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Everything posted by Joe

  1. Scenery Review : LEBL Barcelona El Prat El Prat Airport, also known as Barcelona Airport, is the main airport of Catalunya, and the second largest of Spain, it's located around15 km from Barcelona City and coast, and 3km from the Seaport. Barcelona airport (LEBL) has 3 fairly large runways, each of which is either concrete or asphalt. Barcelona is also so complex it has 5 control towers, each of which are included within the scenery. 38 Million passengers flood through the gates at LEBL making it a very popular destination and hub in Europe. DAI's latest release covers LEBL in lots of detail, after eight months of work by the team the scenery has finally been released to now add to your XP scenery collection. To review this scenery I will be taking a B757-200 from Barcelona (LEBL) to Bristol International (EGGD), leaving the sunny Spanish coast behind to return to some great classic British weather, rain! Features: Layer Ortofoto 20cm/pix 2 terminals and lot of buildings high detailed and textured but optimised (specular maps for windows) All animated local jetways with objects on ramp 3 runways actives customized Custom navigation objects, all light markings and ground markings Volumetric 3D grass and local vegetation Static and dynamic vehicles, e.g. buses, baggage carts, services, firefighters, police, medical, etc Custom roads with custom traffic in airport roads Scalable options according your X-Plane configuration Option static aircraft traffic enabled or disabled First Impressions: The airport is very detailed, this was after I changed my rendering settings, first I thought the detail was poor but that was my mistake as when I increased object density in XP settings the airport came to life with misc objects. Parked at the gate and whilst performing the walk around inspection, the concrete is actually very clean! Dirt has been applied but maybe a little more would be nice, then it will look really worn and how a busy airport should. The gates included are custom 'autogates', this means that the jetway will dock to your aircraft when parked at the gates with the engines off. This is a great tool developed by Jonathan Harris, therefore his plugin is required for this to work. If you don't want automated jetways or don't want to install Mr Harris's plugin then the jetways will remain, but just not work! Around the gates the attention to detail can really be noticed, small trucks and cones populate areas and makes the airport feel 'busy' and realistic. The textures on the buildings and static misc objects are a mixture of photo-real and artificial, despite that it looks very good and the smallest of details can be seen within the textures. For example, on most concrete textures moss has been applied to give the airport a dirty feel, not just on the ground but on objects too. The 3d grass looks great! It is very difficult to get good grass in XP, believe me! However DAI has managed to get some good grass at LEBL. Although it can be hard to spot whilst taxing to the runway, I think more dense grass looks realistic, but then again LEBL is very 'industrialized' having concrete and asphalt literally everywhere! 3D Detail & Texturing: The detail in the airport is amazing, I think I have already said that, a few times! Certain buildings have been modelled extremely well, especially the main control tower, the spirals look phenomenal in the sim! Misc objects such as stairs and vans have been modelled and textured well, I like the addition of flashing coloured beacons on these objects, it looks great in the day and night. The static aircraft look great and come in many different liveries including Wizz Air, Iberia, Vueling and Lufthansa. I would expect to see a BA, Ryanair or easyJet aircraft but it doesn't matter too much. The aircraft are very spaced out as well, I think some more aircraft would be nice. The ground markings are superb, especially the textures on the runway. The asphalt textures are of a very high resolution, and every marking has been placed with precision as you can see from the images above. The runway is dirty from aircraft wheel marks, I like what DAI have done here, it's not too dirty or too clean and just how a realistic runway should be! Despite the ground polygons being of a high resolution unfortunately I cannot say the same about the orthoimagery. The whole area looks good at a high altitude although when lower to the ground it is clearly blurry. This is not a big issue as you will never come into contact with the surrounding ground, unless you fall short of the runway! Animations are not as plentiful as I would have hoped however they are still very present. The radar on the control tower rotates and some vans and cars will travel around the airport utilising another one of Mr Harris's great plugins, ground traffic. Night Lighting and Configuration LEBL by DAI can be configured to meet your computers demand, if you have a mega powerful machine this scenery will be plug and play high resolution and highly detailed. However if you have a lower end PC don't be put off by the complexity of this scenery. One feature I like is that this scenery will play to your rendering settings, if you turn down airport detail and object density in XP settings, this scenery will reduce misc objects and help your computer cope. It also has compressed textures and 3D models to help it run a bit smoother. The night lighting is mostly baked into the scenery, so it looks good with HDR ON or OFF, again if your computer is not powerful it won't matter too much and you can still experience this scenery. Nearly every building has it's own night texture which is great and makes the experience even more realistic. I especially like the lighting under the control tower to light up the advertisement! This scenery was very frame rate friendly for me, even with the Flight Factor 752 running, which surprised me if I am totally honest. I averaged at 32 FPS whilst using this scenery and payware aircraft. Summary Overall this scenery can't be faulted, it is fantastic! Most certainly worth adding to your scenery collection, making it the next destination for your flight. The ground markings are superb, especially the textures on the runway. The asphalt textures are of a very high resolution, and every marking has been placed with precision. The orthoimagery is a little blurry but that's not an issue. The 3d modelling is great in most places, other places it is let down a little, the main area with not very detailed modelling is the car park behind the terminal however this is a flight sim, not a driving sim! Therefore the missing detail in the car park makes no difference to the realism created by DAI in other areas of the airport. According to the DAI website in a future update the coast line will be custom modeled, textured and included which is very exciting and will make the approach into the airport even more great! If you haven't got this already then I suggest you get it now! It won't be disappointing. It is available from the DAI Website for 34 Euro. Available here: DAI-MEDIA Barcelona El Prat for €34.00 If you have any questions please feel free to comment below. Reviewed by : Joe ©copyright 2015 : X-Plane Reviews Technical Requirements: Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.6 (or higher) or X-Plane 10.40 (or higher - 64 bit compatible) Pentium 2 GHz - 4GB RAM/1GB VRAM150MB available hard disk space Version 1.0 ______________________________________________________________________ Review System Specifications: Computer System: -Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz -4.00gb of RAM -Geforce GTX 650 Software: -Windows 7 64 bit -X-Plane 10 Global version 10.31 - Barcelona El Prat by DAI-Media - EGGD Bristol by Pilot Plus Hardware: - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - Saitek Rudder Pedals.
  2. EGGD Bristol has been optimised for frame rate, Stephen is correct, due to the complexity and level of detail in the lighting with HDR on at night you may see a little hot but not too much.
  3. Aircraft Review: Tecnam P2002 by DMAX Route: VFR Circuits at Pilot Plus EGTR London Elstree The Tecnam P2002 is a small light weight aircraft manufactured by Tecnam in Italy and brought to X-Plane with DMAX's latest release. The tecnam is a two seat low winged aircraft perfect for cross country flying, especially with its very large canopy which can even be opened in flight. The tecnam p2002 is powered by a single Rotax 912 S2 engine, built with aluminium and has tricycle fixed gear. During this review I will be using a Saitek Pro Flight Yoke and X-Mapper Pro on an IPad. If your unsure, X-Mapper Pro is a live map for x-plane which tracks your movements across the globe! From the app you can also control your aircraft and vital things like radios and Autopilot. I think it's a great add-on to enhance your sim, all for £1.99! So how does the DMAX model compare to the real world equivalent? DMAX are most commonly known for their Blackshape prime model which claims to be a replica within X-Plane! DMAX have also developed the Tecnam P92, and now with their latest release the P2002. To fully test the DMAX Tecnam P2002 I decided to take a trip to the beautiful British countryside, more specifically EGTR London Elstree by Pilot Plus. I found myself on the ramp at EGTR with a cold and dark Tecnam P2002 at approximately 10:20AM, the weather report wished a favourable day for flying, 12 degrees celsius and a cloud base of 3500ft, so I did't waste any time and walked over to the aircraft. Features:Accurate flightmodel of a P2002 JF - fixed prop - 100hpDetailed cockpit and exterior with animations, manipulators, normal map, ambient occlusion, specular map.Garmin GNS530Knots anemometer as well as KmhPropeller RMP as well as engine RPMRemovable wheel fairings4 liveries plus a white one for custom paintingCustomizable round instruments (the empty "T": expert users)Customizable switches (expert users)Effects on the windshield: rain (just fixed drops), ice, birdstrike (need activation in Failures window)Girl passenger (she comes by increasing the payload weight)First I start with a walk around inspection. Externally the textures are quite good, every nut and bolt is present however I wouldn’t class this as extremely high resolution, however, the lower resolution does help to retain frame rates which can be an issue for many when flying on a demanding programme such as XP. The 3D modelling of the exterior is very good, no issues there, every part is in proportion. The wheel fairings can be removed, so you can configure the aircraft to your liking, a nice feature here would be chocks and pitot 'remove before flight' covers. After a quick check the aircraft is ready to fly, all control surfaces are connected and moving freely and the aircraft is airworthy. Stepping into the 3D cockpit. The 3D cockpit on any payware aircraft has to be great as this is where you will spend most of your time. The cabin is great, I specifically love the detail in the seat modelling, the seat belts are 3D and look just right and you feel a sense of spacial awareness within the cabin. The modelling on all of the gauges is 3D and looks very good, in general the panel has been created to a very high standard. In this aircraft you get the pilots standard six (instruments), all have been modelled and texture to a high level of detail and also at a high resolution. The Tecnam also comes with the default GNS 530, fantastic for navigation and enables you to take your little Tecnam on a very long trip! To control the Tecnam you get a stick in between your legs, the control stick has been modelled very well although I think the textures on the stick could have a little more detail. Although when flying commonly you will not even see the stick and therefore that doesn't matter. A nice touch would be a side menu of which holds options to turn on/ off wheel fairings, on/ off for showing the passenger and on/ off static elements etc... It would make it easier to configure the aircraft to how you want. The textures within the cockpit are actually quite dark, however this is good as I think it makes it look much more realistic. The textures blend very well and match variants of the real aircraft, some dirt and grime would be a nice feature in places as the aircraft does look very new. The window texture is very hard to notice, if it was less transparent I think it would look better as then whilst in the cockpit you would feel as though you are looking through glass and not an empty space. Every edit I have suggested so far though are minor and could be added within an update. A feature I really like within the cabin is the sliding canopy, it looks fantastic and has a very smooth transition. Liveries You get a few liveries to choose from, all look fantastic and I can't pick a favourite! All are of a high resolution and can be selected from the X-Plane aircraft selection menu. The liveries also have a weathered look on the undercarriage of the aircraft, this looks great as you can see oil leaks streaked across the paintwork from the wind. I have to admit that there are not lots of liveries to pick from however there is a whit livery for custom painting, so you can just copy and paste the white livery and play around in photoshop! Of course if those liveries are not enough its best you head over to the x-plane.org download manager and many people make paints and upload them there. Frame Rates If you are worried about frame rates there is no need to be regarding this aircraft by DMAX. I have not suffered any frame rate issues and I have been running cloud plugins, custom scenery etc... As I have described previously some of the exterior textures are of a slightly lower resolution which helps. As the aircraft is small and agile it will bank very fast and hard, this in most cases is where your frame rate will plummet. However, I did not suffer any issues and during my VFR circuits I completed a few hard turns! Night Lighting Night lighting on this aircraft is very good and resembles how it looks in reality. The lights are very basic both inside and out, but this is not bad but in fact good as the real aircraft is also very basic. The main lighting inside the cockpit is the panel and gauge lighting. Both lights look really good and light up the area perfectly, although the lights didn't cast a spill anywhere else in the cockpit for example on the side walls. Mostly you will find yourself flying around in this little plane in the day undergoing cross country, like me! Therefore the only time you will most likely ever see the night lighting is when it starts to get dark and you are considering finding somewhere to land. Sound The sound of the aircraft are good, although I would prefer the sounds to be a little more crisp. Apart from the dullness of the sounds generally the sound is more than acceptable. There is no volume control of such like you get from the Carenado options menu although I suppose thats an extra feature which to be honest isn't needed. I noticed that there is no sound for the sliding canopy, that would be a great feature but unfortunately not included. Conclusion Overall this is a great small aircraft, its configurable to your liking however its tricky to configure. It's possible to turn on/ off wheel fairings and on/ off the passenger, who even shows in the 3D cockpit view, however a menu to turn on and off these features is most certainly needed as currently its very difficult to configure. Aside from that the aircraft is very light and very fun to fly, and also frame rates are really not an issue with this aircraft which I was very surprised about. The Tecnam has many instruments for you to carefully monitor, so if you are using X-Plane as a training sim it will help you to practise multitasking! It is possible to add your own custom instruments into the cockpit which is an interesting feature and one of which I have never encountered before flying this aircraft. If you do wish to add your own instruments there are two slots of which you can chose, however you have to have previous experience in plane maker to achieve this as it's not a straight forward task if you don't know what to do. I would most certainly recommend adding this aircraft to your X-Plane hangar, its light weight and manoeuvrability makes it great for training and for having fun, especially when flying circuits around a small VFR airfield in the British Countryside! You can get the Tecnam P2002 on the X-Plane.org store for the small fee of $22.00 Review by Joe. © Copyright 2015 : X-Plane Reviews Payware Scenery Used: EGTR - London Elstree by Pilot Plus. Requirements: Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.6 (or higher) or Linux XPlane 10.40 Pentium 2 GHz - 4GB RAM/1GB VRAM 250MB available hard disk space Review System Specifications: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650
  4. Sorry I don't believe FSFS supports multiple languages. English only at this time. This could be something to suggest to the developers though.
  5. Pitts S-2S Review The Pitts S-2S (special) is an iconic aircraft for aerobatics all around the world, if you see a small biplane tumbling around and spinning out of control above you, it's most likely going to be the Pitts! It's strong airframe and remarkable design makes it readily available for sharp turns and stunt upon the pilots command! The powerful Lycoming AEIO-540-D4A5 (260hp) is a heavier engine from the previous models of the Pitts Special but it's increased power makes it more agile in flight. The S-2S model has one single cockpit seating one pilot, other models such as the S-2C can seat two people, so you can make the passenger feel nausea and ready to vomit! The S-2S has a twin talk fuel system and a 20ft wingspan. The real Pitts Special is a phenomenal aircraft, so does the Alabeo virtual version bring credit this aircraft deserves? I decided to do an aerobatics flight over EGTR - London Elstree to find out! First Impressions? Flying aerobatics is great fun! Performing organized stunts in a remembered progression, confined to a small cubic area, is very challenging but also very rewarding! So I decided to take the challenge with the Alabeo Pitts S-2S, performing a progression of stunts in an organized manor of Elstree, London. So I started with the Pitts positioned on the ramp, engines off, cold and dark. Seeing the aircraft and walking around it made me very impressed by the 3D modelling and attention to detail, from seeing a real Pitts S-2S in real life I can really relate to the real experience I had walking around the real Pitts! The 3D modelling, like always from Alabeo, has been done very well and accurately. Textures on the outside are great, every nut and bolt is clearly visible. My favorite textured area outside is the tail wheel strut, the dirty metal looks great and shows the 'real' age of the aircraft. It does look a little clean, but every well loved aircraft does! It makes me think if I could take off the cowling the engine would be in pristine condition, unfortunately that's not possible though! The actual tail wheel texture looks a bit odd though, I would expect a wheel to look a bit different to that! More like the main gear at the front of the aircraft where those wheels have been textured well. Another thing to notice is the 3D pilot, he is not optional though. When you are looking around outside he is sat in there whatever you do! A nice touch would be to make him optional. You can however move his visor up/ down, this can all be done in the pop out menu's. Opening the canopy, moving into the cockpit. 3D modelling in the cockpit is superb, every gauge, strut, button and lever has been modeled and there are no proportion issues or anything that looks 'out of place'. I really like the fact that you can 'feel' the depth of where you're sat when you look down, this type of view is what will make a device like the oculus rift shine, depth representation is very important for a Virtual Reality headset. On the subject of VR, wouldn't it be great to do some aerobatics inside the Pitts and X-Plane and actually feel as though you are doing it! Looking down and feeling the depth of where you're sat will make the experience of VR much better. Texturing in the cockpit is very good, it's not clean yet it shows wear and tear. For example, I like the addition of worn throttle lever, very realistic. The glass canopy also has pre-rendered reflections which looks great from inside, there is also an option to turn the glass completely opaque which essentially removes any reflections and glass texturing. Preparing for flight The first thing you notice when you enter the cockpit is the availability of instruments. The two main instruments you have are 'Speedometer' and 'Altimeter' the other common instruments such as 'Artificial Horizon', 'Turn Coordinator' , 'Vertical Speed' and 'Heading' are missing. It's common on a Pitts and other aerobatics aircraft to miss that although some previous models to the special had a turn coordinator. All of this just adds to the challenge! The idea of flying the Pitts is to do most things visually, using the visible horizon as a guide. This does help when doing aerobatics though as keeping a focus on the horizon level through the window helps to avoid any major crashing! After receiving clearance from the tower to start the engine and taxi to the holding point I then started the engine. Starting the engine is very simple, mixture rich, master switch on and fuel boost. Turn the the key to both and the engine will start if the throttle is left open a little. This is not a study level simulated aircraft so the procedures to operate it are very basic, that said flying loops and barrel rolls puts a smile on your face! I noticed one thing, after turning on the master switch my oil temperature instantly was set, the needle did not rise but was just instantly placed. It would be nice for the Pitts to simulate a slow rise after the master is switched on, this is only a very small detail though. In Flight The Pitts is very responsive to all changes, I felt that my joystick inputs where picked up a little too sensitive so I decided to reconfigure a few of my X-Plane settings, after though the aircraft felt a little heavier to move which I believe is more realistic. The Pitts was very hard to control on the ground, I have never controlled the aircraft for real on the ground but I don't believe that the tail wheel sliding around like its on ice is the most accurate of representations! So onto the fun stuff... Aerobatics! The first move I tried was a barrel roll, just a simple aileron roll to the left or right, no rudder needed. This is a great aerobatic move, it's fun quick and easy, it can also be made more challenging by doing it closer to the ground. The second move was the loop, full throttle into steep climb pulling back. At the top, reduce throttle and gently let the plane fall back on itself to complete the loop! It looks great from the ground and it feel great in the Pitts too. On all moves I performed the Pitts flew flawlessly, Alabeo have found the balance between agility and power which makes it fun to fly. The engine is not so powerful that you look like a space rocket but just powerful enough to perform great stunts and be able to recover safely. The iconic feature of this aircraft and all that perform aerobatics is smoke that leaves a fantastic trail behind the plane. When I saw the smoke button in the cockpit that is what I expected to happen, instead the default smoke came out which as you may know is not very white and fluffy! So an improvement there would be for Alabeo to make such system or plugin for the white fluffy smoke that leaves a long trail. Configuration Options As with all Alabeo aircraft you get a side menu that never goes away. It would be nice to be able to hide that menu from the screen. From the menu you change your camera view which is a great feature, especially when performing stunts! There are many camera options to pick from and the camera moved instantly but I did suffer a slight bit of lag. The second menu is the option for certain changes you can make specific for this aircraft. For example you can add or remove the aerosight, put the visor up/ down on your pilot, instrument reflections on/ off and transparent canopy on/ off. These options are fun to play around with. The third menu gives you quick access to your radio and squawk box, this is most certainly needed as flying without it in x-plane would be very tricky. Inside the cockpit the radio is virtually impossible to see from pilot head POV, therefore this feature is great and shows Alabeo have thought about user experience. Summary Overall I believe that this aircraft is certainly the best aerobatics capable for X-plane, it looks great, its fantastically fun to fly, sounds realistic and functions as you would expect. It is a little touchy on the flight controls but once it's adjusted in X-plane settings the plane feels heavier and more realistic. There are a few issues I found such as the instant rising needle upon start up but apart from that Alabeo have made a great product. The canopy is not operable from inside the cockpit, or it might be but I couldn't find the switch. The only way to move the canopy is by the menu, it can be annoying if you open it and close it a lot. Not a big issue though. 3D modeling and texturing is great, only two liveries by default though, more would be nice. You can however download some from Alabeo's site at no extra cost, and as always you can design your own! (blank livery included). The feature of smoke trails would be great, or if Alabeo don't do it maybe someone else will. It would be great to leave a trail in the X-Plane skies! Multiplayer would be very fun with that addition as well! Documentation is good, you get the standard from Alabeo however you also get an aerobatics manual. This manual tells you how to perform a variety of maneuvers with pictures to assist the explaining, very nice touch! This aircraft is great fun to fly and has been modeled and textured with great detail, I certainly recommend it! Where can you get the Pitts S-2S? Get The Pitts S-2S $19.95 Reviewed by : Joe ©X-Plane Reviews 2015. Technical Requirements: X-Plane 10 - Windows Operating System . Mac or Linux not supported Reviewer Computer Spec: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650
  6. What is FSFS? FS Flying School or FSFS for short is a comprehensive utility for X-Plane 10. FSFS is not an ordinary small plugin which aims to enhance your experience, instead FSFS is a desktop application which will add a ‘virtual instructor’ by your side! FSFS comes packed with a team of talking instructors who will comment on your flight in real time, instruct you on how to improve and also debrief you after the flight! Your personal instructor doesn’t limit you to fly in a specific area, you can fly wherever you want in the virtual XP world! Although you are limited to which aircraft you can fly, this being said FSFS by default will support a range of aircraft (default XP and some payware) and also you can enable FSFS to support an aircraft of your choice. Optionally you can also purchase extension packs for FSFS, this includes a detailed instructor tailored for C172, C208 and there is also a voice command extension pack. All covered in this review. Like I have said FSFS is a desktop application and therefore at the moment it is Windows only, although I do remember a Kickstarter campaign to enable Mac application development however I don’t believe thats available yet. FSFS Features: Normally here I would list a bunch of product features however as there are so many for FSFS I will list the main features and you can see the rest listed here. 3 Talking Instructors, each with different personalities and gendersInstructors will know which runway you are either landing at or using for take off and guide you through the procedure (even without ILS)Friendly scoring system and log bookPilot Briefing tool analyses previous flights and notes improvement areasInstructors give warnings before mistakes are made and also have many entertaining phrases!Instant tests of your airmanshipOptional Voice command pack allows you to talk to the instructor! First impressions? Wow! I was shocked on how easy this programme is to use and and how real it sounds! Before I go into detail with that though I had’t to set the programme up first. To tell the truth I had a few minor issues getting started. FSFS does work ‘out of the box’ and it did for me originally although a few flights later it stopped functioning. I contacted FSFS Support and the problem was fixed in no time, it was simply a file permission setting on my computer, I had’t to run the programme as administrator and have FSFS installed in C: to stop any further issues of file permissions. Since then I have had no other issues and FSFS is absolutely fantastic! A standard flight goes as follows. I started on the ramp in the C172, engines off and the aircraft cold and dark. With FSFS running as well as XP 10 I started the engine. The instructor will then notice everything that you do and comment on anything which can be improved. For example the instructor will call ‘rotate’ and guide you through every manoeuvre you make, as well as ‘your pitching up too much, lower the nose’ and, ‘watch that bank angle is starting to get a bit too steep’, this all adds to the great realism of which this product brings. What I really like about FSFS is how it predicts what could go wrong and correct you before it happens, for example levelling the wings during landing to even watching your steering on the ground! All with a virtual instructor that talks to you, fantastic! The most helpful warning I believe you can get is ‘watch out, don’t stall’ as stalling can become a dangerous situation if its not planned. This actually happened on a flight in the C208 I did. I departed from KLAX and I was focused on tuning the NAV, mixed with the complexity of the airways I was not consistently watching my speed. Luckily I has my virtual instructor who pointed out the slow speed so I could quickly correct it before stalling at 1200ft near LAX! So, there is my first impression of using FSFS now lets move onto installation. If I am honest installation didn't go completely smooth for me, as I have discussed above the main issue originally was application permissions. But even that solved I still found the programme unstable at times. By ‘unstable’ I don't mean crashing during a flight but now and again I had a few problems trying to get it functioning. Luckily Jeff from FSFS gave instant help on every issue, support from FSFS is great so there is no need to worry about problems. Installing it was very simple, just a simple installer that guides you on what to do, most of it is automatic and only basic computer knowledge is needed to be able to open the installer file! (just click it!) The only edit I had to make was moving its installation directory from my Desktop to C:, FSFS Support guided me through though and that was only as I had the small issue. The main aim of FSFS is to help you improve your aircraft handling skills and make you a more skilled and therefore better pilot. After using FSFS for a while you will see a difference in your flying as you will start to predict the errors alongside your instructor, therefore with FSFS turned off you will be better skilled and in less need of an instructor! You can also take an airmanship test once you feel you have bettered your aircraft handling skills. After a few weeks of using FSFS I felt as though I was ready to take the airmanship test, and the test is great fun! What I love about FSFS is how its built perfectly to suit every flight simmer, for example if you are a veteran or starting out is doesn't matter. Landing anywhere on the runway is suitable and FSFS wont get confused! So don’t worry about landing on a fixed point of the runway as if land with a few feet of the runway left and bounce a lot! FSFS and your instructor will just give you pointers on how to improve next time! FSFS also monitors a wide array of your aircraft, your instructor won’t just comment on how well you fly but also (optional) your usage of aircraft lights and the engine! FSFS will also monitor your radios and NAV, this is great as its just what a real instructor would do. An example of a NAV command is ‘NAV one is tuned to “” FSFS would then read out what your NAV is tuned to, a great little feature! Another feature which is also interesting is how your instructor will ask you questions during flight, for example a question I was asked on one of my flights with FSFS was ‘How much fuel will we have when we reach our destination?’ even the smallest of details add to the added realism FSFS brings to X-Plane. FS Flying School is really a virtual ‘Flying School’ as it is packed full of so many features to explore! Realism You may have picked up already from this review how real I think your instructor is! All voices are natural human voices and not computer generated. Having hundreds of pre-recorded phrases is really realistic. I also noticed how the instructors also show human emotion, for example if you bank hard to the left your instructor will react as though he/ she is in the plane feeling the G-Force! For example your instructor would say ‘Whoah, watch that bank angle, its starting to get a bit too steep!’. To add to the realism you can also choose between three different flying instructors, each will say the same lines although gender and accent varies between instructors. To further add to the realism extension packs are available as an additional purchase, extension packs include the C208 Grand caravan, C172 and Voice Command. Each pack is tailored specifically to the aircraft, this means that new commands are added and your instructor will guide you on specific aircraft instructions. I have to admit that the Cessna 208 is one of my favourite aircraft and its great that there is an extension pack available! The voice command pack will give you the ability to talk back to your instructor which knocks down the barrier between you, the screen and the instructor! Its absolutely fantastic, I will get to that in further depth later though. Configurability FSFS is a highly complex programme and with that it is also very configurable. There aren’t any options that I wish could be added, everything you need is there. The programme consists of a few tab like pages for which your can configure all options. Before I get into each and every option and page of the programme there is some ‘out of programme’ configurability that can also be done, if you fly an aircraft often and it is not supported by FSFS by default then there is a way to make it supported. The process is very simple and there are also instructions in the manual that comes with the programme. How to add your own aircraft support: Go to where you have installed FSFS, and then open the ‘aircraft’ folder.In the ‘Aircraft’ folder locate the file ‘xpYourPlaneFileNameHere.fsu’Duplicate this file and change the name of it to the name of the aircraft you wish to add support of, for example I will add support for the ‘Carenado PA28 Archer’ therefore the name of the file will be ‘xpCarenado PA28 Archer II v3.fsu’The last step is to open the new file in Notepad to configure the settings. Once opened you will find a setting per line, for example flaps-position.1=“(the degree of the flap here)” Thats it! There are a few more things to configure not just the first flap degree! However apart from the few extra settings FSFS will now support the aircraft! For a more detailed explanation you can see the manual that is provided with FSFS and is very detailed. If you are of the very competitive nature your flight scores in custom supported aircraft will not be added to the online FSFS scoreboard though. So back to programme options, overall there are 7 pages each with useful information and configurable options. The first page looks like this: Inside of this page are 4 tabs which will tell you how to start FSFS and a specific situation, for example an ILS approach. These tabs are very useful and I think could look a little better but the tabs function as you would expect. The next page looks like this: On this page you can select your Pilot Instructor and configure settings about you, consisting of your Pilot profile and your name. Over on the instructor side you have the ability to choose an Instructor, there are a total of 3. Mr Smith, Mr Mitchell, and Miss Aviatrix! Very thoughtful names! Mr Smith is the standard instructor voice and in my opinion is the most realistic to real life! Mr Mitchell’s voice is very unique and great for a comedy flight! Other options include ‘Background Chatter, Background Humour, Display Captions and Monitor Lights Usage. I tend to leave off background humour as for a serious flight its not needed, although if you want to lighten the mood in the cockpit you can enable the humour! The humour is from passengers and not your instructor, If you want to know what is said by passengers as humour I will let you get FSFS and find out! Another option on this page is Automatic Detection, this is very useful option whilst flying. Automatic Detection will detect when you enter cruise and landing mode, if this is disabled you have to use keyboard commands to advance or take back the flight mode. The third page looks like this: This is the ‘Flight Plan’ page, now unfortunately you can’t upload a full flight plan for an external source, although that would be a great option, especially if the instructor could understand the plan and assist you when flying even further! Instead you have the option to enter Transition Altitude and different speeds, still very useful and it also helps FSFS determine commands based on these options. The fourth page: This is the aircraft page by which you select different options. You can choose for the instructor to also monitor different lights and engines here, obviously the more you tick here, the more you will hear from your instructor! Below that is the instructor volume, I always set this to Loud as it therefore sounds slightly muffled through the headphones (or computer speakers) which is very realistic to real life when flying. The Log Book page will provide you with all of your logged information. All flights will show here and interestingly there is also the option of ‘Career Analyzer’ and ‘Pilot Briefing’. The Briefing option is very good, it will notify you of previous errors and tell you how to correct them in the next flight. After that there is the setting page which allows you to edit even more settings! and configure FSFS to tailor to you and your needs. Voice Command The voice command pack is an optional extra, and in my opinion is most certainly worth the extra pennies! It’s great to be able to speak back to your instructor and say for example ‘Ready for Takeoff’ by which your instructor will reply with ‘Ok, we are about to take off, visibility is…’ absolutely fantastic! it really helps distinguish the barrier between you, the instructor and the screen! Rather than being an extra programme the voice command options are within FSFS, after you simple enter your serial code the pack will be registered. The sensitivity of how well commands are received depends on how clear you talk and how good your mic is. That said you really don't need an expensive microphone, I used a PC headset with headphones and a mic which worked just fine. Wearing a headset and talking also adds to the great realism added by FSFS! If you are worried that FSFS wont be able to pick up your voice clearly you can test it within Microsoft. This is because FSFS uses Microsofts built in speech recognition system. You can also demo the voice pack for free, this is great and gives you a really good chance to see if it will work for you. You can also assign a button to press when talking to the instructor or you can have him/ her listen all of the time. If you are in a noisy environment I wouldn’t recommend having it set to ‘Listen’ as it may pick up commands you haven't said. Pushing a button to talk isn’t that much of a hassle though after comparing both methods. Developer Interview Is FSFS still an ‘active developing’ programme for X-Plane, or are you focusing on new products instead? It certainly is a product in continuous development. We've developed a huge amount of technology for the FSX version which is not yet in the X-Plane version and we are working on getting what we can into the X-Plane version. What features do you intend to add to FSFS for X-Plane in the future? We're adding built-in support for even more popular X-Plane aircraft. At present the core product supports 15 popular planes, but we want to get that up to around 25 at least. We also want to add a screen at which pilots can add the data for extra aircraft as you mentioned in the review. There are also a great many more Voice Command features in the FSX product we'd like to see added to our X-Plane version, such as "Airport 2 o'clock?" which will identify the airport in the distance in that direction and also "Nearest airport?" which is, I think, self-explanatory. Do you intend to introduce a Mac version of FSFS for X-Plane? We ran a KickStarter fund raising project for this and sadly it did not achieve its goal. We have no plans at present to develop a Mac version. We do however publish FS Instant Approach PRO for XP10 for the Mac. I understand that FS Inventions develop an FSX version of FSFS as well, did you face any issues when starting to develop for X-Plane? All core communications between FSFlyingSchool and FSX are handled by FSUIPC and so we needed the same for X-Plane. 'XPUIPC' by Torsten has done a splendid job for us. Beyond that, there are lots of differences of course. I especially like the replays of landings it is possible to examine in great deal (and slow motion) with X-Plane. They've been most useful with product development. Will you be creating any more detail packs, for example a detail pack for the Carenado B200 King Air would be great!? That certainly is a splendid aircraft! As for more detail packs - this again is something we've done a huge amount of work on (14 detail packs) for the FSX version of FSFlyingSchool and we'd certainly like to offer some of that as X-Plane detail packs too. We've not yet done a detail pack for the Carenado B200 King Air - but it sure is tempting! Summary This is more than a simple X-Plane Plugin, its a desktop application with lots of configurability. With the conjunction of the voice commands pack and optional detail packs for the C208 and C172 FSFS provides the complete solution for a flight school in X-Plane! Flying in X-Plane is great, with the addition of the voice command pack I felt as though I was actually talking to someone who was sat next to me in the aircraft, a similar feeling to using PilotEdge. I did have a little trouble when setting it up and that did set my initial impressions of the programme, however after using it everything pieces together and overall I am very impressed by the application. I was impressed also of how much little space each programme takes! Even when fully installed it didn’t affect my memory and I hardly notice I have the programmes installed. Manually creating/ duplicating files to add support for aircraft that are not supported can be a tricky process if you are not good at following instructions or computer wise! It’s possible though and the manual is detailed with everything you will ever need within it. Maybe there could be a page within FSFS to add custom aircraft support, a page where you can simply enter the variables (discussed above) and the programme will write the files? Luckily for me I can use FSFS as I fly X-Plane on a windows run computer, if you use Mac currently I’m afraid FSFS doesn't have a Mac version. Therefore If you run a windows computer and are interested in the fact of feeling as though you are in X-Plane with a virtual instructor who you can talk to, FS Flying School is phenomenal and perfect for you! FSFS is a programme that you have to use yourself to really appreciate how great it is and how much realism it brings to X-Plane especially with the Voice Command pack! So, Should you buy it and test it for yourself? Yes! You will be impressed, especially when you start talking to your instructor! The videos on YouTube don’t capture what it’s like to actually say commands and have someone respond! Therefore I recommend a purchase of both the base FSFS and the voice command pack, detail packs can always be added when needed. Where can you find FS Flight School? On the X-Plane.org Store for $24.95 Get FS Flying School Here Other Detail Packs: Voice Command Cessna 172 Edition Cessna 208 Edition Reviewed by : Joe ©X-Plane Reviews 2015. Technical Requirements: X-Plane 10 - Windows Operating System . Mac or Linux not supported Reviewer Computer Spec: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650
  7. Scenery Review: Miami City XP Drzewiecki Design (DD) are well known for scenery and airport development, not just for X-Plane but for FSX and Prepar 3D as well. With 7 scenery packages on the x-plane.org store covering 20 airports DD offer a wide range of airports all over the world, primarily covering the U.S and Poland. The latest release from DD goes by the name of Miami City XP. The scenery covers three airports with 'lite' detail including KMIA Miami Intl, KTMB Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport and KOPF Opa-Locka Executive Airport. Drzewiecki Design provide a very vast scenery with Miami City XP, as you would expect from the title this scenery covers the majority of Miami City. Developing scenery for a whole city is a big challenge, but it seems that DD managed to pull it off. They managed to do this by first underlaying the majority of Miami City with an orthophoto (aerial image), then the 3D buildings are a mix of custom and autogen. The autogen looks great, you really get the 'American' feel of a big city leading off to small suburbs, whats great is the orthophoto fits well with the roads and houses placed on top. The custom buildings come into action within the airports and along the coastlines, the coastline office blocks and tall infrastructures blend seamlessly into the environment. Scenery Features Fully compatible with X-Plane 10 3 FPS-friendly, lite sceneries of KMIA, KOPF and KTMB Complete area of Miami including Miami Beach, North Miami, Coral Gables, Key Biscayne etc. Whole area photo coverage with autogen, roads, railroads and other X-Plane native features Hundreds of custom-made city buildings with photoreal textures Up-to-date airport layouts Each airport includes HDR lighting Installation Installing Miami is very simple (for windows) as there is an installer. After following the steps Miami will install for you. If you are a Mac user I believe you have to install it manually, but don't panic if you don't know how to do that as documentation is included. KMIA Miami Airport First we start with Miami International Airport, (from the author) this airport also known as MIA and historically Wilcox Field, serves as the primary international airport of the Greater Miami Area. One of the busiest international airports in the world, Miami International Airport caters to over 35 million passengers a year. Identifiable locally, as well as several worldwide authorities, as MIA or KMIA, the airport is a major hub and the single largest international gateway for American Airlines, the world's second-largest passenger air carrier. Miami International is the busiest airport in Florida, and is the United States' second-largest international port of entry for foreign air passengers after New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, and is the seventh-largest such gateway in the world. The airport's extensive international route network includes non-stop flights to over seventy international cities in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The 3D models can be classed as basic but still represent the real life variant accurately. For example you will recognise the infrastructure but attention to detail such as 3D set back door inlets are missing, however this airport is very large so therefore as of the size of the airport sacrifices have to be made. The 3D modelling of the jetways is very good, this is significant as this is where you will start most of your flights. 3D modelling of ground vehicles is second to none although I believe that the ground vehicles and models are from the default X-Plane library? Therefore credit can't quite be given there. The apron lights have been modelled with precision, by looking closely you can really see the attention to detail, again this is significant as these are objects that you will see up close. Textures on the sides of buildings at KMIA is very good, all textures are at a good resolution to emulate the real MIA and real life. Despite those textures being good the roof textures don't carry the same standard. The roof textures have been mapped with weird looking polygons in places and overall have a lower resolution from the textures on the side of the buildings. From about 1000ft up the roof textures look good as it makes the buildings blend in with the rest of the scenery however the closer you get the worse it looks, although you will most likely only see those roof textures flying above the airport anyway. The lighting at MIA gives off a 'white' illumination, this looks great when mixed with the orange spill lights scattered around on the city. It also helps you find the airport amongst the bright city! The night textures on the jetways also looks good, you get the sense of lights along the top of the jetway giving a realistic feel, although those lights are not HDR 3D lights, the jetway lights are baked into the night texture. The textures at night on the roof are very bright, maybe they could be darkened to make it a little more realistic. The aprons feel a bit 'bare', however for the price you pay and the vast area you receive and three airports, attention to detail has to be a sacrifice. The 3D models described above can be found scattered around, but as for dense realistic vehicles everywhere making it emulate the real thing, this isn't that. That is what is meant by a 'lite' scenery. It is a shame that the airport lacks in dense objects making it very detailed and realistic however the area and number of airports you get just makes up for that. Unfortunately there is no ground traffic which takes away from the realism slightly, although this is something that could be added within an update as it is simple to add. KTMB Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport Secondly we have KTMB (from the author) KTMB is a public airport located in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, 13 miles (21 km) southwest of Downtown Miami. The Kendall-Tamiami airport is owned and operated by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. There are 450 aircraft based at this airport: 69% single-engine, 20% multi-engine, 8% helicopter and 3% jet. This 'lite' KTMB airport features the extended runway 9R/27L. The runway has been extended 550 feet to the east and 1,798 feet to the west. All airport buildings are included. KTMB is a great airport to start a flight if you want to fly VFR around Miami city and take in the scenery in a cessna. The reason for this is its size and environment. KTMB can't be classed as small, as compared to a UK airport it isn't. However KTMB lacks in mass buildings and complex terminals making it the perfect environment well suited to a small aircraft. If you are flying over Miami City I would certainly recommend this location to start your journey, its close (only a few nautical miles from the big city), although trying to actually do this whilst maintaining good frame rates can be an issue. First impressions of KTMB? Mixed opinions really, all buildings are custom modelled, textured and included. So you won't find any buildings that are not included by which the roof is on the floor, this is a nice touch of realism especially when flying over the airfield. I also like how this airfield is mainly grass, it gives a break from larges areas of concrete and massive cities. The 3D models at KTMB are basic, but again it is a 'lite' scenery so I guess you can't expect too much, but wouldn't you expect more? All buildings are at the correct height perspective and blend well with the orthophoto. 3D models of ground vehicles are equipment lacks again at this scenery, it's a shame as its nice to have objects around you whilst parked on the ramp. Despite a lack of aviation ground equipment there are 3D static aircraft included within the package, along with a few 3D cars / vans to accompany them. This is a nice touch and means that the something is on the ramp, despite that it is a bit bare. The textures on the buildings at KTMB are slightly blurry, not a massive downfall but still an element that takes away from the realism. Again, as with MIA, the roof textures are blurry and really bright at night. Although there are ramp lights illuminating a vast area, the majority of the night lighting is baked into the night textures. With HDR off this means that frame rates increase yet you still get the night lighting effect, a nice touch, especially as frame rates are a slight issue I had with this scenery which is discussed in the conclusion. The baked night lighting has been done very well, the sense of night can really be felt at and around KTMB. Some areas are a little dark as well, this gives it that 'remote' airfield feel which is nice since its very close to a big city. KOPF Opa-Locka Executive Airport Last but not least we examine KOPF, Opa-Locka. (from the author) is a general aviation airport and joint civil-military airfield 10 miles (16 km) north of Downtown Miami, primarily in metropolitan Miami, Florida, United States, with a portion within the city proper of Opa-locka. The airport's control tower is manned from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. In 1926 Glenn Curtiss founded the City of Opa-locka. In late 1925 he moved the Florida Aviation Camp from Hialeah to a parcel west of the city. This small airfield was surrounded by the Opa-locka Golf Course. In 1929 he transferred this land to the City of Miami, and the city erected on it a World War I surplus hangar from Key West. This field became known as the Municipal Blimp Hangar. The following year, the Goodyear Blimp started operations out of this hangar. In 1928 Curtiss made a separate donation of land south of Opa-locka for Miami's first Municipal Airport. The Curtiss Aviation School later moved from Biscayne Bay to this airport. In 1937 Amelia Earhart started her attempt to circumnavigate the world from this airport. OPF is a very large airport with three runways this makes it great for flying small GA or larger aircraft. As with other airports in Miami City XP, included are 3D custom buildings however I noticed in this scenery not all institutions at the airport are included. Obviously all major buildings are included within the airport just not smaller, more minor buildings. The 3D buildings are fairly basic again within this 'lite' scenery, attention to detail is basic, however all buildings easily emulate their real life variants. Textures at OPF are blurry when up close however have details included, by this I mean that the resolution is low however details such as doors and air vents can still be identified. 3D ground vehicles and equipment are more persistent at OPF, there are more static aircraft and vehicles that can be found. The texture detail and resolution of the statics are good and really stand out at the airport. Yet again, more equipment placed on the ground would be a nice touch to add realism to this airport. The autogen doesn't quite flow into the airport as well as it does in other areas, you can see that some autogen roads would look much better as orthophoto roads instead. These are just really picky points though. Night lighting is good at this airport, there are areas of brightness and darkness which give a great sense of environment. The roof textures at this airport seem to be slightly darker as well which is good to emulate more realism, at MIA the textures on the roof are too bright at night giving an unrealistic experience. Although to notice this you have to fly above the rooftops at night and this airport is primarily GA aviation. Summary This scenery package is a big one, three airports and Miami City with an orthophoto covering the whole thing! Overall it makes a great addition to your scenery library, whether flying international flights or GA VFR these airports and the vast scenery coverage is great! In many places the airports lack close attention to details and many aprons seem very bare and empty, but for the price you pay and the area you get balances my opinion. Below are four screenshots of the skyline city view which really makes x-plane look great! The images below speak for themselves, DD have done an amazing job recreating Miami city to give it a very realistic flare. One thing that needs to be pointed out though is frame rates (FPS). The feature list claims 'FPS- Friendly airports' however frame rates were very tricky to hold high on my computer, even having HDR rendering off and running a default aircraft FPS was on average 18-21. This meant that a pleasurable VFR cessna 172 flight taking in the Miami City scenery was hard to enjoy with a lagging x-plane 10. Having a choice of airport to depart from or arrive to in and around Miami is great, MIA takes care of international flights or busy VFR departures and TMB takes care of GA aircraft and flying. The addition of beaches and tall buildings along the coast really gives that sense of a busy city and its great to fly over and see car traffic etc... So I have covered everything great about this scenery package, although are there any drawbacks about this scenery package? Area coverage is phenomenal, it's just the level of detail in some areas is restricted but all three sceneries are 'lite' and therefore sacrifice the small details. You would also think these 'lite' airports would be good for frames although on my machine I seemed to suffer dramatically with a lagging x-plane. That said, if you can get x-plane up and running Miami City with good frames rates, flying VFR around the highrise city is fantastic it looks and feels realistic which is the main aim of the scenery. You could argue that the airports lack in extreme detail however Miami City XP is three airports for the price of one! I highly recommend it to be in your custom scenery folder! Where can you grab this scenery from? Miami City XP v1.1 by Drzewiecki Design is now available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : Miami City XP and is priced at only US$25.00 If you have any questions please feel free to comment below. Reviewed by : Joe ©copyright 2015 : X-Plane Reviews Technical Requirements: Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.6 (or higher) or LinuxXPlane 9.6/9.7 or XPlane 10.11 (or higher - 64 bit compatible) Pentium 2 GHz - 4GB RAM/1GB VRAM150MB available hard disk space Version 1.1 (fixed pink coastlines) Review System Specifications: Computer System: -Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz -4.00gb of RAM -Geforce GTX 650 Software: -Windows 7 64 bit -X-Plane 10 Global version 10.31 - Miami City XP by DD Hardware: - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - Saitek Rudder Pedals.
  8. Aircraft Review: 1963 Piper Comanche 250 Route : VFR Circuits at EGHI Southampton International When you think of Heinz Dziurowitz you will most likely think of many GA (general aviation) aircraft that are on the .org store with most being at a good standard quality and low price. Heinz's latest release, the Piper Comanche 250, is no exception to this. With fun and good modelling of the exterior this GA aircraft can be brilliant to fly for quick flights! From analyzing images you can see that the aircraft Heinz produces are not quite on the same quality as for example Carenado aircraft however all of Heinz's aircraft are much cheaper. But quality level I am referring to extremely detailed modelling, texturing and flight characteristics. The Piper PA-24 Comanche is a four-seat, low-wing, all-metal, light aircraft with tricycle retractable landing gear. More about the 250 variant (from wiki): In 1958 Piper introduced a 250-horsepower (186 kW) version using a Lycoming 0-504 engine, giving the PA-24-250 Comanche a top cruise speed of 160 kts (185 mph; 298 km/h). Most 250s had carbureted Lycoming O-540-AIA5 engines, but a small number were fitted out with fuel-injected versions of the same engine. Early Comanche 250s had manually operated flaps and carried 60 US gallons (230 L) of fuel. Auxiliary fuel tanks (90 US gallons (340 L) total) became available in 1961. Electrically actuated flaps were made standard with the 1962 model year. The aircraft's gross weight was increased from 2,800 pounds to 2,900 pounds in 1961, making the useful load 1,270 pounds. During this review I have used the Saitek Pro Flght Yoke and Rudder Predals, I have kept the same settings for the yoke setup so I can carefully examine flight dynamics. So, what's the Heinz version like of the Comanche? Well, I decided to take a VFR Circuit around Southampton Airport (UK) , to find out! I will now describe my encounter... I found myself at EGHI - Southampton, parked on the ramp at around 11:00am , the weather report wished a pleasurable day for a circuit. First I start with a walk around inspection of the PA-24 Comanche. Features: Integrated Garmin GNS 530 Highly detailed 3D cockpit Detailed exterior Night Textures Additional paint schemes Includes 2 versions Regular version Tip tank for longer trips System Requirements: Windows, Mac or Linux.X-Pane 10.30 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible 4Gb RAM/ 512Mb VRAM Walk Around: The exterior model of the Comanche has been modelled very well with even the smallest of details added, such as the vibrating engine I noticed. The attention to exterior detail is very good. The fuselage and wings have been modelled with precision along with small features such as peto tubes. The landing gear has also been modelled very well, the wheels are shaped proportionally and everything is how you would expect it to be. The propeller has also been modelled with detail when static you can clearly see the iconic shape of it. However textures look a little bright and out of contrast, I think that the Comanche would really benefit from weathered textures. Textures where there are shades around the bolts and streaks of oil leaking out of the fuel cap running along the wing, things like that could really help the amazing modelling stand out. Although the texture on the propeller is OK, that looks very detailed and at a high resolution. I am not saying that all of the exterior textures are low quality as they are not, they could just benefit from a weathered look and feel. All of that sad for the rest of the exterior instead of the wheels, the tire texture is absolutely spot on in terms of realism. 3D Cockpit: The 3D cockpit is OK although there are more detailed cockpits on the market if you are one for eye candy, but you must remember the very low price of this model. The modelling of the 3D cockpit is pretty basic to be honest, the panel looks flat and 2D from the captains eye point and the rest of the interior has been modeled very basically. Also textures seem to be a bit basic as well inside, the seat texture is OK however the panel and side/ roof textures really are plain. As you would expect most instruments are animated and some other nice features such as the passenger door and cargo door. The cargo door switch also opens the cowlings over the engine which is a nice feature although you do not have an option for that specifically, the cowling doors open and close with the baggage doors. On the co-pilots seat there are maps and charts which are a nice edition. The windows don't seem to be custom made, by this I mean that there are no dirt marks around the window ledges etc.. However inside still looks good without that feature. In the cockpit as always you get the pilots standard six and a the new default Garmin 530 on the panel. The 3D cockpit textures are very bright and maybe a little out of contrast, the red is quite blinding when looking around the cockpit, I think if this texture was a little darker then this issue would be solved. The sun blinds are not animated but to be honest I don't really use them anyway when flying. This may be different with the integration of the oculus rift which I may need to be able to use the sun blinds then! The piper rudder pedals are a nice edition to the aircraft,a bit blurry but a nice edition to have, the rudder pedals are also animated. Going lower down into the cockpit the seats seem very low to the floor, this may be correct for how it is in the real aircraft but it seems a little too low! Apart from that the rest of the 3D cockpit has been modeled to precision of where things are placed and there sizes. Also another strange thing, the landing gear toggle is a normal switch like what you would have for your beacon lights, this may be correct according to the real aircraft however I am very used to a lever of some sort somewhere in the cockpit! Liveries: Four liveries are included with the Comanche, all liveries are of the same quality and none have a weathered look. Each livery has been made with precision and to me each livery resembles that 1960 Piper look and feel. As you can see you get a wide range of liveries to choose from, all apart from a blank livery to design your own but maybe this will get added in the future. As well as the liveries above you may also be lucky for some people to post some on x-plane.org for you to freely download. Model Variation: When you purchase the Comanche you get two variant models. The first is the main focus of the review above, the second is the same but with tip tanks which extends the aircraft's range. The interior model is very much the same apart from the grey texture scheme which I prefer over the bright red. Externally is where the majority of the changes are, the tip tanks have been modeled carefully and are identical on either wing, that is obviously something you expect however sometimes models can vary. The flight dynamics of the tip tank Comanche is very much identical to the normal Comanche, there was not a considerable difference that could be spotted. Documentation: You get all of the documentation you will need in order to successfully operate and install the Comanche. You get one PDF (Portable Documented Format) which explains everything you will need to know. You then also get three more text files which open in notepad (windows) or such programme on Mac. The three text files are Copyright, Contact Info and operations. Operations is a key file to successful flight, it contains all procedures you will need to operate the Comanche, my opinion is that the Operations content would be much better as a section in the manual therefore it can be easily printed. Night Lighting: The exterior night lighting of the Comanche is OK, its everything that you would expect really, a rotating beacon and casting landing lights. You can also see the lights of the hangars at Southampton Airport casting over the right wing. However the interior night lighting is somewhat different to what I am used to. The interior lighting does not include any 3D per pixel lights, as you turn up the cockpit lights the texture of the cockpit brightens which for me is lower quality than normal. Normally you get a light bulb which very cleverly looks as though it is casting light into the cockpit. In the Comanche in the dark I couldn't find out where the light was coming from! it virtually just is the cockpit textures lighting up. It's perfectly fine if are not an eye candy simmer however on payware aircraft I do like to see per pixel lighting. But you must remember the low price of this machine. Normally payware aircraft are much more expensive than the price of the Comanche. Sound: The sounds of the aircraft are as you expect them to be, nothing stands out and makes it extremely immersive however the sounds are quite good. On start up you can hear the engine choke and then the running sounds. like I said, no sounds stand out to make me feel as though I have just started a real Comanche however each sound has been placed well. Something I didn't notice though, 3D sound. When circulating around the outside of the aircraft I did not hear a more clean sound when close to the engine and a more lower pitched roar moving toward the rear of the aircraft, things like that are very good. An example aircraft that has the is the Carenado Piper Malibu Mirage however again this aircraft is cheaper so really you pay for what you get. Conclusion: In conclusion is the Comanche worth a few dollars? Yes! The aircraft is great all around, yes there a few things highlighted in the review that could be changed, edited or added however it is still a great base model to have parked in your hangar. Some textures are great such as the tire textures and the textures for the seats and manuals on the co-pilots seat, as I mentioned a weathered texture would solve a lot of issues of the aircraft looking too clean. Apart from that is is great. The static pilot sits and enjoys the ride with you! He has been modeled and textured brilliantly. It's difficult to fault many things, mostly everything is animated, the vibrating engine is very good. All doors open but not the captains window, however it is there. The landing gear has been carefully crafted and animated. The interior and exterior modeling has been done to a very good standard, the main thing letting it down a little is the interior textures, the red is too bright for me. But little things like this can be sorted out in updates, it's not like the aircraft is not airworthy! Static elements could also be added, that would be a nice feature. Also another improvement could be to have an on screen menu for the doors instead of panel switches, or click-able doors and windows. In a future update that all may be added to this great little machine. The best part about it is the price! It is a good model for the price you are paying, not only that you also get two variants with and without tip tanks. So as well as great fun to fly its also customizable! Where can you find this aircraft? On the X-Plane.org Store of course for $14.95 Get the : Heinz - Piper Comanche 250 1963 - Here. What scenery is that? EGHI Southampton Intl Airport by Pilot Plus. Heinz Aircraft Support : Click here Reviewed by : Joe ©copyright 2014 : X-Plane Reviews Scenery used (payware) : EGHI - Southampton Airport by Pilot Plus. Technical Requirements: Windows, Mac or Linux.X-Pane 10.30 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible 4Gb RAM/ 512Mb VRAM Review System Specifications: Computer System: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650 Software: - Windows 7 64 bit - X-Plane 10 Global version 10.31 - EGHI Southampton - Alabeo C195 business liner Hardware: - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - Saitek Rudder Pedals.
  9. Interview : Javier Rollon! X-Plane Reviews has granted access again behind the scenes at X-Plane, with this special opportunity we have interviewed Javier Rollon. Javier is an all things X-Plane genius! He develops aircraft that we all know and love (CRJ 200) and works for Laminar Research to further enhance our flying experience. XPR: So you have two separate involvements with X-Plane, the first is your private aircraft development and the second is with Laminar. First we will discuss your involvements with Laminar. So what is your role within Laminar? What do you work on? Well, I am a builder (there are others) of some of the aircraft's that are inside of xplane, and also touch some graphics related with the sim, for example, clouds, colors of the days-night, icons. But my principle task is to build the exterior and interior models of the planes. They come to me as acf with already the flight model already done, and I have to dress them up. Build in 3D, Make the texture and animate them as well as of course test them. When I finish them I upload to a private server we have in Laminar to test more deeply and include in a future release. XPR: How did you become the main aircraft designer for Laminar? Long ago, I started with a construction of a 3D cockpit for a Free Texan that a spanish guy made for xplane9. I found it easy (but lot of time taking) to do and I understood how to work with x-plane (very nice and smart way by Laminar) so I decided to make my first plane. It was going to be free but it took more time than I expected. It was the Javelin, and because I was in other company working (Spanish Games One) and took too much time, I decided to release the plane selling it to test the market and seeing the result, to continue working or not. The plane had good support, so I started another one. The CRJ200. Meantime I decided to ask for a reduced time working in my Spanish game company and they accepted. That gave me more time for my private projects... But the CRJ200 where taking a lot because I didn't know how to program the systems. And didn't find the correct guy to do it. Meanwhile, I started other projects. The Mentor and Seamax, finishing both before the CRJ200. Those projects gave me a good "hand" how to work in 3D for XPlane, so I contacted Austin, that I already knew him of some previous emails asking him for help with my personal projects. He knew a little of me, so I offered him a deal. The Space shuttle was going to be retired that year. We both love the shuttle and I always wanted to make a real good one after the ugly one I made for a 3D animation (lol). We had a deal and I finished it really fast as my work in the Spanish company was over. Austin loved the result and he offered me to work inside of Laminar making more planes for the "future" xplane10. XPR: Are there any specific aircraft you are working on for Laminar? When and how can we expect to get them? Yes.. there are some.. I cannot talk too much about it, but I think 2015 will come with some little surprises! XPR: Who decides what aircraft that are to be developed for X-Plane? Austin and Ben Supnik. But I have a little word about it, if I like it or not, so it can be changed. In Laminar our opinions are well received and we have a good amount of freedom. XPR: Now, as I have previously said, you also run your private aircraft development 'JRollon'. Your aircraft are absolutely fantastic for example the CRJ and the Jetstream. What else can we expect? How do you decide what aircraft do develop? Thanks! The Jetstream let me totally without energy. It was the first plane I programmed myself and had to make a huge effort to release it before Christmas of that year. I decided to stop 1 year... but the born of my first child and the coming of my daughter this one made all possible "free time" out of Laminar task so little to maintain a project. I was thinking making a sailor plane deeply done... that wouldn't take me so much time but I didn't find the energy to start it. Right now I am not in any private project and the "free" time I have I dedicate to study other planes and give support to the already released ones. When I want to make a plane, I have to fall in love with it. I never has been in any cockpit of any plane (but a sailor one that I piloted several times....) So It has to be beautiful for me... AND it don't have to fly too high and with lots of automatic management. I love the pilot has to pilot it.. not a computer. Even is difficult to not say impossible to make a FMC-aircraft without help XPR: A great aircraft idea would be a Twin Otter, could that be a suggestion for future development? Could be if Aerosoft and other guy were not making one for xplane. Before making the jetstream32 I was going to make the Twin Otter.. until I saw the images of a 3D model for xplane. Of course I stopped. Still hasn't been released.. but I cannot pay all the time making a model that other may release before and loose the inversion of the 1 year or more dedication in that plane because of that. Look.... When I decided finally for the Jetstream32 I knew PMDG was going to release something for Xplane. I was too scary that it where their Jetstream42. That would cut all the selling's of my J32, because is similar but better in systems. I decided to continue because I know PMDG are very slow people. Slow but perfectionist. So that gave me time to release my plane and still don't see anything from their work into xplane (that I hope they make the step to xplane this next 2015!!!) Right now start a new project is tremendous. My family tasks with the babies (now one is starting to be more independent so I have a little more time.. but still her sister is demanding a lot), the idea that the next project has to be better of the last one, and the wildness other people is competing in xplane, makes the decision to start again hard to take. Better than making another plane, I am thinking of changing to other project in xplane. Something not seen before.. and no one has think before.. and not seen in other sims around. But I would need help. Will see. XPR: Some X-Plane users would like the B747-400 default aircraft to be 'fixed up' is there any chance of this? I don't know what is the problem with the plane. Don't have news about that. If it is about the flight model, that is not mine.. it came from the model before. If it is because the modelling.. then that is my part, but I don't know what is wrong with it. I model it the way it had to. I know Austin wanted to change the labels of the radio buttons to be named more accordingly with the radios. Not HF1 or HF2 but COM1 or COM2. But the "problem" is that the real one are labeled HF1 HF2 (If I remember correctly) not COM1 or COM2. When I make a plane for xplane with its full cockpit is because I would LOVE to see that plane fully programmed with all the systems. As you can see the 747 has the default FMC. An FMC that I don't like. I would like to include the real one.. BUT I am not programmer as I said, and in the 747 I just were able to start making some little programming in some functions of the plane. BUT xplane is not a deep plane systems simulator. Is a flight simulator platform were other 3rd parties can come and make very deep simulation. PMDG will come with their 747 and will sell it for xplane. I think all the people will be pleased. Meanwhile any little fix.. or whatever Laminar say to make in the 747 I will fix.. but I am not a guy that likes to return to the past (it is frustrating). I like to work on future. We will see. XPR: The CRJ 200 had to be one of the most significant releases of all time, the CRJ gave X-Plane credibility of use. What are your views on this? Do you plan to further enhance the CRJ? Implement newer ways of aircraft development? Such as mouse scroll? Marshals at arriving airport? As I said before.. I like to live in future.. not past. The problem to support a 2.0 of the plane is that the amount of people that would support the plane would be less that the 1.0 Now with PMDG comming all the people are going to go to their boeings. You know.. there was a guy that told me that was impossible that the CRJ200 couldn't have autothrottle in the default configuration but the reality is that mostly of all the cjr200 outside are without that configuration. He told me that I was a liar about that. I trully decided to make the CRJ200 because of that reason and let the pilot do something more than press a button and put the speed he wants, forgetting to relax the thrust when cruise or descent. Mostly of the problems in the flight dynamics of the plane come this part. The plane was in a roaller coaster once in cruise because people didn't release throttles from max power!! so it starts to climb automatically to preserve from overspeed.. And once it is low of it sink again.... making a nice sinus function hahahaha. X-Plane was something different some time ago. There was no plane with a custom FMC integrated in the 3D. I decided that was possible to do and demostrate people that xplane could do what other sims already did.. It toke me more than 2 years. Not because the deeps of complexity of the systems but because I didn't find the good hands to help... and because I was noob. XPlane can do whatever other sims can do and better.. BUT still it don't receive the support of all the 3rd parties around. Yes.. Carenado, Alabeo, Razbam are here.. but who were JrollonPlanes, DreamFoil, FlyJsim before producing for xplane. I don't know others.. but I was a only guy that loves to fly with no market experience before. With little support that wanted to create just a 3D cockpit for a plane that liked, because there was no other guy that made before. Xplane needs people like Orbx (there are things around xplane like theirs scenery), we need PMDG, we need A2A planes like, We need a weather system like ASN, Cameras like Ezdok. XPR: What are your current projects, Laminar and Private? Can we expect any new releases soon? Already replied above I think... In laminar part, you can expect releases soon I guess... yes. But I don't decide when. Programming is the bottleneck (loved bottleneck) XPR: What are your future X-Plane 10 Dev plans? Cannot talk too much. I am making more planes. Laminar will decide where and when release then. I would love to make other thing than planes. I think I have made more than 20 already. Too much wings for me!! haha. (better say too much switches to build and animate already). Do you think maybe sceneries is what is left. Negative. I have LOOOOOOOOOOOOTS of ideas to make xplane bigger and bigger. The problem is some of them are too revolutionary and others cannot be made. This for example was one of those ideas that was part mine.. but came from Austin and I loved when I heard it. Make an MMOFLIGHTSIM. Something like an MMORPG one.. where you pay a subscription and you fly.. with control everytime.. with planes around you, missions... all ruled the correct way. Something like IVAO and VATSIM together.. or better said, like Pilotedge but all around the world (those guys are making a great work and I have learned from their videos a lot). Still It was not done. Maybe because we all are thinking "my sim is better than yours" "I prefer Vatsim than IVAO" or the opposite.. "FSX is better than xplane" or the opposite. I am talking as a enthusiast of flight sim.. and not as a Laminar guy in this one: I would like to see the best of xplane, FSX, Outerra, Microsoft Flight, DCS Edge, Warthunder, ARMA3 and IL2 inside of a flight sim. I am inside of Laminar to push into that direction. Not only make planes. But that requires support from people. The ideas are easy to have... and are free. Lets see if we can reach the goal. For now I like what I see in Laminar for the future of XPlane and I love to see that XPlane is still alive and strong. I would like to thank Javier on behalf of everyone at X-Plane Reviews for having this interview. Visit Javiers website : jrollon.com Visit the official x-plane community site : x-plane.org Interview by Joe Charman Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews
  10. Aircraft Review : C195 Business Liner by Alabeo Alabeo has contributed greatly to the X-Plane 10 payware market releasing 9 aircraft to date, all aircraft made by Alabeo are at a very high quality and I can't recommend them enough! One of their most recent releases, the Cessna 195 Business Liner, is one of the most greatly modeled aircraft for X-Plane 10 with phenomenal 3D aspects in and outside. The C195 Business Liner is a very light weight, radical engine powered, general aviation aircraft with conventional landing gear. The C195 has a fixed pitched two blade propeller, can seat four and is single pilot certified. The aircraft is very traditional so therefore an International club has been set up just for it! The International C195 Club. So how does Alabeo's Model compare? Very well is the short answer! The Alabeo team have made a magnificent aircraft matching the real aircraft extremely closely, also with additional animations. With any detailed x-plane add-on you need to make sure that your computer is up to the job of running it! Here are the system specifications for the Alabeo C195. Technical Requirements: Windows XP, Vista or 7 (32 or 64 bit) Mac OS 10.6 (or higher) or Linux X-Plane 10.21 (or higher) 2 GHz, 4GB RAM 104 MB Hard Drive space It is difficult to sum up my thoughts and opinions into a small paragraph so I have taken a small flight taking off at Portoroz LJPZ to really analyze what I think of the Business Liner. I start parked on the apron at LJPZ, with the 195 sat cold and dark. Installation Installing the C195 is very simple, just unzip the folder to your C:/..../..../X-Plane 10.. Aircraft.. General Aviation. Directory. When unzipped into that directory you will be able to select the C195 to fly during start up. No installer is included for the C195 by Alabeo however installation is still very simple if you follow either the manual or my comment above. Textures & Option Menu's The 195's textures truly make this aircraft 'traditional' in a way, although the textures are not worn showing wear and tear the textures definitely match the colour scheme of the 195. All textures are in a super high resolution format which looks fantastic, for example the seating leather texture is very detailed and crisp. Within the 195 every nut and bolt can be seen as well as creases in the leather which look great! The crippled leather and fabric in the cockpit makes this aircraft feel ultra realistic, another texture which is very good is the dirt marks on the bottom of the glass. It would be great to see more dirt marks placed in level eye vision for extra immersion however the cleanliness is mostly down to the owner, this Alabeo 195 is certainly a collectors one! The metal foot pads on the floor of the 195 are at a high resolution however the actual carpet texture could be a little more high resolution. The sun screens above the pilots head in the cockpit are very detailed and crisp looking, you also have the option to have them or not in the pop up menu, however, from the outside when you disable the sunscreens they do not disappear? The texturing on the yoke has been finished to perfection, the pictures simply explain themselves. As always it is possible to hide the yoke from view by clicking on the yoke hotspot, when hid an Alabeo texture is displayed. The rudder pedals have been textured to the same colour scheme matching the rest of the 195 interior however could be more crisp looking although who stares at the rudder pedals whilst flying! The exterior texturing is amazing as always with any Alabeo model, its a shame that the textures don't reflect their surroundings however that is a limitation from the simulator itself and not Alabeo's fault. The tires have been textured OK however the tire tread cold be more crisp. As you can see from the images above you get the normal two option menu's with the 195, C for 'cameras' and O for 'options'. The two menus allow for change such as static elements, door animations, sun screen options and many more. The cameras menu is very useful when flying high in the sky! This easy accessible menu lets you change the 'FOV' field of view and camera position, clicking on the selected camera position will transfer the camera to the designated place. Pilot View takes you to a predefined 3D cockpit position with mouse look. Liveries 5 HD Liveries are provided within the 195 package, all of them look great and can be used for different flying purposes. The liveries are named ' livery 1, livery 2, livery 3 etc...' this can be slightly annoying when your trying to find a livery that you really liked! Apart from that the liveries are all great with or without fairings. You may be thinking I said 5 liveries were included by four are shown, this is because the 5th livery is a blank white livery for custom designs possible with photoshop. It is very difficult picking a favourite livery, if you have one please comment below. Eventually after a tough decision I chose livery number 4 ' Wingster', the main reason is because it looks like a redbull livery for stunt flying which somewhat fits well with this traditional 195. All liveries are high definition quality and as you can see from the images above they all look great! 3D Modeling The 3D Modeling Alabeo has pulled off for this aircraft is fantastic! You can really feel a sense of immersion whilst in the cockpit and looking around. The interior modeling has been done very well, especially the yokes! Attention to detail is superb, the seat belts resting on the two front seats have been 3D modeled with great textures applied to them. The side arm rests have even been modeled and look very realistic with the crumpled leather texture. As you would expect the panel is fully 3D with 3D knobs and switches along with 3D gauges. The only issue some people may find with the 3D cockpit modeled the way it is, is the fact that if you are a 2D panel flyer it is going to be very difficult to see the whole panel clearly. However if you are a constant 3D cockpit flyer, like I am, this won't be an issue for you. Despite the difficulty it there is still a work around, you can adjust your FOV 'field of view' using the slider circled in the images in the first paragraph. The windscreen glass really gives the aircraft a sense of immersion inside, stretching from the bottom of the glare shield over to above your head. It could look much better with more dirt applied, or maybe an option to toggle window dirt on/off. Looking up and seeing the clouds above your head is great on a monitor, imagine that in the Oculus rift, especially with the depth of field immersion. Opening the door, using the options menu, and stepping outside we can really see the beauty of this aircraft. The enormous engine and cowling mounted onto the aircraft chassis is really emphasised whilst walking around, the fuselage is long and every nut and bolt holding the aircraft together can be seen. The engine intake looks fantastic, every metal strut an exhaust tube has been modeled accurately showcasing the traditional look of this iconic aircraft. The peto tubes have been greatly modeled as well as very accurate modeling and dimensions for the leading edge of the wings. With static elements enabled using the side bar options menu, you guessed it, static elements are enabled and displayed around the aircraft. Static elements include chocks, obstruction cones etc... all of which have been modeled and textured well. I don't recall however Peto covers, 'remove before flight', being animated within the static elements option? Or the other fabricated covers placed in the engine intake after shut down if the weather is bad? A possibility for Alabeo to add that. Flight Dynamics & Animations After engine start it was time to take off and fly out from LJPZ. After about 7 seconds of rolling on the runway I had taken off and at 15 seconds into the flight I was already at 500ft, that just proves how sensitive, light weight and power full the C195 really is. From one of the pictures below you can see how I slowly started to drift right not maintaining the runway heading , this was not a nature factor of the wind but the general yoke sensitivity and control you have. After correcting the drift it was already time to take my 160 degree turn to my new heading. With hardly any delay in response it can be difficult not to bank the aircraft too steep, however with the correct level of rudder input a steady bank can be made. Once level I leaned the mixture and throttle to maintain flight without wasting fuel. Not having flown a C195 myself it is difficult to comment on the flight dynamics compared to the real C195. I can only report on how sensitive the 195 is, obviously with the under wing flaps down causing drag the 195 is less responsive to change however the more you force the controls you will find yourself in a steep bank. Animations are great, ailerons and elevators have been modeled and animated in detail with a slight delay on the animations in the exterior view. Doors are animated and move at a moderate speed, doors can be opened and closed using the 'O' options menu. The animations look great and even the door handles move correspondingly. During touchdown the landing gear struts flex for suspension taking the force out of the landing, this animation is great! Sound When moving around the 195 in the exterior mode it is impossible to miss the 3D positioned sounds coming from the engines, maybe a little too loud. However if you do not like a loud roaring old engine there is a volume control within the side menus. As always with any Alabeo product you get great sounds of flaps, aircraft doors and switches etc... Here is a video I found on YouTube which demonstrates the C195, you can clearly hear the different prop sounds switching between interior and exterior. Night lighting Night lighting is OK in the C195, nothing much spectacular, however. As normal you get the landing lights casting on the ground in front of the aircraft and the landing light animation (drop down) fits well with the textures and the actual light itself. When using the C195 at night its best to use HDR rendering, then you get the full effect! The interior lighting is not great, the gauges light up by a switch however there are no night cockpit lights, this is probably as it is day VFR (visual flight rules) aircraft however it would be a nice feature to have especially when landing during sunset. Above on the third picture along from the right the cockpit lighting seen is not how it would look parked in a dark field. The seats in the image have spill of the LJPZ apron lights, that is what's lighting up the cockpit. Documentation As normal with any Alabeo product documentation is in great detail and there is a lot of it! Your documentation can be found here: 'X-Plane 10/../Aircraft/../General Aviation/.../ Documentation or wherever you have your C195 directory, although I doubt it will be in heavy metal! In the documentation folder you get 6 PDF's (portable documented format) and 1 JPEG image showing you the recommended joystick settings to have the most realism when flying the C195. If you have any issues with the plane you can contact Alabeo or just refer back to the manual as your question is probably noted in there. Summary Overall the C195 is another great release from Alabeo, if the C195 is to your taste or not it's an aircraft you will still enjoy flying. There are many animations dotted around which look great for example the sunscreen pictured below, meaning there are many ways to configure you C195 to suit you are re-enact a flight you have completed in real life. The textures are high resolution as always and really make this aircraft look special and dated for its era. Wether you are a redbull stunt man or a casual sunday flyer the selection of liveries will suit you and your needs. Everything on this aircraft has been optimized to replica the real C195, if you fall in love with classic aircraft then this 195 is certainly for you. This aircraft is worthy of the investment and fairly cheap for the great quality you are receiving. You may be thinking you already have a few GA aircraft in your hangar however the C195 offers something different, an experience of a vintage classic aircraft that feels fragile to fly. When you fly the C195 you are hesitant to take very steep banks just because of the fact it is an old fragile aircraft. With all effects and animations the 195 still manages to perform well on my system setup, with on average 23 FPS not dependent on interior or exterior views. Wherever you fly in the world, put the C195 to the test. I believe Lukla VNLK will put the C195 to the test, if you have the C195 or plan getting it comment below you experience with Lukla vs C195! The aircraft is not a heavy study sim but something to enjoy in your favourite locations in X-Plane. The sounds are of great quality, the animations from the prop to the landing lights all work as they should and how you would expect them to. The flight model is accurate and precise to the C195, agile, fragile and fun! With a bunch of liveries and detailed options for configurations, the C195 is a great -plane addition. Where can you find this aircraft? On the X-Plane.org Store of course for $22.95 Get the : Alabeo C195 Business Liner - Here. Alabeo Aircraft Support : Click here Reviewed by : Joe ©copyright 2014 : X-Plane Reviews Scenery used (freeware) : LJPZ - Aerobridge Technical Requirements: Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.6 (or higher) or Linux XPlane 9.6/9.7 or XPlane 10.11 (or higher - 64 bit compatible) Pentium 2 GHz - 4GB RAM/1GB VRAM 150MB available hard disk space Version 1.0 (last updated July 25th 2014) updated store# Review System Specifications: Computer System: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650 Software: - Windows 7 64 bit - X-Plane 10 Global version 10.31 - LJPZ - Alabeo C195 business liner Hardware: - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - Saitek Rudder Pedals.
  11. X-Plane Reviews visits: Cosford 2014 Flight Sim Event! Once again the Flight Sim event at Cosford took place and this time it was bigger, and better than ever! Showcasing the latest developments for X-Plane 10 and Flight Simulation in general with exhibits from Aerosoft, Just Flight, Flight 1, PC pilot and many more it was an event that couldn't be missed, luckily X-Plane Reviews paid a visit! What is Cosford 2014? For those of you who don't know the Cosford Flight Sim Event is a flight sim event that takes place at the Cosford Museum every year. The event consists of many companies with exhibits set-up showcasing flight sim technology, software or live demonstrations of hardware. Software included boxed products where some were set-up on a 'try before you buy' basis. As well as that most exhibits have hardware set-up where you can test the latest flight sim hardware, this year hardware such as the Oculus Rift and Saitek equipment where on showcase for testing. As well as that there are live shows about different things, this year there was two shows: Behind the scenes with Quality Wings and The future of X-Plane. On the day Arriving at the museum and heading to hangar 1 in the great british rain wasn't my most enjoyable part of the day, however, once inside it was flight sim at its best. The majority of flight sim companies where present with exhibits setup with computers hooked up to flight sim hardware for anyone to test their aircraft. As well as their exhibits the people behind the addons where present as well, ready to answer any questions. At the event I did not purchase any software as the majority of software was for FSX, although I do own FSX I simply couldn't chose an addon as a favorite. I did however purchase the Saitek Rudder Pedals to complete my setup with my Pro Flight Yoke, the hardware was at a slightly discounted price but however not as much as I anticipated it to be. Software however was flying off the shelves because of discounts, however again most software was for FSX. The Oculus Rift The first exhibit I went to was showcasing the Oculus Rift, a gadget that I and many other X-Plane enthusiasts are waiting for! For those who are very confused the 'Oculus Rift' is a head mounted display which gives you a sense of virtual reality by tracking your head movements and moving a sim correspondingly. So I sat down and placed the rift on for the first time, before this I had only seen the rift on videos, wow pretty much sums it up! I found myself in a Eurofighter Typhoon within Prepar 3D placed at the end of a runway, what did I do first? Look around in amazement! Looking around and not seeing your legs kind of gives away the illusion but that did not effect the illusion when I was concentrating conducting a complete roll! So the next thing I did was throttle up the engines and released the brakes, shooting down the runway and lifting off the ground does actually make you feel as though you are at that height. Looking out at 800ft I really felt as though I was at 800ft, the only thing missing was the geforce felt when flying a fighter jet! I also conducted an upside down inverted turn, maintaining the upside down angle of attack. Looking up in the rift and seeing ground below the clouds is a very weird experience, it's something you have to experience it for yourself to see if you like it. Me, I loved it! It gives the feeling of flying around in a fighter jet and it's something that I love. I did also try the Oculus Rift a second time at Aerosofts exhibit, this time it was the default cessna 172 SP at 7'000ft. For some reason I think the rift in x-plane was much better, this time I actually tried to grab the door handle! Moving around in the 172 and moving close into the panel really gives a sense of depth of field, the only thing xp developers will need to do is make sure there is a pair of legs in the 3D cockpit because that is a big part of the oculus illusion. In all rift tests I was using the Dev Kit 2, DON'T BUY IT! You must wait for the consumer rift as oculus still have many more improvements to make. For example the screen resolution needs to be better, if you look closely you can see individual pixels. One thing I did like was taping on the front of the rift will re-calibrate the head position, a great feature I found out! Live Shows I use the term 'show' openly, it's not quite a 'show' in a sense of watching acting but an informal gathering hosted by the company at the front talking. Unfortunately I missed the first showing of ' The Future of X-Plane ' as it was confusing where the show was being hosted, even asking show coordinators didn't help. Eventually after some museum wondering i found where the shows where being hosted, when i had found it the Future of XP show was finished however the second and last was 'behind the scenes with quality wings' so I attended that showing. Quality Wings is a company who develop aircraft for FSX, it was very interesting to see their upcoming 787 and see how they made it however they made the comment "at the moment we don't have any plans to develop aircraft for x-plane, but it may be a future possibility". Exhibitor List Mutleys Hangar Aerosoft Flight store Alpine Systems Pro Sim Ar Just Flight Chillblast PC pilot Bristol FS Group North west FS group Sherburn FS Group PC Pilot Ireland 85th Virtual Fighter SQD VFR Poland Gatwick FS Group Wired2fire PC Pilot Stand 2 Virtual - Fly Flight Sim PM - UK Southwest FS Group Midland Computers Just Flight Stand 2 Buffalo Airways Virtual North east FS Group Flight 1 DHL virtual Cargo As you can see there where many exhibitors all showcasing something different. Some Museum Pictures Event Floor Plan Summed Up The event was great, a little unorganised in terms of the live shows however what's not to love about a flight sim event! If you couldn't make it then that was a shame, but you can always look forward to it next year. If I didn't attend the event then I wouldn't have got the chance to test out the Rift! Visiting the event just for that would have even been worth it. As I have already said the event was mainly based around FSX and Flight Sim in general, it would have been great to see many stands just dedicated to X-Plane. To my surprise however the Aerosoft stand was mainly aimed at X-Plane, probably because they publish content more than they produce it. It was a shame that I missed the 'Future of x-plane' showing however it was very confusing where that was happening, one person from chillblast pointed to an oculus rift set up a few meters away when i asked where the future of x-plane show was! Was it worth the visit? Most certainly! It was great to see the faces behind flight sim and hear them express their views and opinions. Also if you are looking for discounts the cosford event is the place to be, you could even purchase discounted downloads from the Just Flight Stand! For those who didn't make it, maybe next year. Flight Sim is constantly changing, the next year Cosfird show may even be showcasing the consumer rift if it's out by then! And not forgetting the constant conveyer belt of software being released, that will be showcased next year as well! The rest of the museum is also available to view for no additional cost if you attened the flight sim event, the museum is fantastic! The entry fee was £11 and I would urge you to book your tickets as soon as it's possible for next year, obviously only the real flight simmers attend I hope you now have a great understanding of the event, feel free to ask any questions below. On behalf of X-Plane Reviews, I hope our visit gave you an insight into the event!
  12. Thank you for your addition. I have downloaded this extra add on and it brings the airport to life a little bit more! Note: You need opensceneryx installed for the addition of the static aircraft package.
  13. Ah ok, thank you for your comment. I will update the review soon, I don't believe the needle was active on the gauges. Things like this happen when aircraft get updated. New features or bug fixes are added. I will take a further look and update the review soon, and thanks for your input!
  14. Scenery Review : Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International by Butnaru Introduction: Fort Lauderdale ( ICAO: KFLL, IATA: FLL) is Butnaru's latest scenery to be released for X-Plane 10, and no, this is no ordinary scenery! Many new features have been added in this scenery package which make it unique above the rest. Situated in Florida it's surrounded by many other airports, some bigger some smaller. So what makes Fort Lauderdale special? Apart from the fact the others are default scenery! Fort Lauderdale is one of the closest to the Florida shoreline, and has become and intercontinental gateway. If you enjoy long haul flights to or around America then Fort Lauderdale has to be in your scenery collection. Another bonus is that KFLL is located not too far from TNCM, another great place to fly! So the history behind KFLL. On the 1st of May 1929 the US Navy stationed base there (start of WWII), then in 1946 when it was transferred to county control it became: Broward County International Airport. With expansion in growth, popularity and buildings it's now known as Fort Lauderdale, this airport serves millions of the general public each year. So how does the real Fort Lauderdale compare to Butnaru's rendition in X-Plane? The answer, a review with a conclusion. Publisher and Developer: Butnaru is known for his work within scenery development around the community, publishing KLGA - La Guardia, KORD - Chicago O'Hare and even KMIA Miami which is close by... However KFLL has taken a massive leap into the latest most up to date scenery category. Comparing this scenery to some of his others you can clearly tell he has come a long way now! Yes, he is known for his sceneries but he doesn't have a website? Or a branded logo? However he sure has airport development skills. So lets move onto the airport itself. Installation and First Impressions: Installing the scenery was simple but not ordinary. No, there wasn't an installer and yes, you drop the folder like normal into custom scenery. However you have to complete these two steps for installation. Taken from the manual: 1- Go to x-plane/Custom scenery/Global Airports/Earth nav data/+20-090 and rename or delete the file +26-081.dsf 2- Place KFLL – Fort Lauderdale inside x-plane/custom scenery I can't say that the steps are confusing because they are not. Step 2 is normal for scenery installations and step 1 is explained clearly. The only thing that startled me was the word 'delete' I don't like deleting x-plane directory files so instead I renamed it, I added a - between the 8 and 1. This way I still have the dsf however x-plane does not recognize it. The first time I loaded up KFLL I was parked in a 732 at the default parking gate. Normally I look outside the cockpit window and browse around to see what's out there but at KFLL it felt different. Before looking around at the scenery I was startled to see the shear volume of traffic maneuvering around the airport. Even though I was looking straight ahead at the terminal I could see a pilot undergoing a walk around inspection in the gate to my right! And on the left in the corner of my cockpit window I could see an aircraft to my left with a baggage cart driving around it and ground crew walking beside it! I was not expecting any of that! Although the people walk a bit weird you can still get the impression, and feel the immersion. So then I decided to go flying, taking off for a short flight. Pushing back from the gate and turning looked fantastic as the gate slowly got further away, now back from the gate and turned around it would be impossible not to pick up on the ground textures. I have never taxied a real 732 away from a gate in Fort Lauderdale however the ground textures are very high resolution and look realistic. The tire marks have to be my favorite part of the ground textures, when I looked back or to the side it looked as though I actually left the tire marks myself! Now facing out toward the runway and my taxi route I was just blocking the small road which the ground vehicles use. There are hundreds of ground routes for all of the ground vehicles and people, so it was time to put them to the test. A Baggage truck and a few carts was approaching me on the right side using the road I was blocking. To my surprise the truck didn't stop and went straight through the aircraft. This is pictured below. This may become annoying with extensive use of this scenery because of the many ground vehicles moving you have a 70% chance of one driving straight through you. After undergoing a standard takeoff I thought I would undergo a long flight from KFLL - Fort Lauderdale to TNCM - Princess Juliana in a BAE Jetstream 32. After passenger loading at the default gate it was time to push back in the BAE. Being in the Jetstream meant that I could see more of the ground textures and scenery, after pushback and engine start it was time for taxi to takeoff. Taxiing around KFLL is pretty simple the ground navigation is made easy with the big taxi signs. One thing I did notice taxiing is how low resolution the orthophoto actually is. From the air it looks fine but taxiing it doesn't. The orhtophoto is used to fill the gaps of grass between the apron concrete. As well as the blurry orhtophoto there aren't any ground grass polygons, this is a shame as these grass polygons really add to great immersion. The only thing that softens the blow is the great ending of the texture. When the asphalt stops and the grassy area begins the asphalt has a black ledge which looks very real and it's how you expect it to look. The small cracks are great, it's just as though the sun has dried up the asphalt and it's been subject to wear and tear! As well as cracks oil spills can be noticed, especially at gates where the aircraft park they really work in conjunction with the green grunge making the airport look dirty. And it's all high res! Shortly after takeoff I could look back at KFLL at around 2600ft and climbing. This is when I noticed a few more things about KFLL. The roof textures look great as I believe they are from the orthophoto however they are very blurry. From above it doesn't matter too much as the higher you climb the less blurry the roof textures become but low flying into the airport and you will easily notice the blurriness. The only advantage of using the orthophoto as the roof textures is from above is it blends in with the orthophoto creating a realistic look from above, but then we move onto the orthophoto it self. So yes I have already said it's blurry to a degree however from the air like I said with the roof textures this gets better the higher you go. The problem is the colour of the ortho. The ariel ortho image does not blend back into the default x-plane land and instead is just cut off. This is when you can clearly tell the difference within the colour. For some reason its as though Butnaru didn't colour change the ortho as it is very bright from above and just does not fit in. When your thinking about purchasing this scenery you have to think will I be really bothered how the airport will look from 2000ft? Are you just looking for a very realistic environment to taxi and takeoff from? Then this scenery is the answer. I know I have just pointed out everything wrong with the scenery but nothing can be perfect. But that is not to say this scenery is not worth buying! This is one of the best for X-Plane 10 yet!!! And it's version 1.00 so we can expect many future improvements. This scenery has so many great features that I haven't even got to yet such as animations and lighting! I just pointed out all of the minor bad things!! Around The Airport: Around the airport you are certainly not starved of objects. Many are moving which makes it feel living and breathing however many are static and not dynamic. Overall they all have high resolution textures on them! However most objects seem to be placed in places where you will visit most, there is not a certain level of objects used throughout the airport. For example in some areas there seems to be a lack of static objects placed but to argue that they are places you will probably never visit. The above image shows how ground traffic gets into the areas where no static objects are placed, so really even the open 'empty' areas aren't actually empty. The details on most of the objects really increases the quality of this scenery package. For example the jetways have been modeled to a very fine detail, every small detail can be carefully noticed. The gpu boxes attached on the bottom of the jetway are greatly modeled, and the jetway looks as though it constantly moves as there are very high resolution tire marks on the concrete. Overall the detail of objects sets this scenery apart as it creates a high level of immersion tricking you to believe you are actually there. The lighting in this scenery package is simply the best feature. The lights create a very realistic night environment as a range of techniques for lighting have been used. Orhtophoto lighting: The orhtophoto has been lit up in certain places linking to certain buildings, this is great as it increases the brightness however in some places the lighting on the orthophoto is a bit out of place. For example a random lit circle on the floor with no building above it. The good thing about this technique for lighting is that with HDR Rendering ON it looks great and with HDR Rendering OFF it still creates that same effect. The second technique used was colouring standard lights. Butnaru has edited the colours of the lighting to create the real orange effect throughout the airport, this just looks great! All lamp posts emit this orange spill, in conjunction with the othophoto lighting great results are achieved. A new lighting feature was also used, rotating beacons! This just puts the icing on the cake in terms of lighting! The rotating beacons on the moving vehicles creates a living and breathing world atmosphere! This is something not yet seen in x-plane! The two pictures below of the baggage cart show off the new rotating beacon feature, you can see, flicking between each picture, the rotating beacon light! These features are hard to explain as words can't express how good the features look in the sim. A video is surly needed so you can see the lighting and animations around the airport! Trees can also be found spread around the airport, the trees look great and really capture the feel for florida. Tall thin palm trees, with long branching palms. A small misc thing I also noticed was how each terminal has gates only associated with certain airlines, just like in real life! The far terminal just has 'Southwest' jets parked at the gates and then the other terminal next to it is full of 'United Airlines' jets. This just shows the attention to detail that Butnaru has put in. The 3D modeling is not basic yet not advanced. Where you would expect a round surface you will get a sort of hexagonal surface. I believe that this is linked to Sketchup (3D modeling program) however it is now possible to texture round surfaces. Despite that Butnaru has modeled extensively in detail for KFLL. Textures have taken over from modeling in some parts of this scenery for example the roof has the orthophoto texture and displays some squares with dark shadows I can only pick them out to be air conditioner units, not modeled just on the texture. However down at the gates, 3D modeling has had attention to detail. So FPS (frames per second). FPS anywhere in and around this scenery is great I don't get any lag at all. Running addons such as aircraft and Skymaxx pro I don't get any hit to frames. With HDR ON/OFF it doesn't make a considerable difference regarding FPS. Also on high rendering options I still get very good FPS! Animations: Animations are everywhere, wherever you look something will be moving or be en-route to somewhere. This is great in the day or night as the airport never sleeps! This means that whatever time you land or takeoff at KFLL you are sure to have an immersive experience. The following ground objects move around: Baggage carts and trucks Fuel Trucks People Airport SUV's As well as other objects which I may have missed, anyhow you can imagine just how much stuff moves around all at once! My favorite animation has to be the people, it's not just ground crew that wonder around doing their daily jobs but pilots as well! In some gates well before departure a pilot can be seen walking around the aircraft undergoing his exterior checks, looking around for noticeable issues. In other gates ground crew are preparing aircraft for their next movement. Obviously static aircraft don't move about but the ground vehicles do which makes you believe the static aircraft are about to as well! There are some draw backs to the ground traffic, I wouldn't call it big problems just small constraints. For example the ground vehicles move without the wheel moving which is possible to do but not animated within this scenery. Also the vehicles do not make any sound, however that is down to the plugin which was written by Marginal and not Butnaru. The moving ground vehicles contain the rotating beacon light and headlights as well, overall it creates ground traffic that looks amazing! Also there is no traffic on the custom roads which is also possible within a scenery package, this means that the main raised highway coming into the airport has no traffic on it. However the road is only noticeable from the air and not from the ground anyway so it doesn't matter too much. Documentation: Very minimal. That's a harsh way of putting it but I am afraid not much effort was put into the READ ME PDF. It consists of two pages. The first gives you the two steps listed above for installation and the second page consists of special thanks and references to his other sceneries. No charts are included or 'Recommended Settings' or FAQs, just 2 steps for installation, and obviously the email for support. In a way I suppose that's all you really need. The Read Me is something that you reference once and forget? Unless it's an aircraft and you use it for the checklists. Outside the Airport: Yes, things are modeled outside the airport and yes, the othophoto covers it. But it's not all great. Its good that Butnaru spent the time modeling outside the airport boundaries so lets take a look. Outside the airport two areas are included along the coast line, the first is the shipyard. Butnaru has made some container ships and placed them inline with the ortho image on the water. The container ships look okay but are a little blurry as the textures are low res. On the ground at the dock you will find some containers placed on the ground stacked very high. To the left of this you will find the other side of the dock where the cruise ships park. The cruise ships are modeled and textured again with low res textures. I feel as though so much more could be achieved with these cruises. To start smoke puffs could be easily added as well as navigation lights. Currently the ships textures do the night lighting. But its outside the airport so you will only be flying over it at 700ft. The custom roads blend in nicely with the default roads outside the airport so that link makes the airport fit in place. Here are some left over pictures, I took too many screenshots as there was a lot to document: Summary: I know I have commented on the many minor things that can be changed, added or improved however it is version 1.00 and it has many great features that make it stand out from the rest of the sceneries. All things can be fixed in the future with an update. My final verdict, yes, it's certainly worth having! This scenery creates a very realistic experience that you need to see for yourself. The ground traffic mixed with the advanced lighting system make this scenery one of the best. The annoyances are just my personal preference for scenery quality and everything works just the way it should. I didn't find any bugs within the scenery, so nothing to report there. It's possible to even further enhance the visuals with the Haze plugin and more. I did not use the haze plugin or enhanced runway textures HD as I reviewed the airport as it came. The only thing I had exrta was aircraft and Skymaxx pro v2. It's hard to develop a payware scenery and live it up to the standard of other sceneries for example Beti-x's Stewart, but Butnaru pulled it off here and that's surprising due to the size of the airport! Also Stewart by Beti-x is $25.80! so as you can see from the price difference this aiport has been priced right. Yes, a few things could be improved which are mentioned above however as the base for V1 this scenery should definately be in your x-plane.org shopping cart. The modeling is great, the animations look real, the textures look phenonemal and the frames per second are high! What more could you possible want? Maybe more area covered such as the beach and some modeled hotels but for the price you are paying so much is already included. For the price range of this scenery package you will definately experience a special visit in your simulator to KFLL, an experience to remember! KFLL - Fort Lauderdale International by Butnaru is now available on the x-plane.org store for US$19.95 Please comment below if you have any questions. Developer Website: None Developer Support: Mundo3dvirtual@gmail.com Aircraft Used in the review: - 732 TwinJet by FlyJSim - BAE Jetstream 32 by Jrollon - 757 Professional by FlightFactor - x737 Project Review System Specifications: Computer System: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650 1gb Software: - Windows 7 64 bit - X-Plane 10 Global version 10.25 - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - KFLL - Fort Lauderdale International - Skymaxx Pro v2 Review by Joe Charman 13th August 2014 Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews
  15. <center><img src="https://newbluejournals.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/austin-meyer-interview.jpg"></center><p><strong>Interview: Austin Meyer, the man behind X-Plane!</strong></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>This is an interview that I had with Austin Meyer, the founder of X-Plane.</p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: Where did your love of aviation start?</span></p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#000000;">I don't recall exactly… but I think I was around 10 years old or so, playing Microsoft flight simulator on the apple-II, just line drawings, but still that “sim” would fire the imagination! Then r-c air planes (which, by the way, are MUCH harder to fly than real air planes, so I was much more likely to crash!) and then finally real air planes, when I found an old desktop flight sim trainer for pilot's in the 70’s and 80’s it's pretty easy to fly a light plane.. much easier than an r-c plane.</span></p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: What real aircraft do you fly? What would be your dream plane to own, can x-plane make that dream real?</span></p><p> </p><p>I started flying in the Cessna 152, then Cessna 172 just because they were available to rent, then some Piper Archers I rented in southern California (LOVED that) then Cirrus Sr-22 (my first plane I owned) then two Columbia-400s (the first one got smashed when a hangar fell on it, so I got another just like it), and this is what I currently fly. I have a Lancair evolution in the final phases of construction right now, and i will be flying that for regular transportation starting this august.</p><p> </p><p style="text-align:center;"></p><p> </p><p> X-Plane has all of these planes to at least some degree… though the dream that I have is to make the Lancair evolution really, really, really perfect for x-plane.. and of course that is a dream that I will make come true! </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: Why did you develop Xavion? Can you tell us about it?</span></p><p> </p><p>The real reason is rather interesting: i got tired of never seeing the avionics in real air planes that were QUITE what I thought was perfect, so I wrote my own prototype for the macintosh desktop computer, simply as a demonstration of what I thought avionics should look like. Then, when the iPad came out, I ported that code (it was then called “EIFS-App”) to iPad and iPhone, and then I changed the question from “what should avionics LOOK LIKE” to “what could avionics on an iPad DO?” the answer is embodied by xavion now:</p><p>- full PFD and map displays, very useful in the event of instrument failure in the cockpit, especially if IFR- internet weather if you find a wifi hotspopt before take-off, or fly low with an ipad with a good antenna (yes, i get internet weather in the cockpit on my ipad mini if flying around 8,000 feet, often!)- ADSB weather from an ADSB receiver- 3D hoop guidance down to the best airport to glide down to in the event of engine failure- and now, just uploaded to apple and pending their approval as i write this, current-data airports and charts from Seattle avionics, so you can have all your charts in the cockpit on your ipad without having to run a different app- and now,<strong><em> just flight-tested last week and to be commercially available soon, xavion connects to the autopilot by WIFI to bring the airplane down to a safe airport in the event of engine failure or pilot incapacitation!</em></strong>so, if anyone wanted to know when iphones would start taking over airplanes to bring them down to safety if the engine quit or the pilot passed out, the answer is: last Thursday. </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: What are your thoughts and views of the thriving X-Plane community that you have created?</span></p><p> </p><p>Minimal, very, very minimal. This is where my string LIBERTARIAN leanings become clear. I just make X-Plane, and plane-maker so you anyone can make their own planes, and I let Ben Supnik make plugins so anyone can read and write data, and then other people can do whatever the heck they want! My meddling is basically zero there.. I just dropped the tools in the workshop.. anyone else can use them to build anything they want.</p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: Why did you decide to start developing a flight simulator all those years ago? Where did the inspiration come from?</span></p><p> </p><p>I did not quite like the INSTRUMENT PANEL LAYOUT of MSFSseriously...I thought that MSFS was as good as a sim could be, except for one thing: the instruments were not laid out QUITE like they were in the airplane i was renting at the time (a piper archer-II). So I wrote my own sim to simulate the piper archer.. it was called “Archer-II: IFR" that quickly turned into x-plane when i saw that it could simulate any air plane by just changing the appropriate aircraft dimensions, since the sim was balde-element theory right from the very start. </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: Developing one of the worlds most comprehensive flight simulators is certainly a tough challenge, what problems have you faced over the past years?</span></p><p> </p><p>My two greatest annoyances and enablers: customers, and Apple. I could not succeed without the money of the customers, and the truly shocking GENIUS of Apple computer. But, when customers complain, and apple constantly changes their standards, they can both sure be annoying! </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: How else is X-Plane applied in everyday life rather than us flying desks!?</span></p><p> </p><p>oh, NASA, scaled composites, gulf stream, Garmin, countless branches of the military… TONS of large organizations use x-plane to see how airplanes will fly for all manner of projects… far too many for me to list. How will a glider re-enter the atmosphere of Mars? How will a prototype air plane fly? We need an imaginary air plane flying around to send signals to our new avionics to test them out, making them THINK they are in a real air plane. etc..</p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: As X-Plane 10 has developed, what has to be your most favourite payware add-on(s)? </span></p><p> </p><p>I actually never use any add-ons myself I hired Ben Supnik to make and maintain the plugins for x-plane, so people can do anything they want! Then i just let them do it while I get on to my own work. </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: What's your flight set-up for X-Plane 10 like? Have you built a home cockpit?</span></p><p> </p><p>Nope!</p><p>I am too mobile and un-committed to any hardware to do so if I ever made a cockpit, I would be tired of it in an instant, because a physical cockpit is so STATIC… I am constantly improving x-plane though, so if a customer needs me in olathe, Kansas, to get x-plane to do exactly what they want, then my favourite x-plane cockpit is a macintosh laptop with a $19 joystick from the nearest best buy hooked up to it sitting on a desk in olathe, Kansas! </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: So, the big question, the Oculus Rift! I understand in the past 10.30 betas some oculus preparation has been made. I can't wait to get an oculus rift, plugin and fly! I believe the experience that we will get will be raised up a level! What's currently happening with the rift? Will it be plugin and play? </span></p><p> </p><p>Oh yes, plug and play of course!</p><p>Yes we are flying the rift right now inside of the company it works perfectly, but with the limits inherent to the rift right now: you WANT to reach out and TOUCH the buttons in the cockpit, but you can’t. you move your hands out in front of you, but do not see your own hands in the virtual world. so, it seems to me that we need some sort of gloves or something to make the oculus experience really useful in a complex cockpit with a lot of buttons in <em>it but it sure FEELS amazing!!!!!!!!</em> </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: How do you plan to make X-Plane even more realistic in the future?</span></p><ul><li>clouds</li><li>weather</li><li>rain</li><li>water</li><li>more air planes, with better realism in the cockpit.</li></ul><p>Those are some top items.</p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: The GNS 530 is the latest and most recently greatest thing for X-Plane! What is the story behind it?</span></p><p> </p><p>Well, we have been OVERDUE for a good gns430 for a LONG time so I hired Philipp Munzel to make it for X-Plane then, he refused to release it until he could make a 530 as well (since that would give a lot more power for a small amount more work) so, he hit the ball out of the park on that one!</p><p>Then, he made x-pane work with STEAM!We announced that yesterday (10th July 2014) , and it will be on the STEAM store Monday 14th July 2014. This will be X-Plane 10.25 (the latest non-beta version) and of course all subsequent (non-beta) updates, so 10.30 will be on steam as soon as it is out of beta, and then every version after that as well.</p><p> </p><p style="text-align:center;"></p><p style="text-align:center;"> </p><p>So, finally, we get the most realistic, powerful, 64-bit simulator with scenery and realism that really blow my mind all accessible with a button-push on steam.. No physical DVD needed any more really, to me, quite amazing!Make no mistake about it: I am as amazed by x-plane as anyone else! Maybe part of the reason is that my memory is so bad! I code the most realistic and amazing stuff I possibly can, I forget much of what I have coded soon after, but the computer does not forget! So x-plane just keeps building and getting better and better!! </p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: Being within the home simulation community we don't get to here about X-Plane 10 and commercial use. Are there any major companies that use X-Plane for commercial uses, if so what experience does it create in those expensive full motion simulators?</span></p><p> </p><p>We sell LOTS of commercial use keys but as it turns out, they are NOT used to build giant simulators! Instead, they are used to emulate air planes to test avionics systems, or replay accident scenarios, or test out new prototype designs.</p><p> </p><p style="text-align:center;"></p><p> </p><p>So, we sell a lot of keys, but they wind up being used INTERNALLY… INSIDE of companies doing research and development, not so much in giant cockpits that the guy on the street will ever see.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: To finish, the classic question. What are the future plans for X-Plane? Can we see an X-Plane 11 on the horizon with new amazing features?</span></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>huh huh.. that is sort of like asking if the next pope will be catholic, right? </p><p><span style="color:#696969;">XPR: Or future plans for X-Plane 10? Any secrets of developments you wish to share?</span></p><p> </p><p>Well, the steam and occulus rift support are next for version 10, also, I just got back some performance reports for x-plane 10.30 beta 6 last night: it is now running about 25% faster than x-plane 10.25 in many scenarios, and slower in NO scenario that we could find! so, x-plane 10.30 is offering a pretty decent frame-rate boost… we are always working on optimization, trying to keep hat frame-rate up.I do the same thing with Xavion on the iPad, using all of the iPads processors at the same time to maximize multi-threading and therefore frame-rate. The iPad gets so hot from this that it is too hot to hold after a while!</p><p> </p><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>I would like to thank Austin on behalf of everybody at </strong>X-Plane Reviews<strong> for taking the time to have this interview.</strong></span></p><p> </p><p>Note: the beta 10.30b6 Austin noted in the interview has been released, Go to your installers!</p><p> </p><p>Visit the official X-Plane website : <a data-ipb="nomediaparse" href="http://www.x-plane.com">x-plane.com</a></p><p> </p><p>Visit the official x-plane community site : <a data-ipb="nomediaparse" href="http://www.x-plane.org">x-plane.org</a></p><p> </p><p>Interview by Joe Charman</p><p> </p><p>Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews</p><p> </p><p></p>
  16. Scenery Review : LGMK - Airport Mykonos by Aerosoft This is my review of LGMK Mykonos, having been there myself I hope this review gives you a detailed insight to how Aerosofts rendition of Mykonos compares to the real thing! Publisher and Developer: Mykonos LGMK is Aerosoft's latest scenery release! Developed by Icarus, this scenery is definitely one not to ignore. Aerosoft have released many sceneries in the past, but none live up to the standard of Mykonos! LGMK is Aerosofts first scenery using new developed features such as, animated ground traffic and Ultra HD textures. This is also Aerosofts first scenery covering a whole island in lots of detail! This release is the first time I heard the name Icarus, after some research I found out that the team are also developing a DC-9 which is very exciting! So LGMK Airport Mykonos can be found on a small island of Mykonos off the coast from Athens in Greece. In Greek mythology, Mykonos island named from Mykons, son of Greek God Apollo. The place of a big battle between Zeus and Titans, where Hercules killed the powerful Giants. Even now it is rumored that the large rocks over the island are corpses of the Giants. Mykonos is the most famous island in the heart of Cyclades and Aegean Sea, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. Installation and Documentation: Mykonos could not be easier to install, just simply run the installer that you download and select your x-plane folder. After entering your activation code it will start installing. In the past I have had trouble using the installer provided by Aerosoft, others seem to have had the same issue, but installing Mykonos worked perfectly. If you are new to x-plane in general then you may install the scenery and load up the sim and see your new airport, however you can find the manual within the three folders that are installed. First locate your x-plane 10 folder and click into 'custom scenery' in here you will find three folders each with Mykonos in the title. The folder you need to open is called 'Mykonos Airport' in here you will find the very detailed 16 page manual. The manual tells you everything that you need to know, and includes extensive explanations of certain things including a FAQ (frequently asked questions). Unfortunately no charts are provided with the scenery, this could be something forgotten or the charts were intended not to be included. Anyhow it doesn't matter too much as many charts can be found online. Features: From Aerosoft: "This scenery package has been designed to take advantage of the most modern X-Plane technologies, like HDR lighting, texture detailing, object instancing, and many more. In order to experience the feeling of the actual airport during the night, the HDR option, in the rendering options, should be checked on. The night lighting was carefully designed to represent the real life lighting with the minimum affect on frame rates. The Airport is represented as close as possible to the real counterpart, with the combined use of Ultra High Definition (UHD) textures and High Definition (HD) textures. The ground is represented with custom textures with resolution 3-5cm/pixel. The whole island is covered with 50cm/pixel satellite imagery (orthophotos) with added shaders for increased resolution, with hundreds of the well known white/blue “Aegean Sea” type houses and local vegetation (trees), giving an accurate representation of the island. For the towns of Mykonos (Chora), houses are almost 1-to-1 ratio to the real world, giving you the feeling of the dense town. Moreover, every light is a “real” light, emitting and lighting the surroundings. There are plenty animations providing a “living” environment, like the windmills. Also there is maritime traffic around the island." Highly detailed rendition of Mykonos International Airport (LGMK) Complete coverage of over 140km with high resolution satellite imagery (0.5m/px) High resolution day and night scenery complex terrain mesh animated car traffic around the airport complete reconstruction of airport's lighting equipment realistic 3D grass and vegetation complex reconstruction of the town over 2,000 hand placed objects animated windmills Highly detailed manual compatible with x-plane 10 HD Mesh Scenery v2 x-plane 10 HDR lighting custom ground textures with about 5cm/px (only airport area) First Impressions: The first thing that stood out to me was the scale and complexity of the scenery, every house on the island has been placed on top of an orthophoto at high resolution! This airport is great for VFR circuits over the main town, so that is the first thing I did. I started up the Carenado Malibu Mirage and taxied to runway 34. After take off I turned left and flew over the small town. Flying over the town was great fun, from 1,200ft you can see the windmills turning and boats slowly sailing around the island! If you look closely you can also see small smoke puffs coming from the cruise ships parked in the docks! The town looks very clustered with houses from 1500ft, however close down the houses can appear to be spaced out. I have pointed this out as when I visited Mykonos the public foot paths were only about 3 meters wide! You can even tell from google earth how crammed the houses are in the town. After flying over the town I turned left and set my heading back to runway 34. The approach was actually quite challenging! As the runway is slopped at 400ft above sea level it is a difficult approach. Nether the less it was pretty fun, trying not to touch the roofs on the big hotels! Also the other thing that stood out first was how detailed the ground textures are at the airport, the 5cm/px looks excellent especially when taxiing off of the runway onto the apron. Location: Having been here myself I personally love the location of Mykonos, surrounded by islands in the Aegean Sea! But currently this gives us all one issue, where can we go to do a short flight from Mykonos? You are probably thinking of the small islands around Mykonos however there is no amazing scenery to fly to. I have done a few long flights to Mykonos however sometimes I like to jump in a small cessna and island hop! It would be great to island hop to Tinos (the island next to Mykonos) or all the way to Athens! Having been to Athens as well, it would be great to see some fantastic sceneries for around there! So the x-plane.org downloads would be a good place to search however we are in need for another good quality payware airport near Myknonos that we can fly to! Apart from that Mykonos is a nice destination for flying around europe. Textures and Frame Rates: The textures on the airport buildings are all standard white with a slight layer of dirt which looks good as the airport looks a little worn and not brand new. Cracks can also be noticed on the walls and pillars. The roof textures have to be the best, all colours match the same as real life and the roof window hatches have cloud reflections! By the way I should point out that the reflection is a picture within the texture, there are no 'actual' reflections. The ground textures on the beaches and slightly out to sea look phenomenal! The sea looks great and I feel as though I want top go swimming in it! The orthophoto sea also fades out nicely into the default sea. Overall the textures and 3D modeling within the airport from Aerosoft, summed with the high resolution orthophotos and great visuals, puts this scenery in the top list of airports ever made for X-Plane 10! Despite this the control tower windows look very dark and they do not have reflections. I believe that the texture needs to be brightened up and reflections should be added, this will then make the control tower look identical to the real one! Also the A320 parked on the apron has low resolution textures compared to the rest of the scenery. It would look great if the textures where sharpened up on the A320, in turn it would add more realism. With the addition to better textures brings us onto frame rates. All textures within this scenery are .dds, this adds performance which is good. On average I get around 28 fps. Sometimes this does drop, for example the 3D lighting has a negative effect on fps. As each light in the scenery, including the island, casts a spill on the XP environment. Overall the frame rates aren't too bad, but I would advise you to check your system first before purchasing as you want to make sure that you can run it and get good performance. You can read the manual and follow steps to increase performance however be warned you cannot change the number of objects. Changing the number of objects in the settings menu will not alter the amount of objects you see, your computer has to render each object wether it likes it or not! To improve your frame rates the most drastic thing you can do is turn HDR off,I do not like doing this as the quality of the sim gets reduced when this happens. Light is not reflected etc.. and when flying around Mykonos with HDR off you can considerably notice the difference day and night. 3D Modeling: The 3D modeling is great and very creative. Mykonos can look a bit square but thats how it looks in real life! The 3D modeling in this scenery is not ground breaking or overwhelming, but simple and life like. The architecture of the airport at Mykonos is very simple anyway so the icarus team have a faithful replica. Other Aerosoft airports can be known for their bland and emptiness, Mykonos is totally different. The best 3D model has to be the turning windmill don't you agree? The windmills turn not to fast and not to slow, a very good rendition! When I visited Mykonos the windmills were barely turning, this is because there was not enough wind that day, just blazing hot sun! Obviously the windmills in x-plane are not wind dependent but still operate great! 3D modeling just outside the airport is also very good, the benches, bins, people, signs, railings all are very detailed. The vegetation has many different varieties, shapes and sizes, lot's of work has gone into that end of 3D modeling as well. Every model is custom made with precision and high resolution textures, some models are basic but this reflects the style of the real Mykonos. Night lighting: The night lighting in the town looks okay, you definitely know you are entering Myknonos, the white walls are even further emphasized by the lights! The airports runway is extremely dark and hard to visually find 15nm from the island but this is nobodies fault, just the airports fault for not installing more lights! The main Apron lighting is sum what special. The bright cast of pale white light shines on the side of your aircraft as you move about the apron, the light even lights up inside the cockpit! However the light is very pale and not appealing to the eye. Also another thing that could be added to the light casting are rays of light coming from the bulb, I have seen this in many of Aerosofts airports for FSX, there is a picture below. There is not much else to comment about the lighting apart from it being very dark over the otherside of the island where no houses have been modeled and therefore there is no night lighting. What to find on the Apron: During my initial wander around the airport the apron looked very basic. However that's simply because there are not many object where you taxi your plane, most airport objects such as portable fire extinguishers, buses, GA Aircraft, stairs, the Aegean Airbus, cones, GPU's, belt loaders and cars etc.. As you can see the list is long and therefore creates a realistic environment. The apron is also home to the "ultra HD Ground Textures", written on paper can still impress but walking around the apron whilst oil spills reflect the sun is just great! As well as the oil spills and concrete cracks the grey grained ground looks good in HD as well. Before seeing the ground textures I did not know what to expect, I thought that the ground textures would look like the default repetitive design however I was totally wrong. The main missing item on the apron is taxi lines and markings, but this is accurate to real life as pilots have to rely on ground crews to guide them in! This is very realistic as you feel as though you have to wait for the ground crew to turn up when you're in your aircraft ready to park up! In all, this creates a very realistic experience. The biggest objects on the apron are the apron lights. These lights stretch high into the sky and have been modeled with precision, just like everything else on the apron. Summary: So is this scenery on the Beti-x Stewart level? Unfortunately no, not quite, but close! It is very nice to have a whole island with an airport, especially with orthophoto under everything. This airport brings something special to x-plane, a realistic experience wether your in a GA Aircraft or a heavy 737. It is difficult to make a replica of an international airport, also very time consuming. Despite that Mykonos is very close to the real thing, every building and visual. I would most certainly recommend Mykonos to any FS enthusiast, even though the airport is small and basic the icarus/aerosoft team have re-created the airport and island with precision. When flying long haul to Mykonos you are waiting desperately to land just to see the airport in it's beauty. It's as though you can feel the heat when you open the door and put on your sun glasses, looking around at the airport as you walk toward the enclosed passenger terminal. When flying around Mykonos I also sense a colour scheme, it's as though I have a product like Maxx-fx running (which I don't). Everything seams light blue and bright, just how I experienced the real Mykonos on my real life trip. "Overall the textures and 3D modeling within the airport from Aerosoft, summed with the high resolution orthophotos and great visuals, puts this scenery in the top list of airports ever made for X-Plane 10!" For the price of this scenery at $21.48 it is worth the purchase. Don't think of this airport as small and basic, there is so much to explore! There are always ways in which things can be improved, more objects around the dock and town area could be a start. But then people with low end machines will not be able to run the scenery, icarus can either find a balance or have an option to show certain types of objects etc.. Also it would look great to see moving objects around the airport such as belt loaders and even 3D people, such as the ones Orbx have! One last thing was the difference of colours between two of the orthophoto's just past Ornos, this left a line between the two. Just a simple fix though of changing the brightness/contrast (pictured below). But don't let this put you off, so much is already included much of which is explained above. This scenery is a great rendition of Mykonos for x-plane. Orhtophoto issue: So why not wait, you can buy LGMK - Mykonos Airport for $21.48 on the X-Plane.OrgStore. Please comment if you have any further questions. Aircraft Featured: - Robinson R66 by Alabeo - A230neo by JARdesign - C208B Grand Caravan by Carenado - PA46 Malibu Mirage by Carenado - C172RG Cutlass by Alabeo - B200 King Air by Carenado - 732 TwinJet by FlyJSim Review System Specifications: Computer System: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650 1 Software: - Windows 7 64 bit - X-Plane 10 Global version 10.25 - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - LGMK - Mykonos Airport by Aerosoft - Skymaxx Pro Review by Joe Sharman 29th June 2014 Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews
  17. Hi Leo, I have not experinced the problem myself. If you have turned off random failures the problem is not there. The only other reason I can think of for engine loss is maybe you starting up the plane wrong? I have started from cold and dark, and with the engines running already, both times I did not experience complete engine failure. Try starting with the engines pre running. You can change this setting in the options menu provided by FlyJSim or you can change the option in 'net connections' (I think) when I have a chance I will check were the option is in the sim.
  18. Or another option is for aircraft designers/developers, they could implement an option for pilots or no pilots. JRollon has already done this in his CRJ200 and his BAE Jetstream 32. On both aircraft (I think I remember rightly) you have the option to add or remove the copilot, all you have to do is click on him in the CRJ200 and there is an option in the BAE Jetsream within the menu on the control yoke. If the xp community speak loud enough to the developers I am sure they would listen and implement it into their aircrafts. FlyJSim may add this is the next update?
  19. Aircraft Thoughts and Opinions : Boeing 732 TwinJet by FlyJSim Test Route: LSZH (Zurich Airport) to EGGD (Bristol Airport) The FlyJSim 737-200 TwinJet is a massive release for the x-plane community, its not often that somebody makes a massive jet! This 732 is special; its not as technologically advanced as its bigger brother the 777, yet it is easier to fly than a 757. This aircraft has been long awaited by many of us, and finally its here! If the "200" part of the name (737-200) puts you off, be assured that the systems have been greatly modeled. And you can also wait about another few months or less for the new release of a 737-CL by IXEG, but that "classic" model still classes as a 737-100/200. Today I am going to give my views and opinions of certain features on this fantastic jet, starting with aesthetics. Exterior Aesthetics: This aircraft looks almost vintage from outside, its a shame some of the liveries do not support this and look "clean". However from its design you can clearly tell that this aircraft is old and well maintained. One of many of my favourite features are the long sloped Pratt and Whitney JT8D's, with their reflective mirror like look, nowadays by chance it is very unlikely that you will see these engines attached to a 732 as normally airlines choose the later updated 737-700/800. I also like the thickly shaped fuselage with the fat nose, it looks and feels like a tank when flying! Despite all of that there is one thing that I do not like about the exterior of the 732, the passenger windows. In my opinion the window textures are to clean and repetitive. The glass texture that jack and the team chose for the passenger windows looks dull and to bright, I believe that to improve the texture FlyJSim should use more of photo-real glass texture so it feels as though you are looking in when viewing the aircraft exterior. But an argument against that is when you fly you sit in the cockpit, not outside the aircraft ;-) Another thing I also like about the 732 exterior are the landing lights! These lights are amazing and greatly animated and designed! The lights under the wing hang off of the flap runners and move when the flaps are extended etc.. A great feature! Interior Aesthetics: Pictures do not do justice for the 732, you need to see it to believe it. The B732 is very immersive, with a slight window reflection on the captains and first officer side in the cockpit and high resolution textures, I nearly forgot I was sat at my desk and not flying high in the sky! My favourite part of my journey from Zurich to Bristol was having to go-around at 600ft on my landing due to a casual yet annoying feature in x-plane, deer on the runway! My normal reactions would be to click "local map" and move the deer far, far away, but I forgot I was in a simulator so I decided to go-around at 600ft when I spotted them. This turned out great as the low 6200ft sharp turns over the city of Bristol looked great! So you can relate to my previous comment about being immersed in the B732. When looking behind toward the door to the cabin the back wall texture in the cockpit is slightly blurry, it still is at a high resolution just not as high as the main panel textures. It would be great if the circuit breakers were modelled just like in the FlyJSim 727, but unfortunately they are not. However the photo textures on the back walls of the cockpit have been taken in the pilots perspective, this means that the photo real textures on the back wall look slightly 3D. The yoke looks phenomenal, it has an amazing worn look which looks very realistic. I also like the fact that you have the option to disable viewing of it however it is much easier to click on it to disappear such as in a Carenado aircraft. The gauges also have nice textures, a slightly worn affect. Jack Skieczius (lead dev of FlyJSim) did comment during his live stream of the 732 that he is planning on adding another seat texture where you will be able to switch between the two. The new seat texture will be "fluffy" it will look near enough identical to the seat texture in the 757 by Flightfactor. Despite the great things listed above the cabin is not modelled? The closest you can get to the cabin is through the "call flight attendant" the button simply plays the PA sound. I did ask Jack during his live stream why the cabin was not modelled, he replied with something like: "well, the cabin wasn't modeled because I simply don't go there in flight, I sit in the cockpit". This is a very fair point by Jack, sometimes though I think its nice to have a look back there in flight whilst the pilot is 'stretching his/hers legs'! Across the main panel you also get reflections from the sun, I am not talking about shadows, no, I am talking about the sun leaving a white cast on the gauges. This is a fantastic visual effect, the only issue I have is that it is a bit bright and when holding short at Zurich I could not monitor my engine gauges as I could not see them! Overall though I suppose all visual effects add to the great realism. The overhead panel contains many switches and knobs that all have the same cream texture, this looks great but it could be even better if some have a weathered look. This point is just being really picky and it doesn't matter really. The cockpit floor is pretty detailed, you can see the dirt and mud engraved into the groves of the metal, in my opinion when entering the cockpit the dirty floor adds to the realism. Overall the interior looks very close to reality which makes this 732 cockpit/plane one of the best modelled and available for X-Plane 10. Lighting: The in-cockpit lighting is truly first class! You have many options for lighting, my favourite is the overhead moveable light (map light), you can spin the light and it will cast a spill on wherever you have positioned it. Ass well as this you get your general lights such as "dome" , "overhead switch" lighting, "main panel" lighting etc.. all of the lights look great as you would expect. There is not a lack of lights but it would be even nicer to have a few more such as the orange lighting which casts over the A/P panel. Apart from the main lights you expect I find not much more here. Systems: Nearly all of the systems aboard the aircraft are modelled in detail which I think is great and therefore worth the $47 price tag. The following systems are simulated: . Air system . Anti-ice . Autopilot (SP77) . Com/Nav Radios . Electrical . Fire protection . Hydraulics . Fuel . Warning Systems . Weather Radar My favorite three systems are the Sperry SP77 autopilot, the weather radar system and the warning system. The SP77 Autopilot is very simple to learn and use. For a detailed explanation read The autopilot is easy to operate and see, despite its simplicity the autopilot is very effective. my second favorite system aboard the aircraft is the weather radar. I love how you can adjust lots of options you have for the weather radar! Next to the radar on both sides is a yoke. The yoke itself isn't really a system that FlyJSim spent many months on but it is connected to a system that they did, the A/P (autopilot). The yoke moves around by itself as the autopilot navigates the plane, it's phenomenal seeing the yoke and the trim wheel both working together in unison. Another system that I think should also be implemented is ground services. The a320neo does a fantastic job of this, it would be great to see moving airport utility vehicles around the 732 also. If you would like a detailed explanation of all of the systems and how to use them then I suggest for you to check out Stephen's 732 review. Overall I believe that the systems are simulated spectacularly. Sounds: First the warning system. The sounds of the warning system are very realistic, especially the altitude call outs. I believe that the altitude call out (500, 100, 50, 40, 30 etc..) have been recorded real time and refined. I also like the sound of the over speed warning, the loud repetitive sound will surely grab your attention! Also the autopilot disengaged sound is near enough perfect to match the real thing, according to youtube videos! Another thing I noticed was the v1 and rotate call outs! After hearing Jack's voice from his live stream I think that the call outs are actually him! so your virtual cop-pilot is Jack ( lead dev of FlyJSim) and he is with you for every flight you go on! The call outs that you hear are v1 and rotate, it would be great to hear many more of these whilst flying such as 'positive rate of clime' and 'gear up'. The engines sound great this is because the sounds are from dream engine and turbine sound studio. Although my personal opinion is that they sound a bit strained, the engines still look and sound realistic. The only other sounds the aircraft makes are the knobs and switches. They all make clicking sounds that sound okay, maybe a bit quiet? Sidebar menu: The side bar menu comes with many different options. You have four boxes that you can select to bring up options, the level of options is great but it could be even better if you have the options of service vehicles like I mentioned above. Despite that there are still many different options you have. I think that the options menu can feel a bit basic after a while but its still a great feature that's there. The artwork behind which looks good. The blue and cream colour scheme for the release of the 732 can really be seen here especially behind the weight and balance manager. The weight and balance manager is also great, my favorite feature is the one to click in the blue rectangles to fill up the passengers, the same is applied to the cargo which is nice. Liveries: The aircraft comes with 7 liveries that are all at a high resolution. only including 7 is a bit strange, but not to panic there are many extra to download for free on x-plane.org. Here is a list of the default liveries included: blank (white) Southwest Westjet Aer lingus Air france Aloha KLM My favourite livery has to be the Westjet, don't you agree? if that's not enough then there are many to download for free: Pan Am ( clipper morning glory ) (two liveries, one clean and the other dirty) Pan Am ( traditional ). US Air Force : this livery is just fantastic! Air One United Airlines Cayman Airways Continental "red meatball" Air North Lufthansa (the livery used in this "thoughts and opinions" post) There is now also a category dedicated to all new painted liveries for the B732: on the x-plane.org Landing at Bristol International: Overview: Overall this aircraft is truly phenomenal and you have to experience the simulation in x-plane yourself to agree to the praise I have gave it. The FlyjSim team have really gathered all of their talents for this plane and it that is shown throughout the plane. There are many sounds that play behind the scenes but it would be nice to have a few more such as the extra co-pilot call outs! You have a range of options to chose from but it would be even better to have more such as: changeable cockpit textures from 'worn' to 'clean' the option to change the seat texture options for service vehicles such as 'catering' and 'stairs' But apart from those small picky points not much more can be changed. It was a shame that the interior cabin was not modelled however Jack gave a valid reason for not doing that! This aircraft is most definitely worth $47, every cent is well spent!! Especially when you also receive a free copy of KILM Wilmington worth $30! I would urge you to grab a copy for yourself just to experience this amazing aircraft, I forgot I was sat at my desk and not at "27'000ft"! Just imagine this with the oculus rift virtual reality headset! Here is my personal list of my favourite features: just to list a few: cockpit textures flight dynamics aircraft systems sounds night lighting So there are all of my truthful thoughts and opinions of the B737-200 TwinJet by FlyJSim. If you are looking for a full review please read Price : $47.00 - Boeing 732 TwinJet You also get a free copy of KILM Wilmington with your purchase!!!!!!! This"thoughts and opinions" post for the B732 was conducted in x-plane 10.25. If you wish to find out about the B732 in 10.30b1 you can refer to the bottom of Scenery used for the test route: LSZH : Zurich Airport EGGD : Bristol International Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews Review System Specification: Computer System: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650 Software/hardware: - Windows 7 64 bit - X-Plane 10 Global version 10.25 - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - 732 TwinJet by FlyJSim - Skymaxx pro
  20. Ok, I done some research and found two C172's that you may be interested in. The first is a C172 SP uploaded on x-plane.org, I haven't downloaded it but this may fit your requirements (going by pictures) Link: http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=301 The second has also been uploaded on x-plane.org. This second one (also going by pictures) looks as though it fits your requirements better than the first. Link : http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=6893 You can try both which are downloadable for free. However they most definitely will not match the quality of the Carenado C172N.
  21. Interview: Beti-x Lead Developer, Peter Kubek This is an interview that I had with Peter Kubek, the lead developer at Beti-x. XPR: Who are the people behind Beti-x? What are their roles in the team? We have a core team of four members, a tree skilled specialist and one superb programmer! We're also currently working on mobile and casual games. Now after Stewart we can also be called an addon developer! XPR: How did the team join together with an ambition to create amazing scenery? As a game developer and artist I wondered how all of those nice sceneries were created, and of course what can be done better. That was only a small step to start work on our own scenery. The idea of creating scenery for x-plane 10 was growing longer, the team were excited about it, so we decided to go ahead with it very fast. But as we needed to work mainly on other projects CZST - Stewart was done with my collegue in our spare time. XPR: Why did you choose to develop for X-Plane 10 and not FSX? We made that decision for several reasons. The x-plane community creates very good free sceneries, but i personally felt a lack of high quality and detailed sceneries that exist for FSX. After reading various flightsim forums we felt an opportunity to bring a scenery package of what x-plane users want. Other FSX scenery developers don't show any interest to bring something special to x-plane users. Last but not least we felt the big potential of X-plane 10. XPR: Where is the Beti-x office situated? The Beti-x office is situated in Prague, Czech Republic. XPR: What is the ultimate goal of Beti-x? Definitely full time development for X-Plane 10. Speed up development time and therefore release at least 3-5 sceneries a year. Unfortunately the X-Plane 10 market is still so small that sales didn't even cover the development costs. perhaps with time the situation will change. XPR: How long did it take you and the team to develop CZST Stewart? To get familiar with the system of development for XP-10 we started on NZQN - Queenstown. When we discovered enough about how it works we started on CZST - Stewart. As I mentioned before, two people worked for 6 months during weekends and spare time. XPR: How were you expecting the release of CZST to go, did you get more press than anticipated? To be honest I was surprised with the positive feedback and all reaction from the users and public. I received plenty of very nice emails, this gave us huge satisfaction and reward for our hard work. We're proud of all reviews and really happy with that. I want to thank all who supported us. XPR: What inspired you to create CZST? What do you love most about the scenery? That spectacular view on the mighty mountains surrounding airport and the reflection on the water of portland canal is scenic. View on Stewart is not boring even after many months of development. Near Stewart are located many interesting airports that could be created in the future. XPR: Have you or any of the team actually ever visited Stewart? if so are you pleased with how Beti-x's version relates to the real one? Unfortunately nobody from the team wasn't in Stewart personally. But I hope we will visit Stewart in the future. We've done research through plenty of pictures on the internet and other materials. I would say our airport and town are true copy of the reality. XPR: How is it possible to get remarkable ground textures? Thanks for the compliment We spent many hours on the ground textures. We tried to do our best and I hope we were successful. XPR: What are your future plans regarding x-plane? Do you (and the team) intend to make more scenery in the local area of Stewart? Plans are great, but as I mentioned all depends if we will be able to dedicate more time to development for XP-10. These days we have two other sceneries in progress in the area of Stewart. But we would love to work also on the other parts of world. We want to bring more life to the sceneries, such as animations of the airport staff, ground traffic, trees animations, support of World Traffic etc.In future scenery builds do you intend to cover a larger area than Stewart? I like the idea of sceneries with larger coverage, similar to ORBX. Various POI, geographical anchor points, regionalization of the XP-10. But on tasks like these must be engaged much bigger team and it's not possible to fund it yet. Possibilities are great, we'll see what future bring. XPR: What interesting sceneries or airports can we expect in 2014? We have two sceneries in development and both are located in BC. Same detail like Stewart, not only the airport but the town and surrounding area. I'll see how will go the schedule on these airports, but we'd love to make one bigger airport from the different part of world. XPR: Will Beti-x ever develop Aircraft as well as scenery? Within the XP-10 community there are plenty of high quality airplane developers, so we want to stick with sceneries. I would like to thank Peter for taking the time to have this interview. If you would like to find out more about CZST - Stewart on the x-plane.org store then go here: CZST Stewart To visit the Beti-x Developer website click here To read an extensive review of CZST - Stewart then go here: Interview by Joe Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews
  22. No , unfortunately that doesn't seem to be included in this plane, therefore no glide slope either. I am unsure why it wasn't modelled as most C172's nowadays have an ILS capability. Yes it's a shame but overall this aircraft is great fun despite the lack of the ILS. Maybe it will be in a future update? But I doubt that. Also I would prefer that Carenado put there strengths toward a new aircraft rather than updating this with ILS.
  23. App Review: Copilot X App Store: Google Play Store Developer: Appropel Price: £2.42 Phone: Sony Xperia Z Version: 2.0 Introduction: Copilot X can be found on the Google Play Store and is one of few x-plane apps available. This app uses your phone as a microphone to give commands to the sim. You simply touch and hold the screen and speak, the app will then turn this into a command telling x-plane what to do. For example if I said 'flaps down' the sim will then lower the flaps in the aircraft I am using. It's basically a virtual copilot! So I downloaded the app and gave it a try! User Interface (UI): I first started up the app to see literally a blank screen, but I was expecting that as had seen pictures previously. The whole screen becomes a button which is held when you speak into the phone, this is a good feature as you do not need to look at your mobile device to check what button your checking. The colour scheme is very dull however I suppose your going to be focused on flying! There is also one other button at the top of the screen to the right. This is options/settings, so its pretty simple to navigate the app. The settings menu also uses the colours set by you, from the pictures you can see that the bars are blue, this is set in my phone settings. The menu screen is a scroll screen, so its easy to use. The in-app graphics was designed by a graphic designer and not the main developer himself. Well I can say that the graphic designer done a good job as the icons and animations look good and go well together. I especially like the robot face that lights up when voice recognition is activated, this robot head also matches the app icon. Function: Next I tested the app. The first thing that had to be configured was the IP Address, this is what it uses to communicate with the computer running X-Plane. This was simple, I just typed in my IP Address that was shown by Net Connections > IPhone Remote. So now the app and the computer are connected it was time to look at the rest of the settings. Other options include . Command Set - A group of commands that the app will read, the difference between a C172 and a 737 . Use ExtPlane Plugin - Enabling this gains you access to more features if you download the plugin . Push to talk Button number - An option to assign a joystick button for push to talk - only available with use of the plugin . Show Recognised Text - Will display a list of results of what the phone thinks you said, the correct command in green . Read Back Commands - The phone will read back commands that you give, a virtual co-pilot! So with my settings configured it was time to give a command. I started first with "Battery On" . It worked perfectly and the battery switch in my Cirrus jet turned on. The second command was "Beacon on" however at the time is was holding the phone and as it automatically went into landscape mode the button holding disabled. Any how I proceeded with more commands that all worked great and fast. So does it recognise your voice perfectly? The simple answer is no. You have to speak clear and loud for the app to detect your voice. This is because the app uses the built in speech recogniser, which works ok and good enough for what the app needs. It would be brilliant if you could plug in a microphone/headset into the phone and therefore use Vatsim at the same time, but that's nothing to do with what the developer can do. This app has some functions which are needed such as the ones listed in bold above but it feels a bit plain. It would be great to see this app grow so it matches something like FS2Crew. But comparing prices, this app only costs you £2.42! Also It would be great if the voice read back sounded like a real human therefore simulating a virtual co-pilot. But I am sure that this app will grow great over time. The push to talk button feature is great! I assigned it to my pro flight yoke, and I then didn't have to even touch my phone! This feature also works pretty well, it certainly adds ease of use because touch/holding the screen can distract me from flying. Now we move onto analysing different features that are highlighted in bold above. Command Set : This function works well, it will accept certain commands for certain aircraft. First I tried this option set to "Generic" this will accept most general commands. Here is a list of the commands that are accepted by the Generic setting: ADF A-D-F one frequency number (e.g. 316) A-D-F two frequency number A-D-F one heading number (e.g. 140) A-D-F two heading number or direction finder one frequency number direction finder two frequency number direction finder one heading number direction finder two heading number ALTIMETER altimeter number (e.g. 3011) APU A-P-U off/on/start ARRESTING HOOK arresting hook extend/retract AUTOBRAKE autobrake rejected takeoff/off/1/2/3/max AUTOFEATHER auto feather off/on/test AUTOPILOT Note that as of v1.20 the word “engage” is no longer used to activate most autopilot functions. Speaking the name of the button acts as a toggle (the only exception to this is the back course button). autopilot altitude number (e.g. 6000) autopilot altitude flight level number (e.g. 360) autopilot altitude autopilot speed number (e.g. 140) autopilot autothrottle autopilot back course autopilot disengage back course autopilot flight level change autopilot glide slope autopilot heading number (e.g. 220) autopilot heading autopilot localizer autopilot vertical speed one thousand autopilot vertical speed minus five hundred autopilot vertical speed BATTERY battery (1-8) off/on BRAKES brakes on/off CARBURETOR HEAT carburetor heat on/off COWL FLAPS cowl flaps open/closed DME D-M-E frequency number (e.g. 111.2) D-M-E mode remote/frequency/groundspeed D-M-E select 1/2 ECAM ecam mode engine/fuel/flight controls/hydraulics/failures FADEC F-A-D-E-C (1-8) off/on FLAPS flaps extend/retract (ExtPlane required) flaps extend/retract full flaps up/down (ExtPlane required) flaps up/down full FLIGHT DIRECTOR flight director off/on/auto FUEL PUMP fuel pump (1-8) off/on FUEL SELECTOR fuel selector off/left/centre/right/both/all GENERATOR generator (1-8) off/on ICING ice off/on ice A-O-A off/on ice inlet off/on ice pitot 1 off/on ice pitot 2 off/on ice prop off/on ice window off/on ice wing off/on IGNITER igniter (1-8) off/on IGNITION ignition off/right/left/both ignition (1-8) off/run INTERIOR LIGHTS cockpit brightness percentage (e.g. 70) hud brightness percentage instrument brightness percentage LANDING GEAR landing gear extend/retract landing gear up/down MAP map range 2 (this is the index of the knob position 1-6, not the range in miles) PARACHUTE parachute deploy PRESSURIZATION cabin altitude number (e.g. 5000) RADIOS communication one frequency number (e.g. 124.3) communication two frequency number navigation one frequency number (e.g. 114.4) navigation two frequency number navigation one bearing (or O-B-S) number (e.g. 140) navigation two bearing (or O-B-S) number SPEEDBRAKES speedbrakes extend/retract SWITCHES alternator off/on avionics master off/on beacon off/on inverter off/on landing light off/on nav lights off/on prop sync off/on strobes off/on taxi light off/on yaw damper off/on TRANSPONDER transponder off/standby/on/altitude transponder number (e.g. 5152) squawk number As you can see that's a massive range of commands that are accepted, and that's only on the generic setting. When set to x737 (which is in the menu default) you get a ton more commands, for example precision control when using the flaps. You get a more wide range of commands rather than "flaps full" you get "Flaps 01/02/05/10/15/20/25/30/35/40". Obviously I didn't get a chance to try every single command but I had the opportunity to try most of them. When doing this I realised that lots of pressure is taken off from you as the captain, this is because your virtual co-pilot is doing all of the work! However I did notice that you cannot get away with speaking casually. For example if I said "turn on the generator" as if I was speaking to a close to life co-pilot it would not be recognised. You have to say the exact command, but I suppose its not a problem as nothing in the flight simulator world will do this. Even in FS2Crew for FSX you still have to say commands which match the criteria that's been programmed. Plugin: As you can see from above there is an option to activate an External Plugin which increases the amount functionality the app has. For example the extra plugin enables more commands such as "Flaps up a notch". The extra plugin is worth downloading, and it's simple. Just simply download it and drop it into your plugins folder! The plugin also gives you the ability to assign a joystick button for push to talk which was described briefly in the above paragraph. So overall the plugin is worth downloading as the push to talk feature and extra commands just adds more to the app. It would also be great if the assignment option for push to talk would automatically pick up the button when you press it, the same way when assigning button functionality in the x-plane menu's, but its still easy to assign a button the way it currently works. Apart from that the plugin doesn't actually do much else. The developer did comment though that he wishes to gain a community for Copilot X and therefore many people can gather together and make more plugins. I think that its a great idea and will only make the app even better! Show Recognised Text: This feature will display a result of five results of what it thought you said. The correct command that it recognises will display green. Its a good feature because it gives you reassurance that the command was picked up properly, although you could say it takes up screen space that is used to press and hold to speak. However this will not be a problem if you have a joystick button assigned. Pictures of this can be seen below. Read Back Commands: This feature speaks back commands that you give it. Its basically a virtual co-pilot. The "virtual co-pilot" is a computerised voice which for me is not life like. In the future it would be great to hear a more realistic voice such as a recorded humans voice, with the option for male or female. Also when the app reads back the commands the computer voice speaks through the phone which is a nice feature because it adds to the 3D sound immersion that you get in x-plane. Manual: The manual included is very detailed and explains everything that you need to know. Its well designed and is easy to read and use. I had to refer to the manual when I started it up for the first time, after reading the manual my problems were solved. The only issue I have with the manual is that it the command list can become unclear after scrolling through many pages, but its nothing to complain about as it has all of the information that you will need. Sound: The sounds are great with this app as they are easily recognisable. For example when you say a command into Copilot X if it gets recognised it will play a bright and happy "ding" noise. If the command is not recognised you will hear a dim and low in pitch screech noise to warn you. Personally I have no problem with these sounds as if you don't want to hear them you can just mute the phone/tablet. Other sounds include the sound pack for "read back commands", like I said above I don't really like the computerised voice, hopefully this can be changed in the future. For me the whole point of this app is a virtual co-pilot, this would be great if Copilot X could speak back commands in a real pre-recorded voice, and even the option to select male/female! However the app is only £2.42, so you have to be considerate of what you will get. So, that's all of the features analysed with my opinions. As well as the review I decided that it would be nice to have an interview with the developer: Is there a team developing the app, or was it done solo? I am the sole developer. I hire a graphic designer for icons, in-game graphics, promotional materials, etc.. I am a licensed pilot and I have previously worked on ATC research... Flight Simulation is a big area of interest for me. What inspired you to make the application, was it a link with real aviation? It was a case of putting two things together in my mind. When I was reading about Google's Voice Recognition service I realized that I could use it to translate commands into something that x-plane could understand. I figured it could ease the pain of putting numbers into the radio's. autopilot, etc.. and that has indeed proven to be one of its greatest strengths. What is unique about the app you built? I've seen few other solutions that offer voice recognition for x-plane. As far as I know this is the cheapest, easiest solution- just load it onto your phone/tablet and go! With the growing number of Apple IPhone users, why did you make the decision to build the app for Android? I am strictly an Android developer as I favour the open ecosystem over Apple's "walled garden". Voice recognition is now built into the Android Platform so it served my needs very well. How long did it take you to get the app where it is now? The initial version came out in June of 2012, so its been close to two years. I just released version 2.0 which is a major rewrite allowing the user to develop their own custom command sets. This enables users to change the commands to suit their preference, support custom aircraft, and even translate the command set into other languages. What are your future plans regarding the development of Copilot X? Now that version 2.0is released I plan to work on more command sets to support custom aircraft and other languages. I'm hoping that the Copilot X user community will chip in here. I just found out about the great new Garmin 430 that will included in x-plane 10.30, and I will be researching to see if I can connect with it. The number one feature I've wanted to do is to be able to programme the GPS and FMS using voice commands, which has been impossible to do because x-plane does not adequately support it. Can we expect future app builds? Are there any examples? I will continue developing Copilot X as long as people are interested in using it. Support for GPS/FMS and ATC are two areas for future development. I'm hoping that more people find out about this app and the community grows..... It's really like magic when you watch x-plane respond to you spoken commands! Can you explain about your other apps, such as X-plane to GPS? X-Plane to GPS was another idea that worked out great. I had just purchased Garmin Pilot and I was using it on my tablet for real flying, but I wished I could use it together with x-plane to practice. When I discovered that Android supports "mock locations" , or simulated GPS co-ordinates, the idea was born. I got the rough concept running in a few days and developed the app form there. Since then I've polished it with upgrades to keep it competitive in the marketplace. X-Plane to GPS costs £0.60 Conclusion: Overall I would give this app 4/5 stars. This is because it functions properly and the way it should, however it would get the full five stars when many more features are added. But that doesn't mean its not worth getting! I would really recommend it if you have trouble controlling knobs and switches in the cockpit, as the app will do it for you making flying more easier. Also it is pretty cool being able to speak into your phone or tablet and for it to translate your voice into x-plane commands! This app deserves much more recognition, more than what it currently gets! Another constraint that I didn't mention above is the lack of the app on Apple's IOS, but the developer clearly states in the interview that he is strictly an Android Developer. But is suppose that many people own an Android device now, despite Apple's IPad or IPhone being more popular its not too much of a problem that this app is for Android. So, Yes its worth buying! For a cheap price this app is very good, I am glad I found it on the Android store! it was a small review but being an App there is not a great deal to comment on, nether the less this app is worth having on either a phone or a tablet. You can buy Copilot x version 2.0 from the Android Store for the cheap price of £2.42 The v2.0 update is free to anyone who already owns the app. Developers website: Appropel Support Email: Appropel Support Review by Joe Copyright © 2014 : X-Plane Reviews Software: - Windows 7 64 bit - Sony Xperia Z ( Android version 4.3 ) - X-Plane 10 Global version 10.25 - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - Copilot X
  24. http://newbluejournals.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/image.jpg Aircraft Review : Carenado Piper PA28 181 Archer II Route : VFR Circuits at EGKK - London Gatwick Carenado make the best general aviation aircraft payware, but does this Piper Archer live up to Carenado's high standards? Well I will get to the main message of that in the conclusion but first its time to analyse everything. Despite the size of this small GA plane (general aviation) it is very complex. Carenado have really showed their talents in this plane, it is absolutely fantastic! Over the next few paragraphs I will describe everything about the plane and give an overall summary. Below is a list of features for this aircraft. According to Carenado: - SASL plug in added functionality - 32-bit and 64-bit Mac, Windows, and Linux support. - Stereo 3D sound, with new dynamic effects - Custom prop, which adds realism to the spinning prop etc. - 2D pop-up windows to control camera presets, FOV etc. - Interior lighting optimized for X-Plane v9 and v10. - Overhauled lighting system. - Strobe lights blink in a custom pattern and order. - Landing light features tightly-focused “glare” effect. - Navigation lights have been improved. - Improved ground handling. We start we some real life pictures of the Piper PA28 181 Archer II which can compare to the model made by Carenado, these pictures show the cockpit and the exterior. From the real life pictures you can tell this small GA is great fun to fly, and from past experience I can tell you it most definitely is! With a 180 HP Lycoming engine and an advanced Garmin G1000 Avionics Suite, the Archer is a modern and reliable aircraft for both teaching and cross-country flying. All Specs can be found by clicking the above picture. Having flown this aircraft prior to this review I can say this plane handles lightly, with a rotation speed of roughly 65kts and a cruising speed of 128 ktas, its the feather of the skies. Now onto the Carenado Archer! Exterior The first things I am going to evaluate are the textures of the aircraft. We begin outside which I can easily say looks stunning! From every nut and bolt to door seems can be seen at a good resolution which is always nice when flying in VFR (visual flight rules). However the outside visuals cannot be described as crisp. As well as high resolution on the side of the aircraft we can also find this on the wheels, the tires are crisp pixel sharp and even reflect the sunlight! When in “chase” mode a 3D pilot appears in the cockpit, this is a nice effect when viewing the externals although there should be an option to get rid of him! But he is not just sat static, his head turns according to the input of your flight controls as well as his arms to the yoke and throttle and his legs to the rudder. The prop has been modeled with great care however as the textures are at an acceptable standard we can still find that two logos are blurry (see picture above) but, the prop is only static when the aircraft is stationary so this can go un-noticed. All outside lights have been modelled well especially the navigation lights on the edge of the wing. All the control surfaces have the delay of input movement just like on the real Archer, and the control surfaces are also modelled well. The main feature that stands out though is the reflections on the tires, this is a stunning feature as the sun wraps its rays around the tire. This is also important though as the hear is not retractable, so when your in 'chase' view taking in the scenery, you can constantly see it. 3D Cockpit Moving through the door and into the 3D cockpit the textures are at an amazing resolution, this can be expected as all carenado models are! I believe that the images below speak for themselves, as you can tell the textures in the 3D cockpit and surroundings are photo-realistic which adds to the immersion. The seats and yoke have a weathered effect which adds more realism when flying, it is not an old and battered model nor a brand new plane, but just right for a good weathered look and feel. Moving down toward the floor we find an aluminium plate as a floor scratch/foot pad which has a photo-realistic finish along with the pedals which perfectly match the real ones! Looking back up to the ceiling of the aircraft we find two lights which are interactive. One is a general lamp whilst the other is a night vision light for night VFR flying. There are also animated sun-visors with information on them however the information is blurry. But all information needed looks fantastic if you print out the documentation.The 3D gauges in the aircraft are spectacular the textures on these are great too. Despite living in the 3D cockpit when flying I never had a loss of frame rates which was good, my average FPS was 31. The radio stack and all other knobs are easy to use, this helps a lot if you are flying on vatsim. Above is a mounted compass with a photo-realistic casing, the compass is well positioned meaning it does not interrupt your visual display. Near to this is a window which is nicely animated, sound is also affected when opening or closing the window which adds to the realism when in the 3D cockpit. Even the compartments on the armrests are animated! Also I have a comment which may be debated in the comments, space awareness. To help you understand I will explain. Everything has been positioned well in the cockpit despite whatever filed of view angle you have set in the pop-up option menu everything remains to a realistic degree. This plane will be my first of choice to try with the upcoming release of the Oculus Rift VR headset! As its so close to the real thing! The option menu’s are a great feature of this aircraft, you have two options to choose from, “camera” or “options. The camera menu offers a wide range of camera shots whilst flying, see the picture below. However despite this great camera option there is a slight snag, by the way this is NOT a bug of any kind. For instance I have a 3D cockpit button and a chase button assigned to my hardware flight controls, if you are in the 3D cockpit and switch a camera view via the menu when you go to chase view everything is normal. However when going back to the 3D cockpit using my assigned button I go back to the previous view set by the menu. This gets slightly annoying at times but does not affect anything to do with the plane or my view of the plane. There are two menu’s that are 2D pop-ups which can be accessed on the side of the screen or on the panel in the clicking zones. The camera menu was described in the last paragraph so I will now explain the nice features and animations of the options menu. The first option is used to open the passenger door, the second opens the baggage door, the third triggers static elements, and finally the last option is for wheel fairings. All of these options work perfectly and with ease, changing the options during flight does not effect the frame rates. Night lighting is a big issue with many planes, but not this one. Outside you have the navigation lights and the landing lights, all lights effect the surface glare of the plane. Moving back inside there is a option of three lighting affects. In the cockpit there are two lights on the ceiling, one is for night lighting on the panel which is controlled by a knob and the other is for passenger lighting controlled by a switch. The only thing I don't really like about the ceiling lights is the lack of 3D. It would be nice to see a rounded dome shape on these lights, but mainly your looking out the front windshield so this doesn't bother me too much. The third effect is for integral lighting on the gauges, this scan be controlled by a scroll positioned next to the outside lighting switches. Placed together all lights create a pleasurable night flight experience. Liveries Now to the liveries, excluding the default white paint there are an additional four liveries with this aircraft (pictured above) which are pretty nice. All liveries have been based on real life replicas which is a neat feature of this plane, as a result of this if you have your PPL I am sure you will recognise these like I do! All liveries have reflections etc.. And make the aircraft a beauty to fly. All liveries have the option for wheel fairing's on/off. You can get some extra liveries on x-plane.org under the downloads section but not many which is a shame. When I was flying for real in the Archer the plane had the Gold_Blue skin, its not identical but its similar and I am sure there are many American variants! Flight Dynamics Having flown the real Piper Archer myself I can comment on the flight dynamics of this aircraft compared to Carenado's version. So first I will start with the in-air model. The model of this aircraft behaves quite realistic however it cannot be compared exactly to the real thing. The real Archer behaves with a delay, as you would expect, however Carenado's model does not simulate this to a detailed extent. This model from Carenado is extremely responsive, and if the controls are held in a certain place the aircraft will dive and spin around, this simply wouold not happen in the real Archer. The next test was the stall test. Throttles back, pitch up, and enter stall. Carenado's version responds very quickly, in fact too quickly. When the throttles are applied again and the nose is pitched down the aircraft recovers fast, this is unlike the real Archer as when I conducted a Stall in the real thing it took a lot longer to recover. With throttles and flaps full for take off at a speed of 70 KTAS the Archer "sticks to the ground" this feels very realistic. When pulling back at take off speed the Archer wants to resist as though its very heavy, this feels real and the same as when I took this plane for a spin in the UK. Also when taxiing this plane it took 1/5" throttle to get it moving, in x-plane its a lot less. Overall the flight dynamics are "Ok" at an acceptable level. To lower the response time it may be worth changing the joystick settings. However its not necessary to have an enjoyable flight! Sound Now we move onto sound. The sound for this aircraft is phenomenal, when the throttle is 1/4 open the prop sounds normal, then when the throttle is positioned 2/4 open and you reach 2000 RPM the sound changes and you are then listening to many different .wav files playing. The sound is so close to real, but it does not pan around you like in the new Carenado Mirage. Its a shame but this is an older plane of Carenado's, although in the version 2 update many new features were added with the help of 64 bit processing. To hear this for yourself I recommend visiting you tube to take a listen. As highlighted earlier the door and window changes the sound heard in the cockpit, just like in real life! Conclusion Overall I would highly recommend purchasing this aircraft, whether you are a beginner or post PPL this aircraft will become one of your favourites by far. The systems and animations all simulate the functions just like a real life archer. It is a Carenado plane, Carenado has quality written in its name, this Archer wont disappoint. Another thing is Frame rate. My x-plane settings are all relatively high, despite this fps on this aircraft is an average of 31. This is great as my computer can handle detailed scenery, cloud puffs and extensive framerate killing options. I suffer absolutely no lag when flying this beauty. The only bad thing about this aircraft would be the unclear textures in some areas such as the cockpit interioir roof and prop. Apart from that this is a great plane to add to your virtual hangar! Is it worth buying this aircraft? Yes! Well, its available on the x-plane.org store for the price of $24.95 : Carenado PA28 181 Archer II Carenado Aircraft support: Click here Reviewed by : Joe ©copyright 2014 : X-Plane Reviews Technical Requirements: Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.6 (or higher) or Linux XPlane 9.6/9.7 or XPlane 10.11 (or higher - 64 bit compatible) Pentium 2 GHz - 4GB RAM/1GB VRAM 250MB available hard disk space Version 2.1 (last updated June 2013) Review System Specifications: Computer System: - Intel Core i5 3330 @ 3.00GHz - 4.00gb of RAM - Geforce GTX 650 Software: - Windows 7 64 bit - X-Plane 10 Global version 10.25 - Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System - Carenado PA28 181 Archer II
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