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  1. NEWS! - Aircraft Released : Concorde FXP v2.0 by Colimata Colimata has released a seriously big upgrade to the Concorde FXP in v2.0. This is an upgrade folks, but for original purchasers the upgrade cost is only US$5, a cup of coffee's worth of great new features, and the list is Looong. Debatable is the fact that should this aircraft have been the original released version? but Colimata has taken the same development road that allows you access (at a price) during the early development phases, and with noted areas that are not finished, point taken that in this release the aircraft is in a now far, far more completed form than in the v1.0 version. So you can note v2 as completed, well to a certain high level, certainly yes. Point to make is that the aircraft is a balanced simulation that can satisfy both newcomers and the in-depth supersonic flying that is required at a study level, it caters for both users. There will be X-Plane 12 support for version 2.x. New feature list is very extensive (and value for your money) 3D COCKPIT Super detailed 3D cockpit Front panel, center panel, roof panel, side consoles, Engineering 4k cockpit textures including 100’s of texts and markings 2k alternative available to save VRAM Incredible level of interactivity More than 1000 click regions (switches, quick access areas, etc) 700+ custom lights for: Warning lamps Gorgeous, dimmable night lighting (Instruments, panels, consoles, floods, etc.) Exterior lights PRO or STANDARD complexity settings 3D Inertial Navigation System CIVA Route programming directly in the 3D cockpit Track / Groundspeed Heading / Drift angle XTK Track Position Waypoints Distance / Time Wind Waypoint change Interactive Engineering panel Automatic or manual trim fuel pumping EXTERNAL MODEL Accurate 3D model of the aircraft Opening passenger and cargo doors plus service panels Very detailed engines Including moving ramps, intake/spill doors Animated primary and secondary nozzles Engine cowl doors can be opened Mounted engines External 3D model of the Olympus 593 engine Detailed landing gear Many utility vehicles included (tankers, conveyors, catering, etc) Included pushback truck and functionality Full use of PBR Beautiful 4k textures including normal maps 2k version available to save VRAM FLIGHTMODEL PRO or STANDARD setting Refined subsonic and supersonic flight model Vortex Lift simulation Ground effect simulation Trim fuel imbalance force simulation Thrust simulation SOUND FMOD 3D sound Dozens and dozens of sound effects Audio advice from Copilot, Engineer, and Pilot A dozen different sound spaces Adjustable volumes IN ADDITION PRO or STANDARD complexity settings VR compatible Autopilot with 16+ functions Extensive Graphical User Interface with features like: Flight Preparation Aircraft management Virtual flight engineer Custom content GUI is fully scalable Dedicated Checklists window Quick Access GUI (Views, GUI, Checklists) 3D passenger cabin AviTab compatible 2 liveries included Many more free liveries available Paintkit available MANUALS Installation & Setup manual ‘10 essentials’ manual (91 pages) Full manual (403 pages, separate download) Cold & Dark startup guide (67 pages) Navigation tutorial (54 pages) Video tutorials on youtube.com/colimatavideos Concorde is a legend of aviation. It's timelessly sleek design is still extremely beautiful, and her capabilities are unmatched up to this date. This milestone in aviation history was developed and built in the ’60s of the last century, realising what was before considered the impossible: A supersonic passenger jet. All Images are courtesy of Colimata ________________________________________ The Pre-Release Concorde FXP by Colimata is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore! for X-Plane11... Here: Concorde FXP v2.0 Price is US$54.95 Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 600 MB Current version: 2.0 (October 19th 2021) (If you own Concorde v1, this version will be automatically discounted, no coupons required) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 20th October 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  2. NEWS! - Laminar Research - X-Plane12 Documentation updated The first real notes on X-Plane 12 have been released by Laminar Research on their Developer Documentation page and very interesting reading it makes as well... Noted under "Tech Notes" it details all the new coming items to X-Plane12 that is accessed through the PlaneMaker Application... as a side note, Austin Meyers has also totally redone the PlaneMaker Application UI to bring it into the 2020's and the more modern X-Plane UI look and feel, and the new PM UI will probably be released along with X-Plane12. Areas covered in the new documentation includes: Navigation Display Scaling Radio altimeter sensor location and offset Weight & Balance and Load Stations Airframe and Tail Anti-Ice and De-Icing boots Stabilizer Trim and Servo Windshield ice and rain protection datarefs Hydraulic systems and flight controls Flight Control Splits Pilot and Copilot Flight Control Inputs Flight director and autothrottle datarefs Changes to Radio Navigation Autopilot navigation source reference Hydraulic gear systems These changes show all the new systems coming to X-Plane12, and are well worth studying for the details they contain, certainly they are noted only for developers, but you can also use the time to understand what new areas will be coming to the "Next Generation" of the Simulator... notable are three areas. Navigation Display Scaling, Weight & Balance and Load Stations and Changes to Radio Navigation. Navigation Display Scaling "Starting with X-Plane 12 it is possible to independently scale symbols and text of the navdisplay, and also change the relative locations of symbols and labels." Weight & Balance and Load Stations "Plane Maker 12 has a new tab "Payloads" in the weight & balance setup. This article explains how to configure them. Changes to Radio Navigation Changes have been made to standalone DME, TACAN stations, and WAAS reception. In addition, Glideslope can be selected off. A lot of the areas noted here in the released documentation was shown in the San Diego Expo presentation... the presentation of the "Systems" was by Philipp Ringler at around 27:39 in the video. FlightSimExpo: X-Plane 12 Announcement Overall the X-Plane12 changes look substantial, giving you more depth and systems available for not only the developers to take advantage of, but to use in the simulations, one final point to make, is that it looks like to implement these new systems, most aircraft will have to be updated to the new formats... 2022 is looking like a very long year of updates and changes? ____________________ News by Stephen Dutton 18th October 2021 Copyright©2021 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All rights reserved.
  3. Aircraft Update : PZL 104 Wilga 2000 Dynamic Generation Series v1.1 by Thranda Whoa! That was seriously quick... usually the time from the initial release to the nice little extras is around two to three months, but weeks! Thank You very much, I'll take that one! And nice little extras they are as well. The Polish PZL 104 Wilga now comes with both a Float and Amphibious version of the aircraft. X-PlaneReviews covered the huge feature list and the details in our exclusive review here: Aircraft Review : PZL-104 Wilga 2000 by Thranda Design. Download this v1.1 update and install (replace?) the release version in your aircraft folder, and you will now get two (.acf) versions of the Wilga... One selection is the original wheeled "Wilga PZL 104", and the second is the new variant of the "Wilga PZL 104 Seaplane". Amphibious version There are two options with the "Seaplane", one is the "Amphibious" version and the other is the "Floats" version. We will look at the Amphibious version first. The land based Amphibious version, is excellent... if you have already most Thranda aircraft (DHC-2 Beaver, Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter) you would know the sort of design and quality that you would get with this option on the aircraft... the detail of the Floats and gear is of the usual high quality from Thranda... the days of front sticks and bland rudders are now well and truly behind us. Detail is right down to components and even the nuts and bolts of the detailing, plus the springs and screw levers set out on the rudder boards, and all the required and detailed (Warning) signage... they are really very well professionally modeled to perfection, right down to even the perfect riveting of the pontoons. Raising and lowering of both the undercarriage and the twin rudders is via controls in the cockpit. The Rudders are lowered and raised by a pulley system situated on the left window screen pillar, touch the ring and the pulleys goes down to the lower hook and that action lowers the rudders.... very simple but very effective. You can also raise and lower the Rudders via the pop-out MENU/MISC that is situated on the tab on the far left centre of your screen. Notable here, is that it is the same Menu option point to switch from the "Amphibious version" to the non-wheeled "Float version" lower left box. The undercarriage is retracted and lowered via a panel set centre instrument panel... the panel's lights can also be set to be bright or DIM, if flying at night. On the water the floats... "well float nice". You are certainly (obviously) sitting far higher up than in the wheeled version, but this aspect is more noticeable in such a small aircraft... the other point to make is power... ... the Wilga 2000 Textron Lycoming IO-540-K1D5 naturally-aspirated rated engine at 290 horsepower at 2,575 RPM is a powerful powerplant for an aircraft of it's size, but you are now also weighting it down with a huge platform and the pontoons sitting below you, so it takes out a lot of your speed and drag, both in the water and in the air... the Wilga is not sluggish by any means, but you more than feel the extra load you are carrying around. So the usual is required, a bit of flap (not too much because of flap drag), keep the nose up (heaven's... you don't want that pontoons to go under nose first), and at around 50 knts you should clear the water... once up retract the flaps and rudders for more forward and climb speed. In the air the Wilga looks really good, even and if actually better proportioned than with those usual bendy wheels out front. Floats version Like noted, you switch over to the clean float version via the MENU/MISC selection... again even without the undercarriage it shows off the nice lines of the floats, the high quality textures and built in PBR (Physical Based Rendering) looks and also gives you some very natural and nice reflections. Slew Mode With the Float and Amphibious versions now available, it also allows you to use the Thranda feature "Slew Mode"... this feature over-rides the X-Plane positioning and movement dynamics. It is accessed again on the MENU/AUDIO-SLEW panel far right. Basically you can control the heading (Delta) in degrees, and move the aircraft in any 2d direction via a cross-hair control... It is a cool little tool that is mostly used to dock or manoeuvre the aircraft into jetties or docking areas. But remember however to turn the Slew feature off when going back to X-Plane or using the replay mode... if not then you can then find yourself in Space! Elon Musk would be jealous... Liveries The Floats are all matched up to the same liveries as on the aircraft, giving the aircraft a completeness... no grey standardised pontoons here. Two other updates areas with the release of v1.1 includes : -Fixed strobe lights and improved nav light visualizations -Touched up some PBR graphics ________________ Summary Very quickly after their release of the Polish PZL 104 Wilga 2000 from Thranda Design, now comes the additions of both a Float and Amphibious versions of the aircraft. Usually released months later, these great new features have come at a quick clip to expand out the versatility of this great little aircraft, this also brings in the use of the great "Slew" tool that allows you to manoeuvre the aircraft into jetties or docking areas. Detail and quality is guaranteed, with top rate modeling and clever aircraft detail which is also and as usually totally excellent, and you can (again) also dynamically change the Dirt, Grunge, scratches and nicks externally and internally on the fly, so this lovely aircraft can be as clean or as dirty as you want. This Wilga is also part of the "Dynamic Generation Series", that allows a customised 3D instrument panels with 50 options, (Including Aspen EFD 1000, and support for RealityXP GTN750) and you can also "Create" your own liveries and the package includes the advanced custom flight dynamics tool "DynaFeel" This new feature option of Floats and and Amphibious version is also free! So all you have to do is redownload the aircraft from the X-Plane.OrgStore, or use the provided Skunkworks updater tool. If you are a regular user of Thranda Design aircraft, then you know already what a great deal and that the huge list of features provided are both excellent, for everyone else the PZL 104 Wilga 2000 comes obviously... Highly Recommended. ______________________________ Yes! the PZL-104 Wilga 2000 v1.1 by Thranda Design is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Wilga PZL 104 Dynamic Generation Series Price is US$39.95 Now priced at US$34.95 Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.3 GB Current and Update Review version 1.1 (October 13th 2021) The plane comes with an auto-updater _____________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 15th October 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  4. News! - Aircraft Updated : BAe 146 Professional updated to v1.2.3 Just weeks after the significant update (v1.2.1) that included the UFMC (Universal Flight Management Computer) installation into the JustFlight BAe 146 Professional aircraft, here comes a quick follow up update in v1.2.3. Again the fixes focus on the newly installed UFMC, here is the v1.2.3 changelog... UFMC fixes: -RTE LEGS page number not updating -HDG mode does not work with FPLN loaded -Acceleration altitude missing from FMC. Added to Takeoff REF PAGE #2 -Level off at MCP altitude on GS. On GS engaged the Aircraft levelled off at MCP Altitude -Blocking MCP altitude on RNAV APP. At RNAV approach the MCP altitude was not possible to change -VS/IAS flickering on RNAV approach -IAN approach MCP altitude problem fixed -Distance readout and groundspeed not working after C&D start -Takeoff N1 value. Now N1 At takeoff match the Aircraft value -VNAV Altitude correct behaviour. RNAV mode fixes: -AP will be in RNAV mode if any of the HSI switchover switches (pilot or copilot) is in the RNAV position -LNAV and VNAV only works in RNAV mode -If VNAV or LNAV is engaged, if the HSI switchover is changed to NAV, VNAV and LNAV will disengage -When an RNAV approach is selected on the Approach PAGE, when close to the IAF waypoint, you have to press GS AP button to arm the RNAV approach. The status will change from White to green when it engages the approach. -When a VOR, LOC or GLS approach is selected, when close to the IAF Waypoint, you have to press GS AP button to arm the approach, GS and V/L will arm. Because these approaches uses V/L AP mode (need tune the proper navigation frequency) you have to change the switchover to NAV (both of them) to let the autopilot engage the V/L mode and perform the approach -For ILS approaches you have to change from RNAV to NAV to capture the LOC and GS path I highlighted the "HDG mode does not work with FPLN loaded" bug, because it was seriously annoying... When leaving the runway and moving over to the Autopilot, if you switched over to the "Heading" mode, you couldn't set the actual heading if you had a flightplan in place, this caused me all sorts of pain and anguish in wanting to connect into the flightplan downstream of the airport.... it is fixed thank god, "oh the time and the trauma that one caused". I like the detailed RNAV approaches, and here in v1.2.3 JustFlight have focused a lot of attention on that particular area, but to note that for ILS Approaches you still have to switchover from the RNAV mode to NAV mode to capture the ILS beams, as noted it is always best to read the manual in detail, as the aircraft has very detailed (authentic) systems to be worked through. A full overview of the UFMC Universal installation is here: Aircraft Update : BAe 146 Professional v1.2.1 by Just Flight I found the JustFlight British Aerospace 146 Professional a very detailed simulation, it is an aircraft that does require time and hours on the clock to get the very best return for the simulation, that is the deal... it won't come to you quickly, but that is also the attraction and shows how deep you can now go in X-Plane simulations. ___________________________________ Yes! the British Aerospace 146 Professional v1.2.3 by JustFlight is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BAe146 Professional - JustFlight Price is US$74.99 Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.8 GB Current Version: Version 1.2.3 (October 13th 2021) Note!, you can use the Skunkcrafts updater to update the aircraft to the latest version, or download the v1.2.3 update directly from your X-Plane.OrgStore account. ________________________________________ News Update by Stephen Dutton 15th October 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  5. NEWS! - Scenery Released : UHSI - Iturup airport, Russia by Xenomorph A new Russian scenery has been released by Xenomorph. But it is an interesting one? First is where do you think the scenery is placed? Well it would probably be nowhere of where you actually think it is, but on an island you would fly over and not think anything about. The fascinating thing here is that the airport is on Iturup Island (Sakhalin Oblast, Russia), but Ilturp Island is situated on the northern chain of Islands that sprout out of the very north of Hokkaido, of which is Japanese. In fact the airport is very easily accessible from Japan, and not so much from Russia itself, which makes it interesting to explore a new area of X-Plane. In fact on June 17, 2017, Iturup airport accepted a passenger flight from Japan for the first time. The airport is located near the villages of Kurilsk, the villages of Reidovo and Kitovoe, with which it is connected by a new highway with an asphalt surface. Once the airport accepted a Boeing 737-300 of the Aurora airline. Features Object models with high detail PBR textures Night lighting High quality vegetation orthophoto textures Notable is that also Xenomorph's UKOO - Odessa, Ukraine scenery has just had a major update to Version 1.07 (October 12th 2021), and is certainly well worth also checking out... The scenery is priced at a very low US$11, and well worth the money to explore this interesting area... check it out. Images are courtesy of Xenomorph __________________ Yes!... UHSI - Iturup airport, Russia by Xenomorph is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : UHSI - Iturup airport, Russia Price is US$11.00 Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 566 MB Current version: v1. (October 12th 2021) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 13th October 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  6. Yes, full capability... as in the real Airbus, very good it is as well.
  7. Scenery Review : LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft I have never flown to Israel, flown over it at 40,000ft... but never actually landed there. X-Plane has been slowly migrating closer though. In the last few years a lot of Mediterranean ports have been popping up in Greece, Turkey and Cypress, but not actually in Israel itself... head of the eastern Mediterranean push has been Aerosoft, in fact in their last release was actuall Turkey with the mega LTFM Airport Istanbul XP which is basically in your own Israeli backyard. The Israeli release for X-Plane is a direct conversion of the PrePar3D David Rosenfeld creation. But still updated with the Terminal 3 and the old Terminal 1 buildings (expansion of Terminal 1, which has a new dedicated domestic flights terminal, and a major expansion of Terminal 3), the SAM (Scenery Animation Manager) plugin is also used to replace the SODE animated jetway system in P3D. An important note is that now you also have to use the new "Aerosoft One" application to install and manage your Aerosoft X-Plane scenery installations (You also have to create an account if you don't have one). It will also install the latest SAM v3.0 plugin as well... but it doesn't work correctly? I had to reinstall v2.0 to get the gates to (work and) line up correctly with the aircraft? Ben Gurion Airport is commonly known by its Hebrew acronym as Natbag (נתב״ג), and the airport is the main international airport of Israel and the busiest one in the country. The airport is located on the northern outskirts of the city of Lod, about 45 km (28 mi) northwest of Jerusalem and 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv. Originally named Lod Airport, it was renamed in 1973 after David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister. Notable is that here I am using the SFD (ShortFinal) Global object addon. It creates (in this case) Middle-Eastern bright white autogen to replace the American/European default autogen... and here it works brilliantly (The default autogen US look is below as a comparison), so it is a well worth considering addition. The airport began during the British Mandate for Palestine as an airstrip of two unpaved runways on the outskirts of the town of Lydda (now Lod), near the Templer colony of Wilhelma. It was built in 1934, largely at the urging of Airwork Services. The first passenger service at the new airport was the Misr Airwork route Cairo—Lydda—Nicosia, inaugurated on 3 August 1935. Subsequently, Misr flew via Lydda to Haifa and Baghdad. The first continental European airline with a regular service to Lydda was LOT Polish Airlines since 4 April 1937. Ben Gurion Airport נמל התעופה בן-גוריון‎ مطار بن غوريون الدولي IATA: TLV - ICAO: LLBG 03/21 - 2,772m (9,094ft) Asphalt 08/26 - 4,062m (13,327ft) Asphalt 12/30 - 3,112m (10,210ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL 134 ft / 41 m The airport layout is really in two separate areas, the newer Terminal 3 (28 October 2004) and the older original Terminal 1 (1958). Other areas are in Terminal 2 which was inaugurated in 1969, but later incorporated into Terminal 1... Also Terminal 4 was built in 1999, which was meant to handle the crowds expected in 2000, but it was never officially opened. Terminal 3 Terminal 3, which opened on 28 October 2004, replaced Terminal 1 as the main international gateway to and from Israel. The building was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) - Moshe Safdie & Associates - TRA (now Black and Veatch) and was designed as a linking structure with the Airside departure areas and gates in a central hub and concourse spoke arrangement. The hub (and the icon of the airport) is dominated by a rotunda, with an inverted dome on top, which is pierced by an oculus through which a waterfall flows down into forming a fountain into the open terminal and shopping area space below. Each Concourse is noted by a letter... B (Stands B2-B9), C (Stands C2-C9), D (Stands D2-D9) and E (Stands E2-E9) Concourse B Concourse C Concourse D Concourse E In reality each concourse and gate/airbridge layout is identical, so there are no differential points or areas to highlight. The only difference, is that Concourses B, C and D all have the covered logo "Bank Hapoalim" airbidges, were as E has the open glass airbidges, and note the excellent airbridge layout arrangements.... all airbridges are SAM - "Scenery Animation Manager "powered and active. All glass is excellent with lovely green tinted see though glass on the concourses. The interior is basic, but again well done visually from the external. All ground clutter is local, EL-AL and Israeli branded, and really well done... there are a few animated vehicles but they are certainly not overwhelming, but there is movement around the ramps. Landside The main arrival terminal is well done, and is connected to two large carparks by overhead walkways. Certainly not ultra detailed, the landside is a bit bland in an overall sandy stone colourless feel... the roads don't help in being photo based but not as washed out as most Aerosoft branded landsides, but a few dark coloured roadways and signage would have certainly helped in the visual department. Main terminal glass is not see-through, but it is still well done to be very realistic and match well in with the other area see-through glass installations (important). Part of the main Terminal 3 complex is the Ben Gurion Airport Air Traffic Control Tower which is an 18-story airport tower set at 100 meters height. A visually nice design the main tower has been nicely and perfectly recreated here. The control work area looks nice, but on closer inspection there are no internals, and you can still see the airport through the floor of the control room? The X-Plane tower view as per usual Aerosoft is not set correctly, but it is positioned away on the frame of a (working) radar tower? At TLV there are three towers altogether, the main one here and the two smaller ramp towers, one between C and D concourses, and one on the end of the unfinished Terminal 4 complex (both arrowed below). Terminal 1 The original Lod Airport Terminal, was closed in 2003 and then re-opened in 2007 as a VIP and domestic terminal following extensive renovations to cater for summer charter and low-cost flights. The older terminal area sits at the cross position at the threshold of runways of both RWY 03 and RWY 30, and both hold points can be accessed directly from the Terminal 1 aprons. The original classic building has been almost totally swallowed up by the larger new external structures, but the old control tower designates were it is positioned in context to the later extensions. The old walk on-walk off layout has been replaced by buses to ferry passengers out to the remote stands, notably Apron N (Stands N11-N24), Apron L (Stands L1-L6 with L4A,L4B and L5A) - note stands K1, K3 and K5 (wrongly numbered in the scenery?) are used with the EL-Al Maintenance area, and Apron J (Stands J1 - J13). Prominent is the VIP (Masada Lounge) and Elite (Fattal Terminal) building on the western end of the Terminal Complex. The EL-AL maintenance facility is very big, with one major maintenance hangar and two medium sized hangers and facilities, internal detail of the hangers is all very good and the hangers are highly usable. Cargo is not a big facility here at TLV (Swissaport Cargo), but just a few warehouses on the N Apron... the stands are incorrectly numbered in the B category, not the official chart N category, which shows the age of the original scenery. Notable that behind the Cargo centre on the main entrance to the Terminal 1 zone is the Memorial Monument to Khativa 8. Terminal 4 This terminal, built in 1999, and was meant to handle the crowds expected in 2000, but it was never officially opened. To date, it has only been used as a terminal for passengers arriving from Asia during the SARS epidemic. Another use for the terminal was for the memorial ceremonies upon the arrival of the casket of Col. Ilan Ramon after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in February 2003 and the arrival of Elhanan Tannenbaum and the caskets of 3 Israeli soldiers from Lebanon in January 2004. The apron is Apron EHS, but the designations are A (Stands A1-A9 with B options). Overall the modeling is excellent, and the form of the building in it's non-completed state is also very authentic, there is a powerplant facility at the rear of the Terminal. Parallel east on RWY 03/21 is Taxiway T that morphs into a remote stand area called V2, this adjoins another remote stand area V1, mostly both for aircraft long-term parking... the Yellow hanger is a very visual point of reference of the airfield, certainly for RWYs 03 and 21. To the far east of the field are several off airport Infrastructure zones... both are very good in giving the area a fill out the look and feel of the airport (which is basically the job of these Infrastructure style objects)... one area is situated directly behind the V1 and V2 aprons... .... and a lot of Infrastructure coverage is provided, however the orthophoto underlays runs out quite early and exposing the buildings to a blank textured area, and it is quite noticeable.... the second Infrastructure zone called the "Airport City Business Park" is positioned on the main entrance to the Terminal 1 zone, which includes the Avenue Conference Center, Hevel Modiin Cultural Hall, DHL and AT&T Israel with others which are all represented here... again however the orthophoto textures runs out early and that visual aspect is highly visible on the Rwy 30 approach. Lighting Overall the lighting looks good, but there is a lot of the original boring FlightSim window lighting that again shows the original age of the scenery. Areas were the X-Plane lighting has been added in is actually very good... and it is nice and bright down on the ramps, and the carparks are well lit in a lighter tone... ... however two areas do stand out. The Landside area in front of the arrival terminal is a black hole, odd because most areas including the inverted dome is nicely lit. Another annoyance is the control tower windows are lit, not brightly thank god, but still highly visible. Terminal 1 is again very early FlightSim in lighting, but the signage is good... ... Infrastructure lighting is basic, but the EL-AL hanger looks good especially with the well lit internal areas. Navigation signage is bright and clear, but not ground reflective. Ground Textures Textures are good, but are a bit Lo-Res, there is not that sharp detail, but a sort of slight blurriness that says "formulaic" more than detailed quality. Join lines are a but a bit too straight and harsh to be realistic, but overall you are not going to notice it all too much. Ditto the textures in wet reflection, the PBR is there, but not very active and reflections were very hard to create, with still a sort of flatness and no realistic concrete or asphalt grooves... passable again. The famous "Aerosoft Grass" is widely used, but some and mostly the inner areas are only pure textures, unfortunately you notice it? ATC Routes Not refined are the X-Plane ATC routes. (Global Traffic) the developers note; "The X-Plane Default AI Traffic is not supported", so aircraft are popping their tails up in the air, aircraft are appearing through buildings, and Cargo aircraft are sitting at passenger terminals and vice-versa? not at all very realistic! ___________________ Summary There are not many Israeli sceneries in X-Plane. Now Aerosoft has released Airport Ben Gurion XP, which is situated close to both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and it is the largest airport in Israel. This scenery is a conversion of the PrePar3D David Rosenfeld version. The airport is named after David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister and the Hebrew acronym as Natbag (נתב״ג). The airport is basically two areas in one with the new Terminal 3 and the older Terminal 1 complex now a LCC and VIP terminal. Modeling is very good, certainly the hub and concourse spoke Terminal 3, with the inverted dish as a central focus, glass is also exceptional with modeled interiors on the end of the spokes. SAM active airbridges are available at each terminal stands and all are nicely Israeli logoed or clear. All the auxiliary areas are well covered, with the semi-built Terminal 4, the EL-Al Maintenance area, Apron N Cargo area and all surrounding Infrastructure... detail wise the scenery is very good, and very well done. But the original FlightSim source material does show, being typical Aerosoft, as usual they miss the finer areas of X-Plane. Night Glass is and looks old, blank texture areas (some with placed objects on top). Ground textures are good but not exceptional, and the ATC routes are not at all refined. A lot of the stand lettering and numbering is also wrong to current ground charts. The SFD (ShortFinal) Global object addon is however highly recommended here at TLV. First time in Israel, and I really like what I see... this is a typical but very good Aerosoft scenery, yes a few FlightSim foibles do show through and they are noticeable, but overall this Tel Aviv scenery is well worth adding to your collection as an excellent destination from any European port... yes highly Recommended. ___________________________________ Yes! the LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Airport Ben Gurion XP Price is US$24.99 Features: Accurate Terminal 3 and the old Terminal 1 buildings, Concourse, hangars, towers, and airport layout Dynamic Lighting Detailed animated jetway models (using SAM plug-in) Detailed ground markings High resolution (7cm-30cm pixel) photoreal ground textures Thousands of accurate hand-placed autogen objects Fully optimized for smooth simulation experience Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current and Review Version : 1.0 (September 20th 2021) Installation and documents: Installation is via the NEW "Aerosoft One" application, account is required. Scenery uses an Alias (zero bytes) pointer file. Hard disk: 2 GB of free disk space is required, Installed version is 1.95Gb Aerosoft - LLBG Ben Gurion Airport SAM Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 2.0 is required for this scenery (SAM Version 3 is available but it didn't work with the scenery?) Documents Manual is provided (20 Pages) in German and English. Manual is available in a pdf download though the Aerosoft One" application. Manual_BenGurion_XP_de-en_web ________________________________________ Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 14th October 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved  Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.55 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 2.0 - Free Scenery or Aircraft - None-
  8. Aircraft Update Review - DC-3/C47 Skytrain v4.0r4 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project vSkyLabs are back with another focus on the DC-3/C47 heritage aircraft. It is a year since the last v3.0 update that renovated the cabin and included a cargo version... note the word "Project" as in any aircraft by VSkyLabs creates is an ongoing project and there is more to come as the aircraft is developed out more and more. This is part of the deal with the developer, and at least he keeps his side of the bargain. Noting the versions... Authentic DC-3 "Douglas Commercial" above and the C-47 Skytrain below... ... you can add on some really big Ice skis, or... ... a huge set of XC-47C floats. The Douglas aircraft is also highly developed for VR (Virtual Reality) use and operation. DC-3/C47 Skytrain v4.0r4 There was a huge amount of changes in the last v3 update, and there is again this time around. But v4 is more focused on the cockpit than the cabin or any of the external modifications than what was presented last year. The main changes are on bringing in the PBR (Physically Based Rendering) properties to the cockpit, a "fresh over" if you like. The changes in v3, were mostly all to the very good, but there was also a few items that I thought were also a big retrograde step backwards... The main instrument panel was changed from a basic black to a more detailed green panel... the green looks very good and is certainly nicely worn, but it was also missing the nice screws that originally held the panel in place... again the screws have not yet been replaced, and you still really miss them as it makes the panel a bit "missing something"? Second was the change of the glass, from the original dirty rusty brown, to a smoky black... the new finer tint just does not have the ageing impact of the earlier grubbier version, again the lighter black tint remains. Note the nice opening windows. The panel actually though has had a lot of changes... in fact all the gauges have been remodeled and re-engineered to include plastic covering for lighting, better refined needles and engine markings (L/R) on the relevant instruments, and all the gauges animations were re-calibrated with higher precision indications. The differences are far more highly noticeable at night... ... the Airspeed indicator can now also be switched (hotspot) to either MPH or KNOTS, and the speed bugs then move to match each of the different speed settings. I bet you didn't notice, but there was no Artificial Horizon instrument gauge (arrowed below) on the right Co-Pilot instrument panel, that instrument has now been installed... the AH replaces an Ampere meter that has been removed. The original Sperry Type A-3A autopilot facia has also been redone... including the compass scales, rotary knobs, bezels. The Sperry autopilot cutout was also added, to host the Sperry unit inside... in fact the whole complete instrument panel and instruments have been remodeled and retextured to PBR texturing quality and dials come with reflective covering glass. Ditto the overhead switch panels, again PBR texturing and new switchgear. There is remodeled dirty roof speakers and an added master Ignition switch that works... (below) the drop down (press the Whiskey Compass) twin Garmin GNS 530 GPS units have had their outer casings units totally remodeled, and they now have a far more visual 3d look and feel. The yokes have also been redone, gone this time around is the loss of the lovely raffia weaving, after the loss of the Douglas logo the first time around, so the yokes are all now just a pure metal frame with a nice PBR gloss and still no return of that magnificent Douglas logo? The AviTab (plugin required) has also now been added. There are two tablets positioned on each yoke, and the tablet is selected via the pocket (hotspots) on each side of the pedestal. The pilot seats have been redone (recovered?) as well... Green before they are now a more authentic worn brown leather with a nice PBR wear look and feel. The pedestal has also been remodeled, and again the look and feel is to the more modern, or a straight out of the shop brand new feel... beautifully done however with some very nice metal work, but not in the original feel of tired, aged or worn in any area? On the rear of the pedestal now (arrowed above right) is a real-time conversion board for airspeed (mph/knots/kmh), temperatures and altimeter settings. On the floor between the pilots, there has been added both an undercarriage lock handle (arrowed) and more about this when flying, and a "Emergency" panel for the fuel shutoffs and Fire Extinguisher, again all really well done. The classic DC Hydraulic panel, situated behind the Co-Pilot has been totally overhauled.. there is now a Engine-Pump-Selector, Autopilot Emergency valve (which works), a Star valve (non-functional), and both the Flaps and Landing Gear handles now operated in a three positions of UP, NEUTRAL and DOWN (Again more about about these movements when flying. The hydraulics metal panel placards are beautifully done (detail, detail) and add a lot to the aircraft, as all of the advisory and warning placards around the instrument panel and cockpit which are also new and more authentic. Up on the roof, the escape hatch has been redone and has gained a window, which lets in a lot more light into the cockpit... very nicely done with great window surround detail. Gone also is the 60's IBM 360 mini-computer (Avionics rack) situated right rear of the cockpit... it has been replaced just by simple brushed aluminum facade that is quite nice, but I would have rather have had a realistic avionics rack (but not the 60's rack, but a far older model). There is a notable pattern here, a far, far higher quality, but also a more sleek and modernistic look... you are certainly leaving the grubby, wear and tear feel now well behind... for me it is a debatable context, if you want old classic, wartime built and battered, then that aspect has been (but slowly) refined totally out. Flying the v4 DC-3/C-47 Instantly when starting the twin Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp 1,200 hp (890 kW) engines... is they sound now very different? This is a very all new FMOD sound package, and it comes with new multi-layered engine sounds for the interiors and exteriors... and you significantly notice that aural difference straight away, and it is very good. With the weight of the aircraft you steer with the engines as much with the locked tailwheel, yes I am cheating, but as noted I don't have toe-brakes to get a realistic wheel on wheel braking effort. Taxiing mean small movements for corrections, if you don't go too fast the DC-3 will hold a nice straight line. The Gear lock has to be flat on the floor to "Lock". So you check it, then set the trim to neutral. Half throttle to get the bird moving, then feed in the full power... control is via the throttles as much with the rudder to keep the DC-3 straight, as you need more power on the right to counteract the forces of the pull to the left, it is natural to me now, but this is on how you fly the DC. The tail will soon lift around 70 knts, and you use the rudder for more control, but be careful, as if the DC-3 starts to weave you can easily lose it. Around 90 knts the DC-3 will naturally lift, so your job is to just keep the aircraft tight and straight, once off the ground and flying and all you need is to do is a slight pull back on the yoke that will give you a nice clean 1,000 fpm climb... ... now come the tricky bit, you have to pull up the "Gear Lock" handle... then move the gear lever upwards to stow the gear, simple... No not really. It is because you are flying totally blind while moving around the cockpit to focus twice on two different actions. This is the second change. Originally vSkyLabs used a setting on the Slider# to create a 3 way selection, UP, NEUTRAL and DOWN... .... but that caused me personally havoc after setting the Slider#14. I got a conflict with my Saitek X56 throttle system, it made the right engine run weak... disconnect the Saitek throttle add-on and it worked all fine again, plug it back in and it doesn't? Why an addon unit messed with a throttle power selection is totally beyond me, but it did? Other users struggled with the 3-way system as well, so it has been since simplified back to using the default (Gear) UP and DOWN commands, but you still have to pull up and push down to lock the "Gear Lock" lever... two other notes, one is to make sure you update to the latest version via the "STMA" built in updater to get the later (r4) gear update. And when the gear is retracted, do a little pull on the regular brakes to stop the wheels rotating in the wheel bays. There is an "ESSENTALS" pdf with all the Slider# commands to set as the developer recommended), including sliders# to cover the "Gear (safety) latch", "Gear Handle", "Flaps Handle", and all to save you moving visually around the cockpit, but after the incident or conflict with the Slider# command I am personally wary of other hidden actions of using the sliders#... it is an area to investigate further. I totally recommend using the XPRealistic Pro v2 by rk Apps and their realism effects... it makes the DC-3 "shake, rattle and roll" with aplomb, and they are extremely highly realistic. Add in those new FMOD sounds and you are having a great time up here. Notable is if you open the side window, on how the sounds change nicely (tone wise) in the cockpit of the unique thrum of the Wasps, it is far quieter with the window closed again. Trimmed out, you need to again to adjust the throttle position to stop the slow yawing to either the left or right... The DC-3 always had a tendency to drift or bank one way or the other. The throttle trimming will do a good job here, but the exact balance window is very hard to find. Changing the throttles or power can have a big impact on trim or the change of altitude... you can steer and fly by the power settings alone. Notable in v4.0r4 is that long-waited fix for the dual DME radios, which were replaced with a fully functional, independent dual DME radio that allows to fix your position with the use of separate NAV1/2 radios, while still on-navigation with NAV1/2. The Sperry Type A-3A autopilot is about as basic as you can expect it to be, it also now has the "Autopilot Master" switch on a slider# setting and the noted "Autopilot Shutoff Valve" that actually works. Three dials in RUD (Rudder), AIL (Aileron) and ELE (Elevation) will adjust your flying surfaces, in reality it is just another trim function but one that you can control easier. Turn the ELE knob and you will see your yoke go towards you to climb, same movement in forward to descend. AIL will bank the aircraft to a new heading and so on. It all works quite nicely but you have to watch your instruments in that you are going in the right direction and not slightly banking towards another one... as with the A-3A system the DC-3 tends to drift (badly) over distance, so you had to consistently make heading adjustments. I actually love this sort of flying as you felt you were back in a period of basic automation and you still required your navigation skills to find your way around the planet. Switch on the provided S-TEC Autopilot, and the more modern system eliminates this aspect, but the wide swings around the new heading are not at all realistic? In v4 vSkyLabs have adjusted these wild swings, but they don't seem much better to me? To change the heading for the S-Tec you use the RUD (Rudder) knob on the A-3A (arrowed orange) and I love the alignment of the compass to heading rotors (arrowed yellow) on the A-3A. Notable is the vSkyLabs use of the "Experimental Flight Model" that needs to be selected ON in the Menu/General settings. And vSkyLabs recommends to set up your X-Plane configuration for MAXIMUM REALISM, and all "Stability Augmentation" to zero "0" values. In v2.7b vSkyLabs introduced Ice and rain to the aircraft... but to note how far that interior quality has also changed over the versions, but I still really miss those great earlier twirling fans! The Ice and Rain effects are some of X-Plane's best use of the feature, it not only feels cold, but it can be quite lethal as well. Lakeland (KLAL) field in sight, it was time to get ready for landing... like the Undercarriage the Flaps are now also on the new (Slider#) system, and it is used in a realistic hydraulic pressure fashion, in the real DC-3/C47 there is a hydraulic hand pump located at the bottom of the hydraulic control panel, this is a handle that extends out between the pilot's and co-pilot's seats, and is set there for manual use if the engines cannot supply the required hydraulic pressure (but not yet implemented in this aircraft, but coming). Gear lock lever up to release and then click down the gear lever to lower the undercarriage, then the gear lock lever down again to lock the gear in place... Flap position is noted to the far left, upside down... with the UP position low, and the DOWN position high in front of your eyes, but it can still be tricky to see while on approach. Approach speed is around 70 knts, but I think it is too fast, it feels fast... not slow and lumbering? but it is still close to the 58 knots stall speed. A slight nose up will drop you down to 63 knts, then slowly you fall to the runway. The DC-3 is very tricky to land... very susceptible to crosswinds, and you have to get those wheels perfectly right, unless you will bounce or hop like a drunk bunny all the way down the runway quite badly... ... now if you do bugger it all up (and it IS quite easy to do), in v4 a bad landing or crash will now do untold damage to the aircraft, like blown tyres and broken props... or the aircraft will simply come apart in the air... (note: no DC-3s were harmed in displaying the damage shown here!). Over throttle and the engines will simply blow up on you... "Oh dear!" Summary This is another huge update to the vSkyLabs DC-3/C47 classic aircraft. The aircraft was released back in July 2017, but has had continuous and quite significant updates since, this is v4.0r4, up from v3.0 last year, which in renovated the cabin and included a cargo version... note the word "Project" as in any aircraft by VSkyLabs creates is an ongoing project. Look at the original release version; DC-3/C47 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project and see the large amount of changes to the aircraft over the years, yes it is hugely and even significantly a far, far better aircraft, but a few of the great original ideas have also been lost along the way... notable the cockpit fans, rusty brown window tints and the screws around the instrument panel, this has also taken away a little of the old wartime classic feel that was so originally attractive. There has been also a more of a modernisation of the aircraft from back then as well, more modern tools like modern autopilots and in this v4 version AviTabs on the yokes. Other significant changes here also include another complete overhaul of the cockpit, mostly to the instrument panel to include instrument covers and the full look and quality of PBR textures and effects. Hydraulic panel has been overhauled and the gear lock handle included. Hotspot to either MPH or KNOTS, and dirty roof speakers and an added master Ignition switch. GNS holder are also all new... removed is that 60's avionics rack and replaced by some just nicely brushed aluminum panels. Slider# options are also now included as well as the usual default commands, but be careful the settings don't conflict with the default settings as they did with X-PlaneReviews. New damage effects are also clever and the feature list like with the realistic icing and rain is huge and getting longer by each version release. The DC-3/C47 is one if the the greatest aircraft ever produced, and 30 of the old timers are still actually flying... the result here is one of the great simulations, with a highly realistic feel and handling of this amazing aircraft for the X-Plane Simulator... it is a challenging aircraft to fly, a "sort of grab it by the neck and fly the thing" sort of machine, but a classic never the less, and what you get in the features and detail delivered here is excellent value and all for the under US$30.00 price.... value, huge feature list and barnstorming fun, what more could you ask for! ______________________________________________ The DC-3/C47 v4.0r4 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS C-47 Skytrain / DC-3 Flying Lab Project Your Price: US$29.95 If you have already purchased the DC3/C47 from Vskylabs then just login to your X-Plane.OrgStore and go to your account and download the current v4.0 update (note - that you download the r4 update via the STMA Auto-Updater plugin, built into the simulation) Project's Highlights: Project is 'VR Ready' for use with X-Plane: VR functionality is a part of the project aspects which are constantly under evaluation and development for reaching a higher level of immersion as the VR features and possibilities are growing. Highly Realistic Handling and Flight Performance DC-3/C-47 Simulation: Highly accurate performance and handling simulation of the DC-3/C-47, along with a full set of traditional/old school navigation and autopilot systems. Aircraft performance and handling qualities were designed and tested in a "Research level" approach and went through a validation process of hundreds of flight testing and evaluation, tested and refined by a real-world C-47 pilot. Workhorse for DC-3/C-47 pilot skills: Experience authentic flight performance and handling practices (takeoff, landing, single engine operations, flight planning, long range flights and old school navigation). It is a perfect platform to recreate and fly historic routes using authentic performance. Unique look and feel: There is nothing to hide - the VSKYLABS DC-3/C-47 is a mixture of a simplified yet very engaging design. Two C-47 variants included: The C-47 and the XC-47C floats-equipped variants. Systems: All the relevant systems are being simulated. Here are **some** of the more unique systems: Two speed Supercharger blowers - based on the PW-1830-90C engines model, equipped with lo/hi blowers. The high blower configuration allows high altitude cruise. Oxygen system - including crew dilution/regulator, pressure indicator and functional flow-indicator ("Blinker"). Do not forget to enable hypoxia in X-Plane's general settings menu. Fire Extinguisher system - including fire indication system. The fire extinguisher control panel is located behind the hinged cover on the cockpit floor, between the pilot/co-pilot seats. Damage simulation - engines are sensitive to rapid spool-up. Engine mishandling will result in severe damage to the engine/engine fire. Stressing the airframe will result also in severe damage, following a visual representation of the damages. Blown tires are also being visualized and simulated. Engines/propeller systems - designed with fully featured, functioning and authentic propeller feathering systems, for highly realistic single engine simulation. Landing gears and flaps simulation - are being simulated with a high level of authenticity. Sperry Autopilot - Old school autopilot is configured. Optional modern avionics - dual GNS 530, S-TEC autopilot, AviTab compatibility. Anti-Icing/De-Ice systems - including icing and rain visualization. Skis - Animated, incorporated in the flight dynamics model. Passengers/cargo configurations. Comprehensive FMOD sounds. STMA Auto-updater plugin included. AviTab plugin compatibility included (AviTab plugin not included). Highly responsive VSKYLABS support system (including C-47/DC-3 operational knowledge and support/assistance). Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current and Review version: Version v4.0r4 (October 1st 2021) The AviTab Plugin is NOW required for this aircraft. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 12th October 2021 Copyright©2021 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) 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 1Tb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55r2 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP Plugins: : Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 (Highly Recommended) : Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 Scenery or Aircraft - KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.99 - KLAL - Lakeland Linder by Freddy de Pues (Not Available)
  9. Behind the Screen : September 2021 It is very hard to ignore the announcement of the next version of X-Plane12... at least the name is now official, so we can move forward on that aspect. But what of the announcement itself. FlightSimExpo 2021 in San Diego (24th-26th Sept) as it was forecast to be a huge affair with the massive fanfare the new simulator version deserved. Laminar Research had an open goal as well as the big MSFS (Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020) in the developer (Asobo Studio) and 3rd party developers (PMDG... et all) all staying away from the Expo. Covid of course created an environment of chance, but I think that the MSFS crowd stayed away for the more personal reasons, no doubt they will be back there in full force next year. So Laminar had nothing to lose, and absolutely everything to gain... but it all went so wrong. A rushed presentation, a particularly poor new branding... was it all Covid created in hindsight, personally I think not, worse was the fact that under it's skin X-Plane12 when put into it's full context is very good, it will be very good as well... but that aspect didn't show through, so haphazard was the presentation... at the core here is that simply the new simulator wasn't finished, there was a running version at the Expo, but nobody except a chosen few saw it, not even images or a video emerged to show it off, because quite simply is that X-Plane12 is not ready in context to show off. The hard Expo date and the announcement coming at Oshkosh created a monster problem for Laminar Research, it had no time nor the resources available to get that Alpha version running for that due date, I really think they tried, mercilessly so to meet the deadline, it showed on every face in that video, but it will be now just weeks late, it will come together, and very soon and X-Plane12 will finally come to light. What was the core of what was really going on here. X-Plane users and all people closely involved in the Simulator are usually very used to all of this, to the most older X-Plane sim users this is all actually nothing new, in fact it is all so normal that we shouldn't have been surprised at all of the eccentric release show... it was at it's core Laminar Research at it's most buccaneer moments, only this time we just didn't get the joke or feel the fun. Overall we know Laminar and it's motley crew will deliver an exceptional simulator as they have repeatably in the past, and this time in coming with all the areas we have moaned about for years in now actually fixed. So why are we feeling the opposite than what we should be feeling... the problem is, this in 2021 and not 2011 (early X-Plane10 era). The world of Simulators are at a critical stage and now out there on the world stage in full view, X-Plane doesn't have it's own cosy little world anymore, it is up there and is noted as one as the "Premier" simulators, because deep down it is a Premier Simulator, and this next evolutionary step was a very crucial one, in fact the most crucial step for X-Plane in it's 25 year anniversary life. So in the full glare of publicity did X-Plane actually blew it? and do we know that X-Plane blew it... the effects of that will be felt maybe like Covid for many years to come. For many X-Plane users they will simply in private rejoice, they never wanted the limelight in the first place, it will to them in their minds, return the simulator to the good olde days of clubby nonsense... and they can reclaim the Simulator to their particular paradise. They hated the intrusion of the Flight Simulator thinking, the monetary aspect of the Simulator... the numbers and the spending to 3rd party developers is not their vision of a Flight Simulator, but in a complete selfish reversal... put a good product out there and they squeal with delight, ethos be damned. For most of us we dream the dream, and over the last decade that dream has soared beyond and higher (pun intended) than we ever expected, that of course put even more focus and illumination on the next version of the Simulator, and not to forget the MSFS aspect that now "expects" yes the word "Expected" to compete with Microsoft... you could even say that this is "what this is all about?" Unfortunately it is far more than that... Punters deep down will rally the point that they don't want X-Plane to change, they don't want X-Plane to become a MSFS clone, but that is really missing the point entirely. X-Plane does not have to sell out it's soul to move forward, but it has to be also a business to survive. MSFS opened up simulation to a world that didn't know that such depth of flying aircraft and realism in airports actually existed, they watch the simulation videos with awe, and they simply can't believe the depth of the systems we are used to... but to do simulation on this level is not a game, it isn't just tootling around the sky, as it requires years of learning and study to perfect the perfect flight service. Flying is and will always be complex, but that is the ultimate attraction and the challenges to overcome. So X-Plane12 is the next evolution, it covers most of all the areas that we need to be covered to take the Simulator up to that next level and in most areas be even better than MSFS or any other simulator out there. But part of the disappointment was to at least address the area of the visual component. You are never going to complete with all that MSFS bing mapping and come off better, you can't even try. But the Laminar direction is to fix the areas that can be fixed and no doubt Laminar have done that, but you are also seeing the other critical area being totally ignored. Mostly this is about internal Laminar resources, worse is that since Alpilotx moved on a few years ago, there was no replacement, and a huge hole in the scenery aspect has been created in that Laminar in it's own wisdom didn't feel it needed filling to their own detriment. Remember in the early days the core of Laminar did the central work, and most of the other areas were dialed out to talented enthusiasts, again in that clubby innovation... but if a Simulator has to grow, compete and be a business, then soon you need talented people to cover the various critical areas... you could try cloning Ben Supnic, but my guess they would just argue amongst each other, but it is a great idea... Certainly Laminar are aware of the problem, you would be an idiot not to, but the comment here is to let us fix the most obvious and return to the scenery later, in reality their should have been a person put into place to do that aspect actually earlier. My personal view on this is that a rejuvenated scenery component in X-Plane12 would have attracted back FlightSim developers to bring their products with them... the current scenery textures are a decade old, and scenery developers struggle to make their scenery (and cityscapes) look authentic in the current environment, the look of X-Plane just does not help, but I will admit the new lighting model will go a long way in creating a far better environmental feel... but that aspect may now be lost, at least for a few critical years. The current mesh tools are horrible and difficult to use (hence only Alpilotx was the only one skilled enough to do it), and Laminar won't give access to them anyway, unfortunately Ben Supnic would need to rebuild the system from the ground up to do it justice... you can see why it was a project shelved in another current too hard basket... fix what you can and visit the other problem later, but to attract back those scenery developers in this critical area, then updated scenery mesh should have been a major part of the X-Plane12 feature list. Most of all X-Plane12 didn't feel different this time around, I called it initially X-Plane11+ and it felt like that, but studying all the new components together and it does deserve the X-Plane12+ moniker, however Laminar Research at least should have rebranded it, "At least make it feel new(er)", and the better new, and they started off really well with the "Next Generation" feel, they just didn't follow the branding through on to the actual product itself. Again was that not to look like X-Plane was feeling the MSFS promotional onslaught and "we better rebrand" to compensate towards MSFS... "Sail steady and true" was always Laminar's motto in the past, but like I said at the beginning of this article, this is 2021, not safe 2011 anymore, the one thing above all else was that Laminar really needed to do this time was to refresh the branding to say "This is a Premier Simulator" and "Come and see how great it is", but in reality it will now just be seen as the same X-Plane brand it has always been in either X-Plane11 or even X-Plane12, ditto in the fact that X-Plane will still be viewed the same old X-Plane as well... just at the very point it could have made it's real impact felt in the wider context. The lost missed open goal... I should and will always support the best Simulator out there, the one that has brought me over a long decade a lot of immense pleasure, and that is X-Plane. Covid has without doubt created a lot of confusion, ruined markets and businesses... In time the moment will be forgotten, in a year X-Plane12 will be part of our lives as much as X-Plane11 is now... "who cares" will be the memory, but you have to record the moment for what it is, and in what it actually could have been. See you all again next month. Stephen Dutton 4th October 2021 Copyright©2021 X-Plane Reviews
  10. NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : VSKYLABS C-47 Skytrain-DC-3 to v4 Vskylabs have updated the C47 Skytrain/DC-3 to v4.0. This is a MASSIVE update, HUGE, as even the v4 changelog is as long as most feature lists... To be honest I didn't like the the v3 update, as the trend was away from the earlier WW2 feel to a more modern DC-3 with modern avionics, I had felt it had lost a little bit of why you wanted a DC-3 in the hanger, for that classic design of this of all the greatest legendary aircraft. But you have to admit, you get a lot of DC-3/C47 with huge features and detail for your money. Version v4.0r1 (1st October 2021) New and improved FMOD Sound pack: New multi-layer engine sounds for the interiors and exteriors. New aural indication system recordings for the mixtures, autopilot and tail-wheel. Updated and tuned FMOD package. Cockpit - Overhead panels and ceiling: Overhead panels switches - Remodeled (NEW) with new PBR textures. Overhead panels - Remodeled radios-stack, radios, added PBR texturing and covering glass. Overhead panels - Remodeled speakers, re-arranged inside cockpit ceiling. Cockpit ceiling - Escape hatch door remodeled, now includes an up-facing window. Ignition panel - Added Master Ignition switch (operational). Cockpit - Pedestal panel: Pedestal panel - Remodeled (quadrant and lower panel). Pedestal panel - Remodeled rotary switches and placards. Pedestal panel - Added real-time conversion board for airspeed (mph/knots/kmh), temperatures and altimeter settings. Cockpit - Main panel: Main panel - Remodeled and re-engineered the entire instrument gauges, to include plastic covering for lighting, refined needles and engine markings (L/R) on relevant instruments, all gauges animations were re-calibrated with higher precision indications. New, remodeled folding 2 x GNS 530 devices. Main panel - Added airspeed indicator in knots (toggle by interacting with the airspeed indicator glass). Main panel - Re-tuned airspeed limitation markers. Main Panel - Added copilot Artificial Horizon instrument gauge. Main panel - Remodeled switched and rotary knobs. Main panel - Remodeled and rearranged of the warning light panel (light bulbs, switches, placards). Main panel - Warning light panel now includes authentic indication for landing gear / landing gear handle status. Main panel - Warning light panel now includes operational 'door open' warning light. Main panel - Warning light panel now includes a functional BRT/DIM switch. Main panel - Added functional alternate pitot static valve switch and placard. Main panel - Placards - Added stall speeds placard. Main panel - Placards - Added MAX. Power limitations placard. Main panel - Placards - Added MAX. speeds placard. Main panel - Placards - Added advisory placard (on top of the pedestal). Main panel - Sperry autopilot - remodeled (including compass scales, rotary knobs, bezels). Main panel - Sperry autopilot cutout was added, to host Sperry inside. Re-modeled control yokes (wheels). All Panels - New night textures. Cockpit - Hydraulic panel and floor: Hydraulics panel - Re-modeled and replaced entire Hydraulics panel placards. Hydraulic panel - Re-modeled Engine-Pump-Selector (non-functional). Hydraulic panel - Added Autopilot Emergency valve (functional). Hydraulic panel - Added star valve (non-functional). Hydraulic panel - Remodeled and re-engineered / animated Landing gear handle to include all 3 positions (UP, NEUTRAL, DOWN). Handle operation is customized to reflect real-world operation practice. Hydraulic panel - Remodeled and re-engineered / animated Flaps handle to include all 3 positions (UP, NEUTRAL, DOWN). Handle operation is customized to reflect real-world operation practice. Cockpit Floor - Landing gear Safety Latch is now functional and integrated into the landing gear system. Cockpit Floor - Textures / PBR setup refined to include additional details. Cockpit - General: Pilot, copilot seats re-textured with new PBR hi-res textures. Old server-stack, located on the RH side of the cockpit corridor, behind the co-pilot seat was removed. Brushed aluminum walls were mounted instead. Upgraded front and upper panels, cockpit padding. All now featuring new hi-res PBR textures. Aviation flashlight (pilot side) - improved, new PBR setup. General Features: Added built-in AviTab compatibility, with Two sets of AviTab tablets (pilot, copilot), and two sets of tablet cases for quick interaction. Systems: New system: Two functional Inverters were added. New system: Ignition Master Switch (mounted on the ignition panel). New system: New Gears up aural warning (authentic for the C-47). New system: Landing gears pressure gauge is now wired to the landing gears system. When retracting the landing gears, it will drop to zero ("0") once the gears are up. Then, the landing gears may be set to NEUTRAL, like it's done in the real aircraft. When lowing the landing gears, pressure will build up and will be indicated. Upgraded system: Landing gears system now features two-levers: safety latch and gears handle. When safety latch is locked (down), gears handle cannot be placed in the upper position. Landing gears lever has 3 positions: up, down and neutral. In neutral mode the pressure is locked, preserving the current landing gears position state. Warning light panel indicates gears and handle status accordingly. Upgraded system: Warning lights panel is now wired to doors, landing gears indications and handle. Upgraded system: Flaps system now features a fully functional 3-position lever with up, down and neutral position. When in the neutral position, pressure is locked and the flaps will remain in the current deployment state. Added tail-nav light bulb in tail-cone. Autopilot tuneup including S-TEC modes refinement to work with the Sperry with reduced wandering in the roll axis. Autopilot - added heading-sync push button option along with DG alignment to the magnetic north. Vacuum system - Refined vacuum system characteristics. Doors - will get closed automatically above 20 KIAS. Propeller feathering system remake - now the feather push-handles will pop-out once the propeller feathering process is done. Un-feathering and terminating the feathering process is now possible as it works in the real C-47 (push to un-feather in case that the propeller is fully feathered). Propeller mode tune-up (pitch rate of change) Flight Dynamics: Re-tuned control surfaces throws and phasing. Re-tuned CL behavior with flaps deployment. Validated flight envelope. General interactions: Added blown-tires visualization. The Douglas DC-3/C-47 is a fixed-wing propeller-driven airliner. Its great performance - range of approximately 1500 miles and speed of above 200 Miles per Hour, revolutionized air transportation in the 1930's and 1940's. It is a twin-engine all-metal monoplane, capable of operating from short runways at remote places. You can update to version v4 now by going to your account at the X-Plane.OrgStore, and downloading the new version... All images are courtesy of vSkyLabs ____________________________ The DC-3/C47 v4.0r1 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS C-47 Skytrain / DC-3 Flying Lab Project Your Price: $29.95 Features: New: Two variants included DC-3/C-47 Plus XC-47C Amphibious version VR Ready X-Plane 11 Native VR ready. will be updated as needed Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: Version v4.0r1 (October 1st 2021) ____________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 2nd October 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  11. Aircraft Update : BAe 146 Professional v1.2.1 by Just Flight In May 2021, JustFlight released for the X-Plane11 Simulator, the regional BAe 146 airliner in three variants -100/-200/-300. On top of that you also got Passenger/Freight/Combi versions as well. That is a pretty big spread of types for just one airliner. The equivalent later Avro variants were the RJ70, RJ85 and RJ100, plus the QT "Quiet Trader" and QC "Quick Change" variant. As noted in X-PlaneReviews comprehensive review... Aircraft Review : British Aerospace 146 Professional by JustFlight The BAe146 is an outstanding simulation, with real depth and that 80's classic dial and clockwork cockpit... ... modeling and detail is absolutely excellent, you want that extreme quality, then here it is by JustFlight with a conversion by Thranda Design. Notable is that there is an earlier release on the Prepar3D platform format, but the (X-Plane) Thranda version adds in more features and detail... but one aspect on the P3D release BAe146 that was not on the formal release of the X-Plane version was a fully working FMS (Flight Management System) or as it is sometimes called the FMC. The reason was that the X-Plane FMS had to be rebuilt from the ground up, as the P3D to X-Plane conversion was not possible. So the FMS was replaced by the default X-Plane FMC in the release version. BAe 146 Professional v1.2.1 This extensive update is mostly to update the BAe146 with that better UFMC (Universal Flight Management Computer). It is not the same unit as in the P3D aircraft version as that uses the UNS-1Lw SBAS-Flight Management System or UNS-1, here it is still a Universal system but with the long facia plate, that makes it look more of a default FMS than it actually really is. As a side note, releasing in X-Plane12 is the Honeywell Primus FMC, which has a very similar layout and facia plate to the UNS-1, so maybe that facia unit will come as an option later. First is that each (left/right) CDU unit is individual, either can be changed or inputted separately, and that shows a depth of a good system. Both units have pop-outs for again individual use and are noted as either LEFT/RIGHT. Only on the pop-outs is the feature to type in directly from the keyboard. This is done by clicking on the left MESSAGE pad and the symbol "K" comes up... now you can directly key data into the CDU unit via the "Scratchpad". From the first look, it is obvious this is a comprehensive FMS system, the layout and data is very well detailed, and the system has a lot of depth... on the IDENT page you get the full data of the Aircraft and Engines, JF v121 version and date/co data, and of course the AIRAC (Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control) cycle. The POS INIT (Position) is also very good in that if you input your ICAO airport code (EKCH) - Kalstrop, and the Gate, the CDU will recognise both inputs (most FMSs, will allow the inputs, but are not actually active, but here the inputs are) with even the current Lat/Long position displayed. The BAe146 uses the FJCC system, so the required (AIRAC) data folder goes into the X-Plane’s ‘Custom Data/UFMC/’ folder. I have one already as using the SSG Aircraft which uses the same navigation data, but if it does not yet exist, then you need to create a "UFMC" folder in the Custom Data folder, and JustFlight provides a AIRAC_2009_UFMC_Installer.exe in the BAe_146/Plugins folder to do that insert. A AIRAC_2009_UFMC.pkg for Mac's and Linux is also provided. All data can be updated each AIRAC (monthly) cycle via a Navigraph or Aerosoft NavDataPro subscription. ROUTES You can use two flightplans (RTE 1/RTE 2) on the ROUTE Page... You can then access the route assembly (AIRWAYS) via pressing the "NEXT PAGE" key, noted via the upper right page number, to go back to the ROUTE Page you then press the RTE key. Route waypoint data is easily inserted, with DIRECT (next Waypoint) that is added in automatically... overall route construction is very easy. Both DEP/ARR data is very good, with RUNWAY/SID/STARS/TRANS commands all provided. I always mostly edit my Arrival (ARR) route, and in most cases the best data for doing that is using the RNAV approach (chart/data) for that runway. Sadly there is no PLAN mode on the BAe146 to visually see the created route, so you have to make sure the data is correct on when entered. Here the approach to Zurich is via RILAX (STAR), going into RWY 34 (RILAX 28 34 RNAV)... the set CDU set STAR RILAX1A, is a bit ambiguous, so I am taking control of the arrival route. RILAX1A creates two nasty "ROUTE DISCONTINUITY' errors with LAMAX and AMIKI separated, worse is that the LAMAX and AMIKI waypoints go the long, long way around to the runway... RILAX 28 34 RNAV (navigraph) Far quicker is the inner route via the waypoints RILAX-ZH364 to ZH370 + ZH340 to the final approach waypoints of UTIXI and MILNI... Starting after RILAX I then added in the series of numbered waypoints ZH364 to ZH370 + ZH340 then moved UTIXI into the first "ROUTE DISCONTINUITY' box to edit out both LAMAX and AMIKI waypoints and create the same approach RNAV route as on the above RILAX 34 chart. The point here was that the route editing was excellent, however you do need to "EXEC" (Execute) every single time if you need to remove or change a wrongly inserted waypoint or DELETE a waypoint, it won't accept the action otherwise. Notable was the CDU was willing to accept numbered waypoints as well as the IACO five letter waypoints. So route building and editing on this Universal CDU is excellent. But shame you don't have a visual (even a pop-up) layout of the route to verify your data it is a noticeable omission. PERF INIT (Performance) The PERF INIT page is also very good... this sets up the performance of the aircraft in flight, and is actually required to add in the VNAV calculations. Press LK1 (Left Key 1) to set up the ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight) and GW (Gross Weight) that are both noted on the tablet... Odd thought is the PLAN fuel entry? In most cases you add in the BLOCK fuel amount (9162 kgs), but it only gives you a INVALID FORMAT error message? To set the PLAN amount you have to enter the COST INDEX (opposite), in a COST INDEX number (from 0000 to 9999)... the PLAN number shown is the TRIP fuel amount and not the BLOCK fuel (Block fuel is the 9.2 CALC), this is not the usual way of setting the PLAN fuel performance number? Notable is the setting of the STEP SIZE right lower. TAKEOFF REF leads on from the PERF INIT page... Here you can manage take-off performance. Take-off flap setting and V-speeds can be entered and verified. T/O flap position will give you your takeoff speeds v1, VR V2 of which you can select and set via the right side keys. (note you have to set the bugs yourself?). APPROACH REF can also be set. ECON CLB, ECON CRZ (Cruise) and ECON 285 are all available via the VNAV button? Notable is that you only have the TAKEOFF REFS on the ground as the page is whited out (above right). HOLDS A huge feature on this FMS, is that it has a very good HOLD function. There are two separate HOLD functions, a "No Holding Fix" and a "Holding Fix" in the route. Press the HOLD button to access the hold options. On the left is the five ICAO box input and on the right is the PPCS. In reality a "No Holding Fix" will create a racetrack course at any point around a Lat/Long fix... so pressing the PPCS will create the current Lat/Long fix (Image below left) and start the HOLD position. The "Holding Fix" is selected via a ICAO waypoint, then inserted into the box input to select of which waypoint you want the hold to start, this is noted on the waypoint as "HOLD AT" and the waypoint is noted on the HOLD page via the HOLD button. You can edit it out anytime via doing a DIRECT-TO (DIR-TO). There is no actual DIRECT-TO button on this CDU, so you select your next (DIRECT) waypoint (into the scratchpad) and then insert it at the top of the route list with the LK1 key, to get out of the HOLD you do the same DIRECT-TO action. All actions require the EXEC (Execute) action. There are different HOLD entry procedures (direct, parallel and teardrop) which are computed automatically by the FMS. Distance Legs between turns is noted in minutes in 1.0 minutes below 14,000 feet and 1.5 minutes above 14,000 feet. Leg Times can be adjusted, but are calculated with airspeed and wind variables. Pretty good isn't it... You can't cover every feature here, but the provided manual and details is excellent. If you wish you can also now also replace this FMS with the 3rd party RealityXP GTN750 in the 3D cockpit ________________ Physical changes in v1.2.1 include a very nice GPU (Ground Power Unit), of which I complained about that was missing. And if you press the weather radar screen for it comes up now as a 2D pop-up window, (quicker than using the menu). One of the big features on the JF BAe146 is the Thrust Modulation System (TMS), and the system has had a few significant changes in this v1.2.1 update... ... now Pressing an active mode or TOGA button will return TMS to standby and freeze actuators in place, blue up-arrows and white down-arrows will correctly show whether the pilot needs to increase or decrease throttles, TMS actuators will now remain centered when the thrust levers are at idle and the TMS actuators movement rate is no longer dependent on frame rate... ... the TMS actuators will now remain centered when the thrust levers are at idle, and the TMS actuators movement rate is no longer dependent on frame rate. The FUEL TRANSFER annunciators, will now properly indicate the center tank transfer valve positions on both the upper OHP and main annunciator panel. Fixed engines #3 and #4 low oil temperatures in flight after a cold-and-dark start, improved Engine Overspeed test: If N1 is between 26 and 40%, this will shut down the engine. This can be reset by either re-starting the engine, or powering down the ESS DC bus and the Oxygen test now requires the oxygen valve to be open. ____________ In Flight... .... the BAe146 looks and is amazing. PROG (Progress) page is excellent in action with three pages under the PROG button... .... page 1 covers distance and waypoint progress, page 2 covers your Wind, Fuel Used and (current) Fuel Quantity. Page 3 covers RTA data. As both CDUs are separate, then the data pages can be shared between the two CDUs. . Not noted in any changelog, is that the cabin lighting has been adjusted for night conditions... now the cabin is not pitch black, but a really enjoyable place to be when flying at night... yes I complained about that aspect as well. ___________________ Summary The Just Flight/Thranda Design British Aerospace BAe146 was released for the X-Plane Simulator back in May 2021. It is a highly developed simulation, but the release (v1.0) version was missing one main component in a fully working FMS (Flight Management System) This v1.2.1 update fixes that aspect with the installation of a UFMC (Universal Flight Management Computer). It is not the same unit as in the P3D aircraft version UNS-1, but again a more highly developed and deeper Flight Management system for X-Plane. And very good it is, and the system comes with individual CDUs, keyboard input, full editing, numbered and ICAO waypoints, PERF (Performance), PROG (Progress), ECON (Economy), TAKEOFF REFs and an extremely good HOLD system with both Lat/Long and waypoint holds. Navigation data is also provided for the custom FJCC system (or update via Navigraph or Aerosoft NavDataPro subscriptions). The v1.2.1 update (changelog) list is quite long and detailed, but added is a physical GPU (Ground Power Unit) and new quick access pop-up (Weather) panel, RealityXP GTN750 is now optional, reflections have been toned down on instruments and windows. The unique Thrust Modulation System (TMS), has also had a few significant changes... Fuel Transfer annunciators have been adjusted as has the oil temperatures in flight after a cold-and-dark start, and an improved Engine Overspeed test. And the Oxygen test now requires the valve to be opened... not noted but included is far better night cabin lighting. The inclusion of the Universal UFMC is far more significant than it looks, as it sorts of completes the aircraft and it's system to be a far more and better simulation... It just now looks and feels as a whole, and not as partly completed as before. The title says "Pro" or Professional, and that is exactly what the BAe146 is. But that means it is study grade as well, so it needs time and study to get the best out of the aircraft, but notable now is the point in that you get the complete context of all the systems in the aircraft now with a fully decent FMS installed... Highly Recommended. ___________________________________ Yes! the British Aerospace 146 Professional v1.2.1 by JustFlight is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BAe146 Professional - JustFlight Price is US$74.99 Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.8 GB Current and Review Version: 1.2.1 (September 21st 2021) Note!, you can use the Skunkcrafts updater to update the aircraft to the latest version. Features Eight variants of the 146 are included: 146-100 146-200 146-300 146-200 QC & QT (cargo) 146-300 QT (cargo) CC.Mk2 (RAF VIP configuration with countermeasure pods) C.Mk3 (RAF cargo configuration with countermeasure pods) Accurately modelled using real-world aircraft plans and comprehensive photography of the real aircraft (G-JEAO, ZE701 and ZE708) Numerous animations including: - Trailing edge flap surfaces - Wing-mounted spoilers and tail-mounted airbrake - Ailerons and elevators feature servo tabs, and balanced, free-floating control surfaces which are affected not only by oncoming air, but also by turbulence, side winds, up and down drafts etc. during taxi or low-speed ground operations - All passenger, service and cargo doors use custom animations and feature extra logic such as the auto-closure of doors above a certain speed - Windscreen wipers with individual left/right animations and independent speed controls - Distinctive retractable tricycle landing gear featuring complex trailing link shock-absorbing mechanism on the main gear - Countermeasure pods, HF aerial and more Now with Custom FMC Included UFMC (Custom FMC) support since version 1.2 COCKPIT A truly 3D cockpit environment right down to accurately modelled seat belts and screw heads Cockpit textures feature wear and tear based on reference photos taken in the real aircraft to produce an authentic environment Captain, Co-pilot and jump-seat positions are modelled with hundreds of functional controls, including over 200 buttons, 100 switches and knobs, with smooth animations, easy-to-use clickspots and precision sounds Fully VR compatible Aircraft configuration system that will allow you to choose between 'cold & dark' or 'engines running’. These configurations can be customised via the Manifest.json file. Custom throttle lever logic – fuel latch logic which is compatible with hardware (avoiding jitters due to conflicting throttle positions), cutomisable variation in throttle positions for added realism, clickspot for controlling all four levers simultaneously etc. Functional crank handles on knobs such as the altitude select and rudder trim, which allow for more intuitive, realistic and quicker operation Full support for command assignments, hardware and cockpit builders: All controls can be assigned to commands, with tooltips on every clickspot to indicate which command to use Parameters such as smoothing animation, number of positions, attached dataref, push-button depth, knob rotation multiplier, frame-skip (for optimisation), default position etc. can all be customised via the Manifest.json file, providing great support for hardware and cockpit builders. Default commands for landing and taxi lights, windscreen wipers, panel lights etc. are still respected, despite being implemented with custom functionality Custom features such as ‘hide yokes’ are controllable using default commands (e.g. 'Hide Yoke') as well as via clickspots EFB tablet with door and call-out controls and with AviTab support TEXTURES AND LIVERIES Physical Based Rendering (PBR) materials produce realistic metallic, plastic and glass surfaces. Certain liveries feature more metallic or more rough finishes to match the real-world materials on a per-livery basis. 4096x4096 textures are used to produce the highest possible texture clarity (external texture pixel density exceeds 330 pixels/m, very high for an airliner) X-Plane texture quality slider reduces texture dimensions and compresses textures in-sim in real-time, but textures that are crucial for hi-res clarity and legibility are protected from resolution degradation at lower graphic settings Authentic labelling and placards based on those found in the real aircraft The 3D model intelligently re-uses the same parts between aircraft variants, reducing download size and optimising in-sim resource usage. The numerous optimisation measures made to the aircraft’s geometry, such as unloading parts that are not in view, contribute to the aircraft’s FPS-friendly performance (in-house tests consistently yield between 70-135 FPS) Ground vehicles (X-Plane default) available at supporting airports. BAe146 Changelog v1,2.1 BAe146 v1.2.1 changelog.txt ________________________________________ Aircraft Update Review by Stephen Dutton 2nd October 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  12. Behind The Screen : Expo 2021 - X-Plane12 or is it X-Plane11+ Bleary eyed, early morning Australia and I am seeing waxing images of Austin Meyer floating around in front of me.... Am I dreaming or having nightmares... The FlightSimExpo (Sept 24th - 26th) in San Diego is here and I am in expectant mode, but it all looks like another bad time and a place, even the presenter was unfamiliar with his totally but false cheerful Apple inspired "Great Question" replies... agggh I'm in hell, I need to wake up! Only I wasn't dreaming or even asleep, it was all very real and I was really watching all of this... The Covid induced the virus strikes again with a masterful vengeance and Laminar Research pulls together quickly a video presentation, and sends only one Laminar staff member to the Expo (Philipp Ringler). The announcement comes that it will indeed be X-Plane12, lob off 11 and replace it with a 12 and that was about it, no new exciting branding or any "NEXT GENERATION" booming out of the speakers... and it went all downhill from there, and my first reaction is that the new X-Plane12 felt more like X-Plane11+ So what is X-Plane12, honestly I don't think even Laminar Research can currently answer that question, but there is a form and even a context coming out of what the new version is, but as to what it will actually eventually look like, it wasn't actually shown, or it didn't feel that way because the elements of the new simulator were not pulled together in time to do a real live demonstration... Even as a marketing machine it all looks very amateurish (even to wearing X-Plane11 T-Shirts) and hastily pulled together, and Laminar Research has usually done very well in that marketing aspect in the past. And sadly it was all at a venue where it had a very valuable situation to exploit as the expected MS crowd kept away from the Expo... Laminar had the whole ball in their hand, but in reality Covid induced they dropped it when they really needed a big catch. A X-Plane12 release date is also not on any current road map either, or neither is there a price. The pathway is to release an Alpha working version (but not with everything included) to the 3rd party developers to evaluate and see what else needs to be refined as the API's (Application Programming Interfaces) are affected (again)... then a beta release for the users and finally a full working X-Plane12 version sometimes in the never, never. In other words the usual rigmarole of a new X-Plane version. X-Plane12 is a new upgrade version of the simulator, so that means you will have to repurchase it to use it, but it was noted that one authorisation key will cover both the current X-Plane11 and the new X-Plane12 simulators if you want to run both simulators side by side. To the core, and X-Plane12 has been created to cover the all biggest items on the complaints list, as all or most of the new features featured are basically there to fix what we have moaned about for years... fixing them however has left no room for any imagination or really bold new features that could take the fight or anything to Microsoft's venerable Flight Simulator MSFS which is very unlike Laminar Research, so the current feeling is that at first it feels more like a very big X-Plane11 update, more than a completely new X-Plane(12) version... hence the X-Plane11+ moniker. To be fair overall though, there are some actually really significant and even evolutionally changes going on in X-Plane12... so lets take all the very different announced elements over the northern summer and try to form out what X-Plane12 actually is with the complaints list items noted. _______________ Weather: The weather is the biggest code change going on here in X-Plane12. Finally we are getting away from the art based clouds to a proper 3d volumetric clouds system, these volumetric effects are not something new in X-Plane as I have used them for years with 3rd party xEnviro and Skymaxx Pro. Austin Meyer announced he had wrote the new weather code alone in 45 days? to the total displeasure of Ben Supnic who seemed surprised of that announcement... 3rd party developers as noted have been working on 3d volumetric clouds for years and YEARS, and don't yet have a clean if very efficient application. But it is a move away from art based visual forms to a more (physics) mathematical form, and the very few current visuals of the new XP12 weather system says there is far more is yet to be done. The trick here is to get a high efficiency out of the maths, (i.e. framerate) as a default extremely efficient environmental engine can be a real winner on all accounts. However, the new environmental engine will work in a 4 dimensional space and most cloud types are covered, which are cirrus, stratus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus, and internally the engine can blend between them to grow a cumulus cloud to a cumulonimbus cloud, "Towering" can be created by making the cloud layer(s) taller. No one has yet created "Towering" clouds in X-Plane. It is the very important aspect if the most important aspect of the simulator. Realistic lightning was already shown and very good it is as well, with better atmospheric sounds, and the new rain, puddles and snow effects that will be very realistic, even if to counteract directly the MSFS lauded feature (fixed ✅) Meyer also announced the use of NOAA Grib Models to forecast the weather globally to make sure the changes are smooth and seamless when flying. The system couples four separate models (atmosphere, ocean model, land/soil model, and sea ice) that work together to accurately depict and forecast weather conditions, the local METARs are not forgotten, but now overlaid the Grib data to create a more realistic model by combining the two elements. So overall there will be no more pauses or resets for the weather changes as it reloads in another METAR report because they are now built in, but on a global scale and with forecasts created up to 48 hours ahead. Lighting: As we know there is also a new, photometric lighting mode in X-Plane12, that will take out (finally) the blandness of X-Plane, but this aspect is very important in reference to the weather system as they work hand in hand, plus with the reflections on the ground and clouds, as Ben Supnic noted with making puddles of water and even the popping of the rain on the water is possibly to be wholly realistic. But the main aspect of the new photometric lighting is in bringing that hyper realism along with the already PBR effects into the simulator, or creating another system that is based on physics and not art based. In a way these separate elements are all highly dependent on each other to create a new whole. Like snow is actually not a weather area, but in a simulator they are done by using physics and again not with art. The Weather and Lighting components are obviously the new central core to X-Plane12, and to reduce the massive impact they will have on the simulator, most of the physics computing has been moved to the processor (via Vulcan/Metal), and away from the graphic card, or moving the art base over to the physics base. So a bigger monster graphic card in the future is not going to give you more power and speed, but a bigger faster processor will... that is a good thing considering the absurd graphic card prices of late. The above has been two years in the making at Laminar Research, and still the working W+L model is not yet completed, but they are getting close... hence a lot of the current videos and images are showing very little of the whole Weather and Lighting combination in actual operation. Autogen: A lot of effort has been done to create better autogen. From the colossus of coming main actual art (objects) to the better rendering of the objects and even the hinted points of color correcting and enhancing of the autogen. OpenStreetMaps/NASA/ESA are also going to be better intergrated to get better (tighter) formations for more realism. In time as was noted that better ground textures would be incorporated to make the visual aspect more realistic, and as seen in the Webinar the runway, taxi and area surface textures, have all been fully updated to a more quality Hi-Res look and feel. Austin notes that photo images would never come to X-Plane, but to a point it is an area that can only be ignored for so long as long as MSFS is out there. I am still sure that Laminar are trying out for a compromise, ditto grass, that Ben Supnic notes won't be coming anytime soon either because of the high LOD on the processor... but once the main elements of X-Plane12 are completed, I am sure that Ben and Co will revisit these two areas as they are essential to the simulator in moving forward. (Box ticked ✅) Autogen covers also those incredible trees (and fauna), 3d and animated, and they will be also made available to 3rd party scenery developers to intergrate into their sceneries better to fuse in better with the main simulator, also in the autogen realm are the sounds... Sounds: "In the forest if a tree falls will you hear it" well obviously in X-Plane12 that answer is now, yes... Daniela Rodriguez Careri the new sound expert for Laminar Research has created "Ambient Sounds" to cover better aural interaction within the simulator. Winds (and depending on the wind strength) will blow and rustle the trees and the leaves, cars will make sounds while moving, birds tweet, crickets chirp and all of those and more aural messages are coming to XP12. Airport ambient sounds are going to be more realistic as well (mostly diesel engines) hydraulics, moving baggage carts, pushback tractors and weather atmospheric sounds, and you will be able to audible hear and see the Jetways connecting... and all these sounds are in there to create a realistic environment, and coming also is the use of FMOD 2.0 for more expansive sounds and a better workflow. A side note includes that the airport ground service vehicles have been upgraded as well, with real 3d people (a la MSFS) and better movement animations. Seasons: We knew already that seasons were coming, but the depth of the seasons is a lot better than we had earlier anticipated. The seasons have been created to flow... meaning that moving north to south (or vice-versa) and the seasons will change with you below (so no hard tree lines were they change seasons). X-Plane12 uses bio-data on where and when the seasons evolve and changes the fauna appropriately to the period and area, even with the latitude and fauna elevation. (Box ticked ✅) Water: Flow is also important in the better water engine... after years on complaints, Laminar has finally remodeled the water, to create more realistic 3d waves (including different wave heights out at sea to say the rivers and lakes), but to also to show depth and colour (tropical) of the water itself. The graphic card that creates the water is also now handed off to the processor to marry up the flight dynamics of the interaction between the physical water and the aircraft's aerodynamics in it's relation to the combining of the two areas... in other words in the way the aircraft reacts to the fluid moving water dynamics... this aspect will be an interesting one, certainly with the new lighting engine. (another box ticked ✅) Rain: When Vulkan/Metal (XP11.50) was released we also lost the Librain a plugin by skiselkov that created realistic rain effects on your aircraft windows... "Where did it go?"... well it looks like to Laminar Research, whom has taken the plugin and intergrated the rain effects into the actually simulator with the original developer (skiselkov) rewriting the application as a default effect, the results are stunning... and it will be very nice to have back again (I will note that Laminar should do more in intergrating clever external application such as "BetterPushBack" and Librain directly into the simulator, as they can enhance the realism and experience for everyone.) ATC: Ahhh the ATC! or Air Traffic Control. At first glance the new ATC (finally coming) has been completely rewrote, then rewrote again then a very nice Englishman by the name of Jim Keir has rewrote or modified the ATC model again, and the result... not so much different than the original layout? Personally I think the devil is in the detail here... on the surface it may not look that much different, but the way you interact with the ATC (via a "Push to Talk" mode) is highly different and very much more (joystick) realistic. A hat-switch is then used to navigate the menus (options) with better access for HOTAS and VR (Virtual Reality) users. The UI is on a second glance is actually quite different from the simplistic original, with selections and frequencies more easily selected with sub-menus... the idea is not to be distracted when interacting with the ATC, and the "proof will be in the pudding" when we use it. It was noted that the actual A.I. behind the ATC is now far more forgiving and more realistic, so it won't guide you into mountains or get angry at you if you don't follow their unrealistic instructions, and actually now knows your position in relation to the airport. There are 30 different commands with requests and interactions with the VFR flight rules, and the aircraft and terrain proximity alerts. Another aspect is that the ATC is also localised, in that there are now different accents or languages used in the different parts of the ATC world network (Australia will be interesting, "g,day" is very frequent on the "Live ATC.Net" app that listens into the ATC networks). The new ATC is like an Iceburg, small on the top but huge and flexible under the water (A very big box ticked ✅) Avionics/Systems: X-Plane 12 will also have a pilot and co-pilot dual control system, this will allow separate controls to be used while in flight, whereas currently we are used to connected or synchronised controls. The new dual control system was shown in the new Citation X, where the pilot was able to split the controls and can move a certain control surface. Hydraulics have also been improved by breaking up and assigning the flying surfaces to the different hydraulic commands. The two aspects of that, is that developers will be able to assign the different control surfaces to different hydraulic systems and then create (realistic) failures within those separate systems. Anyone who has been around X-Plane and it's default instrumentation will know of the dire minute lineage on the navigation displays. Here is another common complaint that has been fixed with now scalable symbology and (bigger) text, mostly for the default Boeing 737-800 (default B747-800), but can also be used on any aircraft that uses the X-Plane default navigation systems... (another biggy fixed ✅). New avionics include a remote GCU keyboard control panel for the G1000 system, and a Honeywell Primus FMC and Primus 2000 PFD system. I also noticed in the Expo presentation by Philipp Ringlar on his "FMC and Systems Operations" session that the default Collins FMC also seemed to be upgraded (don't take my word on that), but there was a substantial amount more detailed information on the FMC facia images than what I am used to). Default Aircraft: there will be five new default aircraft with X-Plane12 Airbus A330 F-14 Tomcat Cirrus SR22 Austin "Lancair Meyer" (N844X) Citation X Austin Meyer is fawning over their new Airbus A330, but honestly we have been flying study level Airbus aircraft for years (Does Austin actually know what is flying on his own actual simulator?) It looks really good, but let us see the system depth before going overboard and no a default FMC is not an Airbus native, but to note it will still be a great introduction for anyone to Airbus flying on X-Plane as a default aircraft. Both the Cirrus SR22 and Citation Bizjet have been promised (and promised) for years, (so two more boxes ticked ✅✅) If any of the current aircraft have had any upgrades (except the B738 and maybe the B744 instrumentation) it has yet to be seen. It was announced in the July Webinar that coming for X-Plane12 was drone based aviation. So if a (basic) Drone is included in the default lineup, then don't be surprised, overall the quality of the new default aircraft feel and look far better than the earlier X-Plane version default inclusions. _______________ We started this analysis on the back of the San Diego Expo announcement of X-Plane12, but that aspect is certainly the wrong place to start... it added in the features, but did not context the whole X-Plane12 experience, in fact trying to unsee (once seen) Austin Meyer's bizarre UFO moment is not in really helping the cause of anything for Laminar Research in any one tiny little bit. In a summary, you can see the evolution of the X-Plane Simulator in it's raw form to X-Plane12. In reality Laminar Research has done two things at once. Ticked off the boxes that users wanted fixed or have been outstanding over the years, and two addressed the features on Microsoft's Flight Simulator that it can address, but also to make them even better than what MSFS has done... the one thing missing is the shiny sheen that MSFS has to attract new users, ex-FlightSimmers and even gamers to the fold, and in that aspect Laminar currently has not created anything that is the new feel of something new and revolutionary in the new version (of which we felt with the rollovers of XP9/10/11... And I think that aspect to a point has created this semi-backlash of X-Plane being at least a prominent if even the best Aircraft Simulator out there.... In other words Laminar has done itself no favors, considering all the sheer work put into creating X-Plane12... and that is part of the problem, we thought it would be a revolution against MSFS, but in fact we got the usual low key even folky, and not the revolution announcement, when it was needed the most. The competition between MSFS and X-Plane cannot be ignored, but it comes at a seriously wrong time for Laminar Research. The biggest problem is that X-Plane has to evolution from the inside out, were as MSFS is basically a clean sheet of paper. Worse is the internal evolution from the old (OpenGL and Art based) simulation to the new (Vulkan/Metal and processor based physics) simulation is only half way there, and worse Vulkan/Metal was a problem child from the start that has runover in it's development and made resources late for the second phase (X-Plane12 features) even later. At this point X-Plane12 is about 12 months longer in development than both of all X-Plane9, 10 and 11 with their four year lifespans, and with that runover time used again you expected more. But to look at the feature list of X-Plane12, and when it is all meshed together the earlier long term vision will finally start to work. The core Weather+Lighting+ ATC combination is very, if extremely important here, as they are all are the main tools you need to interact into an aircraft simulator, a side bonus is that it will change the feel and the immersion of flying via a computer to another higher level again. Again to note the dynamics of all three W+L+ATC are just that in dynamic and changing... MSFS has visually good weather, but it is not actually very good dynamically, ditto the ATC system, do you see my point here. And these changes are going to core of the revolution that will be X-Plane12. Add in the more highly realistic water (including standing water and rain/snow), hi-res trees and dynamic seasons and you can see the interaction will be also far more different as well, sounds will also switch on another level of immersion, but to what point do they become brilliant to the annoyance factor is yet to be seen and heard, if we have control over those factors then that aspect could define them. Technically these immense changes will change over the balance from the Graphic Card back to the Processor, before it was the bigger the more powerful card the better, but with the Vulkan/Metal transfer becoming more relevant in X-Plane12, then your processor will become even more important, and to the point that the older systems will just not cut it anymore. Laminar Research was on the right path with "Next Generation", but lost the momentum with a dower "X-Plane12" moniker, our wish was to remove the generalisation of four year numbered versions and let X-Plane become just become one long road of development, that aspect to modernise the simulator has been also lost here in the Expo announcement as well. Obviously the beta version will show us the scope and revolution of the next X-Plane Simulator... but overall by putting everything into context, there is a huge amount to look forward to, and very exciting features they are certainly built in there as well, and the main point is that X-Plane12 simulation is now actually coming, it will hopefully make a great Christmas present (even in beta form) and even take away most of the trauma of the Covid last few years. X-Plane11+... no it is really more like X-Plane12+ and the "Next Generation" of Aircraft Simulators out there. ___________________________ Analysis by Stephen Dutton 26th September 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  13. NEWS! - Aircraft Announcement : ToLiSS lists A340-600 Release date A ToLiSS Airbus is always a significant release on X-Plane, and the coming AirbusA340-600 (the longest version) has been announced as to released on 25th of October 2021, which falls on a Monday (Tuesday here in Australia). Already we had had the extreme pleasure of the other ToLiSS Airbuses with the A319-100 and the A321-231 (and NEO LR/XLR), here is the first real larger Long-Haul aircraft and also a Airbus Official Licensed aircraft that is coming now very soon. ToLiSS also released a promotional video to coincide with the FlightSim Expo in San Diego. Notable in the video is the inclusion of a ATSU option on the screen, that hints of datalink options coming to X-Plane soon. The ToLiSS A340 is coming hot on the heels of the JarDesign release from a month ago, but that version was the longer (longer) range A340-500, you can the review here: Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-500 by JARDesign Group It will be interesting how the ToLiSS -600 version flies according to the JarDesign -500... Also interesting will be the significant change of the teams modeling designer to Ekran Design, now the official A340-600 3d modeling designer, from the earlier Roman Berezin of FlightFactor fame... We have a date... now the wait till 25th October 2021 ____________________ News by Stephen Dutton 25th September 2021 Copyright©2021 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All rights reserved.
  14. NEWS! - Scenery Released : PHOG - Kahului Airport, Hawaii by NorthernSkyStudios NorthernSkyStudios odyssey continues around the Hawaiian Islands, this time it is the island of Maui... and Kahului Airport in Maui County. This is a far larger project (airbridges anyone) than the earlier Molokai, Kalaupapa and Kapalua airports, more regional than the services running in and out of Kahului. Kapalua Airport (PHJH ), also known as Kapalua–West Maui Airport, is a regional private use airport on the west side of the island of Maui in Hawaii. It is located five nautical miles (6 mi, 9 km) north of Lahaina, in Maui County. Most flights to Kapalua Airport originate from commuter airports on the other Hawaiian islands by commercial commuter services, unscheduled air taxis, and general aviation.Named for the Kapalua Resort a few miles to the north, the airport replaced the Kaanapali Airport, which had an even shorter runway. Features The most detailed replica of airport buildings and vehicles High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Compatible with X-Plane 11 features Custom mesh for the airport area (Ortho4XP) All materials created for full PBR Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all airport buildings High-resolution building textures Custom orthophoto for the airport and surrounding areas World Traffic 3 compatible Compatible with with Ortho4XP and default mesh NorthernSky are doing great little quality Hawaiian scenery at the moment and this Kahului Airport is not just highly detailed externally, but also internally as well... and all at a great value price. Images courtesy NorthernSkyStudios _____________________________________ Yes! PHOG - Kahului Airport, Hawaii by NorthernSkyStudios is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : PHOG - Kahului Airport, Hawaii Price is US$21.00 Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1 GB MB Current version : 1.0 (September 23rd 2021) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 25th September 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
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