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  1. Scenery Review : VQPR - Paro International Airport by Cami De Bellis Could you live in the "happiest Place on Earth", and no it isn't Disneyland either? It is actually Bhutan, and yes it does have officially the happiest population on earth as noted daily by Bhutan's "Happiness Indicator" in Bhutan's capital Thimphu. The Kingdom of Bhutan (འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ Druk Gyal Khap) is a landlocked country in South Asia and is located in the Eastern Himalayas, and is the place to go to if you want to convert to Buddhism or seek out the truth and become Batman. The Kingdom, also restricts tourism, as only a select number of tourists per year are allowed to visit the Kingdom and then they are tightly, highly regulated and controlled. Entrance to the Kingdom is also restricted by there only being one major international airport at Paro which is 54 km from the capital of Thimphu. And with so few tourists, being totally landlocked from commercial interests including most of the modern infrastructure, stress and bad western television, you can see why they are so happy out there. The Bhutan's also love to have fun with anyone who insists of actually going there, because the only way into and out of Bhutan is via Paro and it is one of the most dangerous landings and takeoffs in the aviation world, and yes VQPR did make it to number 6 of the "most extreme airports of the world" and number 1 was to Antarctica and landing on sea ice. Cami De Bellis To anyone that has been around X-Plane for a number of years then our dear Cami is well known to most of us since 2008. This nice lady has turned out ton's of wonderful scenery over the years in the mostly the Caribbean Islands and the South Pacific. Her work is usually highly populated with people and objects, but this is Cami's first payware scenery in the VQPR - Paro International Airport in Bhutan. Paro International Airport སྤ་རོ་གནམ་ཐང༌། IATA: PBH - ICAO: VQPR 15/33 - 1,964m (6,445ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL 2,235 m / 7,332 ft Paro International Airport There are two major (If you call them a major carriers) in Druk Air and Bhutan Airways (2 A319-100's) based at Paro. Druk Air has been the Bhutan airline for longer since 1981 and started with a Dornier 228 and then switched to a BAe 146 which as you know are both STOL aircraft. But Druk Air now has three A319-100's and one ATR-500 and in 2012 over 181.000 pasengers passed through airport. The very early flights were also constricted by the exact time of landing, the number of passengers on board and even the direction the aircraft was parked on the airport apron being predetermined by the high lama of Paro Dzong, which means he was also the airport's operations manager in another capacity. Your first thought was going to be the "oh easy, I've landed on an aircraft carrier with a Boeing 747 and so I can do that Paro place". But to be a professional pilot of getting passengers in and out of Paro (Not to be confused with Faro Airport) is a tricky business. The above chart shows you what you have to contend with, plus the valleys are well known for their strange winds effects, in fact the winds can vary considerably at various points along the actual runway not considering also on the actual approach paths. There is no ILS here either and nav aids are restricted to just two in a VOR (PARO - 108-40 PRO) and a NDB (410 PR). This is all hand flying folks, no RNAV or computerised help is available either. "Your on your own" and if the weather is its usual changeable self (mostly to the bad) then you have to deal with that as well. Night flying here is strictly not available. In real flying you need a special certificate to be able to land at Paro. Airbus A320's and Boeing A737's can land here but rarely do so because of that required ticket. More importantly is that aircraft of that size would have to very aware of weight and load factors as we shall see, so the A319 is the best aircraft between size and weight here to get the job done. South Approach So I am going to try the south approach to RWY 33, the rules are very strict, almost carrier like in what to do in an aborted run, you really just climb hard and get yourself quickly out of there. The first part of the approach made me nervous as there was a lot of cloud around with mountain tops breaking through the tops. My equipment is the default Boeing 737-800, a bit big, but easy to handle. Your aim is the PRO "PARO" VOR and note it is listed at 11,483ft, Paro Airport is at an altitude of 7,332 ft so there is a difference of 4000ft, but you have to fly over PRO, so you are going to have to still descend a lot more than 4000ft in a very short distance. Thankfully the cloud cover cleared as I approached the VOR. Speed is absolutely critical as you go over PRO, your lowering flaps and wanting to go as slow as you can as you head down deep into the Esuna Valley and your aim is 165kts. You turn right then left as you swing down the valley and expecting Paro to be in front of you, but it is not, as the airport it is still hidden by Bongde at 8000ft, however you can descend from 11,000ft to 8500ft to take most out of the altitude for landing, however makes sure you don't go too low as Bongde is still there in between you and the airport. Gear down at this point as you approach Bongde for the drag, and as you go around Bongde the top of your speed needs to by around 145kts (stall is 130kts depending on your weight). Then like on a roller-coaster as you go over, or slightly around and down to the left and then swing to the right to finally see RWY 33 still way down below you in the valley.... time to descend, steeply. It is a crucial point here as your speed will increase quickly as you fall and you need to keep it no more than 163kts to control the landing... Even if you get it right, you will still feel you are high and too fast, but RWY 15/33 does give you a fair bit of landing space to get it right and is longer than it actually looks, like I said, total speed control is the key... my final landing speed was 135knts. You could call it the "Space Shuttle" approach because that is what it feels like. You don't really have much time for sightseeing with this approach as your total focus is not over running the 6,445ft runway, which is more like 3500ft by the time you grab the tarmac... the go around if required is pure carrier operations in full throttle and a full steep climb out. There is a small left shoulder to turn around at the end of RWY 33, but it is still a tight turn for the B738, but doable. First views around you and the area is full of realistic Bhutan housing and Pagodas and located up into the far distance is the Dzong or to give the building it's formal name the "Rinpung Dzong". There are hundreds of custom Bhutan buildings in this scenery that completely fills out this part of the valley, these certainly give you the feel that you are in a very different part of the world as is the largely wooden based architecture. Bhutanese ramp workers greet you in the local costumes, which makes a big difference from the Hi-Vis jackets of norm. You will need to have your "Texture Quality" slider at "maximum" as the textures are not high quality and at anything less than the Max setting will give you a slightly blurry look on any of the buildings. At max it is fine and you can set the max, texture quality setting and get away with it in that position because autogen here is almost non-existent and the texture count here is very low as well. As approaches go, you feel like you should get your astronaut medal for landing the shuttle from space, the approach is exciting and requires skill, the visual aspects are great as well, so overall a challenging and complex arrival at a high altitude Himalayan airfield. VQPR - Paro Overall VQPR fits in well to the area. There are joins between the custom scenery and the default textures, but you have to go looking for them, and the basic default textures are a mixed set here anyway that really doesn't help the layout as they are also a very low resolution, so in context the work of intergrating the custom othro textures is well done. The runway textures are good, but not sensational. In the real images of VQPR the runways and taxiways are more dirty, harder rubbered in used and tired, with more worn patches and patchy oily areas... There is 3d grass as well, but the feature is only used in a few places. Obviously the Bhutanese like to get their lawnmowers out to keep it all spick and span for the selected guests, but 3d grass along the runway and far more other areas would have been nice and more realistic. Where it is placed it looks very good. There is also a lot of placed trees. A lot of the trees are those cross-form types that don't work very well with some sun angles (I think they look fake personally) but some trees are really quite beautiful in colour as we shall see. Terminals Paro Airport is an exquisite place for architecture. In our constant sameness of airport terminals in this day and age, then Paro is a place to be treasured. Externally and Internally then Paro can only be Bhutanese in its design and feel, it is a beautiful place full of beautiful things. Going through immigration here is a pleasure not the usual painful challenge of today, no wonder the Bhutanese are so happy there. The scenery's reproductions of the two terminals are very good, yes two terminals! The original 1999 terminal (below left) was joined by the newer slightly larger terminal that opened Mar 18, 2016 (Below right). The new terminal is for arrivals only. So this scenery is up to date and the buildings are highly detailed, but the textures are extremely low-res close up and don't reveal too much of their detailing, from a distance it is fine, but it feels texture wise slightly dated in this age of quality 4K textures. There is a huge amount of detail included with this scenery, and all very local and not just generic in context as you would expect from most designers. But then again Cami is not your usual designer and here she is in her element in giving you the feel of this very different culture. All people are 3d and a great mix of Bhutanese and Western cultures and the ramps and landside areas are busy, busy places. Very rarely do airport administration buildings look like they do at Paro, they are beautiful and part handcarved wood. But then again Control Towers don't look like this anywhere else either? The Fire Station is part of the control tower as well. Note the beautiful cherry blossom trees and the flags are animated and flap nicely in the wind. Detailing here is very well done and well conceived and highly realistic (or manicured). Note the highly realistic street lamps, and their lovely detail. Landside is very completed of objects and detail, you can feel the slight modernisation around the airport as the Bhutanese are coming more and more into the modern world. There are animated vehicles, but not many and the nice touch is that again they are locally branded and not generic. One is a fuel truck and also a baggage cart. North of the terminals and ramp areas is a maintenance area with a large shared hanger for both Bhutan Airlines and Druk Air... ... and a secondary hangar for general aviation or aviation workshop. Tower View Both approaches are excellent with the tower view. But the charts note that the control tower can't see you until you are on short-finals... ... You do however get a great overview of the ramps. Bhutan landscape The Bhutanese love their ornamental gates called "traditional entrance gates" and there is a wide variety produced here in the scenery, including the more modern traffic version. The exotic Bhutanese housing is very well represented, the buildings are very like everything else in Bhutan in being ornamental and also quite basic in design, it comes across like a sort of alpine Indian (Asia) feeling. The buildings are mostly placed along the river Paro Chhu that flows right through the valley and past the airport. The highlight of Paro is the Buddhist fortress featuring several shrines & chapels, plus wall paintings and the grand architecture of the "Rinpung Dzong". The monastery is situated northeast of the airport and can easily be seen from the ramps. The Kyichu Lhakhang, another important Himalayan Buddhist temple that is situated just north of Paro also on the Paro Chhu but is not represented in this scenery. Lighting The lighting at VQPR is excellent. Even if that flying at night here is not undertaken. You can see why with those tall dark monoliths each side of the valley and the airport, that are there and just waiting deathly as your ultimate calling card. However the runway lighting is really good and effective if you can get in and out of VQPR before the curfew. Ramps are very well lit and with the right if perfect light tone. Building lighting is excellent as well, but the standout is the four cross and two globe street lighting... ... that is used to maximum effect on the landside areas of the terminals. Maintenance hangar gets neon lighting in contrast to the rich lighting everywhere else, which is a nice touch. Paro itself is village like with no street lighting and just window illumination that works well. All signage is well lit and prominent, and gives you a very authentic feel to the scenery. Departure from VQPR Getting out of VQPR - Paro is as breathtaking as getting in... ... weight is critical to get the maximum performance out of those engines. You are already 7333ft high in altitude and thinner air, so those engine don't perform as well as they do at sea level. Hold the brakes and build up the thrust and then let the aircraft go. You climb, and you climb hard at full thrust. You are at 20º pitch and and still the mountains feel too close and riding only on pure upward thrust alone. You feel that thrust pushing you ever upwards, its a hell of a ride, Titan booster style. Finally you start to see space... oh sorry, but still 18,000ft is required as per the charts going straight up to clear the range... ... you don't want on that climb for the power to fall off, and so make sure the aircraft can produce it via the weights, finally clear air and a normal climbing pitch of 2500 feet per minute, and there is absolutely nothing normal about getting in and out of Paro, Bhutan. Services Only Bhutan airlines do most of the services in and out of Paro, and that is because it is restricted.... routes are mostly to Thailand and India, but Indonesia is in there as well, which is a fair distance from the Kingdom. Bhutan Airlines : Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Delhi, Jakar (suspended), Kathmandu, Kolkata, Trashigang (suspended) - Seasonal: Gaya Buddha AirCharter: Kathmandu Druk Air : Bagdogra, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Delhi, Dhaka, Gelephu, Guwahati, Jakar, Kathmandu, Kolkata Seasonal: Batam, Denpasar, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, Johor Bahru, Medan, Mumbai, Penang, Singapore, Trashigang (suspended) Summary From a pilot's point of view then VQPR - Paro is one of the biggest challenges in aviation. Both approach and departure requires a lot of discipline and skill in getting a medium-sized jet into and out of the airport, so it is exciting and challenging at the same time, but the trick is to do it professionally and not in a gamer sort of attitude. It is a tricky scenery to create. There is a lot of elevation changes and the basic X-Plane textures are not of the Hi-Resolution type you get say in Europe or America as there is a lot of very different texture styles trying or fighting to recreate a Himalayan landscape, which are fine for flying over at altitude, but close up are a bit of a mixed up set of sets. Then you are trying to match in your custom ortho textures into this complex patchwork of textures. In this area Cami has done a great job, but a wider set of ortho textures would have made the job easier and gave you a more proportional and smoother landscape over a bigger distance, Beti-X did that at Bella Coola for a better effect. Then there is the small issue that some textures gave offny winter line patterns behind the airport that is not there when the scenery is removed? There are no built in ground routes? So there is no access to WorldTraffic3, X-Life or the default static aircraft. No pushback or service vehicles are available either... a big omission for any payware scenery? Overall Bhutan buildings and terminals are really well done and wholly represents the airport in its current fashion, textures are low grade though and it shows up close and even at maximum texture render settings, so it feels to be slight older scenery than it actually is, the textures look a a decade out of date by current X-Plane standards. Runway and taxiway textures needed more grit and dirt, as this runway gets some hard landings and it shows in the real world images, but overall at a distance the buildings work and feel fine as they are very colourful and cheerful, just like Bhutan. As expected with Cami, detailing and sheer object numbers are in placement is excellent with both ramp equipment and 3d people and all areas both airside and landside are covered, the valley is full cultural Bhutan buildings and their also the lovely traditional entrance gates. Overall this is very good scenery, and the bonus of those approach and departure challenges gives you great value for your investment, certainly more other connecting airports in India and Kathmandu in Nepal, would give you more access to the scenery on a route basis, but even as a standalone it is very good scenery to use in X-Plane... so great work by Cami De Bellis, well done and this scenery is a great entrance to the "land of the Thunder Dragon". ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the VQPR - Paro International Airport by Cami De Bellis is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VQPR - Paro Intl Airport, Bhutan Your Price is US$19.95 Features Exact reproduction 3D of the airport buildings, houses, hangars, Dzong, Pagodas and others Detailed textures and custom objects Reproduction of staff and local people 3D Hand placed 3D trees Volumetric grass Complete reconstruction of the airport's lighting equipment Detailed ground markings Custom night lighting Many Animations in and around airport Very detailed 3D Models covering the whole airport Ground Traffic by Marginal Requirements X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10.50+ Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum. 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended Installation : Download scenery file size is 59.60mb. With the full installation installed at 198.60mb in your custom scenery folder. The CDB-Library v.2.4 is required. Documents Readme.txt But no Charts supplied. These charts are the best I could find for VQPR -Paro: VQPR_CHARTS WT3 : No ground routes was created for the scenery, so WT3 does not work here? ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 13th December 2017 Copyright©2017: 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) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.10 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 Scenery or Aircraft - Boeing 737-800 Default by Laminar Research (Free with X-Plane11)
  2. News! - X-Plane11.10 has gone Final! Rejoice, bring out the drinks! Laminar Research has announced that X-Plane11.10 is now a certified version. X-PlaneReviews did a look over at the release of the XP11.10beta on what was the main features in X-Plane11.10 here: X-Plane Version Release! : X-Plane11.10 beta by Laminar Research And the main highlights are: Joystick & Keyboard Profiles London Landmarks Highly Functional G1000 Autogen & Scenery Objects Kiosk Mode Improvements for Situation Files Detailed Custom Scenery for KPHX & KBOS Over 500 New Airports with 3D Scenery This was an exceptional upgrade for the X-Plane11 simulator and the full details are available here: X-Plane 11.10 Release Notes So well done Laminar and a very Merry Christmas in the gift you have given the all of us, and so say all of us... and so say all of us... hooray! _____________________________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 9th December 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
  3. News! - HD Mesh Scenery v4 Released Alpilotx has released the next level of mesh scenery for X-Plane in v4. This scenery covers... The triangle mesh resolution is far higher than in the default mesh and even a bit above the level of the previous HD Mesh Scenery v3:: this give – obviously – better DEM (elevation data) representation (slopes, mountains etc.) BUT this also vastly(!) improves the landclass data representation (which in X-Plane is very closely coupled with the triangle size in the mesh). This is most obvious with forest detail. The vector data simplification is less aggressive than in the default mesh (where Laminar needed to do that to limit the overall size of the global scenery). Thus road / railroad bendings are more accurate and the same is true for rivers, shorelines (but where the OSM raw data is bad, this can’t help much either) HD Mesh Scenery v4 also has the new “high buildings” feature included, which I introduced with Laminar in XP11. This puts all (well, with some filtering of not reasonable stuff from OSM) buildings > 20m “height” or > 5 “building:levels” as some “high building” object (with a more or less correct height – as defined in OSM) in the scenery (“building:levels” are simply multiplied by 4m to get an approximate height). This usually gives most cities a much better look (New York is a great example, where in OSM almost all buildings already have a height defined). This same approach also “imports” antennas / masts from OSM (as antenna obstacles) OSM data is updated (its “date stamp” is 1st October 2017) . Which makes it newer than current XP11 default mesh data and of course much, much newer than the data in HD Mesh Scenery v3. Most of the Landclass data has seen an update (which already happened with my work for the XP11 default scenery … but HD Mesh Scenery v4 can represent the high res landclass data much better) And areas covered by the mesh tiles are: Europe (from the Canaries and Iceland in the west up to Moscow an and most parts of Israel in the East) North America (USA, Alaska, Canada) South / Central America Australia Japan Hawaii and most of the tiny Pacific Islands Australia Himalaya (Coverage to the north ends at 73 N !) This mesh is X-Plane11 only, as it uses the X-Plane11 features to generate objects on the mesh. Note some mesh downloads are large Gb sizes to download bujt well worth the the download time. More Alpilotx screenshots are here: HD Mesh Scenery v4 (for X-Plane 11) HD Mesh Scenery v4 (for X-Plane 11) – COMPARISON shots And the Official Site with all other (continuously updated) information, download links and important instructions can be found on the official HD Mesh Scenery v4 Site: http://www.alpilotx.net/downloads/x-plane-11-hd-mesh-scenery-v4/ Images and text are courtesy of Alpilotx _____________________________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 8th December 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
  4. In my absolute defense on this one, I spent ages trying to find the correct PH. Maybe it was really because I could never use the Aerosoft - Schiphol scenery as it always crushed my framerate down to single digits. Now I can with a new graphic card and I was there only last night, so I guess it will be from now on "Welcome to the Netherlands".
  5. Scenery Review : EDDF - Aerosoft Airport Frankfurt XP11 From the earliest days of Aerosoft providing scenery to the X-Plane simulator there has been a custom Frankfurt International airport in "Aerosoft - Frankfurt". This scenery was provided free with the introduction of X-Plane10 (X-Plane boxed set "Global Edition") and was made as were a few other Aerosoft airports in being in the default scenery and loaded into X-Plane as part of the main download or any update of the simulator... In other words you got the EDDF scenery if you wanted it or not. At first I was excited to have my first Aerosoft scenery, but over the years in reality I didn't much care for this EDDF or worse I hardly used it. Yes I flew into EDDF a few times (six I think) but mostly I found it missing something. It is still in your custom scenery folder if you want to browse it over, but what you will find is this... By early X-Plane10 standards it is pretty good, so what was my problem? Mostly it was in the way that Aerosoft were at the time not very good at using the intergration between their own ground textures and the X-Plane default textures and creating bands of nothing around the airport scenery... here at EDDF there wasn't actually any custom ground textures but still the empty spaces around the airport didn't use the autogen or the extensive default traffic system to their best advantages, so you always sort of got an airport that was isolated out there like an island feel. The airport buildings themselves are still pretty good, but the lower resolution does show, the scenery surprisingly is also heavy as well on your framerate for so little visually. Many users worked hard to fill in this default EDDF and were very successful for their extensive efforts as the basics are quite good to work with, but in reality you were working to fix something that was compromised in the first place. Overall because of Aerosoft's supreme reputation you expected far, far better so overall you were disappointed in this EDDF even if it was free. EDDF - Aerosoft Frankfurt XP11 So when the X-Plane11 version of EDDF - Frankfurt was released, you were really expecting the older original X-Plane10 scenery just to be updated for the current X-Plane version of X-Plane11. Well I was... ... but this EDDF - Frankfurt is absolutely nothing like the original version, quite simply it is excellent, and yes this scenery has that first time look of the "wow" factor, and I have already done six flights to EDDF and that is more flights to Frankfurt in one week than I have flown to the airport in the last five years. The so called "wow" factor is highlighted by certainly the X-Plane11 dynamics, but also by some other more important reasons which we will cover in this review, but the biggest change is really in the attitude of Aerosoft itself and the approach of the way they are now creating scenery for X-Plane. So let us now do first an overview of EDDF. Frankfurt Airport Flughafen Frankfurt am Main IATA: FRA - ICAO: EDDF 07R/25L - 4,000m (13,123ft) Asphalt 07C/25C - 4,000m (13,123ft) Asphalt 18/36 - 4,000m (13,123ft) Concrete 07L/25R - 2,800m (9,240ft) Concrete Elevation AMSL 364 ft / 111m Your first overview impression is that Frankfurt XP11 is really well now intergrated into X-Plane. The old bland layout setting has been totally wiped, with now the excellent ortho ground textures and well set out trees. One bonus of X-Plane11 is you also get the default German autogen and that looks great as well, but it comes with a big stick... there is a lot of autogen around EDDF (mostly to the north) and at full object settings it can be very heavy on your framerate... if you can run that setting then great for you, but even I had to pull the setting back one notch as shown here. You don't lose too much in the visual sense with the setting down a notch and considering the huge to massive object count in this scenery, the framerate count is very good if not excellent at this setting. The object count is extreme and to the limit, but there is a slight little bit of cheating going on in here as a lot of the buildings are really only quite basic and their textures are so good you don't really notice the square or oblong flat building holding them.... it is clever and never ever really looks that way in the scenery. But where it counts in the design of the terminals and the major significant buildings they are well designed and produced. Frankfurt Terminals Airside the Terminal layout looks quite confusing? But study the design from above and you can work it out. Frankfurt - FRA has two main terminals in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Obviously T1 is the original FRA terminal and to a point the original terminal is still there but now buried by decades of extensions. More to that fact is that the oldest part of the first terminal in Concourse B has just been completely renovated and Concourse A has been extended for A380 operations and is called A-Plus. Terminal 1 Terminal Mitte (Central Terminal, today known as Terminal 1) was originally divided into three concourses (A, B and C) with 56 gates and an electric baggage handling system. It was first opened to the public on 14 March 1972. Since the 1970's it has spurred off concourses and gates. The layout now is Concourse A and AZ, Concourse B and Concourse C. Concourse B is now the old Central Terminal reconfigured (above) and Concourse A and AZ (below) is to the west and Concourse C to the east. Gate numbering is not sequential and there are 25 gates in Concourse A/Z, 18 gates in Concourse B and 11 gates in Concourse C. Concourse A The new A-Plus (Z) concourse (below) can park category F A380's with gates A54, A58, A62 and A66 with double deck boarding gates. Modeling is excellent, but it is those reflective glass textures that are really the business, this is as real as it is going to get for any simulation... Concourse B The two spread circular arms of concourse B have been remodeled to match the rest of FRA. But the central original Mitte Terminal is still visible amongst all the decades of renovations, the old control tower is like a ships bridge that still looks out over the ramps, even though it is not used any more, and the original terminal glasswork is a transport back into time and another era of aviation, yes it looked liked that to me as a boy... There are two category F gates on each circular arm in B28 and B46... ... and again attention to detail is extraordinary good. Concourse B is very well modeled in blending in the past with the newer elements. Great detail in passenger moving coupling buses as every area is very well populated with ground and ramp equipment, that is very well placed to add in the correct volume of visual equipment without obstructing you when arriving and departing the gate. Concourse C The left arm on arrival into Terminal 1 is the Concourse C. The concourse is a real mixture of old and new, with the older inner gates in a marked contrast to the new category F A380 (yes more) gates in C14 - C16 to the east. The addition of the newer C gates can confuse with the Terminal 2 gates of D and E as the C gates overlap well into the Terminal two area... So if you want a different contrast of a EDDF arrival than the overwhelming mostly glassy modern Germanic architecture then Gates C 1 - C11 will give you more of the original FRA feel, just like the few pockets left of older gates at Heathrow. The contrast between the eras has been well developed here and the newer terminal glass looks so good it is translucent. Terminal 2 Terminal 2, which has a capacity of 15 million passengers a year, was opened in 1994 and is divided into concourses D and E. It is a continuous concourse between the main Terminal 1C and 2D provides direct, but non-public access between the two terminals. It has eight gates with jetways and 34 apron stands for a total of 42 gates. The glass construction of T2 is different from the rest of FRA's terminals, but still very green glassy in design. This is the terminal for the oneworld team of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines and SkyTeam alliances of Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Saudia, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines with gates E2 and E5 as category F. All gates have the animated boarding bridges with Safedock A-VDGSs and marshallers on stands, but which ones work and which ones are the eligible gates/stands is not easy to find out as there is so many to check around, the few gates I used were animated and did work well in A24 and B27. There is huge amount of animated traffic as well as this EDDF is a busy place. The traffic tends to queue up a lot, mostly at intersections and parked aircraft, but that just adds into the dynamics of the airport. The Fraport railcars that connects to all the terminals are in there, but not animated. Lufthansa Technik and Fuel Depot Lufthansa'a engineering arm Lufthansa Technik has a very large presence at EDDF. It is set out in two areas with one central north and another larger facility on the south side of the airport (built for the airlines A380's). In the central north there is a very iconic and distinctive maintenance hangar. The buildings construction is excellent with perfect realistic textures, certainly with the concrete roof supports, there is a secondary large maintenance building behind the hangar. Next to the Technik hangar is the airports fuel depot. Not just the actual tanks, but great detailing around them with buildings, pipes, fencing and vehicles... this type of detailing is highly evident right though out this scenery, there so much visual detail that is present and certainly far too much to cover in any detail here in this review, but for noted eye candy you have almost everything you need to fill out all your senses here. Cargo Frankfurt is the second largest cargo hub in Europe after Charles De Gaulle in Paris and the huge facility here is split into two areas with in the north (CargoCity Nord) and in the south (CargoCity Süd). CargoCity Nord is all Lufthansa and is basically two separate ramp areas and is the Lufthansa Cargo headquarters. For the haulers out there then this is the place to work from, it is about as good as it gets and this is the departure point for the interesting Lufthansa Cargo route to Yemelyanovo Airport in Russia. So why fly an MD11F to a freezing cold Russian airport in the absolutely middle of nowhere? To get Russian overflight clearance, that is why. Overall the FRA Nord Cargo area is one of the best in X-Plane with great detail and markings and all the buildings and cargo storage areas are first rate. Far west CargoCity Nord is a multipurpose cargo area with a big FedEx complex, and some small hauler/carrier offices. A note is important here. The main taxiway to "Runway Northwest" 07L/25R cuts through Cargo Nord at intersection N11 to taxiways F then P. This taxiway is so, so easy to miss but then get ready to turn right just past the fuel depot. The Lufthansa Technical Training building (above right) is off this taxiway P as well. EDDF Control Tower Frankfurt's main Control Tower is position central by the A gates and Lufthansa Technik hangar. Modeling of the tower is absolutely first rate, with great detail and excellent glasswork. Finer details include railings, air-conditioners and stairs. Field view is obstructed by the tower elements, but not in a poor way as all the approaches can still be seen clearly. Frankfurt Landside The original Aerosoft Frankfurt scenery (the free one) did have a lot of landside buildings, but they were more generic than attributed to the actual airport skyline. To many the inclusion of these buildings are not the primary aspect of the airport, but to a point they are as important as the actual representations of terminals and airport logistics, in many ways these landside skylines represent the airport as a whole... the wide view so to speak, so if they work well then so does the whole scenery and that aspect is certainly crucial here at FRA. You are not disappointed here in that aspect either. Every significant building or complex has been covered, even the more outer perimeter flat/hi-rise towers are represented. The list of course is huge, from Sheraton Hotels to airport administration buildings they are all here and fully modeled for your enjoyment... but there has to be a catch? Well there is... you can't have a huge object count and not feel it on your framerate, so there has to be a compromise. For smaller mid-sized airports you can do that high object detailing and even down to say park benches or wastebins. But you can't do that in a scenery this large and expansive. Aerosoft's basic textures are very light or a lower resolution than anything else, their argument would be that you really don't see them anyway with the building placement. So the ground textures are mostly low-res and it shows and the ground fill (cars, buses) is light as well, and as noted many of the buildings are quite basic modeling wise, but the good quality textures surrounding them hide that fact. The important aspects are however in there. Like the First Class Reception centre of which most of us earthly beings will never see inside of... and the great modeling of the huge Sheraton Hotel/Frankfurt Airport Centre complex. The most significant building is of course is the 2011 large office building called "The Squaire" (a portmanteau of square and air). It was built on top of the Airport long-distance station and is considered the largest office building in Germany with 140,000 m2 (1,500,000 sq ft) floor area. The main tenants are KPMG and the two Hilton Hotels. And like were it counts with the Squaire, the modeling is absolutely first rate (the glass work is exceptional), and the active traffic (and trains) works well here as part of the scenery that flows under the building. The traffic system is used to great effect also in the far east section of FRA, it is perfectly intergrated and visually very good. LH Sky Chef's Catering and another small cargo hub is positioned here in the east as well. A great addition to the scenery is the Commerzbank-Arena that is situated far east of EDDF, but is significant visually for all eastern approaches. South EDDF The south section of Frankfurt Airport was up until recently the Rhein-Main Air Base. It was closed on the 30 December 2005, as the US Air Force moved then to Ramstein Air Base. This area's history actually goes back even further as it was originally part of a base used as a field for fixed-wing aircraft and in the extreme southern part near Zeppelinheim it served as a base for the Zeppelin rigid airships. This section of Rhein-Main later became the base for the Graf Zeppelin, its sister ship LZ-130, and until 6 May 1937 for the ill-fated Hindenburg. The airships were later dismantled and their huge hangars demolished on 6 May 1940 during the conversion of the base to military use. Most of the airbase has now gone, but a few remnants remain like the Dakota C47 and C-54 Skymaster by the Berlin Airlift Memorial and old gatehouse. A lot of the old expansive airforce base ramp space is good for aircraft storage, but the area is earmarked for Frankfurt's new Terminal 3 complex. The new A380 Lufthansa Technik maintenance hangar is impressive, massive, but the detailing on the other Lufthansa Technik hangar is also excellent. There is an engine test blast fence here as well. Most of the southern area is part maintenance for Condor and Lufthansa Cityline and part CargoCity Süd (South). All south side buildings are covered and the old military tower is now the south ramp tower, it is really another airport on its own without the huge complex the other side of the runways... The old airbase headquarters is now a hotel, and south, south there are factories just placed on the ground, but with no real detail as their only purpose is to fill out the area. Runways The main active runways are the two parallel runways of 07R/25L - 07C/25C. Runway and taxiway textures are first rate if not perfect. Lineage and signage is as expected very good, but it very easy to get lost out here, so study your ground chart. In the right lighting conditions the ground reflections are very good and shows you the great and almost realistic 3d asphalt textures. note the worn to lighter parts of the asphalt... lovely. There is however no famous Aerosoft 3d grass, and it is highly noticeable with the wide flat grass field areas. My guess it was the framerate hit that succumbed us to the loss... but I think we still could have had the choice. Runway 18 is used only for departures south and is great to use with the busy parallel runways of 07R - 07C providing brilliant arrivals vistas... The controversial new 07L/25R is great as well. This runway is used only for arrivals and there is a great Fire Station located on taxiway P. Main highlights here though on 07L/25R are the two aircraft overpasses over the A3 autobahn... who doesn't love an aircraft overpass and certainly when you get a lot of traffic and even trains running under you, and there is one situated on taxiway P... ... and the other overpass is on taxiway P1 far west of the cargo area. WT3 : WorldTraffic3 Aerosoft's EDDF - Frankfurt is fully compatible with all A.I., X-Life and WorldTraffic3 activity. The airport has extensive WED ground routes that are highly modified for activity operations, and for me and throughout this review I have used the WorldTraffic3 plugin. Lately on its airport conversions, Aerosoft have used an excellent X-Plane developer called Omar Mansoor. The differences of the quality and how good a (talented) X-Plane scenery developer can bring to a scenery is no doubt highlighted very well here. The ground routes which were created after WT3's release are simply superb. A run of the route generator creates perfect ground routes for you to use, and if any scenery displays the sheer brilliance of WorldTraffic3 in action is certainly here at EDDF. The images throughout this review speak for themselves. But the highlights are that all cargo areas/flights are fully functional and if you like A380's then you will go to superheavy heaven here... Set your clock to 8.30am Frankfurt time and watch them roll in and out, six A380's leave and two arrive in twenty minutes. And all throughtout the day these aviation monsters arrive and depart from mostly Asia or Lufthansa's departing to America. WT3 on or off is a stark comparison, but the airport will tick over like clockwork if you set the real time AFRE routes... ... and EDDF is always running WT3 busy, busy day or night. But somehow they all land, find and park at a gate. If you want EDDF, then also purchase WT3 as they live together perfectly and go hand in hand. Lighting EDDF's lighting is excellent, and in some areas some of the best night textures you have seen. The airport lighting and the night traffic lighting combines to make any approach exciting. Runway and taxiway lighting is first rate and what you would expect from a major country hub like FRA. But the taxiway signage can be slightly dull, but is realistic. There is nice varied lighting and the ramps do look spectacular with great spot and throw elements. The only areas that are dark and should be lit are between the Hotels/Carparks and Terminal one, it is all in terminal darkness and not lit at all (below right)? Again it is the what you don't see you don't need factor, but it is highly noticeable from anywhere in the air. For the main Terminals and ramp areas you have however the best night building textures and lighting you can get. Signage and windows look excellent and highly realistic... Anyone would welcome an arrival here with these excellent textures, and working on the ramps here is a breeze. Two other highlights are the lovely Lufthansa Technik hangar doors with a nicely lit Control Tower right next to it. And the really well lit beautiful blue the "Squaire" and Sheraton Hotel. Services I could fill two pages of services for EDDF... Lufthansa LH of course dominates everything here but in reality you have everything from LCC's (LCC's mostly park on the South side) and there are stands and ramps for everysize and every type of commercial aircraft you fly. There is a very small area for General Aviation on the south side, but EDDF is all totally commercial and legacy airline operations hub right up to those huge A380's. Cargo is the same with Lufthansa Cargo the main tenant, but there is ramp space and parking areas to use to fly to any haulers destination in any operators aircraft. In other words it is one of the best cargo hubs in the world. Summary Frankfurt EDDF is a huge German Hub and this scenery is just as mammoth in its scale and content. Yes Aerosoft's FRA does have that huge wow factor, but it is in the finer details that makes it really stand out above the crowd. Aerosoft in reality has for years delivered airports of this scale and quality. But the scenery was missing that certain vital element to make them first grade. Here with Omar Mansoor's input and skill, he brings EDDF alive like only X-Plane11 can with ground airport traffic, A-VDGS animated gates, lighting and excellent laid out ground routes, add in the WorldTraffic3 action and you have a blockbuster of a scenery. All the main modeling and 3d work is exceptional as is the landside building fill as well. Detailing and the sheer object count here should bring your computer to its knees, but EDDF doesn't do that because of the lighter ground textures and none overfill in areas that don't require intimate filling just for the sake of having it there. With this size of object count the scenery is excellent on frame rate, but there is still a lot of objects in here and so even I use the one step down of object (graphic) setting to not to ruin all the action... overall the scenery is excellent on frameweight within reason. Building Hi-Resolution textures are some of the very best in the business, in the day or night as is the runway and taxiway textures, signage and layouts. All round Aerosoft's EDDF - Frankfurt is the best future of X-Plane scenery that you will get today. The deal is that it is the most complete scenery in every area of a large commercial airport (not to be compared with a small highly -detailed scaled airport) as sceneries of this size usually come with some sort of compromise, but EDDF doesn't have that compromise, it has everything, and delivers everything you want in a major hub of a scenery. Invest in EDDF and be sure of a lot of use and enjoyment out of this excellent part of your X-Plane flying... If you fly in Europe or fly to Europe then you will need EDDF Airport Frankfurt... it is just as simple as that. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the EDDF - Airport Frankfurt XP11 by Aerosoft is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Airport Frankfurt XP11 Your Price is US$32.99 Features: All 3D objects of the airport area recreated according to the official documents of the Fraport AG Uses advanced XPlane features such as 3D spill lights and glass reflections Animated passenger boarding bridges, Safedock A-VDGSs and marshallers at all eligible gates/stands (using the freely available AutoGate plug-in) Complete taxiway network for use by ATC and AI aircraft Fully compatible with the X-Life plug-in by JARDesign Makes full use of the new ground service vehicles introduced in XPlane 11 Thousands of hand-placed objects such as parked cars and streetlights Road network with animated traffic Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum. 4Gb+ VRAM Highly Recommended Installation : Download scenery file size is 134.40mb. With the full installation listed below in your custom scenery folder. Aerosoft_EDDF_1_Parked_Cars (35 kb) Aerosoft_EDDF_2_Roads (23 kb) Aerosoft_EDDF_3_Scenery (499.80mb) Parked Cars and Roads can be turned off to save framerate, but the saving is small. I recommend using the Frankfurt/Main VFR scenery for the Frankfurt city skyline, download link is below. Great visually but no LIT textures at night? Documents Charts_Airport_Frankfurt_XP11 (100 pages) Airport Frankfurt V2.0 XP-11 Version Technical Manual (X-Plane details) Manual_Airport_Frankfurt_XP11 (Aerosoft) WT3 : WorldTraffic3 ground route conversion is absolutely excellent and activity is perfect... Full cargo and lots of A380 activity with real time AFRE arrival and departures... a must have for this scenery! ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 7th December 2017 Copyright©2017: 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) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.05 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - Boeing 737-800 Default by Laminar Research (Free with X-Plane11) - Frankfurt/Main VFR - Scenery Packages (v11,v 10, v9) By Günther Kremp (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  6. It is for using an add-on joystick/keyboard button or joystick lever (if use TQ plugin), but not via the direct mouse input.
  7. News! - Airbus A320-251N LEAP by Peters Aircraft Airbus's latest generation of A320 series aircraft is the NEO or "New Engine Option" of this one of the most popular modern aircraft ever built. There are two new engine options with the Pratt&Whitney PW1100G and CFM's Leap 1A, and both engines use the geared turbine (GTF) technology to get large bonuses in performance, range and of course the ever wanting better fuel consumption by their airline customers. But it hasn't been a smooth sailing ride for both of either the engine manufacturers in this highly specialised geared turbine technology era. The PW1100G has easily outsold the Leap 1A with airline preferences going to the PW in a 10 to 1 ratio on orders. But the engine is already having durability issues. The Leap has had a far smoother EIS (Entry into Service), but this engine also has had issues with coatings on the ceramic matrix composite (CMC) shroud in the high-pressure turbine have shown parts of flaking off and again durability issues have raised their ugly heads. Both engine issues have delayed Airbus deliveries and airline operations over the last six months, but this is all a very high-technology front and with all new very ground breaking areas, you will always get issues of short-term pain, of course airlines won't hear of such things, but in reality it is the nature of the forward progressive technology to not always be totally perfect and completely reliable. In X-Plane there is already a few aircraft with the PW1100G neo fitted and available with the JARDesign A320neo and Peters Aircraft A320-271 NEO PurePower Engine. Now Peters Aircraft have released the CFM's Leap 1A version on the same A320-251N airframe as his PW1100G version. We are already very familiar with the the Pratt&Whitney GTF and the LEAP is in many ways very much the same in mostly the size of the 81 in (206 cm), 20 blade fan diameter on the P&W. The Leap 1A is only slightly smaller fan diameter at 78 in (198 cm) with a Bypass ratio (BPR) of 11:1 were as the P&W has a BPR of 12:1. Thrust is -1A versions 30, 32, 33, 35 - 143.05 kN (32,160 lbf) and the P&W GTF versions 4G/22G - 107.82 kN (24,240 lbf) and so the 1A engine is significantly more powerful. One of the highlights is the Leap 1A sound. It is very different aurally from the P&W GTF and is excellent at engine startup and shutdown. There is no FMOD, but the sounds are high grade and overall are excellent and recorded from a real CFM Leap 1A engine. Cockpit is unchanged from the P&W GTF except for the underlying new Leap performance numbers. Peters Aircraft does note that all aspects of their aircraft is focused on performance and handling of the actual aircraft. So you can be confident the performance numbers are very close to the original aircraft. Lighting for X-Plane11 has been reworked and very nice it is, not totally adjustable as airbus cockpit lighting is complex, but still very good. There are some really nice liveries as part of the Leap A320neo package. With a wide variety of fifteen airlines and three great Frontier logo aircraft. The Pegasus livery is default. The aircraft is available in X-Plane11 and X-Plane10 or the package of both XP11/XP10 versions, which is an upgrade cost. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Airbus A320-251N LEAP by Peters Aircraft is NOW! Available from Peters Aircraft here : Airbus A320-251N LEAP Price is Euro €39.90 for the X-Plane11 version _____________________________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 4th December 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)
  8. Behind the Screen : November 2017 October and March are the demon months in X-Plane. You look forward to them immensely but there is also the dread of the huge workload and the sheer amount of detail that you have to work through. Of course late October is the release month for the Christmas holiday period, and late March is now becoming a very large release period for the Easter holiday period. In fact Easter is now really the most interesting period for X-Plane as users don't have the usual hang ups that usually comes with all the expensive Christmas present giving and worse the "You have to be here to celebrate together" issue... For Easter you have more cash available and more importantly you have far more time for relaxation and X-Plane flying. Last year in November 2017 X-Plane was overshadowed by the release of X-Plane11 with the usual Laminar Research thanksgiving present, but this year we won't have that event, and so it is really mostly the usual back to business releases like the final of the release of X-Plane11-10 but there are still a nice load of gifts in this -10 release to keep you well and happy for going into the 2018 New Year. So October 2018 was a blockbuster month with two major releases with the FlightFactor/SteptoSky Airbus A320 Ultimate and the JustFlight/Thranda Arrow III of which I noted in the October edition of "Behind the Screen". Both releases are significant to X-Plane but a lot of users were very annoyed that it was a beta version of the A320 and most were not allowed into the beta process which to date of this edition is still ongoing. On this FF A320U subject I will make one thing very clear and that is the beta process with this aircraft is the one thing you really just don't need in your X-Plane life. Obviously you want to experience the aircraft and devour its incredible features, but... You just don't really want to go there no matter how capable you really think your abilities are. It is a seriously complex aircraft, daunting is a word I will use and very buggy at the point of the beta release and your only return for your initial experience would have been lots of frustration and for the sheer out of your depth feeling on how to fly the aircraft. It is brilliant and it will be one of the foremost experiences in X-Plane by the time of its formal release. So enjoy it then when it is all sorted. Boeing 757 On the subject of complex releases is that in November FlightFactor/SteptoSky also released the B757 Professional Extended v3 aircraft. My relationship with the FF/StS B757 has been a bit disconnected in the last year because of a strange password issue that wouldn't unlock the aircraft that even the developer couldn't fix, which means I had very little flying time on this fine aircraft all year. A new version fixed the password issue and I was then a B757 captain again with now three variants to fly with a -300, Freighter and of course the original -200 version. Back in the B757 cockpit I found myself slightly floundering. I knew the aircraft inside out, but did I? It has been over a year since I last reviewed an update on the aircraft and flew it perfectly back then. I soon got my act together but it took three flights before I had become fully accustomed to the aircraft again, once more tuned in then the aircraft came back easily to me and I got the performances that I expected not only from the aircraft but from my own flying abilities. I will make the point that in reality nothing had actually gone wrong, but I simply had lost the feel and flow of flying a complex aircraft, and yes I will admit to this. Like I have mentioned in the past in the ability to "Check" yourself on an aircraft every now and again so you don't lose that flow was certainly brought home hard with this situation. I had been locked out and it showed. There is another point to make on this theory in that it was I think more the underlying changes that was significant than the actual aircraft itself that had changed. Basically the B757 was the same machine, but over the year it had also had improvements, but more so it had been tuned differently for X-Plane11. "ahh" you will say and that is the point. Even though the aircraft was actually the same, in another way it was very different with all the very different aspects of flying now under X-Plane11 dynamics than the other older X-Plane10 parameters. With most aircraft throughout the last year the changes were significant but also subtle as well so you adapted as you went along. What the B757 brought home to me was in reality how much of X-Plane under its new guise was really different and like anything else you had to adapt with the changes set for you. Overall the X-Plane11 dynamics are quite extraordinary in their feel and obviously very different. Carenado Do 228 The Carenado Do 228 release was a blockbuster. These short-regional aircraft are always very versatile, but this one was very nice to fly as well. Now between the Beechcraft 1900D and the Dornier, you have a really have a hard desicion to make on which one is the one to fly, detailing is "open mouth" and can you actually believe "how good is this" territory, but it shows how good the add-ons now are for X-Plane. It was a very hard aircraft to move on from to do another review. X-Plane Demographics and X-Plane11 I am a big fan of demographics, and so Laminar Research's X-Plane collected data which is published periodically is always going to interesting. But this last release was more shocking than you could reasonably expect. The main thought is that, who is just a casual user and who is the diehard user. Are most users just flying in X-Plane as another distraction like playing video games and watching You Tube, or are they really into X-Plane... X-Plane. I will always note that the core users will always be a lot smaller than the overall size of people that have purchased the X-Plane simulator and to a point the data points this out. Originally the core group was around 30,000 out of 300,000 registered users, so about 1 in 10. But back then simulator users were very divided in what simulation platform they used. The fence was very high between the Flight Simulator hot shots and the X-Plane twiddlers, in other words X-Plane users were and still are very much involved in the mechanics and creation of the X-Plane world, were as the FS groups preferred to buy and build their world in components or packages. To a point both worlds have now merged a lot, and over the last few years a huge amount of diehard FS/P3D users have sampled X-Plane but still went back to their original offerings, but with the release of X-Plane11 last year the few then became a torrent as the walls fell and X-Plane became their primary simulation platform. X-Plane users have finally embraced the add-on market as well, as product gets better and this has pleased both camps. But that Laminar Research data is very bewildering. For General Aviation flying then X-Plane11 is the place to be, but many or most airliner pilots they are staying in X-Plane10? Why... well most probably it is the cost of upgrading those expensive add-on airliners, as at an average of US$50-$70 it is certainly a large replacement investment. Another point is that large aircraft users are waiting for the aircraft to be fully upgraded to X-Plane11 before taking the plunge, but in reality that case is now mostly closed as if not all the aircraft are now X-Plane11 compliant. On the RAM front it seems you need far more X-Plane11 than 10. 2Gb of RAM today is ridiculous as is 4Gb and the minimum now should be 8Gb. X-Plane on average with everything running with a heavy textured aircraft, large payware airport and a few plugins in using RAM is around constantly 6Gb, just under the 8Gb margin, so 16Gb should be the norm to not let the artificial RAM takeaway too much performance. In VRAM which is not listed in the data, then that is the the most developing important item with X-Plane11. I am at this moment updating my VRAM card from which I thought was a very safe headroom of 4Gb to an 8Gb card, even a 6Gb will be out of date in a year or so. So yes X-Plane11 chews up graphic cards like a hungry cookie monster. The reasons are mostly in the far more heavy aircraft 4K textures and the sheer scale of payware scenery we can now access. Weather was always a graphic card killer and although you will now slide through light weather event, but come to a stormy weather event and your frame-rate goes south. Add in WorldTraffic, X-Enviro and a box full of plugins and you can see why the graphic card is bulging. I noticed through out of the year my rendering options sliders were slowly going backwards, textures was were the biggest slips that moved, but mostly overall all sliders slid a full notch down, so even with my rendering options adjusted well down I am STILL always on the 4Gb limit or just under it or mostly over it. "aahh the cookie monster..." Biggest surprise in the LR data was that a quarter (23.4%) of X-Plane users still only use the mouse for flying aircraft. I will attribute this to the fact that most of these users fly on laptops, but seriously... mouse input? a quarter of you? I lasted I think seven minutes flying with my finger... I am moving on from that fact. No doubt the biggest barrier to X-Plane11 is simply cost. Not only the actual simulator (which in reality is the cheapest part), but the hardware and the cost of updating the payware aircraft is a cost to overcome. I feel your pain, but the sheer benefits of X-Plane11 certainly bear out the upgraded cost factors, Yes you can buy X-Plane11, still put in a 4gb graphic card (around US$200) and update the aircraft PASYG. At least you are upgraded and flying, go on treat yourself for Christmas... oh and go and buy yourself a cheap joystick as well. Christmas Presents (I won't be getting this year) On the "What would I like for Christmas" angle then I won't certainly be getting it this year, but I can hopefully put it out there for 2018. There is no doubt that in 2017 the rate of excellent add-ons have been the best yet, as we will cover in my regular end of the year review. But there are some holes I would like filled. In aircraft it is a head shaking in disbelief that there is still no decent top quality B787 Dreamliner? Yes there are a few out there, but not a deep level sim version, and "God knows" even Boeing will have sorted allthe the problems out of the aircraft before X-Plane gets one? A -9 would be very nice thank you.. A great Boeing 744 deep sim would be nice as well, but by the time we get around to that release all B744's will be in the scrapyard, you hear that PMDG? In General Aviation I would like a nice Britten Norman Islander, a nice aircraft that somehow X-Plane forgot. Another I will get down on my knees moment is for Carenado to cross over their currently in development F-27, yes that Fokker F-27 Friendship, at least it does have a chance of making it into X-Plane. In scenery a very nice payware EKCH - Copenhagen would make my Europe a better place... and I am still waiting and waiting for a very good HECA - Cairo to fly to... But still 2017 didn't again deliver much from the East either so anything from out there in 2018 would be a nice late Christmas present Oh and my cruise that I went on in the first week of November? Well I did trivia, pass the donkey, the samba dancing, name that tune (very good at that), cookery competition and won a chef's hat, bingo, zip lining over the top decks, disco dancing every night, got lost on an island beach and eat myself sick with all the free food, I needed a holiday after all of that. See you with my Comprehensive "End of the Year Review 2017" just before Christmas... Stephen Dutton 1st December 2017 Copyright©2017: X-Plane Reviews
  9. News! - STMA... All aircraft are now X-Plane11 All Shade Tree Micro Aviation aircraft (STMA) are all now compatible with X-Plane11, the only exception is the Kaman Kmax Helicopter. The list includes the... DHC-2 Beaver Turbo Piper PA-18 Super Cub Husky A-1A Husky Sherpa K650T Turbine Bush North American Rockwell OV-10 Lockheed U-2s Dragon Lady F-86E Sabrejet The PC12 - 47G, DHC3 Otter's and the Beech D18S or Beech AT11 are already X-Plane11 compatible. All aircraft now come with STMA's AutoUpdate (AU) which is the same as X-Updater, for direct updates to all future X-Plane11 updates. And all aircraft have been tuned to the new X-Plane11 dynamics and incorporate many of the X-Plane11 features. All Shade Tree Micro Aviation aircraft aircraft are now available at the X-Plane.OrgStore here: STMA - X-Plane.OrgStore _________________________________________ STMA has also released the Diamond DA40-180 Diamond Star for X-Plane11. This Diamond DA40-180 Diamond Star was originally commissioned by Precision Flight Controls, Inc, and was developed using the airplane’s Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS), the DA40 Flight Manual (POH), and has gone through extensive development and flight testing by DA40-qualified pilots. Features include: Two models: The original one with analog (“steam”) gauges and a new G1000 glass panel model. STMA’s unique AutoUpdate (AU) which automatically downloads any changes to the aircraft when it’s loaded into X-Plane. Transparent windows, realistic instrument panel with accurately positioned gauges. Detailed, fully animated 3D cockpit& instrument panel! Animated canopy and window/door. Airframe,flight model, speeds, performance and super realistic handling. Realistic landing gear struts and structures. Another superior paint job by master painter Peter Fisher, another superb fully animated pilot figure by Bob Feaver. Operational tips, the actual pilot checklist in Word format, and an extract copy of the airplane'sPOH is in the documents folder. Requirements X-Plane 11+ Windows , Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Video Card. 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended The Diamond DA40-180 Diamond Star for X-Plane11 is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Diamond DA40-180 Diamond Star XP11 Price is US$29.95 _____________________________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 1st December 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews Images are courtesy of STMA
  10. Aircraft Review : Tecnam P2006T v1.4 Analog/G1000 by Vskylabs In the six months since the May 2017 release of Vskylabs Tecnam P2006T the aircraft has been under constant development, but then almost everything under the VskyLabs banner is under constant development, because all the aircraft are in reality only ongoing projects and not release aircraft. So you go on a journey with Vskylabs projects as they are if nothing else very interesting and progressive aircraft. Certainly the Vskylabs DC-3/C47 has took all the attention this year, and as it should because it is a great aircraft and a lot of fun, but the P2006T has been progressing forward as well. This latest v1.4 version is significant as it is the first payware aircraft to use Laminar Research's new G1000 GPS system that was introduced with X-Plane v11.10, that noted is that to use this aircraft you have to use only X-Plane11 and the v11.10 (currently beta) update and upwards as well. So this review is mostly focused on that factor in the two different versions in the standard original analog aircraft and the new G1000 glass panel version of which you get both in the same package. Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam is an Italian aeronautics manufacturer that was founded in 1986. The company has two primary activities in one is that it mainly makes aircraft parts for other manufacturers, and in two it makes its own range of light aircraft. It is in the first activity of making parts is in why the Italian company's name doesn't really roll off any aviation's bluffs tongue, like say Piaggio or Augsta, but it is still a manufacturer and it is in this their latest aircraft the P2006 that was certified in 2010 that is the company's push for mainstream sales. The P2006T is currently the lightest twin-engined certified aircraft available, and is a four-seat aircraft with fully retractable landing gear and has liquid-cooled Rotax engines that can run on 92 octane unleaded automotive gasoline as well as 100LL (Avgas). It is unusual in that the Rotax 912S3 horizontally opposed four-cylinder geared piston engines, 73.5 kW (98.6 hp) as each of the cylinder heads are liquid-cooled and there are cooling vanes on the cylinder barrels (a la the Volkswagen Beetle). Thus both cooling airflow through the nacelle, and so a cooling radiator is required in each cowl. Electric starters are used to start the engines on the ground, but must also be used for an inflight restart, since the highly geared engines cannot be turned by airflow alone past the stopped propeller. Thus, for FAA certification, the company was required to add in a backup battery in addition to the standard battery. Tecnam P2006T v1.4 Analog/G1000 You get two versions of the P2006T in the analog and glass cockpit G1000 version. They are actually the same aircraft, but strangely feel quite different? I think it is down to the more matt flat feel of the analog livery than anything else, but they do still also feel different internally as well. Considering the releases are only six months apart it feels more like years. P2006T Analog P2006T G1000 Modeling is good, but not in the high notch caliber, there are the slight bumps and off rounded areas and points that you can see really close up, but in most overall views the aircraft looks really good. The Tecnam looks like a composite but it is an all metal construction, Italian styling gives it that smooth clean look that only Italian designers can. The Rotax engines and their housings look and feel different than the standard usual low bulbous US styling, but they are well recreated here. Internally it is where all the action is, first the Analog ... ... the analog panel layout is very basic. Standard Six instruments that are centred in line of sight of the flying pilot with the Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator on the top row and the bank/turn coordinator, Heading Dial and Vertical Speed Indicators set out directly below, there is right the two large VOR OBS dials for VOR1 above and VOR2 below. Deep below is a pitch indicator. Centre panel is dominated by both a GNS530 (top) and a GNS 430 (below) that both pop out... ... an S-Tec FiftyFive X Autopilot in centre top. Centre panel bottom is a Decker ADF dial and transponder. Lower radio unit is the standard Garmin GMA347. Co-Pilot's instruments are more disarranged in their layout with only the Artificial Horizon and Airspeed Indicator centre with the Attitude Indicator set far below. The rest of the instruments cover Manifold pressure, Fuel pressure PSI (both engines), Temp, Amps/Volts (engines) and both fuel tanks deep below left.. A full set of two gauges cover the engine outputs with RPM (x100), CHT, Oil Temp and pressure. Lower panels cover all switchgear with Pitot, AP, Main and RH Field left and lighting right, centre is the main Avionic and bus 1&2 switches. Flap indicator is the only function on the left lower panel. G1000 Glass panel The retro fitted Laminar Research G1000 system is excellent, but in Laminar's basic set of features way. What you don't get in high features from the LR G1000 you make up for in sheer performance. Most third party G1000's including Carenado's and vFlyteAir's and make no doubt they are both very good... except in performance, because of the sheer size of the G1000 displays they lagged performance in map animation and data input. Not so with Philipp Münzel's highly polished coding and these G1000 systems are excellent in all those areas. Fitting in the large two screen G1000 layout then moves the other dials around the panel and deletes a few items as well (mostly the radio and autopilot). The main Standard Six instruments now become the backup instruments that are now spaced centre below the panels. Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator are all that is now required with the Fuel Pressure (both engines) left centre. Manifold pressure, RPM (x100), CHT, Oil Temp and pressure with Amps/Volts now down low are all squeezed together on the right hand panel, but it somehow all works fine. The Decker ADF dial is now far left lower panel and a few of the main power switches are now on the centre panel lower panel where they look better, standard lighting switchgear is right lower panel. The G1000 displays do pop-out and can be resized (scaled) or made into pop-out windows (computer windows). Most of the switchgear/avionics is transferred to the G1000 system in radio settings/transponder, autopilot controls, engine readouts and the main primary flight instruments (PFD). The lower mini-pedestal is nicely done with twin levers for throttle, Carburettor Heat and Propeller (feather), rudder pedals have an odd yellow wear on them, but look authentic. The biggest visual difference is created by the main metal facia of the instrument panel... ... it is very well done with the distinct crafted metal panel and the nice chrome screws, but if you run your texture settings anything lower than "max" it looks very old fashioned and poor texturing. The G1000 system hides most of these average areas and so at a lower resolution the lovely crafted G1000 display surroundings hides most of the metal paneling which looks like a different sort of metal as well, and it is in this area the G1000 then looks far, far better in the cockpit than the Analog version. Textures in both canvas, leather and metalness have shone this year in X-Plane11 and have risen to far more realistic looking heights... so anything now that was by last years standards is now needing a higher quality and finer attention, and here it shows with that critical if small difference. The interior is very good, but not of the high super quality in detailing although there is a few nice touches like the seatback pouches. Roof mounted Fuel Pump and Ignition/starter switches are required not only to start the aircraft but to shutdown the engines as well, which the props can be strangely odd in that they don't wind down but simply electric stop mid-rotation, The fuel tank switches are up here as well. There are no menus with the Tecnam, so if you open the pilot's door then the rear right passenger door opens as well... there are no static elements. Undercarriage assemblies are very good and very well animated. Wheel linkages, hydraulic pipes and brake assemblies are all covered and the tyres look realistic... Lighting The analog panel lighting is again different from the G1000 version. Three knobs set the lighting for instruments, panel and switches. The basic lower setting gives off a nice glow from the instruments and mid-dial (lower right) is nice... ... but turn the knob right up and the panel overglows and spreads even on to the windscreen. Overhead light is very nice, but doesn't work? The G1000 panel is very different and in a nicer way... the G1000 displays can be quite bright but can be adjusted, but overall a better look again. External lighting is basic with a landing and taxilight and a bit blobby. Liveries There are no liveries provided except one each of the default liveries, a paintkit is however included. A few liveries have already popped up the X-Plane.Org. Flying both the Analog and G1000 Tecnam I flew the G1000 version outbound from KLAL (Lakeland) to KRSW (Florida Southwest) and the Analog on the inbound leg back to KLAL. You have to get your head around first the fact that the P2006T is not a big aircraft, it looks it, but it is only really the size of a small -twin. But for a small-twin the performance is impressive. Maximum speed is 287 km/h; 178 mph (155 kn) with a cruise speed of 250 km/h; 155 mph (135 kn) with a range of 1,374 km (854 mi; 742 nmi). However the rate of climb is 1,260 ft/min or 250 ft/min on single engine and the service ceiling is 4,300 m (14,000 ft). So the Tecnam will go fast, but climbs slowly and to only 14,000ft. Most twins in this category can climb at 1600 - 1900 ft per min to 25,000ft. The G1000 GPS system is very nice though, modern and feels (as in touch) more realistic than the other versions. I floundered a little looking for the autopilot command button when they where right in front of me... I focused more on the left display than the right of which where they are actually situated (the AP commands are on the left display on the pop-up). But finally homed in on them and in reality it makes sense that the central position is the correct one for both pilot and co-pilot access. Sounds here are very good and are already FMOD directional dynamic. It is amazing how quickly new features mature and become part of the background in a very short time. Only issue in sound is the exterior sound is very high (almost irritating) to the low but better sound internally and I had to set the X-Plane external volume two thirds down to not get such a higher change of sound between the two. Moving from point A to point B is quite fast, so for traversing distances it is great aircraft... ... but I do think in many angles the P2006T does look like a Osprey V-22 tilt-rotor or have I been out on the town again. The Tecnam is genuinely nice to fly if you keep it well within its performance boundaries. The only area that is to be aware of is the final landing speed or zone, stall is 87 km/h; 54 mph (47 kn)... or around 50knts which quite slow. But the speed area between the full flap and 60knts it is very tight, and it is only 10knts higher. So you have very little room to adjust the speed to keep the aircraft airborne and getting too much lift, or either stalling into the runway. You adjust to the situation but you feel bottled in by it as well Then add in any wind factor and it is an interesting landing in controlling the aircraft at such low speeds. The first landing was not too bad, but by the time I had arrived back at LAL the wind was stronger and my landing was a bit of an arm wrestle with no different speeds available to use to control the aircraft. That space at between only 70knts to 60knts I feel is too tight, but that is the skill required to fly the aircraft. The return leg to LAL in the analog aircraft was the feeling of a far more older aircraft than the G1000 version and it just wasn't the change of the Avionic system either. You bite yourself and say "this is EXACTLY the same aircraft" but it doesn't feel that way when you are actually in there. Maybe it is the feeling from the panel or just the aircraft in general. A lot of users will certainly note the same thing but in the totally other way around with a much more love of the older analog version than the G1000 version... everyone to one's own. All I do know it was as noted quite a handful on landing this time... ... go just slightly under that 60knt mark and your in trouble, problem is you can't put on too much more speed either. I'm down, but in X-Plane you sometimes have to really work for it. Summary In a year or so then Laminar Research's G1000 GPS system will be fitted in countless X-Plane11 aircraft and it will be as familiar as the current GNS430/530 we have used for years. But here in the Tecnam P2006T you can seriously see the difference this new X-Plane11 GPS feature makes. It is the same aircraft as Tecnam P2006T that was released earlier this year and it is a good solid design if still in development. Modelling is great without being that pure extreme tick all the boxes look. There are no menus or special features, but Vskylab's doesn't always do those sort of addon's anyway, and what you do get is an interesting aircraft in two types with the original analog aircraft and the G1000 glass cockpit version. There are a few areas that need attention like the lighting (more tuning than working except for the none working internal roof light), and I am not crazy about the older analog panel metal textures. Some liveries would have been nice at that price and certainly would have helped out in the look of the analog version being far more bland than the G1000 version. For value you get two aircraft for the price of one and the ongoing development that comes with a Vskylab's project, and I am a big supporter of the Vskylab philosophy and the on going value and development that they deliver. Any aircraft from Vskylab is an investment, and this is a great interesting aircraft if not the usual run of the mill American design of the standard 4 seater light-twin. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Tecnam P2006T v1.4 Analog/G1000 package by Vskylabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS Tecnam P2006T G1000 Price is US$28.50 Features Very First Aircraft to feature the new G1000 by Laminar Research !!! (XP11.10 required) New Exclusive Features for v4.0 Two aircraft included for the price of one: P2006 Analog + P2006 G1000 variant Includes the brand new LR G1000 GPS - X-Plane 11.10 only Features Designed for X-Plane 11 Fully functional G1000 with integrated autopilot (usable only from X-Plane 11.10 and above, including the beta) Analog cockpit is featuring GNS G530 + G430 Highly detailed and FPS friendly Designed to utilize the “out of the box” features of X-Plane FMOD sound pack project for both variants Highly accurate flight dynamics model Checklists text files included Additional Features: Highly responsive support system/forum. The VSKYLABS Tecnam P2006T is a project under constant development. All updates are free. Requirements X-Plane 11+ only (no longer compatible with X-Plane 10) X-Plane 11.10+ required for the G1000 variant Minimum System Specifications: CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 CPU with 2 or more cores, or AMD equivalent. Memory: 8 GB RAM Video Card: a DirectX 11-capable video card from NVIDIA, AMD or Intel with at least 1 GB VRAM Recommended Hardware Requirements: CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K at 3.5 ghz or faster Memory: 16-24 GB RAM or more Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA, AMD or Intel with at least 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better or similar from AMD). Installation Download of the VSKYLABS_Tecnam_P2006T_Project_v4.1a 386mb and it is installed in your General Aviation Folder as V11 VSL Tecnam P2006T-G1000 v4.1a (111.10mb) V11 VSL Tecnam P2006T-Analog v4.1 (110.20mb) Note the v4.1a on the G1000 install. Make sure you download the v4.1a version of the aircraft as there is a v11.10 conflict on startup. And currently the X-Plane11.10 beta to fly this aircraft. Documents For all documentation you go to the Vskylab site for all downloads and manuals: VSKYLABS Aerospace Simulations: VSKYLABS Tecnam P2006T Project A link to a real flight manual is here: P2006T - Aircraft Flight Manual 2nd Edition - 2010, November 12th Rev.2: _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 29th November 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.10rc1 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 1.0 by NAPS (uploaded by Nicolas) - (X-Plane.Org) - Free- KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99
  11. Yes I think so. The current version is still v1.43 which is the version updated to X-Plane11 from X-Plane10 and not a completely new A350 v2.0 X-Plane11 version. It is not currently a total X-Plane11 version but as noted in this review an adjusted version to fly in X-Plane11. If FlightFactor do upgrade to V2.0 then you will have to totally repurchase the aircraft at full cost... So if you go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account, you should still be able to download the v1.43 A350. SD
  12. I don't know where it is as I don't have the aircraft, but if you press keyboard "B" it should release the parking brake and even better in animating the actual brake handle to show you where it is... SD
  13. You set the VOR1 or VHFL Freq on the radio panel and the quick way is to use the local map page and click on the actual ILS that you want to use for the Freq... SD
  14. Scenery Review : KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport by ShortFinal Design Welcome to New Mexico! Here is the next ShortFinal Design scenery after their excellent KSLC - Salt Lake City Intl from back in April 2017. As we now well know is that ShortFinal Design is also the great mister_x and it is his sceneries that has created some of the very best sceneries in X-Plane, we also found that KSLC was also his first scenery to be payware after a designer period of being a quality freeware developer. And that makes KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport a little interesting in because it is only a sniff away and 340nm east of one of mister_x's masterpieces in KPHX or Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport that was released as freeware. So what we have here is freeware against payware, and here it is more so than with KSLC. Is that fair to again compare the two? Yes I think so because there is a differential between the two, it also shows how in a short time is that X-Plane in design is heavily moving forward and certainly as there are many similarities, but the differences are seriously noticeable here as well. KABQ - Albuquerque first impression In reality it is only a short hop East from Phoenix to Albuquerque in just over an hour's flying time (1h 5m to be exact) and my service is using the Boeing 757-200 by FlightFactor. When starting up at KPHX one thing becomes apparent in that for all of that great detail with mister_x's KPHX it does now feel quite empty, and this is even with WorldTraffic3 running at full throttle... (a note in make sure you have installed the latest ground routes for KPHX for WT3). The airbidges are also static and the ramps have a lot of objects, but not as complex as I remembered them as there is in a few areas there are some very good static setups, but overall the layout is basic. There is no qualms however about the excellent taxi, runway textures and linage as these layouts are excellent. Departure is a long taxi to RWY 28 and then East via FORPE with the flightplan set for St John's (SJNB). The Arizona skyline is desert basin and surrounded by mountains, and the New Mexico Albuquerque vista is not at all that different. One important item to note is the Albuquerque elevation... Phoenix is 1134ft AMSL, but Albuquerque is 5354ft AMSL and so you have to set your minimum approach altitude (arrowed below) at 12,000ft AMSL or you will find yourself flying into the ground. The runway layout at KABQ is to be studied as well. Most approaches are via RWY 08 or RWY 21, but if you use the RWY 26 approach and you find it is too tight to turn in (or around) with the mountainous barrier in the way... A GA or light Turbo-Prop would be fine for RWY26, but for a jet of the B752 size it is just too tight and dangerous a turn with the FMS routing, departures are fine. Even the RWY 21 approach is tight if you STAR in from the Northeast, as western approaches (and even then they can still be quite tight) are fine with usual KEKEE STAR approach but you will really need to study the RWY 21 approach pattern to get it perfect. Except for the very different KABQ runway layout, then Albuquerque does look similar to KPHX on the circuit. There are choices here in that you can install this SFD scenery directly as I have done here, and that is because I like any scenery to be well intergrated into the X-Plane default textures around the package and that works very well here. Or you can download a huge 3.3gb of NAIP imagery and 1/3 arc-second mesh to compliment the scenery and you will also need the all that computer power to run it all. The RWY 21 approach is the best of them all, no ILS though as that aid is available only on RWY 08 and RWY 03. There are plenty of objects or buildings on the approach as you are passing over the Kirtland AFB that shares a lot of the area in the North-Eastern section of the airport. Your finals on the RWY 21 approach also crosses the main east-west RWY 08/26 layout and so you have to be very aware of any landings on this busy runway (WT3) and usually they are landing in from the west. Note the excellent reedy sun-dried grass that matches the landscape, it is very good close up and realistic in all the landing views. Great filled out cargo ramps and buildings are situated at the southern end of RWY 21 and along the very long taxiway F. All ground (gravel) and runway textures are excellent. With also lots of different tarmac (asphalt) textures and all have great runway wear and tear. Lineage and markings are first rate and the same as KPHX. The runway layout can be complex from say landing on RWY 21, as you have to first taxi taxiway F, then C (not to confuse easily with G?) to then cross two runways in 12/30 and 08/26 to get the central terminal area, again 08/26 can be busy and holds can take time and a queue can easily form up behind you.. Guiding marshal's will bring you into the gate and the gates are animated to connect directly with your aircraft. As boarding bridges go, these here at KABQ are simply excellent in detailing... .... the airbridges are so supremely created, so much detail and with hard worked worn textures in they easily take your breath away, you are paying for detail, and you certainly get that here. The ramp and gate areas are excellent as well with well laid out and very numerous items of ramp equipment (many animated) and aircraft service vehicles. Running here is WT3 (xLife is fine as well) that supplies the aircraft and activity around KABQ. Ground routes are all completed and WT3 will run perfectly with the scenery in both ground route generation and the WT3 activity is excellent. First impressions, KABQ is certainly very good to excellent for realism and for the sheer detail that you get and yes even though KPHX's buildings and object count are both very good as is the excellent ground textures. But you really do certainly feel that significant difference in detailing and quality at the newer KABQ when you arrive. However KABQ STAR arrivals need study and FMS flightplans need to be set correctly except for RWY's 08 and 03 which are just straight in and clean approaches. ______________________________________ KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport Albuquerque International Sunport Albuquerque IATA: ABQ - ICAO: KABQ - FAA LID: ABQ 03/21 - 10,000ft (3,048m) Concrete 08/26 - 13,793ft (4,204m) Concrete 12/30 - 6,000ft (1,829m) Concrete Elevation AMSL 5,355 ft /1,632 m Runway layout at KABQ is not the usual parallel runway and centre island layout that pervades most US based airports. It is dominated by the east-west 08/26 main runway with the smaller angled cross of 03/21 - 12/30 off the 06 threshold. If you look closely the older 35/17 runway is still there, but now convertedin to a taxiway in A4, B4 and E4. Most pilots noted that 35/17 was dangerous to use. No doubt is that this layout was designed around the Kirtland AFB. There was airline operations out of Albuquerque earlier than the original 1940 army airfield as it was first served by two private airports in Oxnard Field which opened in 1928, and also West Mesa Airport, also known as the TWA airport which opened in 1930. As in 1935 it was suggested that the city build a new public airport using Works Progress Administration money. Having secured US$520,500 in funding, Governor Clyde Tingley broke ground for the project on February 28, 1937. Albuquerque Municipal Airport opened in 1939 with two paved runways, a Pueblo Style terminal building designed by Ernest Blumenthal, and a massive hangar designed to accommodate the new Boeing 307 operated by TWA. TWA became Trans World Airlines in 1946. Monarch Airlines came to Albuquerque in 1947 then merged with other carriers to become Frontier Airlines in 1950. The airport was renamed Albuquerque Sunport on April 17, 1963. This older terminal of 1939 has been restored and now houses offices of the Transportation Security Administration. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, and is situated behind a cargo facility. The Albuquerque Army Air Base, the precursor to today's Kirtland Air Force Base is still operational. The airport continues to share its runways with Kirtland AFB, which also handles rescue and firefighting operations. An Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) installation, the host unit is the 377th Air Base Wing (377 ABW). Flying units at Kirtland AFB consist of the 58th Special Operations Wing (58 SOW) of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and the 150th Fighter Wing (150 FW), an Air Combat Command (ACC)-gained unit of the New Mexico Air National Guard and these facilities cover the North-east of the airport. The present terminal was designed by William E. Burk Jr. It s built just east of the original terminal, and opened on November 12, 1965. At first the terminal had eight gates, four at the main building and another four at a small satellite building to the south connected by an underground tunnel. None of the gates back then had jetbridges. The main terminal has since been expanded several times, first in 1971 when a west wing was added with a large gate and jetbridge able to handle new wide-body aircraft. TWA used this gate to introduce the Lockheed L-1011 to Albuquerque in 1974 with flights to Chicago. After airline deregulation was passed in 1978, a flood of new airlines came to ABQ. The west wing was expanded in 1980 with three more gates, all of which had jetbridges and were used extensively by TWA and many new carriers. Southwest Airlines started service on April 3, 1980 using the old gates 1 and 2 at the main terminal and installed three ground level jetbridges at these two gates. From 1987 through 1989 the terminal was expanded and renovated. The satellite gate building was replaced with two concourses, A and B, giving the Sunport 19 new gates, all with jetbridges. Concourse A was further expanded in 1996 with four additional gates. The new above-ground connector link to the concourses was greatly expanded in 2005 to accommodate the need for additional security screening by the TSA after the September 11 attacks in 2001. The airport gained international status and was renamed the Albuquerque International Airport on September 27, 1971. The name was changed to Albuquerque International Sunport in 1994. These terminal facilities cover all the North- West section of the airport with cargo as noted in the South-West by the threshold of RWY03. Eclipse Aerospace was an American aircraft manufacturer based here as the manufacturer of the Eclipse 500 very light jet and its buildings are still prominent here... the company merged with Kestrel Aircraft, maker of the Kestrel K-350, to form One Aviation in April 2015. It is important to note that for this review I have the "runways follow terrain contours" feature switched ON. This is not the advice of ShortFinal Design as they would like their scenery to be flat. This of course creates the visual aspect of a few buildings being slightly misshapen and off the ground and not adjusting to the elevation changes. That is my choice, but the lovely elevation changes around the airport (for me) makes the scenery more realistic and better on the eye and fit into the X-Plane environment better. There is not much visually in New Mexico as it has very desert based envions, I mean they tested nuclear bombs out here because of the open space and empty areas. But the Sandia Mountains that frame the city are very spectacular, certainly at dawn or twilight, and overall in the background it is a very visually appealing vista. Terminal The terminal complex has been added on to for decades and decades as noted above, but still retains its mesa Mexican feel. Currently it is still one terminal with 25 gates in four concourses, including a concourse for commuter airline gates. Concourse A has 13 gates: A1 – A12, A14. Concourse B has 9 gates: B1, B3-B10 (Gate B2 was removed during the security hall expansion in 2005). Concourse E has 2 gates: E1 & E2. Concourse C, originally known as the west wing, consisted of four gates (11, 12, 14, & 15). Gate 11 was closed when the terminal was expanded in 1989 and the remaining three gates were renumbered to C1, C2, & C3. TWA continued to use these gates for a few more years until gates C2 and C3 showed signs of structural failure and later had to be demolished. TWA moved to concourse B and the lobby area of gate C1 (the gate built in 1971) has mostly been converted to office space. The lower level of gate C1 houses U. S. Customs and is still used for occasional international arriving flights. The Sunport last saw regular international service in 2009 by Aeromexico Connect with flights to Chihuahua, Mexico. Concourse D was a ground-level commuter aircraft concourse that was used by Great Plains Airlines. It was closed in 2004 after Great Plains Airlines liquidated due to insolvency. From a distance and on approach there doesn't seem to be much detail in this ShortFinal Design's take on ABQ. But get down to the ground level and that aspect is suddenly all very wrong. This is a very highly detailed scenery, but not to the absolute overfill of the airport. It is quite simply perfect or as good as you are really going to get in scenery reproductions. Close up building modeling is excellent in detail and texture reproduction, and outwardly there is a lot of similarities here with basic building construction and textures with KPHX, but then the detailing and quality is certainly a couple of levels above. All areas are highly filled out with ramp objects and as noted there is a lot of animated vehicle traffic as well. All building glass is reflective and realistic. Those airbridges will always make you smile evertime you focus on them, but to highlight the detailing you always look at the small stuff and not the big picture... here we highlight the terminals air-conditioning plants... ... nice aren't they, they are animated as well as the fans are working hard in the hot desert New Mexican sun to cool the terminal, great detail. The animated trucks are working hard as well in going back and to, to the parcel facility west of the main terminal which is nicely detailed. Behind this cargo facility is the older 1939 terminal that has been well reproduced, but the Swissport tankers seemingly don't quite fit into the ABQ scene, but the Swissport services are actually correct in this global branded world with a contract as suppliers to the ABQ airport. The areas behind the terminal in the landside zones are excellent as well. The highlight is the Sheraton Hotel which is perfect and so is the large carpark with efficient solar panels on the roof (great metalness), and their are hundreds of coloured shade carparking areas to keep your car cool. Detailing is breathtaking by SFD in the sheer amount of vehicles and items needed to fill in these areas. The famous welcome entry "Sunport" sign is well done. This is were your cash goes.... in the huge amounts of detailing that takes hours and hours to create, and you more than ever get your money's worth here. It is not just the sheer amount of objects you get, but the quality of the objects that are more important to make up the perfect visual scene. There are a few Albuquerque city buildings included into the scenery, not many but they do create a nice horizon skyline in the distance. Kirtland Air Force Base The former Army Air base is well reproduced, but feels a little empty compared to other areas around the scenery. I don't know if WT3 needs tuning to its military side to fill in aircraft, but still a few static aircraft here would certainly have helped in filling in the vast ramp areas. The base is extremely well modeled and with lots of detail, but the sheer openness also works against the areas. Modern and decades old hangars work together to create the full vista. The barracks behind and airbase infrastructure buildings are also fully covered and look great as noted on the RWY 21 approach as they fill out a large area to the Northeast. Control Tower KABQ's control tower is the standard issue US airport in a tall concrete structure and is part of the Kirtland AFB. It is well modeled with excellent reflective glass for realism. Tower view is good on all runway approaches. You do get a little of the base of the tower and of the railings and aerials if you look straight up... but for the visual following of the aircraft around the field it is fine. A couple of areas to the east are worth noting. Far northeast is the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center that has been created as has the Richard W. Lewis Advanced Laser Facility on the south threshold of RWY 26 east. Cargo and General Aviation The Cargo ramps are southwest along RWY 03/21. Here is a medium size cargo facility with FedEx and UPS having a large presence. Detail is overwhelmingly excellent as is the space to park on the ramps, so ABQ is a really good cargo hub for your operations, most cargo connections are of course with Memphis. In 2013 the aerial firefighting company, 10 Tanker Air Carrier, moved its headquarters to Albuquerque and currently have three DC-10 large air tankers based out of the Albuquerque International Sunport and they are well depicted here in the scenery... note the excellent FedEx containers ready for shipping. As runway RWY 03/21 is a busy runway you get a lot of activity via WT3, so this is not a boring area and animated cargo trucks help out with the action as well. There is a small zone for General Aviation here, but not a significant setup with just a few storage hangars. Private Jet service is there but again not significant but with a nice large parking ramp. The area is really Aerospace Industrial with the old Eclipse Aerospace complex being the dominant company that has been perfectly recreated and is very realistic. There is a huge amount of complex buildings and aerospace infrastructure, all very well created with loads and loads of objects that totally fills out the all the southwest quadrant of different areas. All the buildings have that been there and recreated feel, but in detailed value then this KABQ is simply off the scale. The Fire Station is way out off field to southeast as is the fire training hulk behind the station. Nightlighting Lighting as with everything else here at KABQ is very good. First is the dusk lighting that shows off the great ground textures and their excellent X-Plane11 reflections... ... Main runway and taxiway lighting is first rate. The lighting has been crafted to light or zone certain areas and that is highlighted by the carpark lighting which is perfect as is the main terminal ramp areas. Lighting on the ramps is great and highly workable.... But ramp lighting is only in selected areas... most of the Kirtland AFB is mostly in street lighting and some ramp lighting and like with the cargo areas and otherwise it is just regular the lighting around the industrial aerospace areas. Two lighting highlights is a nice Cutter General Aviation reception centre and a fully internally lit hangar which is great for late night private jet arrival and disembarking under the flood lights... Services Connections are US wide but Seattle, Chicago and Salt Lake are popular, there is a big northern port seasonal winter business as well. Southwest dominates ABQ, but all US major carriers use the port. Alaska Airlines - Seattle/Tacoma Alaska Airlines operated by Horizon Air - Orange County, Portland (OR), San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma Allegiant Air - Austin, Las Vegas American Airlines - Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth - Seasonal: Charlotte American Eagle - Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Phoenix–Sky Harbor Boutique Air - Alamosa (CO), Carlsbad (NM), Silver City Delta Air Lines - Atlanta, Salt Lake City - Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul Delta Connection - Los Angeles, Salt Lake City Frontier Airlines - Denver JetBlue Airways - New York (JFK) Southwest Airlines - Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, San Diego, San Jose (CA) (begins April 8, 2018) - Seasonal: Austin, Orlando, Portland (OR) United Airlines - Denver - Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental United Express - Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, San Francisco Routes Surprisingly the shortest routes to Phoenix and Dallas Texas are the most popular from ABQ, but most routes are really hub connections (LAX, Dallas, Atlanta and Denver). Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Arizona - 317,000 : American, Southwest Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas - 263,000 : American Denver, Colorado - 224,000 : Southwest, United, Frontier Los Angeles, California - 164,000 : Allegiant, American, Southwest, United Dallas–Love, Texas - 157,000 : Southwest Las Vegas, Nevada - 147,000 : Allegiant, Southwest Atlanta, Georgia - 136,000 : Delta Houston–Hobby, Texas - 110,000 : Southwest Chicago–Midway, Illinois - 94,000 : Southwest Oakland, California - 83,000 : Southwest Cargo Ameriflight from Dallas is the main cargo contractor into ABQ, the rest are the main parcel runners in FedEx and UPS Ameriflight - Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Clovis, Farmington, Gallup, Grants, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Las Vegas (NM), Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Roswell, Silver City, Tucumcari, Sierra Vista (AZ) FedEx Express - Lubbock, Memphis FedEx Feeder operated by Empire Airlines - Durango, Farmington, Gallup UPS Airlines - Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Louisville, Ontario, Phoenix–Sky Harbor Summary As at the head of this review the main comparisons with this excellent KABQ are going to be with mister_x's own KPHX freeware scenery. Is that possible. Well yes it is and in reality it is not either. PHX - Phoenix is a larger scale scenery than ABQ and it is highly detailed for it's size and the buildings and textures are also very similar. But there the comparisons really end, the main difference is that KABQ is ultra detailed compared with PHX, with the more minute and the overwhelming sheer volume of detailed objects. On approach ABQ looks quite average, but once on the ground it is anything but so. Some items like the airbridges are so well crafted and animated. Background Sandia Mountains vistas also add in a lot to the feel and look of the airport (In other words it is a nice place to be or fly into). Unlike PHX then ABQ also comes loaded with features with mostly using the X-Plane11 dynamics for animation, textures and lighting, add in the well sorted ATC ground routes and WorldTraffic3 and you have a very active and dynamic airport. Is there any negatives at ABQ? not much really. The Kirtland AFB is very well done but needed a few static items to fill out the ramps as it looks quite empty otherwise, and although there is some really great branded animated trucks (Southwest) and a few are European in Swissport which is correct but looks odd and documentation could be better... all nit picking... well yes really. mister_x is one of X-Planes master scenery developers and really anything he releases is always going to go straight into the collection. ABQ is excellent for your network as well with great connections and usability, there is huge value in here as well that makes this Albuquerque International Sunport the full monty in every area... his best release yet in scale? Yes certainly in that it is a big "yes" from me. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport by ShortFinal Design is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport Your Price is US$19.95 Features Highly detailed airport Highly accurate scenery for KABQ - Albuquerque International Sunport and Kirtland Air Force Base Accurate models for all terminals, hangars, and other buildings, with baked Ambient Occlusion Dynamic reflections on buildings (X-Plane 11 only) Custom high resolution ground textures HDR night lighting Fully Animated Airport Animated airport vehicles using the GroundTraffic plugin by Jonathan Harris (marginal) Custom animated jetways and Docking Guidance System (DGS) (when using the AutoGate plugin) Randomly placed static aircraft, can be easily toggled off in the X-Plane settings High Resolution Mesh Textures surrounding the Airport High resolution orthoimagery for the airport (15cm/px) Stunning photoscenery covering the Albuquerque area with NAIP imagery and 1/3 arc-second mesh, made by forkboy2 Overlays based on HD Mesh V3 by alpilotx (used with permission) Installation : Download scenery file size is 640.50mb. With the full installation at 1.04gb in your custom scenery folder. Scenery options include: downloadable 3.3gb of NAIP imagery and 1/3 arc-second mesh, and options for both X-Plane10 and X-Plane11 versions, Ortho4XP Patch X-Plane 10 Flat X-Plane 10 Mesh X-Plane 11 Flat X-Plane 11 Mesh There is a "readme" txt with the above options, but in reality more documentation is required on the what the options actually do and what the optional NAIP scenery installation is required. Documentation None, except for the above "readme" No charts are supplied for KABQ WT3 : WorldTraffic3 ground route conversion is excellent and activity is perfect... a must have for this scenery! ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 23rd November 2017 Copyright©2017: 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) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.05 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - KPHX - Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 1.1 by mister_x (X-Plane.org) - Free - Boeing 757-200 Professional v3 by FlightFactor/Steptosky (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$64.95
  15. Yep, just a little too tight... 4gb is now really the norm, god not long ago I used to only have 512mb