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Stephen

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Stephen last won the day on November 18

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  • Birthday 11/08/1956

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  1. Behind the Screen : November 2022 When Laminar Research declared that X-Plane 12 will go final and will be out of beta by Christmas 2022, I almost choked on my coffee. "No way". There just seems still too much work to be done, too many areas and details to be crossed off the whiteboard list. And then to go and present the new Simulator version to the finicky hoards and masses in a few weeks. It all felt like a bit of a stretch to me all round. Testing Beta 14 was however a huge step forward towards the goal of a release, but there are still some big issues to be addressed, mostly the square clouds and ridiculous winds that never seem to change day to day, I'm not going to mention VR. Laminar say a fix to both is coming very soon, VR probably not until 2023. That fix will be an important one in making the final release actually believable. Stutters? I didn't get that one, what are your settings, being too greedy as usual... Laminar Research are quite confident they can achieve the Christmas target, my personal feelings say more to the middle-late Q1 before the Simulator is a more totally refined and stable Simulator. So what to expect in the New Year? Well quite a lot actually. Laminar have released a list of areas they will be working on, including; 3d Rain shafts which is very, very nice, 3d volumetric low level fog of which I really expected to be in the release version, but it is coming. God rays are planned. This is an area in being the one thing I was a bit down about in losing, by moving my simulator environmental needs from xEnviro in X-Plane 11 to the default weather in X-Plane 12, as I badly miss those rays (It makes images pretty!) and lens flares. And that they are now coming cheers me up no end (A Christmas Present!). Laminar has also announced that the weather engine will also be open to 3rd parties but there will be limit on what they can and cannot access, which is another interesting aspect, fine, even great as long as we don't get loads and loads of similar shader apps again. Notable is that there is better wind and turbulence improvements coming. This one is a no brainer, it is stupid to have aircraft reacting badly to abnormal weather conditions, and it is the one area that is severely currently restricting my flying. I mean winds and turbulence of 97 knts? you would break up and fall out of the sky if you encountered that in real life, I flew once at 12,000ft in 63 knt winds, I won't say my swear words at the controls, as my GA (and me) was being thrown all around the sky. Yes I'm not saying 63 kt turbulence at 12,000ft has not been encountered in the real world, but not every day since September? I went to manual settings to land. Laminar admitted that getting data for the NOAA GLIB files from the Laminar Research central server has not been going to plan, but again are working on a fix, it works but not as efficiently or as well as promised (actually I don't see it changing much day to day), but a fix is as promised in really (hopefully) coming soon. Overall in this Beta I have been flying on the "Manually" set weather, I just can't rely on the "Real World", settings, a shame as I want to try out the real world Winter Wonderland that I expect to be brilliant (I've seen shades of what can be presented by messing around with the settings), but you shouldn't have to do that manually. Before X-Plane 12 came out. Ben Supnic (Laminar) noted as a comment that they would look into better satellite imagery even against Austin's wishes, even in streaming it à la MSFS. But Supnic noted at the time it was not a top priority. Again Laminar has recently again noted they are actively looking at satellite imagery so it looks like it is back on the table or whiteboard. Now having used X-Plane 12 for a few months I have a few comments on that. Over most countries of flying in general X-Plane is very good in replicating the real world (Night lighting aside). However when in the departure, landing or VFR phases it is certainly not as detailed to be called authentic, as texture tiles in areas are just not good enough to reproduce a complex planet. Streaming is not good either, no matter how powerful your internet connection is you are always going to get lag, worse for me as I can change location quite often while doing reviews. So waiting ages between loads for scenery to load would be a backward step. However I do feel that finding quality satellite imagery as a base, but still keeping X-Plane a closed system is still a great step forwards in fixing the realism ground texture problem. The trick is still making it look very good, while still keeping efficiency in the Simulator. Can we have the best of both worlds, well I think so, but don't expect anything soon, but in a year or even maybe two. Many say X-Plane 13, but I very much doubt X-Plane as a Simulator could last that long in say waiting 4-5 years in this competitive (MSFS) commercial world to fix the problem. Austin Meyer has also been making a lot of noise about Networking X-Plane, and is even actively looking for staff to create the dream. Really when using On-Line ATC you are now already networked, but I suppose he wants to connect us all, and together... which creates a bit of a problem? "Have you seen other users fly". By personality I'm a very procedural pilot, all very by the book. I do actually like the idea of other pilots doing their work around you, but then comes the cowboys, the F4 jockeys who just feel that the airspace is their airspace and not yours, or the wandering GA pilot, who is not sure which runway to pick to land... It's all a personality thing and I'm not saying who is right or wrong in the way they want to fly.... but I don't really want to do it all together ATC aside. What I have learnt is that many users are Gamers in flying and not Simulation users, obviously our styles are going to clash, probably in mid-air. Another item on the table is that Laminar are actively investigating is OpenXR (Not to be confused with OpenGL) by The Khronos Group, a member-driven consortium of over 150 industry-leading companies. OpenXR is a newer VR standard for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). And already OpenXR API is standard on Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) and HoloLens 2 headsets. Most will be adopting it as native support, and even previous APIs like OculusSDK and SteamVR are also moving to it as an open standard. MSFS is already native to OpenXR, so expect X-Plane 12 to be native or it to be in development once X-Plane 12 is in it's basic form completed. Bottom line it will make a lot of VR users very happy, more importantly it will create a standard across the board. If you want a job then Laminar Research are hiring, but oddly only a few of the new positions are actually related to the Simulator development, mostly the jobs are in marketing, customer support and website support... get your CVs out now, Laminar Research is going Global. This conversation has been visited quite regularly in BtheS. Austin has made noises he wants to bring in more gamers (obviously for the money) into the X-Plane Simulator. I have noted quite often in the time required to set up an airliner for a flight, even a short bounce of say under an hour. Earlier you set up and could fly under ten minutes, but now the quickest you could set up a flight from cold is around twenty minutes, as its a lot of work if you do all the correct procedures. Its even over 30 min if you want to set up the MD-11 and B742 for a flight. I don't mind it, as it is totally realistic simulation to it's core, and you now have a lot of great tools now to help with the set up. At one point, programming in a route of say 25 waypoints across the globe was tedious, but extremely satisfying in that you were mirroring one of them (professional Pilots). That is what Simulation is all about, I seriously love it, why I do it. Put a full cold up sequence under a Gamers eye and they would freeze over... they want instant gratification, oddly to get the ultimate gratification out of Simulation is doing the full experience from cold to shutdown, but as noted it takes time, too much time sometimes. Is there a middle ground? There is actually. The excellent save system on ToliSS Aircraft has to be the best overall tool in our toolbox. As the system is so complete when resetting up an aircraft, on the ground or in flight, it really does open up your world to instant gratification when you don't have a lot of time to do the complete main course. Many times I have wanted to fly, but was restricted by time or work. Pull up a ToLiSS and I can be ready and waiting to depart in a minute... ditto wanting to practise a landing, or even a takeoff, and with all the correct settings is just at a touch of a menu selection. Yes the X-Plane Simulator comes with a save system, but to be honest it is very if extremely poor in resetting up your flight at the point you saved it. You will never ever get it back the way you left the aircraft state, but you can do that with the excellent ToLiSS system... I don't don't know if this could be done, but could we swap ToLiSS saves for instant setups between us. That would allow non-experienced users (hint Gamers) to access the detailed setups of the Pro-Users, obviously for instant gratification. I don't mean for users (Gamers) not to be being able to just forever glide along on the backs of the Pro's, but to see and learn on how they do it, it is a consistent learning curve to get it all right. But many a time my reverse engineering of (mostly FMC's) has opened the "Ah ha" door to learning on how it all works. They are bloody complicated (Flight Management), they need a lot of study to get right. But it is how you get from there (dumb) to being here (guru). I don't know that if the basic X-Plane save and situation tool can be improved. The roadblock is the aircraft plugin architecture, and a few developers do actually include good save systems, but they never make it as a priority feature as ToLiSS does. But the ToLiSS system proves without doubt how extremely versatile it makes your Simulation experience when it works so perfectly, developers need to take note, this for me would make and break a sale, as it is the number one feature I would want in an (every) aircraft, because it translates to you flying that aircraft more, because you can. There will be as usual no Behind the Screen December 2022 issue, but our full yearly round up of the year review is to be published on 16th December 2022, so watch out for that. Stephen Dutton 1st December 2022 Copyright©2022 X-Plane Reviews
  2. NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : Diamond DA40NG v1.2.0 by SimSolutions SimSolutions have updated the Diamond DA40NG to v1.2.0. This update is focused on the conversion of the aircraft to X-Plan 12. The usual X-Plane 12 compatibility points are all covered here. Performance, Effects (Ice-snow, windshield rain) and the textures have all been implemented. Plus new borders around the pop-out instruments, and switches that previously had no manipulators and animations, now have manipulators and animations, such as the cabin heat, trim, and AP disconnect switches. There has been a fair few changes and fixes as well. Version 1.2.0 (November 26th 2022) ## New Features * Added X-Plane 12 support: new rain effects, fixed light strengths & minor internal stuff * Added display reversion (the button is disabled in X-Plane 11, but will still trigger in a display failure) * Added an optional border around the display pop-outs with the appropriate dials & buttons (WIP) * Added persistence: The aircraft will now restore its state (including location, altitude & speed) if initially loaded within 5nm of its last save. * Added a proper settings window * Some switches that previously had no manipulators and animations now have manipulators and animations, such as the cabin heat, trim, and AP disconnect switches. ## Minor Changes * Added IVAO Altitude support for radio transmit & receive flags * Modified the gear suspension & steering * Internal graphics wrapper was overhauled; should render text a lot more competently now * Overhauled internal code managing the G1000 modifications ## Fixes * Fixed flap lights * Fixed the automatic engine start command not working * Fixed cockpit view in X-Plane 11 * Attempt to fix wonky engine load controller Images here are X-Plane 11 Highlights include "Custom" FMOD Sounds by FTSim+ and AviTab integration (AviTab Plugin required), and also now available for all three OS Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. Images are courtesy of SimSolutions ________________________________________ The Diamond DA40NG by SimSolutions is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Diamond DA40NG Price is US$24.99 (But currently under a sale price US$14.99) Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux ((tested on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) 4 GB+ VRAM Download Size: 340 MB Current version: 1.2.0 (November 26th 2022) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 28th November 2022 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  3. My beef is that these developers are seriously talented, but are cutting corners? If you buy a product (like anything nowadays) you expect a certain quality for your money and not in six months time, it is not a good reflection on the Simulator either, "Once bitten, twice shy", that is why I want the release standards set higher. Yes I expect bugs, and sometimes a lot of them after release, but half done lighting and shonky windows, is just not good enough in today's market.
  4. Scenery Review : LROP - Bucharest Otopeni International Airport by Chudoba Designs LROP Bucharest Airport is an interesting scenery for me. It was the start of the exploration of the eastern European countries in X-Plane. I had already moved on past my United Kingdom hubs, and wanted to fly to more and different destinations. This aspect was helped by the release of scenery by DAI-Media, I think gone now. But DAI-Media who was Romanian who had created some great sceneries back in the day. Two highlights were LEVC - Valencia Manises and of course LROP-Bucharest. For both I hubbed out of Austrian X-Plane Design Group's (AXDG) LOWW-WIEN, still available but now dated (this was eight years ago). But I flew to LROP quite a lot in that period, until the developer stopped delivering updates and I had problems intergrating Traffic into the scenery. Here is an update review that reflected that period. So I got quite excited when Chudoba Designs released an X-Plane 12 version of LROP, or to give the airport it's full title of; Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport. I'm going back to Romania. Install Downloading the LROP scenery is a bit fickle. When you purchase the scenery you are given a Authorisation key and then are directed to the Chudorba Design website. You paste in the authorisation code, then select the LROP-Bucharest scenery, and then press "Download". But this is when it goes all a bit strange? The Download will download in sequence both the required Chodoba Library files (1.5Gb), then follows this automatically with the LROP Scenery download (714.70Mb). Only it didn't? as I only got the Library download everytime. I admit Chodoba Design were a great help and the problem was traced to a permission. But confusion is easy in that there are two download buttons and one says "Download" and the other "Library Only", so you expect the Download to be for the scenery and the other the selection for just the library... it's confusing? Why can't they just put the required files up on the X-Plane.OrgStore and then you download them, possibly too easy to do it that way. LROP - Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport by Chodoba Design First views is that LROP is very nicely intergrated into the surrounding X-Plane default textures, but the join markings are a bit stiff and noticeable from height, that said it is nicely done. Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport Aeroportul Internațional Henri Coandă București IATA: OTP - ICAO: LROP 08R/26L - 3,500m (11,484ft) - Concrete 08L/26R - 3,500m (11,484ft) - Concrete Elevation AMSL314 ft / 96 m Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport is Romania's busiest international airport, located in Otopeni, 16.5 km (10.3 mi) north of Bucharest's city centre. It is currently one of the two airports serving Bucharest, the capital of Romania. The other is Aurel Vlaicu Airport, which no longer serves scheduled passenger traffic. During World War II, the airport in Otopeni was used as an airbase by the German Air Force. Until 1965, it was a major airfield for the Romanian Air Force, with Băneasa Airport serving as Bucharest's commercial airport. In 1965, with the growth of air traffic, the Otopeni airbase was converted to a commercial airport. The runway was modernized and extended to 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) from the previous 1,200 metres (3,900 ft), making it one of the longest in Europe at that time. A new passenger terminal (designed by Cezar Lăzărescu) with a capacity of 1,200,000 passengers per year, was opened on 13 April 1970, for both domestic and international flights. An improvement program added a second runway in 1986, expanding capacity to 35 aircraft movements per hour. The second phase (labeled Phase II/IIe) of the plan led to the construction of a terminal dedicated to domestic flights and of a multi-story car park (2003), the complete overhaul of the control tower (between 2005 and 2007) as well as the transformation of the old terminal building in a dedicated arrivals hall (in 2000). During the same phase, two high-speed taxiways (Victor and Whiskey) were constructed. Phase II was completed in 2007. Main terminals and infrastructure at OTP is all combined far into the west of the airport, that means departures from 26R or 26L demands a long taxi journey to the takeoff points, 26L also has a turnaround zone at the end, so you will need to taxi up the runway, and is a fair way as well from the entrance at taxiway D. But you are allowed a fast taxi speed here as well to cover the distance. Terminals The very distinctive concrete arch 70's terminal is well represented, I don't think it is as well modeled or as detailed as the DAI-Media LROP? but it is very good. As you know, I love old detailed terminals were you can see the past in a modern day setting. And that aspect is certainly evident here. Note the large ramp lighting arrays which are a nice detail. The airport's facilities consist of only a single terminal with three main facilities (colloquially referred to as "Terminals"): the Departures Hall/Terminal, the Arrivals Hall/Terminal, and the Finger Terminal (the airside concourse). A walkway with shops connects the departures and arrivals buildings. The airside concourse is organized in two (domestic and international) passengers flows. The entire terminal has 104 check-in desks, 38 gates (of which 14 are equipped with jetways), and a total floor area of 86,000 square metres (930,000 sq ft). The art facade TAROM (Transporturi Aeriene Române, Romanian Air Transport) Terminal is well done and highly visible here, an important one to get right, but actually the landside detail is wrong, the lower section of the art Terminal is a fully detailed arrival area and not the full slab of windows. The OTP Control Tower is layered and an odd iconic, but looks good here as set above the middle terminal zone. Notable is that the X-Plane "Tower View" is not set, but your positioned somewhere down on stand 102? "The Finger" (concourse) The airside concourse extension, designed by Studio Capelli Architettura & Associati, measures 17,000 square metres (200,000 sq ft), the concourse was inaugurated on 29 March 2011. The main feature of the scenery in the "Finger" is excellent, nice design work and very good transparent glass. It is a hard building in shape and detail to get it right, but this has been done well. The internal areas can be seen, but they are sadly for external viewing only, as there is only a minimal amount of internal detail done with blank passengers. The view internally looking external is very good over the ramps and field, so it is shame the areas here are not detailed to cater for that aspect. Connection between the old and new terminals is well done, as is the ramp detail and feel. Clutter is very good, but not TAROM or local Romanian branded, which is a shame. There is a lot of active ground traffic that is just about right, it is X-Plane 12 default, but the airport does feel very dynamic in all areas. SAM is used on all gates, but oddly on stands 107 to 109, the airbridges go to the wrong aircraft on the wrong stand and break the bridges into three sections? Airbridge detail however is very good and all the bridges are glass and not solid. Landside... hummm "Hide your eyes, its not at all pretty".... Landside in front of the Terminals is quite dire, the worst I have seen for years, and then some? Note the differences from an airport photo. This sort of work takes me back to X-Plane 10, basically there is nothing there, except for a disjointed rail station and the marooned TAROM offices? Worse is the fact there is not a lot of infrastructure here, and so it should have been an easy area to fill out in detail, even an orthophoto would have helped, anything please!. High points or marks for the scenery is ruined by the non-effort, worse is the area is highly viewable from both 08L and 08R approaches.... its bad, just plain bad for a custom X-Plane 12 scenery, and I am not at all impressed. One Cargo facility is set besides the main apron, but there are no aircraft stands set around this cargo facility as used by AS World Cargo, so it looks like it is for hold cargo only. Infrastructure Central to Bucharest Henri Coandă is the infrastructure spine area. Forward is the Uplift Airport Services SRL building, with the (blue) Menzies Aviation set behind... The TAROM maintenance hanger is quite impressive and well done, and has two static TAROM branded 737s set outside. Far east there are two more Cargo facilities, the main one (south) for TAROM Cargo with parking stands (201 to 205) opposite over Taxiway C And a DHL Cargo area off Taxiway P (Apron 3), that is also used for Private Jets and GA arrivals with the GA Terminal set behind... .... last major building is the Elitte World Transport headquarters and the field Fire Station is set here as well. North Field is the Fuel Depot, South Field are the military hardstands Textures Overall the textures are average. There are signs that they actually could be very good with good concrete choices, but no effort to create a more realistic feel and depth to the textures is obvious. Linage is odd, worn in areas, hard solid and not realistic in others. So it all comes across as slightly unrealistic. Worse is all the extremely hard line runway edges, totally unbelievable and false, seriously this is again X-Plane 10 stuff (even X-Plane 9) and Chudoba is not a first time developer, so why here in making such a classic visual mistake. Some verges are quite good, with very nice 3d flowers (only around the edges) filling the in-field. This LROP is X-Plane 12 scenery, so you have the excellent built-in weather effects. Water pools nicely, but the verges are separated from the Runway textures, so again you get that hard line between a wet and totally dry areas, not very convincing or even realistic. Ramps and aprons look pretty good, but "Oh Lord", those over laid hard taxiway (runway) textures don't match the apron wet areas. OTP is however highly usable in winter conditions, but you feel it could have been better. Lighting Overall like the textures the lighting at LROP is adequate, but not very awe-inspiring. Approach lighting is X-Plane 12 ICAO coded and feels very good. Main apron areas are nicely lit, and the old "Henri Coanda" terminal is nicely lit. The "Finger" Terminal looks very nice, but the naked interior is highly visible, and that makes the building look and feel deserted at night... hummm. I expected those huge panel light arrays to be realistic as well, they feel rather dullish than bright, DAi-Media, even all those years ago made them far better. Disappointing again is Landside. There is no lighting on the Terminal frontages (DAI-Media LROP had a nice blue tinge), so there is no terminal feel or activity in the area, it's just dull or dark? In the central infrastructure spine, there is only minimal (mostly down-spot) lighting, and in most areas no lighting at all on any of the buildings. However the TAROM Maintenance build looks nice, better if it is wet on the ground. Navigation signage is poor, very poor and the worst I have seen for a fair while (or is it not finished?). There are only a few pointer signs, worse there is no Taxiway signage at all at crucial intersections, ever worse again on major intersections (Taxiway D-Runway 08R-26L) there are no hold lights, in fact there is nothing out here in the dark at all. There are the odd hold lights, but not at the important runway entrance points, very dismal. ______________ Summary LROP - Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport is the main port into Romania and servicing the capitol city of Bucharest. Not the first X-Plane custom scenery for LROP as that accolade went to a DAI-Media release back in 2013. Before we get into the summary of the scenery. It is important to note the price of Chudoba's version... it is a low if great value US$16.99. This price has to kept in mind with what value you get here and with the scenery's weaknesses. Your not going to get a $25.00+ airport for $16.99 and that perspective needs to kept in mind, however I would rather pay the $25+ and get a better scenery, quality counts to me. Overall this a good LROP-Bucharest, modeling is good and in areas very good, and the detail (in most areas) is again very well done. SAM intergation is also included (but a few of the gates are wayward). The scenery is also X-Plane 12 compatible with wet/ice/snow effects and lighting. A few areas here I feel are not completed. Landside in front of the terminals is quite diabolical, worse it is very visible on the western approaches, I don't want to go back to a X-Plane 9 look in a X-Plane 12 scenery, lighting on this same area and buildings is also quite if completely poor. Many runway textures are overlaid with hard line edges (worse in snowy conditions) and in context textures are average. "Finger" terminal is not completed inside and naked at night, and navigation lighting (important) is also extremely poor. Lighting is fine in the central area, but non-existent to poor in most areas. Tower View is not set either... it's a big list? For the price this Chudoba LROP is a great if a very good destination filler, but I would rather pay more to get a better developed scenery for my routes into Romania. The basics are all here present for this to be that quality scenery, I hope it will be, but for now it will still stay and be on my network to fly into, so overall it is very good value at that low price. _______________________________ The LROP - Bucharest Otopeni International Airport by Chudoba Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store LROP - Bucharest Otopeni International Airport Priced at US$16.99 Features: PBR Textures Custom buildings with PBR textures -ccurate custom PBR ground-poly (supporting weather from X-Plane 12) -Custom 3D vegetation Scenery Animation Manager integration Well Optimized for best performance Custom buildings and objects Custom jetways Accurate night lightning Compatible with X-Plane 11 & X-Plane 12 Compatible with SAM vehicles / SAM follow-me Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB VRAM Recommended Current Version : 1.0 (November 11th 2022) Installation and documents: LROP is downloaded from the Chudoba Design site of 714.70Mb a download. The Chuboba "Library" is also required for download at 1.5GB. Authorsation Key is required to download the scenery. ChudobaDesign_LROP ChudobaDesign_Library 2.29Gb full install in your Custom Scenery folder. SAM3 Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 3.0 is required for this scenery, Documents There is a 1 page "Instruction" page for installation and requirements and links to the Chudoba Design site; here link: https://antileak.it/key?c=deaba33308 BucharestOtopeniAirport.pdf ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 24th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved  Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 - X-Plane v12.00b14 (note this review was done in the beta revision period) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - None-
  5. NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : Gulfstream 550 v1.03 by AKD Studio The GulfStream G550, a global executive jet of some renown. Was released for both the X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 simulator platforms on 1st October 2022 by AKD Studios. In the comprehensive review I really liked the aircraft, but it had a too many bugs and in reality it was not finished on release. The X-Plane Reviews GulfStream G550 review is here; Aircraft Review : Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio I will be honest, I don't at all like the current disinclination by developers to release an aircraft that with just a few more weeks of development could be top notch. But the idea is to put out the product then get the response and "we will fix that later". It is cutting out the former beta phase of development, and going straight to the masses to find the obvious faults. A lot of purchasers will take this on the chin, but as noted I don't like the strategy, it creates a messy situation for all and for a product that has great promise be damaged early by the wrong assumptions that the product and hence the developer is poor at developing the aircraft, notable is that with a ton of bugs then the reviews can be quite detrimental to the sales, but developers continue to do it. This was the case with the G550 from AKD Studios, a really great aircraft let down by a load of bugs and areas not and quite clearly not finished. This v1.03 update and the earlier v1.02 update (31st Oct 22) shows how much just a few more weeks in development with the aircraft it could have been released in a more quality form. Yes X-Plane and it's aircraft is always an ongoing development. But there is the line between not being finished and fixes not foreseen, when you are asking for money, then you expect at least a little better quality for it. The update list is long between the two updates.... Version 1.03 (November 18th 2022) New features: -Added Automatic landing elevation(XP11/XP12) -Added Pilots 3D model(XP11/XP12) -Added ENG Vibration indicator (XP11/XP12) -Added Inegration with Terrain radar + Vertical Situation Display(Terrain radar Update soon)(XP11/XP12) -Added support for 8.33 kHz radios(XP11/XP12) Bugs fixes: -Improved textures(XP11/XP12) -Improved VS line on DU1/DU4(XP11/XP12) -Improved throttle 3D Model(XP11/XP12) -Improved EFB Clickspots(XP11/XP12) -Improved engines start-up time(XP11/XP12) -Fixed ILS/RNAV Intercepting(XP12) -Fixed Autopilot logic(XP11/XP12) -Fixed APU and Engine bleed air switches(XP11/XP12) -Fixed incorrect CRS on DU1(XP12/XP11) -Fixed Rain Effect(XP12) -Fixed FMA indicators on DU1/DU4(XP11/XP12) -FIxed Minor bugs(XP12/XP11) Version 1.02 (November 4th 2022) New features: -Added 2D “pop-up” and “pop-out” panels(XP11/XP12) -Added time at destination to Cabin Display(XP11/XP12) Bugs fixes: -Removed custom LNAV logic(after XP12 beta 10 LNAV works fine)(XP12) -Improved ILS Intercepting(thanks:jetspeed)(XP11) -Improved Cockpit textures are somewhat blurry(thanks:jetspeed)(XP11/XP12) -Improved engines start-up time(XP11/XP12) -Fixed WPT List(DU1,DU2,DU3,DU4)(XP11/XP12) -Fixed main Landing gear panel(XP11/XP12) -Fixed external Lights position(XP11/XP12) -Fixed Minor bug fixes(XP12,XP11) New features include, 3D Pilots (that look suspiciously like the Laminar default pilots?), ENG VIbration outputs and Terrain Radar (Dr Gluck)... but more is coming here. Support for 8.33 Khz radios and Auto Landing Elevations adds in the new. But a few important areas have still not been addressed, like the METAR tool freezing the aircraft, and those poor window surrounds and there are still no cabin blinds? so there is still a fair way to go. But the G550 from AKD Studios is still overall a very nice aircraft and comes recommended. ________________________________ The Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio is NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore GLF550 - Ultimate Business Jet by AKD Studio Price is US$31.95 This aircraft is X-Plane12 supported, but to note it is in Beta form. Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 - both versions included -Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1 GB Current version : 1.03 (November 18th 2022) _________________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 21st November 2022 Copyright©2022 : X-Plane Reviews  (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) 
  6. No not at all, Airsim3d has tested it and the 560XL needs a lot of work to comply to X-Plane 12, sadly. It was never developed for the new simulator from the start.
  7. NEWS! - Plugins : WebFMC Pro for X-Plane 12 Released! Green Arc Studios have released the WebFMC Plugin application for X-Plane 12. This highly useful tool is a must have in using a remote Web browser to input data into X-Plane 12 aircraft. The WebFMC is a plugin that allows you to use a FMC (Flight Management Computer) on an external screen via a web browser. That is an another computer or tablet. So it is a remote tool, but a very beneficial tool and even a powerful one in programming in route and performance data and following the set aircraft route in flight and in mirroring the aircraft's built in FMS (Flight Management System). Added into the functionality is a load of features in the use of the FMC on another screen.... and so yes I am a huge fan. This X-Plane 12 Application is an "Upgrade" and not an update, so you will have to repurchase the application to use it in X-Plane 12, even then it is great value, and covers your plugin and service updates for the run of the X-Plane 12 version. But for previous users there is a US$10 off offer to upgrade to the X-Plane 12 version. Green Arc Studios note: "X-Plane 12 is still in Early Access stage and therefore WebFMC v2.0.0 should be considered a beta version. Note that supported aircraft list is a bit shorter compared to XP11 edition and consists only aircraft that currently support XP12 and that we were able to test": Default X-Plane FMC DualCDU FlyJSim Q4XP DualCDU Toliss A319 DualCDU Toliss A321 DualCDU Toliss A340 DualCDU FlightFactor 757 v2 Professional DualCDU FlightFactor 767 Professional DualCDU FlightFactor 777 Professional FlightFactor A320 Ultimate DualCDU FlightFactor A350 (old style MCDU) Rotate MD-11 TripleCDU Rotate MD-80 IXEG 737-300 DualCDU X-Crafts ERJ Family DualCDU JarDesign 330 SSG 747-8 Series v2 Zibo Mod 737-800 DualCDU "Other than that we introduced look&feel variants for following default aircraft that use Default FMC": Laminar Airbus 330 Laminar Cessna Citation X Laminar McDonnell Douglas MD-82 "Please be also advised, that due to technical reasons, around the end of 2023 we will be forced to drop support for oldest web browsers that we still support now (eg. Safari on iOS 9.3.5, which is iPad 2). See "Requirements" tab in the store product page for more details on our web browser support policy". Although the current list of supported aircraft is far lower in X-Plane 12 than currently in X-Plane 11, which is an impressive 25 aircraft, that number will equalise as the compatible aircraft are updated (upgraded) to the X-Plane 12 platform (free of charge). I also expect the default aircraft Demo (again free) to be also available to X-Plane 12 users try out the application. X-Plane 11 will be supported by Green Arc Studio's for the next 12 months, but a decision on forward support of the X-Plane 11 platform will be held at that point in time (depending on X-Plane 11 releases). Obviously the plugin will still continue to work in X-Plane 11, but no future aircraft FMS's will be added to the application. ____________________________________ Yes! WebFMC Pro XP12 by Green Arc Studios is NOW AVAILABLE from the X-Plane.Org Store here : WebFMC Pro XP12 Price is US$29.99 Current WebFMC XP11 users can get this new XP12 version at $10 off. Please find the coupon code in the original WebFMC Invoice X-Plane 12 Operating system requirements: - Windows 10 64-bit - Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina) or newer - Ubuntu 22.04 LTS 64-bit Web Client requirements The CDU can be displayed on any modern and up-to-date web browser with JavaScript support. We recommend the latest versions of Google Chrome on PC or Android and Safari on iOS. No internet connection required, remote device needs to be on the same local network as X-Plane PC. We do not guarantee support for vintage and obsolete iOS devices (according to official Apple classification, here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624). If you have an old device try WebFMC Free before buying or upgrading. Access CDU / FMC of select X-Plane 12 airplanes via any modern web browser running on your PC or mobile device over local network. Quick and easy access to the FMC Get easy access to the FMC: quickly edit the flightplan, monitor flight progress, set up your approach and do all the typical work of the pilot without having to move around in the cockpit, even if the plane doesn’t support FMC as a popup natively - on the same PC, or different monitor, tablet or phone - in fact you can use multiple displays at the same time! Make pilot tasks easy and comfortable Enjoy external views during cruise while monitoring flight progress on separate screen or take a quick look at your phone to verify calculated landing speed with just a glimpse of an eye during busy time on approach. Make flying complex SIDs / STARs easy as you can focus on the important flight parameters while having overview of the constraints all the time. Take your mobile to the kitchen as you cook a dinner during a long haul and never miss T/D again! Convenient to use Use physical keyboards on PC with extra keys such as Prev/Next page mapped to keyboard keys for easy access. WebFMC scales dynamically to fit any display or window size and can look as native app on mobiles by using browser's "Add to home screen" feature. Web Client The CDU can be displayed on any modern and up-to-date web browser with JavaScript support. We recommend the latest versions of Google Chrome on PC or Android and Safari on iOS. No internet connection required, remote device needs to be on the same local network as X-Plane PC. Support for WebSockets RFC 6455 standard is required which implies at least iOS version 6. _________________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 18th November 2022 Copyright©2022 : X-Plane Reviews  (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) 
  8. NEWS - Aircraft Update Boeing 747-200 Classic v1.2.02 by Felis X-Plane 12 Felis updated his Boeing 747-200 Classic only days (September 12th 2022) after the "Early Access" release of X-Plane 12. The aircraft was compatible with X-Plane 12, but in the release being so early in the X-Plane Beta phase, it would mean only a limited number of areas would have been covered. The Boeing flew in X-Plane 12, but was not fully developed. So here is another update in v1.2.02 in delivering more fixes and changes to make the B747-200 compatible with X-Plane 12. Notable is that X-Plane 12 is still in it's Beta phase (currently b13), so more changes and refinement will still come, but it has been announced that X-Plane 12 will go final before Christmas 2022. Version 1.2.02 (November 17th 2022) Now compatible with X-Plane 12 +++ fixed backlight of buttons on the audio panels +++ fixed LTN giving error, when selecting leg between waypoints having same lat or lon, but not both. +++ IND lamps now less bright in DIM mode +++ clocks use less power and should not drain batteries too fast +++ LTN now resets POS screen and STS to level 10, when turned OFF after the flight. +++ fixed power logic for INS and LTN. was unable to start with dead batteries +++ LTN should save time of passing each waypoint for FPL page +++ new libradio plugin +++ fixed Crash on the Ref/Brg/Dist Screen, when entering a custom waypoint like AAA123. +++ initial engine tuning +++ fixed loading and balance calc. +++ fixed crossing the LON 180 line in the LTN logic +++ Weather radar antenna now synchronized with pitch to keep it leveled +++ fixed STS page not able to enter UPDATE menu sometimes Update download v1.2.02 is now available via the X-Plane.OrgStore (Account) or use the Skunkcraft Updater. Re-authorisation is required (A full restart is also recommended). Yes! the Boeing 747-200 Classic v1.2.02 by Felis Planes is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Boeing 747-200 Classic Price is US$70.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.2 GB Current version : 1.2 (November 17th 2022) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 18th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  9. Aircraft Review : Cessna Citation 560XL by AirSim3d Within any family there are the odd branches, certainly in the families of very successful aviation aircraft and in this case it is the Cessna Citation family. The Citation is a very large and diverse line of successful business jets, but within that long line, there is always a compromise aircraft to fit into a certain aircraft market segment. The problem is with a successful family is that the next aircraft in the series has to be better, faster, bigger and have a longer range. But that also puts the aircraft out of reach to a certain lower segment of purchasers, so you have to diverse the order to create a product for that particular segment. So rather than being a direct variant of another Citation airframe, the Excel series was created to be a combination of new technologies and designs. To produce the Excel, Cessna took the X's wide, stand-up cabin fuselage, shortened it by about 2 feet (0.61 m) and mated it with an unswept wing utilizing a supercritical airfoil (based on the Citation V Ultra's wing) and used the tail from the Citation V. The Excel has the roomiest cabin in its class of light corporate jets and can seat up to 10 passengers (in high-density configuration; typically the number is six to eight in a corporate configuration), while being flown by a crew of two. The Excel has a 2,100 nmi-range (3,900 km), 20,200 lb (9,200 kg) MTOW, and the jet is powered by two 3,650–4,080 lbf (16.2–18.1 kN) PW545B turbofans, and the XL variant first flew in 1998. If you go back a decade, there was virtually no Business Jets in the X-Plane Simulator. DDEN's Challenger 300 changed all that, and lately there has been a flurry of Private/Business Jets now of all sizes, except the really big transcontinental machines, the Aerobask Dassault Aviation's Falcon 8X is still in development, but the Gulfstream 550 was released last month. For Citations there are a load of them. There is the Citation CJ4 Proline21 by Netavio, Carenado Cessna Citation ll S550 and the Citation X coming as a default aircraft in X-Plane 12. But no Excel Citations. This AirSim3d Cessna Citation 560XL is currently only being released in X-Plane 11, X-Plane 12 compatibility will come after X-Plane 12 goes final. AirSim3d are a new developer to the X-Plane Simulator and a very welcome one. As we will see this is a very impressive debut aircraft, but still a new debut aircraft from a first time developer. So you have to, and as I have done in the review is don't expect the absolute extreme of say Aerobask quality. But as noted for a first release it is extremely impressive and I have also been very impressed with Mark Eduljee's (developer) responses and quick fixes, which is all you need for a good developer. This is a nicely sized Business Jet. Not too small or short, or too large to be cumbersome, I really like the look and feel of the machine. The Citation distinctive wing has a slight dihedral, while the tailplane had a steeper dihedral. Flight control surfaces were conventional: ailerons, one-piece flaps, elevators, rudder, and trim tabs. All the flight control surfaces were manually actuated, except for electrically-driven flaps, and an electrically-driven elevator trim tab. There was also a hydraulically-operated grid speed brake on top of each wing. Detail is very good, your not going to get exceptional at this level, but the modeling and the detail is quite impressive here. You see and feel the construction of the C-560XL. Panels access panels and the highlighted (Dot3 bump mapping) riveting is well done, There are a few drawn lines, but nothing to worry about, the excellent tail and rudder assembly is the highlight. All VHF and UHF antennas are present and correctly done. The Excel has two PW500 turbofans, this version is the PW545B, which has an additional LP turbine stage to drive a larger diameter fan. So the maw engine inlet on the engine pod is quite large. There are also two large can thrust-reversers on the exhaust outlet. Overall the engine pods are very well done with the chrome inlet a very nice piece of work, note the small but detailed inlet fire sensor. Glass is very nice and a smoky grey in colour, and has nice reflections and opacity. The original glass in the early beta's had a red tint, a reflection of the internal wood, but it didn't work in my eyes, good idea, but in theory and practise this grey is far better and realistic. Citation wings have two stage grid airbrakes, and they look sensational here in operation. Cord and wing detail is good, but not absolutely top notch, the fine fillers of experience will eventually create these areas better, but it's still great work if not brilliant for a first project. Chrome leading edge are very nicely done, as are the wing details, with nice wear and well done wing vortex generators. Rear undercarriage is a trailing-link single wheel gear setup. The detail here is excellent, with a lot of complex detail and modeling, all links, arms and struts are really well done, but I am not sure of the brightly coloured hydraulic clips on the piping, there are quite bright, fine for a factory new aircraft, but for a working one? But you won't complain about the quality of detail here. Single nose-wheel is really well done as well, simple and with a nice chrome hydraulic strut. External Elements There are no menus with the C-560XL. To open or operate items you use the small arrows as selectors, most have a double click action. On the C-560XL there are external elements you can access and use. There are there doors lower rear left that is the Electrical panel and the Aft Baggage hold. As noted to use these arrows they can sometimes have a double operation, one to open, then one to do the operation. Here you can open the baggage hold door then secondly load or unload the internal baggage onto a waiting trolley. One arrow on the door opens it, then another arrow on the trolley loads (well fly through the air) the bags to stack on the trolley, use the up arrow on the trolley to reload the bags. Note the baggage door does not open cleanly, as the real door is also fiddly to open and close. In the electrical bay you can disconnect or connect up the battery power. GPU There is a small hatch rear of the baggage compartment, that is the GPU or Ground Power Unit connector. Again you select (arrow) once to open the hatch, then again to attach the power cable which makes the GPU unit appear which is very highly and nicely detailed. There is a small lid on the side to access the power unit control panel, to start and it also has a great "Emergency STOP" button that actually works. There are also wheel chocks and safety cones as static elements, engine inlet and outlet covers and "remove" pitot covers for detail. These elements are shown in steps of when the aircraft is powered down or cold with the power totally switched off. A detail I really like, but the engines covers are always on when with no engine power, but the aircraft still powered up, which is a bit odd. Internal Again to open or operate items you use the small arrows as selectors, like on the main door, called the "Aerostar" door. It is a bit tricky to use. You have to press the button to pop-out the handle, then use the arrows to open or lock the door, same in reverse. The cabin is "Lux", 7 seats and all executive. In an off cream club style seating, expensive wood paneling and thick pile carpets. The four club seats can be reclined via the lever on the arm rest... .... and the window blinds can be raised and lowered by the lever at the base. There is a rear washroom. You access the washroom, by opening the doors twice, once ¾ opening, then full, via the front handle and then the side knob. Bathroom is very classy, with a custom sink unit, and a toilet on the other side. Washroom blinds work as is the same in the cabin. Forward, there is a nice buffet/small galley left and a wardrobe right. Overall it is a very nice fitted out and usable cabin, however the glass tinting in areas would be better toned down a little. Cockpit First look and the cockpit doesn't feel as plush as the cabin. First thing to note is that this C-560XL is of the mid-90s era and the cockpit is configured and styled that way, but it feels slightly older in age and style. I'm not sure of the seats, one word certainly comes to mind is "uncomfortable", but I think the developer is having a rethink on the design. They are thin and narrow in this tight cockpit in the C-560XL, but I don't think so square in shape. They do however move forwards and backwards with moving armrests. Twin yokes are super lovely. They have a nice central metal casting with the "Excel" logo in the middle, and nicely worn arms. You hide them by pressing the area behind on the panel (arrowed). Electric Trim works on the yoke (arrows). Instrument Panel The Excel (original) uses the Honeywell Primus 1000 three-screen EFIS avionics package of two CRT Primary Flight Displays, one for each pilot, and an offset lower MultiFunction (MFD) display. I will be extremely honest with you. When I first saw this panel layout I really wasn't that taken to it. But after using it and being in front of the panel now for quite awhile, I now think it is extremely well done. It has a different feel and look certainly, and it also gives you the feeling it is a different and an authentic aircraft than the usual Business Jet, so once adjusted I really, really like it in here. The system uses a IC-615 Integrated Avionics Computer (IAC) that includes the Flight Guidance System (FGS) and the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) other systems include the AZ-950 Air Data System (ADS), Primus 880 Weather Radar, Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) and the Primus II Radio System, but the Laminar G1000 has been customised to do the GPS/Flightplan role. PFD - Primary Flight Display. The Primus 1000 PFD is split with the Artificial Horizon top and the Horizontal Situation Indicator lower. Artificial Horizon, Speed and Altitude tapes, bank roll scale and roll pointer, Vertical Speed markers, Pitch markers, ILS bars and AOA (Angle of Attack) guide. Lower display is the COM1/COM2, ATC1, RAT ºC and UTC (Time). And there two styles of wings on the HSI. It is a complicated layout and study is required before flight to work out every separate knob or switch function, but many functions are doubled up. All three in; PFD (left) - MFD and GNS G1000 all pop-out for use. You can change the panel configuration from AUGM (modern AP) to REAL, or the original panel layout, which is the pilot right mid-console panel moved to the main Instrument Panel. The Engine management uses the AMLCD or "Active-Matrix Liquid Crystal Display in two units. Each engine is equipped with the following instruments displayed on the center instrument panel; Fan RPM (N1), Inter-Turbine Temperature (ITT), Turbine RPM (N2), Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature and Fuel Flow. Also shown in addition to the engine instruments are; Ram Air Temperature (RAT), Fuel Temperature and Fuel Quantity. MFD - Has four heading options, and Terrain Radar (Dr Gluck's Terrain Radar plugin required). Glareshield, there is a very large annunciator panel, also known in some aircraft as the Centralized Warning Panel (CWP) or Caution Advisory Panel (CAP). It has three warning states "Red" Warning, "Yellow" Caution and "White" Advisory/Indication. Thrust reverser states and over-ride are positioned on each end. Testing the CWP can be done via the switched at the rear of the Throttle pedestal, in fact all system lighting and signs can be checked from this system. It is a very comprehensive CWP. Large centre shelf console covers; Anti-Ice, Pressurization, and External lights switchgear, bottom right is a large "Temperature Panel" for the Cockpit and Cabin. Throttle Pedestal is excellent. There are twin-throttles wit built-in reverser levers, and lower fuel cut-off levers for each engine. Pitich Trim wheel left and Flap lever right (0º-7º-15º-35º). Engine Sync selector works. Lower panel has the System Test selector, Landing Lights and Pulse Light (Beacon) Side cockpit panels have the circuit breakers (fuses), but they don't work? Map Lights and on the Pilot's side, an AUX PANEL LIGHT. On the right panel is the same (no AUX light), but added is the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) panel which is very well done. Lower pedestal is a selection panel for each pilot selections, mostly the same as on the panel itself, but more finger handy. Notable is the PITCH Trim (Electric) and TURN (This is an important knob which we will cover later). Then at the rear the large Rudder Trim knob. Flying the C560XL Engine startup is very authentic. The onboard APU provides power and bleed, start then wait until it is running at at 100%. It will tell you it's status. Fuel Cutoff's are under the throttles, but they can be tricky to switch with the small up/down arrows. Main start panel is over far left instrument panel, with the required "Fuel Boost" pumps ON, Ignition (always on) and engine starter buttons centre. Like most Citations there is "Full Authority Digital Engine Controller" or FADEC to start the PW500 turbofans. Startup sounds are excellent with a nice whine, and the engine sounds in the cockpit settle down to an excellent background hum. One thing I really liked is that you can set an N1 Thrust limit target on the AMLCD, by using the knob at the end of the panel. I use the word a lot, but it's important here, "Feel". This is an aircraft you have to feel and become one with. First it is a good idea to cover the systems and layouts before flying. As a lot of the switchgear actions are doubled up, so using the sets you are most comfortable with is important, and I found I liked adjustment panel directly left of the HSI the best. There are areas that you feel (that word again), still need a little fine tuning, certainly in the areas of power and braking, they are good now, but over time will become more or less urgent to make the machine even more supple and realistic. Keep the speed low to taxi, the 560XL has a very nice wide wheel spread, so she rides very nice and steady on the ground. Centred ready to fly, and you have to set the T/O Trim (wheel), but more importantly set the "TURN" trim on the rear console, if not centred the AP (Autopilot) will not activate in flight. You have to be super careful with the throttles, the PW545B creates a power of 4100 pounds of thrust at takeoff. So the Excel will literally takeoff from rest (hence the N1 Thrust target) and the careful power inputs required (weight dependent here at 8100 kg). Flap here is set at 5º for takeoff. I was shocked at the serious power for the first few times until I reined myself in and controlled it better. Rotate is around 200 knts, then once off the ground you can climb almost straight up, this Citation JUST GOES, up and up. It will (officially climb at 3,500 ft/min (17.78 m/s) and practically right off the rate of climb chart. When in the air you just really like this jet, yes again there are a few rough edges, but the core is excellent, great performance, great handling, great feel. And you very quickly tune into the machine. And a very nice looking machine in the air this is. Performance of the Excel is an empty weight of 12,800 lb (5,806 kg) and a Max takeoff weight of 20,200 lb (9,163 kg). Cruise speed is 441 kn (507 mph, 816 km/h) true airspeed, at 45,000 ft (13,716 m), with a range of 1,858 nmi (2,138 mi, 3,441 km). Lighting Lighting is excellent, but could still be noted as a work in progress. Externally you have two landing lights under the belly of the XL, taxi lights in the wings and navigation lights in the wingtips and tail. There is tail lighting and a red beacon top... A note on the landing lights is that you can make them "Pulse" from one to the other... At a certain setting, the cockpit feels very military or even fighter jet in feel, and yes I really love it. There is adjustment for panel dropdown lighting, left, right and centre lighting, You can get an almost all black instrument panel, but with a background feel... an oddity is the panel light switch (lower bottom left panel) is the opposite way around in highlighting the instruments, OFF for on, and ON for off? .... there are side panel lighting, and also two overhead spotlights that can be positioned (animated). The same animated spotlights are also above every seat in the rear cabin, again a very nice place to be at night, with some lovely subtle lights. But overall you still feel it all needs a bit of fine tuning, like the EXIT lights are too bright, and spots not showing their sources enough. But overall the Citation is a very nice place to be in the dark. Currently you still have the the Laminar default G1000 unit in the aircraft, but it is customised to a point, and it works and even looks good (yes it pops out). The dreaded red line is still used on the MFD, but I expect that to be upgraded in X-Plane12, as these areas have all been redone with better scale, notes say that a custom Flight Management System will come later with the aircraft, but not in this version. Notable is the excellent (easy to use) AP (Autopilot system), you can adjust from the panel or from the lower rear console and it feels very authentic to use. You don't get a full clear or blank Centralized Warning Panel, mostly Yellow caution lights are always flashing away, and that aspect can be a bit distracting in flight, but again it is very good. The style and feel of the instrument panel is highly debatable. I will be honest, I particularly didn't like it at first as noted earlier? But having flown the Excel a lot over the past month, I now really love it, even miss it a lot when flying other aircraft as it is quite authentic to the real 560XL design. You also have the choice of "Wings" in the HSI, bent or straight, personally I found the straight version easier to see and use, and selection is via the HSI side panel. Sounds overall are very good, push the throttles and there is a nice roar from the PW545B engines which I really like, they are from samples of recordings from the real Citation jet at Boeing Field. Internally all Warnings, Call outs, Clicks, Beeps, airflow, in/out, sound modulation are all included, and this is a very clickable (noisy) cockpit if you like noisy switchgear. APU sounds externally and internally are all very realistic. In the air internally the 560XL is a quiet aircraft, those engines are way back from your ears, but there is still a lot of the required feedback with any engine throttle adjustments, so sounds are a highlight of the aircraft. The aircraft is slippery, so you need those airbrakes to control your descent, they look great operational from the cabin windows as well. That straight clean Citation wing with the wide track wheels is a very stable platform when configured for landing. You feel totally under control and have a very nice balance on the final approach, as long as you have prepared the trims correctly for the landing phase. Approach speeds are quite low (Full 35º Flap) at around 130 knts, but thankfully very stable at that speed. Slowly you reduce your speed to around 120 knts to reduce your height... With a touchdown (nice slight nose up flare) of about 105 knts, which is pretty slow for a jet, notable to be very level on landing, if not the wide track will bounce you from the the left or right wheel... I do recommend (pedal) toe-brakes with this 560XL, keeping the aircraft straight is tricky without them, yes it can be done, but the dancing footwork is far easier for ultimate control, then for the final braking. Opening and closing the clam reversers is a double action, press once to arm, then again to activate, the stopping reverse thrust is effective, even impressive. Liveries There are nine liveries, N456AX (is default) and the rest have very decorative names, in order; Brazilian Carnival, Indian Summer, Italian Classic, NZ Fern, Spanish Treasure, Swiss Snowstorm, UK Red Ribbon and US "Singing the Blues". Paintkit is also available. ____________________ Summary The Cessna Citation 560XL (Excel) is an off-shoot from the main Cessna Citation family to fit a certain niche in the market. It uses several combination of new technologies and designs and the sections of other Citations, but the Excel creates a more bigger cabin, bigger engines, but it is a smaller aircraft overall with a lower range to create a lower market price or entry level aircraft to the family. AirSim3d are a new developer to the X-Plane Simulator and a very welcome one. As we have see this is a very impressive debut aircraft, but still a new debut aircraft from a first time developer. So you have to, and as I have done in the review is to don't expect the absolute extreme of say ultra Aerobask quality. But as noted it is still very impressive. The Excel 560 is being only released currently for X-Plane 11, the X-Plane 12 version is currently in development and will follow when X-Plane 12 goes final. The word to say here is "Quirky". Not quirky in a odd or even a bad way, but different quirky if you have flown or have known other Citation aircraft. The C560XL is different, feels different and you use it differently. So the first impressions here are quite construing to your senses as it feels and looks to a different era. But use the Excel and fly it, then you begin to really enjoy it, savour it and in the end you will find it a very nice aircraft to use frequently, in fact you will want to fly it consistently as it is deep down a very good aircraft. Modeling is very good, as is the detail, but that word quirky will come up with the way you interact with the aircraft (arrow/pointers) and no menus. But you will soon click into the way the system works. That ultra shine is not however there, but everything else is including a nicely fitted out cabin with seat and window animation and nice lighting. Other features include Cones, Chocks, engine covers, Pitot covers, working GPU, battery hatch and a Baggage compartment that can load or unload bags at a click of an arrow. Business Jets have become a very popular of the last few years. Mostly because they perfectly fit that segment between General aviation flying and the larger Commerical jet aircraft. They are a pleasure machine with great performance and speed, so this AirSim3d fits that context perfectly. Also in the same context is the design and feel of the original Excel style aircraft. Once bitten you will love it, the 560XL certainly grows on more with every flight. It's not totally absolutely perfect, but for a first incarnation of an orginal design it is very good.... Recommended. ____________________ Yes! the Cessna Citation 560XL by AirSim3d is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Cessna Citation 560XL Price is US$59.95 Features: AirSim3D C-560 XL: Real-Jet authenticity Real jet visits at Boeing airfield were extensively used to inform build and design decisions 100’s of pages of real POH manuals, specs, drawings, pics used Real pilot tested and extensively beta tested Result: real-world systems, lighting, functions, modeling and procedures authenticity Rich FMOD sounds Sample recordings from the real jet at Boeing Field Result: Custom Engine, APU, GPU, Warnings, Call outs, Clicks, Beeps, airflow, in/out, sound modulation...all included Example: AP disconnect – that's the actual sound real pilots hear! But not overdone: The real jet is quiet at cruise; AirSim3D’s C-560XL follows that model Summary: Win, Mac, Linux tested VR ready PBR materials and Occlusion shading everywhere Hi-fidelity cockpit and instrument objects Bump-texturing and grunge elevated to an art form Finely detailed 3D objects that match real world dimensions Sharp, authentic labeling and correctly placed across the whole aircraft Animations and their timing match the real jet to 99% 99% of instrument follows real-jet/POH/specs and requirements Over 90 total system warnings failures, and lights Exclusive THXp Lighting: 300+ tuned and directed lights make night flying spectacular! Exclusive Real and Augmented AP/AT instrument layout on demand FPS is comparable to similar popular jets and LR default aircraft Airfoil and Weight/CG modeling AirSim3D’s Specialty Glass; Reflections are subtle and don’t distract Real-jet conforming flight characteristics, Engine performance Exact Main Door operation (in or out) with custom step lighting Superior Gear, Flight surfaces, Engine blur modeling, animation, and texturing All Lights use light beams (not flat LIT 2D textures from paint programs) In/Out Emergency Lighting with custom over-wing “shark lights” Fully functional Lighting, Electrical, Start, Pressure, Radio, AP panels Functioning APU & GPU; start-up/refuel/charging procedures and sounds Authentic cold and dark startup/shut down Controls lock and Emergency brakes, Gear blow down functions Fully animated Cockpit, Cabin, Lav; Wizard-inspired baggage load/unload Grunge wear and tear everywhere -- elevated to an art form External attachments (chocks, cones, covers etc.) 8 custom, country-specific marked liveries + paint kit Pilot Operations Handbook online – always up to date Instrument Summary Authentic, fully functioning Annunciator panel * 90 + custom and lighted faults * 42 annunciators track L and R faults/sys status independently * Complete MC/MW integration Custom Auto Pilot fully integrated with the custom PFD, MFD, and G1000 * 9 functions: YD, HDG, NAV, APR, BC, VNAV, ALT, VS, FLC * On demand Realistic and Augmented AP panel layout modes * VVI, Bank angle, Low limiter * Custom Auto Throttle in Augmented panel mode * FMOD callouts Custom Collins-inspired PFD (pop up) * Custom AP status annunciator integration * Mach, ASI, VVI, HDG, CRS, WIND, TAS, GSPD, FPV, BARO. IMO markers * Authentic SPEED, ALT tapes (to -1500 AGL – now fly to the Dead sea airports with AP!) * Custom APR/DPT ASI flags * PFD 1, 2 source * Cat II ILS tested HSI * Custom art Artificial Horizon * Wind direction/speed * Ground speed * Kts/Mach selector * VOR 1, 2, GPS, ADF tracking * Speed and VVI prediction * 2 “wings” displays * 2 Flight Director modes * Custom artwork for real 3D look and feel * Custom AP and Speed tapes function to -1500 AGL * Automatic reference speeds displays for Gear, Flaps, Speed Custom MFD (pop up) * Weather and Terrain radar * Range selector (1-360 miles) * Standard HSI: Rose/Arc with ARPT, WPT, VOR, NDB, TCAS 6 MFD sub modes * APP, VOR, MAP, NAV, PLN * TCAS Alert call outs integrated with Pulse Landing lights * 14 Authentic all-flight phase checklists * 23 checklist sub modes Authentic Electrical system * Outside Battery disconnect (animated, functioning, lighted outside Panel) * Normal and Emergency battery instrument profiles * Amp/Volt gauges, source select, battery charge/discharge profiles * Gens/APU/GPU charging integration * Battery Over Temp * Interior and Master Battery disconnect with full systems/lights/avionics integration * Authentic Cockpit, Entry, and Cabin lighting Authentic and fully functional Lights panel * Day/night Switch * Dim-able EL lighting * Dim-able Flood, Map, Panel lighting * Independent L, C, R instrument stack dimming * Over 300 individually placed and tuned (real) lights (not images) Radios / DME / Clocks * 2 Custom Primus II RMU: Active + Stby: NAV 1, 2; COM 1, 2; ADF; XPNDR (with Mode C) * 2 Custom DME: Station ID, Distance-To, Time-To, Closure Speed, Mi/KM * 2 Custom Pilot/CP Clocks: (GMT, Local, reset Stopwatch, Auto-Flight Time recorder) Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current Version: 1.0 (November 18th 2022) Installation and documents: download for the Cessna Citation 560XL is 355 Mb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 732 Mb (Includes noted liveries) Documents supplied are: On-Line details only currently available; Summary - AirSim3d Designed by AirSim3D Support forum for the C-560 XL _____________________ Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 18th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP Software: - Windows 11 - X-Plane 11.55 Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : AviTab Plugin - Free Scenery or Aircraft - LOWS- Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart v2 by Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$19.50 - LFMN - Nice Cote d'Azur v2 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$18.50 (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  10. NEWS! - Aircraft Released : Diamond Katana DA20 C1 by X-Hangar We are well used to the later, larger and more powerful Diamond Aircraft, but what of an earlier Diamonds and a successful machine well known for training. This is the Diamond Katana DA20 C1 and now released in X-Plane 12 by X-Hangar. The Diamond DV20/DA20 Katana is an Austrian-designed two-seat general aviation light aircraft. Developed and manufactured by Diamond Aircraft, it was originally produced in Austria as the DV20. The DV20 shares many features from the earlier Diamond HK36 Super Dimona. It was introduced to service during 1993. During the 1990s, production of the type was commenced at a new facility in Canada in order to meet demand for the type within the North American market. The Canadian-produced aircraft are designated as the DA20. It has been a relative success on the market, having sold in excess of 1,000 aircraft by 2008 and multiple improved variants of the DA20 have been developed. Additionally, it has been further developed into the four-seat Diamond DA40 Diamond Star. The DA20’s graceful lines and sporty looks belie its utility and durability. An incredibly fun aircraft to fly, the DA20-C1 earns its stripes in worldwide high utilization flight training day in and day out. It has been the standard and sole US Airforce pilot candidate initial flight screening aircraft for the past decade. Flight schools worldwide appreciate the DA20’s robustness, performance, ramp appeal and economy of operation. It’s used to train from first flight through night VFR and IFR (in VMC), including instructor ratings, thanks to the spin certification. Features Include: 3 cockpits to fly G500 instrument included. you will need to purchase or have purchased to use. Left seat piloting Right seat piloting Animated 3d parts Pilot figures both male and female that will load with added payload weight. flying light and the female pilot will load. fly heavier for the male pilot. Custom airfoil Custom sounds Easy to make your own liveries with the blank livery included International tail numbered liveries included or add your own to an existing livery A link is provided in the User Manual to download a complete flight manual from diamond's website Canopy opens and closes with a mouse click Window vents that open with a mouse click Preflight menu Wheel fairing options to add/remove Tie downs, remove before flight flags, and chocks Flight Sim Economy file so you can fly there right out of the box Librain equipped for rain effects on the windscreen for windows vulcan S Tec 55 Auto Pilot Garmin 430 GPS with pop out or use in 3d environment Images are courtesy of X-Hangar This aircraft package is available for both X-Plane 11, and X-Plane 12 (Note that X-Plane 12 is still in it's Beta phase and is currently flexible due to changes) ______________________________________ Yes! the Diamond Katana DA20 C1 by X-Hangar is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Diamond Katana DA20 C1 Price is US$26.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version : 12 (November 14th 2022) ___________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 15th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  11. NEWS! - Toliss announces CPDLC for Airbus's A340/A321/A319 It's an alphabet soup of letters, CPDLC. But it means Controller Pilot Data Link Communications. Controller–pilot data link communications (CPDLC) is also referred to as controller pilot data link (CPDL). It is a method by which air traffic controllers can communicate with pilots over a datalink system and to get weather information, and crucial for updates on your destination. It is a nice but also necessary tool in the cockpit. The CPDLC will be based on the Hoppie network and you can request clearances as per real life FCOM functionality. You will have to create an account on the Hoppie's Network, and sign in to use it. The system works between your MCDU and the Datalink Control and Display Unit (DCDU), and it is positioned lower central instrument panel. One of the major problems with voice radio communications used in this manner is that all pilots being handled by a particular controller are tuned to the same frequency. As the number of flights air traffic controllers must handle is steadily increasing (for instance, Shanwick handled 414,570 flights in 2007, an increase of 5% - or 22,000 flights - from 2006, the number of pilots tuned to a particular station also increases. This increases the chances that one pilot will accidentally override another, thus requiring the transmission to be repeated. In addition, each exchange between a controller and pilot requires a certain amount of time to complete; eventually, as the number of flights being controlled reaches a saturation point, the controller will not be able to handle any further aircraft. The CPDLC application provides air-ground data communication for the ATC service. This includes a set of clearance/information/request message elements which correspond to voice phraseology employed by air traffic control procedures. The controller is provided with the capability to issue level assignments, crossing constraints, lateral deviations, route changes and clearances, speed assignments, radio frequency assignments, and various requests for information. The pilot is provided with the capability to respond to messages, to request clearances and information, to report information, and to declare/rescind an emergency. The pilot is, in addition, provided with the capability to request conditional clearances (downstream) and information from a downstream air traffic service unit (ATSU). A “free text” capability is also provided to exchange information not conforming to defined formats. An auxiliary capability is provided to allow a ground system to use data link to forward a CPDLC message to another ground system. The sequence of messages between the controller and a pilot relating to a particular transaction (for example request and receipt of a clearance) is termed a ‘dialogue’. There can be several sequences of messages in the dialogue, each of which is closed by means of appropriate messages, usually of acknowledgement or acceptance. Closure of the dialogue does not necessarily terminate the link, since there can be several dialogues between controller and pilot while an aircraft transits the ATSU airspace. (wikipedia) ToLiSS is also updating the EFB or Electronic Flight Bag, with built-in AviTab, Checklists, Performance and Loading data, previously done on the pop-out TISCS menu system, of which I am a big fan of, but ToLiSS is aiming for a more Real World access feel to setting up the aircraft. The TISCS system won't be removed if you like that aspect, but the data is now more highly detailed in the EFB. These new features will come to the Airbus A340-600 first, then later the A321/A319 aircraft. Excited, you should be, it will be brilliant... Images are courtesy of ToLiSS. ToLiSS aircraft are available from the X-Plane.OrgStore. _________________________________ ToLiSS is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS Price is US$89.99 Airbus A321 XP12 by Toliss Price is US$89.99 Airbus A319 XP12 by Toliss Price is US$89.99 All ToLiss Aircraft currently fly in both X-Plane 11 and X-Plane12, but note that X-Plane 12 is still in it's Beta phase and and is currently flexible due to changes. ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 15th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  12. Aircraft Update : Cessna U206G Stationair DGS series v1.1 by Thranda Design A common theme from Thranda Design is to release an aircraft, then a few months later release another version with more features and mostly adding in the Amphibian/Floats variant. They did it with the Cessna 208 Caravan, all the other releases, and now the same here with the Cessna U206G Stationair. You can update to version v1.1 either by the Skunkcraft's updater, or do a full download from your account from the X-Plane.OrgStrore. Outwardly the U206G Stationair is the same aircraft as in the release, for a full run down of the features including the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, then read X-PlaneReviews: Aircraft Review - Cessna U206G Stationair DGS series by Thranda Design In this v1.1 update you now have an extra aircraft (acf) to choose from, the "U206G" and now the "Amphibian" option. Amphibian The Amphibian uses the wheels to move the aircraft around on hard surfaces, the Float version does not have any, and both options are available here. Here is the Amphibian. We know that all Thranda Utility aircraft come with the Amphibian and Float options, so it is no surprise that the detail and quality of the floats are exceptional, as they are here. The retracting wheel system is also well done, and as is the high detail with all the spars, nuts & bolts, and wire tensioners which are perfect, you won't get better. Rear are the rudders, again the detail is excellent with working springs and attachments, obviously they lift and lower into the water. Float undercarriage (gear) is controlled via a panel on the lower instrument panel, and the rudder actions are controlled by a lever between the fronts seat, the pump detail shows no compromises in quality from Thranda. On the Amphibian variant, the MISC Menu options are different as well... There are four box selections. Top left allows you to install a brace in the windshield, and to switch the side windows from flat to bubble. Lower left box is the options; lower the rudders, to change the Amphibian version to Floats and to install a Ventral Fin on the underside of the tail. Top right Box on the right refers to Slew mode, which allows you to manually move the aircraft around in a disconnected X-Plane space. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the X-Plane settings, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired and is especially a great feature to use while on the water for docking the aircraft to a jetty. Lower right box is "DynaFeel" which is a system that dynamically adjusts the rate at which the controls deflect. It is based on airspeed and how much the control is deflected. This means the controls will feel light and responsive at low speeds and with small deflections, but will get progressively heavier as the airspeed increases. A final option on the "Wheeled" variant of the U206G now has a skis option. Again the ski detail is excellent, with all the support wires and ski skid assembly required. I'll list the v1.1 updates changelist because it is quite comprehensive and detailed. Version 1.1 (November 11th 2022) Add amphibian seaplane version with plain and amphibious floats Update manual to add seaplane information Add skis option to landplane Remove trim "tick" sound, to hopefully help alleviate repetitive noise while autopilot is engaged Add Instrument #53: Tail number placard Update XP12 compatibility to handle multiple .acf (to handle the new amphibian) Improve XP12 compatibility system error handling Remove automatic reload in XP12 compatibility and Panel popup when using XP12, due to it causing XP12 to crash. It will now prompt the user to manually reload the plane. The automatic reload still works when using XP11. Improve clarity of instructions in ReadMe.txt for XP12 ACF Fix interior engine sound when panning the view around Fix cargo door flaps lockout not working. The flaps should now not move when the rear cargo doors are open XP12 ACF: Add WAAS approach capability. XP12 ACF: Slightly decrease fuel flows to better match the performance charts Fix Inst #11 (KPH/MPH airspeed indicator) 2D pop-up needle calibration, fix color arcs Fix floating screws and instruments in cabin Fix baggage area cargo netting intersecting with rear seats Fix beacon light for XP12 Fix tail section not showing metal effects in dynamic liveries Add gear panel to all default panel presets (only visible when using the amphibian floats) Add glass covers to Inst #14 and 15 (engine gauges) Hook up additional circuit breakers Remove duplicate circuit breakers Fix up some livery inconsistencies Corrections to Inst #25 (ELT) ELT now resets to off when starting a new flight Improve calibration of oil temperature 3D needle Improve calibration of turn coordinator Improved landing gear animation logic Fix potential crash when using docking mode in XP12 Fix "Dirt" overlay for dynamic livery preview popup One new feature is particularly interesting... "XP12 ACF: Add WAAS approach capability". The Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) is an air navigation aid developed by the Federal Aviation Administration to augment the Global Positioning System (GPS), with the goal of improving its accuracy, integrity, and availability. Essentially, WAAS is intended to enable aircraft to rely on GPS for all phases of flight, including precision approaches to any airport within its coverage area. It may be further enhanced with the Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS) also known by the preferred ICAO term Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) in critical areas. A primary goal of the WAAS system was to allow aircraft to make a Category I approach without any equipment being installed at the airport. This would allow new GPS-based instrument landing approaches to be developed for any airport, even ones without any ground equipment. A Category I approach requires an accuracy of 16 metres (52 ft) laterally and 4.0 metres (13.1 ft) vertically. Obviously X-Plane 12 now has WAAS availability, an area to watch out for... but I know little of it at this moment. In The Air Takeoff is Tricky.... As you have a lot of weight suspended below you, almost another aircraft weight again. Also you need foot brakes to keep the Amphibian tracking straight, but it doesn't gain speed very fast either, flap 10º is highly recommended for lift. In the air you can see the size of the floats relative to the aircraft, speed with the extra weight is compromised here also. Now we can look at the Float option... The floats are slightly lighter and cleaner through the air, look great as well. Detail is of course excellent, highly realistic. The Floats are colour matched to the fuselage, and in the "Dynamic Liveries" you can colour them to to suit your own design. There are altogether 11 liveries or two blank and nine designs, same as the "Wheeled" version. Internally the cockpit is excellent, I'm flying the gauge layout this time (There is also the excellent Aspen EFD 1000 available), highly, highly realistic. Note the window brace, of which I really like. The Floats weight weighs you down, but also creates a supremely stable feel to the small C206G. Any manoeuvres are weighted, so no you can't throw the Cessna around in the sky, but I like this non-swinging feel as the aircraft is heavier (obviously), and the lower centre of gravity gives you a better placement, outright speed is also cancelled, but you are more inclined to enjoy the movements to your advantage, than the other way around. I'm heading to the Shannon Estuary, Ireland just off Shannon Airport EINN, to test out the amphibian variant. I'm a huge fan of the new X-Plane 12 water, you get a real realism from the air, better still with the custom mud flats in the transparency. Coming from the west, you get a nice throttle (power) action to control your descent. I try to get to Full 20º flap as soon as I can. Speed can be low in the approach of around or slightly below 50 knts, but your perfectly safe here. I love the moment you see the ripples on the water through the window, still flashing past. Your only 200ft up now and you give the aircraft a slight pitch. So stable... ... You feel like you are coming in as a big Swan with huge feet outstretched ready to land, the support is there ready and waiting. Slightly more up pitch, but you can't over do the angle... or it will cause you issues later. The idea is in trying not to dig in the front of the floats on landing, but to touch at the centre angled point, CLEAN, is the word in your head. Your touching now around a low 40 knts as you feel the water. Getting the landing right is not the actual landing itself? It is the bit after when you are riding the top of the water, so as the nose does not dig in and pull you over, controlling the drag and keeping the nose clean (high or straight), while slowing down takes a bit of skill, but delivers the exhilarating bit to get it all right. If you do get it all right then the aircraft will settle without any jerks or nose drops. Saying that... this Thranda U208G is a very nice, even easy aircraft to fly in the amphibian (float) variant, and certainly the X-Plane 12 effects help out here with their more wider and custom physics than X-Plane 11, you not only see it, but feel it as well. That water is exquisite! Rudder steering I found like with the wheels (braking) on takeoff, only works with my foot pedals? but I'm sure they can be fixed to the yaw movement. But they are very effective in the water. For takeoff... Flap to 10º, trim to zero, and here I upped the rudders a bit to early. I found the trick later was to start the takeoff run (half-power)... ... then when you feel the rudder control coming in, then quickly up the dragging rudders, its tricky to do but it gives you far more in straight-line control. Up the power and as the aerodynamics come in and the Cessna will surf and then also accelerate quite quickly, then around 85 knts your airborne. Once clear of the water with a nice small climb rate, then clean up the aircraft (flaps) and trim. So the waterborne additions are excellent with great flight and water capabilities, and oddly enough makes the U206G easier to fly. Summary This is the expected update from Thranda Design, as for all their releases, and usually within two months of the original aircraft release, they then release the Amphibian/Floats variant. Not only do you get the Amphibian/Floats feature, but the Ski option has been added as well to the "wheeled" land-plane version. Quality is of course the usual very highly detailed and quality fitout you expect from Thranda. They are renowned for it, but consistently deliver. Thranda Design are one of the best developers in X-Plane, their history and quality is legendary. So that quality build and detailing is always going to be significant from the start, and so it here... exceptional. In every area and detail, modeling, fine details, glass and the interior materials. The "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications is also part of this package. There is also a full changelog list of bugs and minor issues done in v1.1, including the added feature of Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and it's approach capability. If you want a highly capable Cessna, then it would be seriously hard to go past this U206G Stationair, its also X-Plane 12 (X-Plane 11 is also available) capable as well, so it is a match made in heaven and it all comes with a value price for the incredible detail and features. It's the very best!... not much to add into that statement, and now available not only in the air, but on the water as well, obviously highly recommended. _______________________________ Yes! the Cessna U206G Stationair DGS series v1.1 by Thranda Design is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Cessna U206G Stationair DGS series Price is US$39.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 (still beta at this stage) or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2 GB Current version 1.1 (November 11th 2022) Special features: FULLY configurable 3D instrument panel. Over 50 instruments to choose from! (Including Aspen EFD 1000, and support for RealityXP 650 and GTN750) Move any instrument to any location on the panel, or even between pilot and copilot's panel! Comes with 6 panel presets, but can easily be expanded by moving instruments around, using a simple and intuitive interface. Enable or disable lighting posts per instrument. Lighting is fully 3D, and dynamically move along with the instruments, as you configure the panel. Ability to assign a lighting index to individual instruments, to allow different lighting knobs to be assigned on a per-instrument basis. Save your own presets, and even share them with the community! Almost every instrument can be popped up or popped out as a 2D floating window! They can be placed on other monitors as well. Instruments can be moved in 3D directly, on a 2D pop-up preview window, or by numerical entry for precise placement. GNS430 and 530 can be swapped out, but a restart of the plane is required, as 430s and 530s are mutually exclusive in terms of compatibility in X-Plane Dynamic livery editor (like in the Kodiak, the Beaver, the Wilga, the Caravan, and the Pilatus PC-6) Full PBR control! Create stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look in mere seconds! Additional control over dirt/scratches, adjustable in real-time to dial in the exact desired amount of wear and tear. Create "virtual" liveries, based on two basic common design layouts (Modern and Classic), and assign any colour to any available paint segment. Quickly create preview of livery in real-time, using intuitive controls. Previews include visualization of metallic materials and dirt overlays. Apply selected livery in real-time, right in the sim, without the need to even touch a 3rd party image editor! Option to change the tail number in real-time, or disable it altogether. (Enter a "space" instead of a callsign number to create a blank tail number.) Easily and quickly create dozens of paint schemes in-sim! Also includes 9 traditionally painted liveries, all visible in a convenient pre-selection preview window. Uses SkunkCrafts Updater. Option to participate in Beta program, via checkbox in SkunkCrafts Updater. Excellent hi-res PBR realistic materials, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision. Fully modelled Continental IO-520-F engine. Feature-rich elegant fly-out menu with the following features: Electric tug, with in-panel controls to move forward/backward at the desired speed, and steer proportionally Control over chocks, individual tie-downs, covers, internal lights, external lights, etc. Option to enable/disable Cargo Pod, with realistically simulated weight, momentum, rotational inertia, and drag characteristics. Option to start up running (all systems ready), or cold-and-dark, for realistic startup procedures, directly from this fly-out menu. Control landing lights, strobes, beacon, and nav lights via fly-out menu Detailed weight and balance manager with visual chart, individual passenger seat weight control, Lbs/KG unit toggle, CG control, external tank control, and the option to save and load configuration. Control individual seat positions, or hide them altogether, to create a hybrid passenger/cargo version. When seats are hidden, cargo fills the space when weight is added via the fly-out menu. Multiple camera snap points, above and beyond what's available by default in X-Plane, so you can perform your walk around checks. Adjust your camera's Field of View without having to go to an X-plane menu, allowing for real-time adjustments. Audio mixer: individually control audio channels in real-time, so you can adjust volumes while hearing them play. Slew control: move your plane around the world, temporarily bypassing flight physics. Includes ground mode and air mode. Dynamic panel control page, with a separate view for the entire panel layout preview, or a per-instrument view, allowing for fine-tuning of instrument position, as well as copy-paste function to quickly replace instruments. Options for landing gear: Tundra tires, mud flaps, wheel pants (fairings) Option to enable bubble windows for pilot and copilot side windows. DynaFeel panel: Dial in precisely how you with for the controls to react as a function of speed. Flight dynamics and systems: Detailed and accurate flight dynamics and weight and balance with the help of multiple real-world active Stationair pilots. This not only gives this aircraft the proper "feel", but also accurate takeoff, climb, cruise, and landing performance. The U206 Stationair is a well-behaved airplane and a very stable IFR platform. Tie-downs and chocks actually keep the plane from moving, even in high winds. DynaFeel: controls that simulate how strongly the control surfaces are affected by oncoming air, and how much strength would be needed to overcome these forces. Advanced FMOD-based sound system: High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth, finely tuned transitions (actually having calculated the precise beat frequency for each section, to minimize "muddy" transition sounds), and amazing atmospheric effects. Individual volume control over different aspects of the sound experience, adjustable in real-time (while listening to the sounds) Different sounds for front of plane than for back of plane Panning around the plane in exterior view yields awesome 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to prop Individual buttons and switches in the cockpit each have their own unique sound. Engine has typical cool-down ticking sound, based on engine temperature. Sounds actually give you clues as to what's happening under the hood. Outside wind intensity is affected by slip and AoA. (The more the surface area of the fuselage is hit by oncoming wind, the louder the sounds ___________________________________ Installation and documents: download for the Thranda_C206. is 1.97Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 2.34Gb Documents supplied are: Changelog.txt Thranda Graphics Settings XP11.pdf Thranda Joystick Settings.pdf Thranda U206G Manual.pdf U206G Performance Charts.pdf X-Plane G430 Manual.pdf X-Plane G530 Manual.pdf There are a huge amount of Documentation provided here, not only for the Thranda U206G including performance charts, reference guides, but also X-Plane/hardware settings and custom and default avionics. All updates are via built-in Skunkcrafts Updater Support forum for the U206 Stationair by Thranda _____________________ Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 17th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.00B13 (This is a beta review). Plugins: raffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft -EKLY - Kerry, Ireland by Boundless -EINN - Shannon, Ireland by Boundless (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  13. NEWS! - Aerobask updates EMB-505 Phenom 300 to X-Plane 12 One developer has been active with updates to X-Plane 12, and that developer is Aerobask. First it was the DA-50RG followed by ViperJet eX and then the DA-62. Now here comes the successful EMB-505 Phenom 300, a truly very nice aircraft to own and fly. Full release review is here; Aircraft Review : Embraer EMB-505 Phenom 300 by Aerobask If you have read the review, then yes I seriously loved this aircraft as it was one of the best from Aerobask. But the Embraer private jet is now also available in X-Plane 12... that has to be only a good thing. The New X-Plane 12 Version (XP11 version still also available) has significant changes and the X-Plane 12 new features in it's transition to the new version of X-Plane including: New XP12 flight model by X-Aerodynamics New XP12 Menus New G1000 Features Windshield Rain and Icing New XP12 Lightning The Phenom 300 is a twin-engined cantilever monoplane with low-positioned, swept wings. It has a horizontal stabiliser in a T-tail configuration and a retractable tricycle landing gear. It has two rear-pylon-mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535E turbofan engines. The enclosed cabin has room for nine passengers and a two-pilot crew; during single-pilot operation an additional passenger can be carried. Access to the cockpit and cabin is via an airstair on the left-hand side. Its structural life is 28,000 flight cycles or 35,000 hours. It is built of 18% composite materials; it has winglets, but not thrust reversers. The Phenom 300 also has single-point refueling and an externally serviced private rear lavatory. The aircraft first flew in 2008, with an Introduction into service 2009. Remember you get two aircraft for both X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 for the price of one! Designed by and Images from Aerobask Support forum for the Phenom 300 _______________________________ Yes! the Embraer Phenom 300 XP12 by Aerobask is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : EMB-505 Phenom 300 Price is US$44.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, MAC (using Rosetta) or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Video Card Recommended Download Size: 600 MB Current version: 12r1 (November 11th 2022) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 12th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  14. Aircraft Update : Maule M-7-235B Project XP12 v1.15 by vSkylabs Weeks, well only two months actually. The Maule M-235B Project from vSkylabs was the first third party aircraft created just for X-Plane 12, a significant moment. The Aircraft came in two variants of a Tundra tyred machine, and the second is the Amphibian or Float option. X-PlaneReviews full review of the original release aircraft is here; Aircraft Review : Maule M-7-235B Project XP12 by vSkylabs The vSkylab philosophy is that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is completed to 100%, that is the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft and all the development is free and ongoing throughout the X-Plane 12 version. These projects are under constant development: the development road-map is including flight model refinements, enhanced systems depth, additional liveries and other improvements. There has been already two updates for the Maule M-7, the first Version v1.1 (October 24th 2022), and now this version Version v1.15 (November 7th 2022). The October version (v1.1) focused mostly on the Flight Dynamics, personally needed as I found the aircraft far too touchy to fly, landing was also a bit hit and miss. Version v1.15 First change is on your X-Plane Flight Configuration menu. Now there is another aircraft (acf) to choose from. Before there was the M-7-235 Aircraft and the M-7 Floats variants, now added is the G1000 variant. The original M-7 has been renamed "Analog". So here is the "G1000", variant. If you have read my release review, then you would know I complained longingly and loudly about one element of the aircraft, the "Bouncy Wouncy" Tundra tyres, great for that odd wilderness adventure, but horrible for any regular flying. So you just couldn't see the objective of fitting them on the aircraft as standard. But now in v1.15 you are (thankfully) now given the choice of standard wheels (noted as "classic") or the 35" balloon tyres, that also gives the aircraft a more realistic stance (you touch them to change them over). The contrast of the different type of wheels is also adjusted to the flight dynamics (affecting the ground handling and aircraft performance). The three variants together, Standard, Tundra and Floats. If the Tundra wheels 35" are used, it is noted on the top of the instrument panel. Second big change is the option for G1000 (Laminar default) Avionics, in the standard two panel PFD and MFD display arrangement. The system is all totally Laminar default in features, pop-out PFD and MFD panels, built in Autopilot, Radio set in the centre, nothing here to relearn or study. Nice is the surrounding bezels, they have a great realistic texture that looks extremely realistic in the light. It is one of the best G1000 installations I have seen. Another instrument change is the addition of IFR instrumentation (Arrowed - RMI/CDI), missing from the earlier version (top). It feels very different inside the cabin as well? Overhead there has been installed a Sunroof and it makes a huge difference inside and externally to the aircraft in creating light and space. The glass window tint and the reflections has also been adjusted. Flying the updated M-7 Power up and we are away, definitely differences between the two versions if only separated by a couple of months. Sounds have been redone, and are now quite magnificent and have a bigger range. Yes I like them a lot. Taxiing is far easier as well... but you have to watch the mixture cutoff point, as it is now about mid-way between closed to full open, so you can easily shut off the fuel supply to early by wanting a leaner engine. Taildraggers are a handful, but I am finding a lot of differences here. Without those large balloon tyres the aircraft is not bouncing around as much on the takeoff, staying more controlled and far more in line. I hated them, now I can see why and now I feel why as well... this is much more better. There has been extensive flight model updates to refine STOL performance and ground handling, that also includes landing gears modifications physics (in other words the gear is more giving), It was a wonder I could fly it at all before? Climb rate is the same 1,650 fpm, but you keep it under 1,000 fpm to keep the climb in check and to get some forward speed, but that huge wheel drag is missing (unless you use the Tundra tyres), so you feel your not dragging the planet with you in climbing out now. This is a very different aircraft dynamically. You still have to however brake the wheels to stop them revolving though. I am enjoying the Maule a lot more in this version. Originally it was good, but this update makes it far, far better all round. The G1000 installation is in my mind better as well. We like the clockwork feel authenticity, but the G1000 gives you far more options including an automatic pilot option, easier flight planning and those far bigger displays. The extra light doesn't make the cockpit feel so cramped either, it has now a nice lighter and more airy feel in here... all to the good. Performance and flying dynamics are more refined and the plane feels far better, yes I'm smiling this time around. The better FMOD sounds, here are far more aurally realistic, certainly with the powered 0-540-B4B5, 235 HP Carbureted engine. Throttle up or down or lean the mixture and the sounds instantly respond in feel and tone, very nice. I do recommend the RK Apps XPRealistic v2 for the visual movements, in making the M-7 relate to the engine vibrations and again that syncs back in with the sounds, all round in creating a very authentic flying experience. The five liveries are the same... (also the same for both Wheeled and Amphibian) Gull-Grey-Black is default. the other four are; Big Sky-Blue-Red, Dune-White-Brown, Glacier-White-Brown and Solar-Yellow-Black. Then there is X-Plane 12... brilliant. The issue comes back when wanting to return to land, only worse. Before the huge wheels gave you a lot of drag, but that drag effect is not there anymore, so the aircraft is even now worse at floating with full flap and low speeds... you start to get a bit frantic as the aircraft WILL NOT GO DOWN, even at a stall speed which is 49 mph (80 km/h, 43 kn) full flaps down. So your sitting high, and not going down there... ... so if there is a heavy headwind then that wind just gives you a ton of lift, so your flying like on a pin, low speed, ballooning lift, and trying to keep the aircraft level, its fun... sort of nerve-racking fun if you like that bush pilot feel. Finally I lose height, at 58 knts I feel the aircraft sinking, so I focus on the runway... this is essentially a STOL aircraft, and those performance figures were tuned up in v1.15, you can feel that, but it would need a few flights to see if it is to the positive or the negative. A bit of flare and 48 knts and I'm touching the asphalt, that is the easy part, it gets tricky on the ground... ... it is very, very easy to lose the M-7, as it will twist on you in a second, and so it needs (a lot of) skill to align it back forwards while slowing down the aircraft, hard, but not impossible. But I will rally for the standard wheel configuration, it does help in this case again... a lot. Overall the Maule M-7 a nice modern bush pilot's aircraft. Two notes to wrap up, there is an annoying STMA auto updater that keeps coming onto the left of your screen, but handy for updating the aircraft. And the Maule is not compatible with X-Plane 11. Or can not be purchased for XP11, as this aircraft is for X-Plane 12 Only. ___________________ Summary Less that two months ago the Maule M-7 from vSkylabs was the very first aircraft released for X-Plane 12. Since that release there has been two updates v1.1/v1.15. The earlier update focused on the performance and bugs, but the second update is far more significant with more features and a lot more tuning to the aircraft. Added in v1.15 is the G1000 Avionics package with pop-out screens, more importantly you now also have the option of classic or 35" Tundra Bushwheels, the original Tundra wheels were just too unwieldy for just a light bush plane here. Nice new Sunroof also makes the cabin a far more brighter and open place to be. The analog cockpit also received IFR instrumentation (RMI/CDI), and the FMOD sounds have been totally redone to great effect. Noted the dynamic and performance tuning has greatly enhanced the flying, but the M-7 is still tricky to land and needs a lot of taildragger experience. So overall a great step forward. In the first review I asked for more options and features, that aspect to a point has been covered here, this Maule is now all round a more pleasant flying experience, not only in the dynamics but also in the new features and the better sound package. Most fliers that purchase vSkylabs aircraft know what they are purchasing, and the ongoing commitment to the project. This time around I had more fun and enjoyed the experience a lot more... it's overall a fun sweet little aircraft. _______________________________ Yes! the Maule M-7-235B Project XP12 v1.15 by vSkylabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Maule M-7-235B Project XP12 Price is US$32.95 Three Models in One - All are included in this package Maule M-7 Land Maule M-7 Amphibian Maule M-7 G1000 Requirements X-Plane 12 - Not compatible with X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.1.15 (November 7th 2022) Installation and documents: download for the Maule M-7-235B is 235Mb and is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder. Full Installation is 375Mb Documents supplied are: HOW TO INSTALL VSKYLABS M-7-235 POH Two, a basic manual (26 pages) and "How to Install" pdf _____________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 11th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 12 beta B3 Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft - KHAF - Half Moon Bay by Rising Dawn Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.00 (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
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