Jump to content

Stephen

Chief Reviewers
  • Posts

    2725
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    352

Everything posted by Stephen

  1. NEWS! - Navigraph introduce Weather Layers to Charts 8 One application that has been very innovative and has changed almost entirely has been the Charts tool from Navigraph. Initially Navigraph only provided simulator navigation data, the monthly AIRAC, then later Jeppesen's worldwide IFR and VFR charts. Then they created applications to use charts and mapping world wide, and the biggest change was with the Charts 7 release. Then a complete rewrite bought Charts 8 in November 2022. This comprehensive update provided; – Worldwide VFR Charts – Drag and Drop Route Construction (only Desktop and Cloud in initial release) – Seamless Zoom – 3D Globe Projection – Autopinning of Procedure Charts – Airport Crosswind and Weather Information – Vector Charts Now added into Charts 8 is another new feature.... Weather layers. Dynamic weather layers now in Charts 8 provides up-to-date meteorological insights. From AIRMETs/SIGMETs and wind barbs to radar and convective cloud layers, and all can be used for planning and decision-making for VFR and IFR simmers. Radar – Monitor real-time precipitation and storm activity. The weather radar also supports a 2 hour playback to facilitate the anticipation of weather conditions for your flight. AIRSIGMET / CWA (AIRman’s METeorological Information / SIGnificant METeorological Information / Center Weather Advisory) – Stay informed about significant weather hazards and hazardous flying conditions such as thunderstorms, turbulence and icing across your route. ‍ METAR (METeorological Aerodrome Report) – Display real-time meteorological aerodrome report information such as temperature, dewpoint, wind and ceiling to gauge current weather conditions at airports around the world. Turbulence – Identify regions of potential turbulence along your flight path to ensure a smoother journey. Icing (Severity) – Understand the severity of icing conditions in different regions and adjust your flight plan accordingly. ‍ Reflectivity – Gain insights into precipitation by visualizing areas of precipitation and their severity. Cloud Cover – Evaluate cloud coverage and make informed decisions based on ceiling conditions displayable from FL20 up to FL500. ‍ ISA (International Standard Atmosphere) Temperature – Gain a better general understanding of the regional temperatures and plan your flights more accurately by incorporating International Standard Atmosphere temperature variations. ‍ Tropopause – Identify the upper limit of the troposphere to gain a better understanding of weather at high altitudes. ‍ Convective Cloud Top Level – Visualize the top levels of convective clouds to assess the potential for severe weather. ‍ High Cloud Top Level – Identify the altitude of high-level clouds, allowing for a better understanding of high altitude weather. ‍ Visibility – Display regions with low visibility to ensure safe and efficient navigation. ‍ MSL (Mean Sea Level) Pressure – View mean sea level pressure to understand the regional atmospheric conditions. ‍ Jet Streams – Discover the location of jet streams at different altitudes and plan your flights accordingly. ‍ Wind Barbs – Observe wind directions and strength with wind barbs at different altitudes for increased situational awareness and accurate flight planning. A 24-hour forecast is available for all layers except AIRMETs/SIGMETs, METAR, and radar; A 6-hour playback is available for all layers but AIRMETs/SIGMETs and METAR, while the radar offers a 2-hour playback. There is a video provided by Navigraph to explain all the various Weather Layers you can use. Navigraph Charts are not free as you need to subscribe to Navigraph on a monthly or yearly basis or EUR 9.05 / mo or EUR 81.64 / year, so you could do a month update of the AIRAC cycle and then drop out again. But lately I have been leaving my monthly subscription active all the time. As the whole system since acquiring SimBrief last year is just all so brilliant... now even indispensable tools as they are both now highly intergrated. NEWS! - SimBrief updated by Navigraph Just so brilliant... at only a slight cost per month. _____________________________________ Yes! Navigraph v8.0 with Weather Layers is now Available Navigraph Subscription only on a monthly or yearly basis or EUR 9.05 / mo or EUR 81.64 / year Download Download applications are available for both Windows and Mac. SimLink is also available for download and in inserted into your X-Plane Plugins folder.... Internet connection is required for this application. SimBrief is now also intergrated into the Navigraph application, get it here: SimBrief Navigraph Charts Review version v8.28.0 _____________________________________ Application NEWS! by Stephen Dutton  20th June 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) 
  2. Aircraft Update Review : Piper Twin Comanche PA30 X-Plane 12 by vFlyteAir Simulations Just a week out from the Houston FlightSimExpo 2023. vFlyteAir Simulations released three aircraft upgraded to X-Plane 12. As vFlyteAir are based in Texas, then there is a good chance they will be at the Expo, so say hello. The important aspects behind vFlyteAir Simulation's philosophy. Is that all their aircraft have been designed around a real donor machine, so the results are perfect imitations of the real aircraft. vFlyteAir not only reproduce the aircraft, but perfect their performance and flying dynamics for Simulator flying and training. Our look in this review is at one of the released upgraded aircraft that is the PA-30, Piper Twin Comanche. The aircraft has been totally rebuilt from the ground up for X-Plane 12 (good news as the X-Plane 11 version was feeling a bit dated). Price is noted as an upgrade, so you have to repurchase the aircraft for this only X-Plane 12 version (but X-Plane 11 purchasers get 40% off the price). However the features have been upgraded as well. Twin Comanche is a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a retractable tricycle landing gear. It comes with tip tanks which allows the aircraft to hold 120 gallons (454 l) of fuel. Fuel burn at typical cruise settings is approximately 16 gph (58.7 lph) with a cruise speed of 165 kts. It easily climbs to 18,000 feet (5,500 m) when desired (24,000 feet (7,300 m) if turbocharged). When compared with the Seminole, the Twin Comanche goes faster, carries more, burns less fuel, is quieter, climbs more rapidly and ultimately higher. With the tip tanks attached it has a range of 1200 miles (1931 km). The Twin Comanche was produced from 1963 in the same Lock Haven, Pennsylvania production line as its single-engined cousin; production ceased when the factory was flooded in 1972. Piper chose at that time to focus instead on its equally popular Cherokee 140/180/235/Arrow line, an aircraft that was manufactured in Florida. First impressions are brilliant. The PA-30 looks very different in X-Plane 12 compared to X-Plane 11, vibrant, more realistic. It looked good in X-Plane 11, don't get me wrong on that point, but here it totally shines. The aircraft to a point also needed a bit of help, although an early 60's design, the Comanche in design can feel dated, but I feel the new X-Plane 12 dynamics in lighting changes that aspect. VflyteAir's perfect modeling helps enormously, here redone completely from the ground up... so you really feel, see the update and the improvements. I am genuinely surprised on how much better this aircraft looks in X-Plane 12. Certainly already the panel fit, riveting and superb detailing as that was a given and all with PBR textures, but it just all feel so much better here, all a big tick from me. This is the thing about X-Plane 12, yes it can elevate most aircraft, but developer tuned aircraft to the new lighting dynamics really do stand out. Engine air vents can still be closed, or opened again if the temperatures start to rise. Versions: Steam Panel and Glass Panel The X-Plane 11 Twin-Comanche came with only one version... a standard analog instrument panel. Here now though with the X-Plane 12 release you get two choices, first we will look at the original... Steam Panel. Steam Panel The analog instrument panel in design is not changed from the original XP11 facia. Massively lovely inset standard flying instruments. VOR-1 with Glideslope indicator and a KRA 405B RADAR Altimeter left and to the right four (twin) Engine gauges (RPM/CHT/EGT/MANIFOLD/FF) dominate the panel with a far right side box of Fuel/Oil gauges, and a good avionics stack makes this a really nice layout. It is a layout I really like a lot as it is all very period original and authentic. Notably all the magneto switches and starter switches are now located on the lower left of the instrument panel. The analog equipment stack is exactly the same. Radio is a PS Engineering PMA8000Ti, then the standard Garmin GNS530. Then a Bendix/King KX 155 COMM2/NAV2 radio (COMM1/NAV1 is part of the GNS530). The Avidyne AXP340 transponder is a nice bit of kit, it covers the transponder, with Pressure Alt, Flight Time, Stop Watch and Flight ID as part of the system. A very nice looking Voltmeter and fuses panel is still set below the transponder. Glass Panel The "Glass" panel was promised for the X-Plane 11 PA-30 aircraft but was never installed (actually the Aspen, but changed here). Now you have a separate (.acf) aircraft noted for this glass option. Here you have a vFlyteAir custom Garmin G5 PFD/HSI (stacked) combination Primary Flight Display. With another electronic feature of a Garmin TXi touch-screen Engine Information System (EIS), with built in Lean Mode. In reality the G5 system replaces the central PFD (Artificial Horizon) and lower HSI (Heading Indicator) with electronic (Glass) versions... Both pop-out for convenience and ease of use. G5 ADI Page displays - Artificial Horizon, Airspeed (tape), attitude (tape), altitude, vertical speed, heading, and course deviation information (CDI) The G5 unit is a bright, sunlight readable, 3.5-inch color display. In the case of aircraft power loss, the G5 battery sustains the G5 flight display with up to (4) hours of power. Battery back-up power and battery recharge and is fully simulated here. There is also a "On" system power-up, and an power-on introduction screen which will appear briefly during system initialization. Another feature is G5 failures, and annunciations will be shown to indicate the nature of the failed system. PFD G5 ADI Page displays - Artificial Horizon, Airspeed (tape), attitude (tape), altitude, vertical speed, heading, and course deviation information. There is a lot of built in menus... but first press the power button and you can adjust the screen brightness via the knob... Pushing the right adjustment knob (centre), brings up the PFD menu, there are five adjustment options - Heading, Altitude, Pitch, Baro and ESP (Electronic Stability and Protection ). There is another (hidden) Configuration Menu. You access the Menu by turning the power off? Hold down the power button until the system shuts down. Then repress the power button for 2 Secs to enter Configuration Mode. There are two options in Configuration Mode; "Airspeed" and "Units Configuration". Airspeed sets/changes the Airspeeds (V-speeds), and there are two pages of airspeeds you can change... Units Configuration sets/changes - Altitude (Feet/Meters), Distance (Nautical/Metric), Airspeed (knt/mph/kph),Groundspeed (knt/mph/kph), Vertical Speed Units (Feet/Meters per minute) and Pressure (in hg/mb/hPa). All done then select "Exit Configuration & Reboot" to exit the Configuration Mode, the system will then restart the Garmin G5 system to normal. HSI The lower HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator) also has a menu system. Pressing the power button, you can again adjust the display brightness. Pushing the right adjustment knob (centre), brings up the HSI menu, there are five adjustment options - Heading, Altitude, OBS/Course (Omni-Bearing Selector), Bearing Pointer, PFD and Setup. Selection of Heading, Altitude and OBS is directly changing the action... here is OBS or Course (direction) adjustment. Selecting PFD will put the upper Primary Flight Display in the lower display.... Selecting Bearing Pointer will bring up the Bearing Circle, and used with... ... the two bearing pointers. The pointers are selected and changed in the "Setup". There are four options per pointer - None, VLOV1, VLOC2 and GPS1 So the Garmin G5 Electronic Flight Instrument system here is used with the Garmin GFC500 Autopilot controller head with popup window, set mid panel. The GFC500 panel also pops out for your convenience, and is seriously nice to use. Garmin EIS Garmin TXi Engine Information System (EIS) is a display and sensor system with a touch-screen control option. The EIS panel can be popped out, moved and scaled from a small to large display. The EIS displays engine, Electrical, and Fuel information. In this configuration for a twin-engine airplane, engine information provided includes - Manifold Pressure, Engine RPM, Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature, Exhaust Gas Temperature, and Cylinder Head Temperature. Turn the outer knob to highlight the EGT left or right temperature display box, or alternately, tap the desired EGT temperature display box to select it. The Fuel QTY (Quantity) is also selectable. Like the Garmin G5, it also has a configuration menu; "System - Units" menu with three selections - Fuel (GAL/LTS), Pressure (PSI/IN HG), Temperature (ºF/ºC)... "Engine" with three selections - EST Fuel Quantity Remaining, EST Fuel Quantity from Gauges, and Select Lean Mode. The last selection will change the digital display to "Lean Mode". During Lean Mode, cylinders are not selectable. The hottest cylinder is shown with a white bar. As the engine is leaned, a white peak “saddle” (horizontal bar) will move vertically up the graph until a peak EGT value is reached. After peak is reached, the “saddle” will stay at the peak value. As the cylinder temperature decreases below peak value, a reference value will appear the top right of the graph. The reference value indicates the EGT drop from peak value. Glass avionic stack is slightly different. Top is the same PS Engineering PMA8000Ti radio, below the standard Garmin GNS530 (VOR1). Then a more modern Garmin GNC 255 COM2/NAV2 radio with automated station ID lookups for both COM and NAV stations (nice)... finally lower is the same excellent Avidyne AXP340 transponder. Highlights of the cabin include those authentic rectangle shaped Yokes with central "Piper Comanche" logo, dirty as hell, worn but seriously nice, but no PTT button on these dated controls. Headset if selected will lower the cabin noise by 4db, nicely done, as are the different sets of rudder pedals, with the custom Piper left, and only bars right. Cabin is 60's original, with a single rear bench seat and two forward chairs, lovely headlining is also very vintage. Cabin in materials is off white leather with darker grey internals and grey walls. Love the roof positioned chrome pitch trim winder, and the drop down window shades are very dinky. Thankfully gone is the in your face pop-up instrument panel, horrible from the start, I'm glad its not in here anymore. But most displays and avionics pop-out for convenience, helpful as the G5 combo can be hard to read. _________________ The basic Twin-Comanche is powered by two 160-hp (119-kW) Lycoming IO-320-B1A engines in wing-mounted nacelles. Sounds obviously come from a donor PA-30 aircraft, so you have full circular doppler and spatial effects in FMOD 2.2 mode. In other words excellent. Naturally all X-Plane 12 rain and ice effects all work and are very effective and realistic. Dynamically the Comanche flies like a dream, you would be very disappointed if it didn't coming from vFlyteAir. But once behind the controls the aircraft responds perfectly to your commands, nice banked turns, it climbs well at 1,460 ft/min (7.4 m/s), mostly your pitch is around 1,200 fpm)... a Maximum speed of 205 mph (330 km/h, 178 kn), with a Cruise speed: 178 mph (286 km/h, 155 kn) (in a long range cruise)with tip tanks, 165 normal cruise. It is a beautiful aircraft to fly, better in X-Plane 12. Two points however I will make. One is that compass turns under the GFC500 autopilot, are very, very wide, even only a 2-3 degree turn, so you have to plan well ahead, or take manual control, do the tighter degree turn then reset the GFC500 at the new heading. Second point is that there isn't a lot of throttle response. Power up and the aircraft takes awhile to respond, worse is landing as you can't use the throttles to control the descent. I even found under the V/S Vertical speed, if you reduced power the PA-30 actually balloons upwards? so you feel a little disconnected from the aircraft when descending and landing in feel, if you like me fly by throttle inputs, it's tricky to get right at first, until you are used to it. Here both points are highlighted, the 2º turn, and the ballooning on the approach... Under carriage detail is amazing... in the animation and the quality of the gear. All the three wheels and hubs are nicely worn and worked, and the hydraulic piston with gear support is perfect. The ballooning made me long in the landing, but control at the flare point was perfect, slight nose up at 65 knts, and the Twin-Comanche will sink nicely... .... into a smooth landing. So the PA-30 has a sort of interesting flight dynamic you will need to get your head around, to get perfection. _________________ Menu The Twin-Comanche menu is all new for X-Plane 12. Gone are the four separate menu pages, replaced by three options in one menu with tabs. You can bring up the menu via either the "Piper" tab lower left of your screen, or from the Plugins/vFlyteAir Twin Comanche Menu in the X-Plane banner. Three tabs cover - "Options", "Load Manager" and "Checklist"... the old "Power Setting Table" is gone. Options In the "Options " panel you have eleven options - Select Pilot Gender, Show/Hide Gauge Glass, Show/Hide Window Glass, Toggle Shake effects, Ground Elements, Show/Hide Passengers, Show/Hide Tablet, Use Tow Bar, Fuel Selectors, Start from Cold & Dark and Pre-Flight Walkaround. You can switch to either a male or female pilot, both extremely well done and both the pilots are fully animated. Reflections in both Instrument and window glass can be made clear. "Toggle Shake Effects" are excellent, shake/vibration effects based on engine speed, stalls, and touch-down events are all very realistic, they can also be turned on or off. Ground Elements are all or nothing... not my favorite option as I like to use parking items like chocks separately? You do get Tie-Downs, Engine Inlet covers and Chocks... If you are dumb enough to try to takeoff with the elements showing, the menu will pop-up and place an arrow on the Ground Element option. There are two passengers in the rear, again a male and a female. Quality of the figures and animation is outstanding, developers have come a long way in presenting realistic pilots and passengers, but these are some of the best with smooth neck movements. You can Show/Hide all three in one click with this Show/Hide Passengers option. There is a "Tow Bar" option to manoeuvre the PA-30 on the ground... when selected you get a cross, that allows you to use your mouse to pull/push and turn the handle in the direction you want to go. The Twin Comanche's fuel selection panel is in a hard place to access, deep on the floor between the front seats. So for ease of selection the fuel selectors are placed on the menu. It's a good one with feeds between all the tanks. An option to "Start from Cold & Dark" is also available. Last option is the "walkaround".... here you can go point to point around the aircraft and check things like the fuel quantity, move/test flying surfaces, but note if you move the surface to a position, make sure it is returned to the neutral position as there is no auto reset? An odd trick here is that I was able to place the chocks in this mode individually! But still able to use the full option to clear them. Load Manager The X-Plane 11 PA-30 had a great Weights & Balances page, and you get the same here. You can show/hide any of the passengers (front and rear) and select all the persons on board with their own separate weight (but only in lbs)... baggage in the rear is also available by the amount of weight you dial in. Fuel is the same with six tanks available (Main/Aux/Tip) but again only in GAL (Gallons), this weight is then all shown on the CofG (Centre of Gravity) graph Both the main cabin door and baggage locker, have to opened manually, as is the small side window by the pilot. Checklists There is now a tab for checklists in - Pre-Flight, Starting, Taxi and Ramp, Takeoff, Climb and Cruise and Descent and Landing. You used to in XP11 tick off the boxes as you went through the lists, but you can't do that here. But you can now move and scale the checklist pop-out as compensation. _________________ Lighting As with all X-Plane 12 aircraft, the lighting is new. The adjustments however are the same, and very good they are. Instrument Panel lighting is very nice... at night, but the current X-Plane 12 bug of showing no lighting in the daylight is visible here, even with panel Lighting Posts. Not so in the dark as the panel just glows... More forward lighting can be had by using the overhead light, there is a second one more to the rear for the cabin... again forward is a red light for the overhead trim handle and compass, nice red glow feel down on the instrument panel as well. There are two knobs on the instrument panel that adjusts separately the brightness of instruments and the avionics. Externally the lighting is very X-Plane 12... very good and sharp. There are two landing light in each wingtip, and a front strut taxi light. Rotating beacon on the top of the tail, and lovely navigation and strobe lights. The main landing lights again disappears in the daylight, as does the tail beacon light? _________________ Liveries There are thirteen liveries in the package, all unchanged from the X-Plane 11 originals, except the vFlyteAir house (default) has been retired and replaced by the all blue real N92NE donor aircraft livery as default and missing from the XP11 package. If you change the livery then the rego number is changed on the top of the instrument panel which is a nice touch... Another nice change is from the horrid STMA updater to the more modern Stunkcrafts tool, so the updater is now not popping up on the screen anymore, but resides in the Skunkcraft menu. _________________ Summary vFlyteAir Simulations released the PA-30 Twin Comanche for X-Plane 11 in June 2017. The version had three major updates (up to Feb 19), then the focus went somewhere else. Here is the X-Plane 12 version of the same Twin Comanche, but this is a total overhaul of the original aircraft, new modeling, textures and associated PBR lighting effects, it feels fresh and new, because at it's heart it is. Added here is a second version to the original "Analog" or "Steam" gauge instruments layout, with a Garmin G5 "Glass" cockpit PDF/HSI with a GFC500 Autopilot and a Garmin TXi Engine Information System (EIS). Support for RealityXP® GTN750, GTN650 and GNS530 plugins is also available. FMOD2 sounds are exceptional and taken from a real PA-30 donor aircraft, as are the realistic shake/vibration effects. Also new is the menu... four separate menus have been replaced by one menu with three tabs, the old "Power Setting Table" is gone. Excellent options and a more simplified Weight & Balance menu is excellent, with highly realistic passenger/baggage/fuel weight on a CofG graph... highly animated quality passengers and pilot are also available. Third menu is now the checklist, gone are the tickoffs, but you can now scale and move the menu pop-up. vFlyteAir flight dynamics are excellent, as per a real PA-30, but there are two quirks. In first the turn rate via the GFC500 is only 2º. Second is the aircraft is hard to fly by throttle, or lagged. This may be a Twin-Comanche characteristic and correct by vFlyteAir. But it requires a different approach to the way you fly the aircraft, and a skill learning curve. Other point is the X-Plane 12 lighting in the daylight is subdued, but I don't think this is a developer trait. Price is noted as an upgrade, so you have to repurchase the aircraft for this only X-Plane 12 version, but X-Plane 11 purchasers get 40% off the price, and considering the new modeling, extra avionics and X-Plane 12 features it is a great if excellent deal. And valid for updates for the entire X-Plane 12 run. Any of the recently released upgraded aircraft from vFlyteAir Simulations to X-Plane 12 are to be highly regarded for your virtual hanger, the PA-30 Twin Comanche is the twin-engined aircraft of the series, and this is a very highly desirable aircraft. Here totally better all round and it comes with not only the new X-Plane 12 features, but added features to the aircraft via avionics and a new menu... Highly Recommended! _________________ Yes! the vFlyteAir Simulation aircraft PA-30 Twin-Comanche is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Piper Twin Comanche PA30 XP12 Price Is: US$34.95 XP11 version (Twin Comanche XP11) owners can get the XP12 version for 40% off... discounted to US$20.97 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 515 MB Current version : 12 (June 15th 2023) Installation and documents: download for the Twin Comanche is 838Mb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 1.28Gb Documents supplied are: Piper-Twin-Comanche-POH_notforrealflight.pdf vFlyteAir_AXP340_Transponder_PilotsGuide.pdf vFlyteAir_G5_PilotsGuide_v2.pdf vFlyteAir_GFC500_GMC507_Autopilot_PilotsGuide.pdf vFlyteAir_GNC255_NAV_COMM_Radio_PilotsGuide.pdf vFlyteAir_KAP140_Autopilot_PilotsGuide.pdf vFlyteAir_KR82_ADF_PilotsGuide.pdf vFlyteAir_TwinComanche_PilotsGuide.pdf vFlyteAir_Txi_EIS_PilotsGuide.pdf There is a huge amount of Documentation provided here, including performance charts, reference guides, but also X-Plane/hardware settings and custom and most dedicated to the Garmin avionics in detail. All updates are via the built-in Skunkcrafts Updater Design by vFlyteAir Support forum for the PA 30 Twin Comanche _________________ Review System Specifications Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.05r1 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 _________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 20th June 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.
  3. NEWS! - vFlyteAir updates Piper Arrow III, Piper Twin Comanche and Cessna 150 Commuter to X-Plane 12 Quality General Aviation aircraft for Simulators are important. Any learner pilot needs access to a quality model, they need perfect performance and exact handling to get the feel of the aircraft in the process of training to fly that aircraft. Thankfully X-Plane is known for it's supreme flight dynamics, so add in a quality and well developed aircraft, one that delivers the best Simulation you can have, and you create the perfect ultimate training tool. These important aspects are behind vFlyteAir Simulation's philosophy. All their aircraft have been designed around a real donor machine, so the results are perfect imitations of the real aircraft. vFlyteAir not only reproduce the aircraft, but perfect their performance and flying dynamics for Simulator flying and training. Here now vFlyteAir have updated three of their aircraft to X-Plane12, these are the Piper Arrow III (in both G5 and E1000 configurations), the Piper Twin Comanche and the Cessna 150 Commuter. All three aircraft are "Upgrades" to X-Plane 12, but current X-Plane 11 owners can upgrade to the X-Plane 12 version for 40% off the current price. Piper Arrow III Based on the PA-28 Cherokee, the Arrow III is a four-seater, retractable landing gear aircraft, powered by a Lycoming IO-360-C1C6 engine of 200 hp (149 kW). It was first certified on 2 November 1976. X-PlaneReviews did a full comprehensive review here of the vFlyteAir X-Plane 11 version; Aircraft Review : Piper PA28R Arrow III G5 - E1000 by vFlyteAir Here the aircraft comes in three configurations, the Garmin G5, Aspen EFDE1000 and the old style Analog gauges. RealityXP® Plugin Support is also available - Both Arrow III versions have integrated, automatic in-panel support for up to six different RXP plugin configurations, including RXP g430, RXP GTN650 and RXP GTN750 options. ____________ Piper Twin Comanche The Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche was designed as a twin-engined variant of the Piper PA-24 Comanche. A complex light twin, with retractable landing gear, seating 4 (in original models) to 6 (in later models), and cruise speeds ranging from 160-210 mph on twin 150-160 horsepower engines, it competed with the more-powerful Cessna 310 and Beech Baron, and later with Piper's other light twins. X-PlaneReview of the vFlyteAir Twin-Comanche is now a bit dated (2017), but worth a look; Aircraft Review - Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche by vFlyteAir Notable is the X-Plane 12 version of the Twin Comanche has been rebuilt from the ground up. Comes in two versions, Glass Cockpit (Garmin G5 PFD/HSI) and standard Steam Gauge analog version. There is also built-in support for RealityXP® GTN750, GTN650 and GNS530 plugins. Features Include; Rebuilt from the ground up for X-Plane 12! New instrument panel features vFlyteAir custom Garmin G5 PFD/HSI combination – no 3rd party purchases required Built-in support for RealityXP® GTN750, GTN650 and GNS530 plugins (must be purchased separately from RealityXP®) “Steam Gauges” panel version included if you prefer to fly using analog instruments Magneto switches and starter switches are now located on the lower left of the instrument panel Flight model optimized for X-Plane 12 Fuel tanks and fuel tank selectors work like the real Twin Comanche. For convenience, the fuel tank selectors can be operated from the Options Menu Functional, realistic emergency gear deployment FMOD 2.02 sounds for X-Plane 12 compatibility with Doppler effects and spatial effects New popup menu with Options, Load Manager and Checklists Highly detailed 3D model with realistic animations Shake/vibration effects based on engine speed, stalls, and touch-down events. Can be turned off in Options Menu Selectable male or female pilot (selectable in Options Menu) Gauge glass and window glass can be hidden (see Options Menu) for better clarity VR compatible Pilot headset provides sound attenuation Built-in support for AviTab plugin (available separately) Full interior and exterior PBR textures XP12 rain and ice effects XP12 exterior lights Automatically updated using the Skunkcrafts Updater plugin (separate download) ____________ Cessna 150 Commuter The Cessna 150 is the fifth most produced aircraft ever, with 23,839 produced. The Cessna 150 was offered for sale in named configurations that included the Standard basic model, the Trainer with dual controls, and the deluxe Commuter, along with special options for these known as Patroller options. American-made 150s were all produced with the Continental O-200-A engine of 100 horsepower (75 kW). A trainers... trainer aircraft, the Cessna 150 is the perfect start to any aviation career. X-PlaneReviews did a full comprehensive review here of the vFlyteAir X-Plane 11 version; Aircraft Review : Cessna 150 Commuter by vFlyteAir Fully rebuilt from the ground up for X-Plane 12, the Cessna 150 Commuter comes with four different instrument panel options... Trainer, Commuter, Commuter W/ADF and Commuter W/GPS. Features Original, authentic Cessna 150 sounds professionally recorded and engineered by Mike Maarse, SimAcoustics Four different panel options - the Basic Trainer panel is perfect for students or those who simply want to fly with basic navigation. The Commuter panel has three different selectable configurations depending on your needs Click on the pilot's headset (hanging from the window sill) to reduce exterior noise by approximately 12 dB Airspeed indicator can be changed from MPH-over-KTS to KTS-over-MPH Altimeter can be changed from in hg to hPa Optional Custom Engine Start feature - when ON, the Custom Engine Start logic requires the pilot to follow engine start procedures per the POH including throttle lever setting, mixture setting and priming Keep your Twin Comanche up to date with the SkunkCrafts Updater (separate download) Integrated support for the AviTab plugin Checklists provided for the XChecklist plugin (available here) Super hi-res textures PBR effects 14 different liveries including a blank white Paint kit available "Save States" preferences - more than 50 different settings, options and preferences are saved each time you fly. Your settings are restored the next time you fly. Dynamic, animated rain effects Design by vFlyteAir Support forum for the PA 30 Twin Comanche Images are courtesy vFlyteAir Simulations ________________ Yes! all thevFlyteAir Simulation aircraft in, Arrow III, Twin-Comanche and Cessna 150 Commuter are now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Piper PA28R Arrow III G5 - E1000 XP12 Price Is: US$33.95 XP11 version (Arrow III XP11) owners can get the XP12 version for 40% off... US$20.07 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, MAC, or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM recommended Download size: 468 MB Version 12 (June 15 2023) ________________ Piper Twin Comanche PA30 XP12 Price Is: US$34.95 XP11 version (Twin Comanche XP11) owners can get the XP12 version for 40% off... US$20.97 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 515 MB Current version : 12 (June 15th 2023) ________________ Cessna 150 Commuter XP12 Price Is On sale: US$29.95 XP11 version (Cessna 150 Commuter XP11) owners can get the XP12 version for 40% off... US$17.97 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 863 MB Version 12 (June 15th 2023) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 16th June 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! - Cami de Bellis updates La Tontouta Noumea and Dolpa Nepal Airport to X-Plane 12 Known for her intricate, well detailed sceneries. Cami de Bellis has a big reputation as a quality scenery developer for the X-Plane Simulator. Now two of her say "Greatest hits" of quality scenery have been upgraded for the latest interpretations of La Tontouta Noumea and Dolpa Nepal Airport to X-Plane 12. Notable is that both sceneries are "Upgrades", so a new purchase is required, however both sceneries are 40% discounted for the upgrade. Also the custom CBD library is also required for both sceneries. La Tontouta Noumea La Tontouta International Airport (NWWW), also known as Nouméa – La Tontouta International Airport is the main international airport in New Caledonia, France and the military base for the French Air Force based in New-Caledonia. The airport is in the municipality of Païta, approximately 52 km (32 mi) northwest of Nouméa. A major expansion of the airport's terminal was completed in here 2012 after several years of work. The project resulted in a significant increase in the terminal's size and included a new arrivals area, a larger check-in area and the installation of two jetbridges. Scenery details are; Highly accurate scenery for NWWW with all buildings modeled Animated airport vehicles (GroundTraffic) Autogate by marginal Mesh of airport corrected exclusively for this scenery, created by Matthias Seewald/Maps2Xplane and expressly authorized by Austin Meyer Photoscenery for the entire Airport area Detailed airport objects and vehicles Custom textured taxiways, runways and apron Custom surroundings buildings Custom airport lights High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures – all in 2K and 4K Excellent night effects World Traffic 3 compatible Manual included X-PlaneReviews La Tontouta X-Plane 11 review is here; Scenery Review : NWWW La Tontouta Noumea - New Caledonia by Cami de Bellis ________________ Dolpa Airport Also known as Juphal Airport is a domestic airport (VNDP) located in Juphal, Thuli Bheri serving the Dolpa District, a district in Karnali Pradesh in Nepal. It is the only airport of the district. The airport resides at an elevation of 8,200 feet (2,499 m) above mean sea level. VNDP has only one runway designated 15/33 measuring 663 by 30 metres (2,175 ft × 98 ft). Scenery details are; Highly accurate scenery for VNDP- Dolpa/Juphal Airport with all buildings modeled Over 40 custom objects all with Ambient Occlusion DSF mesh created and modified to fix bump terrain and set and correct the topography of Airport’s area Fully compatible to Ortho4XP_meshes Photo real textures on buildings, vehicles etc. Detailed airport objects and vehicles Custom textured taxiways, runways, and apron Custom surroundings buildings Custom forest and flora trees High resolution building textures – all in 2K Excellent night effects Images of NWWW and VNDP are courtesy of Cami de Bellis ________________ Yes! both La Tontouta Noumea and Dolpa Nepal by Cami de Bellis is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here : NWWW La Tontouta Noumea - New Caledonia XP12 Price Is On sale: $22.40 US$13.44 40% off Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb VRAM Minimum. 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended CDB-Library is required Download Size: 425 MB Version 12 (June 13th 2023) ________________ VNDP - Dolpa Airport Nepal XP12 Price Is On sale: $19.95 US$11.95 40% off Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 Gb VRAM Minimum. 8 Gb+ VRAM Recommended CDB-Library is required Current version 12 (June 14th 2023) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 15th June 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
  5. NEWS! : Scenery Release : RJGG - Chubu Centrair International Airport, Japan by DarkBlue Look at the address of Chubu Centrair International Airport, set on an artificial island, and you would get a confused face about it all? Where?, What? whatever... But RJGG is an interesting destination, first the name is "Central Japan International Airport", then you notice it is only 37 kilometers away from the downtown of Nagoya... then across Ise Bay is Suzuka.... ahhhh! then your face light's up. That Suzuka, the Formula One circuit Suzuka... got it. Suddenly it all becomes a very interesting destination. Chubu Centrair International Airport, is located on the Artificial island of Ise Bay, Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. It is a 4E international airport, Japan's national central airport, and a portal aviation hub... As of July 2020, Chubu Centrair International Airport has 2 terminals and 36 boarding bridges; There are a total of 81 aircraft stands on the civil aviation apron, including 28 near the bridge; There is one runway, 3500 meters long and 60 meters wide. DarkBlue is a name I am not familiar with either, but don't google it, you will never find it in all the millions of colour returns, so they are a bit of a mystery (hint, change your name DarkBlue if you want better exposure). Product Features Custom Taxiway and runway texture Terminal and surrounding buildings restored based on reality Simple interior structure of the terminal building and tower Custom airport ground service models FPS is extremely friendly Support for both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 Accurate taxiway according to the latest chart Set at a value price UD$16.95, RJGG Chubu Centrair is a very interesting addition to your Japanese and Asia networks. Images are courtesy of DarkBlue. _________________ Yes! - RJGG - Chubu Centrair International Airport, Japan by DarkBlue is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : RJGG - Chubu Centrair International Airport, Japan Price is US$16.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 8GB VRAM Minimum Download Size: 517 MB Current version: 1.0 (June 12th 2023) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 13th June 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
  6. NEWS! : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro by Rotate goes X-Plane 12 compatible When the X-Plane 12 update for Rotate's excellent McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro was released back in early May 2023, it was noted as a "beta" release. I found very few areas that needed attention, but Rotate kept the aircraft on the side of caution. That "Beta" tag has now been removed, so the MD-88 is now fully X-Plane compatible, the update to X-Plane 12 consisted of; Compatibility with X-Plane 12. - New set of cockpit textures and materials. - Added 3D lights to cockpit. - Upgraded exterior textures and materials. - Upgraded exterior lights. - Added windshield rain and ice effects. - Added support for VR. - Added support for high dpi displays. - Improved weight and balance. - Upgraded aerodynamics. - Upgraded engine performance. - Improved cockpit sounds. - Improved anti-ice systems. - Added FMC support for reverse airway lookup. - Fixed LNAV deviation in long legs. - Fixed bug that caused (rare) random CTD in ATI drivers. - Fixed a bug in FMC route loading. - Added a command to toggle parking brake. - Fixed a bug in manipulator class. - Tuned windshield wipers speeds. - Fixed sunscreens texture. - Tuned AP guidance. . Improved T/C and T/D precision in ND. - Updated default navigation database. And X-PlaneReviews covered the MD-88 X-Plane 12 release in full detail here; Aircraft Upgrade Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate One of the more mature and classic airliners now available in X-Plane 12, and earlier X-Plane 11 purchasers can upgrade to the X-Plane 12 MD-88 version for only US$24.95 _____________________ Yes! the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 Price is US$59.95 Purchasers of the MD-80 XP11 can get this new XP12 version for only US$24.95. Use the coupon code included in your original MD-80 XP11 Requirements X-Plane 12 Fully updated (not for XP11) Windows 8 or Mac OSX 10.12 or newer (using Rosetta for ARM Processors), Linux Ubuntu 64b 18.04 or newer. 8 GB VRAM Minimum Current version: 1.50r1for X-Plane 12 (June 8th 2023) ____________________ NEWS! update by Stephen Dutton 11th June 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
  7. NEWS! - Scenery Release : KLGB Long Beach Airport XP12 by Skyline Simulations Located near the border between Los Angeles County and Orange County, Long Beach Airport serves the Los Angeles MSA. Due to its close proximity to the busier and larger LAX 20 miles away, LGB airport sees more domestic commercial passenger, cargo, military, and general aviation activity. Long Beach Airport is a public airport three miles northeast of downtown Long Beach, in Los Angeles County, California, United States. It is known as Daugherty Field, named after local aviator Earl Daugherty. The airport's placement near many residential areas has led to it having one of the country's strictest ordinances limiting airport noise. The Boeing Company (formerly McDonnell Douglas) maintains maintenance facilities for Boeing and McDonnell Douglas/Douglas aircraft (including the historic DC-9 and DC-10 aircraft) near the Long Beach Airport, and produced the C-17 through 2015. Skyline Simulation are now a long term X-Plane scenery developer, but also known for their introduction of the SAM Plugin, for aircraft interactive gate parking and services. Known for the excellent Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (KCVG), Billy Bishop City Airport CYTZ (Toronto), John Wayne Airport - KSNA and the oddly distant LXGB - Gibraltar, they are a forthright scenery developer for the X-Plane Simulator. Featured in this Long Beach scenery is the Boeing Company with its massive maintenance facilities for Boeing and McDonnell Douglas aircraft, the famous Walter Pyramid and the industrial area during approach with the thousands of hand-placed objects. Full feature set includes; ➤ for X-Plane 12 ➤ UHD custom textures using the latest painting techniques ➤ Designed with the latest airport updates ➤ Super-detailed 3D modelling ➤ PBR materials on every building ➤ FSEco-subsystem ➤ Animated radar ➤ Detailed HD ground with PBR and decals ➤ Custom 3D vegetation blends with orthophotos ➤ HD-resolution orthoimagery for the airport and surroundings ➤ Ultra-high-resolution custom orthoimagery for the airport ➤ Thousands of 3D custom static objects ➤ Accurate island and cities using original OSM data ➤ High resolution buildings, industrial area and buildings of interest such as Walter Pyramid ➤ Amazing and detailed island night textures ➤ Ground traffic For purchasers of KLGB XP11, they can get this new XP12 version for US$11.69. See your X-Plane.OrgStore account for the discount coupon. _________________ Yes! - KLGB Long Beach Airport XP12 by Skyline Simulations is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KLGB Long Beach Airport XP12 Price is US$20.30 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows , Mac or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum. 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 1.8 GB Current version: 1.0 (June 9th 2023) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 10th June 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
  8. Scenery Review : KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim My first visit to a StarSim scenery was the impressive KSTL - St. Louis Lambert International Airport for X-Plane 11. This is the followup for StarSim in scenery, this time it is for Philadelphia International Airport or PHL. The scenery is X-Plane 12 compatible (features), but the X-Plane 11 version is included in the package as well. Philadelphia International Airport is the primary airport serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The airport served 9.8 million passengers annually in 2021, making it the 21st busiest airport in the United States. The airport is located 7 miles (11 km) from the city's downtown area and caters for 22 airlines that offer nearly 500 daily departures to more than 130 destinations worldwide. The PHL airport has service to cities in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. Most of the airport property is in Philadelphia proper. The international terminal and the western end of the airfield are however in Tinicum Township, Delaware County. PHL covers 2,302 acres (932 ha) and has four runways. Starting in 1925, the Pennsylvania National Guard used the present airport site (known as Hog Island) as a training airfield. The site was dedicated as the "Philadelphia Municipal Airport" by Charles Lindbergh in 1927, but it had no proper terminal building until 1940; airlines used Camden Central Airport in nearby Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. Once Philadelphia's terminal was completed (on the east side of the field) American, Eastern, TWA, and United moved their operations here. In 1947 and 1950 the airport had runways 4, 9, 12 and 17, all 5,400 feet (1,600 m) or less. In 1956 runway 9 was 7,284 feet (2,220 m); in 1959 it was 9,499 feet (2,895 m) and runway 12 was closed. Not much changed until the early 1970s, when runway 4 was closed and 9R opened with 10,500 feet (3,200 m). Philadelphia International Airport IATA: PHL-ICAO: KPHL-FAA LID: PHL-WMO: 72408 8/26 - 5,001ft (1,524m) Asphalt 9L/27R - 9,500ft (2,896m) Asphalt 9R/27L -12,000ft (3,658m) Asphalt 17/35 - 6,500ft (1,981m) Asphalt Elevation AMSL36 ft / 11 m KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim Philadelphia International Airport sits directly on the Delaware River, situated by one of the most historically significant cities in the United States, as Philadelphia served as the nation's capital until 1800. PHL distance views on approach are really quite good... as the autogen is very condensed and frames the airport, the Philadelphia skyline is also nicely framed in the distance. In closer to the field, I like the texture feel in describing the ground, no 3d grass though, but the ground visual detail is very good. The Delaware River frames one side of the airport (X-Plane 12 water), on the opposite side however you can easily see the custom texture join, worse is over the water section as it hasn't been cut out, so the overall view is not very pretty on the eye? Another point is the George C. Platt Memorial Bridge is not represented either, the blue structure should have been highly visible on the Rwy 26/27L/27R approaches on the right, a big omission from StarSim to the area detail. There is the option to use custom mesh (e.g. Alpilotx HD mesh) or ortho-scenery (e.g. VStates) in the same DSF tile. You can do so by using MUXP. The necessary patch file and mesh data are both included in the scenery. Overall the scenery is well placed and looks very realistic in the X-Plane 12 environment. Philadelphia International Airport has six terminals, and ten concourses with a total of 126 gates. Non pre-cleared international arrivals are processed in Terminal A. American operates Admirals Clubs in Terminal A, the B/C connector and Terminal F. Terminal A also contains a British Airways Galleries Lounge as well as a American Express Centurion Lounge. Terminal D contains a United Club as well as a Delta Sky Club. A USO lounge is located in Terminal E. The airport layout is Terminal A (left), Terminal B-C, Terminal D-E and Terminal F (upper right), with nine concourses. Terminal A- Terminal A is split into A-West (concourse) and A-East Concourse. Opened in 2003 as the new international terminal, it is now home to American (domestic and international), British Airways, Lufthansa, and Qatar Airways. Admittedly, the StarSim St. Louis Lambert airport was only average in the terminal modeling, it showed. Here at PHL it is a very different story, in fact it doesn't even feel like it is the same developer style, as the terminal design is very, very good... the glass/windows are all very "shiny, shiny", but overall the layout from StarSim is excellent, I like it all very much. Concourse A-West is a very unorthodox design for a International pier, slab-sided and not much glass area, but well done here... Concourse A-East is more traditional and probably the most detailed and the most authentic concourse at KPHL. A East was originally the airport's main international terminal, is now used by Aer Lingus and American domestic and international flights as well as international arrivals for Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines. Hence the different look and feel, It looks excellent. The skylounge detail (it isn't a skylounge, but just looks like one) is traditional in style and the standout feature of the terminal. Roof detailing is very good. Glass is see-through and there is a semi-internal fitout, with just seating and mostly placed there for the external view. All gates have SAM3 (Scenery Animation Manager) interaction (plugin required). The airbridge detail is excellent, but no branding except for concourse D (Delta) and E (Southwest). Clutter around the ramps is again far better than St.Louis, and better arranged as well, but there is no ramp activity, or animated moving service vehicles. Landside Terminal A is very detailed, with arrival elements very well done and animated car traffic. Internally there are "basic" check-in areas, custom check points and seating. The Overseas Terminal originally housed all the international airlines at Philadelphia. It was opened in 1973 and the building was a converted hangar. It was later replaced by the Terminal A complex in 1991. Terminal B/C Like Terminal A, Terminal B/C is a twin concourse pier. Terminals B and C have 15 and 14 gates respectively. They are also the two main terminals used by American. They were renovated at a cost of $135 million in 1998, which was designed by DPK&A Architects, LLP. They are connected by a shopping mall and food court named the Philadelphia Marketplace. They are the oldest terminals at PHL, and the original facility was opened way back in 1953. Design wise Concourses B/C are identical... B Concourse doglegs left and C Concourse doglegs right, as in a mirror. Gate assignments for Terminals B & C are: American / American Eagle - Gates B1-B16 & Gates C17-C31. StarSim's design is very good, nice modeling and great detail with the well done corrugated panel design, certainly with the detailed patchwork roof. And the internal details can be seen externally through the shiny windows. There is the excellent "Welcome to Philadelphia" signage and the well done SAM long arm airbridge on ramp C17. There is a ramp tower above Concourse B, and the terminal frontage in glass is well presented... but there is this overall feel of a bit of a sterile environment, and not a busy, busy active airport atmosphere, airside is quite dead in this instance. Terminal B/C Landside is excellent, great detail, and the full arrival floor internally is represented. Terminal D In reality Terminal D shares the same Terminal building as E (or concourse E) like with Terminal B/C. Terminal D has 16 gates, and it was opened in 1973. The terminal was upgraded in late 2008 with a new concourse connecting to Terminal E while providing combined security, a variety of shops and restaurants and a link between Baggage Claims D and E. Concourse D has a slightly different (darker) window style, and corrugated paneling, but well done here. Note the clocks that are positioned above the airbridges, and yes they actually work... a great detail. Terminal D is home to Air Canada, Delta, Spirit, United and Jetblue. The complex detail between Terminals B/C and D/E is expertly done here, in the amalgamation of building styles, note the flags which are all nicely animated. The Terminal has a large dark green glass facade, not as shiny as the earlier facades and so it all works better, the same D (E) Terminal design is also reflected landside, and the detailed (design) is excellent. Terminal E Terminal E has 17 gates. It is home to Alaska Airlines (check-in only, departures from D6), Frontier, Spirit, JetBlue (check-in only as of 2022), and Southwest. It opened in 1977. Terminal E houses a USO lounge available for all members of the military and their family. Again you have a different pier style with Concourse E. It has a Semi-Rounded glass end with a circular light atrium above. Roof detail are image textures with 3d objects, but it works in detail. I really like the oversized large gate numbers with "Philadelphia" noted below. Although connected together. Terminal E is separated on the landside. Again the detail is excellent, with internal details and more over shiny windows. Terminal F Terminal F has 38 gates. The terminal is a regional terminal used by American Eagle and Contour Airlines flights. It includes special (set lower) jet bridges that allow passengers to board regional jets without walking on the apron. Opened in 2001, Terminal F is the second newest terminal building at PHL. It was designed by Odell Associates, Inc. and The Sheward Partnership. An American Airlines Admirals Club is located above the central food court area of Terminal F. Terminal F is sprawling huge complex, that would have any regional operator drooling at the mouth. I personally love these facilities, and this is a very good one to use here at PHL with any ERJ. Walk-on/Walk-off is excellent as are those usable lower set SAM airbridges. Internal detail is done as well on all the finger piers... Landside arrival is small as the actual terminal in central to the complex, note the huge ramp tower just for this regional aircraft area. Just south, and at the end of the terminal area is a very nicely done American Airlines regional maintenance hangar, very authentic with a tired worn facade. Landside Very impressive is landside. Each terminal has it's own designated carpark. Parking garage A-West, Parking garage A-East, Parking Garage B, Parking Garage C and so on... and each massive carpark facility is well represented here. Detail and complexity of the area is excellent, as a lot of time and effort has been spent here to get the visual effect right, and it works... The Philadelphia Airport Marriott between garages B and C is well represented, as are the excellent car-rental zones for Avis, Budget, dollar, National, Alamo and Hertz car-rental, all are well designed and laid out, there a few photo (car) burn-ins, but overall it is very well done The SEPTA Regional Rail's Airport Line service is also a featured highlight here, as the train is of high-quality modeling and it covers the whole of the scenery in action (in and out of all the airport stations)... impressed. Notable is that all road traffic signage is also excellent, and all individually created for that particular road sign... Control Tower(s) The AA “Hub Control Center” (Control Tower) has a dominating view over PHL airport, it is 22 stories, and 196-foot high. But, this isn’t the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic control tower. The FAA occupies a much less impressive tower across the field from this one. Instead, the tallest and largest tower at PHL belongs to American Airlines to coordinate the ramps, so with 70% of the traffic at PHL, American Airlines has quite the say over the airport... Impressive it is, as the AA Tower detail is really well done, note the rear stair windows. The FAA facility is buried over the other side of PHL field, and yes as you can guess in that the X-Plane "Tower View" is set on the wrong tower! Cargo There is a huge sprawling area to the west. It has three major areas in the "Philadelphia Cargo City" facility, "American Airlines Maintenance" and the "International Plaza" complex. Cargo Facilities at PHL are located to the west of Terminal A-West, directly adjacent to the airfield. Buildings C-2 through C8 make up approximately 600,000 square feet of cargo tenant space. Tenants include Southwest Airlines, American Airlines Cargo, United Airlines Cargo, Delta Cargo and FedEx. Set behind Cargo City is the large "International Plaza" complex, again very well represented here by StarSim. Further west is the massive American Airline maintenance facility, both buildings and surrounding areas are nicely and highly detailed. Across the field to the south boundary on the Delaware, is another huge cargo complex, this time it is for UPS Parcel Services. To the east, there is a small FBO (Fixed Base Operator) Terminal run by Atlantic Aviation, just really a receiving facility, but recently renovated! Notable is the missing areas behind the FBO. Here in real life there is a DoubleTree Hilton, Four Points Sheraton, Sheraton Suites hotels, Skychefs facility and another Fuel depot. So this significant blank area is highly noticeable on the eastern side approaches. Ground Textures The ground textures are very much like the real surfaces, because they are.... most of the textures are photo based, and it really shows in areas because of all the zaggy lines on the texture surfaces? It is sadly noticeable from the cockpit (cabin) and so not very authentic. In many areas hard lines have been overlayed the photo versions, thankfully this does help with the taxiway/runway context. That said, the photographic elements do make the surfaces look good in detail, and the surface roughness is quite good as well. As noted the in-field grass is photo, and looks really good, but no 3d grass makes it all very flat at ground level, another badly missed opportunity for making the scenery a higher graded environment. The grass edges are also quite noticeable in being all very straight lines. This is X-Plane 12, and so you have all the exciting X-Plane 12 weather features available here at PHL, but sadly they are not available in the X-Plane 11 version that comes with the package. Wet conditions, standing water, icy conditions and snow are all available, and are all excellent. But note again the straight or curved hard lines of the snow boundaries to the asphalt, not very realistic. Lighting I wasn't too impressed with StarSim's St Louis Airport lighting. Here again at Philadelphia it is also a bit on the average side. Approach and runway lighting is very good, as is the complex road network that surrounds the northern boundary of PHL. There is an over-reliance on small spot lighting in the scenery, so you get both lit and dark areas, right next to each other and no covering light spread. You can get away with small spotlighting with infrastructure areas like Fuel Depots and Carparks, but not for the larger active areas like the landside arrival zones, which are all very, very dark here. Ramp lighting is orangy dull, with not a lot of distance spread, and it is dark down there working at night? In a few areas the lighting does look highly realistic, like the Cargo City entrance, and the International Plaza window lighting is also more realistic as well But a lot of the window lighting still relies on that bland FlightSim grey look, including the Marriott Airport Hotel. Thankfully the logo signage is all very well lit. Car-rental zones are again a highlight, brightly lit, they shine out of the darkness... that said you could still add in a far more wider coverage area to cover the darker spots. Surrounding road infrastructure looks very nice at night, and the airport needed to balance into that extensive lighting better... Airport navigation signage is fine, but there are no ground reflecting lighting effects from the signs. _______________ Summary Philadelphia International Airport is the primary airport serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The airport is located 7 miles (11 km) from the city's downtown area and caters for 22 airlines that offer nearly 500 daily departures to more than 130 destinations worldwide. Philadelphia International Airport sits directly on the Delaware River, situated by one of the most historically significant cities in the United States, as Philadelphia served as the nation's capital until 1800. StarSim's first scenery was the impressive KSTL - St. Louis Lambert International Airport for X-Plane 11. This is the followup scenery for StarSim in Philadelphia International Airport or PHL. This scenery is X-Plane 12 compatible (features), but the X-Plane 11 version is included in the package as well. Philadelphia International Airport is a massive airport with six terminals, nine concourses with a total of 126 gates, and an extensive cargo area, so this is a substantial project for any developer. In modeling terms it is great achievement, as each terminal and concourse comes from a different era, hence slightly different style, and so you get a real feel for Philly airport in the scenery, the landside areas are also well done, with all the internal concourse areas visible from the external. All gates are active with SAM3 (Scenery Animation Manager) including the lo-riser Terminal F regional facility, Long-arm C17 gate and C gates have arrival boards and D gates have working clocks. West has the extensively detailed Cargo City, American Airlines maintenance and International Plaza complex which are are all represented. Landside is excellent with all the six massive carparks, and central Marriott Hotel included. Car-rental areas are extensively done and the highlight is the finely-modeled and the well animated SEPTA Regional Rail's Airport Line service, the UPS facility and FAA tower are also well done on the south Delware River boundary. Road Signage is custom and excellent. Minuses, are the average lighting, with too much reliance of spot lights, poor coverage and tone, zaggy image lines and burn-ins in the ground textures. Markedly there is a sterile feel to the ramp areas with no service traffic (plenty of traffic on landside). Poor texture blending (including textures over a lake) on the north scenery boundary... But my main beef is the missing awareness of the significant blue George C. Platt Memorial Bridge, which is not represented on the eastern approach to the airport, a few fuel depot tanks in the same area would not go amiss in for filling in a deserted Bellwether area on the same 27L-27R and 26 approaches. And the missing significant Hilton, Sheraton hotels and the Skychef facility on the north apron. Overall this is a significant representation of Philadelphia International Airport from StarSim, a few wobbles, but overall a very worthy and extensive scenery of this expansive scenery, certainly a huge step forward in quality and detail for the developer StarSim, and it all comes across as really great value for the price. Certainly a must have for any U.S. East coast network, and another great scenery addition to X-Plane 12. Recommended! ____________________________ Yes! the KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport Price is US$24.00 Features: Accurate and highly detailed recreation of PHL Fully modeled interior for all seven terminals High-resolution PBR texturing for ground and objects Animated custom jetways, SEPTA train as well as road and airport traffic Realistic custom Mesh High-quality (3in/7.6cm per pixel) Orthoimagery Custom road network Accurate 2023 airport layout Optimized for X-Plane 12 and its new features (compatible with X-Plane 11 too) Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.56 GB Current and Review version : 1.0 (May 19th 2023) Installation and documents: PHL is download of 3.56Gb download. There are three folders as part of the installation; KPHL Philadelphia 01 - Airport (7.64GB) KPHL Philadelphia 02 - Roads (2.20 Mb) KPHL Philadelphia 03 - Mesh (32.8 Mb) 7.65Gb is installed into your Custom Scenery folder, Obviously the "Mesh" has to be installed below the other two folders. X-Plane 11 compatibility file "Earth nav data" is included for X-Plane 11 conversion SAM Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 3.0 or higher is required for this scenery Documents There is a supplied manual; KPHL_Manual.pdf 2 pages for installation and requirements ________________________________________ Review System Specifications Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.05r1 (This is a Release Candidate review). 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 -none- ____________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 8th June 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.
  9. Aircraft Review : BN-2A Islander XP12 by Thranda Design Britten-Norman was formed in 1953 for the purpose of converting and operating agricultural aircraft on the Isle of Wright in the Southern United Kingdom. John Britten and Desmond Norman or the BN of the title, had observed the rapid growth of the commuter airline sector, and concluded that capacity was of a higher value to these operators than either range or cruising speed. On 13 June 1965, the first prototype BN-2 Islander conducted its maiden flight. It was powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce/Continental IO-360B piston engines; only four days later, the prototype aircraft appeared at the Paris Air Show. The IO-360B engines were later replaced by more powerful Lycoming O-540-E engines, which were located further outboard on the wings, for superior single-engine climb performance. The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a high-wing cantilever monoplane with a rectangular fuselage and two wing-mounted engines; early aircraft were equipped with a pair of piston engines while later production models may be alternatively fitted with turboprop engines in their place. The rectangular cross section fuselage, which is furnished with a conventional tail unit and fixed tricycle landing gear, can accommodate a single pilot and up to nine passengers in a commuter configuration, or operate in a mixed cargo/passenger capacity. The X-Plane Simulator is no stranger to the talents of one of it's premier developers, Daniel Klaue. Klaue has been at the forefront of X-Plane aircraft development now for over a decade, first with his own designs, then as custodian involved with Carenado, that the partnership produced over 50 aircraft for X-Plane version 10/11. Then Daniel formed his own development house... Thranda Design, and has since produced some of the most significant aircraft in the X-Plane Simulator. First with Utility and bush aircraft then with three Cessnas in the 208 Grand Caravan, U206G Stationair, and finally the 337 Skymaster earlier this year. This is Thranda Design's latest release in the BN-2A Islander for X-Plane 12, and to note there will be no X-Plane 11 version of the aircraft. Being a Thranda design, features and quality abound including the Dynamic Generation Series or DGS, feature this is a Thranda speciality that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications. BN-2A Islander XP12 First let us clear something up. The BN-2A comes for the first time with 8K textures, a huge pixel area 7680 x 4320. Just because it is 8K doesn't mean that you need a 8Gb Graphic Card to run them. 4 Gb VRAM is still recommended as Minimum. And 8 Gb+ VRAM is however recommended as normal. But like with the earlier Thranda releases, they had more than one 4K texture size, sometimes two 4K textures to fill in the same 8K area. So in reality you are only using the 8K to fill the same gap of the two 4K set of textures before. So Graphic Card size is not the issue, if you can run your current Thranda aircraft with your current graphic card size, then the BN-2A will be exactly the same, in fact even a bit more efficient in that it only has to load in the one texture sheet, rather than the old 2(K)or 4(K) texture sheets. The Islander is a utility aircraft. Its nothing flash, not fast but can carry ten (including the pilot). This makes it perfect for inter-island transfers, even close spoke and hub operations... it's primary job ferrying people to and thro, an AirTaxi. It's sixties design is very evident, even boxy, but I have a soft spot for Islanders, in their shape and design... I'm English after all. Detail and detailing is of course superb... It's a Thranda of course. Notable is what you pay for. If you pay more you get that extra detail, the minute intricate detailing, but the Thranda BN-2A is only priced around sub-$35, so the payoff here is that your extreme detailing at a value price. Modeling in shape, panel design and fit is faultless. You see every panel, rivets and area (fuselage) strengthening, and it is all there in absolute superb detail. Note most door/access doors are external hinges, and all have been well and individually created for authenticity. The detail around the inboard trailing edge is exceptional, notable also are all the rain gutters (rear left doors). Although the aircraft is quite simple in design, the detail is exceptional here, note again the horizontal stabilizer and rudder trims. Overall it is quite impressive. It's a lovely wing... again nothing flashy in design, but note the lovely sweet upturn at the rear of the tip. Yes it is all very professionally skillfully modeled. Underside is excellent with aileron balance weights, air pressure probes, flap tracks and fairings The BN-2A comes with two Lycoming O-540-E4C5 engines, pushing out 194 kW/260 HP per engine at 2,700 RPM. There is the 250-B17C turboprop engines configuration rated at 320 shp, and known as the BN-2T, but here we have the earlier more basic installation. And boy is the engine installation nice to look at, magnificent! Highlights are cowling shape, under extra cooling snout, chrome spinners and a fully detailed front view of the Lycoming O-540-E4C5... rear are the excellent twin exhausts and air-breathing pipe. I really like the chrome cowling catches, they are some really nice detailing and highly visible from the cabin. Propellers are 2-Blade Hartzell, but some 2A's can use a STC 4-Blade conversion... the feathering (animated) detail is excellent. The undercarriage is very, very basic and utilitarian. Single nose wheel and long fairings on the twin-wheeled main gear was used to save on weight, personally I love this configuration that give the aircraft a sort of "Bird of Prey" look from a lot of angles, certainly from the head on orientation. Wheel and tyre detail is simply excellent, worn, tired, rusted... these wheels has seen many a wet salty runway (or even a beach up here in Scotland). Thranda has got the look and feel of the wheels perfect. Glass is another area of perfection. Deep thickness, beautifully reflective and tinted a dark green. Yes you can turn off the reflections if required. Note the smaller opening (actually quite large) access window built into the main front door window. Externally you can't fault this Thranda Islander, it is a perfect reproduction of the real aircraft. Basically the Islander has an odd door configuation. There is a door for the pilot (left), a door for the co-pilot and second/third row passengers (right), and a third door left rear for the rear-back seating in the aircraft. There is a large baggage hold door (but no cargo door) far rear left. In the cabin there are six individual seats (chairs) and a wide rear bench seat. Oddly the seating colour is a bright white? with nice dark blue tartan cloth inserts... why odd? Because this is a hard working utility aircraft, clean white is not going to last very long in this wear and tear environment is it... it looks very nice, but also a little out of place. If you are not crazy about this all white seating, there is already a tan-brown seat/carpet option on the X-Plane.Org; Thranda Islander Tan Interior 1.0.0 and others in dark/red/wood instrument panel/seat options. But I really like them, I like the colour scheme a lot, it is distinctively different, but still nice. Cabin sides are grey with a dark blue piping separator. The roof lining is masterful, rippled and brown with lovely chrome screws, mid-way down is a passenger sign, works as well... there is a large rear baggage area but we will look at that in a few moments. Instrument panel It is a crowded instrument panel, but also like the aircraft utilitarian. The Standard Six instruments are mounted separately on their own panel, of which I really like. Panel facia colour is a dark blue. Glareshield (not much overhang though) has a mottled vinyl surface, with a nicely done inserted avionics heat vent Yokes are nicely worn with use, and only a single red PTT button. The authentic Brittan-Norman logo is set centre. You can hide either yoke independently, so hide one or both... nice. Deep down in the footwells are the lovely chrome rudder pedals. The Toe-Brakes work independently from the moving rudder movement, and note the hydraulic containers on each brake pedal. Power on and the panel looks excellent. Usually we have an instrument description, but this is a Thranda DGS Series aircraft and it comes with a "Dynamic Panel", so we will cover the instruments in the menus. Lower left is the PS-Engineering PM1200 audio panel, then the Heater/De-Icing (Services) and "Lighting" and "Electrics" switchgear with Panel lighting adjutment and BAT (Battery) switch. Lower right is a working (active) Circuit Breaker (fuse) panel. Centre is the throttle quadrant, usual (Twin) Throttle, Propeller and Mixture levers, with the pitch trim wheel oddly on the right hand side of the quadrant and away from the pilot. Over your head there is a lot of instruments/switches in the headliner... Far left headliner are the Cabin Temps/Air controls, directly overhead are the four (two per engine) Magneto switches, with the "Port" (PORT) and "Starboard" (STBO) engine starter switch set middle. Note the large inset "spotlight" on the switchgear. Right is the Flap (UP-TO.-DOWN) indicator, with the Fuel Pump switch. Right side headliner are the two "Tip" tank fuel gauges. Central headiner/roof is basically the Fuel system. Both main Fuel gauges are front and centre with 65 US Gallons per main tank (Tip tanks are 29.5 US Gallons per tank) for a total fuel capacity of 190 US Gallons (1,140lbs,517.1kg). The switches below select between the main and tip tank reserves. You can select (or cross wing) to select from the other main tanks via the large Red and Green knobs. Top roof is the rudder trim knob and indicator. There is also a hanging Whiskey Compass in the pilot's eye-line left window. Instrument/Cabin lighting There is only one (single) large knob to adjust the instrument lighting, but there is also the option of "Lighting Posts" that create an added illumination of the instruments, which is very nice. There is the mentioned headlining switch illumination spotlight (very nice), and all the upper instruments are nice lit for use... ... in the cabin headliner there are ten seating spotlights, all can be adjusted (rotated) to shine the light were you want, there are also two baggage area lights as well. Notable is there is the setting to turn all ON or all OFF with the internal lighting, which is a time saver. Menu Thranda's Menus are very feature rich and highly detailed. There is a popout TAB under the arrow, that can be (mouse) scrolled to hide it, that is if you don't like these sort of items crowding your screen (I don't). The Menu system includes the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications. As noted the "Menu" Tab (arrow) is far left middle of your screen, this will activate the Pop-Out Menu... The Menu has seven menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous). Basically it is the Thranda default menu. Menu - General The menu "General" sections covers quite a lot of options, the layout is highly detailed and very comprehensive. General menu selections cover; Electric Tug, Window and Instrument Panel Reflections on/off, Startup Running on/off, GPU on/off, Chocks and Brakes on/off. Note there is no "Cargopod" option with the BN-2A, a usual default feature. Three selections placed right cover group items, but any one item can be also accessed via "Click Spots" and can be individually selected or hidden via the aircraft graphic. "ALL COVERS" will select engine inlet/outlet covers and pitot covers, "ALL TIE-DOWNS" for rear fuselage and wing tie-downs and "ALL DOORS" for both the cockpit door and rear cabin doors. All EXT - External Lights can be switched on and off as can the ALL INT - Internal lights. The "Electric Tug" that can be used to move the aircraft around on the ground via your joystick (left,right-forward,backwards). Static Items include Engine Inlet covers, Pitot covers and Tie-Downs. There is built in "Checklist" (lower right menu, arrowed), and very good it is. But also again changed back to a simple black on white graphic (no cross-off line colours). You can have checklist pop-up, or in a window mode, and thankfully move the checklist pad around, and scale it even from the very small to the very large. The two lower arrows give navigation around the checklist pages. The action detail and hints in the lists are simply excellent and the checklist is fully detailed from Pre-Flight to Shutdown. Menu - Liveries Second Menu option is "Liveries", there are two options here with the first being "PAINTED LIVERIES". There are altogether 10 liveries or two blank and eight designs, and all are of extremely high quality and creative flare with the package. Oddly there is no Thranda house as default on the BN-2A? Two of the liveries are noted as "DynamicLiveryResources" and "ZZTEMPLATELIVERY", these are the current selected "Dynamic Liveries". Dynamic Liveries Not happy with any of those designs, then why not create your own livery! With their earlier releases of their Kodiak and with the PC-6, PZL-104 and Caravan. Then Thranda introduced a clever feature of a way to design your own livery. This is done by switching from PAINTED LIVERIES to DYNAMIC LIVERIES top. Two liveries are "Dynamic" in resources (White)... another New feature is the (Quick) selection of Dirt (Ext) Externally, Scratches and Dirt (Int) Internally. Via three percentage selections you can adjust the amount of Dirt, Scratches and Dirt Int on the aircraft (0%-255%) and apply it instantly.So you can have either a pristine or a very grubby aircraft with just a twirl of the numbers. This can be applied to any of the liveries. You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want and then adjust the RGB colours for that certain area, and the selected colour (here green) is shown in the square. it looks hard but you can easily design a very nice livery in about twenty minutes... the selections of Dirt (Ext), Scratches and Dirt (Int). Metal(ness) and surface Rough(ness) can also be added or adjusted as seen earlier... When done you can "SAVE" or ADD the livery and then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. The conversion takes a few minutes (arrowed below), but the results are excellent and in your own design... There are already 30 preselected selections in their various designs, all are very good, and like noted you can add in your own version to the list. New to the Dynamic Livery application is ERA options in "Modern' or "Classic".... of course personal taste is optional... Menu - Weight/Bal The Islander also has a great Weight and Balance menu. Lbs and Kgs which can be selected and changed via the toggle... Lbs In Green, and Kgs in Blue. There is the choice selection of all seats, four seats (front) and the large bench in the rear. Selection is via an X on the box for that seat that you want to remove from the rear cabin. Fuel can be added and the amounts are then shown and are adjustable as well in the menu (above)... both Main and Tip Tanks are available. Pilot, passengers and cargo can all be set for individual weights all selected via a scrollwheel... and then all of the CofG (Centre of Gravity) parameters are all shown on a graph, go too far or too heavy and the CofG goes red. When done you can Save the Configuration and then later re-load it, or press Load to add in the set weights. But obviously there is a compromise? If you want a full passenger and baggage load, then you can't have full fuel tanks, as the excess weight takes you over the weight and the CofG limits. For six passengers (with maybe a bag thrown in) then can you have your full tanks and the longer range and not go into the red. You can really pile a lot into the rear cargo/baggage section and all the cargo is of very high quality. Another option is if you hide the cabin chairs, and if the weight is set, it is replaced in same weight as baggage or cargo (containers). Set the weight in the front seats (pilot and co-pilot), then you get animated pilots in the aircraft, they will also disappear if the electrical power is switched off and chocks added. Menu - Camera There is a camera feature under the menu "Camera" selection. The left side of the panel is the "Walkaround" views, just pick the dot viewpoint you want to see to rotate around the aircraft. To the right is the default views can be selected via a menu, or press the keypad to select the view. The FoV or "Field of View" is adjustable via a slider. Menu - Audio/Slew Sound can be adjusted via the sound menu. There are seven slider selections with: Master, Aircraft External, Aircraft Internal, CoPilot, Radios, Environmental and User Interface. One other sound setting is on the Flap panel... As noted, on the right and left of the panel you get the audio simulation of an active noise canceling headset, which is seen as wearing a headset. Sound quality is beyond excellent as it is a built in audio mixer, so you can individually control the audio channels in real-time and you can adjust the volumes while hearing them play. Slew mode allows you to manually move the aircraft around in a disconnected X-Plane space. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the X-Plane settings, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired. This feature is however highly touchy and it is mostly used with the floats option as used on the Thranda Caravan, Thranda Beaver and PC-6. I doubt that a Float option would come to the BN-2A, so this option is of little use to the aircraft. Menu - PANEL The sixth "PANEL" Tab option allows you to adjust or change the instruments and dials. First feature here is the lighting option we saw before, as you can add or takeaway the panel "Lighting Posts". (hint nice on). Scroll the "Panel Preset" number (arrowed) to see the extra six preset layouts (seven choices in all). Sometimes to restart you have to click to "Apply the Settings" for the GPS units. There are four panel options One panel option give you the Aspen EFD 1000 which is a self-contained multifunction digital display that is divided into a Primary Flight Display (PFD) in the top half, and an Electric Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) in the lower half. As EDF 1000 systems go it is not as highly featured with the GPSS, MAP, 360 and Menu functions all not simulated... all the lower NAV1/NAV2/GPS selections are however available, as is the TPS (Tapes) see/hide option with the MIN (Minimums) selectable as well. and the PFD can be reversed with the EHSI. The EFD 1000 here can be used with the KFC225 Autopilot. The EFD 1000 PFD pops-out for convenience. Another Dynamic Generation Series or DGS feature is that you can customize the panel to your own personal layout, and it is just as easy. Just select the "3D EDIT PANEL MODE" (arrowed) that gives you access to all of the 53 individual instruments and avionic units... There some great options including Aspen EFD 1000, S-TEC 55x Autopilot, Angle of Attack gauge and so on... For those that find instruments are not to their liking in say, "I wish I could move those "engine gauges" over past the avionics?", then here you can simply adjust that instrument, or even swap the instruments around the panel to your liking. Here I have moved the ENGINE INSTRUMENTS gauges right over to the right hand side... because I can. You can even adjust the brightness of the instrument. Optional is to select the type of GPS unit you want GNS 530/430. And there is a special 3d bezel for the insert of a RealityXp GTN 750 unit if you own that add on. Panel features include; S-Tec Forty Five X (autopilot) and the noted Aspen EFD 1000, KR 87 ADF Radio, Garmin GMA 340, Garmin GTX325 Mode C Transponder, BendixKing IN-182A Weather Radar and the usual GNS 430/530 PS/Nav/Comm units. When done you can "ADD" (or Duplicate) in a new "Preset", and then "SAVE" that new layout Preset (Preset /6). So basically you can start off with a completely blank instrument panel and then create your own unique or personal instrument layout if you have the time and patience... and you can have up to or save 14 different instrument layouts. It is however very important to restart X-Plane to lock in the new instrumentation layout before flying. Currently the optional "Panel Background" colour choice is not available on the Islander, like it was on other Thranda DGS systems Menu - MISC The Misc (Miscellaneous) page has four panels that cover Tyres/Tundra, Windows, Pilots, De-Ice Boots and DynaFeel. Available are both Normal and Tundra wheel sizes Side windows come in two options, Flat and Bubble. Pilots can be swapped from male to female, they switch over in duo mode as well. You have the choice of De-Ice boots on the leading edge of wings and the leading edge of the tail, notable is that they are active and work with the X-Plane 12 Ice feature. "DynaFeel" on the lower right is a system that dynamically adjusts the rate at which the controls deflect. It is based on airspeed and how much the control is deflected. This means the controls will feel light and responsive at low speeds and with small deflections, but will get progressively heavier as the airspeed increases. ________________ Flying the Britten-Norman Islander 2A Basically the Britten-Norman Islander is a Air-Taxi. ferrying people and their baggage to islands or areas of tourism. So the machine is pretty basic, easy to load, easy to configure, and easy to start... honestly you fill the BN-2A up and go, then go again with a new load. The route today is EGPE (Inverness, Scotland) to EGBP (Sumburgh, Shetland Is). Four passengers and their baggage, plus a little cargo in the rear, so I have removed the rear bench seat to add in the bags more to the centre than in the rear hold. All to go 140nm to the north. Mixture rich (okay just slightly lower than full rich), slight throttle, fuel pump on... then select the engine (PORT - STBD) to start above your head. After a few rotations the Lycoming O-540-E4C5 fires into life and settles down at a pulsing speed, until I pull it back to idle. Sounds are excellent. Panning around the plane in exterior view and you awesome 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to prop, so the Doppler effect is very convincing to your relative position of the aircraft, the engines can get very loud externally, so you have to dial it back a lot, open the paper window or any of the doors and the external sounds are far more heightened, again quite loud near the front, relative to near spinning props... but very good it all is. When reviewing the Nimbus BN-2B, there was a strange anomaly, when with the flaps set at UP they were still sitting 2º in the down position? Here in Thranda's case, the flaps sit flush (0º), and only when you set the T.O Flap position do you get the correct 2º down flap. It feels far more normal than the Nimbus version (obviously I checked out that 2º deviation, but couldn't come to a obvious conclusion), but honestly it didn't feel right and the aircraft in the air like it felt it was dragging... The taxi/landing light, one each wing tip, are not noticeable in the daylight? (I have found all internal and some external lighting is odd in X-Plane 12.05? so I don't think the lighting currently is a developers issue). But it shines fine in low light or the dark. External lighting is very basic, Navigation each wing and a white tail light, a beacon mid-roof, and alternating strobes which are well done. X-Plane is saying there are Icy conditions and needs carburetor heat, which is set lower pedestal, yes this is Scotland... but in June? Notable is the effect of using the Carb Heat, for the loss of power to the engines, so use it with consideration on takeoff, and other vital phases of the flight. You need a fair tuff of power to get the Islander moving, my takeoff weight is 5,287 Lbs, and you feel the weight perfectly as you move, the BN-2A is perfectly balanced as well for taxiing. A noticeable effect is that (all) Thranda aircraft react differently to the X-Plane 12 lighting? In clear bright skies they are fine, but have an overcast sky, then they go very dark, even in areas black or with heavy shadows, I will note no other X-Plane aircraft I have reviewed do this to this heavier extent. As only Thranda aircraft do of because within the way the textures are processed in the Simulator create this effect. I have always loved the stance of the Islander, that slightly low nose, with the high tail, and two claws for the gear! Power up, the the BN-2A tracks nicely, but you have to be aware of the engine power outputs, if one engine is not pushing out the same torque as the other engine, the Islander will pull quite considerably to the lesser power... most will say that aspect is given, well of course it is, but it is far more noticeable here in the BN-2A, so you have to make sure the power output is very balanced at full power... Nose pitch up, rotation is around 80 knts, when you leave the ground you really feel the weight and drag of the aircraft. Reach for the gear lever and there isn't one, and the hanging gear drag is highly noticeable on the climbout. The BN-2 is not a high performing sports aircraft and it shows that aspect straight away... 860 ft/min (4.37 m/s) at sea level is the maximum rate climb to a service ceiling of 11,300 ft (3,400 m) is not going to win any favours. 500 fpm is the expected climb out, you may get away with 600 fpm, but your weight would have to be light, even then it takes time to get to 3,000 ft. Get the climb rate wrong (too high?) and Islander will tell you with a frightening buffet and warning, so you have to keep the pitch within the right (tight) zone. Could you say the performance is ponderous, it's not slow if that is what I mean, as the BN-2A can get along quite nicely around 120 knts, but don't expect a fast aircraft, because that is not what this aircraft was designed for... I coaxed the BN-2A up to 6,000ft, mostly to avoid the cloud conditions,the Islander hates clouds... it saps performance and it gets rough! Scotland is falling away, but through the gaps in the clouds it looks marvelous. Cruise speed is around 139 kn (160 mph; 257 km/h) at 7,000 ft (2,134 m) (75% power), I am 6,000ft at 90% power and running at that 120 knts? Max speed is 148 kn (170 mph, 274 km/h)... Range is 755 nmi (869 mi, 1,398 km) at 130 kn (150 mph; 241 km/h) at 11,000 ft (3,352.8 m), but a ferry range is a doable 1,216 nmi (1,399 mi, 2,252 km) at 130 kn (150 mph; 241 km/h). To get out of the cloud mass, I climb even higher to 8,000ft via 300 fpm, I lose around 10-15 knts of speed for the climb, but it recovers the speed quickly at altitude. Of course the BN-2 is famous for flying the Islander services Loganair's Westray to Papa Westray flight, which is the shortest scheduled flight in the world at 1.7 mi (2.7 km); the scheduled flight time including taxiing is just only two minutes! The BN-2A is a workhorse, pure and simple, a basic aircraft to do mundane tasks easily... that is what you get here, an easy but very capable machine. The outside wind intensity is affected by slip and AoA. (The more the surface area of the fuselage is hit by oncoming wind, the louder the sounds). And it feels like that if the air (wind) is coming at you at an angle, or as noted you go into low cloud... it creates an aural immersion sort of feel, thank X-Plane 12 effects for that. As also noted, X-Plane 12 Icing and condensation effects work well here also. Inside the cabin it's all nice and cosy. Second row passengers get a window view, but the middle rows only get a blank cabin wall. I love flying around these parts on the top of Scotland, the area has loads of remote strips, and large islands including Shetland and Faroe to pick from. You can descend a lot faster than climbing, even as fast as 1,200 fpm. But you have to use the throttles to get the best balance between the best forward speed, and your descent rate. It is a very fine zone to get it right, and practise, or familiarity with the Islander will give you the right feel for the getting the descent phase perfect. Below the 3,000ft cloud cover then Shetland pops up on the horizon. Weather conditions can be really challenging up here in the north as well, its June and you still get low cloud and blustery conditions... ... I go parallel to runway to Sumburgh's 09/27 runway at 2,500 ft, and pass Sumburgh Head to my left. 90º then another 90º turn puts us directly on the beam into ILS ISG 108.5. I'm not using the beam (APR) to use it for landing, but only as a navigation aid to line up Rwy 27. The course deviation indicator (CDI) on the lower HSI can be a little deceptive? It shows the CDI position (alignment) fine, but the course needle maybe wrong, as you need to adjust the course position manually. So you are thinking the situation is wrong, but you are actually on the right line if you had adjusted the runway course angle correctly earlier. Flap adjustment is continuous... meaning you can set really any angle of flap you want, full flap and 70 knts is a great approach speed... reduce the throttles to 64 knts and you get a nice 200 fpm descent pitch nose down approach... The BN-2A is a great solid platform in these blustery approach conditions that you get you get up here in Shetland, yes you have to work the controls, but the Islander is very predictable to fly, even a lot of fun to test your skills. Drop under the 60 knts (58 knts) and your primed for landing. The BN-2A is very nose down in feel, so you tend to watch or set your correct flare pitch... EGPB Rwy 09/27 is a very short (4915ft/1498m) bumpy runway, so you have to get the approach perfectly right, or you will go into the sea on the other end. 55 knts and your sinking nicely, then nose (flare) up... I feel too high? But I keep my nerve and let the Islander sink naturally... ... it is a nice touchdown around 50 knts just beyond the keys, my fears of stopping (the water!) were unfounded. The BN-2A rubbed off the speed (drag) very, very quickly as the aircraft has very high STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) capabilities. The Islander is a very natural aircraft to fly, you can throw it around with ease, and it will take the punishment... I flew the BN-2A straight back to Inverness, and was very comfortable with it on the return route... again Thranda have created a real gem of an aircraft. So the question is which is the best Islander? Thranda or Nimbus? Well both have their pros and cons, the Nimbus has great effects (wagging tail!) and is very well modeled, but I think performance wise it is not as good as the Thranda. The Thranda BN-2A also has a lot, lot more features (DGS) and far, far better sounds, and all round it is a more solid design. Want to try skilled flight in the BN-2A, then try this one from EDWS (Norddeich) to EDWJ (Juist) in X-Plane 12... great video, and the type of services the Islander does best. Britten-Norman BN2 - Island Hopping in Germany | day trip from Norddeich to Juist _____________ Summary The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a British light utility aircraft and regional airliner designed and originally manufactured by Britten-Norman of the United Kingdom. Still in production, the Islander is one of the best-selling commercial aircraft types produced in Europe. Although designed in the 1960s, over 750 are still in service with commercial operators around the world. The aircraft is a light transport with over 30 military aviation operators around the world. Thranda Design are one of the best developers in X-Plane, their history and quality is legendary. So that quality build and detailing is always going to be significant from the start, and so it is again here... exceptional. In every area and detail, modeling, fine details, glass and the interior materials. Menus are also excellent with menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous), that covers all the options and including sound, weights and balances also including graphs, walk-around and camera options and general static elements including chocks, tundra tyres, pitot covers and tie-downs. Settings include pilot/passenger weights, baggage weight and visually placed bags, cargo in the rear of the aircraft and in the large baggage area. Thranda always comes with a high range of clever and unique features to give the user a lot of personal options. Known as "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, this is a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications. Here you can change the actual livery to your own designs, but build the instrument panel to your own liking as well, including options of the Aspen EFD 1000 glass instrument and a special 3d bezel for the insert of a RealityXp GTN 750 unit if you own that add on. Sounds are excellent with High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth, finely tuned transitions, amazing atmospheric effects, different sonic characteristics (with the twin-engine arrangement) and 3D audio effects, including the "blade slapping" sounds and the outside wind intensity is affected by slip and AoA. External sounds are however very high compared to the internal and need to be dialed back. Minuses are minimal... lighting externally (taxi/landing) is not good in the daylight (Laminar issue?), aircraft is dark in overcast conditions, and the white seats are a bit odd. Note... 8K textures are used, but have no effect on framerate. Your first thoughts are that the BN-2A Islander doesn't quite fit into the Thranda fleet. But this is another clever utility aircraft, and it comes with loads of clever features, simply great to fly, so it is actually a perfect addition. A personal aircraft from my childhood, so the affection for the STOL, low nose - high tail classic aircraft was always going to be a winner for me. But putting emotions aside, this BN Islander is another excellent addition to X-Plane, note it is only an X-Plane 12 aircraft and no X-Plane 11 version will be available, that is okay, as the Islander is a fully complete X-Plane 12 machine inside and out. Highly Recommended! _______________________________ Yes! the BN-2A Islander XP12 DGS series by Thranda Design is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: BN-2A Islander XP12 Price is US$39.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for X-Plane 11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.8 GB Current version 1.0 (June 1st 2023) Special features: True X-Plane 12 Aircraft FULLY configurable 3D instrument panel. Fully VR Compatible Over 50 instruments to choose from! (Including Aspen EFD 1000, and support for RealityXP GTN650 and GTN750) Move any instrument to any location on the panel, or even between pilot and copilot's panel! Comes with 5 panel presets, but can easily be expanded by moving instruments around, using a simple and intuitive interface. Lighting is fully 3D, and dynamically moves along with the instruments, as you configure the panel. Ability to assign a lighting index to individual instruments, to allow different lighting knobs to be assigned on a per-instrument basis. Save your own presets, and even share them with the community! Almost every instrument can be popped up or popped out as a 2D floating window! They can be placed on other monitors as well. Instruments can be moved in 3D directly, on a 2D pop-up preview window, or by numerical entry for precise placement. GNS430 and 530 can be swapped out, but a restart of the plane is required, as 430s and 530s are mutually exclusive in terms of compatibility in X-Plane Dynamic livery editor (like in the Kodiak, the Beaver, the Wilga, the Caravan, the C206, the C337, and the Pilatus PC-6) Full PBR control! Create stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look in mere seconds! Additional control over dirt/scratches, adjustable in real-time to dial in the exact desired amount of wear and tear. Create "virtual" liveries, based on two basic common design layouts (Modern and Classic), and assign any colour to any available paint segment. Quickly create preview of livery in real-time, using intuitive controls. Previews include visualization of metallic materials and dirt overlays. Apply selected livery in real-time, right in the sim, without the need to even touch a 3rd party image editor! Option to change the tail number in real-time, or disable it altogether. (Enter a "space" instead of a callsign number to create a blank tail number.) Easily and quickly create dozens of paint schemes in-sim! Also includes 8 traditionally painted liveries, all visible in a convenient pre-selection preview window. Ability to swap pilot/co-pilot figures Uses SkunkCrafts Updater. Option to participate in Beta program, via checkbox in SkunkCrafts Updater. Excellent 8k hi-res textures with realistic PBR materials, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision. Windshield ice and rain effects Individual functional circuit breakers. Feature-rich elegant fly-out menu with the following features: Electric tug, with in-panel controls to move forward/backward at the desired speed, and steer proportionally Control over chocks, individual tie-downs, covers, internal lights, external lights, etc. Option to enable/disable Cargo Pod, with realistically simulated weight, momentum, rotational inertia, and drag characteristics. Option to start up running (all systems ready), or cold-and-dark, for realistic startup procedures, directly from this fly-out menu. Control landing lights, strobes, beacon, and nav lights via fly-out menu Detailed weight and balance manager with visual chart, individual passenger seat weight control, Lbs/KG unit toggle, CG control, external tank control, and the option to save and load configuration. Show or hide individual seats, to create a hybrid passenger/cargo version. When seats are hidden, cargo fills the space when weight is added via the fly-out menu. Multiple camera snap points, above and beyond what's available by default in X-Plane, so you can perform your walk around checks. Adjust your camera's Field of View without having to go to an X-plane menu, allowing for real-time adjustments. Audio mixer: individually control audio channels in real-time, so you can adjust volumes while hearing them play. Slew control: move your plane around the world, temporarily bypassing flight physics. Includes ground mode and air mode. Dynamic panel control page, with a separate view for the entire panel layout preview, or a per-instrument view, allowing for fine-tuning of instrument position, as well as copy-paste function to quickly replace instruments. DynaFeel panel: Dial in precisely how you wish for the controls to react as a function of speed. Option to swap pilot and co-pilot Optional de-ice system Optional bubble windows Optional tundra tires Flight dynamics and systems: Detailed and accurate flight dynamics and weight and balance, with accurate takeoff, climb, cruise, and landing performance. Tie-downs and chocks actually keep the plane from moving, even in high winds. DynaFeel: controls that simulate how strongly the control surfaces are affected by oncoming air, and how much strength would be needed to overcome these forces. Advanced FMOD-based sound system: High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth, finely tuned transitions (actually having calculated the precise beat frequency for each section, to minimize "muddy" transition sounds), and amazing atmospheric effects. Individual volume control over different aspects of the sound experience, adjustable in real-time (while listening to the sounds) Panning around the plane in exterior view yields awesome 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to prop Far away sounds include aerodynamic interaction effects between engines. Individual buttons and switches in the cockpit each have their own unique sound. Engine has typical cool-down ticking sound, based on engine temperature. Sounds actually give you clues as to what's happening under the hood. Outside wind intensity is affected by slip and AoA. (The more the surface area of the fuselage is hit by oncoming wind, the louder the sounds) Doors and windows opening, let outside sounds in Installation and documents: download for the Thranda BN-2A Islander is 2.63Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 1.30Gb Documents supplied are: BN2A Manual.pdf BN2A Performance Charts.pdf Thranda Graphics Settings XP11.pdf Thranda Joystick Settings.pdf X-Plane G430 Manual.pdf X-Plane G530 Manual There is a huge amount of Documentation provided here, not only for the Thranda BN-2A, including performance charts, reference guides, but also X-Plane/hardware settings and custom and default avionics. All updates are via the built-in Skunkcrafts Updater Design by Thranda Support for the BN-2A Islander ___________ Review System Specifications Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.05r1 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 ____________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 6th June 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.
  10. NEWS! : Scenery Release : KJAX - Jacksonville International Airport by FSDesigns We are staying in Florida for the third FS Design scenery release, in the far Northeast this time with... KJAX - Jacksonville International Airport. Jacksonville International Airport is a civil and military airport that serves as the primary gateway to Northeast Florida, being one of the busiest in the state. The airport was built in the mid-1960s to replace Imeson Field as Jacksonville’s main airport. The airport is served by major US airlines such as Delta, American Airlines, Southwest, Frontier, etc. with destinations all throughout the United States. In the southwest quadrant of the airport is Jacksonville ANGB, basically a small air force base, albeit without the military housing, military hospital or other infrastructure of major U.S. Air Force installations. The Air National Guard provides a fully equipped USAF Crash Fire Rescue station to augment the airport's own fire department for both on-airport structural fires and aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) purposes. The base employs approximately 300 full-time military personnel (ART and AGR) and 1,000 part-time military personnel who are traditional air national guardsmen. Earlier FS Design airports covered KMTH Marathon on the Florida Keys, then later KPNS Pensacola International Airport in Escambia County. Both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions are included, Download is 1.6Gb and KJAX is priced at under US$20 Key features High quality 3D modeling Fully custom realistic PBR ground textures Highly optimized terminal interior Custom cut high resolution ortho imagery Extremely optimized for FPS Accurate up to date airport layout Highly optimized 3D vegetation Accurate dynamic night lighting High attention to detail with wear and tear effects using the latest texturing technology SAM Jetways with DGS Images are courtesy of FS Designs... KJAX - Jacksonville International Airport is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore _____________________________________ Yes! - KJAX - Jacksonville International Airport by FS Designs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KJAX - Jacksonville International Airport 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: 1.6 GB Current version: 1.0 (June 5th 2023) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 6th June 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
  11. NEWS! : Scenery Release : KPHF - Newport News / Williamsburg Airport by Taimodels Over the last few years, most releases from TaiModels have been mega airports, like the last two in EGLL - Heathrow and VHHH - Hong Kong International, both massive ports. So it is a bit of a surprise to see a small regional airport come from TaiModels (I was expecting WSSS - Singapore next?)... in KPHF - Newport News / Williamsburg Airport. Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (IATA: PHF, ICAO: KPHF, FAA LID: PHF) is in Newport News, Virginia, United States, and serves the Hampton Roads area along with Norfolk International Airport in Norfolk. The airport is owned and operated by the Peninsula Airport Commission, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. PHF covers 1,800 acres (728 ha). The Newport News scenery is only a 880 Mb and priced at US$20.00. Features: High detail models SAM animation 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 KPHF - Newport News / Williamsburg Airport by TaiModels is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: KPHF - Newport News / Williamsburg Airport Price is US$20.50 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum Download Size: 660 MB Current version : 1.0 (June 5th 2023) ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 5th June 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.
  12. NEWS! - AOA Simulations updates T-6A Texan ll to Mac v1.1 XP12 After a big update to the T-6A Texan ll to X-Plane 12 back in early May 23. Here is another (quick) update to cover the SASL 2.1. 28. changes that covers Native support for M1 / M2 Mac. Another addition is TACAN nav station tuning capability to Nav radio and needle display on EHSI, a X-Plane 12 feature provided by Laminar Research with X-Plane 12. Full change log is here: Version XP1.1 XP12 (June 1st 2023) Native support for M1 / M2 Mac New longer 40 second engine start spool time as per actual T-6A PT6A turboprop engine specs Added TACAN nav station tuning capability to Nav radio and needle display on EHSI Note: Military "Tactical Air Navigation" (TACAN) capability was added to the sim by Laminar Research in X-Plane 12 Improved canopy lock/unlock annunciator logic Increase aircraft roll rate Updated T-6A User Guide, new version 1.1 As you can see another couple of features and a few adjustments have also been do in v1.1 XP12. X-PlaneReviews did an apdate review to the X-Plane 12 conversion here; Aircraft Review: AOASimulations-T6A Texan II X-Plane 12 Video is in X-Plane 11 The Model 3000/T-6 is a low-wing cantilever monoplane with enclosed tandem seating for two. It is powered by single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop engine in tractor configuration with an aluminum, 97-inch (8.1 ft; 2.5 m), four-blade, constant-speed, variable pitch, non-reversing, feathering propeller assembly and has retractable tricycle landing gear. The aircraft is fitted with Martin-Baker Mark 16 ejection seats and a canopy fracturing system. The T-6 is a development of the Pilatus PC-9, modified by Beechcraft to enter the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) competition in the 1990s. A similar arrangement between Pilatus and British Aerospace had also been in place for a Royal Air Force competition in the 1980s, although that competition selected the Short Tucano. The aircraft was designated under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system and named for the decades-earlier T-6 Texan. This X-Plane aircraft was developed using the official USAF 1T-6A-1 Flight Manual and SNFO (Student Naval Flight Officer) P-880 Aircraft Systems explanatory guide. Designed by Fabrice Kauffmann and David Austin of AOA Simulations Support forum for the T-6A Texan II To update to v1.1 XP12 then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account __________________________________ The T-6A Texan II by AOA Simulations is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: T-6A Texan II Price at time of writing US$40.00 Requirements: X-Plane 12 or 11 Windows , Mac (M1/M2 Supported), Linux 4 GB VRAM Video Card Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 360 MB Current version: 1.1 (June 1st 2023) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 3rd June 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
  13. Behind the Screen : May 2023 Not many review sites expose their inner workings. But I believe (as I have since my first reviews), that to go forward in any concept (in this case an Aircraft Simulator) that it is a learning process. To see how we do and deal with day to day involvement with the simulator, you can then make choices with your interaction with your own simulator. Yes I spend a lot of time per week doing X-Plane simulation... interaction means accessing new product, keeping the simulator in a good working order (filing and updates), which oddly can be quite time consuming, learning new concepts relating to the simulator, and also learning the details of the aircraft that are being simulated. I went through that review process last month. But on average I am using X-Plane around seven hours a day for six days a week in one capacity or another, which adds up to 42 hours a week, that is a lot of time to be in a simulator, but weirdly I don't yet find it boring or uninteresting, in fact quite the opposite. So yes the point here with BtheS and most importantly in the reviews is that as a user you can take away information we have learnt and passed on to you, again I believe that yes you want to know the latest information on a new or updated/upgrade releases. But more importantly you take away details that can short cut the learning curve, to getting to the core of the flying or interacting more quickly with the simulator, and most importantly the aircraft. Yes I admit I do tutorials as part of the review process, I call them "Short Cuts", or the way that you can follow the process to learn how it works in an edited form. For example the release of the FlyJSim Q4XP (Dash Q400) had a brand new style of FMS (Flight Management System) called UNS-1Ew Flight Management System. The concept of the FMS (or user layout) is quite different (in using numbered lines) to program the FMS with Flight (Route) details and Performance elements, plus the added elements that are important like X-FILL or Crossfill between the left and right FMS consoles. It is quite deep in interaction information. But here X-PlaneReviews we showed you how to programme the UNS-1 in an edited version. Obviously you can download the official Universal UNS-1 manual and go down in deeper into the "nic nacks" of the UNS-1 system, but to get you airborne and flying the Q4XP as soon as possible, then that tutorial is right there for you to digest. Yes I admit the tutorial adds on a fair bit of length to the review, should the tutorial section even be in a review, and not be set out as a separate tutorial? I will answer that aspect in that putting the tutorial within the review ACTUALLY it keeps it in context with that aircraft. And in most cases I refer to an older review with inserted tutorials if required from another review. As it also keeps the timeline correct of when in X-Plane that new technology or feature was released for the Simulator. I myself will go back to usually the original release review, to reflect the way to trigger my skills. These are again as mentioned last month my "Oh yes" I remember that aspect now, so it is also a stored information bank to access anytime I want to do an update/upgrade review and get my head back into that particular aircraft's cockpit and idiosyncratic natures. So it can take time to not only review (assess) a new aircraft, but to context it's new features and even it's impact on the X-Plane Simulator. Yes some releases are extremely exciting, as they do push the boundaries forward, introduce new ideas and features in to the simulator. These elements have to be analyzed and then explained to yourselves of why they are important, and the relevancy to X-Plane and the Simulator as a whole. These aspects are even more important when you have a generational change, like the period we are in now in X-Plane moving from the older (but mature) X-Plane 11 to the more dynamic X-Plane 12. Time is your biggest factor. Yes it would be wonderful to spend loads of time "Deep Diving" into aircraft systems and performance, but you simply don't have that precious time, as there is always a deadline to adhere to. Another point is that with reviews you can't cover absolutely everything in every aircraft, every single time in each review. We cover or focus mainly on the changes and features of the release, but as some aircraft are totally and noticeable highly detailed, so how do you cover all those elements without getting boring. Worse is that "feature escalation", means a lot of new features and details to cover. Go back only five years, and then look at the releases today to notice the compounding differences between aircraft releases. Reviews were mostly three day affairs, but today a week or even two is required to cover all the detailed points on a high quality, feature rich release. Which brings us to May... On average in X-Plane you can expect a major release (meaning completely new) about every two months, or about seven major releases a year, the rest are updates and upgrades to currently released aircraft. (at this point in time there are an abundunce of X-Plane 12 conversions). So you might get two in one month, then nothing for three (Usually around the Northern Summer period), then multiple releases one after the other in a few weeks in the Northern Fall period. Obviously this is the nature of the X-Plane beast. The big release for May 2023 was the E-Jets Family from X-Crafts. This was a significant release because in the state of play, this was in reality the first new release for X-Plane 12. Your going to shake your head there... as yes, as there already has been loads of committed official X-Plane 12 only configured aircraft released in the months prior. But in reality most had been developed in X-Plane 11 ready for an X-Plane 12 release, the X-Craft's E-Jet is totally an X-Plane 12 creature, it feels that way and the aircraft flies that way as well, so it was a significant release, an important one as it lays down the groundwork of what most major future X-Plane 12 releases will respond to. I was lucky to get into the "beta" development before release, the bugs were there, but nothing in relation to anything that would affect the review (hardware compatibilities), overall it was a masterful Simulation from some gifted developers. The X-Crafts E-Jet family has a huge list of features, the Intricate detail was noted as well, and to top it all off the aircraft had a brand new FMS system that needed explaining, and "yes" it would need a tutorial on how to use it. It was to be a big, if huge review with a lot of areas to cover. But that was okay, as I had one thing on my side... time, or about 10 days. I did the early flight tests when also working out the new FMS, then started the review, three days in and I was at the tutorial point of explaining the FMS system. This area needs a clear head and focus, ultimate focus, but I still had tons of time (a week to the release date). Then I got a tickle in my throat, then it turned slightly raw, the next day I had a full blown Flu... I had worked carefully through all the covid pandemic, but out of simply nowhere I was suddenly really sick, bleary eyed in bed sick... one day, two days, three days... four days? Suddenly my world was collapsing, I had the most intricate part of the review to do and I couldn't even focus on my iPhone.... hell? On the fifth day I went to the desk, I worked through the tutorial, I felt totally awful, but I got it done. Now I was faced with only two days until the release and with only half the review ready? I still felt awful but worked on, time had now been squeezed down to nothing, still tons to do and cover to create the review, but you work on, I missed the release date "damn", but got the review completed late the next day, and then collapsed. (Sorry it was late). Aircraft Review : E-Jets Family by X-Crafts The above timeline shows your life can go from complete perfection to hell in only a day, the most important release of the year and I was completely down and out for the count, yes I was annoyed then, still get annoyed even now, but it's life and there are simply some things you just can't control. A week later I took a reluctant week off the review desk to have a complete break and recover, it's a bad Flu, around here it is everywhere, but that damn Flu completely dominated (ruined) my month of May... and yes I am finally feeling normal again. "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry", Robert Burns Coming up in June is the FlightSimExpo from Houston June 23rd-25th 2023. Laminar Research will hold a booth at the Expo, but no Seminar is currently booked. There will be no Expo analysis, but X-PlaneReviews will be doing an overview of X-Plane 12 from it's early beta release to it's present situation as displayed at the Expo, so look out for that. X-Plane is also currently very buzzy, and coming into the Northern Summer season that is a really good thing. Mostly we are having a lot of X-Plane 12 conversions released, but unusually also lot of new aircraft being released from developers as well. Notable also is the now huge selection of aircraft already X-Plane 12 configured, so there is a lot of choices already of what to fly in the new simulator version... happy times! See you all next month Stephen Dutton 1st June 2023 Copyright©2023 X-Plane Reviews
  14. NEWS! - Thranda Design releases BN-2A Islander for X-Plane 12! This "NEWS!" post has been changed from "Coming" to "Released", to reflect the status of the aircraft. The aircraft is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore. Note this aircraft is available for X-Plane 12 ONLY. The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a British light utility aircraft and regional airliner designed and originally manufactured by Britten-Norman of the United Kingdom. Still in production, the Islander is one of the best-selling commercial aircraft types produced in Europe. Although designed in the 1960s, over 750 are still in service with commercial operators around the world. The aircraft is a light transport with over 30 military aviation operators around the world. The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a high-wing cantilever monoplane with a rectangular fuselage and two wing-mounted engines; early aircraft were equipped with a pair of piston engines while later production models may be alternatively fitted with turboprop engines in their place. The rectangular cross section fuselage, which is furnished with a conventional tail unit and fixed tricycle landing gear, can accommodate a single pilot and up to nine passengers in a commuter configuration, or operate in a mixed cargo/passenger capacity. The cabin can be rapidly reconfigured, allowing for a single aircraft to undertake a diverse range of tasks within a minimal period of time. Often referring to the type as "The world's most versatile aircraft" Britten-Norman promotes the Islander's low direct operating costs, minimal maintenance, and its stability in flight as major attributes of the aircraft. The BN2A Islander is part of Thranda "Dynamic Generation Series". More about the DGS Series Special features: True X-Plane 12 Aircraft FULLY configurable 3D instrument panel. Fully VR Compatible Over 50 instruments to choose from! (Including Aspen EFD 1000, and support for RealityXP GTN650 and GTN750) Move any instrument to any location on the panel, or even between pilot and copilot's panel! Comes with 5 panel presets, but can easily be expanded by moving instruments around, using a simple and intuitive interface. Lighting is fully 3D, and dynamically moves along with the instruments, as you configure the panel. Ability to assign a lighting index to individual instruments, to allow different lighting knobs to be assigned on a per-instrument basis. Save your own presets, and even share them with the community! Almost every instrument can be popped up or popped out as a 2D floating window! They can be placed on other monitors as well. Instruments can be moved in 3D directly, on a 2D pop-up preview window, or by numerical entry for precise placement. GNS430 and 530 can be swapped out, but a restart of the plane is required, as 430s and 530s are mutually exclusive in terms of compatibility in X-Plane Dynamic livery editor (like in the Kodiak, the Beaver, the Wilga, the Caravan, the C206, the C337, and the Pilatus PC-6) Full PBR control! Create stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look in mere seconds! Additional control over dirt/scratches, adjustable in real-time to dial in the exact desired amount of wear and tear. Create "virtual" liveries, based on two basic common design layouts (Modern and Classic), and assign any colour to any available paint segment. Quickly create preview of livery in real-time, using intuitive controls. Previews include visualization of metallic materials and dirt overlays. Apply selected livery in real-time, right in the sim, without the need to even touch a 3rd party image editor! Option to change the tail number in real-time, or disable it altogether. (Enter a "space" instead of a callsign number to create a blank tail number.) Easily and quickly create dozens of paint schemes in-sim! Also includes 8 traditionally painted liveries, all visible in a convenient pre-selection preview window. Ability to swap pilot/co-pilot figures Uses SkunkCrafts Updater. Option to participate in Beta program, via checkbox in SkunkCrafts Updater. Excellent 8k hi-res textures with realistic PBR materials, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision. Windshield ice and rain effects Individual functional circuit breakers. Feature-rich elegant fly-out menu with the following features: Electric tug, with in-panel controls to move forward/backward at the desired speed, and steer proportionally Control over chocks, individual tie-downs, covers, internal lights, external lights, etc. Option to enable/disable Cargo Pod, with realistically simulated weight, momentum, rotational inertia, and drag characteristics. Option to start up running (all systems ready), or cold-and-dark, for realistic startup procedures, directly from this fly-out menu. Control landing lights, strobes, beacon, and nav lights via fly-out menu Detailed weight and balance manager with visual chart, individual passenger seat weight control, Lbs/KG unit toggle, CG control, external tank control, and the option to save and load configuration. Show or hide individual seats, to create a hybrid passenger/cargo version. When seats are hidden, cargo fills the space when weight is added via the fly-out menu. Multiple camera snap points, above and beyond what's available by default in X-Plane, so you can perform your walk around checks. Adjust your camera's Field of View without having to go to an X-plane menu, allowing for real-time adjustments. Audio mixer: individually control audio channels in real-time, so you can adjust volumes while hearing them play. Slew control: move your plane around the world, temporarily bypassing flight physics. Includes ground mode and air mode. Dynamic panel control page, with a separate view for the entire panel layout preview, or a per-instrument view, allowing for fine-tuning of instrument position, as well as copy-paste function to quickly replace instruments. DynaFeel panel: Dial in precisely how you wish for the controls to react as a function of speed. Option to swap pilot and co-pilot Optional de-ice system Optional bubble windows Optional tundra tires Flight dynamics and systems: Detailed and accurate flight dynamics and weight and balance, with accurate takeoff, climb, cruise, and landing performance. Tie-downs and chocks actually keep the plane from moving, even in high winds. DynaFeel: controls that simulate how strongly the control surfaces are affected by oncoming air, and how much strength would be needed to overcome these forces. Advanced FMOD-based sound system: High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth, finely tuned transitions (actually having calculated the precise beat frequency for each section, to minimize "muddy" transition sounds), and amazing atmospheric effects. Individual volume control over different aspects of the sound experience, adjustable in real-time (while listening to the sounds) Panning around the plane in exterior view yields awesome 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to prop Far away sounds include aerodynamic interaction effects between engines. Individual buttons and switches in the cockpit each have their own unique sound. Engine has typical cool-down ticking sound, based on engine temperature. Sounds actually give you clues as to what's happening under the hood. Outside wind intensity is affected by slip and AoA. (The more the surface area of the fuselage is hit by oncoming wind, the louder the sounds) Doors and windows opening, let outside sounds in Images are courtesy of Thranda Design The Thranda Design BN-2A Islander is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore for X-Plane 12 only. _________________ Yes! the Britten Norman BN-2A Islander XP12 by Thranda Design is NOW! available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BN-2A Islander XP12 Price is US$34.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for X-Plane 11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.8 GB Current version 1.0 (June 1st 2023) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 1st June 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.
  15. NEWS! - Aircraft Update : Nimbus Studios updates BN-2B Islander to X-Plane 12 Boom, boom.. get one choice then suddenly two! Welcome to X-Plane. As we are aware the Thranda BN-2B Islander for X-Plane 12 has just been released, so here is X-Plane's original BN-2B Islander from Nimbus Studios in it's own X-Plane 12 guise, there has been a few nice updates, and it's on sale as well... A British-designed and manufactured light utility and commuter transport, The Britten Norman Islander is one of the best-selling commercial aircraft types produced in Europe. Although designed in the 1960s, over 750 are still in service with commercial operators around the world. Version 2.0 XP12 (May 31st 2023) XP12 version now available Updated interior and exterior textures. Bug fixes. Improved flight model Rain effect on glass Improved night lightning Addition of model details (sunhield, antennas, intake filters and more) Improved exterior lights The v2.0 XP12 BN Islander from Nimbus Studios is now available to update, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStrore account and download the XP12 version is available, note the Nimbus Studios "Westray" scenery is also a free part of the package, and can also be downloaded from your account. Features: Compatible with X-Plane 12 (and XP11) Highly detailed 3D model 4K textures Full PBR Textures for quality refection 3D Custom Sound System Animated switches Rattling and vibrations Accurate handling and flight characteristics Accurate performance based on performance charts Realistic night lightning with custom lights and textures VR ready (includes yoke manipulator) Ice buildup visual effect Nice Comprehensive Menus Windows for managing maintenance, weight and balance, doors and accessories, controls position and performance charts. Maintenance module: If you want a more realistic experience you can choose if you want the aircraft to require maintenance with time and usage, depending on how you fly and engine exceedance the mechanical components will degrade and performance will be affected. Weight and balance: A graphic interface gives you the chance to modify the cargo, passengers, fuel and CG Doors and accessories: Open and close doors, add or remove wheel chocks, engine and pitot covers or controls lock. Performance: This window will also allow you to see some performance charts. Controls position indicator: A small window on the right bottom corner will show the position of your controls. Designed by Nimbus Studio Support forum for the Islander by Nimbus Images are courtesy of Nimbus Studios _________________ Yes! the Britten Norman Islander BN-2 XP12 by Nimbus Studios is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BN-2 Islander XP12 Price is US$34.95 On sale: $34.95 US$27.96 You Save:$6.99(20%) 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 : XP12: 2.0 (May 31st 2023) XP11: 1.1 ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 1st June 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.
  16. NEWS! - Magknight updates Boeing 787 Aviator's Edition to X-Plane 12 The Magknight 787 Aviator’s Edition is currently the best X-Plane Simulation of this New Gen airliner, now the -9 version is available to fly in X-Plane 12, the -8 version will follow for X-Plane 12 very soon, but is still available for X-Plane 11. Development of the Magknight Dreamliner has been very piecemeal over the years, but has also been a very ongoing project of which you could join, so you can't have it both ways, but it has reached a point of maturity... that is part of the deal with this aircraft. Version 2.0 (May 31st 2023) New X-Plane 12 version added Includes 787-8 (xp11) and 787-9 (xp12 and xp11) GE and RR engine types Various other company options including SATCOM Each variant has different flight characteristics General Brand new flight model built for X-Plane 11.50+ X-Plane12 now available Improved wingflex Custom IRS/AHRU simulation, with quick align Auto-update for the lifetime of X-Plane 11 LED exterior lights Pause at top of descent and jump to waypoint 3D cabin New: Custom Navigation Display Minimap included on PFDs ND can be moved across MFD positions MFD screens can be pop-up and pop-out Includes terrain, weather and TCAS views Maximum range of 1280nm New: Custom CDU pages Custom CDU graphics including highlights CDU error functionality including the 787-specific help box Custom NAV RAD, POS INIT, IDENT, THRUST REF and INDEX pages Next-Generation Cockpit Comprehensive cockpit lighting options High resolution textures with PBR throughout the cockpit and cabin Optional tinted cockpit and cabin windows Realistic Panel dimensions Optional AVITAB integration Custom wiper simulation Integrated EFB Comprehensive weight and balance calculator, with per-livery cabin configurations Takeoff and landing performance calculators Multiple engine choices Choose from the mainstay GE engines, or the new experimental RR engines Custom flight controls 5-setting autobrakes with RTO capability Dynamic flap timing and order Roll spoilers based on speed and wingforce Surface droop on hydraulics loss Surface fadeout by speed FMOD soundpack by audiobirdXP Fully custom FMOD soundpack for the GENx and RR engines Extensive integration with systems Cockpit switch and button sounds 3D cabin and fuselage Ground-up exterior fuselage model including optional tinted windows 3D cabin with optional seating Cabin is optional, configurable in EFB for performance Liveries Blank and Magknight livery included by default Other liveries available at https://magknight.org/liveries Liveries from before 1.4.0 are not be compatible due to change of engine and fuselage models Liveries from before 1.7.0 need upgrading to the latest format to benefit from the most recent art improvements Auto-Updater Uses the Skunkcraft Updater for Automatic updates X-PlaneReviews did the last update review (X-Plane 11) here: Aircraft Review Update : Boeing 787-900 v1.6.0 by Magknight Currently there is also a 20% sale on this aircraft. _________________ Yes! the Boeing 787-900 Aviator Edition Dreamliner XP12 by Magknight is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : B787-9 Aviator Edition Price is US$44.95 (You Save:$11.00(20%)) Current purchasers can go to their X-Plane.OrgStore account and download the new X-Plane 12 version 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 : XP12: 2.0 (May31st 2023) XP:11: 1.8 ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 1st June 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.
  17. NEWS! - HpH 304 S Shark 18 Meter Sailplane released by STMA STMA? know that one, but "haven't they been quiet for quite a time?". Shade Tree Micro Aviation are what you would call "oldtimers" in the lexicon of X-Plane Folklore. In fact their own explanation by STMA staff about the origin of “Shade Tree”. Jim indicated that the name reflected “our laid-back philosophy of creating models”. Todd Denning replied: “It was because it started as an amateur effort like shade tree mechanics”. So the gang are back, but the release is a Sailplane (glider), that is another shock, mostly STMA released Bush or Utility aircraft, so again a sailplane is a little odd, but we will go with that one. The HPH 304S is a high-performance single-seated, flapped racing class sailplane. It is offered in a convertible wing configuration with long and short wingtip extensions allowing both 15- and 18-meter wingspans. X-Plane 12 does have a very different and new thermal environment. And this STMA aircraft is fine-tuned into those finer behaviors. Features Full 3D cockpit with ample room for functional growth as demand dictates. GPS equipped for cross country tasks Polar data and soaring references included for your best start in soaring experiences Flap and Airfoil data modified for best negative flap experience LX-styled Instrument package featuring both Imperial and metric data MacCready number setting on the variometer for optimum energy management Variometer and Speed to Fly modes toggle to provide airspeed guidance Vario with both color and sound indicators provide instant energy gain/loss assessment Configured correctly for both winch and aerial tow pulls Ballast control from the STMA dock feature – load it or lose it from cockpit Rain windscreen for when the clouds let go Edge of envelope flight characteristics Accurate stall speeds for all configurations 45-degree dives in full spoiler configuration without overspeed Accurate approach and landing speeds The STMA guys are back, so check out the their latest (interesting) release. Images courtesy of STMA ________________ Yes! the HpH 304 S Shark 18 Meter Sailplane by STMA is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: HpH 304 S Shark 18 Meter Sailplane Price is US$29.95 (currently on sale for US$22.95) Requirements X-Plane 12 Windows , Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum . 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version : 12 (May 26th 2023) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 29th May 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.
  18. NEWS! - Extra 330- 350 SC and EDGE 540 v3 by Vertigo Design updated to X-Plane12 If you want an out and out aerobatic aircraft then it is an easy choice, well two actually from Vertical Design. The older one is the Extra 330 - 350 SC, named after Walter Extra. Or the newer type called the EDGE 540 by ZIVKO Aeronautics inc. Both aircraft have now been converted to X-Plane 12 specifications. Extra 330- 350 SC the Extra 330SC is a Lycoming AEIO-580-powered single-seat aircraft with improved roll rate and easier roll stops, designed specifically for Unlimited category competition. It is the only single-seater aerobatic aircraft currently being built by Extra. The Extra is the World Champion Aerobatic Aircraft for 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016! The Extra Flugzeugbau EA300 is a two-seat aerobatic monoplane capable of Unlimited category competition. It was designed in 1987 by Walter Extra, a German aerobatic pilot, and built by Extra Flugzeugbau. Then both the 330 & 350 SC aircraft were upgraded machines from the original EA300 concept aircraft. Features : Now includes two models: The Extra 330 SC and the Extra 350 SC Compatible with both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 PBR textures (for incredible dynamic reflections) Incredible flight model made for real pilots (already used by a real Red Bull Air Race pilot !) High quality 3D model 3D visual for damaged structures Immersive sounds Realistic pilot animations High quality liveries and HD textures EDGE 540 v3 Based on the super racer Edge 540 v3 (Created by ZIVKO Aeronautics inc.), the EDGE 540 v3 is a single-seat aircraft derived from the well known Edge 540 aerobatic aircraft. This version has been especially improved for racing. Huge engine inlets, big typical aerodynamic winglets, stunning agility, incredible precision, high engine efficiency. The EDGE 540 v3 has won almost every races during Red Bull Air Race championships ! It's the ultimate evolution of this aircraft, maximized for racing. Only release a year ago for X-Plane 11, here is the X-Plane 12 version of this very popular aerobatic machine. Capable of a 420 degree per second roll rate and a 3,700 foot per minute climb rate, it has been flown to victory on the international Unlimited aerobatics circuit several times since the mid-1990s. The aircraft is powered by a Lycoming AEIO-540-EXP (modified) 6-cylinder air-cooled horizontally-opposed piston engine, 310 hp (230 kW) at 2700 rpm - rated power. Features : Both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions included PBR textures Accurate flight model High quality 3D model Specific Racing Instruments modeled after the real aircraft Animated ejection Lever (removes the canopy) Immersive FMOD 3D sounds Realistic pilot animations High quality liveries and HD textures Images are courtesy of Vertigo Design Both aircraft are noted as"Updates", so are to previous purchasers, a free upgrade to the the X-Plane 12 version, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account. For any new purchasers of either Vertigo Designs aerobatic machimes, then there are current sales deals available. Model by Vertigo Design Support forum for the Extra 330 SC Support forum for the Edge 540 Images courtesy of Vertigo Design ________________________________________ Both Extra 330 SC and Extra Edge 540 V3 by Vertigo Design are now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: Extra 330- 350 SC Price is US$29.90 (on sale for $18.68/saving $11.22(38%)) Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 194 MB Current version : 12 - May 23rd 2023 EDGE 540 v3 Price is US$29.90 (on sale for $18.68/saving $11.22(38%)) Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 194 MB Current version : 12 - May 23rd 2023 ________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 29th May 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.
  19. X-PlaneReviews : Traveling and Away There is never a good time to have a break in X-Plane because it is always 24/7 in something coming along, and with all the new releases and updates relating to X-Plane 12. But I will be away for a week from today until Monday 29th May 2023 in taking in some fresh air and traveling. The site however will not be completely without content as there are some really great release reviews all lined up for you to read and explore and there is some really great stuff coming... So still check in regularly as you usually do and catch up on those great releases... Thanks everyone for your commitment to X-PlaneReviews and see you all again next week. Stephen Dutton
  20. NEWS! - AOA updates Van's RV-8 /8A Duo to X-Plane 12 The RV-8 is a tandem two-seat, single-engine, low-wing homebuilt aircraft sold in kit form by Van's Aircraft. It has a baggage compartment in the nose, between the cockpit and the engine firewall and room behind the back seat for additional baggage. These features, 174 knot (200 mph) cruise speed and stable handling make it a nice cross country traveling machine as well. The plane is powered by a 200 hp Lycoming gas powered piston engine and has a two blade constant speed propeller. Throttle, prop and mixture controls fall easily under your left hand while your right handle holds a center control stick. So the RV-8 feels like a WWII fighter as you sit under a clear Plexiglas sliding bubble canopy and you fly it the same way. First released May 5th 2019 for X-Plane 11 by Angle of Attack (AOA). The Van's Series has had five updates (X-Plane 11), this sixth update is the conversion of the RV-8/8A to X-Plane 12. Notable also is the native Apple M2 silicon support now that SASL have updated the host plugin to v3.16.1. X-Plane 12 effects are of course also now available. Notable is that you can purchase the Van-8/8A either separately as either the "Tail-Gear" or "Tri-Cycle" variants, or both together as a "Duo" package. Version XP12 1.0 (May 20th 2023) SASL (free) version 3.16.1 with native Apple M2 silicon support Completely re-engineered light aircraft dynamic flight model to keep up with X-Plane aerodynamic model, X-Plane 12 edition New canopy rain effects Object lighting and normal maps tailored to X-Plane 12s new environment lighting New optional 'AOAs Extras'; enhanced G1000 PFD and MFD displays Brake With Stick option can be selected separately from other extra features Optional memory function to save aircraft configuration and fuel load between flights Removed GFC 500 autopilot control panel. Autopilot control now uses default G1000 PFD (left side)/ MFD (right side) autopilot mode buttons and select knobs. Tail-Gear version Tri-Cycle Version Now fully compatible with X-Plane 12 Features Accurate flight model Detailed cockpit and exterior with animations, manipulators and PBR textures VR-Ready Custom particles emitters Customized Garmin G1000 PFD and MFD FMOD Sounds Ground equipment Animated pilot Dynamic pilot POV camera options (non VR mode) Automatic AI plane tracking pilot POV camera capability (non VR mode) Garmin GFC 500 Included in the package 5 HD liveries + more than 30 liveries available at www.x-plane.org Comprehensive User Guide Photoshop Paintkit The Van's RV-8/8A was reviewed by X-Plane Reviews by Peter Allnut (X-Plane11 version); Aircraft Review: Van's RV-8 /8A Duo by AOA Simulations Images are courtesy of Angle of Attack ________________ Yes! the Van's RV-8 /8A Duo by Angle of Attack is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Van's RV-8 /8A Duo (both aircraft) Price is US$32.00 Van's RV-8 Tail Gear (Single Aircraft) Price is US$24.00 Van's RV-8A Tri-Gear (Single Aircraft) Price is US$24.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 - X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 12 (May 20th 2023) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 21st May 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.
  21. Aircraft Review : Cessna T337G Pressurized Skymaster by Skytouch The Cessna 337 Series is well renowned, not for that it is a high-wing Cessna, but for it's odd push-pull configuration, in that it has a combination of forward-mounted tractor (pull) propeller, and backward-mounted (pusher) propeller. In the Cessna 377's case it was two Continental IO-360-C air-cooled flat-six piston engines, 210 hp (160 kW) each, producing a combined 420hp, plus the unique "Twin-Boom" tail arrangement to accommodate the rear (pusher) engine/propeller. Basically the 337 was a standard Cessna forward fuselage, but with a totally different concept at the rear. Clever, a twin-engined aircraft in a linear configuration, but the aircraft was highly regarded for tactical operations, say Fire Fighting and Search and Rescue, the Cessna O-2 Skymaster (nicknamed "Oscar Deuce") was the military version used for forward air control (FAC) and psychological operations (PSYOPS), again also a primary aircraft for noted reconnaissance, observation (e.g. artillery spotting), border patrol and fishery protection roles. So the aircraft is a unique stable platform with some very distinctive tasks, this made it very popular and altogether 2,993 variants were built between 1963–1982. Hold on, "haven't we already done a Cessna 337 review already this year?". Well yes X-PlaneReviews has done another 337 review, as earlier in 2023, as Thranda Design released their Cessna 337F Skymaster. So why another one? Besides the usual X-Plane, when one comes out, then so does another in the simulator's idiosyncratic way, there is also a significant differences between the two aircraft, this is the "G" model, not the Thranda "F" model, and there are big performance differences between the two aircraft. The earlier "F" had the IO-360-C Engine (210 HP), were as this "G" model has the TSIO-360-H Engine, Turbocharged and being a Pressurized 337 version, it was also up-rated to 225 HP. Another point to make early is that the High-Quality Thranda is US$10 more than this T337G, of which again the Thranda is low priced for the amount of detail and features you get with that aircraft, this Skytouch T337G is a more simpler aircraft in every area, but it is still a nice Cessna 337 for around the sub-$30 category. First impressions are very favorable, "This is nice", remember this is SkyTouch's first payware developer release, so for a first time effort it is all very splendid. More Low-Def than Hi-Def, but the work here is very good. Panels are well represented, as is the NRM highlights and appendage, rivet, screw is visually very well accomplished, cockpit/cabin glass is also well done, shaped and nicely tinted. Wing and detail is also nice, the cambered detailing of the wing tips, that defines the chord is there but not as pronounced as the Thranda... however the detail and shape is good, there are the black simulated "Icing Boots" (required for high altitudes), but no blank leading edge option. The 337 has a split Flap system around the Twin-Booms, and an inner and outer flap. The detail is very good, with the correct aerodynamic panels surrounding the edges of the flaps, not as so beautifully done as the Thranda, but still worthy here. The roof mounted twin VHF roof aerials are distinctive on the C337, as is the large cooling inlet for the buried rear engine. All are nicely represented, but there is no modeled rear engine fuel cap? Small details but important. The twin-booms support the very wide large central horizontal stabiliser, which is huge, with built in elevator and trim tab. Each boom has each internal left and right rudder cables and the right hand boom carries the trim cable, the left boom the elevator cable. I have to be honest in that I'm not at all thrilled at the design of the twin-rudders... as they don't fit correctly, as there is a wide gap at the lower point, but even in the movement they show they are both not correctly applied to the tail? How could you get that so wrong? The lower tail (plastic) module is shown, but not the same upper tail tip plastic module? Outwardly the landing gear is a simple arrangement, most of the complex mechanism is hidden behind the panels, the nose gear rotates sideways on retraction, and the rear spindly legs also have to contort to fit in the rear bays. A lot of owners take the rear gear doors off, as maintenance wise they are a pain. But the detail of the gear is very good here, with nicely detailed wheel hubs and tyres. Note the brake cable along the arm. The required vortex generators, to create a smoother rear (breakaway) airflow from the aircraft with the powered propeller above are also present. From the model 377F the aircraft had the split airstair entry door, smaller rear side windows. This complies here, but the lower door animation is locked in with the upper door animation, which is a wasted feature. The split door arrangement was done so the observer could look out of the upper part of the aircraft in flight, even throw items out of the aircraft in say a search and rescue task, but that feature can't be done here? They are both open or closed together... ... the small rear right side luggage hatch is missing as well. Look through the door and it is a nice cabin. The 337 cabin is all one big high ceiling box, with that second engine mounted on the rear of the fuselage, the cabin is known to be noisy as well, with the same proximate installation. Seats are basic, meaning old fashioned by today's standards with not much realistic detail, so there is not much realism in the design or colouring, but they match the cabin decor design, again an off brown. Instrument Panel is excellent with a light grey background, and small black highlights... but not the two-tone or wood lower. The Yokes are the square "Beefy" style, and both (not individually) can be hidden, by pressing the shaft. Lower left is the Electrical panel, note the lower "Cabin Pressure" gauges and settings knob. Twin-engine (front and rear) starter switches and "Cowl Flaps", with AP (Autopilot) panel lower. Central left is the petite gear lever and the large pitch trim wheel. Right lower are the Flaps "UP-⅓-⅔-FULL". Cabin Temp, Heater Temp and defrost, on the far right lower is an opening cubby box, with your (AviTab) tablet inside. Above is the ADF panel. The AviTab tablet is small, but very well done in being set on the center of the Yoke on a frame (AviTab plugin is required). Instruments are clear, consists of main centre the "Standard Six" layout, Airspeed, Horizonal Horizon, Altitude... top row. Turn Coordinator, Heading Indicator, V/S (Vertical Speed)... lower row. Far left OAT/VOLT dial, and right VOR NAV 1, VOR NAV 2 and ADF Pointer. Two areas on the instrument panel are standard 337... the excellent twin engine gauges with Manifold Pressure and RPM. A Fuel Flow (FF) and EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature). The highlight on this side is the engine dials that show (top row) fuel gauges (two tanks, 46 GAL each), OIL pressure. (lower row) CYL head temp, and OIL temperatures. Other dials cover SUCTION, Outside Air Temperature and a large spare Altimeter. Avionics stack consists of; standard Radio is based on the Bendix/King KMA 28 TSO radio (but not the official unit). Then both a GNS 530 (upper) and GNS 430 (lower) and again are not authentic (but with Laminar pop-outs), then a KX 165 COM2/NAV2 radio and bottom is a KT-76C Transponder. Central is the six lever; THROTTLE, PROP and MIXTURE pedestal, which is large and basic in design, with a large yaw (Rudder) trim wheel set below. Far lower is the Autopilot, button control panel, the AP design here is quite basic and far unlike the lovely green glowing version you had the Carenado 337. Note on the far (right wall are the "Door Seal" switches, there are two "Dump" (air) levers right of the pedestal. Left wall has the (non-working) Circuit Breaker (fuses) panel, but the avionics power switch is on here. Side window opens... ... on the roof are the two main fuel tank switches, and the large window shades work. I'm not going to hide the fact that there are holes all over the cockpit, you can see sky behind the instrument panel and around the doors, gaps around the avionics? small details but they count. Menu The menu is a small three tab affair, activated by the left lower screen tab... the three configurations are; CONFIG (Configuration), WEIGHT and SETTINGS. CONFIG - You can set "Covers & Chocks" in a window shade, chocks and engine (front and rear) covers. But you can't separate any of the elements? Second option is a 300 Lb Cargo Pod underside the fuselage. You can select on (or off) all the external lights individually or use the "All External Lights to ON" setting, final setting is a "Cold & Dark Start'. Upper right corner is the "Checklist", it is basic but well done and can be moved around the screen. WEIGHT - On this tab you can set the 337's weights. Both pilot's and two passenger weights can be set, as also can the "Cargo Pod" (If attached) with bags, and behind the seat with parcels. But there are no final weight or CofG (Centre of Gravity) details or graphs, a requirement on any adjustable weight settings. There is also the choice of six different 3D pilots, both male and female and people of colour. SETTINGS - There are four "Settings" selections. Top is "Smooth Animation", for those who have poor framerate capacity. Second are the "Windows Reflections", which you can turn off, but it also turns off the X-Plane 12 rain feature as well. Then there is a general "Engine Sound Volume", and finally the option in either to use Lbs or Kg in weights. _______________ Flying the T377G SkyMaster Roof Fuel tanks on, AUX fuel pumps on and up goes the mixture levers... then you start first the front engine, and then the rear. Sounds are good, I mean really good, the chatter at low-revs then the arrrgh of the power. And you can easily differentiate between the front and rear Continental IO-360-H air-cooled flat-six piston engine sounds, or chatter, important here. This is a 337, so the rear engine has the ability to overheat, so it needs constant fresh air from the nose propeller to keep it within a reasonable temperature range, hence you start the nose engine first, even then you can't sit (or muddle) around all day as the rear engine temperature rises quickly. There are of course the front and rear cowlings, of which would always be open on the ground... There is no point to point flight route here today, this flight's objective is to see how high I can fly a Cessna. The Ceiling of the T337G is 20,000ft, the usual around 12,500ft non-pressurized. All the engines now warmed up, and off goes the park-brake. First job is to "Seal" the door, but the wide open gap around the bottom of the door says the developer didn't take the sealing idea seriously? In fact there are holes everywhere, around the glass and even through the dashboard? You don't need to use the rear engine for taxiing, there is enough pull from the front to keep the rear at idle until you get to the runway. The T337G is nice to taxi, and fast too if you want to move on past say the usual 12 knts. Because of the unique engine arrangement and rear fuselage configuration, the rear engine creates instant aerodynamic flow over the huge horizontal stabiliser and elevator, so the pitch feel is there from the word go... so you have to be aware in the way you use the pitch earlier than usual. On the real 337, the pitch trim is motorised automatically to compensate for the extra elevator pressure loadings, and will work (trim) from the moment you leave the runway. The rear propeller is highly exposed as well... throwing up rocks from the rear wheels can cause grief (in other words expensive repairs), and you have to leave the runway cleanly, or not in a too pitched up angle, in not catching the ground with the propeller sort of skill. But the unique push/pull engine configuration also works for you in not creating any (depending on the power outputs) yaw, as the inline counter-rotating propellers give no directional thrust pull, so there is no asymmetrical thrust or yaw to the power output of the propeller, basically you go straight down the runway with no corrections or slight rudder corrections. I usually bring the front (puller) up to 90% power, tracking centreline I then bring up the rear (pusher) to match it... it feels like a late Turbo push in your back when the extra power comes in. Powering down the runway you have a lot of forces, that PUSH in your back, and the huge aerodynamic control coming in, a big clean wing and blown horizontal stabiliser give you a lot of feel in the controls early... slightly pull back on the Yoke at 100 knts (no flap) and your flying. It's responsive... and once clear then a 10% pitch to climbout... you have ton's of power behind you, so the 337 will climb-out very easily, here you have the extra 225 HP per engine, and so you feel the push, Rate of climb is 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s), but you can do a 1,000 fpm comfortably... The Thranda 337 detail of the retraction storing of the spindly gear was excellent, here it is just as good, but with the exception for one area. The nosegear twists sideways before retracting, but here the wheel (twists) retracts before the cowling door(s) are fully open, so the wheel cuts through the door itself? The rear gear installing into the bays is however excellent, as the complicated door arrangement opens and the gear furls in by twisting and going up at the same time, great to watch. But with the gear down it produces a climb penalty of a bit over 100 FPM, raising it carries a temporary 240 FPM hit with all the theatrics of the doors being open (did I mention that a lot of owners take the doors off, yes I did). Once clear of the runway, I get a feel for the aircraft and trim it out. The 337 is an extremely stable platform, now clean it is easy to trim and cruise at 3,000ft. Sounds are fabulous, with great thrumming from both engines as you power along. Top Speed for the Turbo is 211 kts, with a Cruise Speed of 204 kts, 210 HP standard engines gives you 173 kts at sea level, and 165 kts cruise at 10,000 ft, so the Turbo is significantly more powerful. I was disappointed in the poor instrument (dial) backlighting, it makes the instruments hard to read? There are "Post" lighting storks as per usual on a 337, but they don't seem to work here either, the two adjustment knobs are hard to use as well, so overall the lighting is disappointing. This is the Pressurized Skymaster, so you have to set the Pressurization on the lower left panel. You need to set the "Cabin Altitude" dial to around 6,000ft to 7,000ft, obviously make sure the cabin is sealed ready as we did earlier. Ready, you then turn on the "PRESSURE" switch to ON. Then start your climb. There is a trick on finding the right power setting (speed) to climb rate, I found 130 knts to 700fpm about ideal up to 12,000ft. And your climbing, if slowly towards the your 20,000ft ceiling... ... it's weird, because you don't usually fly this high in a General Aviation aircraft, passing through 10,000ft and your up there in the clouds, and the ground is still falling away beneath you. You are used to this view in an airliner, but not in a GA aircraft.... 12,500ft is the "Death line", no pressurization and you will start to lose oxygen, and the blackness will form. X-Plane simulates this blackout, redout, and hypoxia effect, but you can turn it off on the "MENU/SETTINGs/FLIGHTMODEL/Simulate blackout, redout, and hypoxia effects" tickbox setting. So if you have got your pressurization panel set correctly and switched on, you should be able to continue flying on up higher as the system keeps your environment/cabin set at a lower (7,000ft) comfortable pressure. Your always aware of the "Cabin Altitude" (warning) light, if it comes on you've lost pressurization... not a good thing. Climbing now through 14,000ft, it's cold up here, and my windows then froze over (so did the wings!). There is an Windshield anti-ice System, and working de-icing boots on the wings, and both (thankfully) worked in clearing the ice from the windows and wings, both important tools to have while flying this high. After 12,500ft you start to lose climbing pitch, you start off around 600fpm, then slip to 400fpm, then as you go though 15,000ft your struggling at 200fpm, the more climb pitch on the AP, the more you lose speed, and so there is a limit or tradeoff in going on up higher.... I chickened out at 16,000ft, my aim was 18,000ft, but it would have taken ages to do that last 2,000ft snail climb. Even to make the 16,000ft climb had taken me 90 nm! "Yikes" that is a long way up... but at last I could mixture the engines back (a little) and settle into a cruise speed of around 145 knts. But it's an impressive little aircraft, flying this high as a Dash 8 Q400. Lighting There are two instrument panel lighting adjustments, the instrument back-lighting is weak, as in the daytime, it needs more "oomph", there is the glareshield dropdown lighting, it helps, but your still crying out for more brightness to light up the instruments. There is a single overhead forward light, that is not quite strong either, as are the two roof mounted rear seat lights. The AP panel looks nice in the dark, but again you want more colour (green) in the buttons, overall it's all there but not effective. Externally it is quite good. Separate Taxi and Landing lights in the nose, standard Navigation (single white right boom taillight), strobe and a big red beacon again on the right side tail. It was a long way up to 16,000ft, but going down is easy, you just pull back on the power and use the right amount of power to control your descent speed, no need for the pitch AP wheel control, and drop you do, even 2,000ft fpm is easily achieved, but around 600fpm-800fpm is the best option. This is an X-Plane 12 aircraft (an X-Plane 11 version is part of the package), and X-Plane 12 can throw up great flying vistas, certainly in the late afternoon sun. I'm quickly back around a 337's normal flight altitude of around 10,000ft, I'm heading for Hervey Bay (YXHB) airport, just over World Heritage-listed K'gari island. Trimmed out at 5,000ft and under manual control, this is flying pleasure... I have always liked the 337, The Carenado version was excellent, the Thranda is great as well, but I like Skytouch version just as well, it is a simpler aircraft than the Thranda 337, and in many ways better for it from a flying aspect. All the X-Plane 12 effects work, we have seen the misting and icing earlier, and the Librain effects are good as well, they stream over the windows quite thickly. HVB - Hervey Bay is hard to pickout, there are no Nav-Aids to help you here, it is all VFR flying, so there is a lot of looking and pointing, then lining up the aircraft to runway Rwy11, your focal point to the approach is HBAWI waypoint, then straight in. Flaps are 4 phase 3 degree movements; UP - 1/2 - 2/3 - FULL, get the speed right and there is simply no ballooning, just slight drop of speed, even down to the FULL setting, the Skymaster will stay calm and collected with no fighting of the aircraft... critical on approach. Down goes the gear, noisy, and you need to give the arrangement in transition time to unfurl and set it's self ready in the landing configuration. Over the threshold and your in the 70 knts range, perfectly stable... ... 60 knts in the flare. The flare has to be perfect, as you are very aware of that rear propeller hanging down. Slight 5º-6º degrees to keep the nosewheel slightly higher than the rears, then let it down. When the rears touch you bring down the nose carefully, the slow landing speed and excellent lift really helps here to get it right. From then on it is just touching the foot brakes to keep the 337 straight, and you can then power down the rear engine to idle. Once parked, you have to De-Pressurize the cabin (yes you could do this earlier below 10,000ft if you wanted to). You dump the air-pressure, via two pull knobs set right of the pedestal, by pulling them and you can hear the air noisily disappear. Then you can unlock the "door seal", to exit the aircraft. Liveries There is a blank white + three liveries with the Skymaster 337. All are not particularly creative, your really asking for more liveries for the price, and no USAF O-2A military feels a bit mean. __________________________ Summary The Cessna 337 is a very unique aircraft in the history of aviation. It is only one of the few created and built in the Push/Pull configuration, or a forward PULL engine and a rear PUSH engine, and a twin-engined aircraft in a linear configuration, to accommodate the rear push engine it has a two boom and twin tail arrangement, with a standard Cessna fuselage and forward engine layout. Yes it's totally unique, but it all works. X-PlaneReviews has done another 337 review, as earlier in 2023, as Thranda Design released their Cessna 337F Skymaster. However this is the "G" model, not the Thranda "F" model, and there are big performance differences between the two aircraft. The earlier "F" had the IO-360-C Engine (210 HP), were as this "G" model has the TSIO-360-H Engine, Turbocharged and also being a Pressurized 337 version, it was also up-rated to 225 HP. The word "Pressurized" is the point here as the aircraft can fly above the 12,500ft blackout limit to a ceiling of 20,000ft. This SkyTouch version is not in the same quality wise in the Thranda Hi-Res and feature heavy category, but it is also US$10 cheaper as well, However it is a very decent T337G with a very well and realistic working pressurization system, plus the same for Anti-Ice and working working de-icing boots on the wings. Notable it is also a first release from a the designer, so we will always give a little leeway there. The Flight Model is based on real data, and you feel the quality of the performance and handling of the 337, sounds are very good as well, as are the few features provide by a menu with a built in checklist. But for this price range (Sub US$30), there are a few niggles. There are a few poor modeling points, twin-rear rudders are not set correctly, and there are holes everywhere in the cabin, around the (so called "Seal" door), and sky is visible through the instrument panel in various places. Nose wheel cuts through the not fully-opened doors, and the internal lighting is quite below par, certainly the instrument lighting in the daylight. Certainly more features on the Menu would be nice as well as separated entrance cabin doors. Seats are bit bland as well. There are no final weight or CofG (Centre of Gravity) details or graphs on the menu, but it is a good Weights&Balance Menu including six different pilot choices. But I seriously like this T337G, it has the higher performance, plus that ability to fly extremely high (for a General Aviation aircraft). Simplicity can sometimes provide more enjoyment, for the cost it actually great value, so I do recommend highly the SkyTouch T337G Skymaster as you would not be disappointed in the balance it delivers here. __________________________ Yes! Cessna T337G by Skytouch is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Cessna T337G Pressurised Price Is US$29.95 Requirements: X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 (both versions included in sperate zip files) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Version 1. February 14th 2023 Installation and documents: download for the Skytouch_T337G is 2.80Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 3.32Gb Documents supplied are: USERManual_T337G_VER1.1.pdf Checklists are part of the Menu The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder. _____________________ Review System Specifications Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.05r1 (This is a beta review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 15th February 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
  22. NEWS! - Scenery Released - KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim Philadelphia International Airport is the primary airport serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The airport served 19.6 million passengers annually in 2021, making it the 21st busiest airport in the United States. The airport is located 7 miles (11 km) from the city's downtown area and has 22 airlines that offer nearly 500 daily departures to more than 130 destinations worldwide. KPHL is the fifth-largest hub for American Airlines and its primary hub for the Northeastern United States, as well as its primary European and transatlantic gateway. Additionally, the airport is a regional cargo hub for UPS Airlines and a focus city for the ultra low-cost airline Frontier Airlines. StarSim's previous X-Plane scenery release was the excellent; KSTL - St. Louis Lambert International Airport by StarSim, Checkout the X-PlaneReviews review. Key Features: Accurate and highly detailed recreation of PHL Fully modeled interior for all seven terminals High-resolution PBR texturing for ground and objects Animated custom jetways, SEPTA train as well as road and airport traffic Realistic custom Mesh High-quality (3in/7.6cm per pixel) Orthoimagery Custom road network Accurate 2023 airport layout Optimized for X-Plane 12 and its new features (compatible with X-Plane 11 too) Images courtesy of StarSim ________________ Yes! the KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport Price is US$24.00 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.56 GB Current version : 1.0 (May 19th 2023) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 20th May 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.
  23. NEWS! - Piper Aztec PA23-250 by X-Hanger updated to X-Plane 12 The Piper PA-23, named Apache and later the Aztec, is an American four to six-seat twin-engined light aircraft aimed at the general aviation market. The United States Navy and military forces in other countries also used it in small numbers. Originally designed as the Twin Stinson in the 1950s by the Stinson Aircraft Company, Piper Aircraft manufactured. In 1959, Piper produced an upgraded version with 250 hp (186 kW) Lycoming O-540 engines and a swept vertical tail as the PA-23-250, and named it Aztec. The first models came in a five-seat configuration. In 1961, a longer-nosed variant, the Aztec B, entered production. Later Aztecs were equipped with Lycoming IO-540 fuel-injected engines and six-seat capacity, and remained in production until 1982. Turbocharged versions of the later models could fly at higher altitudes. This release is the updated X-Hanger version of the Aztec, and comes with two versions for both X-Plane11, and now X-Plane12. There is also two separate Models to fly in the "Regular" aspirated and the "Turbo" with extended range. Features Include; 2 separate models to fly 2 separate .zip files for v11 and v12 Garmin 530 with pop up panel or use buttons Opening/closing door with a mouse click on the door handle (interior) Many international interchangeable liveries Pilot figures and passengers that load with payload weight Custom sounds Yoke hide with a mouse click Checklist in .txt format for use in the sim User supplement manual in .pdf format to use for x-plane Can display For Sale flags on props with a click on the instrument panel or use Shift + F4 FSE (Flight Sim Economy) files included so your ready to fly. Making money is good with a 5 passenger carry. v11 rain for win vulcan only v12 rain v12 new payload system v12 better landing and taxi lights New X-Hangar support forum Images courtesy of X-Hangar ________________ Yes! the Piper Aztec PA23-250 by X-Hanger is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Piper Aztec PA23-250 Price is US$19.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB VRAM Recommended Current version : 12 (May 16th 2023) ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 20th May 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.
  24. NEWS! - WebFMC Pro updated to v2.2.0 and E-Jets Family The popular WebFMC Pro Application by Green Arc Studios has been updated to v2.2.0, and is X-Plane 12 configured. Notable with this update is now the intergation of the remote tool to the recently released E-Jets Family from X-Crafts. Support for the new Laminar A330-300 MCDU, and also in this update is Native support for Apple Silicon (M1/M2). The version 1.11.0 for X-Plane 11 also adds support for the new X-Crafts E-Jets Family. 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. WebFMC Pro is available as noted for X-Plane 12, and also previously for X-Plane 11, if you already have WebFMC Pro for X-Plane 11, then there is an upgrade for previous users there is a US$10 off offer to upgrade to the X-Plane 12 version. Which also covers your plugin and service updates for the run of the X-Plane 12 version. There is a WebFMC DEMO version also available that has access to the default X-Plane 12/11 Boeing 737-800/Zibo 737-800. WebFMC Pro supports a growing number of 3rd party aircraft: Default X-Plane FMC DualCDU Hot Start CL650 TripleCDU FlyJSim Q4XP DualCDU ToLiss A319 DualCDU ToLiss A320 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 X-Crafts E-Jets Family DualCDU X-Crafts ERJ Family DualCDU IXEG 737-300 DualCDU JarDesign 330 JarDesign 340 JRollon CRJ-200 SSG 747-8 Series Zibo Mod 737-800 DualCDU Support for all aircraft that use X-Plane FMC All airliners that come installed with X-Plane, as well as some 3rd party aircraft (e.g. FlyJSim 727v3, 737v3 and a few others) use the default FMC implemented by X-Plane. Since WebFMC Pro supports the default FMC, these aircraft are automatically supported as well, even though they are not listed explicitly on the above list! 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. Update download to v2.2.0 is now available at the X-Plane.Org Store, just remember to swap over your registration txt to the new version folder. ____________________________________ Yes! WebFMC Pro v2.2.0 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 16th May 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)