(30%)
    Ultra Realistic Flight & Ground Dynamics
    Realistic stall speeds & behavior Correct climb speeds Realistic cruise speeds Real World Weight & Balance Realistic taxi behavior with realistic spring-loaded/free-castoring tailwheel Complex Damages System Triggered by the pilot actions Based on real world data Target every system in the aircraft Meant to teach you how to correctly manage an airplane Economic System
    Can be enabled/disabled on the fly Earn virtual money when you fly Use virtual money to buy fuel and do maintenance/repairs Realistic fuel prices around the World Fully compatible with FSEconomy and X-CPL-Pilot More info at https://www.simcoders.com/reality-expansion-pack/economy Custom Towing System
    Driven by the joystick/steering wheel Realistic point of view (POV) Interacts with tie-down and brakes Interactive Walkaround
    Cockpit checks Lights checks Engine soft cover removal Aileron, rudder, elevator and flaps check Tire check and choks removal Tie-down removal Pitot tube check Engine cowl check Floats and water rudder check Realistic Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior Engine Logic
    100% Custom engine model Realistic power output for given manifold pressure/RPM settings Realistic propeller animations as never seen before on X-Plane Realistic booster coil Switch between conventional and Bendix-Stromberg pressure carburetor (with automatic mixture) Correct fuel consumption Oil System: 1. Realistic oil viscosity 2. Interchangeable oil type 3. Oil pump failures 4. Realistic oil filter Fuel System: 1. Realistic wobble pump 2. Realistic fuel pressure behavior 3. Realistic fuel filter 4. Realistic primer Starter Realistic startup procedure Automatic startup procedure for newbies Realistic engine temperatures Fuel Flooding simulation The engine parts wear down when not managed correctly Engine Preheater
    The engine may be warmed up upon start with the provided electrical heater Once activated, the electrical heater runs even when you close the simulator Realistic Landing Gear
    The landing gear is damaged by hard landings The brakes and tires are damaged if not managed correctly The steering wheel acts like the real one. Spring loaded under 35° of turn, then free castoring. Electrical & Avionics System
    Realistic Battery The avionics are damaged if on when the engine starts/shuts down Native Virtual Reality Support
    Complete support of new X-Plane SDK 3.0 Menu visible in VR Windows visible in VR Learn with the in-flight tips A non invasive tip with a suggestion about the conduct of the flight is shown when you are not flying the airplane properly A non invasive tip with a suggestion on how to recover the problem is shown when you damage the airplane Custom simulation of Hypoxia
    Tunnel vision Hard breathing Popup Kneeboard
    Normal operations checklist Emergency operations checklist Reference tables (speed, fuel consumption etc.) May be shown/hidden with mouse gestures Simulation state saving
    Every single switch and lever position restores its position when you reload the aircraft The battery may discharge if you leave it on and then close X-Plane The engine restores its cylinders and oil temperature basing on the elapsed time between restarts Maintenance Hangar
    Engine maintenance tab Electrical systems maintenance tab Landing gear, brakes & tires tab Instruments tab Economic System tab HeadShake Integration
    REP drives HeadShake to simulate the correct vibrations of the Wasp Junior engine Developed with love
    Coded by real pilots Very easy on FPS Written in C++ with no compromises  
    This is an add-on to the DHC-2 Beaver - DGS Series XP12. It will not work on the Thranda DHC-2 Beaver XP11 or any other aircraft.
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
    Current version: XP 12 - 4.8.2 (February 10th, 2024)
    Customers who own the Reality Expansion Pack for DHC-2 Beaver XP11, can get the new XP12 version for 30% off. Coupon code can be found in the original invoice.
    Reviewers System:
    Windows 10 Professional
    AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor
    32GB RAM
    Palit GeForce RTX™ 3080 GamingPro
    Scenery Review by Michael Hayward 
    2nd April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews 
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) 

  18. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Behind the Screen : March 2024   
    Behind the Screen : March 2024
    On the 4th of February 2024, there was a Developer's conference in Montreal for X-Plane Simulator platform. Here the best and most prominent developers joined together to work out not only the future of the X-Plane Simulator, but also to share their friendship in meeting their fellow workers in arms.
    Laminar Research was at the same conference as well. That should have been a huge advantage in working with the very people that do the core workings of the X-Plane Simulator, the setting was ripe for setting a future roadmap and an agenda for X-Plane from both sides of the Simulator...  but the conference didn't end to that satisfaction.
    At the height of the conference, Laminar Research announced that they were going to create a product store within the X-Plane Simulator, a reflection of the same arrangement that is part of the MSFS 2020 (Microsoft Simulator) platform.
    This sudden announcement did not unite the developers to the Laminar cause, in fact it divided the conference, and in itself created a rolling discontent among the the attendees, certainly when the news hit the forums, all sorts of comments came out.
    Initially most users were very supportive of the internal store idea, yes another store, and one built directly into the Simulator, this aspect is a major plus....  but X-Plane is not at all structured like Microsoft's Simulator, it is not a large single central entity, but a Universe with many different revolving planets, and set at it's centre are two massive Jupiter sized planets called Laminar Research and the X-Plane.Org.
    Initially Laminar Research never dealt with the user side of the Simulator, it was (still is) the founder and on going developer of the Simulator. The X-Plane.Org grew out of the need for users to interact, create and support the X-Plane Simulator. In the early day's it was a sort of clubby meeting place to share and communicate all things X-Plane. I'm not saying that MSFS also has this same network of user sites and forums set around it and in giving support and communication to the platform, in fact every platform has it's own network. But the central core of development and selling product at MSFS is embedded directly into the system, it is even hosted and run as an online game.
    But X-Plane's in it's arrangement was more focused and generalised than the others. Someone noted that the X-Plane.Org is not the centre of the X-Plane universe, as other sites contribute to the platform, and yes I agree with that aspect in file sharing and product sales, like the Fly Away Simulation sites, but most are only sales sites (Orbx, Just Flight & SimMarket). But the X-Plane.Org is different in that it supports the Developers directly or even indirectly in the support of creating the products to use in the Simulator.
    Early days of X-Plane were mostly based around the PlaneMaker tool provided with the Simulator, mostly aircraft were then generic, but clever in a customised way. So the clubby .Org supported these products as they were mostly freeware based. But even in these early years, the X-Plane.Org struggled for support.
    Sites and platforms cost money to host and maintain. Free is all very nice, but it doesn't buy you servers and software to run it all, and very quickly the site required money to support the ever expanding user base. Donations was an early trial, but failed as they were not very consistent and worse in not really giving enough financial support to the .Org site. The solution came with Nicolas Taureau, and he set up a store to sell the now more quality based "Payware" products, but the funds also supported the .Org in succession and allowed it to thrive and grow into the big utility it is today. Most of this important support is not aggrandised or visually translated, as is Taureau's personality, understated is more to the point, but important is the support of the .Org system to the X-Plane platform, of which X-PlaneReviews is also a benefactor.
    So now you have the X-Plane Universe, with Laminar Research and the X-Plane.Org running in parallel or in orbits around each other, Laminar in not wanting the commercial side of the Simulator, bar of selling a few cups and T-Shirts. And the X-Plane.Org system supporting the developer and user base. So what happens if you move the financial base of developers and sales of the X-Plane Simulator directly to the new store? in reality, you are blowing the X-Plane universe apart, and I really don't think that a lot of users realised that the amount of the support funding of the X-Plane.Org, developer support and loads of other auxiliary items that was generated by the X-Plane.OrgStore...   and neither did Austin Meyer's, head honcho of Laminar Research. All he saw was a store in MSFS and the money he could generate if he installed inside X-Plane the same system as Microsoft, a good idea financially, but structurally unsound for his own creation.
    We have to understand, and oddly the original mission of X-Plane was for it to be a platform of experimentation of all things aviation. That is the core of PlaneMaker as well, although that aspect was left behind more than a decade ago. In wanting far better functionality and higher quality Simulation, it had move on pass the basic origins of PlaneMaker to plugin based custom products. This now is really the contention of the issue and where the money goes to. Obviously Laminar Research want to expand beyond being just the gatekeeper of X-Plane.
    So there are currently a lot of issues created by the announcement of 4th February 2024. Certainly it has the promise to unstable a very balanced current system, and the ramifications are enormous if Laminar Research get this idea wrong, and creates questions...  but what of a store with very few products to sell?  Would they in the future also financially support the user base...  they made a very big message over the decades of not getting or even involved at all in this aspect, but they would be either the demise of it, or even damaging it beyond repair... if that scenerio was possible, could it also damage the X-Plane model as a simulator entirely? Kill the very goose that lays the golden eggs... I'm doomsaying again, but this time not without reason. 
    So we are at a threshold, not a runway one were X-Plane gets to land safely beyond the fence and onto the hard solid runway. Since the 4th of February announcement, there has been no forth coming new announcements or details from Laminar Research, except for a few flashy images on the X-Plane website and social media. Obviously the next announcement will be the launch of the store, and it's insertion into the X-Plane Simulator. It will be very good, as Laminar are very good at these sort of things. But there is far more required than opening a store, but of the quality of the stock inside of it.
    Loyalty to Nicolas Taureau is also extremely strong, and why not. He has supported and cultivated the core product of the Simulator for more than over a decade, and make no mistake here in not doing it selfishly for just for the product to sell, but to give talented developers the resources and support they needed to acquire the skills we take for granted, and with the excellent products we all use.
    How this current store scenario plays out will be important to the future of the Simulator, hopefully we will have an answer by Q3 as announced for the opening of the LR Store in the 3rd quarter of the year...   one thing is very sure, the X-Plane Simulator we used only last year, will be a very different to the one we will be using at the end of 2024.
    There was no edition of BtheS in February 2024, as I went of a well earned holiday, break..  or a cruise around the South Pacific. Obviously the 4th February announcement traveled with me, but I did get a well deserved change of scenery and a big sea refresh. But my demur was already more brighter before the departure, in fact since late 2023, when X-Plane through version 12.0.9, and behaved itself. A second South Pacific X-Plane related revisit to Tahiti in the same region was simply sheer coincidence, but translated the same to the X-Plane Simulator in how it mirrors the real world.
    Now we are looking forward to X-Plane 12 v12.1.0...   the v12.1.0 update is expected to be a landmark release outside of a formal version change. Most of the focus is on graphics, including the nasty Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) Improvements, Water improvements, RCAS (Robust Contrast Adaptive Sharpening), Bloom effects and better particle effects. Systems include a better G1000 functionality, Stormscope, Traffic Map and Airport METAR flags... a new STEC ST-360 Autopilot is also included, new tools include better screenshot effects, which suits us really well... it is quite a list. With everything, then this post Easter holiday will be one of the most interesting yet, and the version v12.1.0 was highlighted with great reception at the FS Weekend in the Netherlands. Expect a beta release within weeks.
    Importantly those on-going v12.1.0 is more better system refinements, in shifting the heavy workload from your Graphics card over to the Processor. We expected this aspect for the release of X-Plane 12, but it will come now about mid-term in the X-Plane 12 version run. The changes will not magically fix your framerate, as heavier graphics will equalise out the benefits of less load on the Graphic Card, but it will overall make the X-Plane Simulator more efficient. I was a little annoyed about this aspect as I invested heavily in the processor side in my last system upgrade with the earlier announcement, then finding that Laminar was leaning even more heavily than ever onto the Graphic card side, so more expense was required to beef up that hardware side, now they are going back to the original focus, it is annoying and expensive as well to cater for these changing whims.
    Another change over the month was the upgrading of scenery for X-Plane 12. Finally the slow dribble has started to be a better flow from scenery developers, Aerosoft particularly was very active in releasing replacements and improvements to scenery that have been a long time dormant, and obviously we need more to come, a lot more. Although noted as an ever constant developing Simulator, X-Plane 12 will hopefully reach a mature point with the release of v12.1.0. Then that aspect bringing in even more resources for users to experience.
    So Q2 has a lot of potential to be one of the best period of 2024 for some big quality releases, even if it dribbles into the Northern Summer. But developers need a better more mature Simulator to bring quality releases to the Users, that aspect was something quite lacking over the last few years...  it is time for X-Plane 12 to turn the corner...  and that is said on April Fools day!
    See you all next month.
    Stephen Dutton
    1st April 2024
    Copyright©2024 X-Plane Reviews

  19. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Dominic Smith in Aircraft Update Review: Boeing 757 Professional Global package v2.6.12 by FlightFactor/VMax   
    Aircraft Update Review: Boeing 757 Professional Global package v2.6.12 by FlightFactor/VMax
    By DrishalMAC2
    The Boeing 757, a twin-engine marvel with a narrow body, represents an enduring legacy in commercial aviation. Launched in the early 1980s, this adaptable aircraft was the result of Boeing's dedication to addressing the industry's growing demands for a medium-haul mainstay. With its distinctive narrow fuselage and potent twin engines, the Boeing 757 rapidly gained a reputation for its efficiency and flexibility across a variety of routes.

    Engineered to span the divide between short and medium-haul flights, the Boeing 757 has become essential for airlines in search of a dependable, fuel-efficient solution for both domestic and transatlantic trips. Despite the arrival of newer models, the Boeing 757 continues to enchant aviation aficionados and professionals, representing a time when innovation met practicality in an iconic design.

    In this review, I revisit the FlightFactor 757, previously reviewed by Stephen way in X-Plane 10, this time within X-Plane 12. My goal is to offer a balanced examination of how this well-regarded model has adapted to the advancements and features of X-Plane 12. Join me as we explore the updated performance, features, and overall experience it delivers, assessing its fidelity to the real-world aircraft's legacy and its place in the virtual aviation world.

    Installing the FF 757 is remarkably straightforward. Firstly, download the file from the X-Plane.org store, unzip it, and then place it in the X-Plane/Aircraft directory. When you load the aircraft for the first time, you'll be prompted to enter your licence key, which can be found in the “My Account” section of the X-Plane.org store. After you've reloaded the simulator, you can start enjoying your brand new 757! Updating the aircraft is just as easy; you have the option to download the update from the store and drag and drop the files into the aircraft folder, or alternatively, you can download and install X-Updater and use it to update the aircraft. Personally, I find X-Updater to be the preferred method as it's very quick and straightforward.
    The FlightFactor 757 Global package is accompanied by ten distinct PDF documents relating to the aircraft. These encompass a variety of resources such as the "752 Checklist v1.1 Double side," "752 Checklist v1.1 Full Page," the extensive "757 FCOM," "757 Remote CDU Manual," "757-300 performance," supplementary "FCOM FPDS," "FMS (All Variants)," and three versions of the manual including "Manual," "ManualFPDS," and "ManualVR." These documents are incredibly detailed and informative, with the "757 FCOM" document alone surpassing 1,000 pages in length! Indeed, you've read that correctly…a staggering 1,000 pages!

    About FlightFactor
    FlightFactor continues to offer regular updates and enhancements for their 757/767 and A320neo models. While the A350 remains supported, updates for it are issued less frequently. The 757 and 767 models are notably similar, both in terms of quality and flight experience (in real-world aviation, they share the same Type Rating). FlightFactor is also working on the eagerly awaited Boeing 777 V2, expected to be released later this year. This upcoming version is highly anticipated to establish a new benchmark for payware aircraft in X-Plane 12.

    Versions and Variants
    The X-Plane.org store offers several packages of the 757, each catering to different preferences and requirements:
    Boeing 757 Professional, which focuses on the 757-200 model. Boeing 757 Extended, encompassing the 757-200, 757-300, 757-SF Cargo, and 757-C32 variants. Boeing 757 Global Pack, a comprehensive collection that includes all variants alongside a modern avionics package. For the purposes of this review, we will concentrate on the Global Pack, as, in terms of quality, all variants are remarkably similar. Included with the Global Pack are a total of fifteen liveries, which includes a blank paint kit. These liveries are mostly specific to the passenger, freighter, or C32 versions of the aircraft, representing a generous selection that encompasses several of the primary 757 operators.

    It’s worth noting that upon loading the aircraft, a popup will emerge, offering options to configure aspects such as the aircraft’s engines and winglets.

    Recent months have seen significant updates to the aircraft, enhancing both its performance and realism in X-Plane 12. Notable among these improvements is the refinement of spoilers and flaps drag in version 2.6.9, aimed at achieving greater accuracy and optimisation for X-Plane 12. Moreover, version 2.6.10 addressed the "slow flight controls" issue, a problem that emerged with the comprehensive X-Plane 12 overhaul introduced in update 2.6.6. FlightFactor has also been fine-tuning the engine performance and lighting, further optimising these elements for X-Plane 12.

    In addition, "Apple Silicon native support" was recently introduced, alongside fixes for multiple bugs, including the "default view and fuel issues in the -300 variant" and a "possible engine shutdown" bug. These updates underscore FlightFactor's commitment to the continuous improvement of this aircraft. Furthermore, with update 2.6.10, the dependency on "libGLU" was eliminated, streamlining the software's operation. This series of updates highlights the FlightFactor team's dedication and ongoing efforts to enhance and refine the aircraft. 
    Current version at time of writing is 2.6.12, which adds/addresses the following: 
    Added an ability to enable/disable LuaJIT from the tablet Added BUS ISOLATED eicas messages Fixed RAT door LIT texture issue Fixed cockpit windows de-ice feature (xp12) Fixed possible unexpected ILS freq/crs changing without your input Fixed CG calculation in the tablet (xp12) Fixed the RAT beacon color Fixed the stab in 200, RF and C-32 Small fixes for de-ice systems Small fixes for brake press indication Got rid of libGLU dependency in FF_Effects plugin Retuned fuel flow Exterior Modelling
    The exterior modelling of the 757 is nicely executed, with the aircraft being accurately depicted within X-Plane 12. While it may not boast the highest level of detail, it is certainly more than satisfactory, especially when taking into account the aircraft's size and the potential impact on performance. 

    The landing gear and engines are exceptionally well-modelled, standing out as particularly high-quality elements. However, there are areas that could benefit from further refinement, such as the roof where the SATCOMs are situated, which appears to require a slight visual

    Exterior Texturing
    The exterior texturing of the aircraft is generally satisfactory, with most essential details captured, though some textures display a lower resolution, even when the “texture quality” setting in X-Plane is maximized. The engines, for instance, feature exceptionally sharp manufacturer logos, including those of Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney. Similarly, warning labels and text maintain a high level of clarity. However, textures depicting panel edges, bolts, and signs of wear such as dirt and scratches are of markedly lower quality, detracting from the overall immersive experience. This inconsistency extends to the fuselage, where although text on the doors is crisp and clear, other elements like panel edges and bolts suffer from low resolution. While parts of the landing gear textures are well executed, others fall short of this standard. In conclusion, the exterior visuals are acceptable, especially considering that the majority of the time is spent in the cockpit, engaged in flight. In saying that, there is considerable room for improvement to enhance the visual fidelity and immersion of the model.

    Interior Modelling
    The cockpit's interior modelling is impressively executed, with every knob, switch, and lever accurately rendered to reflect the real Boeing 757 flight deck's high level of detail. The overhead panel, with its switches and buttons, looks particularly well modelled, as does the Flight Management Computer (FMC). The yoke, tiller, and throttle levers are also nicely modelled, though, when compared to actual photographs of the flight deck, the yoke appears somewhat smaller than its real-world counterpart.

    In the passenger variants, the seat modelling is nicely done, presenting a nice level of detail. However, the rest of the cabin does not maintain this standard; the galley is notably featureless, and the modelling of the overhead lights and seat buttons is lacking. Interestingly, the rear galley exhibits slightly more detail than the forward galley, which seems slightly strange. 

    The C32 variant boasts a unique interior cabin that mirrors a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), with the general modelling quality on par with the passenger variants. A feature which stands out is the command room, which is exquisitely detailed and offers a high degree of authenticity.

    As for the freighter variant, it features a simplified forward galley, but access to the cargo hold from the interior is not modelled. The cargo hold can only be viewed using the “free look” camera mode. Although the cargo hold's modelling is basic, it adequately represents such a space. Given the primary focus on the cockpit (which has evidently received the bulk of attention and effort) the lack of intricate detail in the cargo hold does not significantly detract from the overall experience.

    Interior Texturing
    Within the cockpit, the texturing, in my view, falls somewhat short, as the textures appear "flat" and lack the nuanced details of wear and tear one might expect. While the textures on switches and knobs are consistent and accurate, they do not convey a sense of the aircraft having been frequently used. Essentially, the cockpit looks almost brand new, apart from some slight weathering, which, for an aircraft that is getting on in years, seems like a missed opportunity in which to introduce some signs of wear, such as peeling paint. However, the colour accuracy, when compared to real-world images of the Boeing 757 flight deck, is pretty much spot on.

    On the positive side, the sharpness and legibility of text within the cockpit are outstanding features. The jump-seat texture is also notably sharp and detailed. Furthermore, the lighting on the overhead panel buttons is well executed, contributing to a more immersive experience. The inclusion of dirt and scratches on the displays adds a layer of realism, with the extent of wear adjustable via three settings in the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), a feature we'll explore in greater detail later.

    The cabin textures in the passenger variant mirror some of the cockpit's limitations. The carpet's deep blue hue adds a touch of appeal, yet the side panels, overhead bins, and walls suffer from somewhat flat textures, occasionally appearing less detailed. The seat textures fare slightly better, offering more clarity, though this diminishes upon closer inspection. Given its price point, one might expect more refined interior textures, but considering the model's age and the pace of X-Plane’s development, some leniency may be warranted. 

    Night Lighting
    The night lighting, both inside the cockpit and externally, is very nicely done. The colours and brightness levels are spot on, creating a highly immersive nocturnal flying experience. It's worth noting that I have a particular fondness for operating this aircraft at night, primarily due to the exceptional quality of the night lighting. Among the noteworthy features are the dynamic reflections on the windscreen, which vary according to the cockpit lighting's intensity.

    Similarly, the cabin lighting, which is entirely adjustable from the cockpit, enhances the overall ambiance. The cabin, in my opinion, appears significantly more appealing under the night lighting, contributing to the allure of nocturnal flights. Furthermore, the cabin lighting is visible from the exterior views, with its appearance altering in response to the cabin lights' brightness settings. 

    The lighting system has received considerable refinement in recent updates, a fact that is clearly reflected in the outstanding quality of the night lighting.

    Flight Model
    The flight models across the 757 fleet are impressively realised, with variations that reflect the differences in engine types and the distinct characteristics between the 757-200 and the longer 757-300. The flight model captures a satisfyingly heavy feel, appropriate for an aircraft of its size, yet remains keenly responsive to pilot inputs. Despite the absence of a fly-by-wire (FBW) system for the primary flight controls: though FBW is employed for certain control surfaces like the spoilers, the connection between pilot and aircraft feels direct and intuitive, enhancing the flying experience.

    FlightFactor has excelled in simulating the ground physics of the 757, making taxiing a straightforward and responsive task, whether using the rudder or tiller for navigation. The 757's reputation for being overpowered is accurately depicted in the FlightFactor 757. Advancing the thrust levers, particularly with the Rolls Royce RB211 engines, results in remarkable acceleration, capturing the aircraft's real-world performance perfectly. A fully laden 757 demonstrates a realistically extended take-off roll, adhering to expectations.

    Recent updates have significantly refined the flight model, addressing previous issues related to bugs and sluggish response times. Efforts to update the simulation of flap and speedbrake drag have resulted in enhanced accuracy, bringing the virtual experience ever closer to the realities of flying the actual aircraft.

    The default sound package of the aircraft is generally acceptable. The simulation of switches and rotary knobs in the cockpit is notably well done, delivering satisfyingly crisp auditory feedback. However, this level of detail and depth doesn’t extend to all sound aspects, such as the air conditioning and Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) noises, which fall short in terms of depth and variation. A notable absence of bass contributes to these sounds feeling somewhat flat and lacking in interest.

    The engine sounds differentiate adequately between the Pratt and Whitney and Rolls Royce engines, although, like the air conditioning and APU, the interior engine sounds could benefit from a richer bass presence. Conversely, the exterior engine sounds are more robust, offering a substantial depth and a significant amount of bass, though they are quite loud in their default setting. Thankfully, sound levels can be adjusted within the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), allowing for a more tailored auditory experience. The flyby sounds are also decent, aligning with the standard of default X-Plane aircraft sounds.

    Ambient noises, such as those of a bustling airport, can be heard in exterior views when the aircraft is in a cold and dark state. Personally, I find this addition slightly strange, detracting rather than enhancing the realism. Furthermore, the persistent interjections from the flight attendant regarding issues like cabin temperature, while aiming for realism, may not be universally appreciated. The option to disable this feature would be a beneficial addition for those who find it more intrusive than immersive. Moreover, the aircraft features an extensive selection of Passenger Announcement (PA) options, yet these PA sounds lack authenticity, bearing a resemblance to synthetic text-to-speech outputs rather than genuine in-flight announcements.

    On my setup, the performance impact of operating the 757 is noticeably more pronounced than with any of the Toliss aircraft, which are renowned for their exceptional optimization. Specifically, I experience a reduction in frames per second (fps) by approximately 20% to 30% on average compared to the Toliss fleet and the default A330. Additionally, the 757 appears to demand more VRAM than the Toliss models and the default A330. An analysis using the plugin admin reveals that the 757's SASL plugin is a significant factor, accounting for nearly 20% of the performance load as depicted in the "performance pie chart." This indicates a clear need for an overhaul of the SASL's performance to enhance overall efficiency.

    Despite these performance challenges, I haven't experienced any stuttering issues, even when flying into more demanding airports like EGLL (London Heathrow) or KLAX (Los Angeles International). This suggests that while there is a tangible impact on performance, it may not critically affect users capable of running the default A330 at a reasonable fps. Nonetheless, improving the performance of the 757 remains an area in need of attention to ensure it aligns more closely with the high standards of efficiency seen in other aircraft within X-Plane.

    The systems on the 757, while not as intricate as those found on Airbus aircraft, still present a level of complexity and accuracy expected from a Boeing model. The engine pages, Primary Flight Display (PFD), and Navigation Display (ND) are well-executed, displaying all the requisite information one would anticipate from such an aircraft. However, I would hesitate to categorize the systems as "Study Level," primarily due to the basic nature of the failure simulation. Some failures, for instance, either fail to activate or have no discernible impact on the aircraft's operation. A case in point is an attempted simulation of an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) engine failure, where the APU merely switched off without triggering an auditory warning like the Master Caution. The sole indication of the failure was an "APU Fail" message on the Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) display.

    Additionally, the Electrical Bus (BUS) system, although generally accurate, suffers from a frustrating bug. Occasionally, when the APU or Ground Power Unit (GPU) is disconnected, the BUS Ties unexpectedly switch to the "Isolate" position rather than remaining in "Auto." This deviation from expected behaviour has, on several occasions, led to the aircraft shutting down during pushback, despite the APU and its generator being operational and connected to the BUS. On a positive note, the terrain and weather radar systems perform commendably, offering accuracy and reliability that significantly aid navigation in challenging weather conditions or when flying in proximity to hazardous terrain.

    EFB (Electronic Flight Bag)
    The EFB featured in this aircraft boasts a comprehensive array of options and functionalities, accessible either through the X-Plane “Plugins” menu or by interacting with the tablet within the cockpit. Engaging the tablet brings up the EFB as a 2D window. The "General" page presents some basic settings, including a master volume slider, providing a straightforward interface for adjusting essential parameters.

    The “Operations – Ground” page facilitates interaction with various ground services and the management of the aircraft’s weight and balance. Although it lacks a dedicated Weight and Balance chart, the "Optimise CG" button proves invaluable for adjusting the centre of gravity according to different load configurations. Loading the aircraft requires precise coordination of ground services and the opening of specific doors, a process that, while occasionally cumbersome, enhances realism. On the “Operations – Aircraft” page, users can manage door controls, adjust certain settings, and select engines. It's important to note that engine swaps are not possible once the aircraft is operational.

    The "Options" page, along with its subpages, offers an extensive selection of adjustable settings, ranging from auditory cues to visual effects. This section also provides the opportunity to install the "Modern Avionics" pack, assuming ownership. Further details on this upgrade will be discussed later in the review.

    The “Failures page” allows for the simulation of various system failures, designed with user-friendliness in mind, reminiscent of an installation wizard. This feature enables pilots to prepare for and respond to potential issues in a controlled environment.
    Insert failures page

    Lastly, the "In-Flight" page includes functionalities for activating Passenger Announcements (PAs), accessing navigational charts, and utilising a checklist feature that simulates the presence of a first officer, enhancing the realism and immersion of the flight experience.

    Modern Avionics Upgrade
    The "Modern Avionics Upgrade" package integrates well, offering a nuanced enhancement for simmers seeking a bit of diversity. It brings new operational dynamics and functionalities, but also a learning curve and the need for adaptation. The package is particularly appealing for those looking to engage with contemporary flight scenarios or enhance their proficiency with advanced systems, acting as a bridge to more modern aviation technologies. However, its value truly lies in the simmer's readiness to explore the aircraft's systems more deeply and to increase the authenticity of their flights. The upgrade is a valuable tool for those willing to invest the effort to fully appreciate its benefits.

    In summing up, FlightFactor’s model stands as a commendable and accurate portrayal of the Boeing 757 and its principal variants. The ability to operate flights ranging from commercial passenger services to cargo hauls and even transporting senior political officials adds a unique and engaging dimension to each flight, ensuring a fresh and challenging experience. Despite the need for enhancements in visual and auditory fidelity, the systems and flight model are robust, offering a high-quality simulation of the Boeing 757, that will satisfy aviation enthusiasts and serious simmers alike.

    FlightFactor's commitment to continuous improvement is evident in their regular updates, giving users confidence that existing bugs will be addressed in due course, following the precedent set by previous fixes. While a visual overhaul is on the wishlist, the existing framework provides a solid representation of this nimble passenger jet. Performance optimisation is another area for potential enhancement; however, the current state remains functional and does not detract significantly from the overall experience.
    The price point may seem steep, especially considering the aircraft's age within X-Plane’s marketplace, but it's important to remember that the “Global Pack” offers substantial value.  This package includes four distinct aircraft variants along with the “Modern Avionics package,” making it a comprehensive choice for those looking to extensively explore the capabilities and variations of the Boeing 757.

    Boeing 757 version 2 Professional Global Package by FlightFactor is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    Boeing 757 version 2 Professional Global Package
    Priced at $119.00
    Supports both X-Plane 12 (fully updated) and X-Plane 11 
    The FPDS variant contains High resolution (768 x 1024 pixels) XGA multi-color LCD flat panel display with integrated standard six – FULL glass cockpit All digital electronics with improved accuracy, dependability and responsiveness DCP with Speed Reference Settings Minimum Selection (Radio or Baro) Units Selection Integrated Barometric Altimeter Setting Flight Path Vector Meters Altimeter The Boeing 757 Professional Extended includes 3 variants of the 757:
    757-200 Passenger 757-200SF Cargo 757-300  Each plane is available with two different engine configurations (P&W and RR).
    Officially licensed by the Boeing © Corporation Accurate dimensions based on drawings supplied by Boeing © Support for X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 Suitable for beginners- Tutorial modes and auto procedures Great for advanced users - Complex systems are simulated Includes both Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney engine types  VR Compatible Flight model
    Accurate flight model, as close as it gets to real performance. Tested by real pilots. Dynamic and customizable center of gravity that depends on actual cargo, passenger placement and burning fuel in flight. Fully Functional Professional FMS and EFIS System
    Custom designed Flight Management Computer, integrated with other plane systems. Terminal procedures from updatable database. Two independent analogue instrument sets for captain and first officer. Two independently simulated EFIS (EADI/EHSI configuration) for captain and first officer. Dual-FMS with two independently working CDUs. Working instrument comparators. Triple IRS and triple symbol generator systems with realistic instrument source switching. Dual air-data computers with custom failure modes and source switching. Independent 2 nav and an ils receivers. Realistic inertial and radio position updating, you can see the individual inaccuracies of those systems. Triple-channel autopilot with realistic dependencies. Fail operational and fail passive autoland with mode degradations based on system failures. Load company routes generated by Professional Flight Planner X (or other compatible programs) directly into the FMC. FMC can be used on external touchscreen or tablet, optimized for the Retina iPad. Custom cockpit interaction system
    Adjustable modes for cockpit interaction, you chose what to use for clicks Different cockpit interaction modes, with mouse wheel and right button support In-cockpit tooltips from the manual - you click on the button and see portions of the manual on display In-cockpit life datarefs for cockpit building  Options
    A very flexible architecture: You chose the set up Different options for many avionics instruments including two types of FMC. Options to composite your own EICAS, EADI and EHSI displays. Most of the options that the real 757 fleet has are included. Many additional options for sounds, cockpit interaction, effects etc. Interactive Checklists, Procedures, and auto-helper (Exclusive feature)
    Full electronic interactive checklists and procedures with automatic action detection. Automatic mode helper that performs all the actions for you. You just CHECK the items. A tutorial which shows the user what to do and when. An option to have a visual aid on what and when to do in procedures. Custom Systems and Failure model
    Detailed and deep simulation of almost every system in the real aircraft. Custom air and pressure system. Electrical system with all AC and DC busses modelled - see which system depends on which bus. Hydraulic system that uses a little fluid when treated correctly and a lot of fluid if used incorrectly. Multistage custom failure system - over 200 more failures than X-Plane. (Exclusive feature) Ability to fix failure by following proper procedure. Persistent failure and maintenance system - Aircraft wear and misuse will carry over to your next flight.  Warning system and radars (Exclusive feature)
    Fully functional GPWS with all the modes the real plane has. Fully functional terrain radar, with custom database (just like the real plane), a look-ahead warning system and many other features. Weather radar that works like the real thing. Including tilt and gain functions, ground clutter, turbulence detection and windshear prediction. 3D Modeling
    Accurate dimensions based on exterior drawings provided by Boeing. Very detailed exterior modelling with high resolution textures. Very high resolution 3D cockpit with every switch functional. Spatial rain simulation with high detail. Very detailed passenger cabin graphics including galleys. Additional graphic features: real working oxygen masks both in cockpit and cabin, dynamic window blinds that react to sunlight etc. New and improved wingflex. Special effects (Exclusive features)
    Multilayer dynamic reflections on all glass objects. Glow effects on screens Reflective metal and plastic objects in the cockpit. Glossy exterior that reflects the outside. XP weather enhancements like custom windshear. Custom Sounds (Exclusive features)
    Two sound packs by BSS for both engines. Several hundred custom sounds. In-cockpit custom sounds. Switches with individual sounds. Many individual system sound inside and outside. Airport environment sounds. Cabin sounds. 3D stereo sound system for engines. In flight cabin announcements. Interactive communication with the cabin crew (reporting misconfigurations and passenger comfort problems). On Screen menus (Exclusive features)
    An iPad-like menu popping-up from the cockpit. Custom pages for loading/unloading fuel, cargo and passengers, customizing the CG, calling for pushback and performing maintenance. Ability to customize the plane with winglets, special effects level, wingflex level and set other options to be saved or default. Ground equipment and door pages. Failure monitoring menu. Extra objects and equipment
    Working push-back truck - Fully controllable with your joystick. Passenger bus and stairs or optional gate configuration (passengers can be loaded from gate instead of bus). Fuel truck, de-Icing truck, GPU, ground-start units both visible and fully functional with airplane systems. Other ground equipment. Liveries
     7 default liveries included in the package: Air France, American, Boeing House, Jet2.com, Lufthansa, Thomson, VA X-Airways  About 50 additional liveries are available separately.  SmartCopilot Compatible
    Download the SmartCopilot files here Requirements
    X-Plane 12, X-Plane 11.50+
    Windows 10+, Mac OS 10.15+ (Intel or Apple Silicon) or Linux 14.04 LTS or compatible, 64 bit mode Disk Space: 4 GB X-Plane 12:
    Minimum: CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with 4 or more cores, or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7 or 9, or equivalent RAM: 16 GB Video Card: a Vulkan 1.3-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 6 GB VRAM Recommended: CPU: Intel Core intel i5-12600K or Ryzen 5 3500 or better RAM: 32 GB Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 8-12 GB VRAM  (GeForce RTX 2070 or better, or similar from AMD) X-Plane 11:
    Minimum: CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with at least 4 cores, or AMD equivalent RAM: 16 GB Video Card: a DirectX 11-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 4 GB VRAM Recommended: CPU: Intel Core i5 8600k or Ryzen 5 3500 or better RAM: 32 GB Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 8 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better, or similar from AMD) Review System Specifications
    Windows 10, Intel i5-12400F, 32GB RAM, RTX 3070Ti 
    Aircraft Update Review by DrishalMAC2
    31st March 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).

  20. Like
    Kiwiflyer reacted to skytitude in Scenery Review: X01 - Everglades Airpark, Florida by Skytitude   
    Thank you Felicity for an awesome review of Everglades.
    As i remember i did ortho's this way because the satellite has captured too much annoying shadows on higher resolution photos.
    I will take a look on how I can improve the integrated ortho's terrain in Everglades.
    My appreciated for honest review and your time, this is very useful.
  21. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Dominic Smith in Scenery Review: PAPG - Petersburg James A Johnson Airport by Northern Sky Studio   
    Scenery Review: PAPG - Petersburg James A Johnson Airport by Northern Sky Studio
    By DrishalMAC2
    Petersburg James A. Johnson Airport (PAPG) is situated in the remote wilderness of Southeast Alaska, within the small but vibrant community of Petersburg. It serves as an essential lifeline to more populous regions, providing indispensable connections for the area's residents. Its single runway, 5/23, with an asphalt surface stretching 6,400 by 150 feet (1,951 by 46 meters), accommodates daily flights operated by Alaska Airlines with Boeing 737-700 passenger jets, reflecting the essential role of air transport in this region. Historically, the service was further supported by Boeing 737-400 passenger/cargo Combi aircraft, highlighting the airport's importance in both passenger and cargo transportation.
    Petersburg is a locale steeped in heritage, often referred to as "Little Norway," reflecting its Norwegian roots and the fishing industry that has long supported the local economy. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Tongass National Forest, the area offers access to the unspoiled wilderness, including the scenic Inside Passage and the majestic Misty Fjords National Monument. These features highlight PAPG Airport's role as a gateway to Alaska's vast wilderness, welcoming adventurers and nature enthusiasts who are eager to explore the region's rugged terrain and varied weather conditions.

    Northern Sky Studio's latest scenery project for X-Plane aims to boost the realism of PAPG Airport and its Alaskan wilderness surroundings with detailed visuals. Targeting a broad spectrum of X-Plane users, from those passionate about general aviation to commercial jet aficionados, the package promises a significant enhancement. So, without further ado, let's explore how this scenery performs in testing.

    Copyright © 2023 Navigraph / Jeppesen
    The installation process is straightforward. Download the file, which, once extracted, occupies about 2.6GB of space. Then, place the extracted file directly into your Custom Scenery folder within X-Plane. Additionally, the manual included in the download contains a link to an Ortho4XP tile for the surrounding area. This tile can be downloaded and added to the Custom Scenery folder in the same manner as any Ortho4XP file.

    The documentation included is concise to say the least, as it consists of just a single slide that outlines the installation process and includes links to the Ortho4XP file. Additionally, it features recommendations for third-party scenery addons, enhancing the overall experience. Among these recommendations is simHeaven's X-World, which is highly recommended for users looking to further enrich the scenery. 

    Note: All screenshots featured in this review were captured using the optional ortho tiles and simHeaven’s X-World America
    First Impressions
    The airport is situated within Alaska's mountainous landscape, encircled by a complex network of waterways that contribute to the region's distinctive terrain. The scenery boasts an impressive array of ortho textures surrounding the airport, derived from high-quality satellite imagery. A particularly appealing decal effect has been applied to these textures, significantly enhancing their appearance and bringing the rugged beauty of Alaska's wilderness to life. 

    Ground Textures and Foliage
    The runway textures are of outstanding quality, showcasing a rugged and worn appearance that aligns perfectly with expectations for an airport in such a remote setting. Physics-Based Rendering (PBR) technology enhances the textures of both the taxiways and runway, vividly bringing the airport environment to life. The ground textures are accurately marked for runways and taxiways. Notably, the careful addition of cracks and tire markings contributes significantly to the weathered appearance of the surfaces.

    The vegetation surrounding the airport, with its mix of small bushes and grass near the runway, appears naturally random. This deliberate randomness enhances the feeling of a remote and untamed setting. Ground textures stand out for their quality, with edge markings and tar lines that unify the different concrete textures, adding to the scenery's realistic touch. The rough and uneven edges of the taxiways contribute to the scene's authenticity, reflecting the rugged and genuine atmosphere of the area.

    Signage and Navigation Aids
    The airport’s signage is both accurately placed and of high quality. Specifically, the signage at runway hold points, which display aircraft radio frequencies, are notably sharp and clear. The accuracy extends to taxiway signs and runway distance markers, which are not only placed with precision, but are again both sharp and easy to read. This attention to detail ensures that navigating around the airport feels both realistic and intuitive.

    Main Airport Buildings
    The airport buildings have been recreated to a very high standard, featuring detailed 3D modelling and high-quality textures. Each building is unique, and after comparing them with real-life images of the airport on Google, it's clear that the models are true to life. The Alaska Airlines terminal building receives special attention, with its representation being particularly accurate and convincing.

    The main terminal is the only building with a modelled interior, and one which has been recreated with an excellent level of detail. From security signage to wall-mounted electrical sockets, the effort to recreate a realistic interior is evident. The inside is adorned with Alaska Airlines branding, enhancing the immersive experience. Details such as 3D people, welcome stickers, medical and security notices, and even televised images contribute to a bustling and authentic atmosphere. This careful attention to both exterior and interior details promises a convincing and immersive representation of the main airport building.

    Ground Clutter
    The ground clutter around the airport is nicely detailed, with a variety of high-quality, random objects, all strategically placed to enhance the authenticity of the airport. Items such as fire extinguishers, pallets, cones, and fuel pumps are thoughtfully added, each contributing to the realism of an active airport setting.  

    Surrounding Area
    The town of Petersburg, surrounding the airport, has been recreated with careful attention to detail, depicting a highly authentic setting. Notably, the town features numerous dockyards and piers, significantly elevating the area's visual appeal. A tanker moored at the piers, numerous private small boats, and several De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver seaplanes on floats bring the waterfront to life, suggesting a bustling local marine activity.

    Night Lighting
    The custom night lighting at PAPG enhances the experience for night-time flyers with a convincingly modelled nocturnal scene. An innovative feature is the control of Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL), and taxiway illumination, which activate only when 122.500 MHz is tuned into Comm 1 on the aircraft. This mimics a real-world system where pilots can manage night lighting, adding an extra layer of realism to the scenery.  However, this feature introduces a significant issue. Activating the lights at this airport causes an unintended consequence where the Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) lights at all other airports, whether default or addon, fail to illuminate unless 122.500 MHz is selected on Comm 1. This oversight is notable, and hopefully, it's something the developers will address in a future update.

    Throughout my testing, I found the scenery's performance to be exceptional, characterised by a seamless experience with no noticeable drop in frames per second (FPS), or stuttering. The airport's relatively small size and its secluded location no doubt contribute to its excellent performance. Although Virtual RAM (VRAM) usage is marginally higher, this is a natural outcome of the scenery's enhanced details and higher quality textures over the default settings, and it is a small price to pay for the significant visual improvements offered. 

    Northern Sky Studio's rendition of PAPG Airport in Petersburg, Alaska, carefully combines authenticity with functionality, whilst targeting a diverse audience of X-Plane users. The scenery's highlights include its strategic location in the stunning Alaskan wilderness, high-quality ortho imagery, custom mesh with the optional ortho tile, carefully modelled ground textures, and bespoke buildings that resonate with the essence of the area. This detailed representation allows for an expansive exploration experience, accommodating everything from general aviation to larger aircraft like the Boeing 737, enabling pilots to embark on adventures through the nearby mountains and iconic sites such as the LeConte Glacier and Misty Fjords. Despite an issue with the custom night lighting feature, the scenery maintains an immersive and seamless experience. 
    So, if you're seeking a launchpad to explore Alaska's expansive wilderness, Northern Sky Studio's PAPG airport stands out as an immersive base. It serves as an ideal gateway for X-Plane users keen on uncovering the rugged beauty of the Last Frontier.

    Petersburg James A Johnson Airport by Northern Sky Studio is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
    Petersburg James A Johnson Airport
    Priced at $12.00
    The most detailed replica of airport buildings and vehicles EDGE, REIL and Taxiway lights can be enabled on 122.500 COM1 Custom hand-placed autogen High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Compatible with all X-Plane 12 features Custom mesh for the airport area (Ortho4XP) All materials created for full PBR Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all airport buildings High-resolution building textures Custom orthophoto for the airport and surrounding areas World Traffic 3 compatible Requirements
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 (both versions included)
    Windows, Mac, or Linux
    8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
    Download Size: 2 GB
    Current version: 1.0 (Feb 15th, 2024)
    Scenery Review by DrishalMAC2
    26th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).

  22. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Military Aircraft Review : North American T-6G Texan by Khamsin Studios & Philip Ubben   
    Military Aircraft Review : North American T-6G Texan by Khamsin Studios & Philip Ubben
    The extent of the full impression of the effects of the North American T-6G Texan are hidden behind the diversity of the models and the different variations of the original aircraft. Not only for the American Air Force and Naval services "SNJ". But the British Commonwealth versions under the "Harvard" moniker, and localised variations of the Australian CAC Wirraway and Canada's Noorduyn, and it was even developed later into the North American P-64, altogether there has been 15,495 aircraft built, and it had an operational life of 60 Years (1935 to 1995). No small feat for a trainer aircraft.
    Modified as the NA-26, it was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat Trainer " aircraft competition in March 1937. The T-6 was based on the NA-18, but with a foot longer wingspan, it was the first of the NA-16 series with retractable gear. It was similar to the BT-9, but with a larger engine, the 550 hp (410 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp, and could accommodate two .30 in (7.62 mm) guns.
    Khamsin Studios is already known for classic WW2 aircraft, like his last release of the Mustang P-51, But lately he has mostly been working alongside of Philip Ubben, and in the releases of Helicopters like the SA 315B Lama, and now again here in unison with this X-Plane 12 release of the legendary T-6G Texan.

    The T-6 Texan is a two-seater, dual-controlled, single-engine trainer. Solo flight is permitted only from the front cockpit because of restricted visibility from the rear seat and inadequate controls in the rear cockpit. On training flights, the student uses the front cockpit while the instructor occupies the rear, except for instrument training when the student occupies the rear seat. The aircraft incorporates a steerable tail wheel, but not a free castoring rear wheel.
    Khamsin is a long time developer for the X-Plane Simulator, so design quality is actually expected, and he does deliver it in spades. Notable is that when X-Plane 12 is the only priority (there will be no X-Plane 11 version). You can use these advanced uprated effects and the lighting to deliver a better all round visual impact. All pure X-Plane 12 aircraft have this quality sheen, but still the talent of the developer is required to make it work in creating this extreme realism that X-Plane 12 can deliver. Here is it excellent, you feel the construction of the aircraft, and the rivets and paneling that goes into the creating the best overall effect. Notable is the excellent reproduction of the R-1340 Wasp, and the huge maul of the front of the aircraft to accommodate it

    Central hub and propeller (Two bladed, constant-speed Hamilton Standard) are intricately modeled here, as are all the air-cooled nine circular cylinders of the Wasp engine.

    In payware aircraft you expect this sort of high quality detail, almost is regarded as a benchmark to the current state of the Simulator. But still you marvel on how really good it all is, how far the developer has come in being able to deliver a quality of this high standard for you to enjoy and use.

    It is all brilliantly conceived and delivered in detail and authenticity here, you can spend ages just admiring it all. Note the excellent hydraulic lines in the gear bay, lovely deep cross-treaded tyres add to the realism, as does the simple strut arrangement of the main gear.

    Glass in the canopy frame is excellent, better is if you look for the mottled effect in certain lighting conditions, shows again the highlighted realism of the glass.

    Looking inside and the detail is certainly the pre-war period, but it is still quite comprehensive for a basic trainer aircraft. Notable is the fact that the T-6 Texan was created to replicate heavier service aircraft, to get the same feel and handling as the front line machines, not for just a trainee rookie pilot in taking their first steps in flight. The T-6 is far more up the grade than that, even in other roles as a combat aircraft itself, if only in a lightweight role.

    As noted the student goes up in the front, the instructor in the rear. But the differences between the two positions are not that much different, bar the aircraft's systems and radios. You feel and see more of the aircraft's frame in the rear, but otherwise they are not that much dissimilar.

    You sit on your parachute in the metal tub, stick and rudder pedals are all very heavy duty, but it's a very realistic cockpit to be in....

    First view looks complicated, but the instruments and controls are all really very standard in their placement and use, so you will soon adjust to the layout. Fuel cock, Landing gear, Trims and Throttle/Mixture/RPM are on the left, right side are the Electrical switches, lighting and fuses (non-active, all DC circuits).

    Forward the instrument panel is a mixture of instruments, but you can sort of mentally place them, in flying instruments centre left, and engine readouts centre right, with a compass headup front. With the exception of the hydraulic pressure gauge, which is installed only in the front cockpit. A suction gauge is also provided in each cockpit. The gyro horizon, directional gyro, and turn-and-bank indicator are all operated by the engine-driven vacuum system. The airspeed indicator is operated by the pitot and static systems, and the altimeter, and rate-of-climb indicator are operated by the static system.
    Top level includes (LtoR); Nav 1 Pointer, Airspeed (MPH), Adjustable Compass, Artificial Horizon/ Bank Rate, Manifold Pressure. Second row; Back up Compass, Heading, Altitude, Rate of Turn, V/S Vertical Speed, Engine RPM, Carb Temp. Third Row; Ignition Switch, Suction, Pointer, Accelerometer G, Clock, Oil Temperature and Pressure, Fuel Quantity , Cylinder Head Temperature  and (Outside) Air Temperature ... 

    ....   far right is the Ampere, and far left lower is the Hydraulic Pressure Gauge. Primer knob is centre right with external lights lower, right lower is the COMM1 and NAV1 radio, with a Transponder set below.

    Rear seat instrument layout is almost identical, except for radios and transponder.

    Immediately right of the forward pilot is a "Data Case"...  inside is the Tablet/Menu, that when activated (hotspot) is positioned upper left of the pilot. It has five tabs; AviTab, Ground operations, Other options, Sounds and About.

    Five buttons on the right side of the bezel covers; Power, (not working), AVI (Not Working), XPL (close tablet), Brightness (brighter, darker and again not working).

    AviTab we will look at in a minute....  Ground operations is the default screen...  here you can change the T-6G aircraft options, including a Prop "Spinner".

    "Early or Late" Canopy

    VHF and ADF aerials

    SNJ hook...  activation knob is right side pilot seat

    Gear doors and Wheel covers

    Bottom left is the adjustable Left or Right Wing "Fuel" Weight in Kgs or Lbs
    Other options

    Here there are six options.... first one is to "Show (rear) Copilot". Both pilot heads are animated, and are very realistic, and in flight the actions are different to ground...  but both pilots are the same character.

    Second and third options are the Canopy and Instrument reflections (on/off). Fourth option is an "Autostart" to start the aircraft automatically, this also adds in the "Speech" Option, that will talk you through the engine startup procedure...  last Option is to have the "Fuel Switcher" ON or in auto mode.
    Sounds & About
    Both pages are first the standard X-Plane "Sound" levels, and the the "About" information of the different areas of work by each developer in Khamsin and Ubben...   the aircraft version number is shown here as well.

    The AviTab Tablet as we have shown is also available (plugin required), it is the standard AviTab layout and tools, but you can rotate a chart from Portrait to Landscape...  quality is not very good at chart distance.

    Eleven Liveries provided by Khamsin, and all are quite exceptional for authenticity. TA-127 is the default, but included are Big Red, G-TSIX, Lagarto, Popeye, Marines, RCAF, Spanish Lady and the famous Harvard (RAF) "Wacky Rabbit". Plus there is a "Bare Metal" aircraft.

    Flying the T-6G

    Starting up a Warbird is never easy, the sequence here is still a procedure to be religiously followed, but tricky if not done correctly. Officially you first select a fuel tank containing some fuel with the fuel tank selector. Then use the hand fuel pump to build up some fuel pressure (the pressure gauge should read more than 1 psi for the primer to work). Push the mixture lever to fully forward. Use the primer to pump at least 1 stroke. (Because over-priming isn't simulated in this first release you could pump some more strokes before hitting the starter and the engine might not need any further priming after startup. Now continue to use the primer it always seems to die until the rpm does stabilises around 700rpm. (You can either wait until the rpm does drop significantly before each new primer stroke or just pump a few fast strokes until the rpm won't drop anymore.).
    Tricky is the use of the primer...  First you have to "Unlock" it? this is done via a hotspot arrow, hidden in the top section of the pump handle, then you can unlock and pump or prime the engine. Don't forget to relock the pump when the engine is running. Highly notable is that the engine start switch is a pedal set between the rudder pedals!

    If you don't want the palaver of awakening a grumpy old engine into life, then you have the "Autostart" Option on the menu, which is very good with it's vocal patter over the start operation...  Highly realistic are cylinder (firing!) startup sounds as you feel the inconsistent firing, then the cycle of igniting the fuel, which is then produced as an effect out of the exhaust... it is really all well done and realistic.

    The prop settles down to a very authentic clatter in idle... sounds are very, very authentic as noted... A small note in using the "Auto" startup feature, is that make sure your throttle is set upwards, beyond the idle point, if not when the "auto" sequence finishes, then the engine will just "conk" out and stop again, not too much, to give it too much power, but enough to fuel the engine until it warms up.
    The mixture range (lean-rich) is extremely small, have the mixture set too high and the T-6G will taxi very fast, too low and it just shuts the engine down...  but there is fine mixture window between the two settings, were you can get a controllable taxi speed... it is worth finding.
    So the taxi is nice if can find your comfort zone, but tricky in that the turn circle is one of the widest I have found in a long time, you can help it along of course with a few pumps of the left or right toe-brake, but in reality it is a wide turning circle. You can of course push the stick forward to unlock the tail-wheel, pull the stick back again to lock it. It sorta works, but I found that tapping the toe-brakes in the direction you want to turn was a better way of pulling off the tighter turn circle.

    Adjust the mixture for more power, and your ready to go...

    The Pratt & Whitney R-1340 is the larger (louder) engine here, and it sounds glorious with the power on, tricky though is the extremely light tail, once it lifts the aircraft will shimmy badly, and it needs a lot of skill to control, it feels too light to me... so is it the X-Plane dynamics or just developer tuning... of course tail-draggers a tricky to fly (takeoff), but the T-6G seems too unrealistic at this point? 

    Once clear and you enjoy the highly realistic gear stowage, first one strut moves, then it stops to allow the other strut to retract, then finishes the operation....  very good.

    Once airborne, you feel the weight of the Texan, but also the restricted power to climb? Rate of climb is noted at 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s), but you never get even close to that climb rate?

    Push the Wasp or put it on a high throttle for more power and the engine gives in spectacularly!

    So you have to keep the RPM well out of the red zone, around 20 (lower green band) to stop it exploding, so this highly restricts your climb rate.
    Performance is a Maximum speed: 208 mph (335 km/h, 181 kn) at 5000 ft (1,500 m), a Cruise speed of 145 mph (233 km/h, 126 kn) and a Range: 730 mi (1,170 km, 630 nmi). The Service ceiling is24,200 ft (7,400 m).
    Important is getting your Trims right. The Rudder Trim is the most important, then sorting it out to the right level with the Elevator Trim. Get both right and the T-6G will find the correct balance to fly manually. Important to get correct as there are no artificial helper's here, with no Autopilot installed, the Texan is a pure manual flying machine...  would I like an autopilot? that aspect is debatable, but I like authenticity over modern features.

    Once sorted the T-6G is excellent in the air, a bit heavy (ponderous?) but extremely nice to fly and to manoeuvre with great sounds coming at you from the nose...

    The view from the Instructors station is excellent, but missing is the forward (animated) student pilot, having the choice to have the forward pilot visible (like with the Aermacchi M-346) would be a nice feature here.

    Cockpit internal lighting quite is basic, there are two fluorescent lights in the instrument panel and lights on each side panel. The T-6G does have a load more lighting features, including a full panel for "Recognition Lights" but none are operable or not done yet.

    That said, it looks very good internally and externally in the cockpit.

    External lighting is basic as well...  there are two inset wing landing lights, navigation lights and that is about it, there is "Strobe" switch, but it doesn't work...  so again in areas it feels there is still work to be done on the lighting overall. What is here however is very good

    Time to land...  so I reduce the speed.

    Flaps are noted in 0 - 10 - 20 - 30 - 40 - 50 steps, but the reality is they are only three degree phases, 0 - 22 (ish) - 50 (full)...  125 MPH is the limit, but a full Flap will give you a level flying speed of around 100 MPH.

    I found the Texan very stable in the approach phase, quite easy to focus on the runway and keep a straight line in that same focus.

    Down goes the gear and the speed is reduced to 90 knts, notable is the drag effect on the gear when deployed, so you have to throttle up a little to account for that extra drag...

    I loved this approach phase, I was very, very deep into the aircraft and flying it as smoothly as I could.

    As I reached the threshold, I lifted (flared) the nose to rub off the speed, I didn't want to do a three-pointer, but still wanted the tail as low as it could be possible.

    A touch, then another... and I am down. Again the yaw was tricky until the speed had reduced and the tail was happily down, it takes a little practise to get it right with the rudder and toe-brakes, but its a foible to learn with these sort of low rear aircraft.

    Your thought go out to those naval boys, landing this aircraft on a shifting carrier deck, you can practise that of course in X-Plane, but I guarantee it was be a very tough challenge to get it right...  Overall this was an excellent machine.
    Khamsin Studio's is already known for classic WW2 aircraft, like his last release of the Mustang P-51, But he has mostly lately been working alongside of Philip Ubben, and in the releases of Helicopters like the SA 315B Lama, and now again here in unison with this X-Plane 12 release of the T-6G Texan.
    Modified as the NA-26, it was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat Trainer " aircraft competition in March 1937. The T-6 was based on the NA-18, but with a foot longer wingspan, it was the first of the NA-16 series with retractable gear. It was similar to the BT-9, but with a larger engine, the 550 hp (410 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp, and could accommodate two .30 in (7.62 mm) guns.
    This is another exquisite design from Khamsin Studio, X-Plane 12 delivers very high quality aircraft, and this T-6G Texan is no exception, it is beautifully created and detailed, with a perfect soundscape and sound panel. Features are basic, with "Early" or "Late" canopies, Prop Spinner, VHF and ADF aerials, Gear doors and Wheel covers and SNJ tailhook (naval), excellent animated pilots are also included but only the rear can be hidden, front pilot would be nice visible if flying from the rear Instructor position. Popup menu also includes automated start procedure with vocal instructions, and the built in AviTab, but there is no autopilot or any helpers here.
    Everything is very, very authentic to this extensive service (60 Years) trainer aircraft and a few went into service (combat) as well, so you get that very genuine article feel and use of this very unique aircraft.
    It is certainly a huge credit to the skills of the developer of what they have delivered here, but totally authentic as well. Khamsin and Ubben have a very high record and a high regard in what they deliver in aircraft for the X-Plane 12 simulator, this T-6G Texan is no exception. But again you feel and use the step forward in quality and effects that dedicated X-Plane 12 designed aircraft deliver, it is quite extraordinary in what is now achieved in Simulation...  This T-6G Texan is another banner aircraft to show off those highlights...    Highly Recommended. 

    The North American T-6G Texan XP12 by Khamsin Studio and Philip Ubben is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here:
    North American T-6G Texan XP12
    Price is US$32.95
    X-Plane 12  (not for XP11)
    Windows , MAC or Linux 
    8GB + VRAM Recommended Download Size: 460 MB Current version: 1.1 (March 25th 2024)   Aircraft download is 456Mb, and unpacked, then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 636Mb. No authorization on startup is required.   Documents manual_t6g_khamsin_XP12 quick_start_t6g_khamsin The provided manual (31 Pages) is excellent in being a notated original T-6 authentic manual, Quick Start (2 Pages) is mostly flying tips...
      Designed by Khamsin Studio and Philip Ubben
    Support forum for the T-6G Texan XP12 ________________  Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - KTCM - McChord AFB  - Seattle - Boeing Country 10.5 by Tom Curtis (Sorry not now available) ________________  
    Military Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    26th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved

  23. Like
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Thanks, it was a second voyage of discovery!
  24. Like
    Kiwiflyer got a reaction from Cami De Bellis in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Kia Orana & welcome back Stephen! What a tremendous and comprehensive review of this South Pacific jewel. Thanks to this masterful work by Maps2X-Plane, while you've been sailing the South Seas, I've been rekindling my real life Coral Route voyages by air. The essence and magic of these majestic Isles has been captured for sure.
    Thanks for showcasing this extraordinary package, which was an absolute must for this Kiwi who lost his heart to the mighty Pacific many shimmering moon-lit nights ago.
  25. Thanks
    Kiwiflyer reacted to Stephen in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft
    Say Tahiti, or Bora Bora and the thoughts are always... "Exotic". French South Pacific plus it's amazing scenery makes this a destination in one of the absolute top hits of any one's bucket list. It has always been on my "most" desired destination. Actually I have been to Tahiti, but a long time ago, way back in the 1970's, but also just passing through en-route to Australia. Yes I have always wanted to go back...
    So what of Tahiti in X-Plane. Actually it was well serviced by the XPFR developers, but as usual you wanted a more overall detailed and extremely high quality package to bring out the best of the Simulator and the astonishing South Pacific area.
    This "Society Islands" is a set of two packages by the renowned Maps2X-Plane, the same developer house that created both the excellent Faroe Islands, Svalbard and Seychelles XP, all the sceneries reviewed here are Maps2X-Plane releases, but released under the Aerosoft banner. In so any installations are now through the Aerosoft One application, just add in the authorisation number, and the tool will do the install for you.
    As noted the Maps2X-Plane Tahiti series is in two different area packages, the first was "Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands", released now back in September 2021 for X-Plane 11, of which you could call the "Western" area. This package was quickly updated to X-Plane 12 (v1.1) almost immediately.
    The second release is the new one "Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands", and again what you would call the "Eastern" area, both packages together then covers the whole Society Island territory.
    Although the Leeward scenery was excellent as we shall see, it was slightly compromised in that it was only a regional scenery, with only local inter-island flying. This latest Windward package is significant because it adds in the main gateway or Faa'a International Airport, situated on the main island of Tahiti. This added aspect then connects all the Tahitian areas together, not only the international routes, but also the local domestic routes from the main gateway. The now combined area is also quite significantly wide to explore and to service.

    You could say French Polynesia is in the middle of nowhere, because it is, set deep into the central South Pacific Ocean. This makes connections hard and extremely expensive, as the area is a fair flight from any landmass. But there are direct flights from the U.S. West coast, Rarotonga and New Zealand, lately Hawaii was also added.

    I did an example flight from AKL (Auckland) to PPT (Papeete), it is a route distance of 2,242 nm, translated to 4h34m flightime, and right on the edge of the A321's endurance in fuel. Tricky as there are no alternative options out here. In this eastward direction, then maybe the Cook Islands (625 nm before Tahiti) as an option, but once past that point, then there are no other places to land.

    As we are going into NTAA - Faa'a International Airport, we will cover the "Windward" package first..

    Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands
    The Windward Islands are the eastern group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. These islands were also previously named the Georgian Islands in honour of King George III of the United Kingdom. The capital of the administrative district is Papeete on the island of Tahiti.
    Tahiti, Moorea, and Mehetia are volcanic islands. Tetiaroa and Mai'ao are outer coral Atolls...  all these noted areas are available in the Maps2X-Plane Windward package.

    Faa'a International Airport
    Faa'a International Airport, also known as Tahiti International Airport is the international airport of French Polynesia, located in the commune of Faaa, on the island of Tahiti. It is situated 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of Papeete, the capital city of the overseas collectivity. It opened in 1960. Regional air carrier Air Tahiti and international air carrier Air Tahiti Nui are both based at the airport.
    The focus and highlight of both sceneries is the Faa'a International Airport, and one very long runway 3420m (11,220ft).
    Faa'a International Airport
    Aéroport international de Tahiti Faa'a

    04/22 3,420m (11,220ft) Bituminous
    Elevation AMSL 2m/5 ft

    First views of Faa'a International are simply excellent, the vista has Moorea Island in the background. How far X-Plane has come with X-Plane 12...  as finally we have realistic tropical reef water, and it is excellent here in surrounding the airport perimeters.


    In visiting South Pacific Islands, you sort of have to time travel back a few decades. Everything is not bright, shiny or new down here. At PPT, it feels like a past time, with an airport that has only basic facilities, no airbridges here, but certainly a nice South Pacific welcome.
    The Polynesian look and feel is very evident in the terminal building. Expertly reproduced here by Maps2X-Plane...

    Airport detail is quite exceptional, everything is covered both airside and landside with "Huge" detail...   "dense" I call it...  but there is a lot to admire and take in here. There is a fair bit of animated traffic airside (nicely done), but there is not much traffic movement on the ramps. A few regional connections and the odd International service is about it. But the majority of international aircraft moving in or out are significantly big long haul jets...  the old Pan Am 707's in the 60's, then DC-10's and MD11's dominated in the UTA years, Boeing 747's and even A380's can get into here. Now it is the odd A340, B787, A350, but also now the long thin route single-aisle aircraft ETOPS, which are a common sight.

    Airport infrastructure is again excellent, with maintenance hangars and three (available) Heli pads, there is plenty of static aircraft and vehicles, but the detail in gates, ramp equipment and general clutter items is excellent. West side, is the Fire Station/Control Tower and administration buildings, an inter island area (Moorea & Tetiꞌaroa) is set over here as well. More helipads are also available.

    There is no 3d grass? but the field detail is excellent, with great drainage (including even drainage pipes) and fencing. Surfaces are also first rate, with wear/tear and filled cracks. PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion is also available here, great for those summer tropical rainstorms.

    I have just been on a South Pacific cruise (talk about a coincidence)... The South Pacific has a certain look, lush vegetation and foliage, the bright vibrant colours and open sided tired buildings. It is the "feel" of the islands, and this scenery totally translates that "feel" into X-Plane. I could easily have been back in Nouméa (New Caledonia), Port Vila (Vanuatu) or Suva (Fiji )with this scenery. This Tahiti scenery is shockingly very good in translating that Pacific look and feel into the Simulator...  Again the "dense" feel and infrastructure of the Faa'a locale is excellent, it fills right up to the airport boundary and even into it, creating a perfect diorama of the area...  note the vista of Mount 'Orohena in the background.

    The capital Papeete is too the north of the airport. Again the density of the capital is really well replicated, extremely realistic and includes the extensive Papeete Port area for approach realism.

    This arrival area's aspects are all shockingly good, more real world detail than a simulator... you have to be impressed.
    There are two heliports (pads) on Tahiti... 
    The heliport NTAA of Hôpital du Taaone, located about 8 kilometers east of Faa'a International. Again no expense was spared by Maps2X-Plane to create the authentic hospital for the Tahiti scenery.

    The heliport NTHV of Hôpital de Taravao, is located about 40 kilometers southeast of NTAA

    Let us not forget that Map2X-Plane's main speciality is terrain mesh with photo-realistic textures, for the landscape and the sea. Highly evident in their amazing Faroe Islands package. It is the same here for Tahiti and these same quality custom textures. In that they cover all the areas in both Windward and Leeward packages, plus create those excellent tropical water effects. They are dazzling to absorb.

    Moorea Airport
    Moorea Airport (NTTM, 1230 meters), also know as Moorea Temae Airport, is a regional airport on the island of Moorea, located 15 kilometers west of Tahiti. It is served by Air Tahiti, and can accommodate aircraft up to the ATR 72 in size. Moorea is a volcanic, mountainous island with the highest point Mount Tohivea at 1207 meters, and for its enclosed reef that surrounds the entire island.

    Moorea Airport is also known as Temae Airport (IATA: MOZ, ICAO: NTTM) or Moorea Temae Airport for its location near the village of Temae in northeastern Moorea. The airport is located 7.5 km northeast of Afareitu, the island's main village. It is set almost directly across from Papeete.

    The Moorean Polynesian style terminal has had a lot of attention, brilliantly done here by Maps2X-Plane, it is a genuine walkaround the area and be part of the scenery experience... almost photographic in detail.

    Airport infrastructure is first rate, with a small field tower, cargo and admin area, and housing for airport staff.

    Close by Temae is replicated, as are all the locales on the island with custom autogen, very realistic it is...   highlight is the excellent water and realistic reefs.

    Moorea's coastline is excellent, with great vistas to explore, either by helicopter or seaplane... The Island's Hilton Luxury Overwater bungalows are also well replicated.

    There is one helipad NTHF on Moorea...  it is sited at the Hôpital de Afareaitu, located about 8 kilometers south of NTTM.

    Tetiaroa Airport (NTTE, 770 meters) is a regional airfield on Onetahi, one of 12 islets of the Tetiaroa atoll, located 53 kilometers directly north of Tahiti. The islets are under a 99-year lease contracted by the famous actor Marlon Brando, and is home to "The Brando Resort". It is served by private flights by Air Tetiaroa, departing at a private terminal at Faa‘a International Airport.

    The islets (or motus), in clockwise order starting from the southwest corner, include: Onetahi (with regulated airstrip and site of The Brando Resort), Honuea, Tiaruanu, Motu Tauvini (Tauini), Motu Ahurea (Auroa), Hiraanae, Horoatera (Oroatera), Motu 'Ā'ie, Tahuna Iti, Tahuna Rahi, Reiono, Motu One (emerging sandbank) and Rimatu'u (with an ornithology reserve).
    Tetiaroa is extraordinary well done in realism, you could be really here, seeing Brando's dream...

    Marlon Brando "discovered" Tetiꞌaroa while scouting filming locations for the film Mutiny on the Bounty, which was shot on Tahiti and neighboring Moorea. After filming was completed, Brando hired a local fisherman to ferry him to Tetiꞌaroa. It was "more gorgeous than anything I had anticipated," he marveled.
    Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands
    The Leeward Islands literally "Islands Under-the-Wind" are the western part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France, in the South Pacific Ocean. They lie south of the Line Islands (part of Kiribati), east of the Cooks and north of the Austral Islands (also part of French Polynesia). Their area is 404 km2 and their population is over 36,000.
    The westernmost Leeward Islands comprise a three atoll group: Manuae (also known as Scilly Atoll); Motu One atoll (also known as Bellinghausen), the most northerly of the Leeward Islands; and Maupihaa atoll (also known as Mopelia) to the southeast.

    Bora Bora
    Bora Bora is part of the central island group of the Leeward Islands in the South Pacific. The main island, located about 230 kilometres (125 nautical miles) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano, rising up to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu; the highest point is at 727 m (2,385 ft). Bora Bora is part of the Commune of Bora-Bora, which also includes the atoll of Tūpai. The main languages spoken in Bora Bora are Tahitian and French. However, due to the high tourist population, many natives of Bora Bora have learned to speak English.
    "Mystic" is the word used with Bora Bora, or even "Bali Ha'i" which is a show tune from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. The name refers to a mystical island, visible on the horizon but not reachable...  a lot has been said that Bali Ha'i is not Bora Bora, but actually based on the real island of Ambae (formerly Aoba Island). Ambae is located in Vanuatu...  but the images and the feel of Bali Ha'i is totally the Tahitian island. 

    The peaks Pahia and Otemanu are excellent with the custom textures, as is the detail of the island's infrastructure, small ports and all the island's locales are very well done.

    But this is a review, not a travelogue...  jumping from the latest Windward to the earlier Leeward packages, there is a difference? Also a time difference of 2½ years, and more significantly a different X-Plane era, Eleven not Twelve. Although the Leeward scenery was updated to XP12 (my guess the water)...  a lot of the XP11 elements remain, like the + trees, no active textures or burnt-in ambient occlusion effects, and not the more modern 3d style XP12 foliage. It makes a slight, but significant difference to the look and feel of this earlier scenery. It feels more plainer, even slightly flat compared to the "lush" vibrant Windward... don't get me wrong Leeward is very good, but looks not as condensed or luscious with realism as the X-Plane 12 effects created in the eastern part of Tahiti.
    Bora Bora Airport
    Bora Bora Airport (NTTB, 1505 meters), also known as Motu Mute Airport, is an airport serving Bora Bora (Leeward Islands, Society Islands, French Polynesia) and handles about 300.000 passengers annually. The airport is located on the islet of Motu Mute and is served by Air Tahiti with ATR 42 and ATR 72 propjets
      Bora Bora Airport
    Aéroport de Bora Bora

    11/29 1,505m (4,938ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL11 ft / 3 m

    Rustic and Polynesian, the excellent terminal building is not only for the air, but also a sea pier for servicing the hotels set out around the lagoon. The quaint Control Tower has housing and service buildings around it.

    Like at Moorea, there are a significant number of luxury Overwater bungalows at Bora Bora, and they are all set out around the lagoon areas, very evident, and the hotels existing here in Bora Bora are all replicated in detail.

    There are five Helipads set around the lagoon, mostly at the hotel sites. The one at "Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone" is the base for the operations around the area.
    Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone
    The hub of Tahiti Nui Helicopters on Bora Bora is located about 8 kilometers south of NTTB, XHNTTZ

    Four Seasons Helipad
    A helipad next to the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, about 6 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTF

    Saint Regis Helipad
    A helipad next to The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, about 8 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTS

    Le Meridien Helipad
    A helipad is set next to Le Meridien Bora Bora, about 8 kilometers south- east of NTTB, XHNTTM

    InterContinental Helipad
    A helipad next to the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort, about 9 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTI

    Raiatea Airport
    Raiatea Airport, also known as Uturoa Airport, is an airport on Raiatea and handles about 245.000 passengers annually. Raiatea is the second largest island of the Society Islands, after Tahiti, and has an elevation of 1017 meters. In the north of Raiatea lies Tahaa, and the islands are enclosed by a single coral reef.

    Raiatea Airport

    07/25 1,200m (3,937ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL6 ft / 2 m
    Set on the north coast of Raiatea, is Raiatea (Uturoa) Airport NTTR, the runway is actually on reclaimed land on the coral sea.

    Like all these Tahiti sceneries the airport quality is excellent. With very detailed South Pacific rustic buildings and feel... highly authentic.

    There is only one Helipad on Raiatea...
    Le Taha‘a Helipad
    A helipad next to the Le Taha‘a Island Resort, about 17 kilometers north-west of NTTR, XHNTTT

    Huahine measures 16 km (10 mi) in length, with a maximum width of 13 km (8 mi). It is made up of two main islands surrounded by a fringing coral reef with several islets, or motu. Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) lies to the north and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine) to the south. The total land area is 75 km2. The two islands are separated by a few hundred metres of water and joined by a sandspit at low tide. A small bridge was built to connect Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti. The Island's highest point is Turi, at 669 m elevation.

    Huahine – Fare Airport
    Huahine – Fare Airport is the airport serving the island of Huahine in French Polynesia. The airport is located in the northern part of the commune of Fare, on the Island of Huahine Fare,
    Huahine – Fare Airport

    07/25 1,500m (4,921ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL7 ft / 2 m

    Unusually here it is a tiled roof not thatched on the Fare Airport terminal building, but still in a Polynesian style. Again the airport is extremely well done with separate tower and service buildings, it is easy to find from the air as well with it's position.

    Maupiti is the westernmost volcanic island in the archipelago, 315 kilometres (196 miles) northwest of Tahiti and 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Bora Bora. It has a population of 1,286 people. The largest town is Vaiea. The island is a "near atoll", consisting of a central volcanic peak surrounded by a lagoon and barrier reef with four motu: Auira, Pa'ao, Tuanai, Tiapaa and Pitiahe.  The lagoon has an area of 27 square kilometres (10 square miles) and the central island has an area of 12 square kilometres (4.6 square miles) and a maximum elevation of 372 metres (1,220 feet).

    Maupiti Airport
    Maupiti Airport is serving the island of Maupiti and the airport handles about 23.000 passengers annually. It is positioned on the Northeastern coast of the island. Maupiti is the westernmost volcanic high island in the archipelago. The 3136 ft runway 08/26, sticks right out into the surrounding waters, the locale is really well designed (and detailed) to discover.
    Maupiti Airport

    08/26 956m (3136ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL15 ft / 5 m

    Maupiti Airport is another great gateway to paradise.
    Last and interesting in the Leeward Islands is...
    Tupai is also called Motu Iti, is a low-lying atoll in Society Islands, French Polynesia. It lies 19 km to the north of Bora Bora and belongs to the western Leeward Islands. This small atoll is only 11 km2 in size. Its broad coral reef encloses a shallow sandy lagoon. There are almost continuous long wooded motus on Tupai's reef. Tupai has no permanent residents apart from some workers in its coconut plantations. Tupai is a low-lying atoll and consists of two larger and a few smaller islands surrounding the lagoon.
    Tupai Airport is a private airfield on Tupai, inaugu- rated in 2001, and its use is restricted. It is noted as NTTU ICAO designator, there are no charts for the airfield.

    Of course all atolls and small coral islands throughout both packages are also all represented and customised with realistic water and landmass textures. There is also a a lot of vehicle traffic, and animated water traffic that gives off a buzz to the sceneries....  it is a very comprehensive set of sceneries, the best you could imagine for this "Exotic" part of the South Pacific.
    Lighting in these sort of packages is not the focus of the scenery... here it is of course basic island lighting. There is another element in looking at the night images to consider. X-Plane (12) and it's current state has not very refined lighting. It is all very over-exposed and quite large at their sources with large flares. So it isn't really very realistic? Here are my arrival images into Faa's NTAA Rwy 04. The lighting looks like cascading lava down the mountainsides? The airport PPT was actually quite hard to make out?

    The Faa's NTAA International lighting is perfectly fine, maybe a a better tone of light would have been more realistic... but overall it was good, but the external lighting sorta overwhelms it. The arrival globe lighting at the terminal's entrances are however a masterstroke.

    Papeete lighting is autogen(erated) but looks okay, the port area is very good.

    Moorea's lighting gives a more generalisation of the lighting across all the Windward Islands...  typical island lighting, with no highlights.

    In the Leeward Package the lighting is the older XP11 system, and it actually looks far better, as the heavy XP12 flare is more contained. Bora Bora Airport is bright and very nicely lit and the whites, whiter. Highlights are the eerie blue glow of the Overwater hotel bungalows, snaking themselves out into the Lagoons...

    My advice is to revisit the packages if Laminar Research refines the lighting of X-Plane 12, you may be pleasantly surprised, as the current night-lighting is way overdue for attention in the Simulator.
    "Society Islands" is a set of two packages by the renowned Maps2X-Plane, the same developer house that created both the excellent Faroe Islands, Svalbard and Seychelles XP, all the sceneries reviewed here are Maps2X-Plane releases, but released under the Aerosoft banner.
    The first was "Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands", released now back in September 2021 for X-Plane 11, of which you could call the "Western" area. The second release is the newer one "Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands", and again what you would call the "Eastern" area, both packages together then covers the whole Society Island territory.
    The Leeward scenery was slightly compromised in that it was only a regional scenery, with only local inter-island flying. This latest Windward package is significant because it adds in the main gateway or Faa'a International Airport, situated on the main island of Tahiti. This added aspect then connects all the Tahitian areas together, not only the international routes, but also the local domestic routes from the main gateway. The now combined area is also quite significantly wide to explore and to service.
    Tahiti & Windward Islands XP Package, includes the Tahiti Gateway of Faa‘a International Airport NTAA, and Papeete the capital of Tahiti, other islands and airports include Moorea Airport NTTM and Tetiaroa Airport NTTE (Brando Island), and three Heliports; Taaone NTHP, Taravao NTHV and Afareaitu NTHF.
    Bora Bora & Leeward Islands XP Package, includes Bora Bora Airport NTTB, Raiatea Airport NTTR, Huahine – Fare Airport NTTH, Maupiti Airport NTTP and Tupai Airport NTTU, a private airfield on Tupai. Heliports are five on Bora Bora; Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone (XHNTTZ), Four Seasons Helipad (XHNTTF), Saint Regis Helipad (XHNTTS), Le Meridien Helipad (XHNTTM), InterContinental Helipad (XHNTTI), and on Raiatea is a Helipad at Le Taha‘a Resort (XHNTTT).
    Maps2X-Plane are masters at creating extensive custom terrain mesh with photo-realistic textures for the landscape and the sea. And all the extensive land and tropical sea elements are all covered here. All land autogen is (South Pacific) custom, and significant areas and island locale's are covered like Papeete and port areas.  Airport vehicle and sea (water) traffic is also extensive. All airports including the Tahiti gateway Faa'a Airport are all extensively modeled and created, and the unique "South Sea Island" feel in the X-Plane 12 Simulator is very evident.
    Notable is that the older Bora Bora Leeward, does have still a lot of the older X-Plane 11 elements (older + trees and water) that doesn't have that later X-Plane 12 density and quality, Leeward is very, very good, but Windward is still better in feel and look. Lighting is actually the opposite, X-Plane 12 non-refined lighting is worse than the older but more stable X-Plane 11 lighting on the Bora Bora package. Notable is that both XP12 and XP11 versions are all included in the packages.
    In your face is the price, $36.99 for the older Bora Bora, and $38.99 for newer Tahiti... together $75.98 for scenery! Obviously an investment, but you get a lot of scenery including tons of detail and extensive features for your hard earned dollars. It's a brilliant set of flexible packages to use as well...  now with International Long Haul available, regional island services, helicopter inter-island and hotel services, and even just cruising around exploring the islands in your floatplane, every aspect is covered, and it all comes with a huge quality impact and the immense detail of custom terrain and noted photo-quality base mesh, as a travelogue it is all an explorers delight.
    Overall, it is the excellent "South Pacific" feel that is the immense drawcard to the Tahitian scenery, can a simulator recreate the realism of the real world, well almost and these sets of Tahitian Sceneries show off the immense talents of X-Plane 12, its all so close, you can now almost touch it with these packages....   Highly Recommended.

    Yes! the Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands, Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands by Aerosoft is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
    Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands
    Price is US$38.99
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Video Card - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 5.7 GB  - Installation is done through Aerosoft One Current version: 1.1 (January 26th 2024)  
    Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands
    Price is US$36.99
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Video Card - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 5.7 GB  - Installation is done through Aerosoft One Current version: 1.1 (December 12th 2022) ___________________________
    Installation of Tahiti/Bora Bora XP  is done through Aerosoft one installer:
    Aerosoft One Universal After you have installed Aerosoft One, click on  
    ENTER PRODUCT KEY (under the Library Tab)
    ...   enter the Serial Number provided in this order. This will give you the option to download the airport. Note the different X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 installations.
    The Tahiti/Bora Bora scenery is downloaded into a dedicated folder "Aerosoft One Library" on your system, under a file (gameDirectory) via a shortcut. Full Install size (both packages) is 15.34Gb.
    Standard Aerosoft Manuals Tahiti (9 pages), Bora Bora (22 pages) are in both English and German.

    Review System Specifications
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.07r1 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    -ToLiss A321 XP12 - (X-Plane.orgStore) US$89.99
    - Cessna 172-1000 - X-Plane Default fleet - Free (with X-Plane 12)
    -ATR72-500 v1.2 - Riviere 1.2.0 - - (X-Plane.org) - Free
    Tahiti Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    18th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved

  • Create New...