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  1. The date may be the clue? the DA42 from Alabeo is old in three years old, and it uses their own and now older G1000 system. This system has now been abandoned by Alabeo for this reason and they now use the G1000 Laminar Research version (the same as in the C172), but the aircraft has not yet had that upgrade? It wasn't a particularly good G1000 from the start? You could try setting up the full flightplan including the SID/STAR procedures in SimBrief and then importing in the completed flight plan into the G1000, it may work, it works that way with other limited FMS systems. Stephen
  2. News! - In Development : Mont Blanc Group by Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini After their excellent Eiger Park 3D, Frank Dainese & Fabio Bellini's attention has moved now to the far western end of the Alps mountain range and Mont Blanc. Called "The Mont Blanc Group" this more expansive scenery will cover about 900 square kilometers between Italy and France, included also will be two very famous resorts in Courmayeur (ITA) and Chamonix (FRA). 3D modeling will include Mont Blanc, Eguille Noire, Giant's Tooth, Grandes Jorasses... and more. he main structures (buildings ...) the two locations will be reconstructed in 3D with the placement of over 8000 buildings (from 70 typical types of the area), also to be included is the new "SkyWay Mont Blanc" cable car (considered the eighth wonder of the world). From a flying point of view there will be several heliports and two grass runways inset into the scenery, with one in Chamonix and one in Courmayeur. If the new scenery is as good as the past releases (which it will be) again we will have another great dimension to our flying, to get a taste of the work then see X-PlaneReviews review of Eiger Park 3D Yes I am a big fan of these visually sensational sceneries, release for Mont Blanc Group is noted as "several months" so that should be about October to November this year 2019. Another project in the pipeline is a revisit to their very first release in Dolomites 3D to bring it into line and to the quality of the other Alp sceneries Matterhorn 3D, Eigar 3D and the new Mont Blanc Group 3D to complete the series. It is a yes from me! Announcement via Frank Dainese site on Blogger Image courtesy of Frank Dainese ________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 21st June 2019 Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews
  3. Scenery Review : EKYT - Aalborg XP by Vidan Design Travel any air routes south to north or east to west over northern Denmark you are usually bound to fly through Nav-Aid VORTAC AAL - Aalborg (116.7), and as I frequently route myself through from western Germany or Belgium to Oslo or Helsinki then AAL is always a major crossing point of the flightplan. From the air AAL is just a major airway intersection, but in reality AAL is also a very nice airport in northern Jutland. (Navigraph) Aalborg (AAL) is the third busiest airport in Denmark after Copenhagen and Billund with one and a half million passengers a year, but it is also a major strategic military base for the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) 721 Squadron, and Air Transport Wing Aalborg (logistics) called Aalborg Air Base (Flyvestation Aalborg). EKYT - Aalborg XP by Vidan Design Aalborg XP is the first scenery for X-Plane11 from Vidan Design, another newcomer, but this is already a very impressive debut. Aalborg in both the military and commercial areas covers a lot of the general area of the scenery, basically the two zones are separated by the two parallel runways of 08L/26R and 08R/26L, but they are quite significant in width with 08L/26R at 8694 x 148 feet / 2650 x 45 meters (the main runway) and 08R/26L at 8366 x 74 feet / 2550 x 23 meters. Military is to the north and the commercial is to the south, but there is also another significant military area to the east as well. Impressive is the intergration of the Hi-Res Orthophoto scenery, into the background default X-Plane textures, yes this is always an extremely big deal to me, I want a pure transition from the default to the custom for a perfect simulation, and if I get it, I will be very well pleased... here at EKYT it is absolutely perfect. More help is provided by the German autogen, which is perfect here and Aalborg itself is well represented in this autogen form at the full maximum setting. Outwardly the area looks open and spaced out in both the military and commercial zones, but there is a lot of detail in here, in fact it is excellent. _______________________________________________ Aalborg Airport Aalborg Lufthavn IATA: AAL - ICAO: EKYT 08L/26R - 2,654 (8,707ft) Concrete / Asphalt / Bitumen 08R/26L - 2,549 (8,363ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL10 ft / 3 m The actual commercial terminal area is set well away from the runways to the south (via taxiway C), with just one major terminal built in 2001and enlarged to it's present status during 2007 and 2013. It is impressive, but the terminal is stand only with 1 to 8 in front and 10 a remote stand opposite, the terminal has no airbridges and is walkon/walkoff. Terminal and modeling is again very impressive, detail is absolutely first rate with real (photographic) images used in the process... .... clutter is excellent with fully branded AAL vehicles, there are however no animated vehicles, but to be honest they are not really required here, glass and reflections are also very good and to a high standard. Apron linage is excellent on all stands, but stand 10 is currently sited wrong, it will be fixed. All carparks and landside are perfect as well. The hardest trick in doing great scenery is finding that balance on providing lot of good detail, without over doing the clutter... get that equation correct and you get perfection... just like it is here, as AAL is just the perfect balance. Internal terminal detailing is very good as well... it is not over detailed, detailed if you know what I mean... but there is enough to fill out the building for authenticity and you can walk around in here exploring. General Aviation South of the main apron are remnants of the original Aalborg airfield, a large hangar and two heritage buildings that have been repurposed as the airport's technical department and small cargo building, and the airport's ground equipment it has an authentic maintenance building as well. All buildings are exceptional in creating a very Danish character feel, and have very good detail and high detail components like signage and apron equipment (flags, cones, lines). There is a very nice GA parking area and a great refueling station, so Aalborg is a great destination for that weekend flyaway. Behind the main apron in the GA area is a private parking area with service hangars, it is very authentic to the area. Airport clutter as noted is very good, and located not just around the aprons. But in every area the quality is very high as well, and there are plenty of nice static aircraft placed as well with some Lear Jets, the quality detail of the aircraft is not as high as the rest of the detail, but they are more than passable. Landside there is the Aalborg Airport Hotel, and nicely rendered it is, note the lovely detail around the base.. it feels very authentic. To the west and south there are a lot of nice support buildings.... the far south was also part of the military aerodrome but is now segregated and fenced off... ... but a lone Danish Airforce Starfighter still stands guard. Mid-field AAL is the control tower. There are two, this one is the commercial tower, and the newer of the two. Built of brick it is very authentic and well represented. Tower view is not correct, it is by coordinate position, but not in height so you see the ground and Vidan noted it will be adjusted. Excellent centre field radar is animated, and I love dynamics like this, it looks great on arrival. Military Areas There are a few different military areas that are spread well out in the scenery, all are exceptional in the different time periods, but the overall feeling is the cold war era. There is still a large facility landside in front of the main terminal building, with nice facades supporting the hangars. This area is just mostly hangars and aircraft storage with no buildings. The main area of Aalborg Air Base is set out to the north of the runways. The Airbase covers a wide area, but it is all very well detailed, from open stands to mostly hangars that are "ready to fly" once you pull the doors back... detail is again excellent, and you can easily spend time and walk around the Airbase and find a lot of nice touches of realism. It reminds me a little of post-war Britain... parade grounds, barracks and every area has a different hangar style to reflect it's era, it would have been just to easy to do one style and duplicate it, so the high detail of AAL is really in here if you look for it or look around for it. Detail goes to not only the current hard surfaces, but the past now unused areas. The focus of this area is the Air Transport Wing Aalborg apron called the "Dolphin Apron" that is along side the long taxiway N... Two large and one lower wide hangars cover the area with another standalone hangar in front, all are guarded by two static Danish "Herky Birds" C-130s. Detail is again very good. Just east of the transport wing dolphin apron along Taxiway N is the second control tower, this is the original field tower and has been here since the Germans ran their Luftwaffe raids from the airfield... again the detail is simply excellent, and it is very WW2 era. Now far east along taxiway N is the Fire Station and command headquarters. Taxiway N is significant because it is your main taxiway pathway to either end of any departure or arrival runway, so most of these building are very visible when you arrive or depart. Note the flight ready hardstands, and the general feeling here is that at this facility of AAL can survive anything... even Armageddon. Ground textures are very good and widely varied. Stand wear is very good as well with oil stains and general hard use, pretty spring flowers are spotted set out amongst the grass verges but overall there isn't a lot of grass internal field coverage. Although HDR effects are noted, I couldn't find any wet surfaces... One thing that came through while reviewing AAL is that it can be a moody place, and that is in a good way. The North Sea creates very mystical weather, with mostly a lot of fog and seasonal showers.. and I got a lot of that here. Lighting I really like the lighting here, but the aprons are BRIGHT... you may think the candle power needs to come down a notch or two, but personally I like it as I like that transition on arrival or departure when you come out of the gloom and into the bright lights.... working on the stands, no problem. No needing the torches down here, the lighting also brings out those great terminal textures.... internal terminal lighting is also very good. Slightly odd thing on the terminal though is that landside it is only two-thirds lit? some carparks are slightly dark as well, maybe a different style of lighting to compliment the full on areas for the carparks is needed. Aalborg Hotel looks excellent with local advertising. Overall great. Dolphin Apron is also excellent with lovely down lighting, again a great lit workplace... most of the military areas are obviously dark. Only thing I didn't like were the control tower windows, they looked far too bright, but bland as well. The base main tower was pretty good, but the main controllers windows I didn't like at all.... they shouldn't be lit anyway or very dull. Runway approach lighting is excellent with animated RAIL on 08L/08R... overall the field lighting is very good. Services Plenty of services, although a lot are seasonal charters and LLCs, Interesting one is the Atlantic Air connection to Vágar and a good routing if you have Faroes Islands XP - Maps2XPlane Air Europa - Seasonal charter: Palma de Mallorca (begins 29 June 2019) Atlantic Airways - Seasonal: Vágar Bulgaria Air - Seasonal charter: Burgas (begins 1 July 2019) Corendon Airlines - Seasonal: Antalya Danish Air Transport - Seasonal: Bornholm, Antalya Great Dane Airlines - Dublin (begins 21 June 2019), Edinburgh (begins 24 June 2019), Nice (begins 26 June 2019- Seasonal charter: Palma de Mallorca (begins 17 June 2019), Rhodes ,Chania (begins 16 June 2019), Varna (begins 22 June 2019) Jet Time - Seasonal charter: Antalya, Chania, Gran Canaria, Larnaca, Mytilene (begins 26 June 2019), Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Naples, Ponta Delgada, KLM - Amsterdam Norwegian Air Shuttle - Copenhagen, Málaga - Seasonal: Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca, Alicante Ryanair - London–Stansted Scandinavian Airlines - Copenhagen, Oslo–Gardermoen - Seasonal charter: Chania SunExpress - Seasonal: Antalya Thomas Cook Airlines - Scandinavia - Seasonal charter: Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South, Phuket Vueling - Barcelona (ends 24 October 2019) WT3: WorldTraffic routes around AAL are a bit hit and miss. WT will generate the ground routes, but they are not highly refined, the complex runway and taxiway layout doesn't help out either and you will find that most aircraft will land on 08R/26L the smaller (width) of the two and not the main 08L/26R runway, and with this there is also a lot of popping aircraft that land and disappear and pop on to takeoff, if refined AAL would be excellent for WT3. What does work however works quite well and the terminal will fill and empty during the day. Summary For a first scenery debut for X-Plane11 from Vidan Design this is an extraordinary release. So much here is very well executed and designed, I loved the scenery from the moment I set my eyes on it... first releases are usually patchy, but not here. Full orthophoto scenery that blends in perfectly well with the default mesh, and great German autogen sets the scene. Terminal and buildings are all excellent with internal terminal areas, the scenery covers a lot of area with the large outlying military Airbase and Cold War response layouts, all are well done and detailed. In the object count it is very high, but not to the point of being too much, the balance on clutter with some nice static aircraft is about perfect, and with a lot of variations as well. Ground textures and lineage are also first rate as is most of the lighting. There are a few quirks that if attended to would bring the scenery up to exceptional status... WT3 - ATC refinement would bring out the full activity aspect the scenery requires, it is workable now, but it could be better, I don't like the control towers night lighting windows at all, but my only real gripe and the lighting for parts of the landside of the terminal it looks like it is missing and more fill is needed of the carpark lighting. Stand 10 siteing is wrong and two additions to be considered are HDR wet runways and maybe just a few animations. Outstanding, well yes AAL - Aalborg is great if a totally brilliant scenery straight out of the box, for a new developer coming into X-Plane this work is an outstanding achievement and AAL is simply great value as well... Yes I love it, will use it... a lot, and when I am flying now over Northern Europe and Jutland and pass through the AAL Nav-Aid, I now know there is more here now than just a marker in the sky, as there is a very nice welcome scenery on the ground as well... Highly Recommended. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! EKYT - Aalborg XP by Vidan Design is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Aalborg XP - Denmark Price Is US$19.90 Features: Highly detailed rendition of Aalborg Airport (EKYT, AAL) and Aalborg Air Base (Flyvestation Aalborg) Highly detailed airport terminal Realistic HD textures created from on-site photography Dynamic apron lightning (requires X-Plane Visual Effects set to High (HDR)) Custom modelled ground support vehicles Orthophoto scenery High quality modelled airport buildings Static airplanes featuring types unique to the airport Custom modelled vegetation, grass, trees Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 275MB Current and Review Version : 1.0 (June 17th 2019) Installation Download scenery file size is download 287.40mb and with the full single folder installation is installed in your custom scenery folder of 763.20mb  Documents Aalborg XP Manual (English) ______________________________________________________________________  Review by Stephen Dutton 20th June 2019 Copyright©2019 : 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 860 1Tb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.30 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini  Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.10 US$69.90 : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin : US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free Scenery or Aircraft - Embraer ERJ Family by X-Crafts (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$89.95
  4. News! - In Development : FPDS for B767/757 by FlightFactor First it was a request, then a rumor and now a reality. This is for the FPDS option or "Flat Panel Display System" which is based on the IS&S - Innovative Solutions & Support’s display units, this layout is very similar to the ProLine 21 system but with four displays covering both pilots PFD and MAP/NAV. This modern FPDS layout covers the more recent deliveries of the B767/B757 in usually the freighter variant that is (B767) still in production till 2022... Release, no date given but FlightFactor do tend to release around August, but the FPDS avionics above looks very completed... price? no idea of in a new variant or as an addon. It will however give you a very more modern and avionic detailed B676/B757 twin... Images are courtesy of FlightFactor Announcement via FlightFactor's Twitter page ________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 18th June 2019 Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews
  5. Scenery Upgrade : UBBB Baku and City XP v1.3 by Drzewiecki Design When Drzewiecki Design released their Baku and City scenery for X-Plane11 it caused me very mixed emotions. This was a scenery I really wanted and to use as it filled in that exotic location criteria, plus just in being on the edge of the eastern European boundary it wasn't too far away from any major European airport gateway either. In the first aspect it was a great scenery, but overall it was the conversion aspects (UBBB Baku was originally a FSX scenery) to X-Plane that just left the scenery feeling a bit too empty.... The full reference review is here: Scenery Review : UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport & City by Drzewiecki Design So here is Drzewiecki Design's v1.3 of the Baku scenery (v1.2 was a small update) and I was wondering if it would be just more of the same, or will DD now bring to the scenery more to the dynamics of X-Plane than the dullness of FSX. First views of Baku v1.3 was that it still sorta looked the same, but in reality it certainly is not. Early emptiness was created by using a lot of photoreal textures, and these were very good... from the air, but they were very tabletop flat when you got closer to the ground. They are still there, but the extra Azerbaijan whole-country photoreal is now not an option anymore, and mostly because it ruined the great original X-Plane default textures (in other words this is X-Plane and not FSX and you don't need them). Another relevation is that Drzewiecki Design has now inserted the area's autogen and in that development in also hiding the worse of the flat aspects of the photoreal from the ground perspective, and so it now works very well as it spreads right down the coastline and all around UBBB and especially on the approaches and departures from Runways 15 and 16 which are now excellent with the autogen now filling right out to the northern coastline. And another important fix is that the actual X-Plane11 UBBB Airport "Location" layout now actually exists... .... the original is on the left, and the fixed working version is on the right, and this is a great start of getting UBBB to a condition we require. With the airport's layout done, there was another area fixed as well... ATC routes! and if you have ATC routes, can also now have WorldTraffic3 ground routes... Yeah! I will admit that the biggest turnoff for me with the Baku scenery was simply no airport activity. In the original release I could have lived with everything else, but no activity mean't that UBBB was a very empty and sterile place to use and so I didn't add it in to my usual route choices. That is not the case now as you can generate those important WT3 routes, but it still comes a little quirk. If you want your Baku full and active your only choice is to use the "Autogen" flights? Yes the AFRE flights work, but because there is so little flight data on the AFRE you will get only minimal activity, it works if you want that aspect and it helps to have the static aircraft option switched on as well to fill out the aprons, but overall the Autogen option is the one to use. Tower view is sorta fixed as well... it is now set at the right coordinates, but it is still set too low? The left image is the tower view setting, and the right image is where it should be.... but it is far better than looking at a carpark. Nice tower as well. Newly added into v1.3 is the nice curvy 747-8 maintenance hangar and some static Embraers in Buta Airways livery... ... and the detailing up close is very good, and it is a very welcome addition. The extraordinary Terminal 1 (International) is now even better with now HDR effects in reflections and detailing, almost all the glass and metal framework feels more realistic, it deserved far better in the original release. Another area covered is the lack of ground clutter and animations... now there is great clutter with the correct airport branding GYB as well... ... animated truck, buses, luggage carts and vans all work across the airport, there isn't a lot, of a lot of animated vehicles but they are still very welcome. A new addition to the terminals is SAM - Scenery Animation Manager. The plugin now works here with both VDGS and Marshallers... All gates on both Terminals are active, and Marshallers are on all the remote stands. SAM has been around a few months now and you would expect the areas of gate elevation to be now sorted? Obviously not so and it is annoying... but I am still a big fan, big surprise is that DD don't use the animate hangar doors option, as the onsite Silk Way maintenance hangar is an obvious choice Besides the better HDR glass reflections, the runways/taxiways have had the same dynamic wet look treatment... ... the effects brings out the nice and realistic textures, very moody... but excellent. Another big criticism of the release version of Baku was of the airport lighting... the main Terminal one was very good, but everything else around it was to be desired. Biggest missing area of illumination was all the apron lighting (it was quite weak), and that has been handsomely rectified. UBBB at night now looks brilliant. More so is the fact you can see the airport from a distance.. and it is now not just a black hole between two runways. Terminal 1 looks glorious and simply bathes in light.. .... with Terminal two it is another transformation in that the apron lighting disguises the inadequate FSX lighting. The airport's entrance to the terminals infrastructure is now also more realistic (in other word you can now actually see it) and the cargo ramps are perfectly workable and would even now coax you all the way out here for a night time freight run. Areas are very well lit and the new maintenance hanger drop down lighting is really nice, and it is in nice contrast with Terminal 1 in the background. It is highly debatable if coming to UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev is now best at night, certainly at dawn or dusk than in the daytime, this is now an excellent night period experience. Baku City Part of the package is the city of Baku itself... Yes we had issues with that as well. This was again the very same photoreal textures that created flat spaces around the custom city objects. I grabbed the default S-76 to have a look. Again the restricted autogen reach means that the Baku city at 25 km from the airport is what works around UBBB does not work in the city... First views are very good, with the autogen doing a very good job, even if it is SoCal housing, and you have a lot of urban industrial as well... ... but once you get to Baku city, it all sort of peters out to just residential housing (again SoCal), and so the custom Baku objects in places are islands again on a photoreal underlay... .... so it doesn't look like a capital city, and in fact looks odd with the low flat housing and the stand out custom objects, in areas it is still plain empty. So it is a real shame really as the autogen does such a great job outwards, but fails inwards of where it is also needed, and obviously the city is not that great for VFR flying, but still consigned to just being an outline on the horizon for approaches and departures. A point is that is this a Laminar Research issue or a developers issue, my guess it is an Laminar issue as I find this aspect a lot in these near city areas. Azerbaijan Airports The original six airports in regional Azerbaijan of UBBL Lenkoran (In X-Plane as UB10?), UBBG Ganja, UBBN Nakhchivan, UBBQ Qabala, UBBY Zaqatala and UBTT Zabrat. have mostly been pulled. They were very average anyway, but I still thought they could have been enhanced more rather than simply pulling them out... Two are still usable in UBBG Ganja and UBTT Zabrat which is near UBBB. The UBBG Ganja (left below) is now a global airport and quite good, but you will have to clear the apron of trees before you use it? UBTT Zabrat (above right) is basically untouched in the update. Summary My first reaction to Drzewiecki Design releasing their Baku and City scenery for X-Plane11 was of excitement as it's position globally which is great for interesting routes out of Europe and the eastern Mediterranean ports which is a growing area of X-Plane activity. First views was that this is a great airport with very interesting terminals... but overall UBBB was an empty and stale place with just a straight FSX to X-Plane conversion. Personally I had fears that this v1.3 update would be just more of the same. My negative list in the review was quite substantial, but this update has crossed almost all of them out, and added in a few nice additions that takes UBBB Baku forward immensely. The missing airport ground layout.. fixed, missing ground routes... fixed, lighting... fixed, empty photoreal textures... fixed, and on it goes. All the fixes also go forward more than that as the fixed ground routes will now support WorldTraffic3 with some amending in that the AFRE routes out here are pretty thin, so the "Autogen" is required to give you an active airport, static aircraft "on" also helps in filling the place up. The lighting fixes are the biggest improvement and the airport is now one of the best for lighting and use, and the photoreal textures have been covered over by some great autogen, although it doesn't work quite as well in the central city area of Baku. Additions to v1.3 are excellent as well. All glass and ground textures are now all HDR with reflections (Glass) and Wet Surfaces. SAM - Scenery Animation Manager is also now active and usable and there is now more branded ground clutter and animated vehicles. A new large modern 747-8 maintenance hangar also adds into the scenery. The changes here in v1.3 all sum up to a scenery that was interesting, but boring to... a huge up jump to be the one of the best in this category... in reality this should have been the original release version, but for those that paid out then, then now they get their money's worth, and for the rest of the fence sitters then why wait any longer to get a very active and interesting destination in a new and upcoming area of X-Plane activity... five stars on getting it right for Drzewiecki Design, they did really good, but more importantly they listened and changed the Baku airport to the needed requirements... (now) Highly Recommended. ______________________________________________________________________  The UBBB Baku Heydar Aliyev Airport & City v1.3 by Drzewiecki Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : UBBB Baku Airport and City XP Price is US$23.00 Features Extremely detailed model of UBBB Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku UBBB with 3D people, high quality static aircraft, up-to-date airport layout Advanced interior modeling (Terminal 1, tower, Silkway hangar) Baku city with hundrieds of custom-made landmarks with night textures HDR lighting, detailed markings, static aircraft Animated jetways, VGDS, marshallers (SAM plugin) Custom-made UBBB airport charts included v1.3 features - upgraded Baku city autogen - much better HDR lighting at UBBB - new animations and other details - new 747-8 hangar and static Embraers in Buta Airways livery - SAM plugin support for jetway animation, VGDS and marshallers - airport aprons with reflections and rain effects Requirements: X-Plane 11 Mac, Windows or Linux 4Gb+ VRAM Video Card 1GB HD for Installation SAM plugin is required for use of this scenery. Current and review version : 1.3 (June 14th 2019) Documents: DD Baku XP Documents Baku XP MacLinuxInstall Baku XP MANUAL UBBB CHARTS (charts are quite basic in two airport layout charts and two ILS runway approach charts) These UBBB charts are better: http://uvairlines.com/admin/resources/charts/UBBB.pdf Navigraph charts are excellent as well, but you have to have an account. ______________________________________________________________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 18th June 2019 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews 2019 (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)
  6. Aircraft Update : Diamond DA62 XP11v1.04 by Aerobask "Where did that time go?" I thought the release of Aerosbask's excellent Diamond DA62 was still earlier this year, no last year... "Middle" no it was actually "March" last year, so already the new X-Plane11 version is now 14 months on from it's release... "Where the hell did that time go?" As it only did seem like a few months ago since I was reviewing it here at X-PlaneReviews, here is that review: Aircraft Review : Diamond DA-62 by Aerobask Not that Aerobask have been sitting on their hands or not updating the DA62, because they have been very busy with quite a few changes this year alone... so this update review covers v1.0 to v1.04 or four updates. We packaged them all together here because even with the few version numbers there wasn't a lot to note as the first two updates only covered SASL (Plugin) updates from v3.4.3 to v3.5.0. Stunning the DA62 is, so XP11 in dynamics and feel... and Aerosbask do this modern age design so well. Still so different are those twin Austro E4 engines (marketed as the AE 300) which are a liquid-cooled, inline, four-cylinder, four-stroke, diesel piston aircraft engine of which the DA-62 has the 180hp AE330 version.... and both engines come with those fancy bulky cowlings. Note the deluxe paintjob, I don't think I have seen better in X-Plane. XP11 v1.04 Updates G1000 Screen brightness was a noted issue in the original version, so they have been brightened here, there is also in direct lighting as well under the glareshield... ... well certainly the G1000 displays are far better in daylight, but are also still quite high in saturation, so I still don't think they are perfect, but they are however better... at night they look really, really good. It is really nice in here... Both displays pop-out (PFD is the centre aircraft, MFD it is an area left of the radio frequencies), but it can be tricky to find the scale area. Updated here is the AP to the newer Laminar GFC700 Autopilot, although it is hard to tell as the facia plate is still the same and the changes are in the details not the display. Another change is that the SYSTEM page on MFD that has been updated and Aerobask have removed unused key inputs. More SASL updates to v3.6.4 covers some mouse and display fixes. The Oxygen system has been updated to take advantage of the X-Plane 11.30 changes, in that the oxygen is now depleted "on demand" instead of all ways on as in a continuous flow. Therefore duration may depend on the altitude you use, in someways this means your oxygen will last longer, because it is not always being used, but when it is, then it uses more... but you have a pretty big tank for supply. The fuel pump switches lighting now goes out when switched off, before they were always on. Glass reflection has been fine tuned for more realism in the different conditions, the reflections were good before, but are now excellent... .... and the cabin interior is still one of the very best in X-Plane. Somewhere between the release version and this update, then Aerobask have done a menu upgrade... mostly to add in tabs and pages. The original "Options" page is still the same, but added in now are: "G1000", "Sound" and "About" G1000: gives you options for the G1000 system... you can now disable the G1000 pop-ups (2D) for VR flying, Enable Custom Features (see review), Disable Bezels for pop-outs, Show TAS in Knts under the speed tape, Display custom engine display, G1000 Flightplan mouse features (scroll) and there is an experimental flightplan keyboard you can try out. Lower are two options in: Enable Rain Effects (see below) and keep the Pop-up screens inside the cockpit (for cockpit builders). Sound: the "Sound" panel is a duplicate of the X-Plane default sound panel and is really just a shortcut. But there is one extra option to enable/disable speech. About: Credits for creators of the DA62 One note with the "Options" is that the statics elements were not always visible in C&D, and that has been fixed. Librain The Saso Kiselkov's librain.plugin support has also been added.... very nice. The DA62 already had nice rain support and icing, obviously the librain is a better option, but I checked if the icing effects were still in there? the tests proved inconclusive. One note I will make is that Aerobask says to download the 3rd party librain plugin and insert it into the DA62's plugin folder... I have my librain plugin in the X-Plane/resources/plugin folder? and it still worked fine and here it is more global in it's effectiveness. Summary This isn't really an update per se, even with all the point version releases put together it is more of what I call a "nip and tuck". In reality the Aerobask Diamond DA62 was pretty well conceived right out of the original release aircraft. All Aerobask does here is keep the aircraft within the current standards and features (X-Plane v11.35) and that is simply what you get here. Updates include a lot of SASL plugin updates, display and reflection refinements, new Autopilot to the GFC700, Librain water effects and the menu system has been upgraded with more tabs and pages. Aerobask's standards are now always some of the best in X-Plane, all their aircraft are so well sorted on release, in quality and with clever innovated features and with that you can never really go wrong with any of their aircraft... and so it is here with their Diamond DA62... is it corny to say it is a "gem of an aircraft" maybe... but it is. Highly Recommended. ________________________________________ Yes! the Diamond DA-62 by Aerobask is NOW! available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Diamond DA62 Price is US$34.95 Features: Advanced Flight model Flight model by X-Aerodynamics, very closely matching real performance (based on public data) Aerobask Systems Suite Fully Integrated Laminar Garmin G1000 with custom EIS and annunciations (In 3D only) Customized FADEC/ECU with test procedures allows engines and propellers to deliver their documented performance with unprecedented accuracy, including in fuel usage Auto-feathering is also accurately managed, for a total immersion Simulated oxygen system Simulated ice protection system MD302: custom coded Standby Attitude Module Fully functional breakers (configurable reliability) New Laminar oxygen system New Laminar GFC700 Autopilot Saso Kiselkov's librain.plugin support Support for Avitab Plugin High Resolution Model High quality 3D model with high resolution PBR textures (4K textures) Fully functional virtual 3D cockpit, with smooth and VR-friendly manipulators Windshield effects: reflections, rain and frost Many parameters saved between flights Configurable pilots, passengers and luggage Optimized to save FPS Custom Sounds FMOD High Quality Enhanced 3D system sounds, including Doppler and Flanger effects Auto-Updater Keep your aircraft up-to-date with a convenient auto-updater Requirements: X-Plane 11 (Fully updated) Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb VRAM Minimum. 8Gb+ VRAM recommended For Avitab, version 0.3.10 or higher is required Current and review version: 11.1.04 (last updated June 11th 2019) Installation Download of the Diamond DA-62 is 376mb and it is installed in your General Aviation Folder as a 638mb folder. Framerates are good as those textures have been highly refined for use and with my specs I got framerates in the mid-30's to the early 40's Documents Documentation is excellent. Great manual with feature details, checklists/Performance tables and MD302 manual. Quicklook views.pdf DA62 Flight Manual.pdf DA62 Checklist Normal Operations.pdf Airspeed Normal Operation.pdf DA62 Checklist Emergency Procedures.pdf DA62 Performance Tables.pdf Install_Settings.pdf Quick-Doc MD302.pdf v11.1.04 Changelog v11.1.04 Changelog.rtf _____________________________________________________________________________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 14th June 2019 Copyright©2019: 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)
  7. I'm still hanging in there with v1.10... the benefits outweigh the negatives and yes those clouds need a big fix, but having no issues on framerate as it is pretty solid for me, so my guess that is settings area... but I have never been greedy on my settings.
  8. Laminar Research : FlightSimExpo 2019 As another year sets on the annual FlightSim community get together it was who had won. Obviously the Expo vs Conference battle was won out by the significant attendees in Florida, but you have to feel for the original conference organisers that in reality have had their show taken away from them... it shows where the money is going, but it hurts for the small people that created something significant and only then to lose it. Vegas last year in 2018 was a big and successful show (FSExpo is going back to Vegas for 2020). Again Laminar Research had a big presence with three organised events, the first for a WED 2 demonstration of the Friday 7th June, with the big one set for 4.30pm on the Saturday 8th June... the June 9th event was a competition on landing a B737-800 at PAJN Juneau, AK RWY 08. Notably the June 7th Seminar was the focus from our point of view, but overall it was quite a light agenda compared to the extensive seminars in the past. Personally I don't think this was a Laminar issue as the allotted time for the seminar was only 45 min, and Laminar noted they had wished they have had more time for more details, above that 15 min was then allotted to X-Plane Mobile, so in retrospect there was only 30 minutes allotted time on the actual simulator, which is about half the usual allotted seminar time and it felt like it. X-Plane Mobile It is a bit like Apple with IOS and MacOS in that IOS is the portable (iPhone/iPad) operating system and MacOS is the desktop version, and gradually they have been coming together from their different realms, and so it is with X-Plane Mobile and X-Plane Desktop. Early mobile applications had to run in an extremely limited environment, so effectively it was a very basic simulator... now currently it is as functional and as effective as a desktop... Only 1º of the original X-Mobile was X-Plane in the original code, to the 73º shared code now. So X-Mobile has gone from a very basic application to a full simulation application. Personally I think X-Plane is too small on a SmartPhone, I think really that X-Plane is mostly in this guise is still aimed at the tablet/iPad market, and it works fine on there. There was one area though that X-Mobile users all wanted, and that was more than the current five airports, and so we will soon have... Global Airports. Chris Serio has been the coder on X-Mobile, and now he announces that Global Airports are coming to X-Mobile soon and it is called Glo-Mo. Glo-Mo will come with the same 3D rendered airports (WED Based only) as the desktop version, 35,000 airports altogether with 10,000 in 3D, but to note X-Mobile Glo-Mo is a subscriber application, and not a one off download. The bonus is of course constant updates as it is now only downloaded from the cloud, the downside is cost... in other words it a new Laminar cashflow stream. Noted as coming this (Northern) summer in say late August. X-Plane11.35 In the X-Plane11 roadmap the next update is v11.35... and due today 11th June 19. But not much was mentioned of any other releases later in the year (Vulkan/Metal withstanding), so it is a sort of enjoy it while you can. X-Plane11.35 will now come with 10, 275 Global 3D airports with the aim to ceiling around 20,000 airports, and for a 3 Year target that has been remarkable, but a lot of the global scenery varies between excellent to average depending on the developers skills, overall the detail is excellent and highly usable. I personally would like to see these 3D sceneries graded in stars ***** to their usability and quality. Boats: Like any art coming out of Laminar the quality of the boats are excellent, and no more of those nasty white hull extra white sail artifacts that dot a lot of the sceneries including paywares. All objects are placed in the new WED 2 application, but the detail is more than the actual boats, with marinas and pontoons as part of the new detail in sixteen choices, so from now on realistic marinas will be part of your simulation. Landmarks: The landmark caravan also continues with two new cities of Washington DC and New York now being added into the simulator... Washington DC includes a large range of objects including the Capital Building, The White House, The Mall, Pentagon, Lincoln Memorial, JFK Theatre and Dulles Airport.... New York adds in the Statue of Liberty (Island), Lower Manhattan, Freedom Tower, Empire State and all the main bridges in the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Verrazano and Williamsburg structures. I will always debate the time spent on doing these "Landmark" objects, were as the simulator still requires a lot more in the general categories, in other words leave it to the 3rd parties to do these extensive cityscapes... but New York is interesting in one point of view. The problem with NYC is that if you use a very highly detail airport, say JFK and a 3rd party cityscape it is horrendous on your graphic card, unless you reduce your texture settings right down to low or average. This NYC version of X-Plane may give you a halfway solution in a very nice NYC skyline without that nasty framerate hit, so we shall see. Sound Laminar Research has now brought on board a specialist for sound. Daniela Rodriguez Careri is from Argentina and she is bringing her skills to soundscapes in using the FMOD system built in to X-Plane11. In v11.35 the KingAir C90 and the Boeing 737-800 have had the full dynamic FMOD aural makeover, but expect all the default aircraft to get the same treatment over time. Sound detailing exceptional and now reaching payware standards (but not the specialised sound packages). All sounds including (basically noises) in opening shutting of doors, systems and switchgear, all are dynamic and give you a far deeper immersion simulation. Systems Over the last few years Phillipp Ringler has took over the systems portfolio from Austin Meyer, and that is not a bad thing as Austin has a tendency to wander away from the computer with one project or another (see below). Last update saw Phillipp concentrate on the Autopilot, Oxygen Systems and Anti-ice/de-ice systems and the Propeller governors. In 11.35 the areas again covered are extensive. Fuel System: The Fuel System has had attention (mostly because addon developers have been complaining loud and clear). In many ways the fuel systems in X-Plane have not had attention for years, even for a decade... so they are extremely basic. Biggest complaint was the restriction of the actual fuel tanks and fuel systems available, like say the tail trim tank. So the system has had a huge welcome update in v11.35 with header/feeder, AUX and trim tanks all now available. Transfer of fuel has also had attention, for auto/manual and cross feed systems. Trim fuel is also a biggie in that the centre of gravity can't be adjusted with the flight, or in flight like with Concorde that requires different fuel weights at different positions on the aircraft for supersonic flight. Fuel tanks can now also be oddly shaped (wing tanks) and the developers will now all rejoice. Bleed Air: Another system that has had no attention for years. Overall there are multiple ways to start aircraft engines and in fact the bleed air from the engines can be a significant effect on the realism of the simulation with not only the starting procedures, but with also the environment on the aircraft. The sources are multiple as well with not only the on aircraft main engines and built in APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) but also the external GPU (Ground Power Unit). Again the Bleed systems were pretty basic, but here all bleed systems have had a significant upgrade, with Pack, Anti-Ice, Starter Motors and hydraulic pumps all getting attention. And again keeping the developer happy is now they can design up to three packs and with multiple isolation valves, if any bleed air is used it also will have an effect on the engine performance... electrical systems are also affected if you use the air conditioning, fans or heaters... again in other words it will bring more realism into the aircraft's systems and also affects the aircraft's performance. APU (Auxiliary Power Unit): Early X-Plane systems of the APU were quite basic, it turned on and you got electrical power to the aircraft, and that was basically it. Certainly in expensive addons you can get the full APU treatment, but now those features are now built in as default. Now there are electrical and air bleed loads, the APU EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) also now responds to APU loads. Start up and cool down times and if you have an APU fire you have the loss of pressure and the instant loss of power.... and yes the APU will go on fire via the particle effects, and all these are customizable for 3rd party developers. Extra Improvements: Phillipp Ringler also adding a few extra improvements that he felt were required. A few listed are an extension of his last output in v11.30... with DME hold functionality on all NAV radios, and now you get separate audio with NAV and DME radios. Your battery condition is now affected by the use of the starter motor torque and igniters, or in other words, churn the starters too long and you will run the battery down. New autopilot modes for track, Flightpath, angle and ref speed climbs are also a follow on from v11.30 and you now get HOTEL mode for turboprops or a 'propeller brake' while allowing the turbine to run, and therefore also the generator in providing electrical power and bleed air, but the prop is stationary (see my Carenado SAAB 340 review). "DC dies while AC Lies" is related to analog gauges that has the characteristic of “lying or dying” when power is removed, that system feature is now active. And finally is the Non-Rigid nose steering that adjusts the camber of the steering as it turns. Collins 65 Not noted in the Expo seminar is the inclusion of another Autopilot system in the Collins 65 in v11.35. This Autopilot is mostly found on the KingAirs and is a nice new addition to the extensive list of default autopilots now available... my guess it will go into C90B. Images here are of the Carenado KingAir version, but they are identical. Designing AVA Austin Meyer always has a side project to keep him busy. His latest is designing an electric BETA's Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft or Ava. It looks like a huge GA drone with 8 Vermount maple electric motors wrapped in Carbon Fibre. it was designed in Plane-Maker and flown using the standard X-Plane flight model. The rotors lift the plane up vertically and and then tilts forward for flight, so it a hybrid in the sense of a tilt-rotor. X-Plane was used to create the flight model and design the aerodynamics for effectiveness... in other words if this experimental aircraft will actually fly, and if it did then how would it react in the air. So all the details were honed in the simulator and test flown... of which there was a flight demonstration. Obviously it flies, but the last image threw you completely, in yes X-Plane proved the aircraft could fly but Austin Meyer has actually built and is flying this hybrid machine! So if Mr Meyer is not at the 2020 FlightSimExpo you can safely guess he was killed in an aviation accident, if he appears, then it also proves X-Plane's dynamics are actually correct... what a way to prove something, interesting concept though. Vulkan/Metal The focus of this seminar was always going to be the new APIs or Application Programming Interface of which is the main interaction of the programming graphical user interface (GUI) components.. X-Plane since it's creation has always depended on the OpenGL API created by SiliconGraphics in 1991, even with updates you can guess that an API created in the early 1990's is going to be totally outdated by today's standards. Vulkan- Windows/Metal-Apple API is the more modern system for graphic processing in multi-threading high-performance realtime 3D graphics. Vulkan is intended to offer higher performance by having or giving you a more balanced CPU/GPU usage. Currently graphic processing in X-Plane is not very efficient, it relies on single thread chip processing and the graphic card to do all the heavy lifting (the bigger the graphic card the better). So X-Plane11 is moving over to the Vulkan/Metal API universe, but we are looking at a core section of the simulator in doing so.. so changes here are deep but highly progressive in creating a very modern and efficient simulator. The progression of replacing OpenGL (OpenGL will still be available for the XP11 run, but not for XP12) with Vulkan is pretty much the full focus of Laminar's resources right now and the reprogramming of the switch over has been going on for over a year or so. So this seminar was to see the progress and an update of what to expect when the changes happen, which will be X-Plane v11.40... and what you expected was a Vulkan/Matel demonstration of it actually running live... that didn't happen, but what you had was notes and data of the progress. Current Development This is were we last saw the progression porting of the changeover and about half of the list was then completed, currently the whole list has now been completed. With that list now all crossed out then X-Plane can now run in Vulkan/Metal... and here is the image (not a video) of X-Plane now running in the new API. Performance So what is the biggest power hungry area of X-Plane? It is the textures and mesh that creates the X-Plane environment, and although OpenGL was good, it was also slow. That slowness created screen freezes and glitches, it also created restrictions on tile loading and screen building. Replacing Vulkan with OpenGL means that that these processes are now becoming more efficient, but X-Plane now also has to work harder... but it also means you as the application creator can also have more access to the process, so you gain a little speed, but also more movement in what you can actually adjust for efficiency. So some numbers in that Nvida processors do run faster, but not significantly so, Ben Supnik notes at around 15%. The biggest gains are for AMD processors which don't run currently very efficiently in X-Plane, and what Vulkan does is pretty well level both chip designs lineball more equally with a 20% to 30% gain. A note is that an old graphic card is still an old graphic card, and it won't suddenly come to life if there is less pressure on it, and that is because it is still under the power line and doesn't use the latest processing technology. The help here with Vulkan is with good modern graphic cards (8K+) in raining in that runway GPU memory and that view is supported here with this graph, if you have that modern Graphic Card and even with a few different choices, they will pretty well all run together as a group... that older video card is really left now out of the game (the lower red line). On Metal/OSX then there are more gains for AMD processors, Ben notes even 50% faster (graph below left is "lower is faster"). Those spikes (circled) are stutters, which are plain nasty in a simulator, so the idea is to eliminate them for a smoother simulation... ... it is the same in Vulkan with the those sets of dots high up, you could call them "Stutter Dots". That is effectively where the Vulkan/Metal transition situation is right now... so what is there left to do, and there are two items with "Texture Paging" and "Plugins" Texture Paging As we noted above with using Vulkan/Metal that a lot of what that OpenGL API used to do, can can now be transferred under Vulkan/Metal to the actual X-Plane simulator code itself. Better efficiency gains are gained by moving critical areas away from the main system memory (slow) to the VRAM memory (fast). So first you need to transfer the non-critical areas that don't need fast video processing to be put back to the main system memory and then replace it with the critical areas that do need that on the spot fast processing, and a good example here are the clouds (puffs) to be moved over to the faster VRAM memory from the slow system memory. As we noted that textures are the number one roadblock to an efficient simulator, in loading, resolution and processing. So to get your graphic card to be very productive then it requires to process the pages more efficiently and for most times in the background... More textures in the VRAM however can cause stuttering unless you to write the code that resizes the textures automatically, and this then ensures that the low-resolution textures are always at a minimum and are always ready. If you can do this then this is were the biggest gains can be found. So the focus now is on the Texture Paging itself, (loading) page in the background, automatically raising or lowering texture resolution (very interesting) and having those "Low Resolution" textures always ready. Plugins A big issue is that when Vulkan/Metal replaces OpenGL, then a lot of current addons (aircraft) and Plugins will simply stop working because they are created under that OpenGL API's rules. So you can't simply fully eliminate OpenGL just yet, but OpenGL will be gone on X-Plane12. So for now to allow developers to transition to the new brighter faster world of Vulkan/Metal APIs there has to be a compromise. First OpenGL aircraft and Plugins will be still supported via an exchange through the VRAM to Vulkan/Metal, but it still has to work. My gut feeling is that Ben Supnik still expects a lot of aircraft and plugins to break as he noted that v11.40 will be a long (tedious) beta run, but in a goal Laminar is trying to minimise that painful rollover effect. In many ways it will be a mirror to the 64bit conversion of a few years ago, with "a bit of pain now" for a better future. And don't let us forget this is deep gutting of the simulator to bring it up to a world class and a future proofing of your simulation flying, and will fill in areas that Laminar couldn't attempt under the older API (water, better textures, larger tile footprints and of course extended night lighting). There are a few other areas that Laminar want to get also transitioned now, in the UI (User Interface) and 2D panels (menus) that will work still unmodified on the Vulkan/Metal API (in other words in not to redo them all) and with current Addons. v11.40 Schedule The Vulkan/Metal X-Plane version should get preview or beta this year (note late 2019) with a full transition due in 2020... Developer Tool updates include WED2.1 and others, Blender Model Exporter and Blender 2.49 updated to 2.7x with a conversion. A personal note is that Graphic Cards are feeling the strain, even if they are maxed out to 16gb of VRAM, although the current trend is to use two or more Graphic Cards together with the "Crossfire" or (SLI" (Scalable Link Interface) to create a single graphic card interface. But my current needs (I don't use a lot of custom orthos) is 12gb, so 16gb would give me a 4gb headroom. Summary In reality if you wanted a future roadmap of X-Plane development, then you would have come away from Orlando a bit short changed. X-Mobile is getting Glo-Mo or global airports away from the current five and few more enhancements and that is due end of the northern summer. X-Plane11.35 is out now, but I recommend waiting for b2 as b1 has an issue. This v11.35 has new objects in Boats and associated items like piers and pontoons, more Landmarks with Washington DC and New York, Updated systems with Fuel, Bleed systems and APU enhancements with also a new Autopilot system with the Collins 65 system. Two aircraft in the C90B and Boeing 737-800 have also had extensive FMOD sound enhancements. Austin Meyer has been working on a new project called AVA, which in reality is a full GA sized drone, created and tested in X-Plane the real version is an amazing aircraft if it doesn't kill Austin Meyer in the meantime. Big news was of course the Vulkan/Metal API transition from OpenGL. A lot of the work is now well and truly crossed off, but two in Texture Paging and current Addon/Plugin support is still under development. A preview or beta is noted towards the end of 2019 and a final is not due until 2020, the beta is expected to be long painful and focused on addons (aircraft) and plugins. For any other items on the longer roadmap the seminar was rather thin, no additions to v11.40 or notes on past the API's to v11.50 (I expect the ATC for 11.50)... or even hints of pretty well anything else... with just Vulkan and Metal shows the list is also now getting rather thin, if you discount major water, texture and weather overhauls of which I now expect to passed into the X-Plane12 release. Overall Laminar Research had a great weekend, but don't expect much now until the end of the year and the v11.40 beta release, and after the huge feature packed past last few years it feels overall rather empty. _________________________ X-PlaneReviews can't cover absolutely every change or bug fix with the version update, and so the 11.35 Release notes are available here at the Laminar Research Development pages: X-Plane 11.35 Release Notes X-Plane 11.35 is available now for download. Run your X-Plane installer application or download from Steam. ______________________________________________________________________ Analysis review by Stephen Dutton 11th June 2019 Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews Slide images are courtesy of Laminar Research  (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)
  9. Not happy are we... First is that JARDesign never did a manual for GHD, he did it via a video - GROUND HANDLING DELUXE by JARDesign - Build Your Own Set. Yes the A320 is not completely up to date in current XP11 standards, but it is current to fly well in X-Plane11 and I have used it regularly? There is more than enough info out there on the threads that would fix the issues (what ever they actually are) but it seems that a fresh total install would be the way to go... any issues need to go to the JARDesign site and not .Org as JAR only answers on his own site...
  10. Yes a full FMS with SID/STAR is coming for the FF A350, yes it really is... but you can get around and still use SID/STARS with the current default system... I detailed how to do that here.... Plugin Update : WebFMC Pro v1.4.0 by Green Arc Studios It is detailed in the A350 section. SD
  11. Scenery Enhancement : ALES Airport Layout Enhancement Solution by Pyreegue Dev. Co. Over the last year since X-Plane11 acquired the PBR (Physically Based Rendering) system. You have seen a more realistic environment in the simulator. This is created by metalness mapping in PBR which is just one method of determining reflectivity in surfaces. In other words you can replicate wet surfaces on runways or any flat area in the simulator (Glass is another reflective surface). So very quickly airport developers used the mapping to create more authentic surfaces to adjust to the weathers conditions, and obviously rain and wet surfaces were soon very prominent in the feature lists. But what of all the other surfaces in the simulator, or the default core textures... Laminar Research have been very slow out of the gate to adopt more authentic and wet surfaces, in fact these bitmap textures is one of the areas of X-Plane that has not changed for eons or for at least the last three or for versions of the simulator, as it is a decade or so since any basic textures were actually updated (the lines, stand markings and crossings did however have an update a few years ago). So in reality it is up to 3rd parties to fill in the gap, or to deliver what Laminar Research hasn't yet introduced to the simulator, and this where ALES or Airport Layout Enhancement Solution comes in. What ALES will do is give you options. Options to have the runway and other surfaces the way you like them and to have more active elements in the scenery. Runway Options There are three runway options with: Used Runway Worn Down Runway Freshly paved Runway First thing to understand is that X-Plane default textures are global, in other words it is the same at every airport, you can adjust different surfaces at different airports under WED or Payware airports, but the main settings are set globally. Here with ALES you can adjust those default textures in the Resources/bitmaps/runways folders, another folder "ALES LIB" is inserted into your X-Plane "Custom Folder" (you also have to change the ALES LIB/decals/Asphalt.detail file if you also change the runway bitmap textures). As noted you have change your default system bitmaps, of which I am usually loath to do, but these are tested... and I didn't have any issues (If you of course update the simulator version, then these custom textures will have to be again replaced). The textures are all taken from real world surfaces for detail, so they are highly authentic in detail, which is a big step up from the ancient Laminar versions, and all textures come in both 2K and 4K resolution quality sizes.. the 2K resolution size is the default and for lighter graphic cards, and so if you have the power then use the 4K- 4096x4096 resolution quality. So lets have a look... The Used and Worn down runways are basically very similar in shade and the visual look, but the detail is different... the lightest (slightly) is the "Used" textures and all three options have slightly different shoulder textures. Used The Used option is very similar to the Worn, But they have a stony asphalt mixture than a pattern. General wear and tear is focused on the lighter highly used tyre tracks to the darker outboard of the runway surfaces. Overall the used are the closest to the standard default textures in colour and design. Worn Down The Worn Down is different from the Used in that the surfaces are ribbed, there are other slight variations like the main runway touch down zones and it is the medium in colour brightness range of the three... and surfaces are mostly natural right across the whole surface. In areas you have oil patches and general wear and tear. The ribbed effect is very effective and the most dynamic of the two lighter greys. Fresh Paved The "Fresh" paved option is the most dramatic, but it comes with a cost... ... as the settings are global, then every single global airport is then set in the heavy darker texture setting? It looks excellent, the best of the three options, but in reality you can't use it? in certain airports yes definitely, but not in a total global sense. The surfaces are ribbed as well for maximum benefit. Reflections I was expecting in ALES for the runway and taxiway surfaces to have that PBR dynamic effect (wet), but the reality is some airports do work but most of the global airports don't... The problem again stems from the original ancient textures, they are that in being totally out of date, and can't be used with current dynamic lighting. All is not lost though. X-Plane11's dynamic lighting will generate some reflection, and the higher quality textures used here do reflect that effect (deeper) far better than the default textures. All linage is reflective and is very effective, so that is some compensation. The linage is high quality and as noted reflective. High quality linage in X-Plane from a 3rd party is not new, as FlyJSim did some a few years ago and this is just as good, it is all however very heavy, or mostly solid linage, with not a lot of wear or tear, but again it is in the global setting of one for all, a bit more of a weathered look though maybe have been more authentic, but the reflections are as noted very good. If the airport has however been recently redone or created in a current WED format and the runway and taxiway textures are concrete in the (Draped).POL format, then things are now very different... This is UKBB - Boryspil ... and KCLT - Charlotte Douglas in the US. Where the dynamic textures have been used the wet effects are excellent, and the detail with the quality asphalt is really, really good.... and all the pavement surfaces have been replaced for using the built in X-Plane11 featured PBR that delivers these effects. So the ALES can bring life and dynamics to WED Global airports when adjusted... note the nice wet foreground, but the dry areas around the working zones of the parked aircraft, even if the actual runways are not reflective then the shoulders are, so it all helps in creating a dynamic atmosphere. An interesting note is that as (global) airports in WED are updated and use the more modern (draped).POL settings then you will have the correct working tool already installed to take advantage of the changes, as every new airport comes on line then it is now now more active. Heli pads ALES has also replaced both the asphalt and concrete helipad textures... Summary ALES - Airport Layout Enhancement Solution is an excellent tool for getting some depth and quality into your Global Airports, to at least complement the more heavily detailed payware airport textures. Enhancement is the word here... You can give your runways and taxiways more depth and quality in either 2K or 4K resolution textures, reflection effects on surfaces, reflective linage and signage and runways come in three options of Used, Worn and Fresh.. or light with stony, slightly darker with ribbed and really dark surfaces. Overall this enhancement package is excellent, but the package comes with a few quirks. You have to pick the actual pack you want, so you can't mix and change, so it is one for all. The oddity there is that the Used and Worn are both good, but light, were as the Fresh is very dark but good and you seem to want number three with a more heavy Worn or Used? My pick is Worn with those lovely ribbed textures, but you just want little more depth out of it. Secondly is that the actual runways and taxiways can't use the (Draped).POL format so that means you can't use the PBR effects, this an older dated X-Plane issue rather than the developers missing it out, and they are trying to find a fix. But the rest of the surfaces and especially with the concrete and asphalt and runway shoulders are excellent when the right tools are in place. Overall this a pro tool to enhance the simulator and not a freeware hack, and well worth the investment in bringing the simulator up a level from the basic default settings. Most certainly I look at this enhancement package as a starter kit with more to come, so putting your money in there will benefit in the future as well as more features and details come on line with upgrades.. it is good as well in creating something Laminar Research should have done years ago in upgrading the basic bitmap textures, so why wait when you get that now... a nice little investment. _____________________________________ Yes! ALES Airport Layout Enhancement Solution by Pyreegue Dev. Co. is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Airport Layout Enhancement Solution Price is US$12.80 (sale) Features 2K/4K Textures Normal maps using X-Plane 11 PBR at its finest All taxilines and other lines replaced (PBR) All pavement surfaces replaced (PBR) All draped signs replaced (PBR) Asphalt Runway textures replaced (3 variants) Concrete Runway textures replaced Asphalt Helipad textures replaced Concrete Helipad textures replaced Asphalt Helipad textures replaced Concrete Helipad textures replaced Wet Textures (Can only be applied to PBR surfaces, (.pol)) Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 2GB VRAM Minimum HDR has to be enabled to unleash the full potential of the package Current and Review version : 1.2 (June 4th 2019) Download and Documentation The package download is quite hefty at 1.06GB, install is in the X-Plane Resources/bitmap folders and a folder placed in the Custom Scenery folder. If you want to change textures, then they have to be manually changed within the simulators resources. Full package is 2.74 Gb but includes 4K textures. Documents are a User guide and EULA EULA ALES.pdf User Guide.pdf ______________________________________________________________________ Enhancement Review by Stephen Dutton 7th June 2019 Copyright©2019 : 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 11.33 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : SimBrief (Free) : Navigraph Charts (Subscription) Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free : JarDesign Ground Handling Deluxe - US$14.95 
  12. Thanks for your comment... the reply can be split into two areas. Over the last year plugins and plugin conflicts are becoming an issue, certainly with FlightFactor's A320 U, ToLiSS A319, AirfoilLabs B350 or any other plugin based complex system aircraft. No matter how good the developer then in areas there will always be overlaps... Even I have to now choose what plugin is to be inserted to fly that aircraft, if not it has to come out and be stored, annoying yes... but that is the state of the situation and it is going to get worse. My feelings is that Laminar will need to address this complex issue, but even switching off the plugin within the simulator doesn't work either, it has to physically come out of the plugin folder. As I have always constantly chanted "keep your plugins folder as light as possible" only tested and refined plugins are to go in there, so in that vein I have had no issues with the JAR A330. I flew it a few weeks ago and it is fine to me. Other point is that this design is now quite to very old in X-Plane years (2012 old), but updated, this review is XP10 and 2015, there was only an update a few months back to v3 so the aircraft is current, but another update in v3.2 for A330 is also coming soon... purchase? Well first there is no other decent A330 at this level in X-Plane, so if you want the aircraft then there is no other option, JARDesigns are a bit quirky, but overall they are a great simulation, certainly not in the current XP11 standard, but certainly well within the confines of having a great simulation, and I like the JARDesign A330 a lot, for a purchase then yes if you can get a deal... SD
  13. Plugin Update : xEnviro v1.10 DarkSpace has released an updated new version of their environmental engine xEnviro to v1.10. Yes it's finally here... sort of. The ping pong story of xEnviro is going to be one for the grandkids, but we are holding in there and the release of v1.10 is at least a step forward. I will put my hand up and say I am a big fan of xEnviro, in reality it is absolutely everything I am against in buggy software, but I still use it... well v1.07 anyway which is currently over two and a half years old... v1.08... nah crap, v1.09 even more crap with seriously bad shadows on the aircraft (greyed out)... so we waited, and waited and well waited. So here is v1.10, and it is well... still extremely buggy but at least finally workable. A note in that because xEnviro is only available with real world weather (no history or save weather conditions) then this quick overview look at the new release is bound by the weather conditions I can find, as more different conditions come up I will add them in as they become available... but we can start here. The developers also have made a very long statements about the condition of the release and in that they are still wrestling with certain conditions (as we shall see) but think that at least we should at least (after waiting years) to get a working weather engine. As noted xEnviro is not even close to being an acceptable product, but even in this situation it is absolutely brilliantly good, as it is in the exceptional feel and look that it delivers to the simulator, that xEnviro delivers almost perfect visual realism feedback... it is always the total feel and look factor that really delivers here. First Look xEnviro have wanted to move to volumetric clouds and away from the slideshow image base, the cloud image way was actually not bad, because it was extremely efficient, the problem with volumetric clouds is that they are very processor hungry, note to Laminar's famous cloud "puffs"... and we all know how they at first all pulled down your framerate. The issues with the "puffs" was they were quite large, and of course the smaller you can scale them, then the better detail that you can get, the problem here is mathematics, the smaller you go the higher in the square goes the number required, so even if the lower initial resolution is minute the sheer volume of the order of magnitude then can simply overwhelm the processor again... in other words you are back to square one. So what is required is the volumetric clouds at an smaller efficient level, or at the same efficiency you currently have... so more for the same. So the first look at xEnviro v1.10 is really a look at the current situation of the progress and in reality this is still in the experimental stage. In reality currently (and DarkSpace) acknowledge this is the fact that to get the smaller resolution and also the magnitude required for the quality, it is not going to happen in our current systems. In yes they can make it work, but only at a severe framerate cost... Users note they are getting low single digit framerate drops with installing v1.10... but the fact is that the framerate drop is only 2-3 frames and in fact I am not really seeing a major impact of the v1.10 application on my normal simulation flying (there is however a tendency to rotate around frame rates, say 34, 33, 28 and back to 34...) this is usually present in any new software that is not yet refined... we are always aware that heavier weather will use more framerate so that aspect has to be also taken into consideration. So for those with their framerate issues with v1.10 then you have the usual plugin conflicts or your just overloaded in too many different (and sometimes too many artificial changes) of the basic X-Plane simulator software. I don't or will never change the basic X-Plane software no matter what enhancements that will give me... so funny enough I never have issues with new plugins or applications when updating or upgrading or mostly single digit framerates... funny that? First view of xEnviro v1.10 (above) is that it looked extremely good, it ran well as well (note the framerate number upper left of the screen at 41 fr) at my standard normal X-Plane settings. One noticeable area was the cloud shadow ground reflections (the dark bits), they are good, but overall always too dark, so the shadows are consistent and not variable between the lighter cloud formations and the darker more dense ones, so it comes across as blotchy, it looks okay, but different darker shades of grey could give it more realism as all shadows are not created equally. Worse is the reflected clouds are set out in blocks.... so you see the nasty outlines of the cloud reflection block zones as clouds can currently create formations at high levels or squared sectors of clouds... xEnviro note this is a bug and it is on the list. ... but either fix it or remove the cloud shadows, as they are noticeably distracting. You also immediately see the artifact issue, and it is not pretty, In reality this is not good enough for a pro application, but I will note that those images were taken not adjusted and sometimes the whole window has the artifact effect... There is a "Blur Level" slider that can minimize the worst, or soften up the clouds a little but you can't really get around the core of the visual artifacts until they are addressed. With every new xEnviro version then the setting menu usually is vastly different... again this is the case. With v1.10 a lot of the original settings that have been taken away compared to v1.07. Removed from V1.10 has been: Resolution slider has been removed. Complexity slider has been removed. Reflections range slider has been removed. Detailed range slider has been removed. Maximum drawing distance slider removed. Post processing checkbox removed. Remove scenery shadows under overcast checkbox removed. Billboard clouds have been completely removed. Crepuscular rays temporary removed. Draw crepuscular rays checkbox has been removed. Camera shift slider removed. Somehow you feel too much adjustment has been taken away like the removal of the "Shadow Range". Crepuscular rays have also been temporary deleted. Not much is left in the menu really is there, but two new ones added are really interesting... Top new slider under Effects Settings is the "Maximum Ozone %" that adjusts the Ozone layers density % percentage... Below is the "Camera Blue Filter". this adds a blue tinge to the feel. Another new slider is the special feature.... Snow! xEnviro have work on the idea to create a blanket snow, in not changing the internal textures, which is a slow cumbersome and very time consuming business to simply change seasons, all we really wanted is an easy change of seasons, and snow is the most visual... they have done that effect here and the results are magnificent... the bottom slider is adjustable from 0% to 100% snow coverage. Percentages set here are 25% - 50% - 75% - 100% Around 65% it is about the best seasonal setting I have yet seen in X-Plane... totally brilliant. Landing at EGCC - Manchester of where I have some winter textures, it is very good, far better than my winter custom made ones. The effects will partly cover the runways as well, it worked some times, but not others and like the snow percentage slider itself (If we could always have the manual control of the slider, that would be a great bonus)... so that is all another WIP. How they achieve this with just software I don't know, but it covers any custom scenery, houses and traffic.... Any mountain range that requires the mountain snow effect works as well... ... currently however one downside to the snow is the snow effects on the screen and the aircraft... you get these little snowflake objects that don't look yet realistic? called "precipitation which follows the camera" (in other words static) and It looks still like another WIP, personally I think it should be dropped in the release version until perfected or fixed as it one of the biggest visual intruders... The cloud effects around mountain areas have had a lot of work done, overall it is now quite perfect, but in some instances there is a slight horizon line around the mountain shapes and on the actual horizon, but certainly not as intrusive as that nasty horizon line in v1.07... Visual effects are spectacular in the right regions, here is Innsbruck... we will compare the default X-Plane11 weather ( left) with xEnviro v1.10 (right)... The feel and mood in the valley is excellent.... twilight is sensational. One of the major things that made me dump v1.09 besides the grey out, was the airport lighting disappeared as you approached the runways, this was fixed in an update, but I didn't bother as I couldn't use v1.09 anyway... but here it is thankfully definitely fixed.... The sheer versatility of xEnviro is in situations like this, here we have a heavy summer shower, but the bright sunlight is just behind you, so you are flying into the rainstorm, but the bright side sunlight light is in there also... ... for realism in these conditions it is very, very good. Overcast cumulus that spreads from horizon to horizon is spectacular, and it comes with not a big penalty hit on your framerate as well, I lost two frames for all this magnificence so it was worth the damn two frames... New: I saw these excellent "Lens Flare" scenes so I had to add them in. Yes Lens Flare can be switched off in the settings menu, as it can be very bright in many conditions, but I love it... Note this brilliant lighting scene here (below left) at Page Field. Fl. The three sequence of images above shows the excellent lighting effects of the Lens Flare from full exposure, to partial exposure behind an object, then a full blockage of the lighting via an object.... in the very first image a partial blockage is created by the fun park wheel of just metal spokes, shows the fine tuning of the lighting detail. If you don't look to close you can't doubt the amazing vistas... No more above cloud grey-outs... yeah! and the cockpit windows now also blend in or are translucent, which was very noticable in v1.07. As noted earlier, I can only show what I can see or use currently, if any new vistas are visited and are worthy of a viewing then I will add it into this update review, so please check back for any changes. More notes... to get the best current settings with xEnviro v1.10 you need your Antialiasing set only at 4xSSAA+FXAA... if you go to 8xSSAA+FXAA you get a blank vista, lower and the clouds get far more artifacts... for Settings then the "Wet Aerodrome" selection tickbox NEEDS to be off to clear a matrix effect (Precipitation follows camera), and if you are using the Librain plugin, then the "Windshield Effects" has to be off as well. Summary To sum up there is one big notable thing to say... I'm still using v1.10, and that in itself is a huge step forward. Older issues have been (finally) addressed, but the change to volumetric clouds is still very much a work in progress. Main issues are (very) visual artifacts, poor cloud shadows (now non-adjustable), matrix screen and noticeable snow effects on the aircraft... if you can accept all that, then the benefits of this application are excellent with great atmospheric conditions and highly realistic cloud formations.... when you get the right conditions then xEnviro will blow your mind with the results... New features include the global snow effects and they are simply brilliant, Ozone and Blue filters are in there as well. It is not like the past where you sort of stepped backwards, and stepped forwards at the same time, this a step forward... but by how much is debatable. Problem is still the old problem, the developer in not fixing the basics and always going for the global scale, so we may be stuck with v1.10 for a fair while with no intermediate bug fix updates. It will be also interesting and this why I think v1.10 suddenly appeared at this point, that the Coming FlightSimExpo in Orlando at the weekend 7/8/9 June is that I think the developers here are wanting or hoping the Vulkan/Metal API improvements will be included or announced... certainly a tie-in between the power of the new API's and xEnviro may be critically important, the developer noted this in his notes, that far more processing power is required to achieve the required results. No doubt the supreme result is there, you can see it and almost feel it, but xEnviro still feels of too much an early demonstrator of the technology than the completed form. I will keep using v1,10 and see where it goes... v1.07/8/9 is free to all current xEnviro registered users, just go to the xEnviro site to update : xEnviro.net ______________________________________________________________________  Yes! the xEnviro Environment Engine v1.10 by Dark Space FZE is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : xEnviro Price is US$69.90 Sorry this plugin is Windows only at this point, But Mac is coming eventually! xEnviro Features: Load real-time meteorological data with download interval from 5 up to 60 minutes taking into account following factors: Wind direction and speed on ground and aloft, temperature, turbulence areas, icing areas and dangerous phenomena (thunderstorm& windshear) Simulate visual effects of different types of precipitations and phenomena: rain showers, snow, fog; Simulate visual raindrops effects on windshields both in 2D and 3D cockpits (if it's loaded in aircraft model); Simulate in-cloud visual effects; Simulate visual effects of shades and aircraft lightning in clouds (Strobe lights, beacon lights, navigation lights, landing lights) Simulate landing lights screen� effect during in-cloud and foggy flight; Volumetric lights effect; Simulate lightning on clouds surface from cities lights; High-detailed cloud shades; Custom cloud density and range; Simulate realistic breaking action effect; Display saturation, color gamma and cloud density, depending on weather conditions and time of day with real-time changing (automatically) or manually. Requirements Minimum X-Plane 11+ Stable Internet Connection with data Speed no less than 512Kps Windows 7/Vista/ 8/8.1/ 10 - Not Mac compatible at this time 2Gb VRAM Recommended X-Plane 11+ Stable Internet Connection with data Speed no less than 51 Mbps Windows 7/Vista/ 8/8.1/ 10 - Not Mac compatible at this time 4Gb+ VRAM Current and review version: 1.10 (last updated June 2nd 2019) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Plugin Update by Stephen Dutton  5th June 2019 Copyright©2019: 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)
  14. lower left centre console.... mostly on the ERJ is is automatic, you just set your altitude.
  15. Behind The Screen : May 2019 At the end of Behind the Screen in March we left you with the Military Visualizations Kickstarter donation of to create the ATR 72-600 and he wanted $27,000 CAD dollars before putting mouse to CAD software. The results are in and as expected they are not in or our favour, but that was always expected. The KIckstarter campaign achieved only 15.2% of its final target of CAD $27,000. And final donations came in at CAD $4,111.29 (approx. GBP £2,417, US $3,057, €2,742). Milviz, has obviously confirmed that development of the ATR for X-Plane has now been terminated.... surprise, surprise. I personally actually don't think it was the campaign that actually killed the project anyway, as the anniversary release of Carenado's FSX/P3D ATR 72-400 would mean very tough competition for your money as Carenado is giving hints that their ATR 72-400 will be X-Plane flyable before 2020, yes it is a different variant in the -400 to the -600, but an ATR is still an ATR and if it is anywhere close to Carenado's stupendous Saab 340 then it will be... well again stupendous! But there was always a lot of scepticism anyway from day one on this deal. The first and the most obvious was the figure required of CAD $27.000? It looked more like a insurance policy in case no one bought the aircraft when released, or a "Win - Win" scenerio for the developer. But CAD $27.000 to develop an aircraft? and by a single developer, maybe a team, then yes, but for one person who has been in simulation even for a few decades then I don't think so. If the developer had put the development costs of say around CAD $8500, then I think they would have had a very good chance of meeting their realistic target, he did achieve almost half of that, but I still think that number would have gotten MilViz over the line. And here is the point... overall this a great idea for a developer to get some development costs into the bank to deliver the projects we require, more so it keeps them on track to deliver and not do the usual... start hard then flake away as the project slowly progresses out to vaporware. But I think there is also something more deeper going on here than just developing for X-Plane, as personally now I don't think that developers that have been brought up in the FlightSim culture can actually develop well for X-Plane, and only a very, very few can do the crossover... but most actually don't as the differences in the development approach and the design are just too wide and different to be crossed, and the history of the story actually supports that aspect. Yes there are many great FSX based products in X-Plane with Carenado and JustFlight as notable, but both of those are converted by Thranda, which is a X-Plane developer... As Dan Klaue noted, "we have to totally gut the FSX version and then rebuild them again totally from the ground up" In reality there is not much to mirror between the two aircraft that look exactly the same. Then there are the biggies.... PMDG, Flight1 and Majestic, even Aerosoft are all not present in X-Plane and yes both PMDG (DC-6) and Aerosoft (ATR) have done aircraft in X-Plane but to only a) totally fail, or b) and walk away with only one average release each. Both PMDG and Aerosoft had the X-Plane golden eggs and bountiful profit returns in their pockets. PMDG with the Boeing 737 Series, B747 and B777 had the opportunity to make a killing, even Aerosoft had their Airbus A320 series to clean up the European flyers, but those opportunities are now simply long gone, with the ZiboMod B737 U/738/739 U cleaning up the PMDG version, the FlightFactor B777 is yes old but finally on the road to a XP11 upgrade, so that will counter out that, and the FlightFactor A320 Ultimate, is now just that in being miles ahead of the Aerosoft product with the ToLiss A319 also now a registered Airbus product, then it shows now of how high the quality and depth of the in house development of X-Plane aircraft have come to. The point is that the gate is now closed and the aircraft has departed for PMDG or any other FSX developer to get any significant ground swell of patrons in the Laminar Simulator, the point is we don't need them now either, we certainly did three to four years ago with the introduction of X-Plane11, but they all dilly-dallied around and ummed and ahhed us to death without really delivering anything, The above MilViz releases his Cessna 310 to... well nothing because it was very dated and so FSX in design (hence the forward cost of doing any business with us again). To a point it was MilViz's Cessna release that finally put the point out there that FSX developers just can't do X-Plane... period. So what got me thinking about all this? Well most of the year in my personal flying (my up time, as down time sounds odd in a flying simulator) has been with the FlightFactor A320 Ultimate, sometime around early February this year it all started to click together, add in the excellent BSS Sound pack (recently again updated) and it is now a glorious if hard in depth simulation... you now work in this aircraft, the details and checklists are huge and have to be covered, a 25 minute turnaround is very, very realistic as is every portion of the flight, nirvana... maybe and yes there will always be something in the need to be updated, but as a simulation it is now one of the very, very best... more so as the cabin is now being updated as well. For the Boeing bluffs to take their minds off the Boeing company's 737 MAX debacle, yes it is their fault and yes they deserve everything that is certainly coming to them (more below)... is the Zibo Boeing 737-800/700/900 series. Again once the ZiboMod hit it's stride I loved it, but it is a complicated bugger... But the announced and hyped release of the -900 Ultimate was for me a bit of if a huge disappointment (don't hit on your keys just yet!), so I left it in the hangar after only a flight or two... With the WebFMC Pro v1.4.0 release the newer ZiboMod -700 was added on to the list of aircraft that could use the plugin. I did expect it to be a bit like the -900 version, but was extremely surprised on how good the ZiboMods are now (hence the above bye bye notes to PMDG). Yes I loved it and shows how far again we have come lately in X-Plane, personally I see the ZiboMod as really a payware aircraft (howls of protest!), but in the same league of quality and depth. Colimata Concorde So where is the Colimata Concorde review, well its coming, but certainly not in the near future. One look and yes this is a decent development of one of the most iconic aircraft every to fly, but a lot of work on the aircraft certainly is still not completed, or refined. Concorde is a strange aircraft in that it is like no other aircraft out there, except for some military machines. Most users will light up and burn out those powerful RR Olympics to their full reheat thrust and head upwards towards flight level 400 and m2.2. Great but you won't get halfway across the Atlantic if you fly this bird like that and even with full tanks. This aircraft has to be very balanced and flight procedures have to be followed to the letter to get the maximum performance and range, so from a reviewing point of view there is a lot of detailed work to get through to get that all right, but overall it was the unsightly unfinished work that still had to be done that put me off, again just a few months more work and it would have been a perfectly acceptable aircraft to release... so overall I was disappointed. I certainly was not disappointed with X-Crafts excellent family series of the Embraer ERJ. Again like most current X-Plane developers then X-Crafts have gone up a few gears or higher levels, yes there are a few quirks, but overall it is an excellent regional jet and it comes with five variants as well... X-Crafts came into X-Plane very raw, great in the design department, but average pretty well everywhere else. But they were willing to learn, to update regularly and now after a few years you can see all of that hard graft finally paying off. There are no short cuts to being a quality developer, the only road is simply sheer hard work and persistence... and yes these products are priced to the depth of their development costs. And that is why I hate people that rip off projects (yes you Bit-Torrent) and put them out for free or steal off the work, they are the real losers in life. We are lucky that developers are willing to use their talents for our enjoyment, we can currently fly very authentic aircraft... live the dream so to speak because of their work and time, and the repayment for all that is the old simply way, in just repaying their costs and allow them to meet their real world demands. B737 MAX On the real world Boeing company's 737 MAX debacle I will say some comments. They as a company deserve everything they get in this case, but mostly for cowardice. This was the same company that took the barrel section of the Boeing Boeing 367-80, known simply as the Dash 80 and the forerunner of the B707 series and made a whole family of successful aircraft out of it. One of those aircraft is the same Boeing 737 that is now the centre of the MAX debate. What built Boeing is now going to bring then back down again. The design is nearly 60 years old, older than the Moon Landing, older than most of us on this planet... and what do Boeing do, they try to fit big engines situated forward under the low wings to make it efficient or mostly just to stop any sales going to Airbus with their more modern Airbus A320 in NEO guise, the point is even the A320 is now getting a bit long in the tooth, but the B737 is simply ancient, worse was the fact that this unbalanced aircraft now uses software to allow the machine to fly and fly around even the basic principles of flight... and worse the FAA certified the aircraft, or did they? or did they allow Boeing to certify their own unstable aircraft? In reality every one of those MAX's out there are clunkers. I was horrified that Boeing took this cowards route. Boeing had just refined whole new process of building airliners with the B787 Dreamliner? So shouldn't they have like in the past with the New B737 mid jet be a composite design of that future design proof development... but no and so they went and put engines under a 60 year old aircraft just for sales? The point is the new composite B737 would have sold far, far more than the MAX, and yes airlines would have waited if the new design delivered the same efficiency gains and modern systems to their fleets as has the B787, poor Joe Sutter must be rolling in his grave for what the company has become... but overall we lose in the chance to fly a modern efficient composite middle range airliner for years, instead of in the early 2020's (2024 was the original launch window). Now it will be late or very late 2030 before Boeing (if they survive this) will put the correct replacement for the MAX on the ramps, I bet Airbus is now two years ahead in now with their A320 replacement (cancelling the A380 was a big marker there), so who will get there first... certainly now not Boeing. It is a mess, the biggest in aviation, more so than the Comet or even Concorde.... but they deserve everything that is coming to them. FlightSimExpo The FlightSimExpo is now only next week in Orlando, Florida on the 7th/8th/9th June (Yeah!) and Laminar Research have been very, very quiet lately, which is usually a great sign that there will be a lot of nice goodies in there, obviously the Vulkan and Metal updates will take centre stage, and yes I will be very disappointed if there is not a demo, but we should get a timeline for the release and its effects.X-PlaneReviews will of course do a full analyse of the event... In a side fight the original FlightSimCon is shall we say "annoyed" at losing the title of representing the FS community in the States, they have declared the Expo "FS Greed and Piracy" as to lose the mantle... they are doing an online show here on the same dates... it will be seen on how all this plays out? Till next month Stephen Dutton 2nd June 2019 Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews
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