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  1. NEWS! - Toliss announces Airbus A320neo for March 2023 Airbus dreamaker developer ToLiSS has announced the Airbus A320neo (New Engine Option) is their next aircraft for the X-Plane Simulator. The announcement is thus; "It is with great pleasure that we want to let you know that our next project release is around the corner and it will be the A320 NEO. What we can say at this stage is: As per ToLiss policy to always support two versions of XP at one time, the aircraft will work in XP11 & XP12 The A320 NEO will include the PW1127 and the LEAP 1A-26 engines The release is planned for March 2023, no specific date yet". Start saving your money, and to note March on your calendar, it will be well worth the investment! ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 11th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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
  2. Scenery Released : PAJN - Juneau International, Alaska by Northern Sky Studios Hot off a very busy year in 2022, Northern Sky released PAWD - Seward Airport, Alaska and PATK Talkeetna Airport, Alaska, and a few Hawaiian Airports. Both the Alaskan sceneries were gems if you like good bush based airports for open wild area flying. Here is the first release from Northern Sky for 2023 and also for X-Plane 12 (the X-Plane 11 version is also part of the package). In PAJN - Juneau International, again in Alaska, but a more expansive airport with domestic services and sightseeing flights, as Juneau is a major tourist destination. Juneau International Airport is a city-owned, public-use airport and seaplane base located seven nautical miles (8 mi, 13 km) northwest of the central business district of Juneau, a city and borough in the U.S. state of Alaska that has no direct road access to the outside world. The airport serves as a regional hub for all air travel, from bush carriers to major U.S. air carriers such as Alaska Airlines. The airport is located at an elevation of 25 feet (7,6 m) above sea level. It has one runway designated 8/26 with an asphalt surface and one seaplane landing area designated 8W/26W. Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Alaska Seaplanes, Ward Air, and Harris Air now all operate in the airport. The busiest domestic routes from Juneau are to Seattle, Anchorage, Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Hoonah, Haines, Gustavus, Wrangell, and Yakutat. The main aircraft servicing these routes is a Boeing 737-700 passenger, cargo, and mixed modification by Alaska Airlines. Also, helicopter tours are available at the airport. Temsco Helicopters, Coastal Helicopter, and NorthStar Helicopters all make tours on glaciers and scenic flights around Juneau borough. Package include additional heliport 5Z2 North Douglas. Features The most detailed replica of airport buildings and vehicles High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Compatible with all X-Plane 12 features Custom working jetways 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 Not compatible with a default mesh (custom ortho link included) Provided is a Ortho4XP tile by NSS is large in size and a 1.90Gb download (a 1 Ortho4XP_patch is provided). So it covers a significant area around Juneau, and so well worth the download size and the ortho is required for this scenery. Priced at only US$18.00, that is simply great value for a high quality regional scenery... that covers all bases Highly recommended. Images are courtesy of NorthernSkyStudios _______________________________ The PAJN - Juneau International, Alaska by Northern Sky Studios is now available! from the X-Plane.Org Store PAJN - Juneau International, Alaska Priced at US$18.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.4 GB Current version : 1.0 (January 9th 2023) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 10th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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 Released : Tecnam P2006T X-Plane 12 by vSkyLabs vSkyLabs have released the X-Plane 12 version of their popular Tecnam P2006T. The Tecnam P2006T is an Italian high-winged, twin-engine all-metal light aircraft built by Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam, which is based in Italy. The P2006T is the lightest twin-engine certified aircraft available, and is a four-seat aircraft with fully retractable landing gear and liquid-cooled Rotax 912 engines. Yes it is actually all new... as the VSKYLABS P2006T Project was originally designed following the Tecnam 'MK-I' model which was commonly used at the time that VSKYLABS developed it for X-Plane (2016-2017). Tecnam introduced the production 'MK-II' models to the market in May 2017. The P2006T 'MK-II', which is not included in this product, includes several enhancements such as the G1000 Nxi (instead the G950), new seats design and improved lighting system. Features Major Update Release. Flight model validation, tune-up and modifications to fall in line with the latest X-Plane 12 flight model related features and nuances. Engines - Power rating gradient, fuel consumption, rates. New FMOD 2.0 sound package. Cockpit - All-new PBR textures to fall in line with X-Plane 12 latest lighting-engine features and nuances. Cockpit - Newly modeled and textured pilots and passengers seats. Cockpit - Newly modeled and textured fire extinguisher. Cockpit - Newly and improved various modeling. Cockpit - Modified and tuned interior lighting system. Propellers - Improved 3-d and textures. Improved prop-discs. Landing gears retraction animation now fits perfectly into the gear bays. Pitch trim gauge re-calibrated. Exteriors - All-new PBR normals, textures and paints. New default liveries. New v9.0 Paint-Kit. To note the VSkylab philosophy, is that you purchase an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed and 100%, that is the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft, all updates to the aircraft are free but changes can come infrequently if sometimes slowly. This aircraft is also available for X-Plane 11 (obviously with out the dynamics and effects of X-Plane 12) Images are courtesy of vSkyLabs... The Tecnam P2006T X-Plane 12 Project by vSkyLabs is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore _____________________________________ Yes! - Tecnam P2006T X-Plane 12 by vSkyLabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Tecnam P2006T Price is US$33.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 215 MB Current version: 9.0 (XP12 - January 2023) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 10th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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 update X-Plane 12 : Let L-200D Morava by PWDT&NHAdrian This aircraft was one of the most interesting machines of 2021, it is a classic aircraft... it also won my best (Classic) category of the year 2020 Best Classic Aircraft : Let L-200D Morava by PWDT&NHAdrian 🏅 A really interesting aircraft with an extremely high quality design and... er, interesting features. The quality was off the wall, but so were the interesting details and designs. Too far in some cases, in the aircraft was a bit tricky to fly, but since resolved and simplified. The full release review is here: Classic Aircraft Review : Let L-200D Morava by PWDT&NHAdrian. So if the Let Morava was so very good in X-Plane 11, then this now refined machine should be exceptional in X-Plane 12. This is an update, not an upgrade to X-Plane 12, meaning free to current purchasers... nice! The update v1.4.0. basically covers the requirements of the aircraft to conform to the newer X-Plane 12 effects and features... Version 1.4.0 (Jan 5th 2023) New version for X-Plane 12 Implemented XP12 rain effect Updated cockpit volumetric lights Updated flight model Updated PBR textures to match XP12 rendering capabilities Updated external lights to use XP12 new effects The Let L-200 Morava is a retractable landing gear four seat light twin which was one of the few light aircraft to be exported from behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War era, albeit in small numbers. The Morava is distinguishable by its twin tails, standard thermal wing deicing equipment and inverted inline engines. The prototype XL-200 Morava flew for the first time on April 8 1957. The XL-200 prototype and a series of preproduction. L-200s were powered by 120kW (160hp) Walter Minor 6-III inline sixes. The L-200D remained in production until 1969, and 5 aircraft were licence built in Slovenia (then part of Yugoslavia) by Libis. Most L-200 production aircraft was sold to customers within the Soviet Bloc - Aeroflot for example operated a large number in a range of different roles. However small numbers were exported to western Europe, the USA and Australia. Please be aware, Morava is a multi engine aircraft without autopilot, so not an easy-to-fly aircraft! Images and video courtesy of PWDT&NHAdrian ________________________________________ The Let L-200D Morava by PWDT&NHAdrian is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Let L-200D Morava Price is US$25.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.3 GB Current version: 1.4 (January 5th 2023) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 6th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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. Aircraft Upgrade Review : Concorde FXP v3 by Colimata Significantly I finally did get around into creating a review of Colimata's impressive Concorde FXP in it's v2 guise last year in July 2020. You should really read that comprehensive review before reading this upgrade version, into getting an overall background and for the details of the aircraft and Colimata's features. That review was done in obviously X-Plane 11, as X-Plane 12 was still a few more months away. But even then, even in not yet knowing what the effects of X-Plane 12 would have on the aircraft, I seriously felt at the time, that if any aircraft would shine in the new version of the X-Plane Simulator it would be this aircraft, why I don't know... it was just a feeling. So here is Concorde FXP in X-Plane 12. It is noted as v3, a new version for the X-Plane 12 version. So that means it is an UPGRADE, and a paid upgrade. The pain however to get this X-Plane 12 version is negligible, two cups of coffee or US$11. That cost covers all future X-Plane 12 updates and features. Considering X-Plane 12 is new out of the box and has now years to run, its a great deal, the new purchase price in X-Plane 12 is still the same at US$59.95 (but sales and deals are frequent, currently US$54.95) It is a hard colour (white on white) to look good anywhere, but "hey", the iconic SST looks simply damn impressive in X-Plane 12. All the textures have been upgraded to X-Plane 12 quality, and even more detail has been added on to the fuselage, and the wings are not blank anymore as you get access panels and wing panels detailing... ... that is the good news, the bad news is all your liveries don't work anymore as they have been upgraded to v3 or "fuselage_v200". There is a trick if your desperate in wanting them now and in not waiting for the painters in fixing them up... create the new folder (fuselage_v200) and move the old paint files over, you don't get the new details, but it works. Internally it is "oh WOW"... To a point this was what I was expecting the X-Plane 12 version to be like, even then it "Blows your mind"... ... the light earlier greyness has been replaced by a dark shadow hue, realistic, yes you bet, how realistic? Brilliantly. The cockpit is absolutely impressive in the daylight, but let the light go darker and it becomes a "Wonderland"... It does look very, very good, if you control the lighting. Too much, is too much brightness. Again I don't feel that a 70's aircraft would use this tone of light in here, that said it is very nice... So with so much adjustment (12 knobs) it can keep you happy for hours playing with it all, from full cockpit brightness to the low dim approach lighting. There is a noted 1000+ lights in here, and I don't doubt that number. Cabin is also still too bright, but it looks far, far better in the quality detail of X-Plane 12. The cabin and seats look far more realistic, if now great, just a shame you can't adjust the cabin lighting a touch lower. I didn't like the external lighting on the XP11 Concorde, it 's just as bright here as well, in being well over saturated (Navigation and tail lighting is however okay). In the daylight it is quite nice, but overall I think some adjustment would really help with the realistic/realism effect. A lot of people (including me) didn't like the set, large GUI (Menu). It covered a lot of the screen and hid the very things you were trying to adjust? The Menu GUI has been revised in v3 for X-Plane 12, with now being scalable in size. Also the GUI can now also be used in a (Separate) window, even on another computer... handy. Other GUI changes include; A redo of the Flight Planning page, and the shown selected flightplan. There is also the addition of MIN, HALF and MAX (Fuel) selections, This way it is possible to quickly set up the airplane for short, medium and long range trips, even without the use of the Fuel Manager. Fuel Management page has been overhauled for easier use? sort of, as Concorde is very hard to balance correctly. Flying the XP12 Concorde Same aircraft, same route... but 6 months on and it feels totally different. I'm again going to New York (JFK) from Heathrow (LHR), this time however in X-Plane 12, and in a Final not a Beta X-Plane (well Beta v1.01b). Heathrow, London is not the prettiest place to be on a cold January morning, but it feels very authentic. If you look at the same images from six months ago, it feels years ago, not months in the differences... gigantic. Pushback (BetterPushBack), and it feels all very photographic... I'm not going to bore you with details here, all was covered in the comprehensive earlier review... this is an update review in focusing on what is new. What is the most striking though is that X-Plane 12 lighting and quality, it is quite sensational. A very busy Heathrow... And the Classic view... powered and ready for takeoff. All though you have all the X-Plane features, including the rain effects (at Mach 2?) anyway they work well at the lower speeds. The biggest factor is the changes to the basic X-Plane aerodynamics, or primarily to the delta wing dynamics that the X-Plane/Laminar Research head guru Austin Meyer has done. This aspect is very significant... in Austin speak, "Here is what is so amazing about this: For traditional wings like X-Plane has always simulated, air never comes up over the leading edge!Instead, at the stalling angle of attack, the air separates from the top, loses suction, and the wing stalls! And all of this is carefully orchestrated based on the AIRFOIL, or CROSS-SECTION SHAPE, of the wing!So X-Plane has always used the airfoil cross-section, corrected for the plan-form, or top-down shape of the wing, as classical wing theory calls for. But now, with a delta wing, the cross-section of the wing hardly matters! Now what matters is the plan-form, or top-down shape, of the wing! That’s what lets the air roll up over that highly-swept leading edge to form the huge hurricane over the wing that SUUUUUUUCKS the wing up… and never stalls! And X-Plane now used this classical wing theory based on the AIRFOIL CROSS SECTION for non-delta wings, vortex-generation based on the PLAN-FORM of the wing for delta wings, and even interpolate smoothly between them for partially-delta shapes, consider both the airfoil cross-section, and the delta plan-form, for a real three-dimensional understanding of the wing." In other words, the Delta wing dynamics in X-Plane 12 are completely different, and Colimata has adjusted the X-Plane 12 v3 Concorde to the new dynamics, so any X-Plane 11 or earlier Concorde aircraft won't work with as well, or as realistically as the X-Plane 12 versions does. Don't take them (the dynamics) as for currently granted... there will be changes, not only from X-Plane 12, but from Colimata as well, there will be more fine tuning to get the aircraft to the same stable situation as it was in X-Plane 11. First there is the glow from the engines as you push up the throttles to the T/O position, then the full afterburner as it kicks in... you move slowly at first, but then the punch pushes you towards v1, then v2 (+10) Then you rotate the aircraft, and power yourself into the air. Concorde can use a higher 20º pitch on climb-out. Because of the amount of precipitation around Heathrow in winter January, the delta wings throw off a lot of condensation effects, very realistic to real images of Concorde in the same takeoff phase as well. Sub-sonic and Concorde looks exceptional. I am not going to suger-coat it, as the Concorde is a difficult aircraft to fly, yes even challenging. You will have to practise, study and learn the machine. Flight profiles, checklists and even extensive personal notes are required, Colimata however does give you a lot of short-cuts, like fuel balance and set-ups. And the rewards are immense of course, but don't expect to rock up and just fly Concorde, mostly you will always end up in a field with a broken aircraft. But you will need to seriously commit to the aircraft to get the very best simulation out of it... It is a commitment aircraft. There is a lot of feedback of the status of the aircraft, including; STATUS, FUEL, ENGINES and CENTER of GRAVITY (CoG), check the systems before you climb Supersonic. Time to raise the visor! Going up to that rarified air of where only a few can go... 58,000ft and Mach 2.02! But you can now go there with X-Plane 12... It looks and feels magnificent. Sounds are really good, but not different to the earlier v2, the roar (on takeoff) is sensational, but the Supersonic hum is very real as well, overall there are loads and loads of sound effects, all in different sound spaces. But the biggest feature is the excellent audio advice from Copilot, Engineer, and Pilot, all in a sprightly English accent, it is all very cool, but not intrusive. Highly recommended is the RK Apps XPRealistic v2 plugin for realistic movement effects with this aircraft... it makes going though the Sound Barrier a whole new experience. But I will note that currently the X-Plane 12 weather model is not quite perfected yet? Heavy winds do affect the aircraft and quite substantially... climbing up to FL580, and getting a forward speed into the MACH are both difficult with a 150+ knt headwind. So you may have to take manual control to achieve both aspects. Even then I felt effects on the aircraft in the manual settings, that the characteristics I didn't have in the earlier X-Plane 11 flights are obviously here in X-Plane 12. Even in level flight you are tossing and turning like in a dingy... Hopefully this aspect will be fixed soon. At DOVEY it is time to descend, 3,000fpm, at 350 kts (AT1 off), and you are already losing speed and height... soon you are back in the Sub-Sonic realm, but at 30,000ft and 350 knts, even here Concorde is still very fast. PARCH 3 KJFK Arrival, and you now descend to 10,000ft. and down comes the visor, just a normal Sub-Sonic aircraft... not. I have practised this JFK... Runway 4L approach about twenty times in Colimata's Concorde, its still tricky and it certainly tests your skills... ... first into the circuit, then 230 knts, 90º downward, drop gear and visor to 12.5º, another 90º to final approach... Align to RWY 04L, then VOR-LOC, then when in the cone GLIDE, speed to 200 kts... (Note AUTOLAND is still not active... damn), once in the beams then you lower the speed to 180 knts, fast, maybe too fast, the aim is for 160 knts! (stall is 125 knts)... a trick is AT1 disconnect at 1000ft, then take manual thrust control down to the runway. ... note the X-Plane 12 rain (old Librain) works well on the main front and side windows, nice to have it back... over the threshold (okay a bit high!), and let Concorde sink nicely... ... and it's gear down! The approach phase procedures do stay the same, but you do feel the different X-Plane 12 delta wing dynamics at work, it will take a few practise landings to get the landing feel correct as there is more resistance now, certainly I will do this again a few times to get it right (nail it!). I'm not going to hide the fact you need to practice with Concorde, do it, do it again until it comes to you, it's a tricky aircraft to skill up to.... but the rewards are quite sensational when you get it all right. So flying the Concorde in X-Plane 12 does require an adjustment in your thinking, and to have your skills to adapt to the aircraft. And again I will stress again and I also feel there is still a more fine tuning to come from both X-Plane 12 and from Colimata to get both to a more refined position. _________________ Summary Here is the upgrade to X-Plane 12 and giving Colimata's Concorde a v3 moniker. A paid upgrade, but only US$11, so certainly not a deal breaker for what you get in the v3 package. One of the biggest simulations you can achieve in X-Plane is going Supersonic, twice the speed of sound, and that is what this aircraft is all about, flying outside of the usual Sub-Sonic parameters. So yes the Concode is a challenging Simulator, probably only for the skilled and Pro's out there, but if you still want to fly the Concorde then so you will have to study it and practise it's dark arts, obviously the rewards are very high. Make no mistake though, the Concorde is an investment in time, and with this v3 upgrade you get a lot of time to enjoy all the updates and the newer features of the newly born X-Plane 12, so your getting in early. The v3 Upgrade is excellent, look at the images and see how extraordinary the aircraft looks and feels in X-Plane 12, externally beautiful, inside in that complex cockpit, incredible, it just "Blows your mind". The textures have been redone, and even more detail added in while doing so. Liveries now don't work, but a folder change can bring them back again, but you still loose the newer wing detail. The lighting is glorious with a 1000+ lights in the cockpit, but the external lighting is still far to unrefined for me, ditto the cabin lighting, too bright with no adjustment... but the cabin however does look far better. Extensive Menu has had attention, in that now you can scale the menu and use it in a (separate) window, Flight Planning pages have been given three (quick fuel) options, redone Flight Planning page gives you better route options and saves, Fuel Management page has also been overhauled for easier use. The aircraft's aerodynamics, or primarily to the delta wing dynamics have been upgraded to match the newer dynamics in X-Plane 12, it gives the aircraft a different feel and handling characteristics that you need to dial into, as I noted though-out the review with X-Plane 12 and Concorde, they are both not completely refined yet, separated or together, and in areas it shows here. I don't have a lot of negatives here, but the lighting would be better in being more refined, internal cabin and external landing and taxi lights... but if for wanting one new feature... it would be a "Save" feature a'la ToLiSS, it is pretty draining, even frustrating in resetting everything from scratch, each time to fly or for training, practise. there are 12 knobs alone for the lighting, then ages to set the aircraft up ready for flight, do that 10 or 12 times a day, and it gets very frustrating and even boring... Situation and Replays freeze (badly) as well, only the flown Replay works, but you don't get all of the instruments back... small things but very important if you want to get the best experience out of the simulation. X-Plane 12 promises amazing Simulation, Concorde is also an amazing aircraft alone... together they are incredible, and to a point a pointer to the future of X-Plane 12 Simulation, all together they are an experience you won't forget. _________________ Yes! the Concorde FXP version 3 X-Plane 12 by Colimata is AVAILABLE from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Concorde FXP version 3 X-Plane 12 Price is US$54.95 (Currently on sale from US$49.95 or 5% OFF) Requirements X-Plane 12 (not XP11 compatible) Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 600 MB Current version: (January 4th 2023) (If you own Concorde v1 or v2, this version will automatically discounted, no coupons required) Designed by Colimata Support forum for the Concorde FXP Additional Liveries for the Concorde ___________________________ Upgrade Review by Stephen Dutton 9th January 2023 Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved  Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 - X-Plane v12.01b (note this review was done in the beta revision period) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft - EGLL - Airport London-Heathrow by TaiModels (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$28.00 - KJFK - New York Airports XP v2 Volume 1 by Drzewiecki (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.00
  6. NEWS! - Scenery Released : KSMF Sacramento International Airport by TaiModels A new year in 2023 and already another new scenery from TaiModels. This time it is California, in good old USA and Sacramento International Airport. Sacramento International Airport (KSMF) is located 10.5 miles (16.9 km) northwest of Downtown Sacramento in Sacramento County, California, United States and covers 6,000 acres (2,400 ha). KSMF serves the Sacramento Metropolitan Area, and it is run by the Sacramento County Airport System. The airport is the main gateway to the California State Capitol. The airport is also a gateway to the attractions and adventures in Northern and Central California such as Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Old Sacramento State Historic Park history of gold rush, underground tunnels, floods, and fire, etc., Wine Country, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Cosumnes River Preserve, Hawver Cave and Sutter's Mill and Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Features Highly detailed 3D modeling SAM amination jetways High quality PBR texture on object and ground High performance Completed autogen around airport Ground traffic plugins( car and truck) Compatible with XP11 and XP12 Includes weather textures in X-Plane 12 Images courtesy of TaiModels ________________________________________ The KSMF - Sacramento International Airport by TaiModels is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: KSMF - Sacramento International Airport Price is US$20.50 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum Download Size: 710 MB Current version : 1.0 (January 2nd 2023) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 4th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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.
  7. NEWS! - Scenery Released : EHAM - Amsterdam by FlyTampa Back in July 2022, FlyTampa presented a preview of their next scenery for the X-Plane Simulator in "FlyTampa Amsterdam". Nice! Well actually more than "nice"... FlyTampa haven't released any scenery (product) since their almighty EKCH - Copenhagen in May 2020. So the natural line of thought was they had left the platform for MSFS. But however they are back, for now. X-Plane has had an Aerosoft version 10/11 of EHAM since 2012, yes over ten years ago, brilliant for it's time, it was however a slugger on the framerate. Looking (or landing) at the Aerosoft EHAM six months ago, it felt textures were seriously dated and the airbridges didn't work? But I love the place. So you can guess at the excitement of getting a newer, more modern version with SAM intergration and in X-Plane 12... and from the best scenery developer in the business, FlyTampa... whats not to like. The EHAM scenery does work in X-Plane 11, but you lose all the X-Plane 12 features and effects, but still you do get in the package a copy for each X-Plane 11/12 version. Located 9 km southwest of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is one of the largest airports in Europe. It is the world's third busiest airport by international passenger traffic in 2021. The airport is built as one large terminal (a single-terminal concept), split into three large departure halls, which connect together again once airside. The most recent of these was completed in 1994 and expanded in 2007 with a new section, called Terminal 4, although it is not considered a separate building. A new pier is to be opened in 2019 with a terminal extension planned to be operational by 2023. Plans for further terminal and gate expansion exist, including the construction of a separate new terminal between the Zwanenburgbaan and Polderbaan runways that would end the one-terminal concept. Features Amsterdam Schiphol International (EHAM) Airport Addon Airport modeled with PBR materials High resolution ground textures with custom weather maps Detailed surrounding scenery with numerous custom buildings 3D Terrain including 3D tunnels and bridges Surrounding Photo-scenery for Amsterdam Animated apron and local road traffic Dynamic lighting, animated Jetways and VDGS (SAM required) It is a big, if huge scenery, if in size, then the effects on your framerate (passible) and to note the system requirements, it's not cheap, but you also get a lot of detail for your money. Images courtesy of FlyTampa (plus a few of my own) ________________________________________ The FlyTampa Amsterdam is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: FlyTampa Amsterdam Price is US$28.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 Windows or Mac or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB VRAM Recommended Current version : 1.0 (December 21st 2022) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 4th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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.
  8. NEWS! - Aircraft Released : Grumman F7F Tigercat by Virtavia The F7F Tigercat, which was derived from Grumman's first twin-engine fighter, the XF5F-1 Skyrocket, appeared as the result of a Navy request in June 1941 for development of a larger, twin-engine fighter for use on board the planned large aircraft carriers (Midway-class). The airplane was the first twin-engine fighter ordered in large quantities and the first carrier aircraft to incorporate tricycle landing gear. Built in single and two-seat variants, the heavily armed fighter served in ground support, night fighter and photo reconnaissance roles after World War II and in Korea. Currently focusing on WW2 vintage Bombers and Fighters, this is the latest release from Virtavia (Design), in the F7F Tigercat. Notable is that Virtavia Aircraft are modeled only (There are no internal textures), but still extremely well modeled to a very high quality standard. There are four variants included... Clean variant - No external stores. Note: the 'White 5' fictional variant depicts a basic 'racer' and so lacks guns and cannons. It also has squared-off propeller tips. Ferry variant - Carries three drop tanks for extended range. Fighter variant - Carries one belly drop tank. The typical day fighter loadout. Rockets variant - Carries one belly drop tank and eight underwing unguided rockets. The typical ground attack loadout. Note: due to an XP limitation, the rocket-equipped version lacks the ability to fold the wings. Features : Support for both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 Folding wings Guns/cannons can be fired Rockets' variant has 8 shootable unguided rockets PBR materials/textures used throughout VR config file included, cockpit manipulators optimized for easy VR use FMOD sounds package with multi-stage engines, pilot's slide canopy muting, switch clicks and other unique cockpit sounds Very detailed cockpit with numerous animations and mousable controls Retractable crew steps Togglable pilot figure Canopy glass rain and ice effects (XP12) Animated cowl flaps Animated tail hook Animated oil cooler exit doors on wings Authentic flight model with checklist 4 unique flight models (.acf files) 25-page illustrated User Operating Manual Source texture files available for livery artists VC (Virtual Cockpit) Version Images and video courtesy of Virtavia Design ________________________________________ The Grumman F7F Tigercat by Virtavia Design is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Grumman F7F Tigercat Price is US$29.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version : 1.0 (December 23rd 2022) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 4th January 2023 Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  9. Aircraft Released : XtremeAIR XA-41 by Vertigo Design Released just before New Year 2023 (So... Happy New Year 2023), is the XtremeAir XA-41, or also known as the "Sbach 300". It is a German aerobatic aircraft, designed by Philippe Steinbach and produced by XtremeAir, of Cochstedt. The aircraft is supplied as a complete ready-to-fly-aircraft. Vertigo Design are not a new developer for the X-Plane Simulator, their last project was the Extra 330SC, but now 6 Years old, but still a nicely flyable aerobatic aircraft. Review is here: Aircraft Review : Extra 330SC by Vertigo Design The Xa-41 is an already modeled aircraft done by XPFR many years ago, but this model has been completely reworked by Adrian Nagy Hinst. Many features have been added as... SASL plug-in (for accurate functions as in real and get missing features) , FMOD sounds, PBR textures, fantastic 3D details and a new flight model. Currently the aircraft is only XP12 ready, but an XP11 version will be also available for customers. Features PBR High-resolution textures 6 stunning liveries High resolution 3D modeling All systems have been replicated and functional Fully functional 3D Cockpit Animated pilot model Functional aresti sheet holder - learn and practice acrobatics using your own aresti images! Special acrobatic smoke effect VR Compatible FMOD Sounds with dynamic effects and "G-Force" effects Accurate Flight Model Canopy glass rain effect implemented (XP12 only) XPRealistic V2 preset included The Sbach 300 is an all-composite design, predominantly constructed of carbon fibre. It features a cantilever low-wing, a single-seat enclosed cockpit under a bubble canopy, fixed conventional landing gear and a single engine in tractor configuration. The aircraft's 7.50 m (24.6 ft) span wing has an area of 11.25 m2 (121.1 sq ft) and mounts full-span ailerons with spades to lighten control forces, which give a roll rate of 450° per second. The standard engine employed is the 315 hp (235 kW) Lycoming IO-580 four-stroke powerplant. The aircraft has an empty weight of 570 kg (1,260 lb) and a gross weight of 850 kg (1,870 lb) for aerobatics and a gross weight of 999 kg (2,202 lb) for non-aerobatic flight. Model by Vertigo Design Support forum for the XA41 Images courtesy of Vertigo Design ________________________________________ The XtremAir XA41 - SBACH 300 by Vertigo Design is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: XtremAir XA41 - SBACH 300 Price is US$29.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 310 MB Current version : 1.0 (December 28th 2022) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 4th January 2023 Copyright©2023: 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.
  10. Behind the Screen : Year in Review 2022 When in writing up my review of the X-Plane 2021 year, there was a fear of 2022 for the X-Plane Simulator. In 2021 X-Plane was holding it's own and well against the onslaught of Microsoft's MSFS simulator, mostly through a lot of very high quality aircraft releases, but I knew the toy box was becoming increasingly empty coming into 2022, the feeling was not good. To a point that anxiety was very much well founded, transition years usually are. Worse the world now is not the same world pre-pandemic, as everything is now different, and getting worse month by month. As our blessed lives are being turned upside down by shortages, rising inflation, crypto failures, extreme weather temperatures and God knows what else, so who cares about Simulation? Well we do, and to a point it is our salvation from all the mess outside the home. Everything pointed to and relied on Laminar Research on to how the 2022 year went. It went good realistically, but also bad for all the other reasons. My prayers were for an early 2022 Easter X-Plane 12 release, but it didn't happen. Overall the non-release dragged on lower and lower throughout the Northern Summer, even Laminar Research ran out of promotional video's waiting, so they just made more, ten in the end. This also created a blackhole of content, nothing was going to be released pre-version, even after the release of X-Plane 12 on 6th September 2022 as an "Early Access" Beta. Developers still kept away except for the odd few, even the Upgrades to X-Plane 12 were slow in coming, but in a few cases it still allowed you fly your current aircraft in the new simulator version. Taking no chances this year, developers have been waiting for the "All Clear" of a full X-Plane 12 release before this time committing to releasing projects, rare, as in the past with any X-Plane version releases they usually went bonkers straight after the version release, in other words you now have to write the whole year off. That said the outlook going into 2023 has to be the best for years. Now X-Plane 12 has gone final... the simulator will thankfully settle down and Laminar will still be also adding in new features, better scenery is also promised for X-Plane 12, even orthophoto, but don't expect that feature for a few years until the mid-version run, but for now thankfully the changes are done, welcome to X-Plane 12. Laminar Research 2022 The 2022 year for Laminar Research was dominated by the public release of X-Plane 12 on the 6th September 2022. Released as noted as an "Early Access" Beta, it was expected to go Final just before Christmas, and in RC6 form it did, 17th December 2022. X-Plane 12 was late, really late, and by a whole year to be exact. This aspect was compounded by the Vulkan/Metal (11.50) version of X-Plane11 in the required overhauling of the core basics of the simulator, with changes over to the far more efficient APIs (Application Programming Interface) Vulkan/Metal from the original OpenGL, in other words they "ripped the guts out of it". So nothing could be done as everything in X-Plane 12 is built on or over these foundation core blocks of code, worse for Laminar was the fact that most, if not all of the major features in X-Plane 12, Environmental, Water, ATC, lighting et all, were also areas that had not been touched for years and were left in the "Too Hard" basket for far too long, mostly again related to the API construction. But Laminar had to eventually face the problem. In doing so it took a huge amount of time and effort to engineer all the ideas into a working simulator. Laminar are also not a big development team compared to most high-profile software developers, but they are thankfully seriously talented. Noises were made late February 22 that maybe an early release before the (northern) Summer was actually possible, but continuous issues with the water (meeting the land) and other niggles put paid to that. Overall all the elements were not ready even as late as August 22, a few rare viewings showed a Simulator that came with major elements that were still missing, then Austin Meyer went into full PR mode to cover the shortfall, he is good at it, but it didn't help with the crawling development speed. Personally I was expecting the worse by the release point. But the surprise was X-Plane 12 was, or is actually very good, thankfully far better than any of my expectations... everything now has a modern real life glow and feel. But it was notably still buggy through the Beta cycle, and a few new announced features are still not present at the final release like the A330 FMS, a lot of the new objects and the announced scenery features, and I am not at all impressed with the night lighting, and don't get me started on the over the top windy weather system. So after all the trials of the year, X-Plane in it's new X-Plane 12 guise is actually looking very good for next year 23, and a lot of things should fall back into place again, so basically all the upheaval was worth the end result. More good news awaits. As X-Plane 12 does cover so many outstanding aspects that have now been implemented. For the first time since the start of the Vulcan/Metal project and even far earlier, Ben Subnic finally has a clear table coming into the new year. Obviously for a fair amount of the time early on in 23 or for the first few months it will require more fine-tuning of X-Plane 12, but then a new focus will turn to better VR (Virtual Reality) via OpenXR, better Networking and the already mentioned better Ortho images. But I still think Supnic will have something new up his sleeve, something unique, clever, ideas missing from X-Plane over the last few years during the API onslaught. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2022 By it's standards Microsoft's MSFS Simulator had a quiet year. Things quietly improved on all fronts via consistent regular updates, certainly in the dynamics, as that then allowed the former FS big guns to finally ship their products, notably PMDG and their Boeing 737 Series. Regular World Updates also kept everyone happy, in areas like the USA, Canada, Italy and Malta, Iberia, Australia. It's an impressive list, and notably challenging to X-Plane in it's frail transition period. Microsoft also celebrated it's 40th Year celebration and ever since Bill Gates gave the world Flight Simulation, but still counted in also a decade of no updates and even a longer period of not actually being on sale on the market, until it was revived by Asobo only two and a half years ago, 30 Years is more realistic. The 40th Year celebration bought up the year's 2022 biggest controversy in INI-Builds. 12th June, Microsoft announced a partnership with inibuilds to release free the Airbus A310-300 as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations. A notable X-Plane 12 Developer then did a fire-sale, and cut instant ties with the X-Plane platform. To say this was a very nasty thing to do was an understatement, but not unexpected by INI-Builds, who already had an questionable history in the PR department. But users that had heavily invested in their products was to find out that basically the aircraft was going to soon outdated and relegated only to a former X-Plane (11) version, in other words any INI_Builds aircraft were unflyable in X-Plane 12 and then the "Shit hit the fan". Didn't INI-Builds realise that users that buy in X-Plane also buy their same products in MSFS, obviously not with major consequences and a reversal in late October that (Only) the A300 would now be updated to X-Plane 12 and will also be free, it is anyone's guess as when it will actually be updated, it is certainly is not going be a priority by INI-Builds. The big aspect of the whole debacle, was did Asobo buy or throw huge amounts of cash at INI-Build's for a market share grab? Like kicking X-Plane while it was down or at it's weakest point, it was all round a messy affair, that did far more damage to the whole of Simulation than help it. Aircraft 2021 was a huge year for X-Plane aircraft, as most of the big developers had releases (except FlightFactor) with Felis (B742) and FlyJSim (Q4XP) leading the pack and a big update to Colimata's Concorde FXP. So as noted I was quite fearful coming into 2022 and that aspect came to pass. New developer AD Simulations released both a CRJ700, then the larger CRJ 900 a few months later, both very good, but newbie under-developed and required the services of DeltaWing to get them both up to scratch, this was a common theme thoughout the year, with good new talented developers coming into the X-Plane Simulator which is very good thing, but still on the steep learning curve. Another annoying aspect of this was releasing the aircraft in very under-developed states. All these developers are extremely good, but ticking off the i's and t's can give you a good reception or a poor reception to the marketplace, thankfully they were very good at quickly following up the fixes, but doing serious fixes for months in the open market is not overall a good look. The biggest most anticipated release of the year 2022 came in March with Rotate's massive McDonnell Douglas MD-11. My first flight in this extremely complex aircraft was "oh my God". And it's complexity nearly did it in early. But once all the noise died down and with a few updates later, most saw through the pain and realised it for what it actually was, or is a masterpiece, or the best release of the year. Although a late 2021 release, I finally was able to review Colimata's Concorde FXP in v2 guise, again a very complex (but hugely rewarding) aircraft to fly, but after the MD-11 it brought up the question of how to cope with these ultra complex aircraft and their systems (I still have nightmares about the Felis B742), brilliant in one aspect, but overwhelming in almost every other. FlightFactor resurfaced in July with another variant of the Boeing 767, this time it was the -400ER version, I totally loved this larger B767, it works in every area. One other new heavy release was part of Laminar's X-Plane 12 fleet, with an excellent A330-300, but it didn't have the promised Airbus MCDU, but still the basic default FMS. As that aspect is (still) coming and hopefully very soon but not even with X-Plane 12 Final. All other default heavies including; B738, MD-82 were also significantly updated. But with that it put releases for heavies done for the year, the worst I can remember. Thankfully a star developer of the year was ToLiSS, with consistent (and clever) updates to the A346, A319 and A321, their extraordinary feature of excellent aircraft condition saves, was for me the absolute tool of the year. Magknight (B787, weak) and SSG (B748, strong) did a few updates throughout the year, and all the important updates came along after the X-Plane 12 release for compatibility, but that was about it for major metal. General Aviation After a very quiet 2021, General Aviation was a little bit brighter in 22. Mostly the main difference was coming from Thranda Design, now moving away from pure utility aircraft to GA Cessna's. First was the excellent Cessna 208 Grand Caravan in April, then they followed that up with the Cessna U206G Stationair in September, then to finish the year on a high came the announcement of the sensational 337F SkyMaster, the 208 and U206G also came with Amphibian/Floats variants. Their strong ex-association with Carenado, would mean far more in this vein to come in 2023. Although a late 21 release, the C172SP NG DIGITAL by AirfoilLabs was simply sensational in it's X-Plane 12 conversion. No new releases from vFlyteAir in 22, but their excellent PA28R Arrows G5-E1000 had a lot of attention with major updates in Jan, Mar and June, but to date no X-Plane 12 version, but I expect that version to come in very early Jan 23. Aerobask had a busy year. First there was the Diamond DA50RG, then the twin Diamond DA-62, and a major update to the ViperJet eX. All currently are X-Plane 12 compatible. The Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X from Aerobask was still not released again in 22, but will now be with certainty an X-Plane 12 aircraft, I have simply given up on a release date with the consistently delayed 8X... Okay sometime Q1 2023, if not then Q2. Aerosphere could be classed as a "Classic Style" developer, but two releases this year were very good, in the PA-28-180 Cherokee C and the PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235. The Cessna Citation 560XL by AirSim3d was another Citation Jet, very good, sadly being only released in X-Plane 11 and that aspect it clipped it's wings a little, but one to checkout and love in X-Plane 12, as I found it a great aircraft to fly and it very quickly became a favorite. 2022 also finally gave us a decent Gulfstream in the Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio's. Like AirSim3d, AKD are both newbie's to aircraft development, both are very to brilliantly good, but still in missing the finesse that comes with extensive experience, but both well worth watching in the future. The "Hotstart" Challenger 650 was a notable release in 2023, but at AUS $171.30 Australian Dollars (US$116), it is in silly money territory, certainly way, way out of my budget, and them some. SimSolutions had two releases, the AMD Alarus CH2000 and the Diamond DA40NG XP12, both very capable aircraft. vSkyLabs had three aircraft on cycle in 2022. The Maule M-7-235B Project XP12 (The first X-Plane 12 aircraft released), the Rutan Model-158 Project that was updated for X-Plane 12, and another X-Plane 12 aircraft with the Aeroprakt A22-LS Project XP12. Notable were the default fleet aircraft for X-Plane 12. All aircraft received significant upgrades for the new simulator version including the: Cessna 172 SP, King Air C90B, Cirrus Vision SR22, Super Cub, L-5 Sentinal, ASK 21 and Aerolite 103. New entrants included the excellent Citation X, Van RV-10 and the sensational BETA Tech ALIA-250 EVA (Electrical Vertical Aircraft) aircraft released in Beta 8. Classic Aircraft Virtavia dominated Classic Aircraft releases in 2022. Both then were upgraded old modeling only (no texture) aircraft in the Handley Page Hampden and the Short Stirling Mk1-4, but both aircraft were highly likable and fun. The Piper J3 Cub by SimSolutions was well done, but a real pain to fly without Rudder Pedals, it put me off taildraggers for life. Late 2022 was the release of C-47 conversions; The DC-3 Airliner and the coming TT-3 Turbine conversion and all for X-Plane 12. Worrying for Classic's is the departure of classic developers like Flying Iron to MSFS, will they come back to X-Plane? and the much desired Vickers VC10 conversion to X-Plane project by JustFlight was abandoned. Military The Lockheed Martin F22A Raptor from AOA had a big update in July, and AOA also released the T6A Texan II in November (X-Plane 11 only), a X-Plane 12 version of this aircraft will be very nice. vSkyLabs also released the abstract F-19 Stealth Fighter, a service design that was never to be past the prototype flying stage, but you can still fly it in X-Plane 12. Helicopters Helicopter releases were huge and plentiful in 2021, and that wasn't expected to continue into 2022... and it didn't. We started the year with the Bell 47G-2A1 by FlyInside, a great solid design, but only a modeling version of the famous bubble cockpit. CowanSim had two releases this year with the 206L LongRanger, and the excellent but extremely difficult to fly CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e). The update to X-Plane 12 of the SA 315B Lama by Philip Ubben and Khamsin Studio showed what to expect in the future in X-Plane 12 Helicopters, I'll give you a hint, it's going to be brilliant. Scenery The report at the end of 2021 for X-Plane Scenery was not good, so it could only get worse, and it did. Notably is the loss or migration of flocks of scenery developers to MSFS, they are simply piling them out over there, too many, and all at a very low cost. Nobody knew if X-Plane 12 would actually change the landscape (no pun intended), it didn't, but nobody cared anyway. But a late release during X-Plane RC5 meant a revamp of existing scenery tiles noted as v2.1.1 Scenery Update does change your very old (decade old actually) tiles for a fresher set to incorporate X-Plane 12 elements. But you have to totally re-download the full 54.6 Gb of scenery to update. More annoyingly about this scenario is that with the new X-Plane 12 lighting, as any 3d scenery looks brilliant in the new simulator, also the added seasonal effects are sensational as well, so you just hang your head. A few noises in that some developers are creating both platform scenery MSFS/XP12, but will we or would we buy it? We are so adverse to it, in they simply won't care about X-Plane now at all, as the developers are very vocal in telling us so... so it is a very odd situation, they sell below the price rate in MSFS (or simply give it away), but don't care about us either? Doesn't look like a great business model to me. So 2023 will be a very decisive year for X-Plane Scenery. Either with X-Plane 12 now released, developers will come back with their wares, or the migration to MSFS will continue. The horrible thought here is that the market for good quality scenery, and huge scope of it to compete with MSFS... is wide open, more so in that by default MSFS already delivers most of it by default... you can see the problem. But in all the gloom there was some very good bright spots. Nimbus finally delivered a big delayed scenery in March, KIAD - Washington Dulles, one I love, but it's very (extremely) heavy on your framerates? One scenery developer I labeled in 2021, "Worst of the year : Any Taimodels airport sceneries, a lot of ambition but absolutely no talent.", but what happened in 2022! Four extensive sceneries were released by TaiModels with; YSSY - Sydney International Airport in May, OMDB – Dubai International Airport in July and the first scenery released for X-Plane 12 in OOMS - Muscat International in October. But there was more... as EGLL Heathrow, the biggest and largest scenery yet from TaiModels was released a week before Christmas 22. More shocking is that they were all very, very good. Quite brilliant in their cores, but most still weak on the boundaries... they were however a huge step forward and a most wanted collection of all four. A side note for TaiModels was the update of their earlier LFPG - Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport to X-Plane 12 in that it was glorious, shockingly good, and as mentioned if showed on how well or how good X-Plane 12 is for scenery, or could be. Globall Art released SBGR São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport in June, so I added in the full monty with the São Paulo Mega Scenery package of three airports, well worth checking out. Another big package was the Genova COMPLETE 5 by Grifo Creations. Basically Aerosoft were quiet in 2022, but the one airport released was the excellent DGAA - Accra XP, in Ghana, exotic and worth your while. We expected it to be good, but KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design was simply outstanding in August, head and shoulders above anything else, this year and even past years. Big, complex with clever lighting effects it had it all. A new developer called Airwil Sceneries gave us three Philippines based sceneries with Davao International Airport, RPVE - Boracay Caticlan Airport and RPSP - Bohol Panglao International Airport, all nice to explore. NorthernSky Studio's were quite busy with very small but very highly detailed regional airports in Hawaii and Alaska. PHNY - Lanai Airport, Hawaii, PAWD - Seward Airport, Alaska, PATK Talkeetna Airport, Alaska. Another Alaskan scenery was PACV - Merle K Smith - Cordova, Alaska in X-Plane 12 from DC Sceneries. Notable is that NorthernSky has moved on to MSFS, hopefully not permanently. Helsinki Metropolitan Area v3 by FA Simulations gave you another nice city skyline, and a welcome (for me) destination of LROP - Bucharest Otopeni International Airport by Chudoba Designs was also in X-Plane 12 guise. But in areas LROP was a slight disappointment in being so under developed. One scenery not covered by X-PlaneReviews but very well worth checking out was YBBN-Brisbane by Orbx, my local airport is a sensational scenery, and in X-Plane 12 guise as well, yes we would like more of this please Orbx. lastly to round off the year, FlyTampa released Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (EHAM) and for X-Plane 11/12. The first or the last scenery for X-Plane 12, as the big boys are not looking our way anymore. It is not a new scenery, Alps UHD XP12 by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini was an extended and a repackage of four previously released Alpine scenery packages for X-Plane 12, so it's sort of new, but excellent As noted, 2023 will be a very important year for scenery with X-Plane 12 being Final. I will say that a lot of the scenery going into MSFS is still old stock (highly upgraded), and even a lot of ex-X-Plane stock. Going forward, hopefully, and scenery released will be cross-platform, as we noted with Orbx and FlyTampa, we will see. Plugins I will state upfront that I am not a huge plugin connoisseur, so I only run what I call essential plugins in my simulator, running the VRAM profiler (Menu/Developer) can give you the horrors of how much these little monstrous tools can gobble up your framerate and their overall efficiency, I took to taking out as many of these laggards as possible. Again as a rule Plugins were also quiet in 2022, but the simulator's hatus in waiting for X-Plane 12 was the biggest cause this time around. Classic Jet Simulations (Now called "Ascend Tech Simulations") released another banner v3.5 update to the WorldTraffic 3 Plugin in April (a XP12 compatibility release was also done). Traffic Global had several updates (again upgraded later to XP12) throughout the year and more aircraft were added. Both XPRealistic and WebFMC Pro both went X-Plane 12 compatible. xEnviro released v1.17, but for X-Plane 11 only. they noted that they couldn't do X-Plane 12 development because Laminar wouldn't help them, but an announcement at the start of the RC release cycle noted that Laminar will now give limited 3rd Parties access to the environmental model, so maybe that will change the situation in 23. Dark Space (xEnviro) have also released a version for MSFS, but with the average development in X-Plane over years I can't see it as being any better than the current X-Plane situation, and the high price remains. One tool I did like was ProCam XP by Aerosoft, a viewpoint tool, tricky to learn and not as flexible (or as complex) as say X-Camera. It fills in a niche for users that want a simplistic tool over a complicated one to get good views and saved views, it was a lot of fun to use. After purchasing SimBrief in 2021. Navigraph did a complete and total overhaul of their main product to Navigraph 8, plus a price increase. But the extra cost is well worth this now very expansive Navigation tool. New features include; Worldwide VFR Charts, Drag and Drop Route Construction, Seamless Zoom, 3D Globe Projection, Autopinning of Procedure Charts, Airport Crosswind and Weather Information and Vector Charts... its very impressive. X-PlaneReviews Not only in 2022 did we have expansive simulator changes, but X-PlaneReviews has also had a very revolutionary year. With the coming X-Plane 12 revolution, we had to think hard about hardware updates. If we wanted to get the best out of the new simulator version, then an (expensive) upgrade was required. I documented my journey, which was interesting, and hopefully helpful if you are faced with the same investment, notably I still will need a newer Graphic Card in 2023, but overall the foresight to upgrade was a very worthy one. Another part of the journey was also replacing my decade old iMac (2009) with a Mac Mini (M1). A forced update because of an old computer trying to run new software (Photoshop), when suddenly and abruptly Abobe made my machine obsolete. Obviously it totally blew my carefully created budget, but the final result was a total revamp of all my systems... it sort of summed up the year. X-PlaneReviews also took on a fresh look in new reviewers, six in fact. Most of the new reviewers in Dominic, Felicity, Stuart, Nick, LPNils and Joshua came over from the old FlightSim site with a few from Jude as well, so that gave our XPR site a much more varied look and feel, plus we can do far more reviews, so a big win, win. And finally we added in a new banner (header) system for more review details... it was a big year for changes, and overall for a far better site going into 2023. _________________________ It gets hard to predict a new coming year, so you go for your gut and in 2022 it was unfortunately pretty spot on. It was a major transition year and a slow one at that, as the slow release (delay) of X-Plane 12 really didn't help the simulator, but you can't right off 2022 completely. Were now done with X-Plane 12 going Final, so we can now get back in 2023 and to do some serious flying, it also means that the heavy full table is now done for Laminar Research as noted. How do I feel... It's a big question isn't it and a marked one for the X-Plane Simulator as a whole. It was easy going into 2022, but going into 2023 not so much. The huge positive is X-Plane 12, it's brilliant really, better than anything Laminar Research have ever done, their proud of it, and we love it. But how much ground has X-Plane lost in getting it all to the table, to be honest here. Momentum is my most favorite word (after Critical Mass). It's an important word here in relating to X-Plane 12 in 2023. As the simulator will need momentum and a lot of it. X-Plane certainly has a lot of aircraft waiting to be released (Upgraded), including two mega aircraft in the Boeing 777 and 787 from FlightFactor, and Thranda have noted they have also have created a substantial list, The Falcon 8x is also well past it's due date. And almost every developer will need to update their aircraft or products to X-Plane 12. It's going to be a very, very busy Q1, even a Q2 of 2023. But that word momentum is critical here, X-Plane needs to build and build quickly, and with a whole new batch of developers and users. we need a lot of both, needed to break away from the niche and embrace the mass audience out there. Those that will sample MSFS, should also try out X-Plane. As the niche is now currently too small, worse it could relegate X-Plane to just a few. Many would like/love that promise, but it comes with a deadly caveat as the serious interest will go elsewhere, and in the end the simulator will simply dry up. Dramatic, maybe, but X-Plane needs the momentum and a lot of it to go far more the other way in 2023. Laminar Research knows this. They are hiring, mostly in Public Relations or to run the X-Plane site, not coders or content developers (well two), but mostly in expanding the simulator out to a wider audience. Personally it's about time. Again this review site cannot function without all the great and exciting work by the tireless developers that give us all this exciting and incredible product to fly and use, as they and X-Plane has come a long way and created leaps in quality and complexity in the last few years, and to a point I was very proud of the work they have produced, it is world class if not the very best in simulation product ever produced, and they are all top notch and very clever. To the X-Plane.OrgStore who supports this site with review products, service and updates, a really big thanks, this site just would just not function without that outstanding support. _________________________ We will finish off with X-PlaneReviews famous best of the year awards… So I will now list my Best of the Year 2022🏅 (note the awards are given to only products I have seen and tested and the only ones I can vouch for) Overall Best of the Year : KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design 🏅 🏅🏅 Best Aircraft : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate.🏅 Complex and a total brute of a machine to fly, everything a great simulation should be Honorable Mention : Boeing 767-400 by FlightFactor, a great variant of a great aircraft Best General Aviation Aircraft : Cessna Caravan 208 and Cessna U206G by Thranda Design 🏅 Not one but two winners in this category, but both from the same developer. Innovative with buckets loads of clever ideas and waterbourne features, nobody else really came close. Honorable Mentions : Both Aerobask DA50RG and DA62 are exceptional quality, great to fly as well. Best Classic Aircraft : This category was poor this year, and the much desired Vickers VC10 conversion loss killed it completely. Honorable Mention : Concorde FXP by Colimata is excellent and highly complex, the X-Plane 12 version should be off the planet. Best Business Aircraft : Cessna Citation 560XL by AirSim3d It's a winner by default as in being for X-Plane 11 only, but will be totally brilliant when in X-Plane 12. Honorable Mention : Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio's, great potential, but still really in development. Hotstart Challenger 650, too expensive. Best Military : T6A Texan II 🏅 Not the absolute best for the category, but reviewers loved the Texan and note it will be very good in X-Plane 12. Best Helicopter : Aérospatiale SA 315B XP12 Lama by Philip Ubben and Khamsin Studio 🏅 It nearly won in 2021, but in it's revised X-Plane 12 guise it is simply sensational. Honorable Mentions : Bell 47G-2A1 by FlyInside. It is very good, excellent to fly, but by only being modeled (but well done) and no textures the 47G just doesn't quite live up to the quality required today. Best Landscape Scenery : Alps UHD XP12 🏅 Their back, and with a revamped Alpine package by Dainese and Bellini, Briliant as usual, this time with X-Plane 12 effects. Honorable Mention : Helsinki Metropolitan Area v3 by FA Simulations, X-Plane desperately needs more city scenery. Best Airport Scenery : KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design 🏅🏅🏅 A scenery the "best of the year"? yes absolutely, it is a mega scenery and by a genius. Honorable Mention : It has to go to Taimodels airport sceneries for being the most improved for YSSY, OMDB, OOMS and even EGLL, but Orbx YBBN and FlyTampa EHAM are brilliant (if expensive) X-Plane 12 filler releases. Best Plugin(s) : Navigraph 8 🏅 They asked for more money, but you got a brilliant new concept in return, essential. Special Mention(s) : None really, with no exceptional ideas released. Person(s) of the Year : Ben Supnic and the X-Plane coder team How the guy does it I just don't know. A magician that consistently just pulls rabbits out of the hat, not seen at all much this year, but the work is all there to see in X-Plane 12, no Ben Supnic, no X-Plane, simple as that, also less Austin would be a better thing all round. Best Moment of the year 2022 : Obvious, 6th September 2022 and the X-Plane 12 release, then relief as it was far, far better than expected... then came the beta. Worst Moment(s) of the Year 2022 : Austin Meyer's was up there again with his antics, but the INI-Builds, and Asobo debacle left a bad taste in my mouth, personally my Adobe software lockout? Biggest distractions of 2022 : ... Updates, and more updates... more updates! Biggest overall feeling of 2022 : Under developed aircraft... released far to soon, with the development being made in public and in not using beta testers anymore, new developers need to lift their game if they want our money. Personal Favorites of 2022 : Any ToLiSS (the save system allows ultimate flexibility), Q4XP (Dash) brilliant, FlightFactor A320U, good but badly needs updating, Rotate MD-80 still awesome, Thranda C206G, IXEG 737 Classic (until X-Plane 12 put it in the hangar). Notable is I really love the Rotate MD-11, Colimata Concorde and the Felis Boeing 742, but their high complexity (mostly in setting up the aircraft) limits flying time. Routes... Copenhagen, Copenhagen and Copenhagen, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Vienna, Brussels, Barcelona, Roma, Helsinki, Oslo, Munich, Tel Aviv, London Heathrow and Dulles. Notable is that with the newer scenery, Brisbane, Amsterdam will come on-line in 2023. That is X-PlaneReviews for 2022, and we will be back after a very much needed recovery and the review site returns again early into the New Year on the 4th January 2023. So Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year 2023 Stephen Dutton 19th December 2022 Copyright:X-PlaneReviews 2022 (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)
  11. NEWS! - X-Plane 12 goes Final! Laminar Research on the Release Canadate 6, has gone "Final". This means that X-Plane 12 is now an official release version, and goes out of the development beta phase. Is it finished? of course not as the development process will continue in more working beta's right through the version run, but it does mean that you can now switch to a "Stable" ahem version of X-Plane 12, and the version will be available for hard copies (DVD) and professional versions of the Simulator. Release of X-Plane 12 was on the 6th September 2022. When released back then it was noted as an "Early Access" Beta, or an on-line download only. As Beta's go it was quite a bumpy road, but an expected nominal one. The new X-Plane 12 simulator features volumetric 3D clouds, a physics-based photometric lighting model, worldwide 3D water, a full rewrite of the AI Air Traffic Control system, global 3D forests, seasonal textures, weather effects, revamped real weather data, and eight new aircraft. As there are now 19 aircraft and the 8 aircraft denoted here in purple are NEW. The rest coming over from X-Plane 11 have all had significant upgrades to X-Plane 12 effects, textures and avionics. Airbus A330-300 Cessna Citation X Lancair Evolution Cirrus SR22 Grumman F-14 Tomcat Robinson R22 Beta II Piper PA-18 Super Cub Van's Aircraft RV-10 Aero-Works Aerolite 103 Beechcraft Baron 58 Beechcraft King Air C90B Cirrus Vision SF50 McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II McDonnell Douglas MD-82 Schleicher ASK 21 Stinson L-5 Sentinel Boeing 737-800 Cessna 172 SP Sikorsky S-76 X-PlaneReviews did at the time of the beta release, a complete a full rundown of the features and details of X-Plane 12; X-Plane 12 - Next Generation X-Plane Beta release "Early Access" There is also X-Plane 12 Simulator to try out demo on the official website before making the purchase. You do get get the full Simulator, but are restricted to flying a small area and a time period X-Plane 12 Minimum Requirements CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with 4 or more cores, or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7 or 9. (Those with other CPUs should try the demo before purchasing.) Memory: 8 GB RAM Video Card: a Vulkan 1.3-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 2 GB VRAM If your system is borderline, we encourage you to try the demo first. The full version of the simulator will perform exactly the same as the demo—neither better nor worse. X-Plane 12 Recommended Requirements CPU: Intel Core i5 8600k or Ryzen 5 3500 or better, or Apple Silicon Memory: 16-24 GB RAM or more Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better, or similar from AMD) Supported Video Cards: NVIDIA: NVIDIA GeForce 900 or newer, driver version 510 or newer AMD: AMD Radeon RX 500 or newer, driver version Adrenaline 22.2.1or newer Supported Operating Systems: OS X: OS X 10.15 or newer (e.g. Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey) Windows: Windows 10 or 11, 64-bit Linux: Varies If you want to run on Linux, you will need to try X-Plane on your distribution to see if it is compatible. We have developers using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and newer successfully, however we don’t provide support for specific distributions. We require the proprietary driver from NVIDIA to run X-Plane. We require the Mesa drivers, version 22.0 or newer, for AMD to run X-Plane. It’s also available on the official website and Steam X-Plane 12 is purchased directly from Laminar Research for US$59.95 and the download file size is 82 GB X-Plane 12 Price is US$59.95 _____________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 18th December 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  12. NEWS! - Scenery Released : London Heathrow International Airport - EGLL - XP12 and 11 by TaiModels You have to admit it, they are ambitious over at TaiModels. Not only releasing Sydney (YSSY), Dubai (OMDB) and OOMS (Muscat) in 2022, here is another Mega scenery for one of the seriously largest and busiest hubs in the world... London Heathrow (EGLL). Available for X-Plane 12 and also X-Plane 11 and older versions, both of which versions are included in the package. My current EGLL is the Aerosoft's; Scenery Review : EGLL London-Heathrow by Aerosoft / SimWings, it has nice T5 textures, but poor (marginal) animated gates, and it's heavy on you graphic card, but it is (or was) a very good EGLL. But this scenery was released back in 2015, so how far have we come, and now with the X-Plane 12 effects as well... can TaiModel's Heathrow be the new benchmark? here are stats; Feature: Compatible with XP12 and XP11 (2 files) Compatible with Ortho4XP. High detail on tunnel and terrain High quality textures with PBR materials High detail models T5,T2 interior have been modeled SAM amination jetways High performance Completed autogen around airport Ground traffic plugins( car, train and truck) Includes weather texture in X-Plane 12 Yes there is a video as well... X-PlaneReviews will be doing a lot of services out of TaiModel's EGLL over the break, so tune-in for a full review of the scenery in the New Year 23. It looks excellent, and is it another major step up from the developer? it looks like it! SAM 3 Plugin is required for this scenery All images are courtesy of TaiModels _______________________________ The London Heathrow International Airport - EGLL - XP12/11 by Taimodels is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store London Heathrow International Airport - EGLL - XP12 and 11 Priced at US$28.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.7 GB Current version: 1.0 (December 16th 2022) ___________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 17th December 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  13. Aircraft Release : DC-3 Airliner by vSkyLabs vSkyLabs have released the DC-3 Airliner for X-Plane 12... DC-3? Confused yes? We have been flying the vSkyLabs DC-3 for years? Well you have actually been flying the C-47 (Military) version for years. So let us clear up the biggest confusion first. Yes to a point this new release is the (same) DC-3. But the aircraft design has been split into three distinctive variants. The original C-47 Skytrain, this DC-3 Airliner and the forthcoming Tri-Turbo-Three, In context; VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': C-47B Skytrain: Highly defined C-47B simulation of the 30's-50's era; authentic WWII era cockpit, powered by PW1830-90C two speed supercharged engines, Astrodome, cargo loading, operational weights of the C-47's and more. Includes two variants - C-47B and XC-47C (float plane). VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': DC-3 Airliner: (this model) Highly defined DC-3 simulation, a modernized C-47A restoration, with modernized cockpit; 3-display G1000 cockpit, powered by PW1830-92 engines, passengers cabin configuration and loading system. VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': Tri-Turbo-Three: (Available soon) Highly defined DC-3 turbo-conversion based and inspired by the Conroy Tri-Turbo-Three conversion. So this is a new aircraft (totally based on the C-47), not an update, not an upgrade, but a totally new version of the old one. The vSkylab philosophy is that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is completed to 100%, that is the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft, and all the development is free and ongoing throughout the X-Plane 12 version. These projects are under constant development: the development road-map is including flight model refinements, enhanced systems depth, additional liveries and other improvements. Externally the DC-3 is an exact replica of the C-47 Skytrain, not one difference, even the same liveries work fine (thankfully) as I can still use my lovely G-AMSV Air Atlantique livery, so I'm very happy. One thing though is different to the exterior, in that it now has that X-Plane 12 shine and realism, the DC-3 looks sensational in X-Plane 12, but only in X-Plane 12 and this aircraft not available for X-Plane 11 or earlier versions (the C-47 Skytrain is). Engines are slightly different, the C-47 has PW1830-90C (1,200 hp - 890 kW, but this version has the later -94 Engines (1,350 hp - 1,010 kW, Twin Wasp air-cooled radial aircraft engine, so more power. We know that there are no menu's from vSkyLabs and just hot spots to open doors and turn on certain features. X-PlaneReviews did an original review here; Aircraft Review - DC-3/C47 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project Notable is sheer differences in the quality between the updated versions, it's come a long way, but basically it is the same aircraft. There was another major update in 2020; DC-3/C47 v3.0b1 that gave you a lot changes, and a move away from the original pre-war feel. Here is another change into the future again with modern avionics... .... it's very blue in here, also a little odd. If you are used to the analog dials and a pre-war feel, then it all comes at quite a shock, as it is all very clean and modern... in a DC-3! It is well done as a modern conversion and everything is in a modern blue metal. Does it have a Russian aircraft feel? interesting thought. Note the lovely scratch markings on the displays, very nice. Above you are the same three electrical switch panels with Volts and each Generator output, centre are Collins radio ADF1/ADF2 and DME-4 selectors. Oh yes and the diamond sound-proofing blankets are blue as well... there is a lot of blue. The DC-3 uses the Laminar Research default G1000 three display panel installation, the normal layout with the two outside PFD (Primary Flight Display) and the centre MFD (MultiFunctional Display), with Flightplan and MAP modes. Two Comm radios are set between the displays, and the AP (Autopilot) is set lower left MFD and left PFD. Obviously the G1000 PFD (Only one, but either one) and the central MFD pop-out. Top panel are the three analog backup instruments, Artificial Horizon, Speed and Altitude dials. Upper centre console is the wiper assembly, and the Compass is now attached to the top, gone is the springing "bouncy" animated Compass, damn I really loved that thing? Vertical Speed V/S, Clock and Rate of Turn indicator are far Left of the PFD. Lower instrument panel... Left; VOR 1 and VOR 2 pointers. All Engine read-outs are Dual-pointers... for RPM, Manifold Pressure, Oil Pressure, then twin Cylinder head Temp, Carburettor/Air and Oil Temp. Far right lower panel is the Fuel Tank (Amount/GAL) switch, Flap position, Temperature Hydraulic Pressure and De-Icing Pressure, and a Static Pressure switch. Right side is the Landing Gear (Hydraulic) Pressure, and Hydraulic System (large) Pressure Gauges, and the Cowl (Open/Close) selectors. Centre is the complex lever pedestal, same as in the other C-47 Cockpit, but still well done with excellent detail. Note the Fuel Tank Switches. AviTab is available and the tablet is attached to the centre of the yoke. You have to set a slider (#5) on/off option to make them appear, the AviTab plugin is also required. Overall it is a very nice cockpit and very well done... _______________ In the early (DC-3) days you flew with a half-completed cabin, and a poor one at that. Here the cabin is finished and it now comes with a plane load of passengers and their baggage... Passenger 3d modeling is excellent (Nice to see a realistically loaded aircraft), but it does look like a wild student getaway weekend, except for one guy and his very, very young wife, or daughter, no wonder he is smiling? Seats are nice and modern (For a DC-3), so it is a very nice interior. _______________ Flying the DC-3 Airliner The DC-3 is a tail-dragger, fun if you want it. Turning is done via throttle power and toe-brakes, still very tricky though. You can use the "Novice' tool to lock in the rear drag wheel to the X-Plane (joystick) yaw, and that really helps, but I really still don't like the poor weak effort from the toe-brakes, no pressure unless almost flat, means the DC-3 is hard to steer manually on takeoff and landing. Off the ground and the gear won't retract? Oh I forgot about the "manual lock" on the floor central by the pilot, pull it up and retract the gear, then put it down again to lock it up, if not it will drive you crazy in dropping the undercarriage every five minutes, just remember to do the opposite on landing! Note that ski's are also available on the aircraft. In the last big update (C-47/DC-3 v4.0r1). There was a completely new and improved FMOD Sound pack, with multi-layer engine sounds for the interiors and exteriors, aural indication system recordings for the mixtures, autopilot and tail-wheel, plus 3d sound effects with doppler movement around the aircraft and changing sound internally and that extensive update has been passed over here in full. I've always loved the DC-3 sounds, but now they are really good. Open the window(s) and the noisy wind comes into the cockpit with all that 1,350 hp power... cockpit sound is also far more different than the cabin, so its really good. All the mod-cons... in a DC-3, it's hard to get your head around that, but it makes it far easier to fly, navigate and then there is an Autopilot! You remember were the switch was? of course you do... hard to use though in being buried down there lower left pedestal. But a more modern autopilot is far more efficient than the old VOR C-47 pointer version, it doesn't drift off-course now, and needed to be consistently corrected every 10 NM. The view out is quite (X-Plane 12) sensational, both forward and from the cabin. Better still when it is raining! Yes folks... Librain is back in X-Plane 12, and you not only get the thick front window streams, but the cabin windows as well, but the wipers are pretty ineffective. Iceing was always a great feature on the vSkyLabs DC-3, and with the better X-Plane 12 icing it is very good here... front windows, even the cabin windows ice up.... wings ice build up is spidery and realistic, but turn those boots on before you fall out of the sky. You don't as much fly, but trundle along with all that noise (yes it is good to turn the volume up). VR (Virtual Reality) is built in from the start, so the aircraft is excellent with all the VR features, so the DC-3 must look awesome in 3d. Maximum speed is 200 kn (230 mph, 370 km/h) at 8,500 ft (2,590 m), but you might squeeze out a few knots more with the extra power here with the -92 engines, Cruise speed is around 180 kn (207 mph, 333 km/h). Service ceiling is 23,200 ft (7,100 m), but you wouldn't really go above 10,000 ft - 12,000ft. Head up and the backup instruments which are nicely positioned in your eyeline, are however bit dark, if actually too dark to use? The "Panel Inst Lts" adjustment is full on, but quite ineffective. Lower with the two tone lighting in X-Plane 12 RC5 the lighting is not bad, but I feel more instrument brightness would be nice in the daylight. Lighting At night however it all goes "Very Nice", and the instrument panel glows very well, the G1000 screens are quite bright, but you can tone them down nicely. Other lighting covers; Overhead Hatch, Aisle, and the rear Passenger (cabin) lights. Emergency Lights I couldn't find, but the Seatbelt/No Smoking is well done on the cabin walls. Upper panel lights are also very reflective and well done. In the cabin it looks a bit like a Manhattan Disco circa 1989, bright purple and reds? It's nice... I suppose? Externally the lighting is very good... I particularly like the red left and white right landing lights, pre-war, but nice anyway. Navigation, Beacon (upper red, lower white) Strobe and very nice Ice (wing) lights. There are wheel well lights as well. As noted X-Plane 12 is a big attraction here, Norway vistas are sensational in winter, so is flying slow and ponderous at 6,000ft. Arrival at Bergen ENBR, RWY35... I have to admit in doing a lot of flying in the vSkyLabs DC-3 Series, and this cross from Oslo to Bergen has to be one of the best, obviously X-Plane 12 makes a huge difference to the simulation, with not only the vistas, but the effects as well in rain on approach... Gear down and locked early, for no mistakes... ... same with the pump flaps (continuous) in getting the aircraft perfectly right in height and speed early in the approach phase. Modern avionics means modern tools at your disposal, so APP via using the ILS is available, not your usual tail-out and wide rudder approach, but great for novices... don't get it wrong though, this is still a heavy Pre-War aircraft, it feels like it, and it handles that way as well... ... nervous? It's icy! It's Wet! 20,000lbs of aircraft... Tricky! You can't do too much flare, as you need to land pretty square on the main gear, another tricky part is between having the aerodynamic control and then losing it (Rudder) when the tail drops... note the great water spray from the wheels Yes you pulled it of, well done, but it's harder than you think, it needs skill to get it right... but your a good simulation pilot right! __________ Liveries We are up to v3 on liveries. The v2 liveries still work and are worth collecting. You get four liveries with the DC-3 version, a new Buffalo Airways 2022, Bare Metal, Military Transport and "That's all Brother". Honestly I don't like the new Buffalo version, it is bland, the older tired version would always fill my heart, I've shown it here with an excellent Icelandair classic. There are also whole series of professional liveries available for the DC-3 Series... Liveries for VSKYLABS Aircraft Most cost around US$10 per package. __________ Summary The vSkyLab's DC-3 has been around for a few years, since July 2017. It is a capable if always in development aircraft of the famous iconic DC-3/C-47 Skytrain aircraft, a pre-war marvel. But for X-Plane 12 the DC-3 aircraft design has been split into three distinctive variants. The original C-47 Skytrain, this DC-3 Airliner and the forthcoming Tri-Turbo-Three. All three are now (or will be) also separate projects. Pricing is now also separate for each variant, so there are no discounts or updates, so it is a full upgrade to the version of the DC-3 that you want. Notable is that the vSkylab philosophy is that you are purchasing an ongoing project, and the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft and all the development is free and ongoing throughout the X-Plane 12 version. These projects are under constant development: the development road-map is including flight model refinements, enhanced systems depth, additional liveries and other improvements. The C-47 Skytrain (original) can still be used in X-Plane 12, but this DC-3 Airliner is the same aircraft in absolute X-Plane 12 form, and changed as to be a modern take on the aircraft, with the installation of Laminar Research's default G1000 three display panel installation... Different, yes. Basically it is a very different cockpit (in blue) with modern avionics. as usual things are changed around, and missing here is the floating (animated) compass in being replaced with a static one, it's still currently in the C-47. In the cabin it has also been totally reworked with modern seats, nice 3d people (mostly students) and their baggage. vSkyLab's aircraft don't use menus but datarefs and hotspots to open doors or activate items or areas. It's a quirky machine to use and fly, so a though study of the POH is highly recommended, but modern instruments can make it accessible to the more novice flyer. VR (Virtual Reality) is built in from the start, so the aircraft is excellent with the VR features, and the Skunkcraft updater is now also available. Lighting and sounds are overall excellent, certainly the excellent sound package that has been refined over the years, lighting internally is excellent if a little 80's disco in the cabin. negatives are weak toe-brakes (required with a tail-dragger), daytime instrument lighting is too dark, hard to steer even with "Novice mode", but practice helps... missing the 'bouncy" compass. The real star here is X-Plane 12. It makes the DC-3 shine and feel very realistic, gives you great rain and icing effects, and this is an extremely satisfying aircraft to fly, if challenging if you like your aircraft that way, but to note on this review, X-Plane 12 is still in RC (Release Candidate) mode, so expect changes from not only the simulator, but also from the developer. But also notable that this aircraft is for X-Plane 12 only. So what this DC-3 Airliner is, is a very modern take of a classic aircraft. The avionics are interesting, even very easy to use, but the word "Classic" here is what to have to debate, if you want this approach, then you will absolutely love this Classic modern airliner, or the best of "both worlds". Highly recommended. ___________________________ The DC-3 Airliner by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS DC-3 Airliner Your Price: US$29.95 This is a new product, so no updates or discounts apply 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 Simulation: Highly accurate performance and handling simulation of the DC-3. 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 real-world C-47 pilots. Workhorse for DC-3 pilot skills: Experience authentic flight performance and handling practices (takeoff, landing, single engine operations, flight planning, long range flights). 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 projects are a mixture of a simplified yet very engaging design. Compatible with the VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': C-47B Skytrain project liveries! Advanced avionics and autopilot: Fully featured glass cockpit avionics based on the LR G1000 (including the G1000 autopilot), along with complementary analog instrument gauges and navigation displays. Comprehensive systems: All the relevant systems are being simulated. Here are **some** of the more unique systems: Engines/propeller systems - Highly defined PW-1830-92, 14 cylinder engine simulation, designed with fully featured, functioning and authentic DC-3/C-47 propeller feathering system, for highly realistic single engine simulation. DC-3 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 (experimental feature). 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. Landing gears and flaps simulation - are being simulated with a high level of authenticity. Advanced glass cockpit and autopilot system - based on the LR G1000. Anti-Icing/De-Ice systems - including icing and rain visualization. Skis - Animated, incorporated in the flight dynamics model. Making use of X-Plane 12 advanced weight and balance system for station based passengers loading. Passenger and luggage 3-d visualization. Comprehensive FMOD sounds. Auto-update based on the SkunkCrafts autoupdater. Built-in AviTab compatibility. (AviTab plugin not included). Highly responsive VSKYLABS support system (including C-47 / DC-3 operational knowledge and support/assistance). Requirements X-Plane 12 Only (not compatible with X-Plane 11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.0 (December 12th 2022) Installation and documents: download for the DC-3 Airliner is 439Mb and is deposited in the "Aircraft" X-Plane folder. The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder. Full Installation is 0.99Gb Documents supplied are: SKYLABS_DC-3_MANUAL-POH.pdf (80 pages) VSL-DC3-Airliner-ESSENTIALS.pdf (2 pages) Plus "How to Install" pdf POH is extensive (80 Pages), with set up notes, custom assignments, checklists and project details. ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 15th December 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved  Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 - X-Plane v12.00RC5 (note this review was done in the beta revision period) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 :: RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft - ENGM - Airport Oslo XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.95 - ENBR - Bergen - X-Plane 12 Global Airport (free)
  14. NEWS! - Scenery Released - Pack Bretagne : LFRE La Baule + LFEQ Quiberon by VFRScenery On the 1st November 2022 VFR Scenery released LFRE- La Baule Escoublac in the Loire-Atlantique area of France, and a nice little quality scenery it was, and quite successful. Here is a followup scenery by VFR Scenery of LFEQ Quiberon in the same region. Both sceneries can be purchased separately, or as package called "Pack Bretagne", and you save US$5, notably any purchasers of the earlier LFRE- La Baule scenery can get a voucher when purchasing LFEQ -Quiberon for the same savings. Both sceneries are also available for both X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12. LFRE La Baule Escoublac airfield is used for leisure and tourism activities, this airfield is located 3 km east of the town of La Baule- Escoublac in Loire-Atlantique. Developed with the highest care, you will find the atmosphere of this airfield created in 1917 excellent. Features Accurately modeled airfield from photos taken on site in 2022. Custom 3D objects (no external library required) Hangar interiors modelled and lit at night 10 hangar doors open and close (more animations to come) 4k PBR texture Accurately modelled fresco of the aeronautics museum Customized control tower lights scanning the tarmac\ Custom 3D objects\ Precision modeled Avgas 100LL and JetA1 stations OrthoPhoto compatible Optimized for good FPS VAC card included User manual in English and French Easy to install LFEQ-Quiberon airfield, Morbihan in Bretagne region is located 1,5 km east of Quiberon. The airfield is used for leisure and tourism activities. This is an historic airfield that was created in 1955 by the commune of Quiberon and was previously used by the naval air force between 1917 and 1918 to monitor the coast of southern Morbihan. You can load your aircraft in one of the 3 available hangars, open the doors (plugin provided), fill up with AVGAS100LL fuel at the accurately modelled petrol station and fly over this beautiful region and let the magic happen. Features • Airfield modelled with precision from photos taken on the site in 2022. • Custom 3D objects (no external library required). • Interior of hangars modelled and lit at night. • Hangar doors open and close. • 4k PBR texture. • Precisely modelled mural of the tower. • Customized 3D objects. • Precisely modelled AVGAS stations. • OrthoPhoto compatible. • Optimized for your FPS. • VAC card provided. • User's manual in English and French. • Easy to install Images are courtesy of VFRScenery __________________ Yes!... Pack Bretagne : LFRE La Baule + LFEQ Quiberon by VFRScenery is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Pack Bretagne : LFRE La Baule + LFEQ Quiberon Price is US$30.98 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.7 GB Current Version : 1.0 (December 8th 2022) LFRE- La Baule Escoublac Price is US$19.99 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.3 GB Current Version : 1.0 (November 1st 2022) LFEQ - Quiberon, France Price is US$15.99 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.2 GB Current Version : 1.0 (December 8th 2022) If you already purchased LFRE la Baule Escoublac, get a $5 discount on this scenery. Coupon code can be found in the original LFRE la baule Escoublac Invoice. ___________________________ News! by Stephen Dutton 9th Dec 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  15. NEWS! - Announcement : 337F Skymaster by Thranda Design Certainly one of my favorite aircraft, the push, puller Cessna 337F Skymaster is one of the greatest General Aviation aircraft. After the 208 Caravan, then the excellent U206G Stationair, here is another Cessna classic from Thranda Design, or a Carenado classic. Once the bastion of General Aviation aircraft in Simulation, then what has happened with the famous developer, missing now from X-Plane for a number of years. And how far will Thranda Design go in replacing classic aircraft with the same. The Cessna Skymaster is an American twin-engine civil utility aircraft built in a push-pull configuration. Its engines are mounted in the nose and rear of its pod-style fuselage. Twin booms extend aft of the wings to the vertical stabilizers, with the rear engine between them. The horizontal stabilizer is aft of the pusher propeller, mounted between and connecting the two booms. The combined tractor and pusher engines produce centerline thrust and a unique sound. The Cessna O-2 Skymaster is a military version of the Cessna 337 Super Skymaster. The aircraft includes all the features of the Dynamic Generation Series. Development images are of a highly quality aircraft as you could expect from Thranda. The Cessna U206G Stationair DGS series was priced US$39.95, I would expect the same for the 337F Skymaster... To be released before Christmas, maybe.... fingers crossed, or ask Santa. Images are courtesy of Thranda Design ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 5th December 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  16. Scenery Upgrade : Alps UHD XP12 by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini Over my long decade, and more of my journey in X-Plane I have encountered many adventures. But a series by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini stands out head and shoulders above the rest. These two renowned developers have created a series of sceneries dedicated to their greatest love, Mountain Climbing. They have covered, or recreated mostly all of the greatest mountain challenges on the planet Earth for the X-Plane Simulator. Everest, K2 - Karakorum, Banff National Park, Machu Picchu National Park and Torres del Paine National Park (Chile). Two masterpieces are closer to their hearts, the magnificent Brenta Dolomites (Coming soon to X-Plane 12), and this newly released upgraded package "Alps UHD XP12". Yes they are scenery packages. But they are more than that in context. Basically these unique areas are exceptional for exploring, because of their unique high quality detailing of the landscape and their regional areas. More so is the reproduction in high (or here Ultra) detail of the most famous peaks in the world. Not only can you see these peaks in realistic detail, but also learn about their position and placement geographically. It is an X-Plane classroom of sorts, a learning realistic geographic location. Besides the huge educational values there is another great bonus. Flying high, these magnificent sceneries can be seen enroute (certainly with these particular Alps/Dolomite releases) from the aircraft at altitude, so they not only give you great geographical vistas, they make X-Plane visually more even ultra realistic. So by now you have gathered I am a huge fan of the Series. Only two notes. Obviously the sceneries in packages are large downloads (Alps is 3.3 GB, expanded to 8.9 GB installed), and setting them out in the right scenery order is crucial to get the correct layouts. So you will need a lot of storage and memory storage, but they won't hog the computer down, which is amazing with these huge file sizes. This is also only a X-Plane 12 Scenery package (so not compatible with X-Plane 11). Customers who own the X-Plane 11 versions of this previous mountain package can get this new Scenery for 40% off. Please find your coupon code in the original invoice. Eligible packages include: AOSTA+Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Eiger for XP11 This "Alps" release is noted as an "Upgrade", and the upgrade is for use in the X-Plane 12 Simulator, along with it's unique effects. With winter effects, Seasons and that real Alpine feel, X-Plane 12 lighting are also all included.. Yes you have to pay... but one is that four of the original European Alpine sceneries have now been collated into the one package, the "Alps", which consists of; Eiger Park Matterhorn park Aosta Mont Blanc and main peaks of the Alps'' The price is US$59.95 (Currently 17% off), but if you have already purchased (even the separate packages), you can get the Alp's scenery for 40% off. Please find your coupon code in the original invoice. Eligible packages: AOSTA+Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Eiger for XP11 The scenery also includes improvements and additions in each part (Parks). In addition a large area added both from French side (Megeve, Sallanches,Meribel, Courchevel...) and from Swiss side (Interlaken,Thun, Meiringen, Raron, Reichenbach...), it also includes from Italian side all the VAl d'Aosta bringing the complete scenery over 8000 sq km. Notes include; "In order to achieve the seasonal effects , some attributes were changed to the 3D objects, also in order to include the 3D models of the mountains, the terrain meshes were changed, a forced choice that resulted in the loss of some bathymetric depth data, useless data for mountain lakes. However the lakes have been reconstructed in 2D with specular characteristics with a good visual effect of realism but without water effects (waves ...)". A nice Christmas present, well you can certainly explore X-Plane 12's unique WinterWonderland here, so what is not to like.... Highly Recommended! Images are courtesy of Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini __________________ Yes!... Alps UHD XP12 by Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Alps UHD XP12 Price is (Currently) $49.95 Retail Price:$59.95 You Save:$10.00(17%) Requirements X-Plane 12 (not compatible with X-Plane 11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM - 8 GB+ VRAM Highly Recommended Download Size: 3.3 GB Customers who own of of this previous mountain package can get this new Scenery for 40% off. Please find your coupon code in the original invoice. Eligible packages: AOSTA+Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Eiger for XP11 ___________________________ News! by Stephen Dutton 3rd Dec 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  17. Behind the Screen : November 2022 When Laminar Research declared that X-Plane 12 will go final and will be out of beta by Christmas 2022, I almost choked on my coffee. "No way". There just seems still too much work to be done, too many areas and details to be crossed off the whiteboard list. And then to go and present the new Simulator version to the finicky hoards and masses in a few weeks. It all felt like a bit of a stretch to me all round. Testing Beta 14 was however a huge step forward towards the goal of a release, but there are still some big issues to be addressed, mostly the square clouds and ridiculous winds that never seem to change day to day, I'm not going to mention VR. Laminar say a fix to both is coming very soon, VR probably not until 2023. That fix will be an important one in making the final release actually believable. Stutters? I didn't get that one, what are your settings, being too greedy as usual... Laminar Research are quite confident they can achieve the Christmas target, my personal feelings say more to the middle-late Q1 before the Simulator is a more totally refined and stable Simulator. So what to expect in the New Year? Well quite a lot actually. Laminar have released a list of areas they will be working on, including; 3d Rain shafts which is very, very nice, 3d volumetric low level fog of which I really expected to be in the release version, but it is coming. God rays are planned. This is an area in being the one thing I was a bit down about in losing, by moving my simulator environmental needs from xEnviro in X-Plane 11 to the default weather in X-Plane 12, as I badly miss those rays (It makes images pretty!) and lens flares. And that they are now coming cheers me up no end (A Christmas Present!). Laminar has also announced that the weather engine will also be open to 3rd parties but there will be limit on what they can and cannot access, which is another interesting aspect, fine, even great as long as we don't get loads and loads of similar shader apps again. Notable is that there is better wind and turbulence improvements coming. This one is a no brainer, it is stupid to have aircraft reacting badly to abnormal weather conditions, and it is the one area that is severely currently restricting my flying. I mean winds and turbulence of 97 knts? you would break up and fall out of the sky if you encountered that in real life, I flew once at 12,000ft in 63 knt winds, I won't say my swear words at the controls, as my GA (and me) was being thrown all around the sky. Yes I'm not saying 63 kt turbulence at 12,000ft has not been encountered in the real world, but not every day since September? I went to manual settings to land. Laminar admitted that getting data for the NOAA GLIB files from the Laminar Research central server has not been going to plan, but again are working on a fix, it works but not as efficiently or as well as promised (actually I don't see it changing much day to day), but a fix is as promised in really (hopefully) coming soon. Overall in this Beta I have been flying on the "Manually" set weather, I just can't rely on the "Real World", settings, a shame as I want to try out the real world Winter Wonderland that I expect to be brilliant (I've seen shades of what can be presented by messing around with the settings), but you shouldn't have to do that manually. Before X-Plane 12 came out. Ben Supnic (Laminar) noted as a comment that they would look into better satellite imagery even against Austin's wishes, even in streaming it à la MSFS. But Supnic noted at the time it was not a top priority. Again Laminar has recently again noted they are actively looking at satellite imagery so it looks like it is back on the table or whiteboard. Now having used X-Plane 12 for a few months I have a few comments on that. Over most countries of flying in general X-Plane is very good in replicating the real world (Night lighting aside). However when in the departure, landing or VFR phases it is certainly not as detailed to be called authentic, as texture tiles in areas are just not good enough to reproduce a complex planet. Streaming is not good either, no matter how powerful your internet connection is you are always going to get lag, worse for me as I can change location quite often while doing reviews. So waiting ages between loads for scenery to load would be a backward step. However I do feel that finding quality satellite imagery as a base, but still keeping X-Plane a closed system is still a great step forwards in fixing the realism ground texture problem. The trick is still making it look very good, while still keeping efficiency in the Simulator. Can we have the best of both worlds, well I think so, but don't expect anything soon, but in a year or even maybe two. Many say X-Plane 13, but I very much doubt X-Plane as a Simulator could last that long in say waiting 4-5 years in this competitive (MSFS) commercial world to fix the problem. Austin Meyer has also been making a lot of noise about Networking X-Plane, and is even actively looking for staff to create the dream. Really when using On-Line ATC you are now already networked, but I suppose he wants to connect us all, and together... which creates a bit of a problem? "Have you seen other users fly". By personality I'm a very procedural pilot, all very by the book. I do actually like the idea of other pilots doing their work around you, but then comes the cowboys, the F4 jockeys who just feel that the airspace is their airspace and not yours, or the wandering GA pilot, who is not sure which runway to pick to land... It's all a personality thing and I'm not saying who is right or wrong in the way they want to fly.... but I don't really want to do it all together ATC aside. What I have learnt is that many users are Gamers in flying and not Simulation users, obviously our styles are going to clash, probably in mid-air. Another item on the table is that Laminar are actively investigating is OpenXR (Not to be confused with OpenGL) by The Khronos Group, a member-driven consortium of over 150 industry-leading companies. OpenXR is a newer VR standard for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). And already OpenXR API is standard on Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) and HoloLens 2 headsets. Most will be adopting it as native support, and even previous APIs like OculusSDK and SteamVR are also moving to it as an open standard. MSFS is already native to OpenXR, so expect X-Plane 12 to be native or it to be in development once X-Plane 12 is in it's basic form completed. Bottom line it will make a lot of VR users very happy, more importantly it will create a standard across the board. If you want a job then Laminar Research are hiring, but oddly only a few of the new positions are actually related to the Simulator development, mostly the jobs are in marketing, customer support and website support... get your CVs out now, Laminar Research is going Global. This conversation has been visited quite regularly in BtheS. Austin has made noises he wants to bring in more gamers (obviously for the money) into the X-Plane Simulator. I have noted quite often in the time required to set up an airliner for a flight, even a short bounce of say under an hour. Earlier you set up and could fly under ten minutes, but now the quickest you could set up a flight from cold is around twenty minutes, as its a lot of work if you do all the correct procedures. Its even over 30 min if you want to set up the MD-11 and B742 for a flight. I don't mind it, as it is totally realistic simulation to it's core, and you now have a lot of great tools now to help with the set up. At one point, programming in a route of say 25 waypoints across the globe was tedious, but extremely satisfying in that you were mirroring one of them (professional Pilots). That is what Simulation is all about, I seriously love it, why I do it. Put a full cold up sequence under a Gamers eye and they would freeze over... they want instant gratification, oddly to get the ultimate gratification out of Simulation is doing the full experience from cold to shutdown, but as noted it takes time, too much time sometimes. Is there a middle ground? There is actually. The excellent save system on ToliSS Aircraft has to be the best overall tool in our toolbox. As the system is so complete when resetting up an aircraft, on the ground or in flight, it really does open up your world to instant gratification when you don't have a lot of time to do the complete main course. Many times I have wanted to fly, but was restricted by time or work. Pull up a ToLiSS and I can be ready and waiting to depart in a minute... ditto wanting to practise a landing, or even a takeoff, and with all the correct settings is just at a touch of a menu selection. Yes the X-Plane Simulator comes with a save system, but to be honest it is very if extremely poor in resetting up your flight at the point you saved it. You will never ever get it back the way you left the aircraft state, but you can do that with the excellent ToLiSS system... I don't don't know if this could be done, but could we swap ToLiSS saves for instant setups between us. That would allow non-experienced users (hint Gamers) to access the detailed setups of the Pro-Users, obviously for instant gratification. I don't mean for users (Gamers) not to be being able to just forever glide along on the backs of the Pro's, but to see and learn on how they do it, it is a consistent learning curve to get it all right. But many a time my reverse engineering of (mostly FMC's) has opened the "Ah ha" door to learning on how it all works. They are bloody complicated (Flight Management), they need a lot of study to get right. But it is how you get from there (dumb) to being here (guru). I don't know that if the basic X-Plane save and situation tool can be improved. The roadblock is the aircraft plugin architecture, and a few developers do actually include good save systems, but they never make it as a priority feature as ToLiSS does. But the ToLiSS system proves without doubt how extremely versatile it makes your Simulation experience when it works so perfectly, developers need to take note, this for me would make and break a sale, as it is the number one feature I would want in an (every) aircraft, because it translates to you flying that aircraft more, because you can. There will be as usual no Behind the Screen December 2022 issue, but our full yearly round up of the year review is to be published on 16th December 2022, so watch out for that. Stephen Dutton 1st December 2022 Copyright©2022 X-Plane Reviews
  18. Aircraft Review : Diamond DA40NG XP12 by SimSolutions We are all very familiar with Diamond Aircraft, but to date the majority of Diamonds have come from Aerobask. That is good, but it also creates an extremely high benchmark if anyone else wants to tackle the same design and manufacturer in comparison. This is the DA40NG Diamond Star, which is an earlier version of the model line. Built in both Austria and Canada, it was developed as a four-seat version of the earlier DA20. The Rotax 914-powered prototype DA40-V1, registered OE-VPC, first flew on 5 November 1997 and was followed by a second prototype DA40-V2 (registered OE-VPE) which was powered by a Continental IO-240. In 1998 a third prototype DA40-V3 flew powered by a Lycoming IO-360 engine. Four more test aircraft were produced followed by the first production aircraft in 2000. JAR23 certification of the IO-360 production variant was obtained in October 2000. In 2002 the production of the Lycoming-engined variant was moved to Canada and the Austrian factory concentrated on diesel-engined variants. The first flight of the Diesel DA40D was made on 28 November 2002. The DA40 is a four-seat low-wing cantilever monoplane made from composite materials. It has a fixed tricycle landing gear and a T-tail. The DA40 NG (New Generation) is the latest model and offered only in selected markets (DA40 standard model is still offered in other markets). It is powered by an Austro Engine AE 300 165.6 hp (123.5 kW) a Diesel running on JET A-1 fuel. EASA certified April 2010. By December 2020, 500 NG models had been produced. NG probably refers to the Garmin G1000 instrument installation. This is not a brand new aircraft from SimSolutions for the X-Plane Simulator, as the DA40 was released originally back 20th November 2021, or just over a year ago. That was obviously for X-Plane 11, but this release is for X-Plane 12, and the (.acf) comes in two separate versions for both X-Plane11 and X-Plane12. So let us deal first with the obvious. In coming to purchase the SimSolutions DA40, your only paying US$24.95 and not the usual US$39.95 Aerobask base price, so the SimSolution aircraft is in another completely different category of quality and features. So in other words don't expect the extreme detail and quality of Aerobask when selecting this aircraft, Comparisons are hard as well. When said that... the quality and detail of SimSolutions DA40 really surprised me of how very good it it really is. Notable the effects in X-Plane 12 really bring out the quality and detail, compared to the X-Plane 11 version. Composite aircraft are very hard to model correctly as they can come out very toy like, even false looking, but that is not at all the case here. The fuselage, tail and wings are all very well crafted and contoured nicely smooth.... I'm very impressed. The flat nose to accommodate the odd shaped diesel Austro Engine AE 300, looks a little odd on an aerodynamic aircraft, but the twin high air-intakes are really well modeled. Detailed panel screws are 3d and not prints or bump textures, are also nicely done, but the shiny exhaust although is well done but a bit too shiny. All wheels have cowlings, super aerodynamic they all are and the nose has a castor wheel system, so there is no steering. Wing is nice and clean and upsweep tip detail and shape is excellent. Leading edge lighting looks excellent as well. But if you want to dig (price wise), then you will see the flap mechanism components are only just modeled and not textured or dirty for realism... ... and that is a point to make, in the aircraft is all very clean and factory new, so there is no wear and tear feel on the aircraft. Overall it is a very nice and clean design... I'm pretty impressed. Glass is not bad, not really impressive or actually poor, but somewhere in the middle, overall it looks too thin. Saving it is the nice mottle glass effect on the canopy, in the light it can be seen quite clearly. Front canopy goes up forward, and for the rear entry access there is a large door on the left rear. Both doors are opened by manual catches. Considering the tight design, there is a lot space internally. Very Diamond in feel, I won't or you couldn't even compare it to the Aerobasks in ultra detail, as that would be totally unfair. In saying that it is very good internally and well designed, and even great value for the money. The highlight in here is the nicely detailed roof and internal lighting panels. Garmin G1000 Avionics is the standard Laminar Research G1000 PFD (Primary Flight Display), and MFD (Multi-Functional Display) with the radio controls set between the displays, nothing to learn here if you have used the default avionics before. The installation though is very nice and feels high quality. Note the AviTab (plugin required) on the right. The PFD/MFD displays pop-out, but have no bevels around the screen, just windows for home-builders. PFD (Primary Flight Display) is very good with the large Artificial Horizon dominating the screen with the Speed and Altitude (with built in Vertical Speed) tapes either side, Rate of turn and FD (Flight Director) are all present. Lower is the Heading rose with built in Heading, Wind (3 options), CRS (Course) DME, NAV 1, NAV 2 and OBS. There is the option to put a small map on the PFD but I never do (it makes the display too crowded). All Radio, Autopilot (AP) settings and data are across the top banner of the panel. Note the inbuilt warnings panel centre right. The secondary display is MFD or MAP/Navigation panel which covers also all the (EIS) engine outputs which are in two versions with one visual and one in data. The colourful engine readouts covered are on page one; Manifold Pressure (LOAD) and RPM, Oil Temp and Pressure, Coolant Temp, Fuel Temp, Fuel quantity for both tanks. Oddly the Flaps and both Trims (positions) are not shown? "System" switch (data) covers the same LOAD and RPM top, (Electrical) Volts and Amps, (Engine) Gearbox Temp, Coolant Temp, (Oil) Temp Cº and BAR. "Fuel" page (data) covers Fuel Calculations in FFLOW GPH (Gallons Per Hour), Fuel Temp º, GAL REM (Remain), GAL USED (Used), ENDUR (Endurance) and RANGE. Glareshield has central the three analog backup instruments, Airspeed, Artificial Horizon and Altlitude, and a nicely intergrated compass, the internal/external lighting knobs and switches are left. Right side Contact Breaker (Fuse) panel is well done, and although a manipulator hand appears, they are not actually active. Centre console is nice, but Diamond's don't have a lot of levers and buttons. Detail is good, but not finely done. I do like the rudder assembly detail, it is well done and detailed deep in the footwells Menus On the main X-Plane banner menu, is an aircraft menu dropdown "SimSolutions DA40 (XP12)". Notably it will show which aircraft version in X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 12 you are flying, a touch I really like that saves confusion (hint other developers). There are two menu selections; "Toggle Chocks/Tiedowns', and "Open Settings". Toggle Chocks/Tiedowns, toggles static elements of Chocks, pitot covers, wing tip covers, engine inlet covers and tiedowns. Secondary Menu "Open Settings" has five selections; Show (AviTab) tablet, G1000 Popout Buttons, Show Throttle Position, Hide Pax (Pilot and Co-Pilot) When Parked and Enable Persistence. The AviTab tablet is positioned on the right door frame... Pilot and Co-Pilot are not animated and fully dressed in a suit and waist coat, who flies GA in a suit?... "hands up". G1000 Popout Buttons (default: off) – This toggles the frame around the G1000 when popping the display out. Useful to keep off if you are a cockpit builder, but may be better for some if enabled. Still a work in progress. Show Throttle Position (default: on) – This shows your power lever’s position over the load dial. Hide Pax When Parked (default: on) – This hides the passengers from the outside view when the chocks are set. If disabled, the passengers will still be visible with the chocks on. Enable Persistence (default: on) – If enabled and you spawn within 5 nm from where you last left the DA40, the aircraft will automatically restore it’s state. _______________ Flying the DA40 NG The SimSolutions J3 Cub was the impromptu nature to invest in a set of Rudder Pedals. It caused me so much grief in trying to steer the aircraft, I just wasn't going to put myself through that again. The DA40 has the same problem, but a castering nosewheel this time, so I'm thankful for the toe-brakes. For the rest of you I think the DA40 would be impossible to taxi... a steering (yaw) option by the developer should have been provided? Even with the toe-brakes it is a handful. As with a slight toe-brake movement it will snap the aircraft to the right or left, but you sorta work it out with feather like touches and taxi it straight. The startup sounds had been actually quite good. There is a modern Engine Management System here, so all you have to do is turn on the fuel and then turn the key, no mixture settings, no priming, so you just turn and go. So on the startup you do get the diesel knocking and clackity clack noise, and even at idle it feels very non-turbine and slightly lumpy until you give it a few revs, then it feels quite powerful. So it is very good, even impressive for the price with this FMOD. Obviously I wasn't looking forward to the takeoff roll. It was easier than I thought it would it would be at power, a slight Asymmetric thrust meant guiding it softly until the aerodynamics cut in, but otherwise it was a clean roll, you bite the around 57 knts (Flaps set T/O) Pull back on the stick and your airborne. 5.69 m/s (1,120 ft/min) or a rational rate of climb would be around 800 fpm, the DA40 climbs nicely, but very slowly. Two notes. You need to get the flaps up quickly to kill the drag while climbing, and I had the weird situation that during the whole flight the flaps would quite consistently drop a notch (T/O), X-Plane 12? This is still an RC (Release Candidate). Trim and the DA40 is nice to fly, a touch to the stick here, a bank to left there. This is a modern aerodynamic slippery aircraft, not a weighted upright post war design. So you slip into a ease of flying. So notably easy I took to the Control Tower view and flew around the airfield in banks, like you would fly a Model aircraft around a field... fun obviously, not very pilot focused realistic. But it does show you how easy to fly the DA40 is... even from a distance. Back to the serious stuff. There is a simplicity to the design, more than a backyard kit, not fully a manufactured aircraft, it sorts of slips between the two. Glass looks too thin in the air, but otherwise the Diamond is a nice aircraft. Best feature is the slower rotating propeller spinner, you see it revolving nicely as you power along, a nice touch. The closeup detail is very nice, it's not going to win any major awards, but it is very well done. Cruise speed is 279 km/h (173 mph, 151 kn) TAS, with a range: 1,341 km (833 mi, 724 nmi) and the Service ceiling is set at 5,000 m (16,000 ft). Lighting Overall the lighting is average. It starts good with the two lighting options to light the panel and an adjustable cast green dropdown glow from the glareshield. There are three roof mounted lights, two for each front seat and one for the rear, it is okay, but roof lighting sources are very poor. Ditto to a point is the exterior. The main Navigation and strobe lights are only just passible, but it ends there. The main Taxi and landing lights are poor in the dark, and not seen at all in the day light, I'll use the word pathetic. You bauble along quite nicely, as for a GA you enjoy the aircraft. The SimSolutions DA40 is certainly a great easy to fly with great rewards aircraft, it's simple, not in a bad sense, but in the sense that it is easy to learn and fly, so a novice would get a lot of comfort and enjoyment out of the machine. Shame about that loose nosewheel, as if that it was more controllable the DA40 would have been an all round great learner aircraft. No spars or tight low windows here to obstruct the view here. The DA40 is very open and modern to fly. X-Plane 12 looks glorious around you as well. My flight today is from KLAL (Lakeland) to KRSW (South Florida), an old stamping ground and familiar route, and so I go into the clockwise landing circuit for RWY 06. Down low now to 500 ft and it see's you skimming the roof tops. Another 90º turn to approach, very nice, even exciting at this low height... I settle into the approach at full Flap (LDG) at around 80 knts... ... dropping the speed to 65 knts and a descent of 300 fpm is pretty well brilliant for the final approach and coming in over the field boundary. I'm aware the flare is a touch high, as I don't want to do a tri-cycle landing with that castor wheel... touch is at 58 knts, with a DA40 Stall speed of 49 knts (57 mph) flaps down. In the end the high flare didn't matter that much as the touch was perfect. My skill with the toe-brakes means I stay sorta centre, but at least I'm not upside down on the grass. So I will reinforce that aspect, easy (well easyish) if you have rudder pedals, but what of if you use a mouse to fly... tricky! But overall the Diamond DA40 is a great if brilliant learner aircraft for novices. The G1000 set is basic, but very good for this type of aircraft. _________________ Liveries One blank and seven liveries are provided here, all really with the same coloured swirly stripe on white theme. Blank/white is default ________________ Summary The DA40 NG (New Generation) is built by Diamond Aircraft, and it is the latest model and offered only in selected markets. (DA40 standard model is still offered in other markets). It is powered by an Austro Engine AE 300 165.6 hp (123.5 kW) a Diesel running on JET A-1 fuel. NG probably refers to the Garmin G1000 instrument installation. The DA40 is a four-seat low-wing cantilever monoplane made from composite materials. It has a fixed tricycle landing gear and a T-tail. The aircraft is from SimSolutions, also developer of the AMD Alarus, and Piper J3 Cub. Released in October 2021 for X-Plane 11, this release is the X-Plane 12 version of the DA40. Both X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 versions are included in the package. As noted in the review, most Diamonds in the X-Plane Simulator have usually come from Aerobask, mostly their aircraft are priced in the sub US$40 dollar range, this DA40 is priced at US$29.95, but the point to make and as this review shows, that Aerobask quality (and price) is not to be used in comparison, this aircraft is priced far, far lower, and also so has to be the expectations in quality and features. Overall it is a great little modern composite design aircraft to fly, and great for novice flyers. It comes with the Laminar Research (basic) G1000 avionics suite, but the installation has been well done. Modelling and detail is also very good (for the price), X-Plane 12 quality is very good. Options include Static Elements (basic), AviTab Tablet and fully clothed pilots and a good FMOD sound package. Niggles include a wayward nose castor wheel that requires toe-brakes to be effective (developer should provide alternative steering options), poor lighting elements (although the instrument panel is very nice) internally and worse externally, and too thin glass. If you want a cheap but very good Diamond, that is easy to fly and even highly enjoyable. Then you can't go past this Diamond DA40 from SimSolutions... the more fly it around, the more you like it... yes the DA40 is even recommended as a good buy. _______________________________ The Diamond DA40NG by SimSolutions is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store Diamond DA40NG Priced now at US$24.99 Features for both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 Fully modeled exterior 4K PBR Textures Fully modeled 3D cockpit 3D cockpit modeled using AFM diagrams Opening of doors (Canopy and Passenger) Laminar G1000 Integration with custom EIS Custom FMOD Sounds by FTSim+ AviTab integration Guide on how to use aircraft (.pdf) Plugin Toggleable Tie Downs, Inlet Covers, Chocks Custom EIS system Toggleable Tablet Liveries Default (White) D-ENGJ N712LA N913DA OE-DWS OE-DAF OE-UDI Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux ((tested on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) 4 GB+ VRAM Download Size: 340 MB Current version: 1.2.0 (November 26th 2022) Installation and documents: download for the Diamond DA40 is 340Mb and is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder. Full Installation is 460Mb Documents supplied are: README Basic manual (6 pages) "How to Install" and use.pdf ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 5th December 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved  Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 - X-Plane v12.00RC2 (note this review was done in the beta revision period) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 1.0 by Nicolas (Airport by NAPS) - (X-Plane.Org) - Free - KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.95
  19. NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : Diamond DA40NG v1.2.0 by SimSolutions SimSolutions have updated the Diamond DA40NG to v1.2.0. This update is focused on the conversion of the aircraft to X-Plan 12. The usual X-Plane 12 compatibility points are all covered here. Performance, Effects (Ice-snow, windshield rain) and the textures have all been implemented. Plus new borders around the pop-out instruments, and switches that previously had no manipulators and animations, now have manipulators and animations, such as the cabin heat, trim, and AP disconnect switches. There has been a fair few changes and fixes as well. Version 1.2.0 (November 26th 2022) ## New Features * Added X-Plane 12 support: new rain effects, fixed light strengths & minor internal stuff * Added display reversion (the button is disabled in X-Plane 11, but will still trigger in a display failure) * Added an optional border around the display pop-outs with the appropriate dials & buttons (WIP) * Added persistence: The aircraft will now restore its state (including location, altitude & speed) if initially loaded within 5nm of its last save. * Added a proper settings window * Some switches that previously had no manipulators and animations now have manipulators and animations, such as the cabin heat, trim, and AP disconnect switches. ## Minor Changes * Added IVAO Altitude support for radio transmit & receive flags * Modified the gear suspension & steering * Internal graphics wrapper was overhauled; should render text a lot more competently now * Overhauled internal code managing the G1000 modifications ## Fixes * Fixed flap lights * Fixed the automatic engine start command not working * Fixed cockpit view in X-Plane 11 * Attempt to fix wonky engine load controller Images here are X-Plane 11 Highlights include "Custom" FMOD Sounds by FTSim+ and AviTab integration (AviTab Plugin required), and also now available for all three OS Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. Images are courtesy of SimSolutions ________________________________________ The Diamond DA40NG by SimSolutions is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Diamond DA40NG Price is US$24.99 (But currently under a sale price US$14.99) Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux ((tested on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) 4 GB+ VRAM Download Size: 340 MB Current version: 1.2.0 (November 26th 2022) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 28th November 2022 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
  20. My beef is that these developers are seriously talented, but are cutting corners? If you buy a product (like anything nowadays) you expect a certain quality for your money and not in six months time, it is not a good reflection on the Simulator either, "Once bitten, twice shy", that is why I want the release standards set higher. Yes I expect bugs, and sometimes a lot of them after release, but half done lighting and shonky windows, is just not good enough in today's market.
  21. Scenery Review : LROP - Bucharest Otopeni International Airport by Chudoba Designs LROP Bucharest Airport is an interesting scenery for me. It was the start of the exploration of the eastern European countries in X-Plane. I had already moved on past my United Kingdom hubs, and wanted to fly to more and different destinations. This aspect was helped by the release of scenery by DAI-Media, I think gone now. But DAI-Media who was Romanian who had created some great sceneries back in the day. Two highlights were LEVC - Valencia Manises and of course LROP-Bucharest. For both I hubbed out of Austrian X-Plane Design Group's (AXDG) LOWW-WIEN, still available but now dated (this was eight years ago). But I flew to LROP quite a lot in that period, until the developer stopped delivering updates and I had problems intergrating Traffic into the scenery. Here is an update review that reflected that period. So I got quite excited when Chudoba Designs released an X-Plane 12 version of LROP, or to give the airport it's full title of; Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport. I'm going back to Romania. Install Downloading the LROP scenery is a bit fickle. When you purchase the scenery you are given a Authorisation key and then are directed to the Chudorba Design website. You paste in the authorisation code, then select the LROP-Bucharest scenery, and then press "Download". But this is when it goes all a bit strange? The Download will download in sequence both the required Chodoba Library files (1.5Gb), then follows this automatically with the LROP Scenery download (714.70Mb). Only it didn't? as I only got the Library download everytime. I admit Chodoba Design were a great help and the problem was traced to a permission. But confusion is easy in that there are two download buttons and one says "Download" and the other "Library Only", so you expect the Download to be for the scenery and the other the selection for just the library... it's confusing? Why can't they just put the required files up on the X-Plane.OrgStore and then you download them, possibly too easy to do it that way. LROP - Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport by Chodoba Design First views is that LROP is very nicely intergrated into the surrounding X-Plane default textures, but the join markings are a bit stiff and noticeable from height, that said it is nicely done. Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport Aeroportul Internațional Henri Coandă București IATA: OTP - ICAO: LROP 08R/26L - 3,500m (11,484ft) - Concrete 08L/26R - 3,500m (11,484ft) - Concrete Elevation AMSL314 ft / 96 m Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport is Romania's busiest international airport, located in Otopeni, 16.5 km (10.3 mi) north of Bucharest's city centre. It is currently one of the two airports serving Bucharest, the capital of Romania. The other is Aurel Vlaicu Airport, which no longer serves scheduled passenger traffic. During World War II, the airport in Otopeni was used as an airbase by the German Air Force. Until 1965, it was a major airfield for the Romanian Air Force, with Băneasa Airport serving as Bucharest's commercial airport. In 1965, with the growth of air traffic, the Otopeni airbase was converted to a commercial airport. The runway was modernized and extended to 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) from the previous 1,200 metres (3,900 ft), making it one of the longest in Europe at that time. A new passenger terminal (designed by Cezar Lăzărescu) with a capacity of 1,200,000 passengers per year, was opened on 13 April 1970, for both domestic and international flights. An improvement program added a second runway in 1986, expanding capacity to 35 aircraft movements per hour. The second phase (labeled Phase II/IIe) of the plan led to the construction of a terminal dedicated to domestic flights and of a multi-story car park (2003), the complete overhaul of the control tower (between 2005 and 2007) as well as the transformation of the old terminal building in a dedicated arrivals hall (in 2000). During the same phase, two high-speed taxiways (Victor and Whiskey) were constructed. Phase II was completed in 2007. Main terminals and infrastructure at OTP is all combined far into the west of the airport, that means departures from 26R or 26L demands a long taxi journey to the takeoff points, 26L also has a turnaround zone at the end, so you will need to taxi up the runway, and is a fair way as well from the entrance at taxiway D. But you are allowed a fast taxi speed here as well to cover the distance. Terminals The very distinctive concrete arch 70's terminal is well represented, I don't think it is as well modeled or as detailed as the DAI-Media LROP? but it is very good. As you know, I love old detailed terminals were you can see the past in a modern day setting. And that aspect is certainly evident here. Note the large ramp lighting arrays which are a nice detail. The airport's facilities consist of only a single terminal with three main facilities (colloquially referred to as "Terminals"): the Departures Hall/Terminal, the Arrivals Hall/Terminal, and the Finger Terminal (the airside concourse). A walkway with shops connects the departures and arrivals buildings. The airside concourse is organized in two (domestic and international) passengers flows. The entire terminal has 104 check-in desks, 38 gates (of which 14 are equipped with jetways), and a total floor area of 86,000 square metres (930,000 sq ft). The art facade TAROM (Transporturi Aeriene Române, Romanian Air Transport) Terminal is well done and highly visible here, an important one to get right, but actually the landside detail is wrong, the lower section of the art Terminal is a fully detailed arrival area and not the full slab of windows. The OTP Control Tower is layered and an odd iconic, but looks good here as set above the middle terminal zone. Notable is that the X-Plane "Tower View" is not set, but your positioned somewhere down on stand 102? "The Finger" (concourse) The airside concourse extension, designed by Studio Capelli Architettura & Associati, measures 17,000 square metres (200,000 sq ft), the concourse was inaugurated on 29 March 2011. The main feature of the scenery in the "Finger" is excellent, nice design work and very good transparent glass. It is a hard building in shape and detail to get it right, but this has been done well. The internal areas can be seen, but they are sadly for external viewing only, as there is only a minimal amount of internal detail done with blank passengers. The view internally looking external is very good over the ramps and field, so it is shame the areas here are not detailed to cater for that aspect. Connection between the old and new terminals is well done, as is the ramp detail and feel. Clutter is very good, but not TAROM or local Romanian branded, which is a shame. There is a lot of active ground traffic that is just about right, it is X-Plane 12 default, but the airport does feel very dynamic in all areas. SAM is used on all gates, but oddly on stands 107 to 109, the airbridges go to the wrong aircraft on the wrong stand and break the bridges into three sections? Airbridge detail however is very good and all the bridges are glass and not solid. Landside... hummm "Hide your eyes, its not at all pretty".... Landside in front of the Terminals is quite dire, the worst I have seen for years, and then some? Note the differences from an airport photo. This sort of work takes me back to X-Plane 10, basically there is nothing there, except for a disjointed rail station and the marooned TAROM offices? Worse is the fact there is not a lot of infrastructure here, and so it should have been an easy area to fill out in detail, even an orthophoto would have helped, anything please!. High points or marks for the scenery is ruined by the non-effort, worse is the area is highly viewable from both 08L and 08R approaches.... its bad, just plain bad for a custom X-Plane 12 scenery, and I am not at all impressed. One Cargo facility is set besides the main apron, but there are no aircraft stands set around this cargo facility as used by AS World Cargo, so it looks like it is for hold cargo only. Infrastructure Central to Bucharest Henri Coandă is the infrastructure spine area. Forward is the Uplift Airport Services SRL building, with the (blue) Menzies Aviation set behind... The TAROM maintenance hanger is quite impressive and well done, and has two static TAROM branded 737s set outside. Far east there are two more Cargo facilities, the main one (south) for TAROM Cargo with parking stands (201 to 205) opposite over Taxiway C And a DHL Cargo area off Taxiway P (Apron 3), that is also used for Private Jets and GA arrivals with the GA Terminal set behind... .... last major building is the Elitte World Transport headquarters and the field Fire Station is set here as well. North Field is the Fuel Depot, South Field are the military hardstands Textures Overall the textures are average. There are signs that they actually could be very good with good concrete choices, but no effort to create a more realistic feel and depth to the textures is obvious. Linage is odd, worn in areas, hard solid and not realistic in others. So it all comes across as slightly unrealistic. Worse is all the extremely hard line runway edges, totally unbelievable and false, seriously this is again X-Plane 10 stuff (even X-Plane 9) and Chudoba is not a first time developer, so why here in making such a classic visual mistake. Some verges are quite good, with very nice 3d flowers (only around the edges) filling the in-field. This LROP is X-Plane 12 scenery, so you have the excellent built-in weather effects. Water pools nicely, but the verges are separated from the Runway textures, so again you get that hard line between a wet and totally dry areas, not very convincing or even realistic. Ramps and aprons look pretty good, but "Oh Lord", those over laid hard taxiway (runway) textures don't match the apron wet areas. OTP is however highly usable in winter conditions, but you feel it could have been better. Lighting Overall like the textures the lighting at LROP is adequate, but not very awe-inspiring. Approach lighting is X-Plane 12 ICAO coded and feels very good. Main apron areas are nicely lit, and the old "Henri Coanda" terminal is nicely lit. The "Finger" Terminal looks very nice, but the naked interior is highly visible, and that makes the building look and feel deserted at night... hummm. I expected those huge panel light arrays to be realistic as well, they feel rather dullish than bright, DAi-Media, even all those years ago made them far better. Disappointing again is Landside. There is no lighting on the Terminal frontages (DAI-Media LROP had a nice blue tinge), so there is no terminal feel or activity in the area, it's just dull or dark? In the central infrastructure spine, there is only minimal (mostly down-spot) lighting, and in most areas no lighting at all on any of the buildings. However the TAROM Maintenance build looks nice, better if it is wet on the ground. Navigation signage is poor, very poor and the worst I have seen for a fair while (or is it not finished?). There are only a few pointer signs, worse there is no Taxiway signage at all at crucial intersections, ever worse again on major intersections (Taxiway D-Runway 08R-26L) there are no hold lights, in fact there is nothing out here in the dark at all. There are the odd hold lights, but not at the important runway entrance points, very dismal. ______________ Summary LROP - Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport is the main port into Romania and servicing the capitol city of Bucharest. Not the first X-Plane custom scenery for LROP as that accolade went to a DAI-Media release back in 2013. Before we get into the summary of the scenery. It is important to note the price of Chudoba's version... it is a low if great value US$16.99. This price has to kept in mind with what value you get here and with the scenery's weaknesses. Your not going to get a $25.00+ airport for $16.99 and that perspective needs to kept in mind, however I would rather pay the $25+ and get a better scenery, quality counts to me. Overall this a good LROP-Bucharest, modeling is good and in areas very good, and the detail (in most areas) is again very well done. SAM intergation is also included (but a few of the gates are wayward). The scenery is also X-Plane 12 compatible with wet/ice/snow effects and lighting. A few areas here I feel are not completed. Landside in front of the terminals is quite diabolical, worse it is very visible on the western approaches, I don't want to go back to a X-Plane 9 look in a X-Plane 12 scenery, lighting on this same area and buildings is also quite if completely poor. Many runway textures are overlaid with hard line edges (worse in snowy conditions) and in context textures are average. "Finger" terminal is not completed inside and naked at night, and navigation lighting (important) is also extremely poor. Lighting is fine in the central area, but non-existent to poor in most areas. Tower View is not set either... it's a big list? For the price this Chudoba LROP is a great if a very good destination filler, but I would rather pay more to get a better developed scenery for my routes into Romania. The basics are all here present for this to be that quality scenery, I hope it will be, but for now it will still stay and be on my network to fly into, so overall it is very good value at that low price. _______________________________ The LROP - Bucharest Otopeni International Airport by Chudoba Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store LROP - Bucharest Otopeni International Airport Priced at US$16.99 Features: PBR Textures Custom buildings with PBR textures -ccurate custom PBR ground-poly (supporting weather from X-Plane 12) -Custom 3D vegetation Scenery Animation Manager integration Well Optimized for best performance Custom buildings and objects Custom jetways Accurate night lightning Compatible with X-Plane 11 & X-Plane 12 Compatible with SAM vehicles / SAM follow-me Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB VRAM Recommended Current Version : 1.0 (November 11th 2022) Installation and documents: LROP is downloaded from the Chudoba Design site of 714.70Mb a download. The Chuboba "Library" is also required for download at 1.5GB. Authorsation Key is required to download the scenery. ChudobaDesign_LROP ChudobaDesign_Library 2.29Gb full install in your Custom Scenery folder. SAM3 Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 3.0 is required for this scenery, Documents There is a 1 page "Instruction" page for installation and requirements and links to the Chudoba Design site; here link: https://antileak.it/key?c=deaba33308 BucharestOtopeniAirport.pdf ___________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 24th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved  Review System Specifications:  Computer System: Windows - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 - X-Plane v12.00b14 (note this review was done in the beta revision period) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - None-
  22. NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : Gulfstream 550 v1.03 by AKD Studio The GulfStream G550, a global executive jet of some renown. Was released for both the X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 simulator platforms on 1st October 2022 by AKD Studios. In the comprehensive review I really liked the aircraft, but it had a too many bugs and in reality it was not finished on release. The X-Plane Reviews GulfStream G550 review is here; Aircraft Review : Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio I will be honest, I don't at all like the current disinclination by developers to release an aircraft that with just a few more weeks of development could be top notch. But the idea is to put out the product then get the response and "we will fix that later". It is cutting out the former beta phase of development, and going straight to the masses to find the obvious faults. A lot of purchasers will take this on the chin, but as noted I don't like the strategy, it creates a messy situation for all and for a product that has great promise be damaged early by the wrong assumptions that the product and hence the developer is poor at developing the aircraft, notable is that with a ton of bugs then the reviews can be quite detrimental to the sales, but developers continue to do it. This was the case with the G550 from AKD Studios, a really great aircraft let down by a load of bugs and areas not and quite clearly not finished. This v1.03 update and the earlier v1.02 update (31st Oct 22) shows how much just a few more weeks in development with the aircraft it could have been released in a more quality form. Yes X-Plane and it's aircraft is always an ongoing development. But there is the line between not being finished and fixes not foreseen, when you are asking for money, then you expect at least a little better quality for it. The update list is long between the two updates.... Version 1.03 (November 18th 2022) New features: -Added Automatic landing elevation(XP11/XP12) -Added Pilots 3D model(XP11/XP12) -Added ENG Vibration indicator (XP11/XP12) -Added Inegration with Terrain radar + Vertical Situation Display(Terrain radar Update soon)(XP11/XP12) -Added support for 8.33 kHz radios(XP11/XP12) Bugs fixes: -Improved textures(XP11/XP12) -Improved VS line on DU1/DU4(XP11/XP12) -Improved throttle 3D Model(XP11/XP12) -Improved EFB Clickspots(XP11/XP12) -Improved engines start-up time(XP11/XP12) -Fixed ILS/RNAV Intercepting(XP12) -Fixed Autopilot logic(XP11/XP12) -Fixed APU and Engine bleed air switches(XP11/XP12) -Fixed incorrect CRS on DU1(XP12/XP11) -Fixed Rain Effect(XP12) -Fixed FMA indicators on DU1/DU4(XP11/XP12) -FIxed Minor bugs(XP12/XP11) Version 1.02 (November 4th 2022) New features: -Added 2D “pop-up” and “pop-out” panels(XP11/XP12) -Added time at destination to Cabin Display(XP11/XP12) Bugs fixes: -Removed custom LNAV logic(after XP12 beta 10 LNAV works fine)(XP12) -Improved ILS Intercepting(thanks:jetspeed)(XP11) -Improved Cockpit textures are somewhat blurry(thanks:jetspeed)(XP11/XP12) -Improved engines start-up time(XP11/XP12) -Fixed WPT List(DU1,DU2,DU3,DU4)(XP11/XP12) -Fixed main Landing gear panel(XP11/XP12) -Fixed external Lights position(XP11/XP12) -Fixed Minor bug fixes(XP12,XP11) New features include, 3D Pilots (that look suspiciously like the Laminar default pilots?), ENG VIbration outputs and Terrain Radar (Dr Gluck)... but more is coming here. Support for 8.33 Khz radios and Auto Landing Elevations adds in the new. But a few important areas have still not been addressed, like the METAR tool freezing the aircraft, and those poor window surrounds and there are still no cabin blinds? so there is still a fair way to go. But the G550 from AKD Studios is still overall a very nice aircraft and comes recommended. ________________________________ The Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio is NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore GLF550 - Ultimate Business Jet by AKD Studio Price is US$31.95 This aircraft is X-Plane12 supported, but to note it is in Beta form. Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 - both versions included -Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1 GB Current version : 1.03 (November 18th 2022) _________________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 21st November 2022 Copyright©2022 : X-Plane Reviews  (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) 
  23. No not at all, Airsim3d has tested it and the 560XL needs a lot of work to comply to X-Plane 12, sadly. It was never developed for the new simulator from the start.
  24. NEWS! - Plugins : WebFMC Pro for X-Plane 12 Released! Green Arc Studios have released the WebFMC Plugin application for X-Plane 12. This highly useful tool is a must have in using a remote Web browser to input data into X-Plane 12 aircraft. The WebFMC is a plugin that allows you to use a FMC (Flight Management Computer) on an external screen via a web browser. That is an another computer or tablet. So it is a remote tool, but a very beneficial tool and even a powerful one in programming in route and performance data and following the set aircraft route in flight and in mirroring the aircraft's built in FMS (Flight Management System). Added into the functionality is a load of features in the use of the FMC on another screen.... and so yes I am a huge fan. This X-Plane 12 Application is an "Upgrade" and not an update, so you will have to repurchase the application to use it in X-Plane 12, even then it is great value, and covers your plugin and service updates for the run of the X-Plane 12 version. But for previous users there is a US$10 off offer to upgrade to the X-Plane 12 version. Green Arc Studios note: "X-Plane 12 is still in Early Access stage and therefore WebFMC v2.0.0 should be considered a beta version. Note that supported aircraft list is a bit shorter compared to XP11 edition and consists only aircraft that currently support XP12 and that we were able to test": Default X-Plane FMC DualCDU FlyJSim Q4XP DualCDU Toliss A319 DualCDU Toliss A321 DualCDU Toliss A340 DualCDU FlightFactor 757 v2 Professional DualCDU FlightFactor 767 Professional DualCDU FlightFactor 777 Professional FlightFactor A320 Ultimate DualCDU FlightFactor A350 (old style MCDU) Rotate MD-11 TripleCDU Rotate MD-80 IXEG 737-300 DualCDU X-Crafts ERJ Family DualCDU JarDesign 330 SSG 747-8 Series v2 Zibo Mod 737-800 DualCDU "Other than that we introduced look&feel variants for following default aircraft that use Default FMC": Laminar Airbus 330 Laminar Cessna Citation X Laminar McDonnell Douglas MD-82 "Please be also advised, that due to technical reasons, around the end of 2023 we will be forced to drop support for oldest web browsers that we still support now (eg. Safari on iOS 9.3.5, which is iPad 2). See "Requirements" tab in the store product page for more details on our web browser support policy". Although the current list of supported aircraft is far lower in X-Plane 12 than currently in X-Plane 11, which is an impressive 25 aircraft, that number will equalise as the compatible aircraft are updated (upgraded) to the X-Plane 12 platform (free of charge). I also expect the default aircraft Demo (again free) to be also available to X-Plane 12 users try out the application. X-Plane 11 will be supported by Green Arc Studio's for the next 12 months, but a decision on forward support of the X-Plane 11 platform will be held at that point in time (depending on X-Plane 11 releases). Obviously the plugin will still continue to work in X-Plane 11, but no future aircraft FMS's will be added to the application. ____________________________________ Yes! WebFMC Pro XP12 by Green Arc Studios is NOW AVAILABLE from the X-Plane.Org Store here : WebFMC Pro XP12 Price is US$29.99 Current WebFMC XP11 users can get this new XP12 version at $10 off. Please find the coupon code in the original WebFMC Invoice X-Plane 12 Operating system requirements: - Windows 10 64-bit - Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina) or newer - Ubuntu 22.04 LTS 64-bit Web Client requirements The CDU can be displayed on any modern and up-to-date web browser with JavaScript support. We recommend the latest versions of Google Chrome on PC or Android and Safari on iOS. No internet connection required, remote device needs to be on the same local network as X-Plane PC. We do not guarantee support for vintage and obsolete iOS devices (according to official Apple classification, here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624). If you have an old device try WebFMC Free before buying or upgrading. Access CDU / FMC of select X-Plane 12 airplanes via any modern web browser running on your PC or mobile device over local network. Quick and easy access to the FMC Get easy access to the FMC: quickly edit the flightplan, monitor flight progress, set up your approach and do all the typical work of the pilot without having to move around in the cockpit, even if the plane doesn’t support FMC as a popup natively - on the same PC, or different monitor, tablet or phone - in fact you can use multiple displays at the same time! Make pilot tasks easy and comfortable Enjoy external views during cruise while monitoring flight progress on separate screen or take a quick look at your phone to verify calculated landing speed with just a glimpse of an eye during busy time on approach. Make flying complex SIDs / STARs easy as you can focus on the important flight parameters while having overview of the constraints all the time. Take your mobile to the kitchen as you cook a dinner during a long haul and never miss T/D again! Convenient to use Use physical keyboards on PC with extra keys such as Prev/Next page mapped to keyboard keys for easy access. WebFMC scales dynamically to fit any display or window size and can look as native app on mobiles by using browser's "Add to home screen" feature. Web Client The CDU can be displayed on any modern and up-to-date web browser with JavaScript support. We recommend the latest versions of Google Chrome on PC or Android and Safari on iOS. No internet connection required, remote device needs to be on the same local network as X-Plane PC. Support for WebSockets RFC 6455 standard is required which implies at least iOS version 6. _________________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 18th November 2022 Copyright©2022 : X-Plane Reviews  (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) 
  25. NEWS - Aircraft Update Boeing 747-200 Classic v1.2.02 by Felis X-Plane 12 Felis updated his Boeing 747-200 Classic only days (September 12th 2022) after the "Early Access" release of X-Plane 12. The aircraft was compatible with X-Plane 12, but in the release being so early in the X-Plane Beta phase, it would mean only a limited number of areas would have been covered. The Boeing flew in X-Plane 12, but was not fully developed. So here is another update in v1.2.02 in delivering more fixes and changes to make the B747-200 compatible with X-Plane 12. Notable is that X-Plane 12 is still in it's Beta phase (currently b13), so more changes and refinement will still come, but it has been announced that X-Plane 12 will go final before Christmas 2022. Version 1.2.02 (November 17th 2022) Now compatible with X-Plane 12 +++ fixed backlight of buttons on the audio panels +++ fixed LTN giving error, when selecting leg between waypoints having same lat or lon, but not both. +++ IND lamps now less bright in DIM mode +++ clocks use less power and should not drain batteries too fast +++ LTN now resets POS screen and STS to level 10, when turned OFF after the flight. +++ fixed power logic for INS and LTN. was unable to start with dead batteries +++ LTN should save time of passing each waypoint for FPL page +++ new libradio plugin +++ fixed Crash on the Ref/Brg/Dist Screen, when entering a custom waypoint like AAA123. +++ initial engine tuning +++ fixed loading and balance calc. +++ fixed crossing the LON 180 line in the LTN logic +++ Weather radar antenna now synchronized with pitch to keep it leveled +++ fixed STS page not able to enter UPDATE menu sometimes Update download v1.2.02 is now available via the X-Plane.OrgStore (Account) or use the Skunkcraft Updater. Re-authorisation is required (A full restart is also recommended). Yes! the Boeing 747-200 Classic v1.2.02 by Felis Planes is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Boeing 747-200 Classic Price is US$70.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.2 GB Current version : 1.2 (November 17th 2022) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 18th November 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.
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