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Stephen

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  1. News! - Released : v11.50b1 Beta - Vulkan/Metal API by Laminar Research Laminar Research has released the long awaited, long in development Vulkan/Metal API update in a beta version v11.50b1. The new Application Programming Interface (API) replaces the decades old OpenGL. The API is is a computing interface to a software component or a system, that defines how other components or systems can use it. It defines the kinds of calls or requests that can be made, how to make them, the data formats that should be used, the conventions to follow, etc. It can also provide extension mechanisms so that users can extend existing functionality in various ways and to varying degrees. In X-Plane's reference it is for the processing of the very highly processor usage of graphics, or what you see on the screen. In the past under OpenGL most of the graphic processing was done on the Video Graphic cards, so the bigger and more powerful graphic card engine you had, then the more better X-Plane ran. But that aspect is not very efficient to a simulator. Vulkan (Windows) and Metal (AppleOS) changes all that by redefining the way ALL your processors process the data and not just the graphic cards, this will also smooth out the processor calls into the urgent and the not so urgent changes you require. For instance the background in reality of your simulator does not really change much, but the aircraft and instruments do and constantly. So the newer APIs will now not just tunnel everything through the graphic card like OpenGL did, but also allow the use of the main processors to work as well in finding a better balance and of course far more efficiency in running your simulations. Overall the changes with the API will be far better for the Apple aspect (Metal) than for Windows (Vulkan) so don't expect huge changes (i.e in your frameframe) because there isn't any. But where you will see huge differences is in stutters and far a more smoothness coming out of the simulator, I found that the weather is far, far more less intrusive as well. Secondly is that the API is very new (it is a BETA as well), so like with the 64bit changes a few years ago, the main total benefits won't be seen for a while. v11.50b1 Beta The beta release is activated via your X-Plane Installer, just make sure your "beta" box is ticked. It is very important to use a second copy of X-Plane for the new APIs (Again this can be done from the installer, and note don't load in your Global Scenery in the second copy, but when installed then transfer your current Global Scenery folder to the new installation). This way your current X-Plane v11.40 (OpenGL) will still be available. Important! Update your graphic drivers before installing or running the v11.50b1 Beta. Current Nvidia GeForce version is v445.75, and YES you do need to update to this driver! On startup the v11.50b1 beta will still be in OpenGL mode. you have to tick the "Use Vulkan for faster rendering" tickbox and then do a restart... ... when restarting the new API will then take a fair while to recompile your shaders into a new format, so you have to wait while the system does this, every time you restart the system will do this until it has covered all the shaders, but as it processes each startup the loading times will get significantly shorter, finished loading times are still not faster, in fact they are a little bit longer (shaders are now loaded at startup). On release the current items that will not work with v11.50b1... Current list is: Aircraft using DreamEngine Sound Ground Traffic Flight Factor A320 JAR A320 librain SkyMaxx Pro ToLiss A319 & A321 Traffic Global xEnviro xPilot XPRealistic Pro xSquawkBox Incompatible with X-Plane 11.50: xVision (I believe that xVision has already done a 11.50 update) Most of the above will update in the next few weeks, as they are all currently working on the changes to the new API. Laminar notes "not all add-ons are compatible with Vulkan and Metal. In particular, when Vulkan and Metal are enabled, 3-d drawing callbacks and map drawing callbacks are not sent to plugins. If an add-on appears to not work correctly, you can disable Vulkan and Metal and restart X-Plane." v11.50 is a BETA, not a release, so expect CTD (Crash to Desktop) and loads of other weird things going wrong, the trick is to keep X-Plane v11.50 version as basic as you can, few plugins, few aircraft, but the custom scenery folder should be fine... then add as required and as tested. Most weather related Applications will currently not work and neither will the multitude of 3d shader projects. Current known bugs First load time with Metal and Vulkan will be surprisingly slow. This is lots of shaders/pipelines compiling for the first time; subsequent runs will be faster. XPD-7871 Dark contrails instead of white. XPD-9729 Contrails and wing condensation missing in replay. XPD-10458 Need control of eGPU selection. XPD-10506 First run shader creation is super slow. XPD-10569 VR Right eye not working with AMD + Vulkan. XPD-10607 Null pipeline when opening skycolors. XPD-10616 Water reflection off if wave height is non zero. XPD-10617 CTD when using “regenerate icons for current aircraft (and livery)”. XPD-10619 EGPU massive FPS loss with OpenGL Drawing. XPD-10623 Panel screenshots command not working/crashing. XPD-10629 Black screen on Nvidia. Features and improvements Can toggle between OpenGL and Vulkan/Metal in rendering settings. I will note the water effect has had attention, it is now working very well. Full analysis of the new v11.50 version release will come next week from X-PlaneReviews, and any notable new changes... You can get the full X-Plane 11.50 Release Notes and any new changes here: https://www.x-plane.com/kb/x-plane-11-50-release-notes/ Discussion and comment updates on current events is here on the X-Plane.org: XP11.50 beta ______________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 3rd April 2020 Copyright©2020: 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)
  2. Behind the Screen : March 2020 Are you coping? Do you need help? How are you doing in Self-Isolation? How do you want to get through this? Do you need tips to help you get through this? This is how to get through your day? These are messages that I get every day, I am thankful that people care, I really am... but. Well a month back in what was then looking like normal life and pretty well for a long time before this virus event unfolded this was my average day. Get up and have a cereal breakfast, go out and buy a newspaper, have a coffee and read the newspaper, come home and have more breakfast, then do six hours with a break on X-Plane in doing the site and reviews. Now today inside the virus event then here is my same day. Get up and have a cereal breakfast, go out and buy a newspaper, get a takeaway coffee, come home and read the newspaper, have more breakfast, then do six hours with a break on X-Plane in doing the site and reviews. You see the major difference, yes I now pick up a takeaway coffee and bring it home than rather drink it at my local coffee shop.... that is it, and yet people are telling me daily that I simply can't cope with all that significant change. Funny enough I have been doing this (now labeled WFH - Work From Home) do dah for over a decade? for myself nothing really has changed basically in my day to day structure and yet here I have loads of people telling me on how to cope and get through all of this event? I am lucky really that I found a medium to translate the way I want to live my life. And yes X-Plane can be seriously isolating, but funny enough it also opened up my world far, far more than it actually closed it down. I am still a 63 year old child that moved with the world, I am thankful (or just smart enough) to change with the world around me through the decades as I have always been right at the front in one form of the other in technological changes, and obviously when the internet and computers collided I used this new technology to live a more easier and less forceful life, although I will admit you do work far more harder from home than you will ever do than on the outside, as there is reality no boundaries and the work is right there waiting 24/7 to be done, but again self discipline can help in you controlling the monster than rather the monster in controlling you. But the overall moniker is simple, when it becomes work then it is time to walk away from it, so the X-Plane experience is fun and exciting with a lot of learning thrown in, and if that aspect can last ten years then being involved in simulation can not be a totally bad thing. That is the point to all these other people who really are struggling in their isolation. Don't tell me on how you are coping, because I am quite fine thank you very much because in reality very much in my life right now is actually that not very different, or even try tell me ways of on how to cope either. I hated the fact when people noted they had to adjust to WFH and are try to understand that, because I have doing this thingy WFH do dah for a decade, so is that a bit condescending their part. People are weird... But the X-Plane community is also a seriously modern and interconnected one, and we all share the same information, the same upward path to simulation nirvana and the same goals in just trying to get that landing as perfect as the next one, Isolation is certain not a word we use or even recognise because we are connected altogether through our computers and our networks (some users that fly together take this aspect even further), but we are singularly all spaced out but still also highly connected together with one focus and aim, and in that there is a lot of friendship as well. That is the incredible aspect of living in the current period of our technologically advanced world, we are all connected together with no boundaries or even walls around us... in our world there is no such words like Self-Isolation, that is unless you don't pay your internet account! Vulkan/Metal API I really didn't think it would have been three months into the new 2020 decade for Laminar to release the next update in v11.50 with the Vulkan/Metal update. My first guess was about two to three weeks into January, but here we are and it is still taking that long to sort out and refine... I don't doubt for a moment that Laminar Research have not been working very hard on this and for a very good reason, that the new API HAS to be right, HAS to work well straight out of the box. So overall the wait will be been worth it.... but on release of this goodwill message then we still don't have any Vulkan/Metal API's So confine people, promise them that in two weeks or so that the beta release will finally be active and you are asking for trouble, yes if you haven't noticed it is April Fools Day today, so releasing today would be seen as a joke, but many are starting to laugh anyway, and not in a practical joker sort of mad laugh way either, but more of a "this is turning into a big joke" sort of way. The worry is FS2020 and X-Plane needs to retain users faith now more than ever before, but in reality Laminar is caught on that question in that release a buggy beta and it all goes down badly, don't release the beta update and it still all goes down badly, either way Laminar can't win.... but then again how long can you really stretch the elastic before it breaks. But the signs are there as already many plugin updates are already noting to be updated and are 11.50 compliant, so yes it is now very close. On those 11.50 updates then be ready for a lot of them, in fact most plugins and fair amount of aircraft will need updating to be totally Vulkan/Metal compliant. On install you WILL find a lot of areas that won't work although Laminar has reassured us that the Open GL failsafe should cover most of the issues. Personally I don't like that, I would rather let things fail and fix them than sort of cover them over and generally hiding them away in the code that is going to be disconnected soon anyway. There will be a lot of complaining, there will be a lot of anguish... but like with the 64bit transfer it will all settle down quite quickly, which on situation sounds like a certain virus pandemic we are also having to deal with, which is funny on how X-Plane and life can parallel in the same circumstances. Certainly you can't compare the lives of thousands of innocent people to a simulator, but I think you sort of get the same conditions. The one thing we will be confronted with though will be a lot of updates, loads in fact, so maybe it is time like I wrote in last month's "Behind the Screen - February 2020" in doing a totally reassessment of your simulator, a fresh clean start, a more refined simulator... if one thing that does come out out of the Coronvirus is the fact that for a few weeks we have created a cleaner and better world around us and have finally given the planet a breather from our dirty habits... we may even finally learn something to make our surrounds actually better and not worse everyday... so again a mirror to our simulation life is that you can change, be better, throw away bad habits and choose to restart in a more cleaner and more environmental environment, will we learn anything, probably not but it is still a nice thought. See you all out of isolation next month Stephen Dutton 1st April 2020 Copyright©2020 X-Plane Reviews
  3. The review is presented as seen on release or with an update, yes Star-Altas has done an update, but in reality the release version should have been completed with the complete WT3 or ground routes in the first place, that was a bad oversight for them.
  4. Aircraft Upgrade Review : SR22 GTSX Turbo HD Series XP11 by Carenado For decades the big three American general aviation manufacturers of Cessna, Piper and Beechcraft have dominated the American light aircraft industry. Their aircraft are very good, but in reality their designs and aircraft construction were born out of the 1950's and early Sixties, and in time they kept to keeping in to what they knew or to what they could sell in high numbers. This blinkered approach made the big three very reluctant to change or even to innovate. Like for Tesla in car manufacturing this then left a huge gap in the GA market for any enterprising designer to try something a little different and even to create a far more modern single-engine four-or-five-seat composite aircraft. This idea has been so highly successful in the fact that since it's first flight in November 2000, the Cirrus SR22 series has been the world's best-selling general aviation (GA) airplane every year since 2003. With 6,149 units delivered from 2001–19 alone, and in combination with the earlier SR20, there is a total of 7,645, SR aircraft produced and quickly making the SR22 among the most-produced aircraft of the 21st century, and is also the single most-produced GA aircraft made from composite materials and accounting for over 30% of the entire piston aircraft market. The big three has suddenly become the big four. Carenado SR22 GTSX Turbo This is not the first SR22 GTSX Turbo from Carenado. In fact this is an upgraded version of the aircraft that was released four years ago in March 2016, the review is here: Aircraft Review - Cirrus SR22 - GTSX Turbo G1000 HD Series by Carenado The aircraft itself back in 2016 was very good, but it was lumbered with the internally very poorly Carenado developed Garmin G1000 avionics system. It had many features, but the system was extremely very inefficient that translated into a painfully slow interaction with the avionics, in time Carenado would completely dump the idea when Laminar Research released their built own default Garmin G1000. The original SR22 from Carenado was under the HD (High-Definition) moniker. But this was still back in X-Plane10 and not with the more highly refined current Carenado and X-Plane11 dynamics. Here the SR22 is upgraded and you notice the dynamic differences immediately from the more slightly semi-gloss version back in 2016, detail is far significantly higher as well of what is essentially the same aircraft. It is amazing what faster computers and a more highly refined process can do to the same design, it just also highlights the extraordinary quality of the original modeling and textures. But make no mistake it is still exactly the same as the original in every area, It has just all been just better defined. Lovely wing doors are still well done, and give ample access to the cockpit when open. It feels far darker and more glossier in the cabin. Carenado cabins are always dark and foreboding anyway and there still isn't much lightness or brightness in here to cheer you up. Again the seating materials are exactly the same, but don't look so much under the newer high-powered gloss treatment. The instruments and panels are all angled and set out around the flying left seat pilot. The right hand seat pilot can fly the aircraft with a yoke and rudder set, but the instrument screen panel and the switchgear would then be all offset to them. Overall the aircraft has minimum switchgear and controls, just provided are the basics you simply require for flying the aircraft and nothing more. That does not mean the aircraft is not well equipped because it is, but unlike the older generations of aircraft then these modern versions have been refined to a higher easier flying level and one of the major attractions to modern pilots. Yoke or flying handles are unique, in their push/pull and twist actions, but they also clear a lot of space in front of the pilots. Here they are both beautifully rendered. Biggest change here is obviously the Perspective G1000 (which is now based on default G1000 of X-Plane)... gone is the slow and clumsy Careando G1000 to be replaced with the usual and now very familiar Laminar version. You also lose a lot of features noted in the earlier review but the speed and efficiency of the new displays more than makes up for that. Pop-ups are the standard Laminar G1000 PFD (Primary Flight Display) and MFD (Multi-Functional) display panels in a window format... ... retained though is the excellent ENG (Engine) mode screen. Note; the engine parameters viewed here is shown to be not running. Engine parameters covered are "Engine Power%", "Engine RPM", "Man In HG" (Manifold Pressure), "FFlow" (Fuel Flow), "Oil" Pressure and Temp. "Engine Temperatures" are covered in CHT ºF and EGT ºF. Anti-Ice Amount (in GAL) and Oxygen Pressure. Electrical output section covers both Current (A) and Bus Volts (V). The Fuel section displays "Fuel Qty" (in GAL) for both tanks, and fuel calculation data in "Used" - "Rem" (remaining), "Time Rem" and "Range" on the remaining amount of fuel in both tanks. I found the fuel data really helpful in planning and in flight on managing your range and fuel tank selection. Air data in altitude and OAT (outside Air Temp). Notes include that the COM1 & COM2 are sited on the PFD, but most frequencies are here noted on the MFD, including the same COM1 & COM2 Frequencies, your active GPS/NAV1/NAV2, GS (Ground Speed Knts), DTK (Direction degree), TRK (Track) and ETE (Estimated Time Enroute). Pressing the RED button mid panel will convert both displays to the "Backup" function or "Get Home" situation, in that both displays are exactly the same in showing both PFD tools and MFD Engine parameters. I have always been a big fan of the design of the centre console. Instead of the MFD knobs being on the actual display they are all set out here for a much more ease of use and access on the centre console. Three sections cover (top to Bottom) MFD controls, Input keyboard panel and lower the AP (Autopilot) panel. It was always a great setup for creating flightplans with ease... but on this release the selection knob actually doesn't work, so you can't input anything or even select a saved flightplan? Not very good Carenado... as it makes the flightplan feature in the MFD totally useless? Lower is first the standard COM Radio and a Bendix/King KR 87 ADF radio, bottom panel is an Oxygen panel and Flap selection in: P - 50% - 100% Directly in front of the pilot are three lower standby dial instruments in "Airspeed", "Artificial Horizon" and "Altitude". All backup dials are very clear and well presented and a clever sited position of clear use. Main switchgear panel covers the Ice Protection On-Off, MAX or NORM Ice setting, Pitot Heat, Exterior lighting (Nav - Strobe - Land). Three knobs on the far right adjust the panel and interior lighting. First knob adjusts the instrument lighting, then the red cowl lighting and the last right knob covers the overhead spotlights. Nice big throttle lever dominates the lower console in look and feel. This "Single Lever Throttle Control” automatically adjusts the propeller speed through the use of the throttle lever. There is no separately-controlled propeller lever on the aircraft. To the right is the red knob "Mixture" lever with "Rich" to "Lean" adjustment. You can switch to each fuel tank via the switch, but have to press the red "OFF" panels to turn it off. Very nice tank gauges are set out above and are very clear for use. Sets of fuse breakers are on the left inside of the centre console (non-active). Menus There are three menu tabs on the lower left side of the screen. (A) is the Autopilot panel, but this is a significantly reduced pop-up menu panel from the earlier version, the MFD controls and Input keyboard panel are now missing and in now leaving only the AP part of the panel visible. This is a huge loss because I used this pop-up a lot to programme or input the flightplan (the older extended panel version is shown on the right). Standard Carenado in the (C) or Views/Volume menu has the standard internal and external views plus three views for the Throttle and Switches and the Avionics, the volume slider is up/down on the side and point of view slider across the top. Lower tab is the (O) or Options tab that covers Window and instrument reflections, Static elements in mostly just tags and bollards. Pilot, Passenger and left side baggage door of which all doors can be separately opened and closed, both main doors can also be opened by the latches inside. Single pilot has again been replaced by the more realistic newer twin pilots, and they will also disappear when you use the static elements. Flying the SR22 Overall there is the feel that there is not much difference in performance between the earlier and this later X-Plane11 version of the SR22, but Careando have changed the engine dynamics for XP11 and the flight physics have also been updated and optimised for XP11 standards. The 310 hp (231 kW) Continental IO-550-N piston engine has a lot of power to climb up to the 25,000ft ceiling available. But with a rate of climb of only around 1000fpm (official is 1,250fpm) that is slow for such an altitude, however it is here the Turbo comes into its own and more importantly it is the extra turbo performance boost you need as you go higher. The aircraft's ceiling is 25,000 feet, but it's easy enough to estimate that at an average of close to 1,000 fpm for the entire climb would take between 25 and 30 minutes from sea level to FL 250. So you would never really do that height as you would waste too much performance just getting up there. Top speed in that upper thinner air is impressive at around 215knts but the average speed is usually flown around 12,000ft which is then set around 194knts in the cruise mode. Range is 1,049 nmi (1,207 mi; 1,943 km) with reserves at a setting of 65% power. Lighting The SR22's lighting was very nice, it still is to a point with the white overhead lighting,and also still that RED hue that is also available and both are adjustable... and note the modern feel to the Whiskey Compass. But the roof rear cabin lights now don't work (they were also + manipulator adjustable), so that earlier lovely light filled cabin feel is now gone and has been replaced with complete darkness? Externally the three LED landing lights have been upgraded and are better, the rest is basic navigation, strobe and rear facing white lighting. _________________________ A few notes on the SR22 XP11 on a flight from the Gold Coast (YBCG) to Brisbane (YBBN). The SR22 has a castor front wheel, so it is not steerable, well sort of. Like we found in the original review in to change direction on the ground you had to have a bit of speed up, or if not then the castoring front wheel will lock. So you are putting on a lot of power to move quickly forward and then quickly reducing the power when pointing in the right direction. It maybe realistic in to trying to match the real world free castor nose, but it is also difficult and not very realistic in the simulator... in the end your turns are more shonky than real. A more halfway approach would have made the turning action a little more realistic. I really like the Cirrus aircraft, it is the right size, the right power to go distances and a very modern aircraft... easy to fly as well. But with this Careando version you are not getting the features and depth it deserves in this upgrade, it is nice, it is easy, but you get the feeling of wanting more and not less which is fact of what you are actually getting for the same money.... dirty as well, notice the amount of carbon coming out of the exhaust. The bugs keep coming as well... the pop-up AP menu panel works fine, but the centre console AP panel has areas that don't work, like with the V/S (Vertical Speed) wheel? vFlyteAir's version of the SR20 that X-PlaneReviews reviewed here, is far better in most cases than this SR22 Carenado release, but the SR20 also has not had an update or upgrade since v2.6 and April 2018 but it is X-Plane v11.20 tested and out of it's original X-Plane10 release version. The famous Cirrus built in safety feature of a parachute called the "Cirrus Airframe Parachute System" in case the engine goes wonky or you forget to switch over the fuel tanks. It is set out on the roof and you can pull off the cover and pull the handle. Unlike the VflyteAir SR20 version were as the parachute does actually physically work... here you are just sent to the closest airport runway in an instant. The parachute system in real life has been used and deployed 79 times in carrying or saving 163 survivors. Sounds are really quite good and has the highly customised FMOD sound package, consistent and 180º dynamic. But there is an unusual high-pitched noise coming from the centre console (radio?) but in most cases it is hidden via the main engine sounds, but overall I found them all and the range very good. Flying into YBBN (Brisbane) RWY14 and you realise the SR22 is a nice general aviation machine to travel around in, simple enough for the budding new pilot, but deep enough for the professional as well. A nice approach speed full flap was around 80 knts with a slow throttle reduction down to 74 knts that allows a slow descent down to the runway... 71 knts is touchdown speed... stall speed is around 60 kn (69 mph, 110 km/h) flaps down. You can't run off the speed completely as you need some to keep that front castoring front wheel in vogue, so you tend to leave the runway quite fast, and then even speed down the taxiways and then taking corners as you go. A note the vFlyteAir SR20 is very much the same in the castor, but it will hold a wheel to turn and you can rotate on that to turn the aircraft... overall it is a requirement for a speedy taxi or moving quickly around on the ground. Librain The librain rain drop effects are also now active for the SR22, and very good they are too. The plugin is required. Liveries There is one blank and five liveries... four are exactly the same as the original, but one that was once a flat Grey is the same registration N6693C but is now a lovely chrome metal. _______________________ Summary The Carenado Cirrus SR22 Turbo was released released four years ago in X-Plane10, and this is the upgraded version for X-Plane11. The SR22 is light modern four-seater aircraft that is one of the most popular aircraft in production today, and to a point Cirrus has taken on and even beat the dominating big three general aviation manufacturers of Cessna, Piper and Beechcraft with a far more modern and composite aircraft. In reality this XP11 version of the Carenado SR22 is just a total revision of the earlier aircraft. The basics in the modeling and design are exactly the same, but refined with the newer XP11 dynamics and PBR textures (deeper colours and more gloss) and better sounds. Biggest change is the dumping of the original if highly featured Carenado Garmin G1000 avionics for the Laminar Research default G1000 system, but with the twist of the fully featured ENG (Engine) mode screen. The Carenado Garmin G1000 avionics was in reality a slow, heavy and clumsy package that had more bugs than a beehive, but it was highly featured as noted. The default G1000 by comparison is quite basic, but still light, familiar and easy to use. Release version of Carenado's SR22 is quite buggy and mostly related to the MFD (Multi-Functional Display) interface centre console. A lot of the buttons and switchgear don't work, and the flightplan can't be either accessed or even created?. Worse is with the removal of the same panel of MFD controls and Input keyboard panel are now also missing and in now leaving only the AP part of the panel visible in the menu so there is now no other options of input available. Internal lighting has been ruined as well with now no rear spot lights in the cabin either. The SR22 is also still extremely tricky to turn and taxi on the ground. This new XP11 release feels like a one step forward and two steps backwards from Carenado. Yes the bugs will be fixed up and that will make the aircraft easier to use overall, but a release in this condition with glaringly obvious issues is surprising for this developer, but overall the Cirrus SR22 is a nice aircraft and nice one to fly regularly, and overall this release feels like a version update more than an totally refined upgrade except for the PBR effects. __________________________________________________ Yes! the Cirrus SR22 - GTSX Turbo G1000 HD Series XP11 by Carenado is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : SR22 GTSX Turbo HD Series XP11 Price is US$34.95 Special Features Full interior and exterior PBR. 3D interior and exterior with MANY details. Rain effect support* (dynamic drops movements). * Requires downloading Librain plugin: Click Here Customized FMOD sounds. Carenado Perspective G1000 (based on default G1000 of X-Plane) Features Full VR compatible Specially designed engine dynamics for XP11. Flight physics optimized for XP11 standards. Physically Based Rendering materials and textures throughout. PBR materials authored with industry-standard software used by the film and gaming industries. Realistic behavior compared to the real airplane. Realistic weight and balance. Tested by several pilots for maximum accuracy. Requirements X-Plane 11 (Fully updated) Windows, Mac or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum- 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Current and Review version: 1.1 (March 25th 2020) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download is 296.93mg and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 880.30 mg. Installation key is required on start up and is supplied with the purchased download file. Librain (rain effects) plugin is required, get it here and install in your plugins folder: Click Here Documents supplied are: Carenado Copyright.pdf SR22T Reference.pdf SR22T Performance tables.pdf SR22T Emergency Procedures.pdf SR22T Normal Procedures.pdf Recommended settings XP11.pdf Carenado G1000 SR22T.pdf X-Plane G1000 Manual.pdf ______________________________________________________________________  Upgrade Review by Stephen Dutton  30th March 2020 Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 v1.07 : LIbrain rain effects - Free Scenery or Aircraft -YBCG - Gold Coast Airport 1.0 by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free -YBBN - Brisbane Airport 1.0 by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  5. FF Airbus A320 Ultimate is more expensive for a reason with far more features, but system wise they are equal.
  6. Actually about the same, dated and both need a version two update, both are well overdue.
  7. Totally depends on what the MCDU update really is, is it just an addon SID/STAR to the current FMC, or a complete real working MCDU. If the former then no, if the latter then yes to your question, Personally the fully working MCDU will come in the v2.
  8. 50% love it and 50% hate it, personally I don't think it is too bad, the core of the issue is that the developer not renowned for doing any updates? so the aircraft tend to drift into disrepair.
  9. In reality you can't compare them? The JF PA28 Series is a completely different class and price category than the AeroSphere, but the AeroSphere PA28-181 is certainly good value for the money, also just don't expect the detail, quality and features for the lower price. If two aircraft are close and comparable then usually they are mentioned together in the review, but in this case like I said they are not.
  10. NO, it isn't? The user had, had effects on by using the rain effects, when he turned them off and made them equal and they were exactly the same, it is fundamentally the same aircraft just a little longer... different users have different setups that effect their frame rate, plus in most cases they don't know what they are actually doing, then react and basically broadcast crap. As a reviewer we test everything in a set, set of conditions to get the right results, we mostly always ignore these wildcard idiots and their wild statements. Framerate is basically different to everyone in X-Plane on your system set up.
  11. Nothing between them as they are basically the same aircraft...
  12. First Impression Review : T-7A Red Hawk by AOA Simulations The Boeing/Saab T-7 Red Hawk, which was originally known as the Boeing T-X, is an American/Swedish advanced jet trainer and F-7A light fighter that was selected on 27 September 2018 by the United States Air Force (USAF) as the winner of the T-X program to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon, and we all know the T-38 as it has been around for aeons. Angle of Attack (AOA) Simulations have developed for X-Plane (XP) the T-7A Red hawk, and a very nice looking aircraft it is, very interesting as well. The T-7A has that Hawk feel forward and with the wings, but with the rear of the more modern F-35 single large exhaust and twin-tailplane layout and it is by scale a far bigger aircraft than the T-38 Talon it replaces. Overall the aircraft is very well modeled, but you couldn't note it as high-quality or even Hi-Res compared to the JustFlight Hawk T1/A. Glass and the twin-seater canopy however is very good with nice shaping and reflections... The complex landing gear is also very well modeled, but a large amount of the detail is still in the 3D modeling mode that does without textures for that lifelike quality realism. The note that this aircraft as a prototype could be seen as very new and hence very clean, but you are still missing that realism factor in the detail? So it all comes across to me as very skillfully modeled, but not entirely realistic and this feeling is present right through the aircraft. The low Resolution textures are highly noticeable and in reality we have left these X-Plane9 looking aircraft behind a long time ago, a shame because the textures have a good PBR effect that would have given the aircraft very high quality of depth to the modeling if the textures had matched the definition. Yes the textures are mapped on to a 4K background (4096x4096) but the whole aircraft is mapped totally just onto only one texture sheet into then making everything very small and with no detail, were as the JF Hawk T1/A has a full 4K sheet for just the wings and tail alone! The external detailing of the single exhaust is again let down by the average textures, but the internal detail is very good. Ditto the tail detail in again Lo-Res textures and the plain modeled hinge detail that is not up to the grade of this price range. Menu Aircraft menu is situated in the X-Plane/Menu. The menu has four sections: Liveries, Enable/Disable (R2c - GCAS), Weapon Modes, and Options. Liveries: There are three liveries with the aircraft: US Air Force T-7A (Default), TX - Prototype and US Navy Arctic Camo. We will look at R2c and GCAS - Ground Collision Avoidance System later, but you can switch them on or off here in the menu. Weapon modes: In Weapon mode you can cycle though... Nav Mode (off), Target Track Mode, Gun Mode, Missile Mode and Bomb Mode. Options: There are four option selections all toggles in: 2D/3D cockpit, Mirrors, Ground Equipment and Nose Probe. Mirrors, there are three mirrors set out around the frame on the canopy, these can be disabled. Ground Equipment, (Static Elements), selecting ground equipment will give you flags, large side stairs and engine intake covers... ... but overall the elements feel half done? a few at the front but nothing at the rear or no wheel chocks and the pilots don't disappear either? Nose Probe, a test nose probe can be attached or not. Interior The cockpit detail is very good as you have to understand that there would not be a lot of information about the aircraft available, so AOA have made a good fist of it... .... modeling detail is very good, but again we have no textures, just the modeling except for the seat cushions and seatbelts, and again they get away with it because of the nature of the aircraft, but total realism it isn't as it just looks like a highly rendered model. There are not a lot of switches in here either, with just three to set up and power the aircraft. Right side panels give you Lights, Engines and Electrical, and the left side has Doors, IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) or Transponder. Left is the throttle and right is the joystick. Which brings us to our biggest issue as there is no manual? There is a Quick Look (sort of) manual, but there is no real detail in here of what is what and just the (very) basics are listed and another (PDF) on how to set up the Weapons (but not on how to actually use them?)... try that yourself and you will get all sorts of odd things... ... the only two you can set is the "Chaff" and "Flares". So there is no under wing stores, in belly stores or nose cannons. So working yourself around this technical cockpit is not easy, and so it can't be translated to you either in this review. There are two main instrument panels, the selection "Up-Front" Display and the lower wide "Panoramic cockpit" Display. Up-Front The "Up-Front" Display and selection is actually quite clever with HDG (Heading) left top row, and ALT (Altitude) right top row... with ILS, and GS (Glideslope) selections in the middle top row. Second row is SPD (Speed) left and VVI (Vertical Speed) right... with AP (AutoPilot) and SRVO (Servos) centre second row. Third row is mostly information to cover KNTS/MACH (Knots/Mach), TAS, SPD (Speed) Brake, BRG (Background), DST (Distance), ETA, TF and TF number. Fourth row is views, front or rear, 2D/3D, Nose Camera (XP), Tower (XP), Runway (XP), Aircraft (XP) and Circle (XP)... and GCAS (ON/OFF) Timers and Date are set out on the bottom of the panel. "Panoramic cockpit" Display The "Panoramic cockpit" is really three displays with the NAV/MAP central and two switchable screens left and right. NAV/MAP range is selected by pressing the ZOOM-IN and ZOOM-OUT selections, and the Pop-Out is the XP G1000 panel display. Left and Right screen options include: CKL (Aircraft Configuration) and MAP - ADI and RWS (Rose-Right Side) FCS (Flight Controls) and WEP (Weapons) - RWS (Rose- Left side) and CAM (External Camera) Top of the panel are three "Icon Bar" selection displays with left: Afterburner, Gear position, centre: Weather, Radio Frequencies and right: Range, XP Map, Weapon Selection and Chaff/Flares with a circle arrow reset. Aircraft Configuration shows you all your current aircraft data and very good it is, but the ADI selection is a requirement because it gives you an artificial horizon, speed and altitude tapes, bank indicator and a Rose with OBS1 and OBS 2 selections, there is also a backup artificial horizon, heading, speed and altitude tapes to the right of the Up-Front display. MAP has built in APT (Airport), WPT (Waypoint) and WRX (Weather) selections with DME1 and DME2 distances to the bottom of the screen, choice of GPS and MAP are also available. The Engine/Fuel display is positioned right, with both switchable numbers and percentage displays... ... flap position and tailplane position is also shown. DON"T press the "Pull To Arm" lever or the yellow "Eject" handle... as they really work! Note the adjustable AviTab iPad (AviTab Plugin is required). IFF - Transponder is very easy to use and looks nice in the process. NightLighting At night it looks very nice in the cockpit, but there is only a brightness adjustment? Only the HUD - (Head Up Display) can be dimmed or turned off. The HUD itself is very good and easily readable in different lighting conditions... Externally you only have Navigation and Strobe lighting, there are two landing lights on each of the rear landing gear struts so lighting can only be used when the gear is down, there are no IDENT ‘Slime Lights’ lighting on the aircraft. Flying the T-5A Red Hawk The Red Hawk is a trainer aircraft in a sequence of levels to acquire a full Jet Fighter certificate under the JPATS or Joint Primary Aircraft Training System. Entry level is Student on the T-6A Texan ll aircraft (propeller), that then moves to the T-1A Jayhawk in SUPT roles, then the T-38C Talon is used in the advanced pilot training role, but the T-5A category (APT T-X Program) is for the advance training to fourth and fifth generation aircraft (i.e. computer based) and multiple system based technology capability. The first thing you notice in the cockpit of the T-5A is on how very minimalistic everything is, I will note that a lot of this new technology capability is also built into the pilot's helmet that can not be replicated here in X-Plane (well not yet anyway). AOA do show you how to set up your joystick with XP commands that does certain actions, and the XP A.I. (AI Aircraft) is also similarly set up for hostility operations and refueling. The GpsFPLInput plugin by Gtagentman is also recommended to be installed as well. I found without a manual the "Up-Front" Display can be hard to decipher and even use, I also think the KNTS/MACH with the Speed selection is buggy as we shall see... The General Electric F404 after-burning turbofan is very powerful at 17,700 lbf (78.7 kN) and 11,000 lbf with the afterburner disengaged at takeoff and you really feel the kick down the runway, the nose will lift around 170knts... flap setting is at 30º but there isn't any lever action required as it is set automatically for you as the flap position is set to your speed. Climb-out and at 210 knts (non-afterburner) the gear will automatically retract... the flaps will retract to 15º then "Up" at either 250 TAS or 20º pitch Rate of Climb is phenomenal, I selected 4,000fpm and it took that climb rate easily all the way to 20,000ft, but there are currently no formal performance statistics except 600knts a ceiling of 55,000ft and a tested airframe to Mach 1.8. You feel like you are riding a bullet, the aircraft is fast... very fast. Heading changes under the AP are violent as you suddenly bank hard and it certainly does not feel very realistic, under manual control the aircraft however is very nice to fly, but precision in control changes are required at these speeds... or you could lose the aircraft very quickly, so think like Col Chuck Yeager as you fly tight and straight through the sound barrier. Note both AP and SRVO selections are required for auto-flight. Afterburner operation is also automatic (if switched on)... ... a little afterburner icon is illuminated (arrowed) when the burner is in operation, and the exhaust movement animation is well done.... it is a shame about the quality of the textures though. Watch your afterburning though as it uses a lot of fuel each time you power up, it is like a fuel dump in motion. Runway to 20,000ft is a doddle, suddenly you are up there and flying fast at m.90! Chaff and Flares are easy to activate, but again they are used up very quickly... they do look very good though. I never did work out the weapons system (no manual) and so you have to be very careful on using the R2c system? The R2c system is switched on via the left side switch... select your target mode and the system completely takes over your aircraft or your views? First lockout delivers only horizontal movement, second selection will follow the TRK, but also completely lock you out from flying the aircraft and mostly the target is in a viewpoint that is wrong like here through the rear seat? Bombing will give you a aim-sight in the HUD, but overall every mode locks you out from flying the aircraft? The selected mode wouldn't fire either? Overall I didn't like it at all as I lost control and visual communication of the aircraft and the only way to get control back is to "SAFE" the system and thankfully switch it all off. Time to power up and head home... and bejesus this thing can move... above m.1.06 though the afterburner would hunt to keep up the speed... ... at m.1 11 you got the constant afterburner hunting, set lower to m.1 05 and the aircraft settled down nicely. Biggest conflict I had was with the Mach/Speed (Knts) selection? You can adjust your speed right down in Mach numbers, but it won't allow you to switch to Knts? well it did at the correct speed of 302knts will but then correct directly down to 134 knts (and way to slow) and lock it solidly in there? Only by going back to the Mach mode was I able to control the speed? Using the Airbrakes, the aircraft would also override my commands (who is flying this aircraft?) and closed them again... as I needed my airbrakes to control my descent speed? There are a lot of little override commands like this, so you feel you are not actually in control of the aircraft? In the end you disconnect all the auto functions to regain control of the aircraft. Adjust your speed down to 250knts (m.0 34) and the aircraft will automatically set itself for landing, wheels will go down and the flaps will adjust accordingly as you reduce the speed down to a landing speed of 155 knts and full flap... .... but I had to finally take over with manual control as the aircraft kept switching to the default 134knts? and that is basically in being too slow with a nose high pitch? Again I manually selected the airbrakes and again I got over-ruled? so the aircraft has a mind of it's own? Under manual control the T-5A is a joy to fly with instant reply from the controls and perfect thrust power from the throttle, this is a very nice aircraft to fly and enjoy from a pilot's perspective. Approach speed is 145 knts and flare and touch down is around 135 knts? remember that number from before? Then you have to activate the Airbrakes manually? god this aircraft is confusing? However the T-5A is brilliant on approach and landing phases, I can't go wrong in making the perfect landing every time. Speed rubs off quite nicely but you will still need to use the brakes to slow the aircraft to a taxi speed, and don't forget to retract the airbrakes? One thing I will mention is that for a training aircraft the T-5A does a lot of the work for you? It is debatable if learning on this aircraft you would know if moving to a more front line role as a pilot, to control and raise and lower the gear and to actually set your flap position to the correct speeds? You can see a first flight on another aircraft of landing too fast and with the gear up because the trainee pilot would think the aircraft (like on the Red Hawk) would do all the actions for them? But from another perspective it makes the Red Hawk and almost impossibly easy aircraft to fly... but is that too easy? ___________________________________ Summary There are many times in reviewing that you get caught between two worlds. This Boeing/Saab T-7 Red Hawk from Angle of Attack (AOA) Simulations puts you in such a position. It is first notable that the real aircraft is still in it's own development stage, so areas of this X-Plane version may not or even be evident on the real aircraft, so AOA my have taken liberty on many areas in this context. That said they have still created a very credible and sensational flying aircraft to meet the T-X program requirements. There is so much to really like on this trainer. I love flying the aircraft and the performance is simply phenomenal and the sounds are pretty good as well, and in manual mode it is a very nice machine to use and control, It is a very nice aircraft to look at as well and systems are clever and well thought out... but. The modeling is actually very good, the problem is that you see too much of it around the aircraft, textures are so Low-Res (so small on the texture sheet) and the point is that we left this level of detail back in X-Plane9 and the textures in too many areas are not used to cover the said modeling. Although the systems are very good, they are also buggy, but oddly enough they actually may not be. But in this first impression of the aircraft then how would I or really anyone else know because there is no manual, and all that is provided is just a "Quick Look" basic pdf on the aircraft, personally with these sort of experimental aircraft and systems you need to understand how they do actually work? Just a set up guide is simply not good enough and I leave this first impression review slightly confused? Yes comparisons will be matched with the JustFlight Hawk, is that fair? It is certainly a benchmark but the JF Hawk is a full level and price point higher, but still if AOA had reached even halfway to the external quality and catered to the details even down to the finer points, then this would have been an exceptional aircraft as all the right ingredients are already right in here, it is still good and certainly if you are willing to work through the details and even with a couple of updates that will bring it fully up to the mark... personally the T-5A made a big impression on me and far more than I really actually expected, but it deserves more. _______________________________ The T-7A Red Hawk by AOA Simulations is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store: T-7A Red Hawk Priced at US$36.00 Main features T-7A advanced trainer and F-7A light fighter Highly detailed, fully animated 3D model and weapons PBR textures Advanced Features SASL 3.8 based plug-in system “Roll to See” dynamic pilot POV camera option (non-VR mode) points pilot camera based on pitch, roll and G forces "Target Track" points, locks and follows AI planes with pilot camera Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System Fly from forward or aft cockpits as student or instructor "Virtual" ground and In-Flight Refueling capability Track-IR and VR compatible AviTab tablet integration (Download AviTab plugin separately) Cockpit based on preliminary assessment of prototype T-X screen shots Head Up Display Up Front 32 points touch screen control and display panel Large format glass panel with embedded G1000 color moving map Multiple sub panel page options Dedicated engine data display Navigation Fully autopilot control thru Up Front Control panel Dual ADF GPS Nav1 & 2 VOR / ILS Low altitude, all weather Terrain Following Radar Air to air, with radar lock on AI targets Dedicated threat situational awareness cockpit display Terrain mapping radar Weapon system Master jettison switch Weapon display panel 4 x AIM-9X Infrared A2A missiles 8 x Small Diameter Bomb II's GPS aim point bombing mode Gun Pod Miscellaneous FMOD Sounds, aural warnings Particle systems effects Animated ejection sequence Ground support equipment Removable test probe (T-X prototype) Three liveries Additional liveries available free on X-Plane.org download manager Paint kit Download Quick Look PDF from our support page for a preview of the aircraft Requirements X-Plane 11 4Gb VRAM Video Card Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Current and Review version: v1.0 (March 5th 2020) Installation and documents: Download for the T-7A Red Hawk is 313mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the aircraft "Fighters" X-Plane Aircraft folder at 412.00 mb. The GpsFPLInput plugin by Gtagentman is also recommended to be installed as well. Documentation: Documentation consist's of a Quick Look overview, Setting up the Weapons System, and the official CRS T-7A report... also provided is a Speed Chart (png), Weapon system switch setup (png), and xyz control sensitivity (png) 1. Quick look.pdf 2. Weapons System.pdf 2019 CRS report T-7A Red Hawk program.pdf ________________________________  First Quick Impression Review by Stephen Dutton  25th March 2020 Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 v1.07 Scenery or Aircraft - KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.95 
  13. I have looked at the aircraft, but in my estimation it was not developed sufficiently for a review, Pre-release aircraft will not be reviewed unless they are sufficient enough to warrant their purchase price no matter what the developer promises.
  14. If you look you would see!... News! - Update Revised : WebFMC Pro v1.5.3 by Green Arc Studios
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