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Stephen

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    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Aircraft Review : CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)   
    Aircraft Review : CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)
     
    The Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil (or Squirrel), now Airbus Helicopters H125, is a single-engine light utility helicopter originally designed and manufactured in France by Aérospatiale and Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). In North America, the AS350 is marketed as the AStar. The Eurocopter EC130 is a derivative of the AS350 airframe and is considered by the manufacturer to be part of the Écureuil single-engine family.
     

     
    This CowanSim AS350 is not the first AS350 in X-Plane of the aircraft, that goes to the Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ back in 2013. This Dreamfoil aircraft was extremely popular in the X-Plane Simulator, but with no updates from Dreamfoil for quite a few years now it is seriously showing it's age, so this new CowanSim X-Plane11 and coming X-Plane12 version is highly welcomed at this time.
     
    CowanSim has been very busy over the last few years as well. There is the CowanSim 500E, Bell 206 B3 JetRanger, Bell 206 L3 LongRanger and the Bell 222B + UT
     
    But the AS350 B3e would always be the most popular aircraft, it is a huge seller on the market, with 3,590 AS350/AS550's and 7,000 H125's built since 1975.
     
    The AS350 is a single engine helicopter, powered earlier by a Lycoming LTS101. This H125 is the later B3e (introduced late 2011) and is equipped with the Arriel 2D engine, and that drives a three-blade main rotor, which is furnished with a Starflex rotor head. Both the main and tail rotors make use of composite material that are designed to minimize corrosion and maintenance requirements.
     
    The type is known for its high-altitude performance (one has landed on the peak of Mt Everest) and has seen use by operators in such extreme environments.
     
    CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)
    Modeling and quality since the earlier B222B has improved with each release (but I wasn't impressed with the out of scale B206B/B206L). So basically that with any CowanSim aircraft purchase you will get two things, good quality for the price and ton's of features, and the H125 certainly does not disappoint here.
     
    You feel the modeling and detail has taken another step up here, the 500E was simply excellent, and the AS350 is just as good if not even better.
     
    The detail is phenomenal, all door catches, handles, vents, mesh grills are really, really good, even down to the chrome door lock.
     

     
    Important is the riveting, it is highly pronounced, and again expertly done. Fuselage shape and panels is again all excellent.
     
    All glass is rubber trimmed, and the glass itself has great wear speckles in the glass that gives off great realism. Window surrounds have worn metal and again screw riveting, plus heavy load plates where required.
     

     
    Arriel 2D engine exhaust outlet is simply sensational and looks exactly like the real metal unit with burnt edges, very impressive, and the running exhaust effects are very good as well.
     

     
    Important is the design and actions of the rotorhead. Earlier CowanSim Rotorheads were a bit of an half action, or with a movement missing, but not here...  every movement in the blade links and control rods all work, and look excellent when moved by the controls. The detail is so very good you can also see the vibration springs (Starflex) in the hub, love the coloured segments as well of red, blue and yellow.
     

     
    Movements covered are pitch...
     

     
    ...  Roll....
     

     
    ...   and collective (Bite).
     

     
    It is a very impressive rotor hub.
     
    The composite blades look boring, but they are not as they are exquisitely modeled here with great shaping and detail, they also droop nicely when static.
     

     
    Rear tailrotor, and a large set of horizontal stabilizers are really beautifully crafted, but the tailrotor assembly looks a little too large for this aircraft (scale), it is however well constructed as is the animated yaw (rudder) blades. The H125 uses a VHA-designed titanium hub and composite blades.
     

     
    Menu and Configuration Options
    There are two Menu's here. The drop down banner menu "CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)", and two Configuration Options pages.
     

     
    There are twenty eight options to configure the H125, Both in reality do the same things but there are ten more options on the configuration menus like for the doors, cargo, checklist (shown below) and crew and passenger weights.
     

     
    We will cover the main configurations first. Standard seating is two front crew and a four bench in the rear.
     
    Doors can be opened manually, with both rears on sliders. You can remove the doors individually, but only via the configuration menu.
     
     
     
    There is a really good HEMS Medical selection with both a Doctor and patient...   also you can clear the rear section empty, or add in some cargo. Notable is that adding in the cargo does not affect the weight?
     

     
    A brilliant configuration is the "Around the World" option. Here the H125 is set up to fly long distances or if you have time all the way around the world...  You have everything you need here bags, food, clothes, sleeping bags (under the seat) and even fishing rods. Odd though that thought in that filling the rear with long-range fuel tanks would have been more my option? But it is very well done.
     

     
    Want more baggage space...  there are two baggage lockers left and a single large locker right. To open you have to undo the catches, and to remember to lock them again after use and before flight, very well done. Internal baggage compartment detail is excellent with nets.
     

     
    There are various skid options. There is the choice between Emergency Floats and Utility Skids, Long or Short side skid steps, and a Side Basket on the left rear skid. "Bear Paws" can also be attached to the skids as well, and their detail is excellent. 
     

     
    We will move on to the loads of addition options you can change or add to the H125. First is the excellent "Vertical Reference Window" in the floor by the pilot, a must have...   mostly used when using the sling hook.
     

     
    The "Sling hook" itself is exceptionally well detailed and found only in the configuration menu (and yes it works), you can also have a huge search light positioned at the rear as well.
     

     
    Options on the nose include, Dual Cargo Mirrors, top and bottom Cable Cutters, and a huge Cineflex camera on the nose and you can control the camera from the left rear camera station in the cabin...   ...  the camera is fully animated with the right controller doing the UP/DOWN and LEFT/RIGHT movements, and the left knob adjusts the ZOOM.
     

     
    There is also the option to add on a "Rotor Guard", on the rear fuselage.
     
    Final external options include a Rotor centering system and "Tie-Downs". There is also an external power supply unit.  
     

     
    Internal
    You can add in the two crew, and two passengers (only add both passengers together?) and note their weights are added to the aircraft and shown on the configurations menu.
     

     
    Both pilots are really nicely animated, and their eyes move as well...  creepy? actually no, as it looks very realistic, and I don't remember moving eyes in X-Plane before... more please. There is also the choice to put helmets on the pilots, detail is again excellent with reflective face guards and impressive helmet detail.
     

     
    Internal
    It's a classy cabin...  all the seats are covered in a black leather, with white stitching. The leather has a nice depth, but could be a little glossy in areas, but overall it looks all very modern.
     

     
    The detail is again phenomenal, brackets, supports. The metal seat frames are of a very high quality and detail.
     

     
    Both front seats can be adjusted by pressing the front areas of the cushion.
     

     
    Collective is highly realistic, lovely throttle rubber grip detail is something to admire, it's small...  there isn't a lot on the collective, mostly external light switches, HYD and Float activation. There is however the choice of one or two cyclics. The Cyclic has five switches that are active; trim hat, mirror adjustment hat, load release, force trim release and autopilot off.
     

     
    Molded roof lining is grey and nicely done. Highlight are the hanging headsets, not unfamiliar, but you still admire them. The front two headsets can be hidden and muffle the sound as if you are wearing them.
     

     
    The cabin floor can have the choice of grey mats or utility rubber, both are nice...  and hard to choose?
     
    Instrument Panel
    First impression of the instrument panel is that it feels quite naked. There are no instruments on the Co-Pilot side, and really only the Standard Six layout on the right, so it does feel a little empty instrument wise. The wide hood does it's job well, it's dark in there.
     

     
    Power on and the panel comes to life...  best moment is the power start up and test sequence for the Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD)...  it feels very authentic. The H125 is known to have a quick cold to flight ready operations, and that is why a lot of HEMS operators like to use the aircraft, and to get the aircraft into the air quickly.
     

     
    Instruments right are very simple...  Standard Six includes; Airspeed, adjustable Artificial Horizon, Altimeter...  top row. Radar Altitude, HSI Heading Indicator, VS - Vertical Speed indicator...  bottom row. Very top is a NR/N2 dial, a Annunciator (Warning) panel, lower right is a Nav1/Nav2/GPS selector. Lower left is an optional DME panel. 
     
     
     

     
    Instrument panel left only has a Turn Indicator, DME Pointer , Davtron M803 Temp/Clock and ELT. Optional lower is the AviTab (Plugin Required).
     

     
    VEMD (Vehicle & Engine Management Display)
    Centre is the excellent VEMD. There are two screens that display aircraft and engine parameters, the top Engine covers TOT (Turbine Outlet Temperature), TRQ (Torque), Fuel Quanity, and OATº, the lower display has the Oil/Electrical/Fuel Flow. Very top centre are the System and Instrument lighting knobs and the Night/Day/Off VEMD selector.
     
     
     
    Pressing the "Scroll", starts up the "Engine Power Check" (EPC) function, and anything out of order on the systems is noted (note the Heating/Ventilation knobs are down between the seats).
     

     
    On the "Performance" page you can change any of the parameters, selecting the item, then adjusting via the +/- buttons and then ENTER the changes.
     

     
    The systems covered are;
    Display of engine parameters Computation and display of engine first limitation Computation and display of weight related to performance data Display of engine performance checks Display of FADEC data Computation and display of the number of engine cycles  
    There is a full Systems check, but I couldn't find the button, and it is mentioned in the manual, but not on how you actually initiate the check.
    At the end of every flight you will also get a "Flight Report" when the VEMD detects the "engine stop" status.
     
    Both VEMD displays pop-out as does both the GNS430 and larger lower GNS530. Lower panel is the main power/fuel/pitot switchgear and the Stability Augmentation System (SAS) or Autopilot panel. There is a full manual (4 Pages) provided on how to use SAS effectively.
     

     
    Lower console has the GNS530 top, Garmin GMA 340 Audio Panel, Garmin 345 Transponder.
     

     
    RealityXP GTN 650 & 750 can also be integrated. If you have these add-ons installed then you can access the GTN 650 or 750 by using the configuration menu. Activation of either RXP device will replace the default Garmin GNS430 or GNS530. Although expensive they are highly recommended.
     
    Bottom console is a Bendix/King KR 87 ADF Reciever. This can be optional with the DME Panel lower left, right instrument panel, via the menu.
     

     
    Overhead Panel has Starter switch, Engine Back-up Control Ancillary Unit (EBCAU) test button, overhead lighting, rotor brake and emergency fuel shut off lever.
     

    ______________
     
    Flying the H125
    On start up you get a very nice CowanSim Logo introduction.
     

     
    There are other options to have in Vibrations (On/Off), Head Force (On/Off) and to set your VR head position. Oddly I don't like over vibrating aircraft, that's not to say I don't use the XPRealistic effects to do this, but you can at least adjust them to your liking there. Ditto the Head changing direction effects, again I loath the XPR "Head Anticipation", because your trying to adjust something, and your view is going somewhere else, so overall I'm not a big fan...
     
    Is this the easiest Helicopter to start up? On with the Fuel Pump and then press the OHP "Engine Start", and that is about it!
     
    Startup sequence is super quick and your soon ready to fly, but note the Collective won't move? There is a almost hidden safety catch to release before you can fly.
     

     
    Start up sounds are very good, and you get a few alarms in the start up process, that is normal and certainly the one when you turn up the throttle. CowanSim has changed the old setting of using the old "Wing Sweep" setting for the Throttle adjustment, and I couldn't find on my Saitek Throttle a replacement adjustment...  but it's not hard to do adjusting the throttle manually anyway.
     
    The earlier Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ was a very tricky machine to fly. I really liked it, but it was a very touchy machine (unless you used the Game option).
    CowanSim aims more to the middle ground with his machines, and that is not a bad thing. Certainly the Pro's will retaliate against that, as they want a very pure machine, but then that excludes everyone else and that sums up the Dreamfoil AS350.
     
    First a note...  You need to set your X-Plane General/Flight Models Per Frame settings to at least 4 Frames, or the aircraft will wobble and move around on the ground, put it on a small H-Pad and it will move and actually fall off.
     
    All AS350's are a bit niggly at hover or slow speeds as the aircraft is known for that, so it can take a moment to tune into the aircraft, the pendulum effect is there, but not pronounced when starting to move forwards, but suddenly I felt centred and in control.
     

     
    This aircraft is the AS350 B3e (introduced late 2011) and equipped with the Arriel 2D engine, and the 2D has the takeoff power of 952 shp. So you have to sort of tame all that power in a light utility machine. Turbomeca Arriel is a series of French turboshaft engines that first ran in 1974. Delivering 650 to 1,000 hp (480 to 750 kW), with over 12,000 Arriel engines have been produced from 1978 to 2018.
     

     
    This power gives you a cruise speed of 245 km/h (152 mph, 132 kn), never exceed speed of 287 km/h (178 mph, 155 kn), and the H125 has a Range of 662 km (411 mi, 357 nmi) and an endurance of 4 hours 6 minutes...  Service ceiling is 4,600 m (15,100 ft) and the Rate of climb: 8.5 m/s (1,670 ft/min), so it is a powerful capable little machine.
     
    So H125 will climb, go forward very quickly, and if you have watched the AS350's antics, and notable if you watch Formula 1 racing or follow the Tour de France, it is because it is the ideal machine for quick responses and agile movements.
     

     
    Easy to fly, obviously yes. But as with most Helicopters you have to tune into it. I was a bit rusty on the AS350, but I soon found my groove.
     

     
    I wanted to test out the Stability Augmentation System (SAS), so a nice tight bank to the right and then I set up my speed (100 knts) and altitude (2200 ft) and then pressed the SAS button. No histrionics, the H125 just cleanly held the heading and the altitude...  nice
     

     
    Adjust the heading knob on the HSI, and the H125 will going into a nice 7º turn and again with no histrionics... very impressed, you can also use the trim hat switch on the cyclic, which allows the pilot to proportionally modify the trim pitch and roll attitudes in the SAS mode.
     
    You also have a SPD mode that provides pitch attitude commands to hold IAS (Indicated Airspeed), and a Vertical Navigation Mode (VRT) that allows the autopilot to track an ILS glideslope or GPS VNAV, LNAV + V, or LPV glidepath.
     

     
    Coming out of the SAS mode is Smooooth, no nasty bumps or wild flight antics, it's the best and easiest SAS I have used in a while.
     
    The aircraft has built in water flotation devices on the skids, and they work very well here. You arm on the console top right,then fire them off on the Collective.
     
     
     
    Approaching LOWS - Stalzburg, the H125 is hard to slow down and transfer to a lower speed, so your approaches have to quite perfect and well judged in keep the speed and height under control. Moving into the hover or transitioning from fast forward flight known as Effective Translational Lift (ETL) is nice and smooth with only a little left yaw, but the H125 gets more edgy as you get closer to the ground...
     

     
    ...   small sharp inputs are essential, but I'm finding the yaw inputs too sharp, you need more of a range here, the tail rotor feels like an on/off switch, which makes the aircraft hard to control in the hover, the Dreamfoil AS350 also was hard, too hard sometimes in this phase.
     

     
    Écureuil's AS350's are known for doing what they call the "AStar Dance" on landing, and it's here as well, so you have almost slightly thump it down in to not do it, slightly hover and the aircraft will squirrel around underneath you, or move you around on the the ground.
     

     
    It takes a few practise landings to get it right, but would be tougher for novices.
     
    Lighting
    Lighting overall is basic...  Externally there are two Landing lights under the fuselage, and the huge optional Spotlight at the rear centre of the fuselage, a nice feature is if you hit the "Spotlight", button on the console it immediately comes on, but turn off the spotlight and you will have to go to the menu to hide the light itself. The rest is the normal navigation lights on the rear elevator, rear white navigation and a single red beacon on the tail.
     

     
    There is no reflective lighting on the instrument panel, so it is quite a dark space. There is the noted option that you can use the "Night" mode on the VEMD to faint it down, and you can adjust the instrument lighting to match it.
     

     
    There are four adjustable spotlights, two front and two rear, on the roof front and rear, and a red highlight light over the overhead panel
     

     
    The cabin spotlights do a great job, but personally I would like them a little brighter.
     
    Liveries
    There are a 100, yes a HUNDRED liveries with the CowanSim H125, so how do you choose? as all are extremely good by artist Julien Lebrun, it's just simply impossible!
    Every country using the H125 is mostly represented, as is; News (Including our local Ch9 chopper) to Medi-Vac, Fire, Scenic, Rescue and Military (Australian Navy). I had a really hard time just picking twenty. Notable is that the textures are 4K Quality, but lighter 2K sized liveries are coming soon.
     


    ________________
    Summary
    You have to admit, that Joshua Cowan (CowanSim) is certainly prolific. In only a few years he has created the CowanSim 500E, Bell 206 B3 JetRanger, Bell 206 L3 LongRanger and the Bell 222B + UT.
    That's a lot of aircraft and here he now takes on the Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil (or Squirrel), now the Airbus Helicopters H125. Notable is the last AS350 was the  Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ back in 2013, but it has not been updated for a while now, however it also set a very high standard for the time, and the Pro's totally love it.
     
    You would also think that with such a mountain of work behind him, the detail and options would get less....  but not here on the H125.
     
    This is the most detailed and optioned aircraft yet from CowanSim. Notably a step higher in nice quality detail than before, this is one very well detailed aircraft. All the important rotor movements and detail are also excellent, however the tailrotor assembly feels a bit out of scale (large).
     
    Modeling is better, glass is better, detailing is brilliant, and we haven't got to the extensive option list yet in a banner menu "CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)", and two Configuration Options pages. There are twenty eight options to configure the H125, with ten more accessible in the Configuration Manager.
     
    I can't list them all here but configurations for; Medi-Vac (with Doctor and Patient), Cargo, Passengers (two) and a very clever "Around the World" configuration are all excellent. Hook and Sling attachments are also included, as is the Cineflex camera and rear camera station in the cabin. All doors open and the main ones can also be removed, as are three opening baggage compartments as well. RealityXP GTN 650 & 750 can also be integrated and AviTab are also included.
     
    There are a Pilot, Co-Pilot and two passengers in the rear which can be added or removed, the pilots (heads) are animated and that includes the eyes, which are actually highly realistic. Excellent Pilot helmets are optional as well.
     
    To top off the extensive features, you also have 100 quality liveries to choose from, yes ONE HUNDRED.
     
    The H125 flies well. It will always be compared to the Dreamfoil AS350 B3+, and overall that machine was exceptional to fly. The CowanSim is not quite as good as that aircraft, but more accessible to a wider audience. In saying that the AS350/H125 is a tricky machine in the hover and landing, I feel the yaw (tail) is a bit too On/Off for me in those tighter control moments and tail rotor animation is a bit bland.
     
    It's a CowanSim...  overall you know what you buy when you purchase a CowanSim aircraft in price and with the large feature base, and this CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e) is the best yet in every area, certainly in the quality and detailing areas, and it is already configured for VR and X-Plane12....   It comes Highly Recommended.
    ____________________
     

     
    Yes! the CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e) is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: 
     
    CowanSim H125 / AS350
    Price is US$32.95
     
    Features: Free Future Updates (Including X-Plane 12) Tested and zeroed in by real pilots  VEMD (Vehicle & Engine Management Display) Around the world adventure version Collective and cyclic rotor animations Loaded & working baggage compartments All commands for mapping hardware Remove before flight accessories Pilots & passengers Working floats system Functional spotlight Functional Cineflex camera FMOD fully dynamic 3D sounds Window rain effects Compatible with Vulkan API 100% virtual reality ready AviTab integration RXP GTN 650 & 750 integration Realistic flight dynamics HD PBR textures Custom 3D instruments Detailed night lighting SASL/Xlua Systems/Animations/Plugins  This model has an authentic feeling while exploring the virtual world thanks to Laminar Research for developing a fantastic flight sim.   4k Physically Based Rendering Textures 4k PBR textures, or physically based rendering, provides the ability for very realistic lighting that mimics the flow of light in the real world. This model takes full advantage of X-Plane’s lighting with dynamic reflections and materials. Created with Substance Painter.   Custom 3D Modeled Instruments Everyone loves a detailed and realistic looking cockpit. After all, that is where we spend most of our time in the sim, flying! The 3D instruments were developed to a high standard and are fully functional, with extensive custom coding to make it as realistic as possible.   A Nice Cozy Cabin Sit back and relax in the cozy rear cabin and enjoy replays of your flight from a passenger’s perspective! Was it as comfortable and smooth as you thought it was from the pilot seat? This is especially interesting in VR and landing replays are the best.   Paint Kit & Liveries Comes with several liveries and we also included a detailed paint kit. The kit is provided in both GIMP and Adobe® Photoshop® formats. A UV map layer included in each file allows for easy and accurate repaints.   Vibrant and Detailed Night Lighting X-Plane has wonderful night lighting. The H125 project aimed to have plenty of lights, inside and out, making night flights possible. From the landing light to the cabin lighting, this helicopter really stands out at night.   Animation & Sound Thousands of lines of custom code make up animations and systems. The fully immersive 3D sound set was developed with FMOD. Sounds and animations work together with visual rotor-speed vibrational feedback, dynamic blade slap, rain effects and more.   Reality XP GTN 650 & 750 Integration The Reality XP GTN 650/750 can be fully integrated into the cockpit. Reality XP GTN 650/750 Touch is the genuine simulated device used by flight simulation enthusiasts navigating the virtual skies as well as real world pilots for familiarization with the device. This add-on is a payware add-on and you can purchase it here: https://reality-xp.com/   Requirements
    X-Plane 11-   X-Plane 12 when available    Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.7 GB Current Version: 1.0 (August 12th 2022  
    Installation and documents:  download for the H125/AS350 is 1.07Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder.
     
    Full Installation is 2.46Gb
     
    The AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft.
     
    Documents supplied are:
    H125 (AS350B3e) Checklist Compact.pdf H125 (AS350B3e) Checklist Full.pdf H125 (AS350B3e) User Manual.pdf SAS Autopilot Manual.pdf Sling Load Indicator Manual.pdf  
    Manuals are very good with Mapping and Settings, but no instrument references or just the basic system references, but settings are well documented with a very good checklist that shows well intergrated startup and shutdown procedures.
     
    Support forum for all helicopters by CowanSim
    _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    15th August 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : AviTab Plugin - Free
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LOWS- Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart v2 by Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$19.50
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  2. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from CowanSim in Aircraft Review : CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)   
    Aircraft Review : CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)
     
    The Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil (or Squirrel), now Airbus Helicopters H125, is a single-engine light utility helicopter originally designed and manufactured in France by Aérospatiale and Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). In North America, the AS350 is marketed as the AStar. The Eurocopter EC130 is a derivative of the AS350 airframe and is considered by the manufacturer to be part of the Écureuil single-engine family.
     

     
    This CowanSim AS350 is not the first AS350 in X-Plane of the aircraft, that goes to the Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ back in 2013. This Dreamfoil aircraft was extremely popular in the X-Plane Simulator, but with no updates from Dreamfoil for quite a few years now it is seriously showing it's age, so this new CowanSim X-Plane11 and coming X-Plane12 version is highly welcomed at this time.
     
    CowanSim has been very busy over the last few years as well. There is the CowanSim 500E, Bell 206 B3 JetRanger, Bell 206 L3 LongRanger and the Bell 222B + UT
     
    But the AS350 B3e would always be the most popular aircraft, it is a huge seller on the market, with 3,590 AS350/AS550's and 7,000 H125's built since 1975.
     
    The AS350 is a single engine helicopter, powered earlier by a Lycoming LTS101. This H125 is the later B3e (introduced late 2011) and is equipped with the Arriel 2D engine, and that drives a three-blade main rotor, which is furnished with a Starflex rotor head. Both the main and tail rotors make use of composite material that are designed to minimize corrosion and maintenance requirements.
     
    The type is known for its high-altitude performance (one has landed on the peak of Mt Everest) and has seen use by operators in such extreme environments.
     
    CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)
    Modeling and quality since the earlier B222B has improved with each release (but I wasn't impressed with the out of scale B206B/B206L). So basically that with any CowanSim aircraft purchase you will get two things, good quality for the price and ton's of features, and the H125 certainly does not disappoint here.
     
    You feel the modeling and detail has taken another step up here, the 500E was simply excellent, and the AS350 is just as good if not even better.
     
    The detail is phenomenal, all door catches, handles, vents, mesh grills are really, really good, even down to the chrome door lock.
     

     
    Important is the riveting, it is highly pronounced, and again expertly done. Fuselage shape and panels is again all excellent.
     
    All glass is rubber trimmed, and the glass itself has great wear speckles in the glass that gives off great realism. Window surrounds have worn metal and again screw riveting, plus heavy load plates where required.
     

     
    Arriel 2D engine exhaust outlet is simply sensational and looks exactly like the real metal unit with burnt edges, very impressive, and the running exhaust effects are very good as well.
     

     
    Important is the design and actions of the rotorhead. Earlier CowanSim Rotorheads were a bit of an half action, or with a movement missing, but not here...  every movement in the blade links and control rods all work, and look excellent when moved by the controls. The detail is so very good you can also see the vibration springs (Starflex) in the hub, love the coloured segments as well of red, blue and yellow.
     

     
    Movements covered are pitch...
     

     
    ...  Roll....
     

     
    ...   and collective (Bite).
     

     
    It is a very impressive rotor hub.
     
    The composite blades look boring, but they are not as they are exquisitely modeled here with great shaping and detail, they also droop nicely when static.
     

     
    Rear tailrotor, and a large set of horizontal stabilizers are really beautifully crafted, but the tailrotor assembly looks a little too large for this aircraft (scale), it is however well constructed as is the animated yaw (rudder) blades. The H125 uses a VHA-designed titanium hub and composite blades.
     

     
    Menu and Configuration Options
    There are two Menu's here. The drop down banner menu "CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)", and two Configuration Options pages.
     

     
    There are twenty eight options to configure the H125, Both in reality do the same things but there are ten more options on the configuration menus like for the doors, cargo, checklist (shown below) and crew and passenger weights.
     

     
    We will cover the main configurations first. Standard seating is two front crew and a four bench in the rear.
     
    Doors can be opened manually, with both rears on sliders. You can remove the doors individually, but only via the configuration menu.
     
     
     
    There is a really good HEMS Medical selection with both a Doctor and patient...   also you can clear the rear section empty, or add in some cargo. Notable is that adding in the cargo does not affect the weight?
     

     
    A brilliant configuration is the "Around the World" option. Here the H125 is set up to fly long distances or if you have time all the way around the world...  You have everything you need here bags, food, clothes, sleeping bags (under the seat) and even fishing rods. Odd though that thought in that filling the rear with long-range fuel tanks would have been more my option? But it is very well done.
     

     
    Want more baggage space...  there are two baggage lockers left and a single large locker right. To open you have to undo the catches, and to remember to lock them again after use and before flight, very well done. Internal baggage compartment detail is excellent with nets.
     

     
    There are various skid options. There is the choice between Emergency Floats and Utility Skids, Long or Short side skid steps, and a Side Basket on the left rear skid. "Bear Paws" can also be attached to the skids as well, and their detail is excellent. 
     

     
    We will move on to the loads of addition options you can change or add to the H125. First is the excellent "Vertical Reference Window" in the floor by the pilot, a must have...   mostly used when using the sling hook.
     

     
    The "Sling hook" itself is exceptionally well detailed and found only in the configuration menu (and yes it works), you can also have a huge search light positioned at the rear as well.
     

     
    Options on the nose include, Dual Cargo Mirrors, top and bottom Cable Cutters, and a huge Cineflex camera on the nose and you can control the camera from the left rear camera station in the cabin...   ...  the camera is fully animated with the right controller doing the UP/DOWN and LEFT/RIGHT movements, and the left knob adjusts the ZOOM.
     

     
    There is also the option to add on a "Rotor Guard", on the rear fuselage.
     
    Final external options include a Rotor centering system and "Tie-Downs". There is also an external power supply unit.  
     

     
    Internal
    You can add in the two crew, and two passengers (only add both passengers together?) and note their weights are added to the aircraft and shown on the configurations menu.
     

     
    Both pilots are really nicely animated, and their eyes move as well...  creepy? actually no, as it looks very realistic, and I don't remember moving eyes in X-Plane before... more please. There is also the choice to put helmets on the pilots, detail is again excellent with reflective face guards and impressive helmet detail.
     

     
    Internal
    It's a classy cabin...  all the seats are covered in a black leather, with white stitching. The leather has a nice depth, but could be a little glossy in areas, but overall it looks all very modern.
     

     
    The detail is again phenomenal, brackets, supports. The metal seat frames are of a very high quality and detail.
     

     
    Both front seats can be adjusted by pressing the front areas of the cushion.
     

     
    Collective is highly realistic, lovely throttle rubber grip detail is something to admire, it's small...  there isn't a lot on the collective, mostly external light switches, HYD and Float activation. There is however the choice of one or two cyclics. The Cyclic has five switches that are active; trim hat, mirror adjustment hat, load release, force trim release and autopilot off.
     

     
    Molded roof lining is grey and nicely done. Highlight are the hanging headsets, not unfamiliar, but you still admire them. The front two headsets can be hidden and muffle the sound as if you are wearing them.
     

     
    The cabin floor can have the choice of grey mats or utility rubber, both are nice...  and hard to choose?
     
    Instrument Panel
    First impression of the instrument panel is that it feels quite naked. There are no instruments on the Co-Pilot side, and really only the Standard Six layout on the right, so it does feel a little empty instrument wise. The wide hood does it's job well, it's dark in there.
     

     
    Power on and the panel comes to life...  best moment is the power start up and test sequence for the Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD)...  it feels very authentic. The H125 is known to have a quick cold to flight ready operations, and that is why a lot of HEMS operators like to use the aircraft, and to get the aircraft into the air quickly.
     

     
    Instruments right are very simple...  Standard Six includes; Airspeed, adjustable Artificial Horizon, Altimeter...  top row. Radar Altitude, HSI Heading Indicator, VS - Vertical Speed indicator...  bottom row. Very top is a NR/N2 dial, a Annunciator (Warning) panel, lower right is a Nav1/Nav2/GPS selector. Lower left is an optional DME panel. 
     
     
     

     
    Instrument panel left only has a Turn Indicator, DME Pointer , Davtron M803 Temp/Clock and ELT. Optional lower is the AviTab (Plugin Required).
     

     
    VEMD (Vehicle & Engine Management Display)
    Centre is the excellent VEMD. There are two screens that display aircraft and engine parameters, the top Engine covers TOT (Turbine Outlet Temperature), TRQ (Torque), Fuel Quanity, and OATº, the lower display has the Oil/Electrical/Fuel Flow. Very top centre are the System and Instrument lighting knobs and the Night/Day/Off VEMD selector.
     
     
     
    Pressing the "Scroll", starts up the "Engine Power Check" (EPC) function, and anything out of order on the systems is noted (note the Heating/Ventilation knobs are down between the seats).
     

     
    On the "Performance" page you can change any of the parameters, selecting the item, then adjusting via the +/- buttons and then ENTER the changes.
     

     
    The systems covered are;
    Display of engine parameters Computation and display of engine first limitation Computation and display of weight related to performance data Display of engine performance checks Display of FADEC data Computation and display of the number of engine cycles  
    There is a full Systems check, but I couldn't find the button, and it is mentioned in the manual, but not on how you actually initiate the check.
    At the end of every flight you will also get a "Flight Report" when the VEMD detects the "engine stop" status.
     
    Both VEMD displays pop-out as does both the GNS430 and larger lower GNS530. Lower panel is the main power/fuel/pitot switchgear and the Stability Augmentation System (SAS) or Autopilot panel. There is a full manual (4 Pages) provided on how to use SAS effectively.
     

     
    Lower console has the GNS530 top, Garmin GMA 340 Audio Panel, Garmin 345 Transponder.
     

     
    RealityXP GTN 650 & 750 can also be integrated. If you have these add-ons installed then you can access the GTN 650 or 750 by using the configuration menu. Activation of either RXP device will replace the default Garmin GNS430 or GNS530. Although expensive they are highly recommended.
     
    Bottom console is a Bendix/King KR 87 ADF Reciever. This can be optional with the DME Panel lower left, right instrument panel, via the menu.
     

     
    Overhead Panel has Starter switch, Engine Back-up Control Ancillary Unit (EBCAU) test button, overhead lighting, rotor brake and emergency fuel shut off lever.
     

    ______________
     
    Flying the H125
    On start up you get a very nice CowanSim Logo introduction.
     

     
    There are other options to have in Vibrations (On/Off), Head Force (On/Off) and to set your VR head position. Oddly I don't like over vibrating aircraft, that's not to say I don't use the XPRealistic effects to do this, but you can at least adjust them to your liking there. Ditto the Head changing direction effects, again I loath the XPR "Head Anticipation", because your trying to adjust something, and your view is going somewhere else, so overall I'm not a big fan...
     
    Is this the easiest Helicopter to start up? On with the Fuel Pump and then press the OHP "Engine Start", and that is about it!
     
    Startup sequence is super quick and your soon ready to fly, but note the Collective won't move? There is a almost hidden safety catch to release before you can fly.
     

     
    Start up sounds are very good, and you get a few alarms in the start up process, that is normal and certainly the one when you turn up the throttle. CowanSim has changed the old setting of using the old "Wing Sweep" setting for the Throttle adjustment, and I couldn't find on my Saitek Throttle a replacement adjustment...  but it's not hard to do adjusting the throttle manually anyway.
     
    The earlier Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ was a very tricky machine to fly. I really liked it, but it was a very touchy machine (unless you used the Game option).
    CowanSim aims more to the middle ground with his machines, and that is not a bad thing. Certainly the Pro's will retaliate against that, as they want a very pure machine, but then that excludes everyone else and that sums up the Dreamfoil AS350.
     
    First a note...  You need to set your X-Plane General/Flight Models Per Frame settings to at least 4 Frames, or the aircraft will wobble and move around on the ground, put it on a small H-Pad and it will move and actually fall off.
     
    All AS350's are a bit niggly at hover or slow speeds as the aircraft is known for that, so it can take a moment to tune into the aircraft, the pendulum effect is there, but not pronounced when starting to move forwards, but suddenly I felt centred and in control.
     

     
    This aircraft is the AS350 B3e (introduced late 2011) and equipped with the Arriel 2D engine, and the 2D has the takeoff power of 952 shp. So you have to sort of tame all that power in a light utility machine. Turbomeca Arriel is a series of French turboshaft engines that first ran in 1974. Delivering 650 to 1,000 hp (480 to 750 kW), with over 12,000 Arriel engines have been produced from 1978 to 2018.
     

     
    This power gives you a cruise speed of 245 km/h (152 mph, 132 kn), never exceed speed of 287 km/h (178 mph, 155 kn), and the H125 has a Range of 662 km (411 mi, 357 nmi) and an endurance of 4 hours 6 minutes...  Service ceiling is 4,600 m (15,100 ft) and the Rate of climb: 8.5 m/s (1,670 ft/min), so it is a powerful capable little machine.
     
    So H125 will climb, go forward very quickly, and if you have watched the AS350's antics, and notable if you watch Formula 1 racing or follow the Tour de France, it is because it is the ideal machine for quick responses and agile movements.
     

     
    Easy to fly, obviously yes. But as with most Helicopters you have to tune into it. I was a bit rusty on the AS350, but I soon found my groove.
     

     
    I wanted to test out the Stability Augmentation System (SAS), so a nice tight bank to the right and then I set up my speed (100 knts) and altitude (2200 ft) and then pressed the SAS button. No histrionics, the H125 just cleanly held the heading and the altitude...  nice
     

     
    Adjust the heading knob on the HSI, and the H125 will going into a nice 7º turn and again with no histrionics... very impressed, you can also use the trim hat switch on the cyclic, which allows the pilot to proportionally modify the trim pitch and roll attitudes in the SAS mode.
     
    You also have a SPD mode that provides pitch attitude commands to hold IAS (Indicated Airspeed), and a Vertical Navigation Mode (VRT) that allows the autopilot to track an ILS glideslope or GPS VNAV, LNAV + V, or LPV glidepath.
     

     
    Coming out of the SAS mode is Smooooth, no nasty bumps or wild flight antics, it's the best and easiest SAS I have used in a while.
     
    The aircraft has built in water flotation devices on the skids, and they work very well here. You arm on the console top right,then fire them off on the Collective.
     
     
     
    Approaching LOWS - Stalzburg, the H125 is hard to slow down and transfer to a lower speed, so your approaches have to quite perfect and well judged in keep the speed and height under control. Moving into the hover or transitioning from fast forward flight known as Effective Translational Lift (ETL) is nice and smooth with only a little left yaw, but the H125 gets more edgy as you get closer to the ground...
     

     
    ...   small sharp inputs are essential, but I'm finding the yaw inputs too sharp, you need more of a range here, the tail rotor feels like an on/off switch, which makes the aircraft hard to control in the hover, the Dreamfoil AS350 also was hard, too hard sometimes in this phase.
     

     
    Écureuil's AS350's are known for doing what they call the "AStar Dance" on landing, and it's here as well, so you have almost slightly thump it down in to not do it, slightly hover and the aircraft will squirrel around underneath you, or move you around on the the ground.
     

     
    It takes a few practise landings to get it right, but would be tougher for novices.
     
    Lighting
    Lighting overall is basic...  Externally there are two Landing lights under the fuselage, and the huge optional Spotlight at the rear centre of the fuselage, a nice feature is if you hit the "Spotlight", button on the console it immediately comes on, but turn off the spotlight and you will have to go to the menu to hide the light itself. The rest is the normal navigation lights on the rear elevator, rear white navigation and a single red beacon on the tail.
     

     
    There is no reflective lighting on the instrument panel, so it is quite a dark space. There is the noted option that you can use the "Night" mode on the VEMD to faint it down, and you can adjust the instrument lighting to match it.
     

     
    There are four adjustable spotlights, two front and two rear, on the roof front and rear, and a red highlight light over the overhead panel
     

     
    The cabin spotlights do a great job, but personally I would like them a little brighter.
     
    Liveries
    There are a 100, yes a HUNDRED liveries with the CowanSim H125, so how do you choose? as all are extremely good by artist Julien Lebrun, it's just simply impossible!
    Every country using the H125 is mostly represented, as is; News (Including our local Ch9 chopper) to Medi-Vac, Fire, Scenic, Rescue and Military (Australian Navy). I had a really hard time just picking twenty. Notable is that the textures are 4K Quality, but lighter 2K sized liveries are coming soon.
     


    ________________
    Summary
    You have to admit, that Joshua Cowan (CowanSim) is certainly prolific. In only a few years he has created the CowanSim 500E, Bell 206 B3 JetRanger, Bell 206 L3 LongRanger and the Bell 222B + UT.
    That's a lot of aircraft and here he now takes on the Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil (or Squirrel), now the Airbus Helicopters H125. Notable is the last AS350 was the  Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ back in 2013, but it has not been updated for a while now, however it also set a very high standard for the time, and the Pro's totally love it.
     
    You would also think that with such a mountain of work behind him, the detail and options would get less....  but not here on the H125.
     
    This is the most detailed and optioned aircraft yet from CowanSim. Notably a step higher in nice quality detail than before, this is one very well detailed aircraft. All the important rotor movements and detail are also excellent, however the tailrotor assembly feels a bit out of scale (large).
     
    Modeling is better, glass is better, detailing is brilliant, and we haven't got to the extensive option list yet in a banner menu "CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)", and two Configuration Options pages. There are twenty eight options to configure the H125, with ten more accessible in the Configuration Manager.
     
    I can't list them all here but configurations for; Medi-Vac (with Doctor and Patient), Cargo, Passengers (two) and a very clever "Around the World" configuration are all excellent. Hook and Sling attachments are also included, as is the Cineflex camera and rear camera station in the cabin. All doors open and the main ones can also be removed, as are three opening baggage compartments as well. RealityXP GTN 650 & 750 can also be integrated and AviTab are also included.
     
    There are a Pilot, Co-Pilot and two passengers in the rear which can be added or removed, the pilots (heads) are animated and that includes the eyes, which are actually highly realistic. Excellent Pilot helmets are optional as well.
     
    To top off the extensive features, you also have 100 quality liveries to choose from, yes ONE HUNDRED.
     
    The H125 flies well. It will always be compared to the Dreamfoil AS350 B3+, and overall that machine was exceptional to fly. The CowanSim is not quite as good as that aircraft, but more accessible to a wider audience. In saying that the AS350/H125 is a tricky machine in the hover and landing, I feel the yaw (tail) is a bit too On/Off for me in those tighter control moments and tail rotor animation is a bit bland.
     
    It's a CowanSim...  overall you know what you buy when you purchase a CowanSim aircraft in price and with the large feature base, and this CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e) is the best yet in every area, certainly in the quality and detailing areas, and it is already configured for VR and X-Plane12....   It comes Highly Recommended.
    ____________________
     

     
    Yes! the CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e) is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: 
     
    CowanSim H125 / AS350
    Price is US$32.95
     
    Features: Free Future Updates (Including X-Plane 12) Tested and zeroed in by real pilots  VEMD (Vehicle & Engine Management Display) Around the world adventure version Collective and cyclic rotor animations Loaded & working baggage compartments All commands for mapping hardware Remove before flight accessories Pilots & passengers Working floats system Functional spotlight Functional Cineflex camera FMOD fully dynamic 3D sounds Window rain effects Compatible with Vulkan API 100% virtual reality ready AviTab integration RXP GTN 650 & 750 integration Realistic flight dynamics HD PBR textures Custom 3D instruments Detailed night lighting SASL/Xlua Systems/Animations/Plugins  This model has an authentic feeling while exploring the virtual world thanks to Laminar Research for developing a fantastic flight sim.   4k Physically Based Rendering Textures 4k PBR textures, or physically based rendering, provides the ability for very realistic lighting that mimics the flow of light in the real world. This model takes full advantage of X-Plane’s lighting with dynamic reflections and materials. Created with Substance Painter.   Custom 3D Modeled Instruments Everyone loves a detailed and realistic looking cockpit. After all, that is where we spend most of our time in the sim, flying! The 3D instruments were developed to a high standard and are fully functional, with extensive custom coding to make it as realistic as possible.   A Nice Cozy Cabin Sit back and relax in the cozy rear cabin and enjoy replays of your flight from a passenger’s perspective! Was it as comfortable and smooth as you thought it was from the pilot seat? This is especially interesting in VR and landing replays are the best.   Paint Kit & Liveries Comes with several liveries and we also included a detailed paint kit. The kit is provided in both GIMP and Adobe® Photoshop® formats. A UV map layer included in each file allows for easy and accurate repaints.   Vibrant and Detailed Night Lighting X-Plane has wonderful night lighting. The H125 project aimed to have plenty of lights, inside and out, making night flights possible. From the landing light to the cabin lighting, this helicopter really stands out at night.   Animation & Sound Thousands of lines of custom code make up animations and systems. The fully immersive 3D sound set was developed with FMOD. Sounds and animations work together with visual rotor-speed vibrational feedback, dynamic blade slap, rain effects and more.   Reality XP GTN 650 & 750 Integration The Reality XP GTN 650/750 can be fully integrated into the cockpit. Reality XP GTN 650/750 Touch is the genuine simulated device used by flight simulation enthusiasts navigating the virtual skies as well as real world pilots for familiarization with the device. This add-on is a payware add-on and you can purchase it here: https://reality-xp.com/   Requirements
    X-Plane 11-   X-Plane 12 when available    Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.7 GB Current Version: 1.0 (August 12th 2022  
    Installation and documents:  download for the H125/AS350 is 1.07Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder.
     
    Full Installation is 2.46Gb
     
    The AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft.
     
    Documents supplied are:
    H125 (AS350B3e) Checklist Compact.pdf H125 (AS350B3e) Checklist Full.pdf H125 (AS350B3e) User Manual.pdf SAS Autopilot Manual.pdf Sling Load Indicator Manual.pdf  
    Manuals are very good with Mapping and Settings, but no instrument references or just the basic system references, but settings are well documented with a very good checklist that shows well intergrated startup and shutdown procedures.
     
    Support forum for all helicopters by CowanSim
    _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    15th August 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : AviTab Plugin - Free
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LOWS- Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart v2 by Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$19.50
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  3. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review : KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design   
    Scenery Review : KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design
     
    "If you're going to San Francisco
    Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
    If you're going to San Francisco
    You're gonna meet some gentle people there"
     
    The name MisterX6 changed the face of X-Plane scenery. Coming in with a freeware version of KSFO San Francisco International Airport and City 2.0 in November 2015, then a second release in June 2016 was of KBOS - Boston Logan, and both were high quality X-Plane payware sceneries and for free. They also set a standard and created a high reputation for anything delivered by "MisterX6".
     
    In reality it was crazy that this sort of extreme (for the time) work that was delivered for free, as the attention to detail was second to none. A load freeware sceneries followed with, KPHX, KPDX, KCUB, KSAN, KLAX and PAJN that were all delivered over the next few years, leaving X-Plane users begging for more. The dream run couldn't last and it didn't. With a name change to ShortFinal Design, Justin Kissling (the famed MisterX6) went payware with the "Definitive" series of scenery.
     
    So how do you top brilliant? by going extraordinary that is how. The first SFD release was KSLC - Salt Lake City, then my favorite KABQ - Albuquerque. Then Mega airports followed with KLAX - Los Angeles and EDDM - Munich of which was the X-PlaneReviews best scenery of the year winner 2019 🏅
     
    The level of innovation and detail sets these extraordinary sceneries apart from nothing else in X-Plane, they are of a high standard if not the highest, so what comes next...  KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive, and here it is.
     
    SFO is again a total revisit to the older freeware version, but a total revisit means it was completely rebuilt from nothing, so the two KSFOs really have nothing in common, but are related only to the same airport and location.
     
    San Francisco International Airport is an international airport in San Mateo County, 13 miles (21 km) south of Downtown San Francisco, California. It has flights to points throughout North America and is a major gateway to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australasia.
     
    SFO is the largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area and the second-busiest in California, after Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In 2017, it was the seventh-busiest airport in the United States and the 24th-busiest in the world by passenger count. It is the fifth-largest hub for United Airlines, which operates out of Terminal 3 and the International Terminal. SFO functions as United's primary Trans-Pacific gateway. Additionally, SFO is a major maintenance hub for United Airlines and houses the SFO Museum that was created in 1980, the first museum in an international airport. It also serves as a hub for Alaska Airlines, which operates in Terminal 2
     
    The City and County of San Francisco first leased 150 acres (61 ha) at the present airport site on March 15, 1927, for what was then to be a temporary and experimental airport project. San Francisco held a dedication ceremony at the airfield, officially named the Mills Field Municipal Airport of San Francisco, on May 7, 1927, on the 150-acre cow pasture. San Francisco purchased the property and the surrounding area expanding the site to 1,112 acres (450 ha) beginning in August 1930. The airport's name was officially changed to San Francisco Airport in 1931 upon the purchase of the land. "International" was added at the end of World War II as overseas services rapidly expanded.
     
    San Francisco International Airport
    IATA: SFO - ICAO: KSFO - FAA LID: SFO - WMO: 72494

    10L/28R -11,870ft (3,618m) -Asphalt
    10R/28L - 11,381ft (3,469m) - Asphalt
    01R/19L - 8,650ft (2,637m) - Asphalt
    01L/19R - 7,650ft (2,332m) - Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL13 ft / 4 m
     
    KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design
    The airport sits directly on the west of San Francisco Bay, and almost directly opposite Oakland International Airport on the eastern side of the same bay.
     

     
    The runway layout is really a cross with the terminal and concourses in the upper right quadrant (looking west).
     

     

     
    SFO San Francisco Airport is built around a central core, with seven concourses, with one (Terminal 3) being a concourse/rotunda with arms.
     

     
    Inner core there are four Terminals, the large International, then anti-clockwise are Terminal 1, 2 and 3.
     

     
    Central core is a labyrinth and also the main carpark for all the different terminals. Carpark detail is extraordinary and complex as the there are so many different layers, and they are all animated with traffic. Internally looks a bit like the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame in feel, the animated building fans only heighten the effect.
     

     
    International Terminal
    The face of San Francisco airport is the large International Terminal. The International Terminal is also composed of Boarding Areas A and G. Designed by Craig W. Hartman of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the terminal opened in December 2000 to replace the International Departures section of Terminal 2. It is the largest international terminal in North America, and the largest building in the world built on base isolators to protect it against earthquakes.
     

     
    International Terminal detail is phenomenal, realism 101, or 201...  brilliant work including the exceptional lattice work that supports the roof.
     

     
    Note the local branded SFO buses, detail, detail and a ShortFinal speciality. But this being ShortFinal, your going to get even more unique ideas and effects for your money...  and he certainly does not disappoint here at SFO. The frontage of the International Terminal will change colours with special events! 
     
    Frontage colours change on certain dates to celebrate events. New Year, President’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, Memorial Day, Pride Week, Independence Day,  Labor Day, Patriot Day, German Unity Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. The same colours can however be used on different dates, like the six Red, White and Blue.
     

     
    It is again all so exceptionally well done.
     
    Concourses A and G
    Each side of the International Terminal as wings are two concourses for the International Arrivals and Departures. These are Concourses A and G.
     

     
    Concourse A
    Most international flights operated by SkyTeam, Oneworld, and non-aligned international carriers board and deplane at Boarding Area A's 15 gates (gates A1–A15).
    As a modern concourse (if 2000 is what you would call modern), Concourse A is all cladding and glass. Capturing the feel of buildings like this can be really hard, and can just come across as modeled. But that is not the case here as Concourse A (and the rest of the infrastructure here), is very realistic and nicely worn. Note the small ramp tower on top and end each A and G concourses.
     

     
    All gates in SFD San Francisco Airport are SAM3 Suite (Plugin required) activated. With up to three bridges on the International concourses which several are Cat Code F. There are defined A380/B748 taxi routes available as well.
     

     
    A speciality of ShortFinal is that their ground clutter is second to none, and your certainly not disappointed here either. Not are only the actual service vehicles (branded of course), but you have realistic ground personnel, AND animated walking staff as well.   
     
    Glass is again exceptional and clear (or transparent), revea ling the inner fully modeled concourse interiors, again animated walkers are moving around on both fitted out levels. Again the detail is excellent and very, if highly realistic.
     

     
    Concourse G
    Most international flights operated by Star Alliance carriers, including all United international flights and select United domestic flights, are assigned to Boarding Area G's 14 gates (G1-G14).
     
    Concourse G is quite similar to A, but it has an open passenger deck at the end. Again everything associated with Concourse G is superb.
     

     
    Harvey Milk Terminal 1
    Formerly known as the "South Terminal", Harvey Milk Terminal 1 is composed of Boarding Area B, which currently has 18 gates (gates B6-B9, B12-B14, B17, B18, and B19-B27). Prior to June 23, 2020, Boarding Area C was also considered part of Terminal 1.
     
    In April 2018, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and mayor Mark Farrell approved and signed legislation renaming Terminal 1 after deceased gay rights activist and former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Harvey Milk, and planned to install artwork memorializing him. Harvey Milk Terminal 1 is the world's first airport terminal named after a leader of the LGBTQ community.
     

     
    Arrival entrance is just all glass, making it a bit plain...  but there is nothing plain about this very authentically designed terminal and the B Concourse.
     
     
     
    Lots of nicely defined nooks and crannies here to explore, and the rooftop detailing is excellent.
     

     
    Internal B concourse detail is again really well done...
     

     
    Terminal 2
    Formerly known as the "Central Terminal", Terminal 2 is composed of Boarding Area C, which has 10 gates (gates C2-C11), and Boarding Area D, which has 15 gates (D1-D12 and D14-D16). The D gates is where Alaska Airlines has its hub.
     
    Terminal 2 opened in 1954 as the main airport terminal. After a drastic rebuilding designed by Gensler, it replaced Rotunda A as SFO's international terminal in 1983, until it was closed for renovation after the current international terminal opened in 2000.
     

     

     
    Terminal 2 arrivals feels like the older terminal redeveloped, of which it is of course. And again very well done. Side art facades are excellent, and note the animated internal AirTrain system. Part of the original International Terminal design survives as well with the "San Francisco" branding.
     

     
    Concourse C
    You immediately feel the older styled concourses and terminal style, compared to the cladding and glass newer buildings. Concourse C feels the oldest of the lot, but it is really well done here to get that older SFO feel into the scenery by SFD. Glass roof is see-though, and it feels very open from the internal view. But I love these older infrastructure designs. Going domestic to San Francisco, then parking here would be my choice of gates.
     

     
    Concourse D
    External Concourse detail is as usual in being very good, again a slight difference and feel here compared to the other concourses (except C). Internal detail is done right through the terminal and into the twin arms.
     

     
    Terminal 3
    Formerly known as the "North Terminal", Terminal 3 is composed of Boarding Area E with 13 gates (gates E1-E13) and Boarding Area F with 23 gates (gates F1-F3, F3A, F4-F22). Terminal 3 is used for United Airlines' domestic flights. Mainline United and United Express flights that use both boarding areas.
     

     
    This $82.44 million terminal was originally designed by San Francisco Airport Architects (a joint venture of John Carl Warnecke and Associates, Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, and minority architects). The groundbreaking ceremony for the North Terminal was held on April 22, 1971, and Boarding Area F opened in 1979 and Boarding Area E opened in 1981.
     

     
    Concourse E
    The Initial modest renovation plans were replaced by a more ambitious project after the popularity of the remodeling of Terminal 2. After the completion of the US$138,000,000 (equivalent to $157,960,000 in 2021) project, Boarding Area E reopened on January 28, 2014, followed by Terminal 3 East on November 18, 2014. The project moved one gate from Boarding Area F to Boarding Area E to provide a total of ten aircraft parking positions at T3E. Following a 2019 renumbering of all gates at SFO, three additional gates moved from Boarding Area F to Boarding Area E, with the latter now containing 13 gates.
     

     
    Built to take in the view. Concourse E has a huge window for the front. Note the United gate information boards set with the current time.
     

     
    Note also the lower to the ground SAM airbridges for regional jet boarding...  again concourse cladding and glass design is exceptional.
     

     
    Internal detail is again done, but the views from the concourse are simply realistically unbelievably, really real, "Being there real".
     

     
    There are a few gates E1, E2 and E3 between the two E and F concourses (There are more F1 - F4 gates that continues past the F Concourse entrance), and this area internally is modeled as well, and again the apron and runway views are sensational.
     

     
    Concourse F
    There are three United Clubs in Terminal 3—one near the rotunda for Boarding Area F, one on the mezzanine across from gate E2, and another at the beginning of Boarding Area E. Terminal 3 also houses the American Express Centurion Lounge, located across from Gate F2.
     

     
    Ramp detail is excellent, every area (per concourse) has a slightly different feel, here notice the excellent height safety bars and lower concourse detail. Airbridges on F are a different static design than the swing bridges, and well done here, and also still SAM active.
     

     
    Internal F Concourses are of course done as well, with a huge space around the rotunda...  you can explore as much internally at SFO as externally. Views are again amazing in watching the aircraft, just like in real life.
     

     
    SFO Control Tower
    Situated in the space between Terminals 1 and 2, a new tower was built to replace the existing control tower and one that has been in operation since 1954 and was then located atop Terminal 2. The project also includes a new three-story Integrated Facility building for the FAA and other personnel, two connector walkways, and improvements to the Terminal 1 Boarding Area C Entrance. Construction of the new control tower and base building began in summer 2012, was turned over to the FAA for equipment installation in July 2015 and the tower became fully operational in October 2016.
     
    The swirl style control tower has been faithfully reproduced here by SFD, beautifully done with great design. Attention to roof top aerial detail is also excellent. Rear tower detail is worth inspecting close up.
     

     
    Tower view is inside the tower. Usually this aspect doesn't work, but here it is sensational, with a clear view of all the approaches. Seating only up here and with no computer screens, but still very well done.
     

     

     
    The same event colour effects are on the rear of the tower, and in the same matching the International Terminal facade event.
     

     
    Entrance to SFO has the "Grand Hyatt At SFO" on the southwest. Again really well done is the Hyatt and authentic to the real hotel, behind are the two western carparks for the International Terminal in G and A.
     

     
    The complex entrance road system is mixed in with the rail networks to San Francisco City. Called the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) it serves the airport at San Francisco International Airport station, and located west of the International Terminal. All BART trains are fully animated here, as is the full AirTrain system, it is all SO good.
     

     
    West Field
    To the north of the main central terminal hub is "West Field". Positioned here are all the airport's infrastructure facilities including Cargo and Catering.
     

     
    Facilities for Prime Cargo, Delta Cargo, Cathay Pacific Cargo, Turkish Airlines Cargo and Asiana Cargo. Further north is Singapore Airlines and China Southern that are all represented, as is the United Airlines GEM (Ground Equipment Maintenance) Facility and Gate Gourmet catering. Ground clutter detail is simply phenomenal. The SFO Fire Station is positioned on the front of West Field on taxiway Z.
     

     
    UAL Base (United Airlines Maintenance)
    Far north in the scenery is the huge UAL base. It is significant to note on how far away it is here from the central core of SFO that this scenery covers, and in absolute detail, a very hard thing to do, but it is also totally authentic. Note the amazingly detailed SFO bus depot
     

     
    SFO is home to the one of the largest single aircraft maintenance bases in the world with complete MRO base operations (maintenance, repair, overhaul, painting, welding, machine shop, tool and die, parts manufacturing, fabrication, engineering, and retrofitting (Boeing and Airbus certified, among others)). It serves as the principal Global MRO Base for United Airlines and serves over 40 other airlines, military customers, and aircraft lease operators. The main United facility is huge...
     

     
    ...   it is also SAM powered. Open SAM and select the "Controls" icon, and you get six options. Three of the selections open the three doors on the United Maintenance hangar.
     
     

     
    East of the UAL Base is Plot 50, and the SFO major fuel depot. Plot 50 is a (remote) cargo facility for FedEx, KAL and NCA. Brand detail is again simply brilliant.
     

     
    USCG (US Coast Guard)
    Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco (CGAS) located at the San Francisco International Airport is one of five air stations in the Eleventh Coast Guard District. Currently, Air Station San Francisco operates four MH65 Dolphin helicopters that provides its primary mission search and rescue. CGAS San Francisco also supports a wide range of other Coast Guard operations such as Maritime Law enforcement, port security, Aids to Navigation support and Marine Environmental Protection to approximately 300 miles of coastline from Point Conception to Fort Bragg 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
     

     
    A lovely old building that screans "San Fran" that is modeled and detailed impeccably here, simply sensational for helicopter operations.
     
    The USCG hangar doors are SAM powered as well, so they open to reveal a nicely detailed interior.
     

     
    There is still more action at the USCG facility. On the SAM is another selection to open the gates. Press "Coast Guard Gate", and the barriers come down, lights flash and the gates all open.
     

     
    GA & Signature
    The east is where the only General Aviation (GA) area is at SFO with a Signature Aviation" facility. This is a British multinational aviation services company for personal jet services. There are both here a reception and private jet terminal and a large maintenance hangar.
     

     
    Again the SAM plugin can be used to open the Signature hangar door, revealing a nice interior.
     

     
    Superbay
    The eastern side of the airfield is dominated by the Superbay, a 420,550-square-foot (39,070 m2) maintenance hangar capable of holding four 747s. Originally constructed in the 1970s, the facility is shared by United Airlines and American Airlines. Sadly the doors don't open on the Superbay.
     

     
    Notable is that everything here is custom. Even the fencing is custom made and it comes in all various shapes and designs, no string facades here. All blast fences are perfect, and so is road crossing detail.
     

     
    Ground Textures
    Even from a distance you know the ground textures here at SFO are going to be something special, they are...
     

     
    ...   but also a bit of a surprise, because they are not as rough (or knobbly) as I thought they would be, so they feel quite smooth. built in Burnt-in ambient occlusion effects and reflections are there but again not overly done, so to a point they look more realistic.
     
    In saying that I think these textures in the rain of X-Plane12 will be absolutely sensational. The different types of surfaces is just plain stupid here, totally everything you could imagine and far more, and again all totally brilliantly done. Grunge and oily dirt is perfect on the ramps, but overall I like the darker cuts in the asphalt and concrete for absolute realism.
     

     
    Notable is that there are four actual texture versions in (mostly to save framerate); No Ortho + Flat, No Ortho + No Flat, Ortho + Flat (default) and Ortho + No Flat
     
    Lighting
    I think by now, that if the lighting was average at SFO, it would be a real let down...  NOPE, the lighting is as brilliant as everything else here.
     

     
    Approach lighting ha animated RAIL on 28L and 28R and 19L, and all approach lighting set high on gantries and really well done.
     

     
    The lighting ideas used here is quite unusual from the standard X-Plane practise of bright airside and tan landside.
     
    Unusual is the use here of mercury vapor lamps, which create a blue-green tint over remote carparks and the non-working areas. But very effective in the scenery for realism.
     

     
    Hub SFO centre is overwhelmingly good, that comes with the subtle uses of different lighting tones, this creates a realism of well real life. Not withstanding the colour effects.
     

     
    Central carpark hub looks like the core of a nuclear reactor! but brilliant. Ramps are excellent for working on at night, but the crème de la crème here is the Gate number lighting that are all spectacularly backlit... really love that, and so realistic.
     

     
    Backside and building window lighting is excellent, again very realistic, no average plain colour fills here.
     
    Internal concourse lighting is bright, but really well done in not being over bright to spoil the external views. Note the great ceiling lighting.
     

     
    Oddly there is not a lot of brand lighting on the buildings, say cargo faclities...  the main are done like "UNITED AIR LINES", but not something like FedEx or the Hyatt Hotel?
     

     
    Ground navigation lighting is also very good. All signs are worn but effective, with excellent colour light realistic ground reflections... perfect.
     

     
    San Francisco Scenery
    Unlike with the freeware version of KSFO San Francisco International Airport and City 2.0, there are no city objects in this package, which for me is surprising. ShortFinal noted to me that he may create a San Francisco city free pack to go along with this package, of which shouldn't be too hard as it is already object created. Here I am using here the (very) good but very old Tom Curtis Golden Gate scenery package, but sadly it's not on sale or available anymore.
    _______________
    Summary
    MisterX6 changed the face of X-Plane scenery. First with Freeware high quality scenery for the X-Plane Simulator, then he went Payware with his "Definitive" Series and changed his name to ShortFinal Designs. That change took the scenery quality, detail and effects into the stratosphere, but still with a very affordable price.
     
    San Francisco was one of the original  KSFO San Francisco International Airport and City 2.0 freeware sceneries, and very good it is, but here is the KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive version.
     
    Like all the rest of the "Definitive" Series with KSLC - Salt Lake City, then my favorite KABQ - Albuquerque. Then Mega the airports followed with KLAX - Los Angeles and EDDM - Munich, that were all exceptional sceneries, so you expect a lot from the "Definitive" SFO.
     
    This SFO scenery has been a long time in development. I expected a release around the early months of 2022, but it was still another 6 months before it now comes to release. Having reviewed the scenery here, I can't believe it didn't take far, far longer.
     
    This is a MASSIVE scenery, in every aspect. Scale, object count, detail, effects and a realism above what we currently have. Yes there are brilliant sceneries out there, but this San Francisco sets a higher bar in almost every department...  It is a colossal achievement.
     
    In every area it is brilliant. Modeling, texturing, lighting and not only external but the internal is very good as well. SAM Active, is not only for the various airbidge designs, but also to open and close hangar doors and gate crossings. This is one serious scenery with an object count to be believed. Again in every area it is covered in objects and with the massive clutter detail to burn your eyes out. Ground Textures and lighting are also extreme in detail with a few unique ideas thrown in. But the highlights are the event colours on the International Terminal and Control Tower that change with certain event days like the 4th July, Christmas and New Year and many more...
     
    Negatives, none really AT ALL. But you have to know that with an object and detail count like this and used in this scenery, then it will take up a lot of frame rate, so SFO does hurt the framerate, and no doubt ShortFinal has refined everything to the bone already. So you would need a fair bit of power to run it all. My guide would be ShortFinal's LAX, if that SFD scenery runs fine, then so will SFO, but lighter graphic cards will certainly struggle to process it all.
     
    I don't like to define the "Best of"...  because it is a moving target in Simulation. But certainly this KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive scenery has to be the very best ever scenery created for the X-Plane Simulator, on the scale alone....  a masterpiece, absolutely, if even the best X-Plane Scenery was ever created for the simulator, and that SFO by ShortFinal is a big if massive achievement no matter which way you look at it.
     
    "All across the nation such a strange vibration
    People in motion
    There's a whole generation with a new explanation
    People in motion people in motion
     
    If you come to San Francisco
    Summertime will be a love-in there"
     
    _______________________________

     
    The KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive by ShortFinal Design is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store
     
    KSFO - San Francisco Airport Definitive
    Priced at US$26.95
     
    High-Definition Airport Accurate airport layout (as of 2022) Brand-new Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Detailed models for all buildings with baked ambient occlusion Terminals with interiors PBR materials on objects and ground Custom dynamic night lighting Custom high resolution ground textures High resolution photo scenery (30cm/px) Taxi routes for AI traffic Compatible with any mesh scenery Free X-Plane 12 update planned Animated Airport Animated AirTrain, BART, and cars Animated highly detailed airport vehicles Animated workers and passengers Custom animated jetways and DGS (requires SAM plugin) Special lighting on international terminal and control tower on certain dates Various user-controlled hangar doors (requires SAM plugin)   Requirements
    X-Plane 11 - X-Plane 12 (when available) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Version 1.0 (August 6th 2022)   Installation and documents:
    SFO is download of 1.6 Gb download that is translated into a single install file
    SFD_KSFO_San_Francisco  
    2.1 Gb full install in your Custom Scenery folder.
     
    There is an OPTIONS folder for Ortho and Flat versions of ShortFinal SFO
    No Ortho + Flat No Ortho + No Flat Ortho + Flat (default) Ortho + No Flat You just swap over the supplied Earth nav data folder.
     
    There is a mesh patch can be used with MUXP (https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/67230-mesh-updater-x-plane-muxp/).
    It works with any mesh (including ORBX TrueEarth) and makes coastlines more accurate, which avoids issues like sunken approach lights.
    As of writing this document, MUXP is still an alpha version, so results may vary. In case you need to revert the changes, it always creates a backup version of your mesh files.
    NOTE, not sure on how this would work with X-Plane12, so personally I would not use it for now if using SFO Definitive in X-Plane12.
     
    SAM3 Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 3.0 is required for this scenery,
     
    Documents
    There is a 2 page "Instruction" page for installation and requirements
    Manual.pdf ___________________________
     
    Review by Stephen Dutton
    6th August 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD 
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.55
    Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini
    Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - None-
     

  4. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Medellinexpat in Aircraft Review : Boeing 747-8 Inter v2 Anniversary Edition by SSG   
    Might be more interesting this time around... FlightFactor have costed their Boeing 767-400 currently at US$69, but will be US79 for X-Plane12, notable the upgrade fee might be US$10. Not the same price in X-Plane11 to 12.
  5. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Medellinexpat in Aircraft Review : Boeing 767-400ER by FlightFactor Aero   
    it's a bit of a stretch to say the -400 is just a  3D and panel update? There is a lot more in there than that, more so in that it is a very nice aircraft thank you very much...
  6. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Medellinexpat in Laminar Research : X-Plane and in the future the new world order   
    No the OSM in AviTab is chunky and slow compared to Navigraph charts, not at all my favorite MAP system, certainly from a Pro perspective.
  7. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Aero_Medic in Behind the Screen : June 2022   
    Behind the Screen : June 2022
     
    This edition of "Behind the Screen" notes that we are already halfway through the year of 2022, yes six months are already gone and we are hurtling already towards another year gone. The last six months could be divided into two quarters, the first three months of the usual X-Plane activity and solid releases (including the immense Rotate MD-11) and the last quarter in being a long drawn out waiting period...  for guess what, well X-Plane12.
     
    As noted in the last few editions of Behind the Screen I took the opportunity to upgrade my "Whole" as it turned out Computer hardware to be ready...  for guess what, well X-Plane12.
     
    I don't regret the timing, as prices now (In Australia) have increased, not that much but I did save quite a few dollars in context. There is never ever a good time to do this, but 2022 is one of the most unnerving years I can ever remember (and I don't even have any Crypto Currency). So timing in reflection is all about using your superpower, or simply good luck. And for that I still used my superpower cautiously and is still thankfully on the right side of good. But also sitting on this side of the upgrades it is a satisfying feeling, not perfect yet as I still need an upgraded Graphic Card, but still good to welcome into my world...   well X-Plane12.
     
    Before I move on from the upgrades, I found the Hardware side changes very enjoyable, even fun...  but resetting and reinstalling all the required software (actually not including X-Plane itself) but everything to support the simulator was a nightmare. Resetting things back to normal took an immense amount of time to do, worse was the recalibrating required to get things to behave correctly again, worse was the monitors in finding their ideal matching settings again, and I am still not happy with the results, but is finally getting there. The point is on how really time-consuming it all is, if also on how frustrating, change is really good, but also seriously hard work.
     
    Laminar Research have been pumping out all sorts of X-Plane12 tit-bits and the extensive Dev Deep-Dives series with FSElite, which is a long series of videos including the important developers behind the new X-Plane12's development (noted to be a series of 10). There is a lot in there, but there is also really nothing new being revealed either that we haven't already seen since the original X-Plane12 reveal back in September 2021 at the San Diego Expo. Even the Development blogs have petered out, so it is all feeling a bit-long-in-the-tooth. 
     
    The aim was for an X-Plane12 release around the last weeks of July, that is in just three weeks now folks, but rumors are circulating the beta release could now be as late as September. No matter which way you look at it, it is still a long wait of maybe still months not weeks. The point is, is that pushing the boat out too far, and far too long.
     
    The simulation world is not waiting around for Laminar to perfect it's next generation of X-Plane simulation, the worry creeping in is that with the long, long wait, and the extended hype, you may get a let down of massive proportions. As noted last month, I have realistic expectations of the new simulator version upgrade, but many users don't of the coming version. Fears of the Rotate MD-11 hype could come back to haunt us all over again the longer this story goes on (and on), that aspect may happen anyway.
     
    Everything in June was heightened by the story of iniBuilds. Back last year on the 1st of October 2021 iniBuilds announced the iniSimulations A310-300 for Microsoft Flight Simulator. No big deal there as you expect a lot of cross-platform aircraft transitions. 
     
    But on 12th June, Microsoft announced a partnership with inibuilds to release the Airbus A310-300 as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations in November, and that the Airbus A310-300 would also be part of the MIcrosoft Flight Simulator default fleet, or free to users that currently use the MSFS Simulator platform, still nothing of a deal there either. But it is a bit of pain in that if you had spent £69.99 on the aircraft, and you could soon get it for free if you move to MSFS. Then came the BIG news, all current X-Plane11 iniBuild aircraft would not be updated to X-Plane12.
     
    That is the A300-600R(F), A300 BelugaST and the A310-300 will be X-Plane11 only, odd was the strange fire-sale of all the aircraft early June at a heavily discounted price of £9.99, or 20 bucks $US, the sale gave X-Plane users no indication of the coming bad news, but took your money.
     
    Let us be straight. iniBuild's were always a rogue company to deal with from the start, very hard to deal with commercially and X-PlaneReviews was refused early on for any review aircraft point blank. Although extremely successful in X-Plane, I really didn't see the what all the fuss was about. Their aircraft are good, and have a lot of features (if some are quite quirky). But there are far better simulations out there for the same money, and the products were quite to very expensive. And this is the point.
     
    If you have spent that much money investing in an aircraft or aircraft's, you do to a point expect a fair amount of service and support from the developer. But basically, with the cancellation of any (even paid) upgrades to X-Plane12, it will leave you with a very bitter taste in your mouth, and certainly if you are currently getting a happy experience from your iniBuild's simulations.
     
    These aircraft have only been on the market for a few years from August 2020 starting with the A300-600R. that is not even a third of an X-Plane version (11) development run, and now already if X-Plane12 is released soon, the aircraft is already outdated, did I mention expensive at US$85 an aircraft (yes you did get a discount deal if you bought another iniBuilds aircraft). If you had bought the fire-sale aircraft, you would get maybe a few months of simulation before parking it in the old X-Plane11 hangar, at even $20 bucks that is still expensive.
     
    So if Microsoft are doing a promotional deal, by throwing a shit load of money at a X-Plane developer, then saying "Hey folks, if you still want your iniBuilds A310, you can and for free!...  if you come to Microsoft Flight Simulator", stinks of poaching of the worse order.
     
    The problem with all this is that Simulation is still basically a very niche form of entertainment, many who fly in X-Plane, also fly in MSFS, and even a lot of the other aircraft simulators available, there are really no boundaries except financial.
     
    So here is the bite. If you have spent a lot of your hard earned cash in supporting iniBuilds for the X-Plane Simulator, then your getting a very shitty deal. Even if you smile and note that the A310 will be free over in MSFS, then it is not going to have the features and the flying performance of X-Plane and neither either will the coming A300-600R and A300 BelugaST MSFS versions of which you will have to pay for (again). But seriously besides a worse performing aircraft could you or should you actually trust iniBuilds again with you cash and their extremely poor service. If they have bunged you here, then they won't care about bunging you again over there. The word here is trust, and that aspect has been seriously broken.
     
    You could say I'm being platform defendant (X-Plane). But I'm not, it is the overall aspect of trust in Simulation that is accountable here. Purchasers in X-Plane also purchase in MSFS (or any other simulator). Being royally screwed in one is not going to help you gain monetary on another platform, as you are talking to the same customers. Core simmers are the ones that pay for expensive addons, not the fly in, fly out gamer crowd.
     
    Personally there is no way I would buy another iniBuilds product, if they treat their customers with such indifference for their loyalty. The really odd thing about all this saga, is that to update their (only) three aircraft to X-Plane12 is to a large development house like iniBuilds here is a very minimum aspect of keeping everyone (including future customers) happy (or the MSFS deal doesn't allow them to do that).
    Plus then is the monetary loss of future aircraft sales in X-Plane12, and the upgraded aircraft would also deliver upgrade fees (or money) to the coffers. In the business case sense it is a disastrous outcome for everyone involved...  but the worse outcome is still that loss of customer trust and cash by not "doing the right thing, by everyone" and upgrading to X-Plane12, that just leaves a sour taste in everyone's mouth, and a lot of very disappointed customers. It certainly won't attract customers to MSFS, if the opposite in this saga...  most won't care, but they should, it's your precious money going to the wall here.
     
    If iniBuilds were poached, then with Laminar dragging out their own slowly, slowly release saga for X-Plane12, then could other developers be targets for easy MSFS money. Most would say absolutely not. But in this world of stretched resources and bills to pay, then even the most stoic of developers could waver if enough cash was thrown at them, every Simulator is built on it's unique developers of products for the platform, lose too many and the platform is in trouble.
     
    A year ago Laminar had a unique situation as MSFS failed and faltered in it's early first year development, certainly in the performance and dynamics areas, but has that advantage situation now been seriously squandered in being too far to under resourced and with poor public relations from Laminar Research, and with just expecting the faithful to just keep on accepting the same as, time and time again.
     
    As times people have moved on, and Laminar needs to move on along with them and even use or need it's own superpower, the next few months until the end of this unnerving year could be quite significant for the X-Plane simulator in more ways than one, and one way or the other.
     
    See you all next Month
     
    Stephen Dutton
    4th July 2022
    Copyright©2022 X-Plane Reviews
     

  8. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in Aircraft Update : Airbus A340-600 v1.1 by ToLiSS   
    Aircraft Update : Airbus A340-600 v1.1 by ToLiSS
     
    One of the most successful releases of 2021 was the Airbus A340-600 from TolIss. Users love the deep Airbus systems and clever intergrated features. Since that initial release back in October 2021, there have already been some significant updates to the aircraft (the A346 was already nicely fully formed on release) and here is the fourth, and quite a significant update to v1.1 it is.
     
    First off the base is that A346 v1.1 is now compatible with the coming X-Plane12 version, so you will be able to fly the ToLiSS A346 straight out of the box, which is a very nice premise indeed (although expect an update to switch on the X-Plane12 features). ToLiSS has also put out their pricing with the conversion to X-Plane12. And first is that the earlier A319 and A321 will have an add-on upgrade cost of US$10.99 each, however if you have the ToLiSS A321 + NEO addon and/or this A346, then the upgrade to X-Plane12 is free. Which is a very fair deal.
     
    As we know with the release of the Airbus A346. ToLiSS took control of it's modeling side of the project. The released A346 was certainly a far better design, but not actually perfect (but a very good effort for a first attempt). So to bring the modeling more into it's quality/price, here is already a rework of the original. The focus is on the rear section which has been totally remodeled along with new textures for all of the aircraft. Visually the change includes the upward sweep of the rear most windows on the fuselage...
     

     
    ....  it is harder to achieve than it looks, because internally you just don't have the up sweep of the window line, but also the curve of the rear cabin going inwards and also upwards into the tail. ToLiSS has done a really nice job here.
     

     
    Because of these cosmetic changes the older liveries now don't work with the new customised tail? (hence the house livery here). The painkit has been adjusted to v.1.1, so expect the livery changes to come quickly. But it is all in the aim of authenticity. The A330 rear is very much the same configuration.
     
    The cockpit/instrument panel textures have been overhauled as well, with more wear around the knobs and switchgear and more to the blue/grey Airbus colour (cabin stays the same with no changes). While we are here, the knobs and switches have also been given improved switch geometry, so they work better from your seating angles.
     

     
    The flightdeck forward windows now also open...  nice! Pull the handle and the window will track rearwards to reveal an open window (something I love on arrival to let fresh air into the cockpit). Notable is when you do this the air-pressure will change on the COND (Air-Conditioning) lower ECAM Screen. The air-pressure and temperature in the adjacent zone will also change if you open the any of the passenger doors. To close the side window(s), there is a little stick buffer in the lower window frame that has to be switched to do so.
     

     
    Don't you love arriving in the cockpit ready for a flight! Well one of the nice things to do is getting into your seat and adjusting it. In v1.1 you can now move the seats rearwards and to the side to insert yourself into the seat, when done you can then move the seat into position of to the position of where you want it to be.
     

     
    The seat is moved forwards and backwards via the correct switch on the lower side of the chair (arrowed), here also the armrests are in the stored position, again you can also rise or lower the armrests as well. The seat is positioned well forward here, so there is a lot of adjustment to your taste. The folding retracting armrests are perfectly done.
     

     
    ACARS/Simbrief
    All major commercial aircraft have ACARS or "Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System". Which is a digital datalink system for transmission of short messages between aircraft and ground stations via airband radio or satellite, it is a sort of airborne text system.
     
    In v1.1 the ACARS system has been implemented in two areas. One is with the excellent Navigraph SimBrief and secondly with the aircraft's TISCS menu system. First to use the ACARS system here you will need to have SimBrief and an account. It is still free, but I recommend it with your Navigraph account. To use then set up a route and generate a Flight (Sim)Brief.
     

     
    Like in a real aircraft you activate ACARS by tuning into VHF3 and it's "Data" uplink. If the link is active, then the "SEL" light is on.
     

     
    To access SimBrief you have to authorise it in the TISCS menu, under your SimBrief account settings, and use your Pilot ID (second row). And in the TISCS menu on the SOUND/ADDON ACCOUNTS tab in "ACCOUNT IDS", it will take a minute, then two options come up with...
     

     
    ...  "Ignore AIRAC/AC Type mismatch", If this option is OFF, the flight plan download will fail if the active AIRAC cycle in the FMGS does not match the AIRAC cycle used by Simbrief for planning. In other words your AIRAC cycles (data) on the X-Plane/Aircraft and Simbrief have to match.
     
    "Set Payload + Fuel to Simbrief", If you select this option, the cargo, payload and fuel on board in the ISCS will be set immediately to the Simbrief values. This ensures that the data on the INIT B page match the actual weights, but removes one step from flight preparation, which of course you can still get from the TISCS.
     
    Loading the Data into the MCDU
    Looking at your INIT page on the MCDU. There is now a "INIT REQUEST", press RK2 (Right Key 2) and it will send a request for data for you, then if acquired the data is returned via "F-PLN DATALINK IN PROG" note in the scratchpad, and when done (transferring the data) it shows PERF DATA UPLINK to show the link is still open.
     

     
    And "wah, Wah"...   all the data is filled in from the (Sim)Brief, including the Flightplan all fuel, weights, FL No., PAX, CRZ Altitude... even the Flight Number. Fuel Prediction is also ready on both INIT PRED and FUEL PRED. Notable is that the data does not include (insert) the Departure and Arrival details, so the RWY/SID/VIA and RWY/STAR/VIA approach details still have to be added in, or any approach editing can still be adjusted as normal. 
     

     
    If you want to go to the core and load in the data directly this can also be done.
     
    You access the data by pressing the "DATA" key, and then ACARS/PRINT...  FUNCTION RK6. All the data is stored here including the F-PLN INIT data, TO (TakeOff) DATA and WIND DATA.
     
     
     
    WIND REQUEST however only works with the INIT Request active and that X-Plane is set to real weather conditions (which will be very interesting with X-Plane12).
     
    Takeoff Performance Data
    You can fill in the PERF/TAKE OFF data by pressing the TO DATA LK6 button, and this action brings up the "REQUEST" on the RK6.
     

     
    Then the "TAKE OFF DATA UPLINK", will fill in your Performance TakeOff data, again very, very cool. It will however not fill in the FLEX TO TEMP category, which you still have to get from the TISCS menu (set runway), here it is F69.
     

     
    So much time is saved here in transferring the data, and totally brilliant at getting the aircraft quickly ready for flight. The two CPDLCs - Controller Pilot Data Link Communications are also part of the ACARS system are still not active, but next on the to-do list.
     
    Debatable is the fact do you like to do the full aircraft data set up, and could this (as really good as it is) be a sort of cheat sheet? Sometimes you really just want to fly and not go through the full setup rigmarole. In this case it is quite brilliant.
     

     
    Interactive Audio Control Panel
    The TISCS menu is big, and a few users have complained as it can't be scaled either. So ToLiSS has come up with the "Interactive Audio Control Panel" or ACP panels. These are two pop-up menu panels set out on the "Intercom" and "Cabin Communication" buttons.
     


     
    There are five page selections under "Intercom"; Services, Pushback, Refuel/Defuel, Cargo Handling, and Ground De-Ice
     
    • Services: Enable/disable external power, LP or HP air connections and chocks
    • Pushback: Request pushback
    • Refuel/Defuel: Change the amount of fuel on board. When using this feature, the fuelling/defueling will take time according to the refuel/defuel rate listed in the FCOM.
    • Cargo handling: Open and close cargo doors/change amount of cargo in the hold
    • Ground deice: A simple feature to prevent ice accumulation on the wings while on ground,
    as the wing anti ice does not work for more than 30s on ground.
     
    There are two page selections under "Cabin Communication" in Doors, and Passengers (PAX)
     

     
    ToLiSS notes that "For the future, we plan to include a TO calculator, a landing distance calculator and a weight and balance sheet in the EFB in order to eliminate completely the need to interact with the TISCS during a normal flight."
     
    New failure modes
    On the OHP (OverHead Panel), not only are the in-cockpit RESET switches (Airbus long range equivalent to in-cockpit circuit breakers) are now working, but they are also active in “recoverable computer failures” from the "Fault Scenarios".
     

     
    ToLISS explains how this works,
     
    "Two failure modes CPC 1 and CPC 2 are or can be permanent failures, whereas CPC 1 (R) and CPC 2 (R) are modes that can be recovered by resetting the computer. This is particularly interesting with random failures where you do not know beforehand if a reset will work or not. To reset the computers, you can use the reset switches in the Overhead panel".
     
    With the addition of these new new failure modes there is now a total of 249 different failure modes. Including also these new engine failure modes; "recoverable flame out", "engine failure with damage" and "hot start".
    ____________________
     
    I did my A346 test route of EGKK (Gatwick) to LLBG (Ben Gurion) which is a 4h 4m flight. Although the A346 simulation per se is deep in flying and systems wise with ToLiSS aircraft.
    But because it is done so well the simulations from these aircraft can be quite easy to use. It is not only in the setting up of the aircraft (more so now in v1.1 because of the auto Simbrief data loading in route and performance). But because also the aircraft is quite sweet to fly, as is the Airbus way if you know the smaller intricate European philosophy.
    I have grown in X-Plane with the Airbus QPAC and now ToLiSS designed aircraft, so to me it is second nature, but that is not to say you can't learn and fly these aircraft more easily in simulation than say a Boeing, it is the difference between driving an automatic to a manual setup car. But I will emphasize again the deep existence in the systems and fault/failure detail you have here, that aspect the aircraft is extraordinary. In reality you have the best of both worlds.
     

     
    Now the passenger and fuel are loaded and we are ready to go. Open window is great to check everyone has boarded.
     
    Climbout of EGKK, shows the A340-600 is a big aircraft, the last of the four-engined generation as well. In v1.1 the engine model has been adjusted for more realistic thrust and fuel flow values (to follow the SimBrief numbers more accurately) and you feel the difference... 
     

     
    ...  Climb, climb, climb, it is a long way up to 35,000ft (FL350) then a step to cruising altitude of 37,000ft (FL370).
     

     
    Speed is per SimBrief at m.83, sky is clear and the flying is breathtaking.
     

     
    The significant changes of the textures and in areas of the modeling really shows. The engines and around the main inlet cowls are now also more smoother and cleaner with refined grids, internally in the pods you can now see through the High-Bypass fans.
     

     
    Internally in the office we are in long-haul cruise mode, and a very nice place to be it is (always a good thing on Long-Hauls)...  I particularly like the animated armrests, a small thing but you can access the radios and pedestal much more easier, it feels more authentic as well...
     

     
    ...  You can now put on the oxygen mask by removing it from its container and database holds are now also available.
     
    ProCam views!
     

     
    Cockpit detail and textures look far better, a small change, but a very worthy one.
     
    Arrival at LLBG (Ben Gurion) is on time and on numbers, very nice...  I like to hit the numbers almost perfectly.
     

     
    It is a quick in landing on RWY 12 at 10,210ft (3112m) long, but the A346 copes well with the shorter runway...  easy peasy. There is now a sound option to over-ride or adjust the default X-Plane sounds called "OVRD XP INT/EXT VOL" from the TISCS/SOUND/ADDON ACCOUNTS tab, this gives you more control over the Master Volume, Internal and External Sounds. Like here I want to hear those fantastic Rolls-Royce Trent 556s in reverser mode sounds louder.
     

     
    How good is simulation today!
     

     
    So this is all round a very good update for the lovers of ToLiSS A346, as noted what was really good before is now even better. As a note I redid the SimBrief briefing to go on to Barcelona, and I was re-setup (turned around) within twenty minutes and ready to fly again. So that shows the ACARS system is a very worthy addition!  And oh yes, I opened the side window to let in the hot Middle-Eastern air.
     

     
    Comprehensive release review of the ToLiSS A340-600 is here: Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS
    _______________
    Summary
    This is the fourth update to the ToLiSS Airbus A340-600 since it's release in the Q3 2021, and the biggest and most significant update yet.
     
    v1.1 covers the intergration of ACARS or "Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System" into the MCDU. Which is a digital datalink system. It connects direct data transfers from Simbrief (Navigraph, but free) and from the data (PERF) on the TISCS menu. Also new are the Interactive Audio Control Panels, that are really short cut panels to "Ground Operations" and "Cabin Comm" or doors and passenger loading. Failure modes (Fault Scenarios) have been increased with the now working "Reset" (Circuit Breakers/OHP) and different failure modes.
     
    On the aircraft there has some nice visual changes, most up the rear with a new upward window belt-line, and matching curved rear cabin, engine inlet and internal Hi-Bypass fan changes are also highly noticeable. Internally the forward cockpit windows now open and the pilots chairs are now animated in forwards and rear movement and the armrests can now be folded away. All external and internal textures have been redone and look more realistic and work style authentic (new liveries are however are required to be updated to v1.1). All in all there are a lot of changes and fixes here, and most importantly the aircraft is now also ready for X-Plane12 (A small update for the new features will be released at the same time as the new X-Plane12 Simulator).
     
    Extremely popular, the ToLiSS Airbus A340-600 is one of the very best Airbus Simulations in the X-Plane Simulator, even exceptional. And they haven't finished yet. Now also X-Plane12 ready is a big step forward, and to be flying in X-Plane12 from day one is certainly a great attraction, and also a great current investment in that the changeover for the aircraft to X-Plane12 will be free to all current purchasers.
     
    "Highly Recommended!"
    _______________________________
     

     
    Yes! the Airbus A340-600 v1.1 by ToLiSS is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS
     
    Price is US$89.99
     
    Most accurate system functionality for any A340 aircraft in the flight simulation world  
    Requirements X-Plane only - not available for MSFS Support for X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.2 GB
    Current version: 1.1  (June 20th 2022)   Changelog v1.1 A340-600_changelog.txt Full changelog details are here _____________________
      Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    22nd June 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  -S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55
    Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGKK - London Gatwick Airport v2 by Pilot+Plus (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$21.00
    - LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99 - Full review availble here: Scenery Review : LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft
     
    (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
     

  9. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from ilankrt1 in Aircraft Update : Airbus A340-600 v1.1 by ToLiSS   
    Aircraft Update : Airbus A340-600 v1.1 by ToLiSS
     
    One of the most successful releases of 2021 was the Airbus A340-600 from TolIss. Users love the deep Airbus systems and clever intergrated features. Since that initial release back in October 2021, there have already been some significant updates to the aircraft (the A346 was already nicely fully formed on release) and here is the fourth, and quite a significant update to v1.1 it is.
     
    First off the base is that A346 v1.1 is now compatible with the coming X-Plane12 version, so you will be able to fly the ToLiSS A346 straight out of the box, which is a very nice premise indeed (although expect an update to switch on the X-Plane12 features). ToLiSS has also put out their pricing with the conversion to X-Plane12. And first is that the earlier A319 and A321 will have an add-on upgrade cost of US$10.99 each, however if you have the ToLiSS A321 + NEO addon and/or this A346, then the upgrade to X-Plane12 is free. Which is a very fair deal.
     
    As we know with the release of the Airbus A346. ToLiSS took control of it's modeling side of the project. The released A346 was certainly a far better design, but not actually perfect (but a very good effort for a first attempt). So to bring the modeling more into it's quality/price, here is already a rework of the original. The focus is on the rear section which has been totally remodeled along with new textures for all of the aircraft. Visually the change includes the upward sweep of the rear most windows on the fuselage...
     

     
    ....  it is harder to achieve than it looks, because internally you just don't have the up sweep of the window line, but also the curve of the rear cabin going inwards and also upwards into the tail. ToLiSS has done a really nice job here.
     

     
    Because of these cosmetic changes the older liveries now don't work with the new customised tail? (hence the house livery here). The painkit has been adjusted to v.1.1, so expect the livery changes to come quickly. But it is all in the aim of authenticity. The A330 rear is very much the same configuration.
     
    The cockpit/instrument panel textures have been overhauled as well, with more wear around the knobs and switchgear and more to the blue/grey Airbus colour (cabin stays the same with no changes). While we are here, the knobs and switches have also been given improved switch geometry, so they work better from your seating angles.
     

     
    The flightdeck forward windows now also open...  nice! Pull the handle and the window will track rearwards to reveal an open window (something I love on arrival to let fresh air into the cockpit). Notable is when you do this the air-pressure will change on the COND (Air-Conditioning) lower ECAM Screen. The air-pressure and temperature in the adjacent zone will also change if you open the any of the passenger doors. To close the side window(s), there is a little stick buffer in the lower window frame that has to be switched to do so.
     

     
    Don't you love arriving in the cockpit ready for a flight! Well one of the nice things to do is getting into your seat and adjusting it. In v1.1 you can now move the seats rearwards and to the side to insert yourself into the seat, when done you can then move the seat into position of to the position of where you want it to be.
     

     
    The seat is moved forwards and backwards via the correct switch on the lower side of the chair (arrowed), here also the armrests are in the stored position, again you can also rise or lower the armrests as well. The seat is positioned well forward here, so there is a lot of adjustment to your taste. The folding retracting armrests are perfectly done.
     

     
    ACARS/Simbrief
    All major commercial aircraft have ACARS or "Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System". Which is a digital datalink system for transmission of short messages between aircraft and ground stations via airband radio or satellite, it is a sort of airborne text system.
     
    In v1.1 the ACARS system has been implemented in two areas. One is with the excellent Navigraph SimBrief and secondly with the aircraft's TISCS menu system. First to use the ACARS system here you will need to have SimBrief and an account. It is still free, but I recommend it with your Navigraph account. To use then set up a route and generate a Flight (Sim)Brief.
     

     
    Like in a real aircraft you activate ACARS by tuning into VHF3 and it's "Data" uplink. If the link is active, then the "SEL" light is on.
     

     
    To access SimBrief you have to authorise it in the TISCS menu, under your SimBrief account settings, and use your Pilot ID (second row). And in the TISCS menu on the SOUND/ADDON ACCOUNTS tab in "ACCOUNT IDS", it will take a minute, then two options come up with...
     

     
    ...  "Ignore AIRAC/AC Type mismatch", If this option is OFF, the flight plan download will fail if the active AIRAC cycle in the FMGS does not match the AIRAC cycle used by Simbrief for planning. In other words your AIRAC cycles (data) on the X-Plane/Aircraft and Simbrief have to match.
     
    "Set Payload + Fuel to Simbrief", If you select this option, the cargo, payload and fuel on board in the ISCS will be set immediately to the Simbrief values. This ensures that the data on the INIT B page match the actual weights, but removes one step from flight preparation, which of course you can still get from the TISCS.
     
    Loading the Data into the MCDU
    Looking at your INIT page on the MCDU. There is now a "INIT REQUEST", press RK2 (Right Key 2) and it will send a request for data for you, then if acquired the data is returned via "F-PLN DATALINK IN PROG" note in the scratchpad, and when done (transferring the data) it shows PERF DATA UPLINK to show the link is still open.
     

     
    And "wah, Wah"...   all the data is filled in from the (Sim)Brief, including the Flightplan all fuel, weights, FL No., PAX, CRZ Altitude... even the Flight Number. Fuel Prediction is also ready on both INIT PRED and FUEL PRED. Notable is that the data does not include (insert) the Departure and Arrival details, so the RWY/SID/VIA and RWY/STAR/VIA approach details still have to be added in, or any approach editing can still be adjusted as normal. 
     

     
    If you want to go to the core and load in the data directly this can also be done.
     
    You access the data by pressing the "DATA" key, and then ACARS/PRINT...  FUNCTION RK6. All the data is stored here including the F-PLN INIT data, TO (TakeOff) DATA and WIND DATA.
     
     
     
    WIND REQUEST however only works with the INIT Request active and that X-Plane is set to real weather conditions (which will be very interesting with X-Plane12).
     
    Takeoff Performance Data
    You can fill in the PERF/TAKE OFF data by pressing the TO DATA LK6 button, and this action brings up the "REQUEST" on the RK6.
     

     
    Then the "TAKE OFF DATA UPLINK", will fill in your Performance TakeOff data, again very, very cool. It will however not fill in the FLEX TO TEMP category, which you still have to get from the TISCS menu (set runway), here it is F69.
     

     
    So much time is saved here in transferring the data, and totally brilliant at getting the aircraft quickly ready for flight. The two CPDLCs - Controller Pilot Data Link Communications are also part of the ACARS system are still not active, but next on the to-do list.
     
    Debatable is the fact do you like to do the full aircraft data set up, and could this (as really good as it is) be a sort of cheat sheet? Sometimes you really just want to fly and not go through the full setup rigmarole. In this case it is quite brilliant.
     

     
    Interactive Audio Control Panel
    The TISCS menu is big, and a few users have complained as it can't be scaled either. So ToLiSS has come up with the "Interactive Audio Control Panel" or ACP panels. These are two pop-up menu panels set out on the "Intercom" and "Cabin Communication" buttons.
     


     
    There are five page selections under "Intercom"; Services, Pushback, Refuel/Defuel, Cargo Handling, and Ground De-Ice
     
    • Services: Enable/disable external power, LP or HP air connections and chocks
    • Pushback: Request pushback
    • Refuel/Defuel: Change the amount of fuel on board. When using this feature, the fuelling/defueling will take time according to the refuel/defuel rate listed in the FCOM.
    • Cargo handling: Open and close cargo doors/change amount of cargo in the hold
    • Ground deice: A simple feature to prevent ice accumulation on the wings while on ground,
    as the wing anti ice does not work for more than 30s on ground.
     
    There are two page selections under "Cabin Communication" in Doors, and Passengers (PAX)
     

     
    ToLiSS notes that "For the future, we plan to include a TO calculator, a landing distance calculator and a weight and balance sheet in the EFB in order to eliminate completely the need to interact with the TISCS during a normal flight."
     
    New failure modes
    On the OHP (OverHead Panel), not only are the in-cockpit RESET switches (Airbus long range equivalent to in-cockpit circuit breakers) are now working, but they are also active in “recoverable computer failures” from the "Fault Scenarios".
     

     
    ToLISS explains how this works,
     
    "Two failure modes CPC 1 and CPC 2 are or can be permanent failures, whereas CPC 1 (R) and CPC 2 (R) are modes that can be recovered by resetting the computer. This is particularly interesting with random failures where you do not know beforehand if a reset will work or not. To reset the computers, you can use the reset switches in the Overhead panel".
     
    With the addition of these new new failure modes there is now a total of 249 different failure modes. Including also these new engine failure modes; "recoverable flame out", "engine failure with damage" and "hot start".
    ____________________
     
    I did my A346 test route of EGKK (Gatwick) to LLBG (Ben Gurion) which is a 4h 4m flight. Although the A346 simulation per se is deep in flying and systems wise with ToLiSS aircraft.
    But because it is done so well the simulations from these aircraft can be quite easy to use. It is not only in the setting up of the aircraft (more so now in v1.1 because of the auto Simbrief data loading in route and performance). But because also the aircraft is quite sweet to fly, as is the Airbus way if you know the smaller intricate European philosophy.
    I have grown in X-Plane with the Airbus QPAC and now ToLiSS designed aircraft, so to me it is second nature, but that is not to say you can't learn and fly these aircraft more easily in simulation than say a Boeing, it is the difference between driving an automatic to a manual setup car. But I will emphasize again the deep existence in the systems and fault/failure detail you have here, that aspect the aircraft is extraordinary. In reality you have the best of both worlds.
     

     
    Now the passenger and fuel are loaded and we are ready to go. Open window is great to check everyone has boarded.
     
    Climbout of EGKK, shows the A340-600 is a big aircraft, the last of the four-engined generation as well. In v1.1 the engine model has been adjusted for more realistic thrust and fuel flow values (to follow the SimBrief numbers more accurately) and you feel the difference... 
     

     
    ...  Climb, climb, climb, it is a long way up to 35,000ft (FL350) then a step to cruising altitude of 37,000ft (FL370).
     

     
    Speed is per SimBrief at m.83, sky is clear and the flying is breathtaking.
     

     
    The significant changes of the textures and in areas of the modeling really shows. The engines and around the main inlet cowls are now also more smoother and cleaner with refined grids, internally in the pods you can now see through the High-Bypass fans.
     

     
    Internally in the office we are in long-haul cruise mode, and a very nice place to be it is (always a good thing on Long-Hauls)...  I particularly like the animated armrests, a small thing but you can access the radios and pedestal much more easier, it feels more authentic as well...
     

     
    ...  You can now put on the oxygen mask by removing it from its container and database holds are now also available.
     
    ProCam views!
     

     
    Cockpit detail and textures look far better, a small change, but a very worthy one.
     
    Arrival at LLBG (Ben Gurion) is on time and on numbers, very nice...  I like to hit the numbers almost perfectly.
     

     
    It is a quick in landing on RWY 12 at 10,210ft (3112m) long, but the A346 copes well with the shorter runway...  easy peasy. There is now a sound option to over-ride or adjust the default X-Plane sounds called "OVRD XP INT/EXT VOL" from the TISCS/SOUND/ADDON ACCOUNTS tab, this gives you more control over the Master Volume, Internal and External Sounds. Like here I want to hear those fantastic Rolls-Royce Trent 556s in reverser mode sounds louder.
     

     
    How good is simulation today!
     

     
    So this is all round a very good update for the lovers of ToLiSS A346, as noted what was really good before is now even better. As a note I redid the SimBrief briefing to go on to Barcelona, and I was re-setup (turned around) within twenty minutes and ready to fly again. So that shows the ACARS system is a very worthy addition!  And oh yes, I opened the side window to let in the hot Middle-Eastern air.
     

     
    Comprehensive release review of the ToLiSS A340-600 is here: Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS
    _______________
    Summary
    This is the fourth update to the ToLiSS Airbus A340-600 since it's release in the Q3 2021, and the biggest and most significant update yet.
     
    v1.1 covers the intergration of ACARS or "Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System" into the MCDU. Which is a digital datalink system. It connects direct data transfers from Simbrief (Navigraph, but free) and from the data (PERF) on the TISCS menu. Also new are the Interactive Audio Control Panels, that are really short cut panels to "Ground Operations" and "Cabin Comm" or doors and passenger loading. Failure modes (Fault Scenarios) have been increased with the now working "Reset" (Circuit Breakers/OHP) and different failure modes.
     
    On the aircraft there has some nice visual changes, most up the rear with a new upward window belt-line, and matching curved rear cabin, engine inlet and internal Hi-Bypass fan changes are also highly noticeable. Internally the forward cockpit windows now open and the pilots chairs are now animated in forwards and rear movement and the armrests can now be folded away. All external and internal textures have been redone and look more realistic and work style authentic (new liveries are however are required to be updated to v1.1). All in all there are a lot of changes and fixes here, and most importantly the aircraft is now also ready for X-Plane12 (A small update for the new features will be released at the same time as the new X-Plane12 Simulator).
     
    Extremely popular, the ToLiSS Airbus A340-600 is one of the very best Airbus Simulations in the X-Plane Simulator, even exceptional. And they haven't finished yet. Now also X-Plane12 ready is a big step forward, and to be flying in X-Plane12 from day one is certainly a great attraction, and also a great current investment in that the changeover for the aircraft to X-Plane12 will be free to all current purchasers.
     
    "Highly Recommended!"
    _______________________________
     

     
    Yes! the Airbus A340-600 v1.1 by ToLiSS is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS
     
    Price is US$89.99
     
    Most accurate system functionality for any A340 aircraft in the flight simulation world  
    Requirements X-Plane only - not available for MSFS Support for X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.2 GB
    Current version: 1.1  (June 20th 2022)   Changelog v1.1 A340-600_changelog.txt Full changelog details are here _____________________
      Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    22nd June 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  -S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55
    Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGKK - London Gatwick Airport v2 by Pilot+Plus (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$21.00
    - LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99 - Full review availble here: Scenery Review : LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft
     
    (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
     

  10. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Medellinexpat in NEWS! - Aircraft Release : Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235 by Aerosphere   
    NEWS! - Aircraft Release : Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235 by Aerosphere
     

     
    Aerosphere Simulations have released their next Piper Cherokee aircraft in the Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235.
     
    The Piper Cherokee 235 was introduced in 1963 competing with the Cessna 182 for the four-seater aircraft market share that the original Cherokee could not fulfill.
     
    Piper added a stretched wing and 6-cylinder O-540 engine to the existing Piper Cherokee 180 and thus the Cherokee 235 was born. The Cherokee 235 also had an option to have a constant speed propeller added, and with the increase of HP and two extra cylinders, Piper included tip tanks in the stretched wing to bring the fuel total from 50 gallons to 84.
    Then in 1972, Piper stretched the fuselage again by 5 inches and thus the “Piper Charger” was born. With the iconic “Hershey Bar” wing, and the 235 HP engine, the gross weight of the Charger increased to 3,000 lbs. The Charger sported new throttle quadrant levers that Piper introduced in 1968, rather than the “push-pull” style throttle and mixture that debuted on the original Piper Cherokee. 
     
    The Piper Charger had an empty weight of 1,550 lbs. and with a max gross of 3,000 lbs. gave an impressive useful load of almost equally the same weight as the aircraft. This impressive gentry of the Charger gave birth to the following “Pathfinder” and “Dakota” models which included rounded windows and tapered wings respectively.
     
     The increase in total fuel means that the range also increased to nearly 1,100 miles under proper conditions. The climb performance at 3,000 lbs. was about 800 FPM which is typical from a reciprocated Piper of that era. That being said, the Charger, although few in production numbers, still boasts impressive performance numbers even to this day. 
     
    Features: 4 HD (4096 x 4096) liveries with a plain white texture that can be used for custom paint schemes. Steam gauge classic general aviation panel with required instruments for IFR. Garmin 530 & 430 All gauges are 3D Detailed flight model and interactive 3D virtual cockpit with animated knobs, buttons etc. cabin door, storm window and front/rear baggage compartment door. Toggle button to remove/display yoke Compatible with HDR and normal lighting effects Many textures taken from the actual aircraft Virtual Reality friendly and includes the click regions and hotspots required for VR gameplay. FMOD sounds  

     

     
    Since the quiet withdrawal of Carenado...  so then where do you get your basic General Aviation Fixes? vFlyteAir are still producing gems, but so are AeroSphere, like with their Cherokee Sixes B and C here now with the Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235...
     
    Images are courtesy of AeroSphere Simulations
    _____________________________________
     

     
    Yes! - Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235 by AeroSphere Simulations is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235
    Price is Currently US$29.00
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 11 Support for XP12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 198 MB
    Current Version : 1.0 (June 20th 2022) ___________________________
     
    NEWS! by Stephen Dutton
    21st June 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

  11. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in NEWS! - Plugin Updated : X-KeyPad v1.5 by Stick and Rudder Studios   
    NEWS! - Plugin Updated : X-KeyPad v1.5 by Stick and Rudder Studios
     

     
    Mark Cellis from Stick and Rudder Studios have updated or has gone final on version v1.5 of their X-KeyPad plugin.
     

     
    KeyPad gives you the ability to create Virtual Keyboards with highly dynamic key behavior and labels that can interact with and display data in X-Plane 11/12. These virtual keyboards can be placed on a secondary monitor, touch monitor, or using a tablet by using Duet Display or SpaceDesk.
    X-KeyPad also supports a rich integration with the X-Touch Mini Midi Controller and P.I. Engineering X-Keys keyboards as well as a graphical user interface to create and edit all your configurations.
    Using X-KeyPad with these devices makes an X-Plane 11/12 home cockpit more immersive. You will spend less time clicking with a mouse or searching for keys on a keyboard.
     
    The v1.5 update includes:
    Added Support for X-Touch Mini Added a Graphical User Interface for creating and maintaining configurations Significant enhancements to Virtual Device label features Added formulas and expressions Significant improvement in performance of Virtual Devices  
    There are three videos provided to show you how X-KeyPad works...
     

     

     

     
    The v1.5 version is free to all current purchasers of the X-KeyPad plugin, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and download the new version...  otherwise you can purchase the now on-sale plugin below.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes!   X-KeyPad by Stick and Rudder Studios is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    X-KeyPad
    Price is US$15.00 but currently on SALE for US$11.25 (save 25%)
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 11 or 12 (XP10 no longer supported) Windows, OSX, Linux   FlyWithLua plugin is needed for a number of the sample configurations A willingness to learn about X-Plane datarefs and commands The dataref tool plugin for X-Plane is highly recommended.   Current version: 1.5 (June 4th 2022) ________________   NEWS! by Stephen Dutton
    6th June 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved.  
  12. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in NEWS! - Sounds : Mango Studios Boeing Bundle   
    NEWS! - Sounds : Mango Studios Boeing Bundle
     

     
    Mango Studios look at the areas that BSS BlueSKyStar sounds don't compete in and do a filler package. First it was the Airbus A350 XWB, but also for the same FlightFactor Aero Boeing 757/767. Here they have now created a bundle of both Boeing aircraft and have updated and reworked the exclusive sound packages for both the B757/B767 aircraft.
     
    The changes are extensive, and there is an optional folder, to get rid of the sometimes annoying stock Flight Factor cabin sounds!
     
    Exterior:
    Custom sounds for tires on touchdown effects
    Custom sounds for hydraulic pump effect
    Custom sounds for fuel pump effects
    Custom exterior rain effects
    Custom fuel truck, ACU, and GPU effects
    New, custom sounds for APU start/shutdown
    New, complete, and custom exterior sounds for the Pratt & Whitney PW2000 engines, which include:
        -New custom, exterior startup/shutdown sound effects
        -New custom, exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -New custom, exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects
    New, complete, and custom exterior sounds for the Rolls Royce RB211-535 engines, which include:
        -New custom, exterior startup/shutdown sound effects
        -New custom, exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -New custom, exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects New, complete, and custom exterior sounds for the General Electric CF-6 engines, which include:
        -New custom, exterior startup/shutdown sound effects
        -New custom, exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -New custom, exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects
    Interior:
    New custom EICAS button, switch, knob, rotary, and handle sound effects
    New custom FCU button, switch, and rotary sound effects
    New custom OVERHEAD button, button cover, knob, rotary, and switch sound effect
    New custom PEDESTAL button, button cover, handle, rotary, switch and throttle sound effect
    New custom cockpit system sound effects include:
        -Autopilot disengages and engages sound effects
        -Complete Cockpit electrical systems, avionics, battery, packs, and gyros
        -Ultra-realistic cockpit wiper system
        -Complete EGPWS warnings, which include retard callouts, callouts from 2500ft to 10ft, and all those in between.
        -Complete Cockpit warnings, which include Autopilot disconnect warning, stick shaker, fireball, seatbelt chimes, no-smoking chimes, and flight attendant chimes.  
    New Custom, Complete, and ultra-realistic cockpit environment effects which include:
        -Cockpit landing gear effects such as gear extension, retraction, speed-brake retraction, touchdown, rolling, and drag sound effects
        -Other effects, such as Cockpit Rumble, Cockpit Rain, Cockpit Rotation, Cockpit Wind, Flap Drag, Spoiler Drag, sound effects
    New Cabin Effects include:
        -New Air conditioning effect
        -New Cabin wind effect
        -Reworked Fuel pump system effect
        -Reworked Hydraulic pump system effect
        -2 NEW FLAP SOUNDS, from start to finish taking off a real 757-200 as well as a 767-300, now each wing has individual flap sounds which vary in pitch for each wing.
    New, complete, and custom interior sounds for the Rolls Royce RB-211-535 engines, which include:
        -New custom, interior startup/shutdown sound effects
        -New custom, interior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -New custom, interior back-blast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects  
    New, complete, and custom interior sounds for the Pratt & Whitney PW2000 engines, which include:
        -New custom, interior startup/shutdown sound effects
        -New custom, interior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -New custom, interior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects   New, complete, and custom exterior sounds for the General Electric CF-6 engines, which include:
        -New custom, exterior startup/shutdown sound effects
        -New custom, exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -New custom, exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects Custom Mango Studios is, User-Friendly UI that helps you bring some more customization to your sound pack!
    Brings installation instructions to make your installation more manageable, and a manual to bring you up to speed on how to customize your volume in the volume menu.

     
    Either or both in the Flight Factor 767 Pro and the Flight Factor 757 are required for the use of this sound pack.
     
    The original Boeing 767 sound package is still available at US$15.99, as is the original B757 sound package at the same US$15.99, so if you have both aircraft there is a saving in cost to update to the new sound pack. The single B757 sounds package was updated 24th April 2022, but not currently the B767. There are no notes on if there is a discount for previous purchasers.
     


    __________________  
     
    Yes! The Mango Studios Boeing Bundle is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore
     
    Mango Studios Boeing Bundle
    Price is US$25.99
     
    Requirements
    This is a Sound pack. The Flight Factor 767 Pro and the Flight Factor 757 are  required for this sound pack
    Download Size: 131 MB
    Current version 1.0 (June 12th 2022) ____________
    NEWS! by Stephen Dutton
    13th June 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All rights reserved.  
  13. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in Aircraft Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate   
    Igniters is really the wrong word to use here for the A & B channels are more of a electrical power supply. They have to be on the whole flight...  we checked.
  14. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in Aircraft Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate   
    Aircraft Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate
     
    Although created as passenger variant, the MD-11's biggest claim to fame or it's success is via it's continuing Cargo functionality. The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 came into being with a huge legacy haunting over the aircraft. The MD-11 is of course a derivative of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
     
    The culture within McDonnell Douglas towards the end of the reign of James Smith "Mac" McDonnell, moved away from their famous engineering prowess to being lead by sales and profit. This resulted in the cost savings on the design of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Series. As of September 2015, the DC-10 had been involved in 55 accidents and incidents, including 32 hull-loss accidents, with 1,261 occupant fatalities, The most ill-famed was the Turkish Airlines Fl 981 McDonnell Douglas DC-10 who operating the flight crashed into the Ermenonville Forest, outside Paris, killing all 346 people on board. The crash was also known as the Ermenonville air disaster. Flight 981 was the deadliest plane crash in aviation history until 27 March 1977 (Tenerife).
     
    The cause in the failure of the crash occurred when an incorrectly secured cargo door at the rear of the plane burst open and broke off, causing an explosive decompression that severed the critical cables necessary to control the aircraft. To maximize the working space within the cargo hold, the cargo doors opened outwards, making them vulnerable to being forced open at high altitudes under normal in-flight pressure. To prevent this, a special latching system was used that locked shut the doors under pressure when properly closed. To ensure the latches were properly positioned, a handle rotated on the outside of the door pressed small metal pins into the latches; if the latches were in an improper location the pins would not align and the handle would not close. In truth the problem haunted the aircraft for the rest of it's service life.
     
    Oddly the same culture at McDonnell Douglas then caused it to be merged with Boeing under the stewardship of Harry Stonecipher. And again the same noxious McDonnell Douglas culture of putting sales, profits and shareholders before engineering proffered deep into Boeing as well. And those aspects resulted lately with the costly issues of the 787 Dreamliner, the late development of the new 777X and the disaster of the Boeing 737 MAX program.
     
    In the middle of all this, was the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, and yet somehow the aircraft thrived and returned good service, to be basically to be seen now as the classic three engined aircraft of the period. If even spacing between the eras of the four-engined (B707/B747/A340) to the big-twins (B777, A350, B787).
     
    McDonnell Douglas had started to search for a DC-10 derivative as early as 1976. Two versions were considered then; a DC-10-10 with a fuselage stretch of 40 feet (12 m) and a DC-10-30 stretched by 30 feet (9.1 m). The latter version would have been capable of transporting up to 340 passengers in a multi-class configuration, or 277 passengers and their luggage over 5,300 nautical miles (9,800 km). At the same time, the manufacturer was seeking to reduce wing and engine drag on the trijet. Another version of the aircraft was also envisaged, the "DC-10 global", aimed to counter the risks of loss of orders for the DC-10-30 that the Boeing 747SP and its range were causing. The DC-10 global would have incorporated more fuel tanks.
     
    McDonnell Douglas was still convinced that a new derivative for the DC-10 was needed, as shown by the second-hand market for their Series 30 and the heavier DC-10-30ER version. Thus, in 1984 a new derivative aircraft version of the DC-10 was designated MD-11.
     
    From the very beginning, the MD-11X was conceived in two different versions. The MD-11X-10, based on a DC-10-30 airframe, offered a range of 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km) with passengers. That first version would have had a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 580,000 pounds (260,000 kg) and would have used CF6-80C2 or PW4000 engines. The MD-11X-20 was to have a longer fuselage, accommodating up to 331 passengers in a mixed-class layout, and a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km).
     
    On December 30, 1986, McDonnell Douglas launched the MD-11 with commitments for 52 firm orders and 40 options in three different versions (passenger, combi and freighter) from ten airlines (Alitalia, British Caledonian, Dragonair, Federal Express, Finnair, Korean Air, Scandinavian Airlines, Swissair, Thai Airways International, and VARIG) and two leasing companies (Guinness Peat Aviation and Mitsui).  Orders from Dragonair, Scandinavian and UTA, and an undisclosed customer were canceled by 1988.
     
    The MD-11 however failed to meet its range and fuel burn targets. The last of the 200 aircraft was built in October 2000 after Boeing merged with MDC in 1997.
    Some early MD-11F freighters were built, but most of the MD-11's still flying are now mostly all converted early MD-11 passenger aircraft. The aircraft in this guise is a very attractive proposition to cargo operators, When compared to a 777F, the MD-11 can only be able to carry 81% of the same load capacity (534 vs. 653 cubic meters). However, the latter would also end up being far cheaper aircraft to purchase (even with the conversion costs) and more readily available when compared to the newer 777F. Currently Federal Express still fly 57 MD-11s, including "Jim Riedmeyer" the first MD-11 Built (48401 LN:447, First Flight 01/03/1990).
     
    Rotate MD-11
    We are all very familiar with the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 from Rotate. Released on 9th Dec 2015, the MD-80 had a troubled introduction into the X-Plane Simulator. Top of the list was that Rotate as a developer back then was very green, add in also they being extremely ambitious in delivering such a complex airliner at the very first go. 
     
    What did impress though was the speed and the sheer number of updates that followed in the next year (2016) to sort out the complex details and bugs. This is the sign of a good developer, with the excellent backup service and righting of the wrongs quickly....
     
    By version v1.1 X-PlaneReviews picked up the aircraft in a state worth reviewing; Aircraft Update : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 v1.1 by Rotate (XPR did do a release preview also worth looking at). Over the years the MD-80 updates still came in thick and fast, and the aircraft is certainly in a very stable if now a slightly dated machine state. I put the Rotate MD-80 as one of my top ten aircraft, even as high as the fourth best. Yes it still has a few oddities in it's behavior, but as a simulation it is one of the most rewarding best.
     
    So how do you follow up that aircraft. Well with the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, or the bigger brother of the MD-90 Series. The aircraft has also been in development for four long years, and in context that is a very long development cycle...   putting two and two together and your expectations are going to go through the roof...  you are expecting a lot, and even far more than the MD-80 this time around. The result however is what I call interesting.
     
    Clarification: This review of the Rotate MD-11 was created under the Rotate Beta program, and not under a RC (Release Candidate), or release version of the aircraft, so there could be changes or even slight difference between this provided version and the final official aircraft, on current check of the latest beta version, I found there was no significant differences in the features or details provided here.
     
    The release version is the Cargo variant, which considering the very few MD-11 passenger versions flying around, it is the aircraft you would really desire anyway. There are no current notes from Rotate on if the passenger version will be developed, but on the original announcement Rotate said "It is planed (sic) to be distributed in both cargo and passengers flavors, and Rotate confirmed the passenger variant is still under consideration".
     
    When the Rotate MD-80 was released those fair few years ago. The aircraft had a very distinctive style. I called it "Ultra Realism", but a lot of users didn't like it, calling it overdone...  but I simply adored it, and I still do.
     
    So would the MD-11 follow the same "Ultra Realism" route? Well it does, and again I totally and absolutely love it.
     

     
    Is the MD-11 an attractive aircraft? "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". My angle is that "Form follows Function", and the MD-11 (DC-10) was created inside out, as the internals dictated what the external look and feel is all about, including mounting that centre middle engine way high above the tail, and the weight distribution that went with that configuration. One thing is very clear though, is that the MD-11 has a very unique presence, a different style and it is a very big aircraft.
     
    So the aircraft does create a very big footprint in the simulator, and that aspect then does also create the fear of the MD-11 being a framerate killer. I never seen or even feel that aspect at all here, as the Felis Boeing 742 released last year, as it was in being the same large footprint aircraft that certainly did push those boundaries very hard, if over them, but I certainly don't get the same feeling here at all, but then I'm not greedy with my graphic settings either, and I am also flying on an average system...  my feeling is, if I can fly it well with no framerate intrusions then so should you. If you can't then it may be time to upgrade your computer specifications.
     

     
    Rotate aircraft promote the "wear and tear" or hard worked "in it's life" style of design. And not only is the whole intricate detail available here, but it is tired and worn as it should be...  so that "Ultra Realism" is very apparent here. The MD-80 is like mentioned is a few years old now, and this sort of approach could be actually now deemed as old fashioned, but it is totally not...   as it is perfect.
     

     
    A "walkaround" here turns into a journey of detail, a feast for the eyes, and you will never tire of looking at this aircraft. As there is always something new to discover and absorb. If you are a detail and texture junkie, then this MD-11 will put you in hospital with an obsessive overload.
     

     
    Every access plate, rib, panel are all here to explore, it is all incredible stuff, and in an age of simulation of incredible stuff to feast on.
     
    Engines mounted are three General Electric CF6-80C2D1F high-bypass turbofan engines, the same that is on the Boeing 747, rated at 52,200–61,960 lbf.
     

     
    The engine pod design is excellent as is the chrome inlet surround, inner fan and spinner. But the real "gobsmacking" detail is the outlet, note that amazing cooper cone, all the wear feel is realism 101, or even 150%, it is all just so good.
     
    The iconic DC10/MD11 tail arrangement is also excellent. Detail is incredible, again the outlet cone steals the show...
     

     
    It is quite scary on how far back the GE CF6 is mounted in the tail section. There is a very long inlet to the fan section, and the rear cone and bottom section are also hinged down to remove the engine from the aircraft. If there was not enough weight back here, then why not add in another jet engine, a small one mind you in the APU unit, lower tail. Note the huge APU exhaust outlet, again extremely well done.
     
    In reality there isn't much glass in the MD-11. The front cockpit windows are clear. I would have expected a green tint? maybe later in the options? Otherwise the window frames are excellent, with tons of detail and realism.
     

     
    This is a converted passenger aircraft to a freighter. So some great detail from Rotate are the window plugs along the fuselage, and they look really good and realistic in the shaping of the panels. two windows (per side) are left in for wing visual inspection, again highly realistic in detail.
     

     
    Like the DC-10, the MD-11 has a three bogie rear and a nosewheel unit for the landing gear arrangement.
     

     
    A lot of developers model and detail the gear assemblies very well, but they leave them clean, nice but not what you call realistic...  here Rotate has done the "dirty" so to speak with not only the full assembly construction, links, hubs and supports and what have you, but covered them all in grime and brake dust...  perfection, yes it all is. All the hydraulic lines are there as is also the nice tyre construction with great tyre highlighted detail.
     
    Middle support twin bogie is again brilliantly detailed, but the central hull placement means most of the internal section is hidden, very well done though again in quality and grubby detail.
     

     
    Nosegear is also highly detailed and authentic in detail. Here you can see right up into the gear bay, and the great detail is also noted internally...
     

     
    All linkages and assemblies are all highly modeled and detailed, The taxi and landing lights are positioned up very high on the struts on the MD-11. All the gear animations are first rate (and magnificent to watch) and note the forward gear doors that are connected directly to the nosegear struts.
     
    So all the external aspects are excellent, and certainly meets the high demands of the high quality we expect from Simulation today, in this aspect you certainly won't be disappointed.
     
    MENU
    The MD-80 didn't have detailed menus, well sort of. There was the Manual you opened that had a two page Fuel & Load and Ground Operations set of options, and the doors could be opened via the banner menu as well.
     
    With the MD-11 there is a dropdown X-Plane Banner Menu (Plugins) with two selections; AIRCRAFT MENU and ABOUT.
     

     
    AIRCRAFT MENU; has four tabs...  Options, Load Manager, Ground Operations and Failures. ABOUT; Is the aircraft Version Number and Rotate Credits.
     

     
    OPTIONS; This is the aircraft Options page with Seven option choices;
    - Show Ambient temperatures In Celsius
    - Show Weight data in Kilograms (Or Lbs)
    - Show Fluid quantity in Litres (or Gallons)
    - Reduce IRU align time to 30 seconds (align now)
    - Default to HPa Barometer setting
    - Synchronise barometer setting Co-Pilot side
    - Use 8.33KHz spacing in VHF Radios
     
    Lower is the choice to; "Perform Maintenance tasks to all systems", and to note to "Save Options" choices bottom.
     
    Situations; Right side has five start "Situations";
    - Cold & Dark
    - Parked with external power
    - Ready to start engines
    - Ready to taxi
    - Ready for departure
     
    All selections are very good, but there is no "Turnaround" option which is interesting.
     
    LOAD MANAGER; This is your aircraft set up page for Payload and CG (Centre of Gravity/%MAC) and Fuel Quantities, Weight & Balance and Total Weights.
     
    Top is the Total Payload and Payload CG settings in KG (Lbs) and %MAC. Then the Fuel Quantities in; Takeoff Fuel, Taxi Fuel, Ballast Tank(s), Ballast Fuel, and Trip Fuel.
     
    Notable is the Fuel loading settings as the interesting part is the aircraft balance setting. The MD-11 has extra AUX tanks for the TAIL TK (Tank), CTR (Centre) TK and the AUX UP TK, of which you can select to use. This can be very hard to set up, because the MD-11 aircraft is very, very sensitive to it's CG balance. The really hard part is that where do you get your "Ballast" fuel info from, certainly not from SimBrief, as it is not listed there. I set up a route (and not using the "Ballast" function), and somehow it just didn't work for me...  Rotate notes that they are going to "Rethink" the fuel layout. Basically My attitude is to fill the main centre tanks then just adjust the AUX tanks automatically to fill to the amount of excess fuel required.
     

     
    You can "Extend Controls" (bottom left) of the Weight and Fuel Quantities to load the different Cargo Compartments, Upper and Lower decks...  "Simple Controls" returns the menu back to normal size.
     

     
    On the Right is the "Weight & Balance (ZF-CG and TO-CG) graph to see your loading and takeoff limits (or limitations), and below is the Totals of the TOW (TakeOff Weight), ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight), TO-CG (TakeOff - Centre of Gravity) and ZF-CG (Weight and Trim) both %MAC.
     
    Finally bottom is the option to "Apply (set) load configutation to aircraft and FMS", This will transfer the set loading data directly into the aircraft (fuel and weight) and %MAC into the FMS.
     
    GROUND OPERATIONS; This tab allows you to use "Static Elements and to open and close the aircraft doors, with a few nice features as well.
     

     
    Ground Services; There are six selections for "Ground Services". They include; GPU (Ground Power Unit), which is very nice (you can also use the COMMAND Toggle "GPU_power_request_toggle" as well to activate the GPU). Wheel Choks (sic)... Wheel Chocks, Cockpit Stair, a very nice RF Door set of tall stairs, Fuel Service, Load Aircraft and a Push Back option (I would still use betterpushback).
     

     
    Menus right side are the multitude of door options "Cabin Doors" L/R in forward and rear fuselage doors. Cargo Deck Doors have four options...  Cargo Main (LF top), Cargo Fwd (RF bottom), Cargo CTR (RR bottom) and Cargo Aft (LR bottom), the Cargo aft left door is very similar to the BULK door.
     
    The "Load Aircraft" feature is very similar to the INIBuilds loading feature...  Select "Load Aircraft" from the menu and the Cargo door opens...  then a truck turns up with four trolleys with containers and a very nice K Loader. One by one the containers are then loaded onto the aircraft...  it is well done, and I really liked the way the tug and trolleys move up to unload themselves onto the K Loader...
     

     
    ... but you only load on those four containers, there are no more, then reopen the LF Cargo door and "poof!" they have all gone?
     
    So I will note the feature as a WIP (hopefully), will we have later more containers (and their weights) and then actually in keeping the load on the aircraft until you unload at the destination. So far it looks brilliant, but feels currently not finished, or even feasible for a cargo hauler.
     
    FAILURES; The "Failures" feature also feels a little underdeveloped? You get nine options in; APU, Air, Electrical, Engines, Fuel, Hydraulic, Instrumentation, Fire and Other. But the options are limited to only one in "Fail Now" of which will fail the choice option. It will "Fix Now" so you can quickly rectify the failure... but there are no timer or altitude failure options.
     

     
    Bonus is that there is a lot of failure options to choose from, as the lists are quite long and detailed, but I feel this is another area to be improved more later.
     
    One last note on the onscreen menu. It is a fixed screen menu with no scale or movement around the screen, that is making it a bit crowded when in use, but it is simple and well done to use.
     
    Cabin/Deck
    The view we all savour...  going aboard.
     

     
    External view looks good, fuselage doors open upwards and inwards, à la Boeing 767.
     

     
    Behind the cockpit is the crew rest area with a small galley and two armchairs, it feels far more smaller here than the same on the Boeing 777...  the detail in here is extremely Lo-Res and not a priority to the overall design, Rotate says all the rear textures are this way for good framerate processing, fair enough, but I feel there was enough framerate ceiling to easily do this area in a more Hi-Res feel and detail. Objects and text are blurred and it feels ten years older in here than with most current aircraft, than it should be. The current X-Plane obsession with toilets is also not used, the toilet door is firmly closed and unusable.... shame.
     

     
    It is the same with the upper and lower cargo decks...  HUGE, but again very Lo-Res in detail for frameweight benefits... but nicely passable.
     

     
    The MD-11 cargo capacity is HUGE, there is so much spare meter space... you can see why these old jets are hard to replace, as they can carry so much capacity cargo.
     
    Cockpit (Office)
    The feel inside is very Rotate as well, I call it "Edgy Grungy", a lived in and worked in environment like within the Rotate MD-80.
     

     
    Certainly this it is not a refined interior, more like a cargo ship to an ocean liner. If I could name an aircraft it would be "Nostromo", after the Space-tug in the Alien Film.   It is a workman like environment.
     
    The cockpit is set up for a three person crew, but the aircraft is only flown by the two forward pilots, the third is really just a loading officer or a relief pilot in the third seat. The three seats are bulky, and expertly modeled, love the authentic chunky headrests, and the molded document storage backing frame and the molded lower seat frame. Seat material is a blue wool fabric with large sheepskin covers to keep you comfortable on those long-hauls...  sheepskin is extremely hard to do with hard modeling, but it looks realistic in here.
     

     
    You are instantly aware of the very heavy textures of the window frame moldings. First thoughts are that they have been a bit overdone or with poor awareness by Rotate, but they are perfectly authentic (I checked out the numerous MD-11 videos), they give the aircraft a more older feel of it's period than what it actually is. Like with the MD-80 the excellent detailing surrounding you is excellent.  
     

     
    Notable is that the front side windows that are nicely animated. Turn the handle and the lock catch works, then the window winds backwards...  nice!
     

     
    The MD-11 could only be an American aircraft. It has a big if huge cockpit, tons of space and chunky controls, like a big American car or truck, everything in here feels oversized or "LARGE with that". Pilots love the space and oversized windows, you sit up high and proud in the machine.
     
    Textures are extremely good (and nicely worn). You have a six display screen arrangement wide across the facia, there are three displays for each pilot...
     

     
    ... and you instantly want to grab and to feel those lovely chunky yokes. Radio button is built in, but the electric trim switches don't work?
     
    Power on via the single BAT (Battery) switch on the Overhead Panel (OHP) and the aircraft lights up like a Christmas Tree (I put the aircraft here on EXT PWR (External Power))
     

     
    It looks complex...  because it is. Well that is not entirely true. As the MD11 is again a transition machine from the older analog (clockwork) era to the current automated glass cockpits, the systems are spread out and visible like in the earlier aircraft, but not yet as totally automated as in the modern era. But it is an auto glass cockpit, just with a lot more buttons.
    Thankfully the systems are laid out in a point to future ergonomic layouts, and there is provided by Rotate an extremely comprehensive set of manuals (20 Manuals actually) covering almost every aspect of every system. So there is a lot to learn and study in here.
     
    First you can hide the yokes. You can click (hotspot) on either base of the yokes to make them disappear, so they are each independent of each other.
     

     
    A lot of users hate dirty displays...  I am certainly not one of them. You get the lot here in; smudgy fingerprints, cornered dust, spittled glass, it is all lovely "dirty" realistic wear and tear...  the total answer to "get a life" dirt haters, this is "real life stuff".
     

     
    Instrument Panel
    The six display layout is pretty easy to understand,  per each side pilot they are called DU (Display Units).
     
    They consist of the outer PFD (Primary Flight Displays), middle ND (Navigation Display) and inner EAD. The EAD is split with the left display the PED (Primary Engine Display) and on the right the SD (Secondary Engine Display). Centre panel is the Gear lever and the four gear annunciator lights. Top is the "FGCP" or Flight Guidance Panel or Autopilot.
     

     
    The PFD is familiar, but it isn't? Using a lot of colour (mostly orange or amber) it is unusual to the eye, but the layout is extremely highly detailed here from Rotate (call it authentic if you like). From the off you have to understand the language used in the MD-11, it is modern in a way (very Airbus, or early Airbus), but again quirky in it's own way. Again study is certainly required to master the systems, or their quirks.
     

     
    Speed and Altitude tapes are left and right, with a complex V/S Vertical Speed built into the right tape. Autopilot and AutoThrust (A/THR) functions are top, with a compass heading at the bottom. Centre is the Artificial Horizon with a built in pitch markers and Rate of Turn markers. We will go through the banner command FMS (Flight Mode) Annunciator system later.
     
    Interesting is the side SISP (Source Input Select Panel). Here you have options for the PFD. FD (Flight Director) Off (Flight Director 1 is always on unless turned off), FD 2 (Flight Director 2), CADC (Central Air Data Computer), IRS (Selection allows normal IRS or Aux IRS sources). FMS (Switch between FMS 1 or FMS 2), VOR (Selection of VOR Source) and again APPR, in selecting ILS 1 or 2). Here the image below right shows the options activated.
     

     
    It is important to understand how the upper left and right glareshield ECP (Electronic Control Panel) or usually noted as "EFIS -Electronic Flight Instrument System" interacts with the display units... the ECP looks complicated but it is actually quite easy to use.
     

     
    Only the Baro, in SETTING, STD and MINIMUMS (both RA and BARO) are used in the PFD, the rest of the buttons are used for the ND (Navigation Display).
     
    Top is the Magnetic North or True North selection. Then five options for the ND display in; MAP, VOR, TCAS, PLAN and APPR.
     


     
    MAP options include TRFC (Traffic), DATA, WPT (Waypoint), VOR/NDB and ARPT (Airport) that are listed in the left lower box (ND Display)
     

     
    Here (above) are the first two options in TRFC and DATA that is shown (Data puts route and speed data on the screen). You can adjust the RANGE via the two central buttons INCR/DECR.
     
    Finally are the VOR and ADF Pointers. Selection will put the details and VOR direction into the MAP, ADF is not working here because there are so few now. Frequences are set in the FMS (Flight Management System) NAV/RAD page. Other notable points in the MAP display are the GS (Ground Speed) and TAS (True Airspeed), Waypoint and Distance, and finally a Clock/Timer.
     

     
    Both the PED (Primary Engine Display) and the right SD (Secondary Engine Display) both show the engine performance data, here shown are both situations in (top) the engines are cold and (lower) the engines are hot or running.
     

     
    PED; Three readouts cover the N1, EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) and N2, TAT is top right. Lower is a "Warning Panel" (ECAM) that shows four states of warnings and alerts;  CYAN Level 0 (Informative), AMBER Level 1 (Caution) and 2 (Framed Caution) and the RED (Fire) Level 3.
     

     
    SD; The secondary display is more flexible. Again the engine readouts dominate, but the readouts are different in Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature and QTY (Quantity). Lower is the NAC TEMP, EVH COMP and TEMP readouts
    Banner holds the GW (Gross Weight, and Total FUEL, CG (Centre of Gravity), Cabin Alt and Rate are all shown across the top of SD display. Two important items are also shown here (arrowed). Top centre is the (very important) STAB Trim and the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) N1, EGT, N2 and Oil readouts.
     
    The SD also has other page options...   Set behind the Throttle quadrant is the SD control panel. On here are twelve buttons representing; ENG (Engine default), Blank, Blank, ND (Navigation Display - Not used), CONSEQ (Consequence), STATUS, HYD (Hydraulics), ELEC (Electrical), AIR (Air-Conditioning), FUEL, CONFIG (Configuration) and MISC (Miscellaneous).
     

     
    Flight Management Computer (MCDU)
    If you have used the MD-80 FMC then you should easily find your way around this FMC System, called here MCDU (Multipurpose Control Display Units). There is a lot more data involved, but the layout and the use is almost the same. Notable also like the MD-80 there are no pop-out (2d) panels, you go to the MCDU, it does not come to you? (all the flight displays don't pop-out either, which is bad news for home cockpit builders).
     
    Replication of the Honeywell Pegasus MCDUs is first rate, with two displays forward and one rear on the pedestal. The rear is of course for display only, but some of the basic pages work. The feeling here is that this unit could become active in the future, as certain active pages do pop-up and are active. Set between the two forward MCDUs are the backup Altimeter and Artificial Horizon, Auto Brake selector and the Brake Pressure gauge (that works).
     


     
    Brightness of the displays have to be all adjusted (like with the MD-80, you also update the Navigation Data in the same "nav-data" folder, so one Nav Data download can be used for both aircraft, but don't change the spelling of the folder, as it is different to the MD-80).
     

     
    INIT (Initial)page has three selections F-PLN, WEIGHT and FUEL. There is a lot of data to input here, but there is that helper fill in tool in the menu, data detail is very, very good.
     

     
    FLIGHTPLAN (F-PLN) input is very Airbus, and the route scrolls around like an Airbus MCDU screen, F/PLN has two pages, and wind input is added in later. Both T/C (Top of Climb) and T/D (Top of Descent) are both featured.
     

     
    TAKEOFF Preferences are highly detailed, But listed here under the TO/APPR key, note the "-STAB" balance setting with the selected Flap setting. PROGRESS (PROG) pages 1&2 are also excellent and well detailed.
     

     
    ECON (Economy) Pages are selected under the PERF Key...  CLB (Climb), CRZ (Cruise) and DES (Descend) and are all covered
     

     
    DIR INTC (DIRECT TO)...  There is a DIR-TO tool, but no HOLD function. The RADIO page is quite basic... note the input of the ILS/CRS (ILS/COURSE) Frequency which you have to input manually, highly notable is that you also have to insert the Frequency unusually to activate it which we again will cover later. Other option on the ILS is to just use the "LOC" (Lock) feature. VOR 1 and VOR 2 Frequencies are set in the banner.
     

     
    The MD-80 users will be nodding and saying "Yeah, yeah..  not to much different is it", but there is a lot of different detail or minute in this MCDU to study... a lot is straight forward, but still different, so be aware...  and if you input wrong it has a huge effect on the flying (balance) of the aircraft.
     
    Overhead Panel (OHP)
    The Overhead Panel is complex? Three Engines makes for a lot of buttons and systems on one board. Thankfully ergonomics has taken place here to give you panel flow. The MD-11 was completely system redesigned to intergrate for two crew operation, were as the DC-10 had a Flight Engineer (and Panel) third crew member. A lot of the functions are very easily recognised, but there are a lot of buttons for side systems (Aux Pumps and so on) that are essential to the operations of the systems....  So study is obviously required to understand all the systems presented on the board.... This means, just pressing the buttons you think you need and then go flying will result in a major system failure, meaning then your going to ruin a very nice aircraft, so you can't be cocky bugger in here.
     

     
    Layout is column left (top down) panels; ADIRU (Air Data Inertial Reference Unit) Navigation, Cargo Temperature, FADAC (Full Authority Digital Engine (or electronics) Control)...  Main centre column panels; HYD (Hydraulics), ELEC (Electrical), AIR (Air-Conditioning) bottom FUEL.... Right column panels; Service Panel, Cabin Press (Pressure), Anti-Ice, Test Panel.
     
    The chin bottom panel; Left/Right Wipers, OHP and Dome/Storm lighting, Instrument lighting knobs, EMER LT (Emergency Lighting), No Smoking/Seat Belt switches, Call Reset...  External lighting (Landing/Nose), Wing/Turnoff Runway lights, NAV (Navigation), LOGO, BCN (Beacon) and HI-INT (Strobe) lights. Note a few switches in the lighting panel are opposites, off can be in or out on selection. It is clever in that the non-essential lights are in off, but the essential NAV, BCN and HI-INT are out off.
     

     
    Upper OHD is centre the three FIRE handles, TEST can be done far right with ENG/APU FIRE TEST button. CARGO FIRE panel is left, and the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) panel is set right and quite high up (arrowed left below). The rest of the OHD is the Circuit Breaker (fuse) panel (non-working).
     

     
    All the panels (annunciators) can be tested, right down to the infamous cargo door (CARGO DOOR TEST) arrowed above.
     
    Throttle Quadrant
    The central Throttle Quadrant is simply a beautiful thing. Really well recreated for your pleasure...  Far left is the Long Trim Handle, then the T-Bar (with working catch selector) SPD BRK (Speed Brakes). Those three sublime Throttle Handles have built in reverser handles, then the right hand Flap Selector with the DIAL-A-FLAP selection (more in the "Flying" section).
     

     
    Front of the quadrant are the three engine starter switches, with below the same corresponding fuel selectors. Notable on the throttle handles are three buttons...  at each end throttle there is an A/THR (AutoThrust) disconnect button, and a centre (white) button is to kill the alarm.
     

     
    Pedestal
    The rear pedestal is really the radio panel. It has left-right VHF and HF 1-2 CPR Radios upper with the Audio Control Panel below, and the Weather WX Panel mid-left, then the Transponder panel below. Finally bottom left is a third VHF 3 Radio Panel. Both the manual roll and rudder trim wheels are centred rear. We have already covered the upper SD Control Panel and the centre MCDU.
     

     
    Setup and Testing
    System depth on this MD-11 is EXTREMELY deep, there is nothing on show here but total realism. If you want to understand the real depth of the systems I recommend to watch this real world video before attempting to use the aircraft; MD-11 COCKPIT SETUP
     
    The cross reference to the Rotate MD-11, and the parallels are freaky close. Highlights here are the non-instrument setup (cold start).
     

     
    Testing the different areas are excellent...  you can test (as earlier noted) all the systems and panels, the fire systems are particularly good. As all of the FIRE/APU and Fuel switches can be tested and checked.
     

     
    When setting the inertial navigation system or INS, it will also test the above "CARGO FIRE" panel (quite correct), or it can be tested independently...  Turn on the three INS switches and the system will align, it is slow(er) than most alignments, and if you want to check...
     

     
    ...  the alignments, then they can be found under the REF button <POS REF then page 2 IRS/GNS POS...
     
    ...   you can also test such items as the landing gear...  push the gear lever down (on the ground of course), and the gear system will test itself, and it is all so brilliantly done.
     

     
    There are so many areas that are real world duplicated that obviously can't all be replicated in this review (unless you want to spend days reading it), so these items above are just a small preview.
     
    Flying the McDonnell Douglas MD-11
    In most cases when you fly big "heavies" the operations are either in one or the other, in being say before the modern era (i.e... 60s or 70s), or the modern very automated cockpits of today's era. The MD-11 is neither or sort of both, as it is set at the crossroads between the different eras. Like noted it leans more towards a Airbus style operation than the Boeing manual aspect which is interesting as this is a very American style aircraft, so if you approach the aircraft in an Airbus manner, you will find it easier to operate. For once you will need to study the operations in here, because if not, it will confuse you into doing the wrong operation protocol... and you can't do that.
     
    Lets Start...  Power is already on via the Main Battery Switch OHP...  I'm on Ground Power so it is time to start the APU, the APU button is on the ELEC panel. (the APU panel is also way up on the right on the OHP, this is the main APU STOP/START (arrowed below left) that can also be used), then make sure the APU is starting up via the SD (Engine) display, no action then press the button again. Once the APU is up and running then press the APU BLEED (AIR PANEL middle right) to supply air and pressure to the aircraft systems.
     

     
    Two backup (AUX) Hydraulic pumps need to be on, plus the SYSTEM switch by them is also turned to MANUAL...  APU running you can now switch over the internal power supply feed and shutdown the External Power (GPU).
     

     
    Next is setting up the Bleed from the APU to start the MD-11, so you press the two ISOL (Isolate) buttons, the system should switch again to MANUAL, but once activated it will go back to AUTO.
     
    Engine Ignition (or igniters) are on the left lower FADAC OHP, these are the A and B channels and MUST be kept switched on when the engines are running or for the whole flight, "Igniters" is really the wrong word here (although everyone refers to them in that aspect), they are power supply switches and switch them off and it will shutdown the engines...
     

     
    ....  now we are ready to start the engines. The ENG START Switch (Yellow) is below each engine throttle, and to start the engine you switch it upwards. Engine start sequence is 2 (Middle), 1 (Left) and then 2 (Right). The centre engine powers the air-conditioning and other AUX systems, so it is started first. Note a lot of MD-11 pilots only start the No. 2 Engine for taxiing on the ground, but that depends on your weight and configuration...  The start sequence will show soon with action on the N2 (No.2) engine display...
     

     
    ...  the N2 percent% will rise until you reach 17% N2, then you switch in the Fuel with the FUEL (Flow) Switch below the ENG START Switch, it does take time to get to the 17% N2 threshold, so you have to be patient, and you can't start a second engine while the first start up procedure is in progress, it won't let you do that...  so starting all the three engines can take time to do.
     

     
    The engine numbers should settle down around 25 N1, 431 EGT and 64.4 % N2. The ISOL and APU Bleeds should then automatically cancel once the engines are running (AUTO Mode), but if not then cancel them...  you can now also shut down the APU (It takes forever, so don't go pushing the button again and again, and thinking it is not working?) Then you set the STAB Trim, the trim number is shown on the TO/APPR buttom on the FMS, and ignore the -(Minus) trim, as it is not required unlike on the Airbus, you set the Trim via the Long Trim handle (left throttle quadrant) or with the keyboard trim (recommended).
     

     
    Another unique feature on the MD-11 is the DIAL-A-FLAP System. This gives you quite a unique variation in the flap angle than on most heavy aircraft...  Select Flap 10, which is shown on the Pilot's PFD (bottom left) and then "Dial" in the finer flap angle degree by using the adjustment wheel right of the flap handle, it can be adjusted from 10º to 25º flap, I selected 11º for Takeoff.
     

     
    The DIAL-A-FLAP can also be used also on the approach phase, obviously not on the actual approach phase, but coming into the circuit for landing and reducing speed...  so you can tune the flap to the speed exactly, and then get the perfect circuit speed you require, this is a feature I REALLY like as it eliminates that huge drop from one flap degree position to another, adjusting the wheel as fine degrees can smooth it all out in the transitioning in the slowing down of the speeds.
     
    The MD-11 is a dot the i's and cross the T's sort of aircraft. So there are a LOT of parameters to set, and you will need to cover all of them, miss a setting and the aircraft just does not like it, and the MD-11 will usually tell you. STAB (Trim) is set here to 6.0, and Flap at 15.0º
     

     
    The TakeOff data (TO/APPR) is very good and highly detailed. Notable is that only TO Is available at takeoff, and the APPR data only later in the approach phase.
     
    Off the (Park) brake and we're rolling. As noted three engines will move you forward, so you will need to touch the brakes frequently to keep the taxi speed under control. I checked in just using (or being powered only by) the Middle-Engine, and that is about perfect.
     

     
    The MD-11 is a BIG aircraft, so you need to anticipate turns...  the tiller does not seem to turn, then it does! so you have to find it's sweet spot to manoeuvre the aircraft professionally around the taxiways. You are also sitting way out in front of the nosegear, so another thing to be aware of in swinging around the tight taxiway bends. Most MD-11 pilots use their own seat base position as a bearing of where the nosegear position is set to on the turns and the aircraft positioning.
     

     
    The FMA banner display in the PFD can be at first very complicated. Any white bands means the system is not engaged, but ready in ARMED (showing values and modes). Red bands (warning) means a primary system is disengaged (A/P or A/THR), Amber bands means a failure in the system. No bands shown around the PFD banner data means it is in ACTIVATED mode.
     
    White also represents the FGCO (Flight Guidance) values and modes, Magenta represents the FMS (Flight Management) values and modes, green is for "Dual Autolands", and again Amber for failures.
     

     
    Set the Ground Spoiler to ARMED, by upping the T SPK BRK lever like on the MD-80, and the AUTO BRAKE to T.O.
     

     
    It is Important to ARM the AUTO FLIGHT (mid-FGCP button) the bigger lower one...   and this sets the A/THR (Auto Thrust) to the T/O THRUST mode on the PFD.
     

     
    You can put the throttles full up...  and the A/THR system will protect and keep the thrust to or within the T/O thrust limits. The MD-11 can be a bit of a handful as the speed builds, so you need skill here to hold the aircraft straight down the centreline, but it is very highly realistic.... 
     

     
    ...   as the speed builds the set speed bugs will now adjust correctly  to their speed positions, after v2 is FR or the +10 marker to rotate the aircraft.
     

     
    Set the "Positive Climb" to around 10º, (depending on the T/O weight you can go as high as 15º) and gear UP...  and watch the theatrics.
     

     
    This show alone is well worth the admission price.
     

     
    You press the same AUTO FLIGHT button again to activate the Autopilot, AP1 or AP2 to your option (usually AP1), then to lock in the route you press the NAV (NAV 1) button under the heading selector....
     


     
    There is no V/S (Vertical Speed) button, so you just go straight to the right V/S wheel and you just select your climb rate (or descent rate), MAX rate of climb is impressive at 6000 fpm at low altitude, but you wouldn't do that with most load rates...  4300 fpm is normal with 3,000 fpm with a heavy load.
     

     
    It is very important to understand the knob operation logic...  very, very Airbus, in fact it is mostly similar. Most knobs have the IN (AUTO) and OUT (MANUAL) operation like on Airbuses. So you click (arrow) up or down for each operation. The difference is that in an Airbus when you change say the airspeed via the Speed selector the engines will respond straight away and change the speed....  but in here the MD-11 operation is slightly different, and in the need of getting used to.
     
    Change the speed and you get an outlined marker...  but the speed itself (unlike in the Airbus) it will not change until you activate it by clicking on the speed knob (arrow down/pull out), and only THEN will the engines will power up (or down) to the set speed selection...
     

     
    All the FGCP command knobs act the same way...  Speed, Heading and Altitude, so you adjust then activate the action. This can all be a bit time consuming, certainly when adjusting the finer speeds of say when using the ILS Slope, but you will soon get used to it.
     
    Another point is that the A/THR has a lot of safeguards built in, if you want a certain speed (say m.83), but you are already at the operating limits, it won't change the speed from your current set speed (m.80). The system calculates the current weight, power and altitude requirements and then says "yes" or "no" to your command. When that changes (say burning off more more fuel, or a different flight level) then it will allow the change.
     
    This is shown on the PFD with the SE and GE as your limits, also the limit is shown on the banner of the ND (Navigation Display)... so you set your speed to the upper SE marker, then select the down arrow to change the speed...
     

     
    ....  this is of course depending on the weight, and you are restricted in speed. I found at FL330 (33,000ft) I was restricted to m.80, at FL350 to m.82, but my guess in that go higher to FL360 to get your M.83 cruise speed. If you force your speed, then the marker will only quickly start to fall, and keep falling, so you have to be aware of this! If not your speed will fall off completely and not recover. The same SE and GE Markers also work in reverse, in noting your landing and flap speeds.
     
    The Rotate MD-11 is a sensational aircraft to fly. But also very (if extremely) demanding and even tiring with all the work you have to do in here. This is "Simulation" not "Gaming", and a deep study and working simulation at that. You won't cover all the details even in a few flights, but you can in time become very proficient in flying the "The Diva" or the "More Death 2", "Scud" (once you launched it, you were not sure were it was going to land) or the "Marriage-Divorce 11". all nicknames for the MD-11 for various reasons.
     

     
    Sounds are very, very good...  there is a very nice cockpit hum with the various systems being used, turn on say the Air-Con and you hear the system being activated and audible, so the sound detail is deep. You are positioned very forward of the engines, so they aren't a big factor on the ground or in flight, but they are there and sound really good, both internally and externally. All sounds are of course FMOD and extensive (the aircraft even creaks and groans under loads) so you can't fault this aspect. The same sort of shouty alerts are in here as in the MD-80, and they can be annoying if even counterproductive of the reasons they are there for, mostly I ignore them.
     
    Speed is Mach 0.88 - Max, Mach 0.83 - Cruise (507 - 479kn; 940-886 km/h), with a range of 3,592 nmi (6,652 km) (Freighter, 6,725 nmi (12,455 km) Pass). Ceiling is 43,000ft.
     
    There are working blinds in the cockpit and very good they are... they will slide around from the rear, and you can adjust the angle of the blind as well in position...  I really like good working blinds, and they are very good in here.
     

     
    Lighting
    The quality of the X-Plane cockpit lighting today is extremely good. The developers have lots of tools to deliver very realistic night lighting, that is more important here as the MD-11 is a Long Hauler aircraft, 10+ Hours flying is not unusual, and being a Cargo Hauler most of the flying is done overnight... So internal night lighting has to very easy on the eye and highly adaptable.
     
    And you are not disappointed here either in the MD-11. There are three adjustment knobs with insert knobs (six) for both indirect lighting and highlight (text) lighting. Two knobs on the OHP cover the OVHD (Overhead) and INSTRUMENT lighting, and the single adjustment knob left on the glareshield covers the GCP (Glareshield Control Panel)...  The smaller knob on the INSTRUMENT lighting, adjusts the light left top of the OHP which shines directly onto the pedestal area of the cockpit.
     

     
    ...  instruments are lit in both above the FGCP, and with the lower four instrument dropdown lights, very nice indeed it all is.
    There are adjustment knobs for lighting on the yokes, and nice they look as well in the darkened cockpit...  There are also two overhead fully adjustable spotlights (click on the light to activate).
     

     
    There are also two (one for each pilot) "Briefcase" lights or side panel lights, and a one (click) spot light over the rear relief seat. The rear extensive circuit breaker panels have their own lighting adjustment, it is via a knob (arrowed above left) at the end of the wall panel.
     

     
    There are two switches on the OHP that can select both (THUNDER)STORM and DOME lighting
     

     
    The panel lighting can be adjusted right down to just the instruments, but I easily found a nice comfort lighting for the important takeoff and landing periods, or if you want that quiet night cockpit environment...  overall excellent.
     

     
    Rear rest area has average down-lighting connected to the DOME button, but the main cargo deck has no lighting at all, shame?
     

     
    External
    The external lighting is also excellent...  There are four forward landing lights, two set high on the nosegear and two that pop-out forward fuselage. The Turnoff Taxiway lighting is in the inner wings with the Wing/Ice lighting...
     

     
    ....  you can check out the wings leading edge or trailing edge, via the two observation windows...  there is also good tail-lighting.
     

     
    There are upper and lower fuselage beacons, navigation lights, and all are nicely tuned. There is no rear tail (white) navigation light but two white navigation lights each per rear wing tip, strobes are also well refined.
     

     
    Time to go down...
     

     
    Reducing speed to the minimum setting GE, the the V/S to (here) set to 1800fpm...  Altitude target markers are installed as are the Climb and TOD (Top of Descent) markers, which are both nice tools to have in planning your ascent and descent...
     

     
    ....   with the descent in progress you now get access to the APPR mode (TO/APPR). Here you can select either a 35º Flap or the full 50º Flap approach (or the other way around). All the required landing data is also now available, including the speed limits.
     

     
    Notable is that the MD-11 does not have a set landing speed/flap sequence. The flap required to the speed settings depends on the landing weight? So you will need to download and print out the MD-11 "Speed Tables" to get the correct speed settings for the landing.
     
    The landing weight is shown in the APPR page RK1. You will also get a "MSG" (Message) to "CHECK WEIGHTS" before landing to finalise the landing settings.
     

     
    I found the Rotate MD-80 quite tricky in the approach phase with the flaps? Setting the correct speed to the flap setting was awkward in that a lot of times you got it wrong, say in the "too fast" to the flap setting, in bringing the nose or getting a pitch down condition.... In the MD-11 is is far better as you have that DAIL-A-FLAP system to even out the flap angles, it works quite well.
     

     
    Into the circuit of EDDP Rwy 26R, Leipez-Halle, Germany... using GOXLI1V STAR approach.
     
    Thoughout all my earlier MD-11 flights, I just couldn't get the ILS (Frequency) to work? Then I found out the issue...  Being a though pilot that I am, I filled out the ILS Frequency box on the NAV/RAD panel with the full frequency. In this case EDDP 26R "108.35/263" from the Navigraph Jeppesen chart...  that is Freq 108.35 and course 263º, correct of course, but in here that is incorrect, as it does not work?
     

     
    The correct way to insert the ILS Freqency is just to ONLY insert the ILS Freq, or "108.35" and the system fills the rest in, including the wrong course degree? If set correctly you will see the ILS runway code (ILNW) in the section above the Rwy Frequency. I don't know if this set arrangement will continue in the future upgrades, personally I don't think so, but it is a situation to be aware of before landing.
    Another point is that make sure you do have the correct frequency inserted? I found a few times by setting the frequency early, it was the correct frequency, but set to the wrong Airport/ILS position...  checking frequencies closer to your destination airport will correct the system to the right Airport/ILS.
     

     
    On the last turn to finals into Rwy 26R, I drop the extensive gear arrangement...  I always drop the gear on the last turn into an runway as it feels and looks very dramatic...  it gets the adrenalin going, heightening the senses, shifting in your seat, getting ready for the landing, and here in the MD-11 everything "sure is heightened", it is that sort of aircraft.
     

     
    MD-11 as we were told, had the fastest VAPP of any civilian airliner. At MGLW (Maximum Gross Landing Weight) it was known to be landing at around 168kts. That is fast and the stopping distance was always in need of being scrutinised carefully. Here is a video showing the differences in the landing speeds to a Boeing 757 (Yes I know the angle of the camera could change the perspective). Notable also is that the MD-11 handled very differently than it's forebear the DC-10, if the the same configuration of aircraft, but the DC-10 had far larger wings and in so landed far slower.
     
    I'm sitting at 175 knts, but in reality the MD-11 is certainly a gut sort of aircraft in this phase, it has that certain analog feel that you have to go on by instinct and not be totally focused on the numbers, which are obviously dictated by your weight and approach speeds. You will need to find that perfect balance by using both the hard numbers, but then adjusting the aircraft around them until it feels perfect right.
     

     
    You press the upper large centre APPR/LAND button centre FGCP to ARM the approach phase (as noted this also arms only the LOC if you selected that option)
     
    If you have activated the ILS Frequency correctly it will show lower left in the PFD with the set Flap degree, you can also now set the APPR screen in the ECP, for better approaches. Notable is the auto selection of "Single" or "Dual" landing (Land) selections (green banner top right PFD) , it will flash the selection it will use then LOC it in.
     

     
    Setting the (ground) Speed Brake is very tricky. It is used like the same in the MD-80, in clicking it upwards to ARM the system, but it is harder to reset back to normal (click down) than on the MD-80...  the Captain's position and angle does not help either.
     

     
    Over the threshold and your "nervous" but in command, this is a lot of fast moving aircraft to put down and stop...
     

     
    Notable are the AP (AutoPilot) and A/THR (AutoThrust) disconnects, there is as noted in being disconnect buttons (Yoke and Throttle), but I recommend to set another key command (I used both my joystick and X52 Rhino Throttle). Both disconnects have an A & B disconnect, so one switch is not enough to cover both systems...  the biggest note here is that the same commands also quietens the alarms once the disconnect activates, they can be seriously annoying if you can't shut them down... 
     
    The same FMA banner legend is used in RED Off (Warning), AMBER is failure, WHITE is not engaged (but armed)....  BLANK is Active.
     

     
    In landing again the MD-11 is like the Airbus, as there are landing modes, certainly the callouts are very good, with also "LAND and FLARE on the PFD...  I was however seriously impressed on how I could just pitch the nose up nicely in the flare to touch the main gear down first. Some if a lot aircraft fight you in this flare phase, but the MD-11 is just simply brilliant here.
     

     
    Your down, but now you have to stop this fast running hulk of an aircraft...  I find the AutoBrake a bit too heavy in even the MED setting, MIN is passable, but in a lot of cases I leave the Auto Brake off completely. Here the excellent Reverse Thrust on all three engines is very effective, with a loud powerful thrust that rubs off the speed very efficiently. Notable is that you only use the REV setting to activate the thrust reversers, don't touch or power up the throttles in this mode, as it has the opposite effect!... 
     

     
    ... all this comes with light touches on the left and right (Pedal) brakes to keep the MD-11 nicely centred while slowing down...
     

     
    ...  and soon you are back in taxi mode and using the tiller. .. again I recommend to turn off the No.1 & No.3 engines and just taxi on No.2, as it makes your life far easier in a moderate taxi speed, shown on the PFD, and then start the GPU ready. Welcome to Leipez-Halle.
     

     
    If you think that landing looked easy, then it took about a week to work out and perfect, this is one seriously complex but rewarding aircraft... but once you get it, it delivers MASSIVELY.
     

     
    Riding around EDDPs long taxiway network, I could only think of one thing "Where to go next", as the list I was creating in my head for the MD-11 was already getting huge... Trans-Atlantic, Anchorage, Singapore, Japan...   "Whoo" this aircraft is going to be an absolute blast!
     

     
    Yes the Rotate MD-11 exceeds the expectations and then some, as it is also another level of Simulation, complex and demanding....  you do have to live up to the aircraft, expect to study and spend (a lot) of time working through it before mastering it...  it is just EXCEPTIONAL!
     

     
    Liveries
    There are ten liveries with the Rotate MD-11 package...  these include; Rotate House, AVIENT, EVA AIR Cargo, FedEx, Lufthansa Cargo, MartinAir Cargo, Shanghai Airlines Cargo, UPS Cargo Services, VARIG LOG (Logistics) and Western Global. Quality is all exceptional, and a painkit is provided. No DHL? Well DHL don't or didn't fly the MD-11.
     

     
    Summary
    The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 from Rotate that was released on 9th Dec 2015 had a troubled introduction into the X-Plane Simulator. But the developer very quickly resolved the release issues and the aircraft went on to be one of the best simulations in the X-Plane Simulator, I even put the Rotate MD-80 in my all favorite top ten (currently at No. 4). It is very iconic and deep simulation.
     
    This is the followup aircraft to the MD-80 from Rotate, in the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, the MD-11 is of course a derivative of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
    The Rotate aircraft has also had a very long gestation development period, in over four years, so we are expecting a lot, with the insane quality and the popular MD-80 are all aspects that also hover also over the project...  it thankfully does not disappoint.
     
    This is a deep simulation, with all the systems and operations modelled (there are 20 system manuals alone). So the aircraft is extremely complex and requires study to anyone becoming proficient in using and flying the aircraft regularly. It also requires a lot of skill and system management to master the unique capabilities of this unique between eras TriJet.
     
    Modeling is exemplary, brilliant realism with dirt and grunge built in, which a Rotate speciality. Textures are also a extreme high quality, but not so in the crew rest and cargo decks to keep the aircraft within an average framerate balance, and the Lo-Res areas conflict with the excellent quality everywhere else. In reality this Lo-Res aspect is not required as the aircraft has currently no heavy passenger cabin or any heavy framerate details. Notable is that the passenger version is still stated to arrive, but not anytime soon.
     
    Sounds and internal and external lighting are also excellent, but again the crew rest area and cargo deck lighting could be better. Features include a good, but not exception Menu and options selections. A few areas again like the "Load Aircraft" feature is still looking like a WIP "Work in Progress", as does the options features on the menu. But you do have a nice GPU, Stairs, Chocks, Aircraft Refueling and all the doors can be independently opened. And the toilet (A current X-Plane fad) doesn't work or has been even included? (This is long haul?)
     
    Does the Rotate MD-11 live up to it's huge expectations...  in context yes it does, even in areas it even totally exceeds them, there are however areas that still need fine tuning work, and bugs are to be expected on release as this is a very complex and detailed aircraft and simulation... but Rotate should cover those aspects quickly and professionally.
     
    Here is another landmark simulation aircraft for the X-Plane Simulator. X-Plane users seemingly to have to wait forever for these iconic aircraft, but again in this case it has been well worth the wait. Big, heavy, complex, demanding and seriously rewarding. The Rotate MD-11 is all of these things and more, in systems and it's depth of simulation, this is again another level of realism and can get extremely addictive...   and it is absolutely another classic to enjoy most certainly...    and certainly very and highly recommended to own and fly.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Rotate MD-11
    Price is US$83.95
     
    Features Realistic flight dynamics and performance In Depth system simulation All systems listed are simulated according to the specifications of the original model, with all redundancy relevant to the simulation and with both Automatic and Manual modes. Systems tests simulated Engine/APU Fire Test Annunciator Lights Test Cabin/Cargo Fire Test GPWS Test Hydraulic Pressure and Engine-Driven Pump Tests Oxygen Test TCAS Test Weather Radar Test Emergency Power Test Air Air conditioning Pressurization Cargo heating/ventilation Avionics cooling  Air System Display Aural-Visual Warning EAD (Engine Alert Display) SD Alerts and Consequences Display SD Consequence Page SD Status Page SD Miscellaneous Page CAWS (Central Aural Warning System) GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System) TCAS (Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System) Weather Radar Automatic Flight Dual AFS (Auto Flight System), FD and ATS (Auto Throttle System) All FMA modes simulated Automatic ILS approach with dual/single Auto Land. LSAS (Longitudinal Stability Augmentation System) CWS (Control Wheel Steering) Yaw damper Automatic pitch trim Flap limiting Stall warning with Auto Slat Extend APU APU System, Indication and Control APU Automatic Shutdown APU Pneumatic System Communications VHF communications system Dual Head Communications Radio Panel Audio Control Panels Voice Recorder Panel Electrical AC power generation and distribution Integrated Drive Generator GCU (Generator Control Units) APU Generator ADG (Air Driven Generator) External Power AC Distribution (9 Buses) NBPT (Non Break Power Transfer) DC power 4 Transformer Rectifier Units DC Distribution (8 Buses) Battery and Battery Charger Emergency Power Electrical System Display Fire Protection Engine and APU Fire Detection and Extinguishing System. Cargo Fire Detection and Extinguishing System. Controls and Indications Flight Instruments Complete EIS (Electronic Indication System) Two independent ECPs (Electronic Control Panel) 6 Independent Display Units Navigation Display (MAP, PLAN, VOR, APPR and TCAS modes) Air Data Computer ATC Transponder Aircraft Clock, Timer and count-down Chronometer Standby Compass and Standby Attitude Indicator Standby Altimeter and Airspeed Indicator Source Input Select Panel Fuel Fuel System Controller Automatic Fuel Scheduling Fuel Transfer and Crossfeed Fuel Dump System Tail Fuel Management System Ballast Fuel Control Fuel System Display Hydraulics Hydraulic System Controller Reservoirs and Accumulators Engine and Electric Driven Pumps Reversible Motor Pumps Hydraulic Display Ice and Rain Protection Engine Anti-Ice Airfoil Anti-Ice (Wing and Tail) System Engine Cowl Anti-Ice System Air Data Heaters (Pitot, Static, TAT) Navigation  FMS (Flight Management System) Simulated pages: A/C STATUS (2 pages) REF INDEX  FLT-PLAN INIT WEIGHT INIT FUEL INIT PERFORMANCE CLB, CRZ & DES THRUST LIMITS FLIGHT PLAN (2 pages) VERTICAL/LATERAL REVISION DIRECT-TO PROGRESS TAKEOFF / APPROACH SID FROM  STAR TO HOLD NAV RADIO FIX INFO NAVAID POS REF IRS/GNS CLOSEST AIRPORTS SENSOR STATUS  DEFINED WAYPOINT LAT/LONG and P/B/D WAYPOINT WAYPOINT MENU MCDU Messages GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) LNAV/VNAV flightpath calculation Takeoff and Landing performance calculations (V-speeds) IRS (Inertial Reference System) VHF, DME, ADF and ILS Navigation Engines (General Electric CF6) FADEC (All regimes simulated) Custom engine model Primary Engine Display Secondary Engine Display More than 200 custom failures Dual cockpit Independent pilot and copilot controls and displays. Two independent MCDUs control two independent FMCs. Sources of instruments can be selected for pilot and copilot independently. All relevant systems have separate controllers for redundancy. Accurate 3D model and HD textures
    External objects and detailed animations Aircraft loading animations Cargo loader and cargo truck GPU Airstairs Cockpit window animation Cargo Doors Fully animated landing gears Winflex Engines reversers animation Aircraft Menu Options Situations (C&D, Taxi and Takeoff presets) Load Manager Ground Operations Failures Realistic 3D sounds Detailed sounds with real cockpit sources and FMOD dynamic effects 3D  lights, including: Exterior lights Cockpit lights Panel lights Flood lights Dome light Reading lights Briefcase lights Floor lights Map lights Cabin lights  10 Liveries Rotate livery Avient Aviation EVA Air Cargo FedEx Lufthansa Cargo Martinair Cargo Shanghai Airlines Cargo UPS Varig Log Western Global Airlines White livery VR support  
    Requirements X-Plane 11 (Fully updated, non beta version) Support for X-Plane 12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM recommended Current version: 1.0 (March 24th)   Installation Download of the MD-11 is 1.07Gb and it is installed in your Airliner Folder as a 1.87Gb folder. Activation is via the standard authentication Key. There is no Auto-updater by Skunkcrafts for updates, so currently you have to redownload any updates via the X-Plane.OrgStore.   Designed by Rotate
    Support Forum at X-Plane.org or http://support.rotatesim.com/
     
    Documents Provided are three sets of documents Included with the package. It is a serious comprehensive package of manuals and information, but well worth studying. Rotate MD-11. Introduction & Product information 1. Systems description 2. Limitations and checklists (Limitations and checklists)
    Rotate MD-11 Normal Checklists (Systems description)
    1. MD-11 Systems description-Aircraft General.pdf 2. MD-11 Systems description-Air.pdf 3. MD-11 Systems description-Aural-Visual Warning.pdf 4. MD-11 Systems description-Automatic Flight.pdf 5. MD-11 Systems description-APU.pdf 6. MD-11 Systems description-Communications.pdf 7. MD-11 Systems description-Electrical.pdf 8. MD-11 Systems description-Emergency Equipment.pdf 9. MD-11 Systems description-Fire Protection.pdf 10. MD-11 Systems description-Flight Controls.pdf 11. MD-11 Systems description-Flight Instruments.pdf 12. MD-11 Systems description-Fuel.pdf 13. MD-11 Systems description-Hydraulics.pdf 14. MD-11 Systems description-Ice and Rain Protection.pdf 15. MD-11 Systems description-Lighting.pdf 16. MD-11 Systems description-Navigation.pdf 17. MD-11 Systems description-Engines.pdf 18. MD-11 Systems description-Doors.pdf 19. MD-11 Systems description-Landing Gear.pdf _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    24th March 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55
    Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LEBL - Barcelona Airport XP11 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$21.00 plus - Barcelona City by Logo Projects (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$26.95
    - EDDP - Leipzig/Halle International Airport by JustSim/Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$20.00
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  15. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from rudeboy1988 in Scenery Review : PAWD - Seward Airport, Alaska by NorthernSkyStudios   
    Scenery Review : PAWD - Seward Airport, Alaska by NorthernSkyStudios
     
    Owing to its position at the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad and the well-developed road links to Anchorage and the rest of the Kenai Peninsula, Seward City is both a major northern end-port for several major cruise ship lines that host Alaskan cruises, such as Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and Celebrity Cruises, and a common destination for general Alaskan tourism. Huge glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield into the local coastal fjords and the township itself is surrounded by peaks, the adjoining fjords are also a whale and porpoise habitat. To the west, a trail leads to the summit of Mount Marathon (1,471 m). The Mount Marathon Race is a famous mountain race that is run every Fourth of July up the mountain.
     
    NorthernSkyStudios are alternating between scenery based in the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska. In Hawaii the releases lately have covered PHMU - Waimea-Kohala, PHOG - Kahului and PHJH - Kapalua Airports. In Alaska the last release was so much a favorite of mine in that X-PlaneReviews quickly covered it in a review; PAEN - Kenai Municipal Airport, situated just west of Anchorage.
     
    Here is their next scenery in PAWD - Seward Airport, which is directly on the other side of the same Kenai Peninsula (Dena'ina: Yaghenen) from Kenai, and a really great companion scenery to the earlier NorthernSky PAEN - Kenai Municipal Airport...  so we will start there, and fly over to the newer PAWD - Seward scenery.
     
    PAEN-Kenai to PAWD-Seward Airport
    My aircraft today is the excellent Thranda Design C208B Caravan. In taking a little bit of cargo out to the more eastern and remote Seward airport.
     

     
    There is no doubt the NorthernSky Kenai is still a deeply impressive scenery and well worth exploring, certainly a must have if you love your remote bush flying escapades.
    So what is the trick or the value of good scenery? If an addon scenery can recreate the exact look and feel of a place, in other words, place you in an another completely different environ but a real representative of that actual place. Then it is doing of what you want you want that scenery to achieve, then that also in return gives the scenery value in it's usefulness and purchase. 
     

     
    That value aspect certainly works here at PAEN, so the newer PAWD-Seward scenery is already creating high expectations of the same.
     

     
    Departure is from PAEN Rwy 02 and PAWD is directly 120º to the southeast which is 104 miles or 167 km, so I initially turn to that heading...
     

     
    ...   and directly now ahead are the The Kenai Mountains which are a large mountain range in this eastern Alaska. They extend 192 km northeast from the southern end of the Kenai Peninsula to the Chugach Mountains, and they have an average elevation of 3,000 to 5,000 feet. So I set my altitude at 8,000ft to go over the top.
     

     
    But once heading west I saw a gap in the mountains that would take me almost directly to Seward. The entrance to the valley is over Skilak Lake, taking in the Upper Russian Lake (Not to be confused with the "Russian River" as that is further north), that in then forms into the Resurrection River that flows down an estuary at Seward itself. It is quite a straight forward route.
     

     
    You are in the correct valley if your going directly east, and if you see the Skilak Glacier to your right, and it is quite impressive even in this default X-Plane texture guise.
     

     
    You just then just follow through the valley, again there is another Glacier to your right, and this one is the "Exit Glacier"...
     

     
    Notable is that around this point the custom NorthernSky orthophoto textures are now part of the scenery, but they really have been so well blended in with the default textures, as it is hard to find the blending line between them, NorthernSky have done very well to create this seemless transition...
     

     
    ...  by now you are almost through the valleys, and you should see the Resurrection Bay water ahead, and Seward is sited at the top end of the inlet, it is also time to descend down from the 8,000ft altitude.
     

     
    As you come out of the valley, then Seward is directly below you. PAWD is highly visible because of it's twin V shaped runway arrangement.
     

     
    The longer runway is 13/31 at 4,240ft (1,292m), the shorter one is the 16/34 runway at 2,279ft (695m) and both are asphalt, for the Caravan the 16/34 runway is too short, or too tight to get into (most pilots will laugh off this aspect and say the Caravan is a STOL aircraft, and so should easily land on this shorter runway), but I'm finding the Thranda Caravan currently a bit too fast on approach. (I later tried the landing and had to go around), so Rwy 13/31 it is or Runway 31.
     

     
    I drop down to 2,000 ft and do a circular 8 pattern to line up Rwy 31. As a good sight guide there is a small port to your right called Spring Creek (actually also the Spring Creek Correctional Center! shown here but not not in 3d, but as burnt in images). This visual point then gives you a direct line into Runway 31 at 31º.
     

     
    The phototextures are very good on the approach in determining the estuary at Resurrection River to your right, also strewn around are logs for a 3d effect.
     

     
    Over the threshold of 31, and note the great tundra style foliage. Nice also is the runway surface that is well worn, cracked asphalt with the worn out edge markings, it looks all so very authentic, I loved the ground textures here a lot, and they are as good as back at PAEN.
     

     
    The landing was GOOD!, then it wasn't...  about a quarter of the way from the threshold there is a slope to a level line that flipped the C208B back airborne, then it came back down awkwardly...
     

     
    ...   so it took more time and more runway to resettle the aircraft, thankfully the runway is long enough to do this.
     

     
    You can easily see the offending line on the approach, so I recommend to aim the landing just past it, so I will remember that for next time, as the runway is long enough to accommodate this aspect.
     
    Basically there isn't a lot at Seward Airport, as it is just really a motley assortment of cabins, portable buildings and hangars.
     

     
    One thing you can't miss is the welcome, certainly you know you are at "Seward".
     

     
    And it has a great feel here, as the buildings are nicely weather worn and rustic, everything feels very authentic to Alaska, a shame the flags are not animated though.
     

     
    The C208B is shutdown and it is time to unload the freight and you really like the feel here, what is the right word, "Frontier!".
     

     
    PAWD - Seward Airport
    Seward Airport is a state-owned, public-use airport located two nautical miles (2.3 miles; 3.7 km) northeast of the central business district of Seward, a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. This airport is included in the FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a general aviation facility.
     
    Seward Airport
    IATA: SWD, ICAO: PAWD, FAA LID: SWD
     

    13/31 - 4,240ft (1,292m) -Asphalt
    16/34 - 2,279ft (695m) - Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL22 ft / 7 m
     

     
    Seward is to be really noted as a small regional airport, because basically it is what it all is, a few buildings and an aircraft parking area.
     

     
    Turn down Airport Road and the first airport building is the AA Seward Air Tours office...  you can't really miss it could you, the glacier airtours are quite reasonably priced as well i'm told. The internal office of AA Seward Air Tours has also been very nicely fitted out and with Alaskan decor.
     

     
    Next down the road is the Dogsled Tour Office, helicopters this time but with the same scenic glacier tours...   For pure creativity you can't go past the next tour operator (again helicopters) with Marathon Tours, as they have an office created out a ISO shipping container in the longer 40ft length, it is very well reproduced here with a viewing platform above....  "very creative".
     
     
     
    Next is one of the four larger hangers here, this one is for TedStevens. Hidden behind it is the airport's GA Refueling tank and pump, again very well done in detail.
     

     
    Next is the "Alaska Civil Air Patrol" hanger with another portable office set behind, then a blue storage hangar. Note on most buildings (hangars) are some great solar panel arrangements.
     

     
    The next large hangar is the most interesting one...  this one is represented with the door open, and in showing the hangar's excellent internal detail. Certainly highly usable as a parking hanger on your next visit.
     

     
    Next door is a slightly larger hangar but in the same design for "Seward Aircraft Storage" which is again nicely represented, with a large GA parking apron next to finish off the lineup of the airport. Not just with the actual buildings is all the detail very, if brilliantly done, but the ground (clutter) detail is simply realistically excellent as well and there is a lot of this detailing...  and that is "Seward Airport".
     

     
    Seward City
    The city of Seward itself is modeled, but not to a perfect building and street to street perfect though, but still well recreated by generic design. The city is dominated by the harbour's obsolete conveyor-belt fed coal loading crane, they are keeping it in case they need it again...
     

     
    ...  the Seward Boat Harbor is well represented as is the Seward Cruise Ship Terminal and wharf (a cruise ship would have been very nice here to fill it in?). To the rear are the city's facilities and a large animated wind turbine.
     

     
    As noted most of the building here are just generic, but they still all provide a nice backdrop and fill...  but in areas it is just basic detailing.
     

     
    Recreational and baseball diamonds are all represented, and the whole city is covered with custom buildings...  the only odd notes are that the graphic textures sometimes climb the mountains and cars move totally horizontally on their sides, it is sadly quite noticeable.
     

     
    Ground Textures
    As noted the ground textures are excellent, highly realistic and exactly what you would expect at this "Northern Exposure" sort of area.
     

     
    I can't fault them anywhere, but note that runway 16/34 has a same sort of nasty gradient slope (but lengthways this time) as runway 13/31.
     
    Grass and fauna is first rate, can't be faulted...  lush, and you wish all of the X-Plane grasslands was like this.
     

     
    Another note are the background custom mountain textures...  I'm not really sure about them? They are photographic, but they all seem a little artificial to me, or too light in colour, so I am not really taken with them, but these things are personal choices. There is the option provided to use the default X-Plane textures or your own custom ortho, details are provided. The Ortho4XP is default with the scenery.
     

     
    Lighting
    This Seward airport is not going to be like landing at Anchorage, there are no bright lights out here. Just a strip of street lights and the lights from the buildings is it. Runway 13/31 has lights, so a dusk landing is actually possible, and there is taxiway lighting to the apron.
     

     
    Again both highlights are the AA Seward Air Tours office and the very nice open door Hangar. Even the western style wheel lights are really well done done internally in the Air Tour office, the rest is all window and drop down lighting.
     

    ______________
    Summary
    PAWD - Seward Airport, is directly on the other side of the same Kenai Peninsul in Alaska from Kenai, and a really great and companion scenery to the earlier NorthernSky PAEN - Kenai Municipal Airport.
     
    In scale this is a small frontier style Alaskan airport, but small means it is also highly detailed. Seward is just really a motley assortment of transportable offices and hangars, with a focus on local area glacier tourist air tours.
     
    So being small the scenery detail and minute is excellent, all buildings, hangars and ground clutter are all of a very high and rustic standard. Runway textures are also extremely good, but have nasty slope gradients, so be careful!
    3d grass is also perfection and Seward City is also generically well represented with it's iconic conveyor-belt fed coal loading crane front and centre. Lighting is very basic, but still well done, the only comment is about the photo-graphic surrounding mountains, they are too your own taste or not, personally I would like better for the quality of the scenery itself, and a few of the graphic textures also climb these same mountain sides in not very realistic ways.
     
    So if you have NorthernSky's excellent Kenai then you must then have this great double act, and it comes at (for the quality here) also in a very good value price of only US$14.00. What more could you want!  Recommended.
    __________________________________
     

     
    Yes! the PAWD - Seward Airport, Alaska by NorthernSkyStudios is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    PAWD - Seward Airport, Alaska
    Price is US$14.00
     
    Features     The most detailed replica of airport buildings and vehicles     High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures     High resolution building textures     Handplaced custom autogen buildings and forest     Compatible with X-Plane 11 features     Custom mesh for the airport area (Ortho4XP)     All materials created for full PBR     Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all airport buildings     High-resolution building textures     Custom orthophoto for the airport and surrounding areas     World Traffic 3 compatible     Compatible with with Ortho4XP and default mesh  
    Requirements
    X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1 GB Current version : 1.0 (April 4th 2022)   Installation and documents:
    PAWD-Seward is a twin download of the scenery and the separate (optional) Ortho4XP mesh
    NSS_PAWD_v1.0.zip (1.08GB) zOrtho4XP_+60-150.zip (2.44GB)  
    That is then translated into a 6.83Gb install in your Custom Scenery folder.
     
    The above two install folders must be put in the order of the "zOrtho mesh" below the main "PAWD_Northern_Sky_Studio" scenery folder. The scenery is set to the zOrtho setting as default. You can also use the standard X-Plane textures, or use the provided patch for any custom ortho textures you wish to use
     
    Documents
    There is a Windows Word and pdf installation and requirements, and a description of the PAWD scenery.
    decription.txt PAWD-Installation.docx PAWD-Installation.pdf ________________________________________
      Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    7th May 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD 
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.55
    Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick, Throttle & Rudder Pedals : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini
    Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - Cessna 208 Grand Caravan DGS series by Thranda Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - $US44.95
     

  16. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Behind the Screen : March 2022   
    Behind the Screen : March 2022
     
    Back in my Behind the Screen January 2022 edition, I talked about upgrading my main X-Plane workhorse computer ready for X-Plane12. Now I am on the other side of the upgrade and the process has been very interesting.
     
    Everyone at sometime or the other are faced with this nasty dilemma, unless you are still flying X-Plane9 on a Windows 7 OS (and you would be surprised how many out there still are) the problem is you are going to be looking secretly at your bank balance account.
     
    Mostly the upgrade situation is created at a new X-Plane version release or realistically about every four years, however most of my changes have been forced upon me, for the late X-plane 10 and forthcoming X-Plane 11, I literally melted my Mac's graphic card (yes X-Plane can melt or burn out graphic cards).
    But I needed to also move up to a Windows based system anyway, because I could then access more (mostly plugins) applications that are created only for WIN based machines and that aspect was required for reviews.
     
    In being a decades old Apple acolyte. It was a significant moment to move to the opposition's or over to the medieval Microsoft system...  I loathe WIN 7, still do compared to the elegant Mac OS. But since the messiah of Steve Job's moved on and died. I feel that Apple, although still makes great products, has moved away from the Job's "insanely great" products to Mr Cook's inventory leading leadership in replicating more of the same and adding on even more money in asking for the same glossed up products. In saying that I think the new line of M series processors are very good, but paying Aus$3,000 just to get one in a computer is criminal.
     
    Windows does give you one major advantage, separate or separated components. Buy a Mac and it is a locked box, even upgrading the memory is a major exercise, and even mostly all the memory is soldered directly on to the motherboard, a new graphic card...  forget about that. So Windows does give you immense flexibility in upgrading components, and that saves you money. With a Mac, upgrading means usually a completely new computer, meaning expensive (now far more expensive).
     
    I have even come to love the Windows interface, in many areas it is now even better than the Mac OS, far better since Microsoft got rid of Steve Ballmer, and became a far more progressive company. It was a big deal for me not only to move to the Win OS, but also buy a Windows Surface laptop (No touch screen on any Apple laptops is another deal breaker).
     
    As noted in BtheS in January. The flexibility of components in a Windows box means I started my "Tick, Tock" system. Buying both major components in both a chip/motherboard, then also a graphic card is seriously expensive. You just can't afford both at the same time.
     
    I did my Graphic Card (Tick) update about three years ago to a Asus 8Gb VRAM board, to be honest it still runs very well, so it is not really ready for a overhaul (maybe next year when the prices are even closer to back in being some sort of realistic)...  but my chip and board (Tock) was now getting seriously outdated and it showed via my mid-20s framerates. In reality I had put myself into a corner with the chip a Intel i7-6700K CPU, good in it's time, but coupled to a very budget Gigabyte motherboard, you felt the slowness and it's lack of features and slow buses. I also came to really hate that board (Gigabyte Z170-HD3). The Gigabyte board was another issue in that to upgrade to a new processor, you also have to replace the motherboard.
     
    So with not only with the daily dynamic realism of fighting low framerates, Microsoft also deemed my chip now too old for Windows 11, then add in then the coming requirements of X-Plane12, in that coming change a lot of the processing is moved from the graphic card over to main processor. I was faced with the inevitable, a major surgery of my computer if I wanted to gain the best from the coming (exciting) X-Plane12.
     
    The process was interesting and hopefully very helpful to other users facing the same situation. My system is totally X-Plane focused, I don't do anything else on the computer (not even games) on the Windows (site image and editing work is still all done on a 12 year old Mac).
     
    There is an immense (insane) amount of choice for users in upgrading their main components, but basically it all comes down to easy choices. I think actually the pandemic actually did me a favour, by making me wait longer to do this upgrade, and in that aspect I found myself at the front of a release of a step generation of new powerful processors (Intel 12th Gen). I did consider at first a AMD processor, but I found too many performance issues and stutters. I am sure AMD devotees will put me right on that matter, but I just was not comfortable with changing to AMD, but the 12th Gen Intel chips are a serious step up in power anyway.
     
    As you know I earlier went mad and only wanted only a top of the line Intel 12900KF, but installing this nuclear power station created a lot of problems and at a far higher cost (availability is also problem here as well).
    I do really thank a lot of users for their advice in comments, and yes I actually in the end used their advice, but overall the item that changed my mind was the video by Michael Brown on XForcePC, if you watch this video it will explain the differences between all the 12th Gen processors, and why the i7 is the pick of the bunch price wise to performance for X-Plane users.
     
    The Intel 12900KF is nearly a grand in X-Plane money (all prices here are in Aussie $), but the blowout was the things required to go with the chip to actually run it. I settled for a Intel S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU (That can be overclocked to 5.0 GHz), it is the top processor of the i7 12th Gen range, it saved me $300 over the i9 12900K. The motherboard I selected was a ASUS S1700 ATX PRIME Z690-P WiFi DDR4. Debatable is the fact I didn't move up to DDR5 memory, but cost would have blown me out to an extra $500 for the DDR5 memory which not only currently expensive but also hard to get here. As a chip and board combination I think it is about perfect on features and price. I spent a bit more on the board for the features it provided, as the spectre of the budget Gigabyte board still looms badly over why I did that choice.
     
    In selecting any 12th Generation Intel chip, you hit what became the biggest debate of them all...  cooling. Picking the chip/board was the really easy part, the hard part was picking a good cooler. I spent countless videos and going through tons of spec details for weeks in trying to choose anything to fix the cooling issue, it can get seriously expensive as well, even more than a motherboard. But the trick is to find the right cooler for your processor, in the end it came down to two, a Noctua or a Be Quiet!
     
    The Noctuas are expensive, but oddly it also looked horribly old fashioned (brown?) as well, but the cost as which was astronomical was the real deal breaker here, even if it was the best.
    My choice was the Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4, still not cheap, but very good for the 12th Gen chips. That cooler choice then created another problem, it is such a huge massive cooler, a real monster of a thing? that when if installed in my case it would stick out right of the door with the glass panel also needed to be off to fit it inside. So I would need a new case or another extra expense above my carefully considered budget to accommodate just that XXXL cooler.
     
    My choice again was another Be Quite!, a Pure Base 500DX case, WIDE but it also came with modern ports including USB-C inputs, and some nice RGB fancy lighting effects, the only thing it was short of was USB ports? X-Plane uses a LOT of USB ports, three for the Saitek joystick, throttle and rudder pedal combo, then your keyboard, mouse and external storage? with only five USBs on the Pure Base case were simply not going to cut it, so I installed a Orico 7 Port USB 3.0 PCIe card as you can do that with a Windows box, and that fixed another issue, I also upgraded my power supply from a 750w to a 1000w pack, not really needed but a nice to have (it is second hand).
     
    The rebuild took a day, but a second day was required to reinstall and rebuild my Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 2TB - M.2 NVMe storage with X-Plane and all the other software required, including now a OS upgrade to Windows 11. And that completes my Windows system rebuild.
     
    My original self created quote for the upgraded system was around Aus$1,700 or US$1,300 ($1,271) with the (Tock) rebuild and choosing the i7 and not the i9 it came in at Aus$1,350 or nearly US$1000, even including the case and USB port extras, it was all up not bad for a load of extra performance, and a nice fancy case.
     
    So what did I get for my money. I was always jealous of users having 70fr to 100fr X-Plane power, but realistically I never expected that sort of headroom, 50fr, with hopefully 60fr was to me a good upgrade result.
     
    Realistically I gained 20fr, what was 25fr is now 45fr, 30fr is now 50fr. But that is not the whole story power wise. xEnviro is simply a major excessive power sapping application, the more power you seem to give it, the more it takes, and I have a lot of the settings set currently to be very economical, but still it is guzzling up 20fr... yes "twenty bloody frames" and also gives me slight stutters. In light weather it is not too bad, but in cloudy conditions it just sucks down the frame rate like no tomorrow, it is not a very efficient application? Switch it off and I have 60fr-70fr, but then looking at a very bland panorama.
     
    But if you want to, you can currently average it out at 45fr, X-Plane is still very snappy and with headroom to easily absorb even the heaviest aircraft (Felis B747-200) and heavy scenery (Barcelona). But other benefits are also very welcome, 60% faster X-Plane loading times are a really big boon to me in that I do a lot of restarts per review, and the computer in dealing with mundane tasks is extremely quick and far easier to use. Far quicker also are buses than with the Gigabyte board means that now big files can be moved around far, far more quicker (rebuilding X-Plane with 1Tb of data to move only took a hour, not hours).
     
    The processor and board upgrade was done with X-Plane12 in mind, and the main reason to upgrade at all. If X-Plane12 will take say an extra 10fr (by my estimation), then using it's default environmental benefits, I can then remove xEnviro, I should see a balance of 55fr to 60fr, with that I would be extremely happy to have done the upgrade. Certainly a (Tick) upgrade of the Graphic Card would give me more framerate and power, but that was not a consideration of this upgrade.
     
    When after running several flights, and pushing the new system we found it was not even breaking into a sweat. CPU numbers were around only 40ºC, motherboard temps around 31ºC while still running a flight at full throttle. I'm not usually a big fan of overclocking, but in this case it may be actually warranted to make the chip work a bit harder, so we are going to do a slight overclock and hopefully gain around another 10% performance. limits are 5.4 MHz for some P-cores and 5.1 MHz for all active P-cores. I am certainly not ever going to do that, but I think I want it to get itself off it's 2.6 MHz backside and do some more work. Those numbers also vindicated our cooling choice, the system has five fans (three in the cabinet and two on the Dark Rock Pro), but the system does not get even close to hot (or even warm) at all, not even feel any heat if you put your hand over the rear fans. Overall it was in this aspect a sensational upgrade.
     
    Simulation is one of the absolute most ferocious users of processor power, it demands far more than most games on the market. To make gains within a budget is very hard, but still a necessity to keep up with the constant changing demands of even more realism and complex aircraft. This was my upgrade story, I hope it helps in your decisions and choices in getting the best out of not only the current X-Plane version (11) but to be also ready for the next step in X-Plane12.
     
    See you all next month.
     
    Stephen Dutton
    1st April 2022
    Copyright©2022 X-Plane Reviews
     

     
  17. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from CowanSim in Aircraft Review : CowanSim 206 L3   
    Aircraft Review : CowanSim 206 L3
     
    When the CowanSim 206L3 popped up I actually ignored it...  done that? But then no update showed up either...  very odd? But with a closer look at the title I noticed it said L3, and not B3? 
     
    L3, "oh, it is a different version of the JetRanger", And so it is.
     
    The 206L LongRanger is a stretched variant of the original Bell 206 "JetRanger" with seating for seven. The fuselage is stretched a total of 30 inches (760 mm), and the variant adds in two rear-facing seats between the front and rear seats. Since 1975, Bell has produced more than 1,700 LongRangers across all the variant types. In 1981, a military version, the 206L TexasRanger was also released. The original 206L used an downrated Allison 250-C20B engine, and a series of model upgrades replaced this engine with more powerful versions; the 206L-1 used a 250-C28, and the 206L-3 and 206L-4 used the 250-C30P.
     
    I'm not going to redo or bore you with the absolute full details of the CowanSim B206, but just here highlight the details of this new variant. The full review of the earlier released CowanSim 206B3 is here if you want those details: Aircraft Review : CowanSim 206 B3
     
    CowanSim 206 L3
    First up in the differences between the two releases of 206B3 and the 206L3, is that there is only one texture version included. The 206B3 had both a 2K and a 4K texture packages to choose from, and here there is only the heavier 4K package available.
     

     
    To note that the CowanSim 206B3 did have an unusual aspect to the aircraft. It was not made perfectly to scale, or it is a little larger than the real sized aircraft, which is very odd, and very unusual in a flight simulator. The reason given was that the extra space, gave you a better perspective when flying in a VR (Virtual Reality) situation...  by the look of this newer L3 LongRanger, it is again scaled in the same larger scale as the 206B3, and has not been reverted back to a true scale.
     
    The extra 30 inches (760 mm) is added in just behind the pilots. This on the right has a full panel and the same sized door as on the B3, on the left however the door is double-hinged, with both the door and extension being able to be opened (for a reason, as we will see later) wider.
     

     
    The B3 had a darker brown highlighted interior with black and light grey insert seating (below).
     

     
    The L3 has the same seats and layout but with instead grey and light brown insert seating with grey highlights. You could call it executive.
     

     
    Otherwise there are no other differences, but a very nice cabin it is.
     
    The menu options are still on the X-Plane banner menu "CowanSim-206L3"...  and there are the same two dropdown options of the "206L3 Options" and the "Configuration Manager".
     

     
    There are only two new options on the menu list. One is the "HEMS" (Medical Version)...
     

     
    ...  that puts a Doctor and woman positioned patient into the rear of the 206L3, and very well done it is, with the full sets medical equipment set out on the rear bulkhead.
    The second new menu option, is to put "Helmets on Pilots" for EVAC work, but oddly the pilots stay in civilian clothes and are not clothed in flightsuit overalls?
     

     
    The CineFlex system on the B3 is still also available on the L3, replacing the left rear facing seat...
     

     
    ...    and access to all these features can also be done (for VR) via by the noted "Configuration Manager", also situated on the banner menu.
     

     
    From the pilot's seat the L3 feels exactly the same as the B3...  nothing new or different here, or thankfully nothing new to learn in instrumentation either. And even if you have the optional plugin, the Reality XP GTN 750 can still be fully integrated into the cockpit.
     

     
    As you remember on the B3, you use the "Wing Sweep" X-Plane setting to control the twist throttle RPM on the collective.
     
    Flightcheck CowanSim 206L3
    It feels almost exactly the same as the B3. You have more power available in 420 hp (310 kW) from the Allison 250-C30P, but also more weight to carry with the longer fuselage, so you sort of come out even. Still you feel the longer tail behind you, the LongRanger feels "Longer" and slightly different, but not by much. The L3 modifications include strengthened airframe structural components (including a new tailboom), improved transmission, upgraded engine for the L3, all of which result in a maximum gross weight increase of 300 pounds and the increased performance.
     

     
    Basically though the L3 still feels the same to fly, with the light touch, mild handling and forgiving nature of the 206B3.
     

     
    "Boom, boom" and your soon into the groove...  the 206 is agile and for it's size, really fast, so your soon powering down the field.
     

     
    It very quickly all comes back fast, light touch on the controls, but "boy" you can move, fast and just "two hundred" above the ground with no effort...
     
    Sounds are as good as I remember them. The 206B3 had a big sound update just after the release of the 206 B3 in Version 1.1 (January 8th 2022). And they are same sounds in the package here as well, CowanSim note them as "The fully immersive sound set that was developed with FMOD" and very good they are, no qualms there. The gearbox whine sounds are excellent, and just as I remember them.
     

     
    I power around the end of Doncaster Sheffield Airport's (EGCN) runway 02 and head straight back up the other side and then head out towards Doncaster.
     

     
    The performance is the same as the L3 in a Rate of Climb of 1,350 ft/min (6.9 m/s), a Max speed of around 120 kn (140 mph, 220 km/h) and the never exceed speed is 130 kn (150 mph, 240 km/h), so you still get a lot of performance out of the same twin-blade, single turbine arrangement. The Range is 374 nmi (430 mi, 693 km) with a Service ceiling: 13,500 ft (4,100 m).
     

     
    I see-saw over the Doncaster rooftops at supreme fast speeds for ages and then I realise I need to be more serious and stop all this cop-chasing fun, so it it is time to head back to EGCN...
     

     
    There are the same passengers (and both pilots in the front) as in the L3, but the two forward seats are empty, there is so much space in here, that the LongRanger feels huge inside compared to the B3.
     

     
    ....  EGCN and I take a long wide turn pass to reduce my height, speed and to approach the General Aviation area from the east.
     

     
    The 30/30 equation works very well here in 30 Knt's forward with a drop in height of 30 ft, it feels about right in the approach.
     

     
    Moving into the hover or transitioning from fast forward flight known as Effectively Translational Lift (ETL), the LongRanger was very, very smooth, and no severe power changes were necessary just exactly like the B3, however the tail feels a bit lighter.
     

     
    I feel I am using more cyclic backstick more than the B3 to arrest the forward speed and in the final move to hover over my landing target.
     

     
    The L3 is a little nervous, but it is nothing I can't control, as the upwash can be a little disconcerting as you get into the final touch zone, you feel you could lose the 206, so it takes a little nerve to pull off and to complete out the landing.
     

     
    And I'm down...  and even slightly relieved that at the last minute it could have all gone awry, but you would soon get it down pat with a few practise runs.
     
    So the CowanSim B206 L3 is as impressive as the B3 and it also again can be flown by users with not the extreme skills that is sometimes required with these machines, and surprisingly even for a Helicopter in this Light-Heli category...  as most in this classification can be very nervy and challenging machines to fly, but LongRanger, just like it's cousin, still finds that sweet spot in handling, control for great and easy (even enjoyable) flying.
     

    ___________
    Liveries
    The CowanSim 206B3 had a gazzillion liveries, actually there was 58 Liveries! There are 19 liveries here for the L3, again all high-quality 4K extreme. They cover again pretty much everything with a focus on EVAC, Police, and Television versions. Yellow/Black is default (note there are two aircraft that have the same rego no. N-CNSM, the default yellow and a black livery? A Paintkit is also included for your personal designs.
     







    ____________
    Summary
    Early in the year 2022, CowanSim released their version of the venerable Bell 206B3 or "JetRanger". Here is the variant of that aircraft in the 206L3 or the LongRanger, that puts a extra 30 inches (760 mm) extension into the airframe to create a more spacious cabin and ideal for MediVac missions. You could also call the L3 an "Executive" version of the shorter JetRanger.
     
    Overall here everything including all the features and the options on the CowanSim 206B3 are included in the L3 variant, the only real differences are the longer door (left), and side panel right, and two extra features include a Medical experience (stretcher and doctor) and helmets for the two forward pilots, but not flying overalls oddly. The new 19 liveries are a mixture of both old (B3) and new (L3) designs.
     
    Flying between the two are are nearly identical, but the L3 is a bit more lighter on the tail and feels actually longer than it is, otherwise with the exact same instrumentation, conversion is a breeze. The Reality XP GTN 750 can also still be fully integrated into the cockpit.
     
    The CowanSim 206L3 is sold as a separate aircraft and not part of the 206B3 package, so it is a new aircraft purchase to add in the LongRanger to your fleet...  But if you had to choose, then the LongRanger has slightly more features than the B3.
     
    CowanSim's aircraft are always interesting machines to fly, as is this second Ranger in the LongRanger. The point could be made in that is it too docile in it's flight parameters? That aspect certainly helps wannabe Helicopter pilot's and this is certainly a great and simple aircraft to be introduced to vertical flight, I think it is slightly both ways, both in that the flight envelope is a not as highly technical as it should be, notable is the not to scale machine, both aircraft are slightly bigger than they should be.
     
    It's a CowanSim...  overall you know what you buy when you purchase a CowanSim aircraft, and this Bell 206L-3 is another well designed and detailed CowanSim...  Nice, again.
    _______________________________
     

     
    Yes! the CowanSim 206 L3 is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: 
     
    CowanSim 206 L3
    Price is US$32.95
     
    The 206L3 is a stretched version of the 206B3 with seating for 7 and a larger engine. Features:     Free Future Updates     Tested and Zeroed in by Real Pilots      Several Commands for Mapping Hardware     Remove Before Flight Accessories      Hardware Throttle Config     Pilots & Passengers     Working Floats System     Low & High Skid Versions     Dynamic Weight Options     Functional Spot Light     Functional Spray Kit     Functional Cineflex Camera     2K & 4K Versions     FMOD Fully Dynamic Sound Pack     Window Rain Effects     Compatible with Vulkan API     Virtual Reality Ready     AviTab Integration     RXP GTN 750 Integration     Realistic Flight Dynamics     4K & 2K PBR     Custom 3D instruments     Detailed Night Lighting     xLua for Systems and Animation     SASL v3.12.1 for Custom Plugins Realistic Flight Dynamics     This model has an authentic feeling while exploring the virtual world thanks to Laminar Research for developing a fantastic flight sim. 4k Physically Based Rendering Textures     4k PBR textures, or physically based rendering, provides the ability for very realistic lighting that mimics the flow of light in the real world. This model takes full advantage of X-Plane’s lighting with dynamic reflections and materials. Custom 3D Modeled Instruments Everyone loves a detailed and realistic looking cockpit. After all, that is where we spend most of our time in the sim, flying! The 3D instruments were developed to a high standard and are fully functional, with extensive custom coding to make it as realistic as possible. A Nice Cozy Cabin Sit back and relax in the cozy rear cabin and enjoy replays of your flight from a passenger’s perspective! Was it as comfortable and smooth as you thought it was from the pilot seat? This is especially interesting in VR and landing replays are the best. Paint Kit & Liveries Comes with several liveries and we also included a detailed paint kit. The kit is provided in both GIMP and Adobe® Photoshop® formats. A UV map layer included in each file allows for easy and accurate repaints. Vibrant and Detailed Night Lighting X-Plane has wonderful night lighting. The 206L3 project aimed to have plenty of lights, inside and out, making night flights possible. From the landing light to the cabin lighting, this helicopter really stands out at night. Animation & Sound Thousands of lines of custom code make up animations and systems. The fully immersive sound set was developed with FMOD. Sounds and animations work together with visual rotor-speed vibrational feedback, dynamic blade slap, rain effects and more. Reality XP GTN 750 Integration The Reality XP GTN 750 can be fully integrated into the cockpit. Reality XP GTN 750 Touch is the genuine simulated device used by flight simulation enthusiasts navigating the virtual skies as well as real world pilots for familiarization with the device. This add-on is a payware add-on and you can purchase it here: https://reality-xp.com/   Requirements
    X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2 GB Current Version: 1.0 (March 18th 2022) ___________________________________
     
    Installation and documents:  download for the 206 L3 is 1.06Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder.
     
    Full Installation is 1.58Gb
    Documents supplied are:
    CHECKLISTS - START-UP - 206L3.pdf MANUAL-206L3.pdf  
    Manual is half completed with no instrument references or just basic system references, but settings are well documented with a very good checklist that shows well intergrated startup and shutdown procedures.
     
    Support forum for all helicopters by CowanSim
    _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    22nd March 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55
    Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGCN - Doncaster Sheffield by Fly X (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$17.99
     
    (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
     

     
  18. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from esaldarriaga in News! - Development : FlightFactor release more Boeing 787 images   
    Most airlines use the B789 far more than the shorter 788, it has the legs to do 7,635 nmi (14,140 km) to the 7,355 nmi (13,620 km) of the 788, plus the heavier payload, knowing FF, I think there is a good chance the 788 varaiant will come later, but for now the 789 is the more popular choice.
  19. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from CowanSim in Aircraft Review : Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4 by JRX Design   
    Aircraft Review : Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4 by JRX Design
     
    It has been a very strange few months. Aircraft that were very significant in past milestones for the X-Plane Simulator have been recently replaced with more modern versions. First it was the FlyJsim Q400 in it's new Q4XP guise, then along came the CRJ-700 from AD Simulations that echoed the very landmark CRJ-200 from JRollon and now here is another machine in the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4 by JRX Design. This one echoed another very significant aircraft in the ND Art & Technology's BK-117. Tired now, but the BK-117 was simply sensational back in it's day, and the one machine that drew me to helicopters and wanting to fly them...  Sitting now in the JRX MBB Bo 105 brought all those recessed BK-117 memories back to life with a bang!
     

     
    The BK-117 is a later evolution of the MBB Bo 105, the machine reviewed here. But the similarities are quite impactful when comparing the aircraft. The Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 is a light, twin-engine, multi-purpose helicopter developed by Bölkow of Ottobrunn, West Germany. It was the first light twin-engine helicopter in the world, and the first rotorcraft that could perform aerobatic maneuvers such as inverted loops. However aerobatics are verboten, and aerobatics are actually prohibited in the Rotorcraft Flight Manual.
     
    While not being considered a visually attractive helicopter by some pilots. The Bo 105 was known for possessing steady, responsive controls and a good flight attitude. Most models could also perform steep dives, rolls, loops, turnovers, and various aerobatic maneuvers; according to MBB the Bo 105 is cleared for up to 3.5 positive G force and one negative. One benefit of the Bo 105's handling and control style is it's superior takeoff performance, including significant resistance to catastrophic dynamic rollover; this is a combination of light weight and the twin-engined configuration that enables a rapid ascent in a performance takeoff.
     
    Perhaps the most significant feature of the Bo 105 are its rotor blades and rotor head. The rotor system is entirely "Hingeless", in the rotor head consisting of a solid titanium block to which the four blades are bolted; the flexibility of the rotor blades works to absorb movements typically requiring hinges in most helicopter rotor designs.
    The rotor blades are also made from reinforced-plastic glass-fiber composite material; the flexibility of the main rotor allows for active elements other than rotor pitch changes to be removed, greatly simplifying maintenance and extending blade lifespan. The reliability of the advanced rotor system is such that, in over six million operating hours across the fleet, there was a total of zero failures (as of 1991). The rigid rotor blade design adopted on the Bo 105 has been partially responsible for the type's agility and responsiveness; and it remained an uncommon feature on competing helicopters throughout the Bo 105's production life.
     
    The aircraft unusually was also not designed or created in a proposal by the military, but was very quickly procured by the German Army when they decided to create a specialist anti-tank version armed with up to six Euromissile HOT missiles, designated as the Bo 105 PAH-1. A total of 212 Bo 105 PAH-1s were delivered between 1979 and 1984.
    The Bo 105 is however far more famous for it's significant (EMS) Medevac, and Police surveillance work, MBB at one point held 35% of the total EMS market share, which the cabin can be configured to accommodate up to three passengers on a single rear bench, which can be removed to make room for cargo or a stretcher, which can be loaded and unloaded via the large clamshell doors located at the rear of the fuselage. Totally 1500+ aircraft have been built built between 1967 and 2001.
     
    Notable is the DBS4, which is a version of the CBS4 that was certified in the UK for the offshore oil and gas market. The aircraft features a full IFR kit, dual inverters, provisions for pop-out floats and a fuel dump system, radar alt, and a number of other small features and systems that make it different from other 105s.
     
    MBB Bo 105 DBS-4 by JRX Design
    First impressions of the Bo 105 are striking, but not surprising, as the earlier JRX SA 341B and SA 342J Gazelle was also excellent in it's design and quality fit-out. The same totally applies here as expected.
     
    The paneling and the general shape of the fuselage is excellent...
     

     
    ...  but the riveting is painted on and not mapped, it passes the test as you have to get close to be aware of the non-mapping, however that level of 3-dimensional detail is now quite common in any high-quality aircraft. Were required however the raised mapping is actually done, and the detail delivers in great louvre detail and surface appendages.
     

     
    You have four nice engine exhausts with two per two 313 kW (420 shp) Allison 250-C20B engine. And note the internal cones on the inner two exhausts.
     

     
    Tail-boom, horizontal stabiliser and upright support are also very good as is the required aerials and tail-skid. Notable are these small wings at the rear... they are stabilators when they have a degree of movement, and stabilisers when they are fixed. They are “upside down” airfoils that provide downforce instead of lift, just like on race cars. One of their functions is to reduce the nose-down attitude in cruise which makes the fuselage fly more level and reducing drag by exerting a downward force on the tail-boom, which raises the nose. Here on the MBB 105 they are quite notably big aerofoils
     

     
    Glass is excellent. Nice shape and depth and feels very realistic. Glass has to perfect on helicopters so you get the right perspective vision, perfection makes it also authentic. The green overhead tinted-windows are also perfect (in opacity) but clear internally...
     

     
    ...  Highlights are the excellent twin-wipers with worn-wear arms and the perfectly set blades. I'm not crazy about the inner window frame, just a plain coloured frame, here it doesn't feel very realistic, however the inner window opens though via a "Hotspot" middle window, but the same arrangement on the rear windows are not animated.
     

     
    The unique fixed-head rotor is perfectly realised and recreated. Detail is as expected in all in the required components, bolts and assemblies. The mast is quite short but the plates and their rod link assemblies are colour coded and well done. Nice details are the balance weights on the inner blades and notable the very nicely aerofoil shaped blades with great realistic wear on the ends.
     

     
    Exactly like the Gazelle, the rotor system is also only semi-animated...  the Collective (bite) is nicely animated, but the rotor head  (pitch/sideways) movements are again not active.
     

     
    Rear tail-rotor assembly is also very good, links and rubber covers that are all very realistic, note the short rear almost square blades.
     

     
    There is a full yaw animated movement on the blades, and all the linkages work perfectly.
     
    Doors...  have both the front and sliding rears open by direct "Hotspots", and so do open are the twin-cam opening rear doors. There is a cavernous open space inside, with the option of filling it with cargo.
     

     
    The two forward cabin doors can also be removed via the menu.
     
    Cabin

     
    Yours eyes are immediately drawn to the full bulkhead padded rear seating for three people. Both cushion support and soundproofing in one, it covers the full huge rear bulkhead.
     

     
    Seat material is black leather with white stitching, gives off a very nice comfortable feeling, and very well done here, the 70's style foam covered headrests are also extremely well authentic to the period (70's Ford cars anyone, Escort, Capri).
     

     
    Front seat assemblies are excellent, with military style tracks and metal drilled frames. Shame the seats are not animated, that would have been a real treat. The feeling in the cabin is however dated, not by a poor application, but by design. It has that clamshell dark cream molding technique and again from the period.
     

     
    This is also very evident from the restricted view from the pilot's seat. The frame curves into your forward view, and the sides feel thick and chunky, the huge instrument panel also takes up a lot of the forward view, most choppers feel airy, but not in here as it feels enclosed.
     
    Menu
    Top Instrument panel are two options. Left is a folded map, that when selected, then selects the X-Plane Local map. The right selection is the "Flight Manual", which pops out VR (Virtual Reality) style. The manual both inserted and expanded is quite old fashioned in layout and design (another throwback to the BK-115). The top section is the "Aircraft Configuration" or options and settings. The "Set Fuel Load" in 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% filling percentages, and below "Weights". Important in that any selection of the options must be made before flight...  once in the air you can't then change anything on the menu!
     


     
    The lower section is a "Checklist style" area...   there are 10 Tabs in the "Checklist" that cover everything from PreFlight to Aircraft Limitations. You go through the checklist via two hotspots set on the top (Go Backwards) and the bottom (Go Forwards) of the VR "Flight Manual". Checklist detail is extremely good, but difficult to read in the set position and small font text.
     

     
    Aircraft Configuration
    The Aircraft Configuration list (of options) are all colour coded. Top to Bottom, you have in red; "Remove Before Flight" and "External Power Unit"...  the first puts tie-downs, rotor covers and flags on the aircraft, the second option puts a connected to the aircraft, a trolley GPU and even a very nice operator positioned to monitor the unit.
     

     
    White options include, "Fly With Co-Pilot" and "Duel Flight Controls". The Bo 105 already comes with a very nice and head animated pilot, the option here also gives you a Female Co-Pilot with strange hair but lovely "Mechanix" gloves who is also head animated, but not to the controls like the pilot's. I heard that rear passengers are coming.
     

     
      "Duel Flight Controls" gives you the option to have a second set of controls on the left side (Cyclic and Collective).
     

     
    Seagrass Green options include; "Remove Doors", "Flight Steps", Search Light", "Internal Cargo Load", Missile Rails, "Cargo Hook" and Emergency Floats.
     

     
    All the options here are excellent and of high quality detailing. The "Remove Doors" option will take away the front doors, and lock the rear doors open. Cargo option fills that huge vacant rear area with nice crates, but they add a lot of weight to the aircraft with no adjustment to the weight. I don't know if the Cargo Hook works, as it is not mentioned in the manual? The side steps are nice as is the forward Search Light. The Emergency Floats are also highly detailed with a fuselage attached airpump (but again I don't think the floats inflate?).
     
    Super nice are the six Euromissile HOT missiles. The HOT (French: Haut subsonique Optiquement Téléguidé Tiré d'un Tube, or High Subsonic, Optical, Remote-Guided, Tube-Launched) missile is a second-generation long-range anti-tank missile system developed originally as an effort to meet a joint German-French Army requirement.
     
    The HOT missile is tube-launched and optically tracked using the SACLOS guidance system with command link through trailing wires which steers the missile using thrust vector controls on the sustainer motor during the missile's flight. When the gunner fires the HOT missile, the missile activates a thermal battery, flares and a small gas generator spins up the gyro. The same gases for the gyro pop the covers off both ends of the cylindrical container the HOT missile comes packed in. Moments later, both the sustainer motor and the booster are fired, ejecting the missile from the container.
    Unlike most antitank missiles, in which the booster burns completely before leaving the container and then the missile coasts a safe distance before the sustainer motor ignites, HOT's booster burns both inside the container and outside the container for approximately one second giving the missile a high speed. The sustainer motor burns for 17 seconds, a flight time whose path exceeds the length of the trailing wires which dictate the maximum range of the missile.
     
    Note the changed olive-green seating for the military (German) livery.
     
    Green options include; AviTab (Plugin Required), RealityXP GTN 750/650 Touch avionics unit if you have that optional product and bottom is the option for the Dittel AutoPilot Unit. I found the AviTab would only display with the engines running, slightly annoying if you want to study charts on the ground.
     

     
    This is a nice Autopilot module by Dittel (now TQ Avionics), but oddly it is set (or feels) to the left of the top of the instrument panel than the centre (of which it actually is) or even to the right of the sided pilot's reach, it feels far away? but it is well done.
     
     
     
     
    Weights; In Yellow are the aircraft weights. Both the MTW (Maximum Takeoff Weight) is noted (2500kg) and the current TW (Total Weight) is displayed. The TW will change with any options and fuel weights, and you can add in extra Kgs in 10kg increments (up or down), or reset the aircraft's weight. The current version (B1.40) is also shown here for reference.
     

     
    Instrument Panel
    The Instrument Panel has a huge (massive) hood over the instruments, making it look far larger than it actually is, even so it is still a big unit. The centre pedestal (console) is also very long and detailed as well.
     

     
    The main flying instruments are grouped down on the right in two columns...
     
    Top row is (left) the Artificial Horizon and the Altitude Meter, Second row is the HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator) and Vertical Speed Indicator, Third Row is the ADF Pointer and Radio Altimeter, slung below is a Clock. The instruments are all very clear and readable.
     

     
    The centre section has mostly top in the Backup Instruments (for the Co-Pilot). Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and main (pilot) Airspeed Indicator top row, Altimeter and Directional Gyro, that looks more like a CDI or Course Deviation Indicator. Installed is the AVAD (Audio Voice Alerting Device) that can be turned off here. And a testable is the specific MBB "Mast Moment" MMI indicator..
     
    "A rigid (or sometimes called hinge-less) rotor system is capable of transmitting high bending forces to the main rotor shaft. When a pilot makes a cyclic movement causing the main rotor disc to tilt, the fuselage wants to follow. In flight, with a rigid rotor the mast bending moment is low. However, when the fuselage is in contact with the ground and cannot follow the main rotor disc the bending moment can be very high. 
    Because large cyclic displacements on the ground have the potential to damage the mast assembly, a mast moment indicator (MMI) is installed. The gauge is a single dimension indicator that shows the total moment being applied to the mast. When the gauge reads high, the pilot has to figure out what direction to move the cyclic to reduce the mast moment."
     
    Next row is a Torque Indicator...
     

     
    The Torque Indicator is interesting as it is set on a 90º angle, and not positioned directly upwards? It is noted this way for Slinging (loads), but it looks very odd?.
     

     
    Next to the Torque Indicator is the RPM in N2 (Engine #1 and Engine #2). Then there is right a group of six dials that cover engine TOT (Turbine Outlet Temperature) for engine #1 and #2, and below N1 (Engine #1 and Engine #2)... bottom row right covers Fuel Gauge and Fuel Pressure.
     
    Two groups of three gauges bottom left cover (top) Oil Temperature, and lower Oil Pressure. Far left is the DME readout.
     
    Forward Pedestal (console) are the electrics (Buses) and working Circuit Breakers (Fuses). Gauges right cover Volts and Amperes. Between is the Hydraulics Test. The red cover left is the Fuel Jettison, the two right red covers the "Emergency Fuel" cutoffs. Between are the Instrument lights (switch), Emergency Floats, Inverters (1&2), Engine Anti-Icing (1&2) and wipers...
     

     
    bottom are the two VHF-COM 1 and 2 Radios, Starter switches (pink covers) and Main Battery and Generator (Eng 1&2) switches.
     
    Centre Pedestal is the Fire Extinguisher Panel. Below are Collins CTL23 NAV 1/2 radios, with a CTL62G ADF unit. Unusual is a "Funkwerk" Transponder. Bottom is a Garmin GNS 350, or if available the RealityXP GTN 750/650 avionics unit. Note the usable Collective Lock .
     

     
    Lower pedestal are two NAT N301A Audio Panels. There is a nice feature on the lower NAT audio panel. You can select 1 hour of "Radio Chatter" by selecting AUX and the chatter comes in three languages; American, French and Italian via the flag icons... but no British ATC? Actually British law prohibits the use of ATC broadcasts, as per "LiveATC", but still it would have been nice.
     
    The collective has two light switches (Search and Landing) and engine regulator. Cyclic has a HAT switch trim and RPM WARNING (cancel) button. Both controls are very well modeled and highly realistic with the Cyclic a B8 style handle.
     

     
    There is a small overhead switch panel with the twin-engine throttle levers (the rotor brake is down floor right of the pilot).
     

     
    Switch gear up here covers Pitot Heats (#1 and #2), Continuous Ignition Eng (#1 and #2), Fire Test, Floats Test, Fuel Pumps, Generator Fields (#1 and #2), Interior lights, External lights, Temperature Controls and an electronic HOBBS Hour meter.
     
    Overall it is a complicated cabin, that requires a little study before flight to workout where all the switch gear and items are located, once used you will work the aircraft well and correctly, but it is not all set out very ergonomically, as it is all very 70's in style and usability.
    ____________________
    Flying the MBB Bo 105
    First is the setting for those twin throttles. JRX originally set the throttle movement to the "Wing Sweep" setting, but reverted back to the standard "Throttle" setting. You can set each throttle to a slider (Throttle 1/Throttle2) to work independently, but I use the second throttle lever (Saitek X56) as my collective, so here a single "Throttle' setting works just as well.
     
    The Bo 105 startup procedure is quite easy. The Main Battery switch is under your left hand, and the two Bus Avionics switches far left upper pedestal. Each bus does a certain circuit, so you only get the  VHF1 radio with only one switch on. The Collins CTL23s and the ADF CTL62G have to be switched all on manually. You can adjust the panel lighting (when switched on) via the top knob left centre panel, and very good it is.
     

     
    Next all the Auxiliary options are switched on via the OHP; Fuel Pumps, Pitot Heat, External lights/Anti-Col...  then you are ready to start.
     
    Make sure your throttle is set in the IDLE position, then flip up the STARTER cover (pink) for the engine you want to start... then press the inner switch. Straight away the N1 will rise and then you go straight to the required overhead engine throttle lock switch (Fuel Cutoff) and press it.
     

     
    You don't have to touch the throttle at all, if the throttle lock does not work then the lever is still not set at the IDLE position. Once the RPM for that engine is at 50% then you switch off the start switch...  pretty easy. Now you do exactly the same for the second engine start.
     
    One note is the dreaded "RPM Needle Split Horn" alarm. Mostly here to warn the pilot if the engine outputs or the RPM are not in the same performance parameters, or an engine out scenario...  It is LOUD, and can be annoying if you can't shut it up. On the second engine start until it reaches within 12 points of other running engine's RPM it will go off "its trotter" as it should do, to kill the alert there is a kill switch left on the Cyclic, or you can set a button COMMAND to do the same thing (RPM Needle Split Horn). But I found sometimes I couldn't shut the damn thing up, even when the engines were shutdown? (found to be a aircraft reload or location move reset).
     

     
    Once running you also have to provide separate power (unlock) both to the Main and Backup Artificial Horizons is they are powered directly off the battery, this is done via the second switch under the glareshield right.
     

     
    There is a full video available on the startup (and Shutdown) procedures that is well worth studying.
     

     
    I do like the flickering of the N1 dials to show the power is running through the engines. Throttle up to 100% RPM and we are ready to go. I was not perfectly attuned to the JRX SA 341B Gazelle, it is known as difficult aircraft to fly, and very fine movements were minutely required. I mastered it, but was not what you could say very proficiently. The Bo 105 is known as a more steady and responsive machine, and I felt that straight away. It feels also like a weighty aircraft, so you have confidence in balancing it easy and the very light push required by the tailrotor helps the cause as well.
    That came to pass...  I easily found I could hover in the same position and only required slight stick movements keeping myself in a perfect hovering position. Any drift was also easily corrected, so the more I sat here in the hover the more confident I got by the minute.
     

     
    Touch of collective and touch of forward stick, and I was moving upwards and forwards easily...
     

     
    ....   placid it may be, but you have a lot of power available via those two Allison 250-C20B turboshaft engines, too much collective and you will literally takeoff and go straight up (official Rate of Climb is 8.00 m/s (1,575 ft/min)), and with this extreme climb power the Bo 105's also have a tendency to roll right when in a high-power right turn which has been documented with a MBB test pilot in Siegfried Hoffmann crashing and killing himself.
     

     
    So the trick is not to showoff in here, just keep everything smooth and contained and the aircraft will follow along quite nicely, you can see why the Bo 105 was so good for EMS work, in fact perfect as it is a steady easily controlled and flyable aircraft.
     
    One of my favorite pastimes with the ND BK-115, was to track down motorways or highways at low but fast speeds. So I just couldn't resist the temptation again in the Bo 105...   the thrills came back with vengeance, it is fun and exciting to fly low level at speed, but you have to watch out for all those cross highway powerlines.
     

     
    Maximum Bo 105 speed is 242 km/h (150 mph, 131 kn), with a never exceed speed of 270 km/h (170 mph, 150 kn), usually you cruise around 204 km/h (127 mph, 110 kn) (best range cruise), so the Bo 105 is not the fastest aircraft out there. Range is 657 km (408 mi, 355 nmi) at 1,525 m (5,000 ft) (standard fuel, maximum payload) with a ferry range: 1,112 km (691 mi, 600 nmi) at 1,525 m (5,000 ft) (with auxiliary tanks).
    Overall you get an endurance 3 hr 30 min (standard fuel, maximum payload) and a service ceiling of 5,200 m (17,000 ft).
     
    The aircraft has a fuel capacity of 160 Gal (570 l), and the fuel is stored in only one main tank which is connected to a single supply tank at the front of the aircraft and the engines then draw their fuel by the engine-driven pump(s) from the supply tank. The supply tank only holds 74Kg (around 93 liters or 205 pounds) as a backup supply.
     
    I could do this all day...
     

     
    Sounds of real Bo 105's are very hard to come by...  what we have here is a collection of community based recordings, but they are actually very good right through the range with only a few loops here and there, blade slap is present, but were over-rode in my case with the XPRealistic blade slap being more prominent, overall I have heard a lot worse than we have here.
     
    Not entirely happy with the trim... a single movement of the trim or HAT switch made the aircraft surge up or down violently, in that the trim increments were extremely wide. So there was no adjusting but you got these large changes to the angle of the controls. The only way to get control back was to use the Trim Centre command to reset the trim back to neutral.
     
    The Dittel AutoPilot also feels still too far away, although it is centred on the windshield (the map/manual storage is offset). The unit is a very basic 2-Axis unit, which means you centre the aircraft at the right speed, heading and altitude and turn on the AP to the corresponding servos, and it will hold those alignments....  but it is not a solid feel or use, as any slight movement or knock of the cyclic and it loses the alignment, so you have to monitor the systems continuously. It works but don't at all rely on it.
     

     
    Lighting
    Overall the JRX Bo 105's lighting is excellent.
     

     
    We already know you can adjust the instrument brightness, which is already very good. But there is another option via the second knob set below the instrument brightness knob...  this is the green tint option, that gives you a military look and feel. You can blend the two together if you wish, but one or the other is preferable.
     

     
    Not finished there with colours, there is also the overhead red cabin light. This effect with the green tint looks a bit like a traffic light reflection...  but it is very realistic, and looks sensational externally.
     

     
    Externally the lighting is also very good...  There is a  single landing light in the nose that can be adjusted brighter and darker (OHP), but it still comes on too strong as a lot of users have noted, the light source can be seen through the body work as well (X-Plane issue). Here I have the Search Light on as well.
     
    Navigation lights are on the outboard of the stabilisers, as are the strobe lights, and single white navigation is rear. Top tail beacon is very effective and so are the near perfect strobes.
     

     
    Arriving back at the field the Bo 105. I found it was easy to lower the speed in a slight centering of the cyclic, while reducing height with the collective...  you can find the collective lift does need a reduced amount of bite, and that can send you into a false sense security in recovering the lift power (or too late in dropping out of the air). Point the nose down slightly is a better way of descending, but that obviously comes with more speed...  the trick is somewhere in the middle to get the best approach descent and control the speed. I had to do a few approaches to get the procedure right.
     

     
    Nice is that you are not fighting the tail or yaw, slight rudder movements will control that aspect, again you can see why this machine is so very good in it's EMS and S&R roles, the workload on the pilot is quite light at those really critical aspects of the flight. As noted the JRX Gazelle is highly (if extremely) challenging of your skills, certainly in the approach, transition and hover phases, but that it is not the same case here with the Bo 105.... if in fact the opposite.
     
    The ETL or Effectively Translational Lift boundary is noted on the Airspeed Indicator at the line between the Green and Yellow bands, about 50 knts, which is also a nice approach speed...  but watch you don't drop the collective too far or lose the lift, it is very disguised in the feel...
     

     
    ...   once though the ETL boundary and you reset the approach to around 20 knts (not the usual 30/30), and this feels nice with great control.
     

     
    Into the hover and a 90º yaw is need to line up with the markings, that aspect is also done with ease...
     

     
    ... aligned, a slight slip to the left is now needed... I'm showing off now, the Bo 105 responds perfectly to my movements while controlling the hover status...
     

     
    ...  I can see the marking line to judge my position and a slight let down of the collective and that landing was as good as it gets.
     

     
    "Sweet as" There is nothing to give you that buzz when it all goes right. But this is certainly an aircraft is one you can easily parallel with. Helicopter flying not easy and will never be, but an aircraft like this can meet you say... halfway in your limited skills.
    _________________
     
    Liveries
    There are 26 liveries and all are excellent. They vary from Civil to Air Ambulances, Coast Guards, Police, Red Bull (2), Rescue and Military versions...  hell even the Northern Lighthouse Board aircraft is in there! ADAC (German) is the default. A PaintKit is also provided.
     

    _________________
     
    Summary
    For a decade "Mr Helicopter" in the X-Plane Simulator was DreamFoil Creations, but now there is another "Mr Helicopter" in the form of Joe Rowe of JRX Designs. First it was the spectacular debut of the SA 341B and SA 342J Gazelle in 2020. Now here is JRX Design's second release in the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4, a general purpose helicopter favoured by EMS and Policing departments around the world. Not initially created as a military aircraft, the platform was still successful as a German specialist anti-tank version armed with up to six Euromissile HOT missiles, designated as the Bo 105 PAH-1. The aircraft is also reminiscent of another X-Plane MBB classic the ND Art & Technology's BK-117 from a decade ago.
     
    The Bo 105 is notable for being the first "Hingeless" rotor head aircraft, which consisted of a solid titanium block to which the four blades are directly bolted; the flexibility of the rotor blades works to absorb movements typically requiring hinges in most helicopter rotor designs. The rotor blades are also unique in being made from reinforced-plastic glass-fiber composite material.
     
    Most helicopter releases for X-Plane are usually extremely highly detailed and feature laden. And that is also the case here with this excellent Bo 105. Modeling and detail quality is of the highest order (and the JRX Gazelle had already set the benchmark high). Externally and internally the Bo 105 is exceedingly good, with very if excellent good lighting effects. Sounds are community sourced, but also very good in context.
     
    The VR Menu (manual) is cleverly done with built in Checklist, with the usual features of remove (front) doors, Cargo Hook, Searchlight, Emergency Floats, Flight Steps, Internal Cargo, Twin Controls, Pilot/Co-Pilot, and very well done Euromissile HOT Missile Rails. Other extras incude AviTab, RealityXP GTN 750/650 avionics unit option, and a basic Dittel Autopilot. Both "Radio Chatter", specific MBB "Mast Moment" MMI indicator and AVAD (Audio Voice Alerting Device) are also represented. Huge set of 26 liveries are provided with the package, as is a PaintKit.
     
    Flight dynamics and performance is also very good, as the MBB Bo 105 is a sweet flying machine. But a few areas can still be refined, as I am not crazy about the current trim actions, and aircraft has an odd issue loading pattern when reloading in Sim. (Starting from the Desktop or doing a Developer reload is fine).
     
    A few "wishlist" items would be nice... certainly a EMS variant, rear passengers (noted as already coming), winch (working would be even better) and adjustable cargo weights...  not asking too much! And YES it will be X-Plane12 compatible.
     
    Another superb release from JRX Design's, can it get better than this? Yes just more of the same from the new "Mr Helicopter" Joe Rowe.
     
    The Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4 is now available for purchase from the X-Plane.OrgStore.
    __________________
     

     
    Yes!...   Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4 by JRX Design is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 DBS-4
    Price is US$34.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 11 XP12 Support when Available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1 GB Current and Review Version: 1.40 (January 15th 2021) ___________________________
     
    Features
    High detail, fully animated 3D-model with PBR textures up to 4k resolution. Fully VR compatible, configured by SimVRLabs. Accurate flight model tested, developed and approved by a current MBB Bo 105 pilot. Complete and accurate start up and shut down functionality. Dynamic weights for optional fuel and part configuration. Bespoke custom made and accurate instrumentation sourced direct from a 105 DBS-4. Optional autopilot unit and a full IFR navigation instrumentation suite. Fully functional circuit breakers and electrical system including AC / DC buses. Working fire warning and extinguishing system. Custom instrument HDR spill lighting. HDR internal and external lighting. Dynamic vibration model with speed increase / decrease, including entering and exiting translational lift. RXP GTN integrated on a custom tablet. AviTab with custom tablet. Highly detailed pilot and co-pilot, with optional dual controls. Optional body decals including HOT3 missiles, working floats, flight steps and cargo hook. Complete FMOD sound package with 113 individual sounds sampled from a real 105. Headset attenuation, with optional ATC radio chatter (US, FR and IE) for better immersion. Particle system for heat blur animations. 26 liveries including civil, service and military variants. Included paint kit for body, seats, ID plates, interior trims and pilots’ uniforms. Flight configuration and options, all done in cockpit either in 2D or VR. Full documentation, including all flight reference cards in cockpit. Real-life reference documentation and video tutorials including the start-up / shutdown procedure: https://youtu.be/BLxWiC1FnOs https://youtu.be/bz9NmdjchDM https://youtu.be/qGsdB9Jmk-c Full lifetime support at the forum, product updates and development as required: JRX MBB Bo 105 - X-Plane.Org Forum Windows, Mac and Linux compatible.   Requirements
    X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.1 GB Current and Review Version: 1.1 (January 8th 2022) ___________________________________
     
    Installation and documents:  download for the 206 B3 is 993Mb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder.
     
    Full Installation is 2.63Gb
    Documents supplied are:
    BO 105 Real Life Documentation JRX Design MBB Bo 105 USER GUIDE V1.01.pdf  
    Manual is quite basic but does come with very good instrument references, X-Plane basic system references... Checklist is built into the VR menu, and the provided video tutorials are excellent. The Eurocopter sourced documentation is excellent, enough detail here to build your own MBB Bo 105 from the ground up!
     
    Required is the AviTab (Plugin)
     
    Support forum for the MBB BO 105
    _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    21st January 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55
    Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EDDP - Leipzig/Halle International Airport by JustSim/Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$20.00
     
    (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
     

     
  20. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from CowanSim in Aircraft Review : CowanSim 206 B3   
    Aircraft Review : CowanSim 206 B3
     
    The Cowan Simulations 206 B3 is the Bell 206, a two-bladed, single and twin-engined (TwinRanger) helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter at its Mirabel, Quebec, Canadian plant. The 206 is also known by it's more common name of the "JetRanger".
     
    Bell had developed the D-250 design into the Bell 206 aircraft, redesignated as YOH-4A in 1962. Proceeded to produce five prototype aircraft for the Army's test and evaluation phase Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) proposal. The first prototype flew on December 8, 1962. The YOH-4A also came to be known as "The Ugly Duckling" in comparison to the other contending aircraft. Following a fly-off of the Bell, Hughes and Fairchild-Hiller prototypes, the Hughes OH-6 was the selected LOH in May 1965.
     
    When the YOH-4A was eliminated by the Army, Bell went about solving the problem of marketing the aircraft. In addition to the image problem, the prototype helicopter lacked cargo space and provided only cramped seating for the planned three passengers. The solution was a redesigned fuselage, sleeker and more aesthetically appealing, and adding in 16 ft3 (0.45 m3) of cargo space in the process. A Bell executive contributed to this redesign by drawing on a sketch two lines extending the fuselage to where it meets the tail. The redesign was designated Bell 206A, and Bell President Edwin J. Ducayet named it the "JetRanger", denoting an evolution from the popular Model 47J Ranger. The Army then reordered the revised aircraft as the Bell OH-58 Kiowa, that went on to used in the Vietnam War. Bell Helicopter ended production of the Bell 206B-3 version finally in 2010, after 7,300 production aircraft were built.
     
    Of all the helicopters of the last half century, the JetRanger is probably the most visually famous, it is the one aircraft that seems to be everywhere, and mostly because it is the main go-to aircraft for any Hollywood or American television production, News gathering, light Med-Evac, Lifesaving and also it is very economical for Sightseeing and Business charter work. versatility is the number one criteria of the Bell 206B.
     
    When you live with such a prominent aircraft in your life for so long, it becomes a personal favorite. Made easier as the aircraft is also very accessible, I have probably flown on a Bell 206B more than any other helicopter, and have easily lost count of how many flights. Plus you simply couldn't avoid the machine in the hundreds of American car chases that dominated most of the 70's and 80's Film and Crime television shows. The aircraft also became the face of Bell Helicopters, the iconic nose was a streamlined version of the stubby-nosed Bell's of the post-war period, but smooth nose and high boom tail set out the layout for most of the Bell aircraft that followed it, if later versions had retractable wheeled landing gear.
     

     
    The CowanSim 206 is not the first Bell JetRanger for the X-Plane Simulator. There is the now quite old but well done DreamFoil 206 Ranger III, and a freeware Joe Rowe Bell 206 that is still in a beta phase after now two years (but still a highly flyable machine). But the CowanSim release is a full payware and featured machine, so you here you have a more modern updated Bell 206B than the both of the other released aircraft.
     
    CowanSim has been around now for a few years. First up was the Bell 222B + UT, and then the exceptional CowanSim 500E or Hughes 500 of P.I. Magnum television fame. More enthusiastically American than the cold calculating European sort of developer, they have very quickly created a fan base around their aircraft, so you could say that any CowanSim aircraft are very popular aircraft.
     
    CowanSim 206 B3
    There are two 206 B3 versions to choose from in the download package. One is the lighter 2K, and the other is the standard 4K. I like the idea you can choose which version to load into your X-Plane aircraft folder, better than having double aircraft folders of which one you will never use...  note the Paintkit that also provided in the package. Noted here is this review version is Version 1.1 (January 8th 2022)
     

     
    Menus
    The CowanSim Menu (CowanSim-206B3) is selected as part of the main X-Plane menu top left of your screen like on the earlier B222B and 500. There are two selections with top one the 206B3 OPTIONS, and a secondary "Configuration Manager" which is another word for a VR (Virtual Reality) popup menu. Both versions basically show the same OPTIONS, but the Configuration's Manager is easier to use because it will stay on screen while you do your selections. Notable is that if you select any of the options, the Configuration's Manager will also show you (in red) the extra weight of that applied option on the aircraft, but there is no all up Gross Weight shown.
     

     
    The VR Configuration Manager is split between two pages and interesting is the "VR HEAD CONFIG" option in that it allows you to set your best head position in the aircraft and save it...   as noted in the manual.
     
    "(You) Change your VR position using the up, down, left, right, forward and backward arrows. When in the perfect spot then hit the Save Position button. This writes directly to the vrconfig file... Your selected spot will then be save(d) for future flights.".
     
    The list of menu OPTIONS is quite extensive with 27 choices: AUTOMATED START, REMOVE ALL DOORS, RXP GTN750 OWNER (optional RealityXP GTN750 avionics), HIDE FLYING HANDBOOK, HIDE AVITAB, ROTATE AVITAB, ENABLE WINDOW RAIN, SKID STEPS, CONVEX SKID MIRROR, REMOVE DUAL CONTROLS, RADIO STACK, DUEL WIRE CUTTERS, UTILITY FLOATS, SHOW PILOT, SHOW COPILOT< SHOW PASSENGERS, CINEFLEX CAMERA, SPRAY KIT, SEARCH LIGHT, LOW SKID VERSION, AUTO HOLD START BUTTON, PARK AND SECURE ROTOR, BLOW FLOATS, TURN ON GROUND POWER, TURN VIBRATIONS OFF, TURN HEAD FORCE OFF and SET VR HEAD POSITION to CURRENT POSITION.
     
    We will look at the aircraft and the options available together. But first a scale note...  the CowanSim aircraft designed here is slightly larger in scale to a real B206B-3. Odd yes, but it has been created this way to get the right VR (Virtual Reality) perspective. The point is debatable. But personally I would rather have a true to scale aircraft or a realistic interpretation of the aircraft than a blown up machine to match a marginal feature, so yes the aircraft in every perspective looks and feels bigger than the really cramped B206B in real life.
     
    Detailing is very good, certainly the rivets and window frame sections, vents are highly realistic and so overall the construction elements are all presented perfectly. Glass (important on the distinctive profile of the 206) is really good as well and gets the Bell's shape really well, and the glass has nice depth and tint...  so the details are numerous.
     

     
    Highlights are the lovely door latches (that work), and the opening side window runners.
     

     
    All four doors are opened by their (inner/outer) latches, or you can remove the doors completely, and in closing they "Clunk" nicely.
     

     
    There is a load of "Skid" options. You can have "High" or "Low" skids...
     

     
    ....  "Utility Floats" that can be "Blown" or Floats (note the gas bottle attached to the underside of the fuselage). Other skid options include a "Convex Mirror" front right skid, a right rear "Search Light' that can be manoeuvred via COMMAND keys. Two upper/lower Wire Cutters and "Skid Steps".
     

     
    Also optional is a huge "Spray Kit" that is "Cowan Spray Systems" branded. The spray unit also works via key COMMANDS in "Spray On" and "Spray Off".
     

     
    The rear fuselage is really nicely shaped and modeled, as is the excellent engine/gearbox bay mesh vents with latches...  very impressive.
     

     
    You can see the Allison 250-C20J (this is the B-3 version of the 206) and also known as the "Rolls-Royce M250" at 420 hp (310 kW) turboshaft engine through the mesh grill (well the auxiliary piping anyway). But in a few areas the upper cowling needed more detail. The exhausts at the point they come through the cowling is not at all very realistic, as is the high curve on the rotor post cowling in being more in lines than actually round, the internal rotor post area is blank as well and doesn't look like a used working area.
     

     
    The rotor head detail however is really good, and all the assemblies (and control rods) are nicely visible....
     

     
    ....  and I like the way the blades will move up or down realistically in the wind. Like the 500, the rotor head is only semi-animated...  the roll action works and so does the collective action (bite). But the pitch action is contained to only to the animated lower base plate.
     

     
    The striking distinctive JetRanger tail is perfectly realised here, as are the mid-tail winglets... the rear tail assembly is also well constructed with the animated yaw (rudder) blades.
     

     
    There are the options to "STOW ROTORS" and add on "TIE DOWNS'.
     

     
    Provided for selection is a Pilot, CoPilot and two rear Passengers...  the pilot is also animated hands and feet to the controls.
     

     
    So overall externally it is a very nice version of the JetRanger 206B, and very CowanSim in detail and quality.
     
    Internal detail
    Open the wide doors to revel a really nice cabin...  there is the dreaded three-seater bench in the rear. You never wanted the middle seat as it is cramped and comes with no vision forward because of the bulkhead post, so you always rallied (okay, threw a tantrum) for one of the outside seats. Note the three front seat lifejackets. Seats are a lovey black leather with light grey trim inserts, and the rear cabin as a whole is a few levels higher in detail and quality including detailed trim materials and screws than with the past CowanSim aircraft, certainly a marked improvement.
    Oddly the side sliding windows don't work in the rear like they do on the front doors? but the inner door panel detail in the same light grey comes with really nice internal door latches that are very authentic and work correctly.
     

     
    CineFlex Camera
    Although attached externally, the great feature with the CowanSim 206 B3 is the CineFlex Camera option. Beautifully modeled and detailed the CineFlex system looks sensational. This is the stored flying position to protect the lens. You also need the power to be on before using the camera, then you can control the camera from the left rear camera station in the cabin...
     

     
    ...  the camera is fully animated with the right controller doing the UP/DOWN and LEFT/RIGHT movements, and the left knob adjusts the ZOOM.
     

     
    You can map the camera controls to a separate joystick or hardware. And it is noted to "scroll all the way to the bottom to find the camera options?" But I couldn't find them? More detailed information is required there...  because flying manually and also using the rear cabin mouse controls is a real non-possibility.
     
    The reality is the B206B is quite a very basic helicopter. There is not a lot of panels or features on the machine to highlight, for instance there is no autopilot (they come in either in two-axis or four-axis systems), so everything in here is all manual flying. But you do however get basic twin-controls...  i.e. Rudder, Cyclic and Collective controls.
     

     
    The design in the front is the same as the rear, twin seats are again in that nice black leather with light-grey inserts, and note the really nicely crafted headsets, in two rear and two front (the two front headsets are animated and reduce the volume when used), the detail up close is excellent. Note the nice and handy red fire extinguisher.
     

     
    Instrument Panel
    Oddly for such a small helicopter, the distinctive 206B hooded Instrument Panel is huge....  but most of the rest is intimate.
     
    The panel facia and instrument layout can be split into two areas. Nine Instruments grouped right are the Flying Instruments, then the two left rows of Eight are the Engine (aircraft) readouts and gauges.
    The Standard Six Flying Instruments are (Top Row Right); Airspeed (Knots), Artificial Horizon, Altimeter. (Mid Row Right); RPM, Heading Dial and V/S Vertical Speed. (Lower Row Right); Radar Altitude, ADF Pointers and Rate of Turn Indicator... Fuel Valve is bottom right.
     
    Left engine parameter instruments and gauges are (LtoR Top) Engine Oil Temp - Engine Oil Pressure, Engine Torque dial. (2nd Row); XMSN (Gearbox) Oil Temp - Oil Pressure, TOT (Turbine Outlet Temperature), (3rd Row); Fuel Gauge (GAL), Gas Producer (%RPM). (4th Row); Fuel Pressure, DAVTRON LCD Display (Chronometer/OAT/Volts). Far left panel is the ELT and DME (VOR2) readout. Far right on the cabin wall is a Compass.
     

     
    Top Instrument panel is a huge excellent (testable) annunciator/warning panel. LED lights for the panel can adjusted. Set to the right of the Instrument binnacle is an "AVITAB" optional feature (Menu). The Avitab can be rotated from the landscape horizontal into the Portrait vertical position...  it is however anything displayed is quite squashed in detail in the portrait mode and not very if at all usable?
     

     
    On the roof is a 29 alive or active Circuit Breaker (Fuse) panel, with a forward panel for Lighting and Power (AVIONICS/BAT/GEN), the Rotor brake is positioned right of the OVD Panel.
     

     
    Avionics are in the centre lower facia and console...  Garmin GMA 340 Audio Panel (split for Pilot/CoPilot) is top. Followed by a GNS530/GNS430 combo below, that unit can both be replaced with a Reality XP GTN 750/650 Touch avionics unit if you have that optional product.
     

     
    Lower (console) is a Garmin GTX 327 Transponder and a Bendix King KR 87 ADF tuner . You have the option to switch over the top GNS530 unit for two COMM/NAV 1- COMM/NAV 2 older Bendix/King KX 165 units. Far bottom are switches for the Air Conditioning...  Caution Lights, Engine De-Icing and turn the Hydraulic System on or off.
     
    On the collective it is quite basic as well...  Landing Lights, and GOV/RPM selections, Starter Button and the Idle Release (IDLE REL), this is so you don't go past the idle position (or shutdown the twirly bits over your head). Rear is a really nicely done cork throttle grip...  Note the CowanSim 206 model uses the “Wing Sweep” slider and not the “Throttle” slider for the twist grip throttle control, you usually reverse the axis (as I do for the Collective as well).
     
    There are a few selections on the Cyclic noted as a " B8 style flight grip", and this is a very good one in a replica of the real grip..  you can set the COMMAND settings for both the all the "Trim Hat Switch" movements (recommended), and a secondly for the "Force Trim" button. Rudder pedals are beautifully recreated  in detail and design.
     

    __________________
     
    Flying the CowanSim 206 B3
    Like the B206 overall the startup procedure is very simple...   Battery on, Avionics on Position and Anti-Collison lights on (but not the GEN switch). Fuel pumps on, which are hard to find (or miss) as they are grouped in the Circuit Breaker (fuses) packs...  and rotor brake up (or Off).
     

     
    Then open the Fuel Valve and lock it in place via the Red cover guard. The throttle grip should be in the shutoff/cutoff position below the IDLE Release...  if correct then press the STARTER button until the N1 (Gas Producer) gets to 20%, then twist in the throttle grip until the IDLE Release button pops up, then keep on holding the starter button until the engine start up procedure settles down around N1 60%...  easy.
     

     
    Now switch on the GEN Switch...  and you are now ready to fly!
     
    So how familiar is that startup sound...  CowanSim redid the sounds at the very last minute and that was the reason for a very quick update v1.1, it was well worth the effort though because they sound as perfectly as I remember them.
     

     
    I found testing in the replay mode that if you went very fast forward or in reverse the "Visual Offsets" went crazy and off view? No doubt caused by the "Head Force" feature, but I had also turned the "Head Force" feature off as I don't like controlled head movements when I'm flying, I use my eyes or view angle to change my view focus, not my whole head.
     

     
    Ready to go, I increased the throttle RPM (the grip on the collective) from Idle to the green zone 100%. As noted you use the "Wing Sweep" setting to control the throttle RPM. On a slight hover I found the controls light and easy to manoeuvre, with not a lot of yaw force needed to keep the aircraft straight.
     

     
    So just a slight touch of the right rudder, or to bring it back to centre was all that was required to turn the 206B on it's axis to the right...
     

     
    ...  I wanted to try that standard steep nose pitch down and accelerate out of shot scene like you see all the time in the American Cop shows, but failed dismally to get it right. But the B206 did fly extremely nicely. You need a little left rudder all the time, but actually not that much yaw is required to keep the machine in a straight line, so unlike a lot of machines you are not fighting it, but simply coaxing it...  the JetRanger is extremely easy aircraft to fly and the real aircraft are also noted for it's mild handling and forgiving nature, and that aspect comes across well here.
     
    However there is not much difference between the IGE power (In Ground Effect) to OGE (Out Of Ground Effect) in which you use different power outputs for different aspects of the flight, IGE is obviously lower thrust in the hover (because of the up-wash ground effect), were as OGE, is where more power is required in free air.
     

     
    The JetRanger will climb and accelerate quick quickly...   "agile" is the word that comes to mind, certainly not twitchy like a lot of these light-helicopters, so it is a very calm but athletic machine to fly...  which is perfectly great for chasing bad guys in swashbuckling action packed stunts.
     

     
    Rate of Climb is 1,350 ft/min (6.9 m/s), and you feel all of it, and you are easily at a 100 knts going forward...  Max speed is 120 kn (140 mph, 220 km/h) and the never exceed speed is 130 kn (150 mph, 240 km/h), so you get a lot of performance out of a twin-blade, single turbine arrangement.
     

     
    Trimming the B206B is sweet, you can easily find that perfect balance via the Hat-Switch, notable is the faster you go, the less left-rudder you require, but I found it still needed a smidge of movement to keep the JetRanger perfectly on track, that is nice with no servo helpers in here, so you can easily cross-country without getting overworked and tired.
     

     
    My comfort zone was 110 knts at 2500 ft, and I was now smoothly cruising along over the English landscape towards Manchester (EGCC).
    The Range is 374 nmi (430 mi, 693 km), with a Service ceiling of 13,500 ft (4,100 m), but you would never use that altitude.
     
    Lighting
    Overall the internal lighting is very basic...  there is only the Instrument (brightness) and the LED drop-down lighting on the Instrument panel... The LED effect however looks brilliant.
     

     
    Turn the LEDs down and the instruments are still very highly readable, very nice. But there is no overhead or cabin lighting at all...  nothing, which is rather odd, unless real...  so overall the cabin lighting is not very usable.
     
    External lighting has those two landing lights in the nose, in one angled and one vertical. There is standard navigation lights on the rear stabiliser wing and rear tail, and a beacon top tail.
     

     
    A lot of users bemoaned the fact the CowanSim 206 B3 had no cargo hook? Which seems to be a bit of an oversight. Granted the Bell 206 is not known as a lifting helicopter like say the Bell 512...  but it does have carry up to 600kg on the hook, with a max lift of 909 Kg, not that unreasonable.
     

     
    Internal views in flight are extremely realistic, and I have been in here very often, the rear always felt a bit cramped with the heavy divider from the front, but the views out were always very good with the biggish windows.
     

     
    Approaching Manchester and it is time to lower the altitude as there is a lot of low hanging cloud around, backing off the speed was also easy with just a slight pitch up with a slight touch of collective....  control was so docile and forgiving, the B206 B3 is so very impressively easy to fly. Moving into the hover or transitioning from fast forward flight known as Effectively Translational Lift (ETL), the JetRanger was very, very smooth, and no severe power changes were necessary.
     

     
    Approach to EGCC was a 1,000ft and 70 knts, then reducing to 500 ft and 45 knts when going over the airport boundary. if the IGE power is a factor or not I don't know, but I found the transition seemless...
     

     
    ....  into the hover and there was no nasties to trick you up, the JetRanger is perfectly composed and easily controllable, helpful is the light yaw (tailrotor) in that you don't have to fight it, but just feed in the amount of movement you require lightly...  I am not the absolute Helicopter professional I admit, but even I found it easy to control the machine with confidence. I got special clearance to do a bit of a PR exercise in landing on the "I ❤️ MCR" logo, so I wasn't going to mess up my moment.
     

     
    In I came with a perfectly considered judgement of were I wanted to place the aircraft, and did a nice rolling on to the spot landing.
     

     
    So the CowanSim B206 is impressive and can be flown by users with not the extreme skills that is sometimes required with these machines, and surprisingly even for a Helicopter in this Light-Heli category...  as most in this classification can be very nervy and challenging machines to fly, but JetRanger finds that sweet spot in handling, control for great and easy (even enjoyable) flying.
    __________________
    Liveries
    There are 58 Liveries included, yes FIFTY EIGHT. So they cover virtually most active countries that the B206B's operate in with 20 selections for the United States. Julien Lebrun and Marc Hamilton both made significant contributions to the list. As noted there is a PaintKit also provided if you want to personalise your own private JetRanger.
     
     I have picked a collection of 17 of the best liveries for your consideration. Including two N-XPLNs in "Gloss" and "Metallic", Two KPRC TV, Australian Army, Red Bull, Skyforce 10, Dick Smith's Aussie Explorer and Burswood Casino Australia...  N206NU is default.
     

    __________________
    Summary
    The Bell 206B is one of the most famed light-twin bladed Helicopter of the last half century. Seen everywhere (mostly in Films and on American Television), the machine is also the most familiar in almost every aspect of local flying, from Medi-Vac, Television Reporting, Sightseeing and Personal or Business transport, chances are if you are of a certain age you would have flown on a B206.
     
    Again the aircraft is a reject of an American Army's Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) proposal, that order went to the Hughes OH-6. Bell. Then Bell redesigned in the fuselage (making it far longer and more sleeker), more powerful and the JetRanger was born, and then the Army ordered hundreds as the Bell OH-58 Kiowa.
     
    This B206-B3 is CowanSim's third helicopter for the X-Plane Simulator, after  the Bell 222B + UT, and then the exceptional CowanSim 500E or Hughes 500 of P.I. Magnum television fame.
     
    With all CowanSim aircraft is that they come with their own style and shall we say American bravado, but hasn't stopped the aircraft being very, very popular and well regarded. And the B206-B3 is another in the line of aircraft, but has a more slightly better quality and detailing.
     
    One early aspect is however of significance. The Aircraft is designed not to absolute scale, but is scaled slightly larger for VR (Virtual Reality) considerations. The B206 is a small aircraft, even of very tight proportions, but here it is almost in the Bell 512 size category... so if you want an exact replica of the B206, then this is not that aircraft...   that is a very odd thing to do in a simulator.
     
    The feature list is long and extensive, with loads of tools (spotlights, wire cutters, high/low skids, working spray booms, blow floats) and an interesting working CineFlex camera, a notable missing feature is a cargo hook. You also get a (animated) Pilot, CoPilot and Passengers, opening windows (front only), RXP GTN750 option and a rotating AviTab. A huge collection of 58 liveries are also a nice addition.
     
    CowanSim's aircraft are always interesting machines to fly, as is this JetRanger. The point could be made in that is it too docile in it's flight parameters? That aspect certainly helps wannabe Helicopter pilot's and this is certainly a great and simple aircraft to be introduced to vertical flight, I think it is slightly both ways, both in that the flight envelope is a not as highly technical as it should be, but the JetRanger is also known to be also very easy if athletic aircraft to fly, but certainly it is not in the poorly developed capacity, as overall the machine in all aspects and certainly performance is very good.
     
    It's a CowanSim...  overall you know what you buy when you purchase a CowanSim aircraft, and this Bell 206B-3 is certainly the best designed and detailed CowanSim yet...  Nice.
    _______________________________
     

     
    Yes! the CowanSim 206 B3 is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: 
     
    CowanSim 206 B3
    Price is US$32.95
     
    Features: Free Future Updates Tested and Zeroed in by Real Pilots  Several Commands for Mapping Hardware Remove Before Flight Accessories  Pilots & Passengers Working Floats System Low & High Skid Versions Dynamic Weight Options Functional Spot Light Functional Spray Kit Functional Cineflex Camera 2K & 4K Versions FMOD Fully Dynamic Sound Pack Window Rain Effects Compatible with Vulkan API Virtual Reality Ready AviTab Integration RXP GTN 750 Integration Realistic Flight Dynamics 4K & 2K PBR Custom 3D instruments Detailed Night Lighting xLua for Systems and Animation SASL v3.12.1 for Custom Plugins Realistic Flight Dynamics This model has an authentic feeling while exploring the virtual world thanks to Laminar Research for developing a fantastic flight sim. 4k Physically Based Rendering Textures 4k PBR textures, or physically based rendering, provides the ability for very realistic lighting that mimics the flow of light in the real world. This model takes full advantage of X-Plane’s lighting with dynamic reflections and materials. Custom 3D Modeled Instruments Everyone loves a detailed and realistic looking cockpit. After all, that is where we spend most of our time in the sim, flying! The 3D instruments were developed to a high standard and are fully functional, with extensive custom coding to make it as realistic as possible. A Nice Cozy Cabin Sit back and relax in the cozy rear cabin and enjoy replays of your flight from a passenger’s perspective! Was it as comfortable and smooth as you thought it was from the pilot seat? This is especially interesting in VR and landing replays are the best. Paint Kit & Liveries Comes with several liveries and we also included a detailed paint kit. The kit is provided in both GIMP and Adobe® Photoshop® formats. A UV map layer included in each file allows for easy and accurate repaints. Vibrant and Detailed Night Lighting X-Plane has wonderful night lighting. The 206B3 project aimed to have plenty of lights, inside and out, making night flights possible. From the landing light to the cabin lighting, this helicopter really stands out at night. Animation & Sound Thousands of lines of custom code make up animations and systems. The fully immersive sound set was developed with FMOD. Sounds and animations work together with visual rotor-speed vibrational feedback, dynamic blade slap, rain effects and more. Reality XP GTN 750 Integration The Reality XP GTN 750 can be fully integrated into the cockpit. Reality XP GTN 750 Touch is the genuine simulated device used by flight simulation enthusiasts navigating the virtual skies as well as real world pilots for familiarization with the device. This add-on is a payware add-on and you can purchase it here: https://reality-xp.com/   Requirements
    X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.1 GB Current and Review Version: 1.1 (January 8th 2022) ___________________________________
     
    Installation and documents:  download for the 206 B3 is 1.96Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder.
     
    Full Installation is 1.44Gb
    Documents supplied are:
    CHECKLISTS - START-UP - 206B3.pdf MANUAL-206B3.pdf  
    Manual is half completed with no instrument references or just basic system references, but settings are well documented with a very good checklist that shows well intergrated startup and shutdown procedures.
     
    Support forum for all helicopters by CowanSim
    _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    14th January 2022
    Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55
    Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGCN - Doncaster Sheffield by Fly X (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$17.99
    - EGCC - Airport Manchester by Aerosoft (Currently not Available) - not to be confused with the current Aerosoft Manchester XP11
     
    (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
     

     
  21. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Chase1399 in Aircraft Review : Q4XP by FlyJSim   
    It was noted as Librain... however I think the misquote was Libradio? I'll check it out...  as noted Librain will be default in XP12 anyway.
  22. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from AirbusMan in Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS   
    Debatable... for real life atmosphere xEnviro is simply sensational, kills XP10. But it is buggy, heavy on framerate, extremely unreliable, poor METAR updates, and poor developer service, and the annoying no save of current conditions... 
    For the high price no, but X-Plane12 should soon give you the same without all the heavy drawbacks, I would wait for XP12 and put your money there...
  23. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from AirbusMan in Plugin Updated : xEnviro v1.16 (v1.15) by Dark Space   
    Plugin Updated : xEnviro v1.16 (v1.15) by Dark Space
     
    It is back! Yeah...   Well it never really went away, but it did for me. This Environmental Engine is in context the only weather application to have if you want totally realistic weather (sort of) in the X-Plane Simulator, but after nine boring months of X-Plane11's dull bland weather system, I will take anything that xEnviro will deliver.
     
    I was already bouncing between the buggy v1.13 and the very old v1.07 versions of xEnviro before, but with Vulkan unsupported by the xEnviro plugin application, and as I entered the beta phase of the X-Plane11.50 (Vulkan/Metal) update, then I lost the tool completely.
     
    11 months in development and finally out came the next update in v1.14...  but only for OpenGL, yes I went a bit bonkers in the fact that X-Plane 11.50 had already gone final (Sept) and now this was the 23rd November 2020, and I was still locked out of this application...   use OpenGL...  not on your nellie.
     
    Christmas Eve and I was away on a Christmas break, then when out of nowhere came v1.15, so xEnviro was finally now also Vulkan compatible,
     
    Yeah! Merry Christmas, the best Christmas present ever...  and thank god for all that, only that when I installed it, it was that v1.15 still didn't work in the current (beta) Vulkan, but only on the final version of X-Plane v11.50, so I had to dial everything back to the last final update and kill the beta version...  but, but I had both xEnviro AND Vulkan together and finally working.
     
    Laminar were also close to the end of the v11.51 development and then it also went final in the last throws of 2020, and because it was a final, we then got another quick (fix) update to xEnviro v1.16. The motto of this story really means on how much we have to persevere to use this application, but for once Dark Space did update (twice) and quickly to Vulkan.
     
    Let us be totally frank and up front... xEnviro is still very buggy, and a massive framerate killer...  but also totally invaluable to your simulation needs.
     


     
    Suddenly everything is alive again as these first images show when running in v1.15. The light flows around you and you can actually see everything again in the cockpit... so the view difference to the standard X-Plane feel below are quite significant. You also had to work twice as hard (or sometimes four times as hard) to get the same feel and light into the images in the X-Plane default lighting...
     

     
    ...  and in creating the reviews it just creates a lot of extra work, and they STILL feel ordinary. xEnviro however when installed then explodes onto your screen and its images break into beautiful lighting.
     


     
    Terminator times are obviously the best lighting periods, as seen here...
     

     
    ...  and the effect is or can be totally mesmerising.
     

     
    v1.16
    There has been a huge amount of development work done on this application, and that aspect can be seen from the changes between the v1.13 and v1.16 settings panels....  again!
     

     
    I have totally lost the plot on what the settings panel actually was laid out with since the start of using xEnviro, every update brings in a new and completely different settings panel layout? and again in v1.15 has changed quite significantly.
     
    Most of these slider changes came in with the v1.14 update...  including : Clouds static quality slider, Clouds dynamic quality slider, Clouds detail range slider and the Clouds blur level slider of which all were added, two checkboxes were also added including the aerial perspective checkbox and night perspective checkbox. The surface snow drift effect was also a part of the v1.14, but the seasonal effects (meaning that brilliant snow coverage) won't now work in Vulkan (damn). Removed also in v1.14 was the Full Clouds coverage checkbox.
     
    Results are complicated, but it does give you a huge amount of control. The Brightness, Contrast, Vibrance and Gamma sliders under the "Effects Settings" allow you a lot of control over your visual lighting and colour feel. Before you had to do this aspect mostly via your Graphic Card settings panel (NVIDA in my case), but these settings override them and you can now adjust on the fly, and visually to get the right look and feel you want, and it is a powerful tool in this aspect. Yes these setting sliders were in the earlier xEnviro versions, but I had forgotten on how really good and how powerful these tools actually were. I love the METAR data download feature as well, god I missed that one as well.
     
    In v1.15 more setting changes focused on the "Tone" areas...   as a Post processing tone mapping system with a Tone mapping selector slider and a Tone mapping mixing level slider were all added in. The Maximum ozone level slider was removed and replaced with a single "Realistic ozone level" checkbox instead.
     

     
    Tonemapping is usually understood as the process of mapping color values from HDR (high dynamic range) to LDR (low dynamic range), so if a room is too dark you can lighten the room to see more detail...   so mostly it would used in say inside the cockpit.
     
    The settings in Tonemapping are in six selections: Off, Luma, Photo, Flimic, Lottes and Aces... these examples are all at 100% slider.
     


     
    Can't see the differences, well they are there, but showing the same six settings in an exterior shot does show you the extremes...
     


     
    ...  of the range of the tone available, however this is the full setting (Aces) and 50% tone level which gives you this...
     

     
    Tonemapping off (below), and I still think it is the best look visually.
     

     
    Main focus is on the cloud quality. The dramas of the long and wound out development of v1.14 was to try to get some efficiency out of those clunky 3d volumetric clouds. The results are half and half, but the point is you can at least adjust the sliders to get more performance now (or at least be able to find that best setting for your use), than be trapped by what settings Dark Space only gave you before.
     
    I lose about on average 10fr at the settings set below in the cloud settings with mostly all set on the "Medium" setting, but this at least in Vulkan is thankfully a workable environment...
     

     
    ...  there are four settings: Low, Medium, High and Ultra and Cloud blur from 1% to 100%, Ultra is the most extreme...
     

     
    ...  but in reality using Ultra is a total waste of computer power, and the differences are marginal visually.
     
    Clouds
    Overall the clouds are really good, here are some overcast cumulus on the base and on the top....
     

     
    ...  the effect is very good, but pan or tilt your view and you get a load of minute crosses as the clouds are replaced by artifacts...
     

     
    ...   ditto in the cockpit, as if you pan or tilt your view in the cockpit you get this stutter. And it is slightly annoying if you are adjusting the knobs and controls a lot. The cloud static quality and dynamic quality adjustment does affect this stutter, and adjusting the sliders does help, but does not totally eliminate the stutter either. Another issue of a rolling wave of clouds as it builds, this effect can also be adjusted lower by having the cloud settings set in the low or medium positions.
     

     
    That bad squaring or blocking of the clouds has also been hidden, the flat sides can hstill owever be seen now and then, but overall the cloud edges are far better. The volumetric clouds are also softer (without using the slider) and feel and look more puffy, the larger artifact feel of the earlier versions have been reduced, so in reality you are getting more volume for better detail.
     

     
    X-Plane is still regulated to three layers of cloud, something that Dark Space rallies against, but it still works well at altitude...
     

     
    Dark Space have worked hard on getting the right ozone feel correct, to the point as mentioned to even removing the ozone slider from the settings panel, but you can still add in the "Camera blue filter" (to be used sparingly) if you want a more deeper ozone blue, but personally, a touch more is all you really need.
     
    Cloud shading is also very good, and highly realistic and the machines come really alive in many instances with the right conditions.
     

     
    Fog or minimum visibility is still highly and realistically impressive. The snow effect is good as well (rain and snow have been improved for v1.15), but you miss the ground coverage snow blanket effects in Vulkan, another quirk is the the wipers don't clear the snow away from the windshield either. Added in v1.15 are also new and better Windshield fogging and freezing effects.
     



     
    Another big favorite is cloud transparency, the visual feel through the cloud is very, very good, but you don't have the cloud shade slider anymore to adjust the cloud effect (shadow) onto the landscape, it is the one setting I would like back.
     

     
    And so overall this is what xEnviro finally comes down to...   the lighting and the lighting effects of X-Plane the simulator. From the musty dawn...
     

     
    ...  to the bright mid-afternoon sun, then dusk.
     

     
    The application transforms the visual impact of the simulator, the aircraft are pin sharp and very realistic in these great atmospheric lighting effects, if the best in X-Plane, xEnviro wraps you in the weather and better lighting conditions, and in that aspect alone it is a worthy tool.
     

    ______________________
     
    Summary
    Still the outstanding Environmental application for the X-Plane Simulator. Still not perfect by any imagination, with a high framerate use and visual artifact and stuttering, but now being Vulkan v11.51 compatible it does go a long way in helping out the efficiency of this extraordinary tool.
     
    11 months of development has refined a lot of the old quirks and dialed out a lot of the volumetric clouds issues, it is certainly better, but not at all perfect. More changes to the settings panel means a lot of sliders and options have been removed and replaced with better lighting sliders and tonemapping sliders, ozone sliders have been removed and replaced with a single option choice. With the use of Vulkan the excellent season (snow) feature has also been removed (hopefully temporary). Important features like a version for MAC OS and History (saved weather conditions), which are highly important are still very much buried at the bottom of Dark Space's to do list, in that aspect it is a very direful show from the developers.
     
    Most of the update changes in v1.16 (v1.15) are hidden well under the skin here, but you certainly feel the massive difference with this exceptional plugin working visually than being relegated to the average X-Plane default weather system of which I was for nine (long) months, the application creates a totally far better and vibrant environment all around you, and makes the X-Plane Simulator a far, far more realistic simulator.
     
    XEnviro is expensive, but also invaluable if you want an realistic simulator experience, you will need a lot of computer power as well, but overall the positives easily and overwhelmingly outweigh the negatives....  Highly Recommended!
    ___________________________________________
    

     
    Yes! the xEnviro Environment Engine v1.16 by Dark Space FZE is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    xEnviro
    Price is US$69.90
    Sorry this plugin is Windows only at this point, But Mac will come eventually!
     
    xEnviro Features:  The only addon featuring volume rendered clouds and volume rendered atmosphere. Real time meteorological data with a smooth refresh interval from 5 up to 60 minutes. Atmosphere condition based on dynamic air parcel prediction model used for real aviation research and training. Atmosphere quality includes humidity, pollution and fine particle amount. Unlimited variability of cloud formations generated dynamically by the atmosphere engine. Advanced hurricane model based on actual data tracking and live feeds. Precise thunderstorm cell locations based on real time radar and satellite data. New physics based realistic sky coloring rendered using real time ray tracing and light scattering. Actual wind direction and speed for all levels as well as for the temperature, turbulence and windshear. Volumetric effects for different types of precipitation like drizzle, rain and snow. Reflective raindrops on windshield for any aircraft with virtual cockpit. Realistic cloud passing visual effects. Visual effects of aircraft lighting in clouds (strobe lights, beacon lights, navigation lights, landing lights). Landing lights effect during in-cloud and foggy flight. Volumetric external aircraft lights for selected set of aircraft. Light reflections by cloud surface from urban lights at variable intensities. Physics based light scattering for clouds. High quality real time cloud shading. Flexible settings for atmosphere, visual and sound effects. Surface crosswind component can be reduced during ground roll for users with no rudder pedals. Realistic braking action and braking degradation based on actual reports. Atmosphere and cloud light scattering and color depend on atmosphere quality, weather conditions and time of day. Environmental sound engine with ambient sounds and capability to add custom sounds to X-Plane scenery.   xEnviro is the most technologically advanced tool that uses the most progressive technologies. xEnviro has a user-friendly interface with flexible settings for each component. xEnviro uses its own art assets along with its own sound library. xEnviro does not alter X-Plane shaders, textures or any other files. xEnviro does not require installations of any additional products or libraries and is fully ready to use out of the box. xEnviro software is constantly being updated. xEnviro has been designed by simmers for simmers!  
    Requirements
    Minimum Requirements X-Plane 11+ Windows 7/Vista/ 8/8.1/ 10 - Not Mac compatible at this time 8 GB+ VRAM  A quality and powerful Graphic Card and System is recommended Current and Review version : 1.16 (January 4th 2021) _____________________________________________________________________________________   Plugin Update by Stephen Dutton  11th January 2021 Copyright©2021: X-PlaneReviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)    
  24. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from AirbusMan in Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS   
    Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS
     
    Any new aircraft release from ToLiSS is always a reason to celebrate, in a short period of years the developer has entrenched themselves into delivering extremely high quality Airbus aircraft and their systems. First release was the Airbus A319-122, then the larger A321-123. Then both aircraft came with NEO (New Engine Option) upgrades. In the background however was a far more ambitious project and certainly the largest Airbus yet from ToLiSS, the... Airbus A340-600.
     
    The Airbus A340, along with it's Twin-Engined sister design A330 was built to compete with the Boeing 777 in the 1990s, in reality the A330 is only used as a long-medium range aircraft (13,450 km / 7,250 nmi), along with the Boeing 777 (13,649 km/ 7,370 nmi ), were as the four-engined A340 can do a extremely long-range (16,670 km / 9,000 nmi) in -500 guise, the -600 version produced here by ToLiSS swaps range for payload, but can still do a significant 14,450 km / 7,800 nmi range, so you would expect the aircraft to be extremely popular on long distance hub to hub routes.
     
    But fate and the growing environmental concerns have reduced the demand for aircraft in this A380, B747, A340 capacity...  overall it was the Boeing 777, with it's capacity, better efficiency and the lesser ETOPS restrictions that has ultimately slowed the A340 orders and finally removed the aircraft from services...  it survives servicing currently only on the ultra long routes around the world, as the airlines are slowly reducing it's serviceable numbers, the Covid19 interaction didn't help the cause either. Thankfully there are still 60 A340-600s in service with six airlines worldwide, but the numbers are dwindling away fast. The A340 was the right aircraft at the right time, but the world itself changed around it, to defeat it.
     
    The A340-600 was stretched by 20–22 frames over the -300 to 75 m (246 ft) in length, making -600 at the time the longest Airbus built until the A380 a decade later, Internal layouts are in a 3-4 class arrangement of 320–370 seats, and the aircraft is powered by Three-shaft High Bypass Turbofan Rolls-Royce Trent 556s engines at 55,780–61,902 lbf thrust output, it is a derated engine, because there are four of them, and for efficiency and the reduced fuel consumption. The -600 also has a larger wing area 439.4m², to accommodate larger fuel tanks.
     
    The release from ToLiSS of the A340-600, also breaks new ground for the developer. For the first time the complete aircraft has been 100% created in-house, were as in the past the modeling and other various elements were exported out to 3rd party commissions (most notable was Roman Berezin of FlightFactor fame), some commissions still however are in use as Ekran Design, SamWise and SpeedM have all still been assigned. But the now internal aspect of almost everything in the process was to create a far more tighter control over the quality and a faster output, plus the addition of more features and detail.
     
    External Details
    As noted this Airbus is now a complete in house design, and to be honest the earlier ToLiSS aircraft were good and well modeled, but not in that so called upper quality area. So there are two important things to keep in mind here when reviewing this aircraft...  This is their first internal modeling project, so there will be the odd issue and quality quirk, and two with the quality now being in house, quirky areas will and can be updated very quickly and resolved... that said, the first impressions of this A346 are extremely good.
     

     
    At 75.36 m / 247.24 ft the -600 is a loooong barrel style aircraft, I found the -500 version quite Boeing 707 in proportion, but the -600 just doesn't have that profile, but to more the Douglas DC-8-63/73 style.
     

     
    Shape and barrel are actually very good, but you do feel and even in areas you can see the drawn on lines, but closer in the detail and the NML normal mapping, or Dot3 bump mapping is really very good if even discrete, and the excellent (all) door(s) and external cabin window detail can highlight this excellent mapping in the right lighting conditions.
     

     
    Close inspection shows Lo-Res cockpit metal window surrounds, they look okay, but are a bit washed out/buzzy close up... but the glass is excellent, right colour and the right depth of thickness, the side cabin windows are very good as well.
     

     
    We were not very impressed by the NEO upgrade engine modeling on the ToLiSS A321, but these Rolls-Royce Trent 556s are excellent, lovely shape and great internal inlet and external pod detail...  a marked step forward.
     

     
    A bit more wear and burn realism on the outlet cowlings would be nice though.
     
    Wings are very nice, with still only a few noticeable lines, but overall very nicely done with perfect tank under wing access plates. Airflow markings on the flaps is nice, and note the realistic drooping of all the aerodynamic surfaces when not hydraulically powered up...
     

     
    ... the wing tip detail is excellent, with the winglet that are well proportioned.
     
    Tail and rear elevators are really good as well, nicely detailed and formed...  the point rear APU outlet looks a little too modeled and added on, and may require later a texture with some exhaust gas markings for more realism...  but otherwise the rear is very good.
     

     
    The main gear and the famous A340 three bogie arrangement is perfectly realised here, and really well done...
     

     
    ...   the gear strut assembly and components are very realistic and detailed, they look and feel real, but don't feel over worn or used heavily year on year... but still it is all is very nicely done. Strut labels are good (but reversed?), and the wheel well detail looks still a bit of WIP, with no attachments or internal box textures (photos?) if you go looking. The central middle strut is mostly hidden on the upper parts, but the lower bogie assembly is excellent, and certainly around the hydraulic piston and support arms. The massive hollow gear pins are all correctly modeled, with the wheel hub and realistic rubber tyres are also very well done.
     

     
    The complex nose-gear also delivers brilliantly, again all struts the and linkages are perfect, and the in-built TAXI and RUNWAY TURNOFF lighting are all very realistic. So overall (discounting the inner wheel-wells) all the gear is all excellent and delivers the gear realism you need  on an aircraft of this calibre.
     

     
    Cabin
    Stepping aboard the ToLiSS A340 and you are overwhelmed by the greyness, with a lot of beige thrown in...
     

     
    There are as noted four classes... First, Business, Premium Economy and a huge Economy class...   In the forward cabin there are eight First Class seats (in a Dark Grey) in a cubicle arrangement... 
     

     
    ...  next cabin is a thirty seat Business or Executive Class layout that blends into another thirty seat Premium Economy layout, and all are covered in Grey and Teal (ToLiSS livery) materials...
     

     
    ...  then on it goes, cabin after cabin, and the of rows and rows of grey and teal seating in economy.
     


     
    Seat quality and design is actually very good, with some really lovely seating materials and high quality stitching...  but it will be interesting of what the painters can do to recreate some authentic A340 cabins.
     

     
    Galleys are nicely detailed as well, but also feel slightly bland with the samey colouring used here. Using metal surfaces (and Trolley Carts?) or creating the more realistic workplace surfaces would probably make these areas come more alive...   it is early days.
     

     
    Unique on the A340 is the lower (economy) floor toilets...  the access is via some stairs rear to the lower floor, and it is really well done (note the nice shiny metal rails!), and great for an in flight explore. The A340 is supposed to have two subterranean areas, with a forward lower floor crew rest area and toilets as well...  but I could find a forward area.
     

     
    Two more cabin notes...  One is that all the seats have a built in (forward view) screen (Larger in First and Biz) to mimic the unique tail camera on the A340, which is great for watching landings! But at night all the screens turn into a nasty green? Thankfully you can turn the screens off on the OHP, via the "Landscape Camera" switch.
     

     
    A great touch is that both the overhead "No Smoking" and "Seatbelt" signs actually work...  and can be set individually...  nice. The main front and rear cargo holds are also textured in, but not in a highly detailed design, but still another nice to have.
     

     
    Cockpit
    It is what is through the cockpit door that really counts...   first thought is the overwhelming 90s feel, as the cockpit material is the dark blue and white stitched stripe in design, first impressions are very good to the very impressed and I will call the look overall very professional. Over a period of time you really come to like being in here, important for 12+ hour flights.
     


     
    The rear has one rear seat, and one unfolded jumpseat, it feels nice in the rear...  left rear is a wardrobe (with hangers) boxes for manuals, extinguisher and other various items, the modeling is good, but not in that higher Hi-Def realism in that there is a mixture of both Hi and Lo modeling elements.
     

     
    Front Captain and First Officer seats are really well done, nice materials and come with a nice hard shiny shell back, but the armrests are not animated, but at least they are positioned in the stored position as to not block-out the pedestal panels.
     

     
    All the Instrument Panel, Pedestal and Overhead Panel (OHP) have this lovely (Airbus) bluey-grey sheen, and that shows off the very nice PBR (Physical Based Rendering) effects to their maximum, it looks and feels oh so very realistic. But far more to the FlightFactor A320 feel than the JARDesign feel.
     


     
    So it is really not noticeable at first, but the quality of the instrument panel texture and knobbly feel is absolutely first rate when the lighting is at it's best...  you feeeel this aircraft in it's top draw quality.
     

     
    Overall highlight is certainly the throttle quadrant, with it's four knobby throttles (rear reverser levers) and companion fuel switches... look closely and there is some very nice scratch work for wear and tear aging on all the panels.
     

     
    But I am not crazy about the external wipers, they look quite clunky from the internal viewpoint, and even distracting from the pilot's seat, the real A340 wipers do have the large attachment clasp, but not the large thick body it is attached to.
     
    Power and Alignment
    Power up with both Battery (BAT 1/BAT 2) and I am also using EXT (External) ground power and you have two "EXT A and EXT B" inputs available on the Overhead Panel.
     

     
    On power up I was surprised that only the left PFD (Primary Flight Display, and top ECAM (EWD) screen tested up first (40 Secs). And not the usual all instruments "Self Test" mode, so I checked that out with ToLiSS and here is the reply...
     
    "The Captain PFD and EWD get powered as soon as the batteries are on, whereas all other displays need to wait until AC power is applied. So the Captain PFD and EWD finish their self test much earlier."
     
    Fair enough...  and it is the same with the ADIRS navigation alignment. When the left MAP/NAV display is already set (MAP alignment is also nearly complete).
    The right MAP/NAV display however still has to wait until the alignment process has been completed. Now the reason is that the ADIRU on alignment is now also susceptible to the small pressure sensor differences between the units, and in to also the more random switching of the sources for the PFDs, in so creating the non-same time visual display differences...
     

     
    ...   so I again enquired about that aspect of the odd screen start up alignment as well...  another ToLiSS reply.

    "Each ADIRU aligns on its own. ND1 uses data from ADIRU1 and ND2 from ADIRU2. Each of these will transition to HDG displayed as soon as it's own ADIRU is ready. As you do not switch them all on at the same time, the situation can happen that one display is already valid and the other one is not."  end of debate.
     
    Once powered and aligned, the instrument panel is all Airbus... in a six panel T panel display arrangement, in all cases Airbus panels are extremely similar, the only concessions are the engine layouts on the two central ECAM (Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor) displays, in this case the four engine arrangement. Notable is the blank lower DCDU - Data Communication Display Units, ToLiSS says they will come soon in an update.
     

     
    Both left and right PFD (Primary Flight Displays) are the standardised layout. Speed and altitude ribbons, V/S indicator, rate of turn high and rotating bearing lower and the centralised Artifical Horizon, the display is bright and clear and adjustable for brightness. There is a really nice rich tone to the PFD display of which I like...   MAP/Navigation Display is standard fair as well, Compass Heading top, GS (Ground Speed), Adjustable range and VOR 1 and VOR 2 left and right lower.
     

     
    ECAM is two displays with the E/WD (ECAM Warning Display) top and the various SD (System Display) modes lower...
     

     
    Every ECAM profile is available...ENG, BLEED, PRESS, EL/AC, EL/DC, HYD, C/B (Circuit-Breakers), APU, COND, DOOR, WHEEL, F/CTL, FUEL, and STS. All modes are accessible via the ECAM Control Panel below the SD display.
     

     




     
    Everything feels exaggerated on the SD screens and that is because everything in the A340 is duplicated by four, and then there is the extensive fuel tank layouts and the four (nose, two main and one central) and undercarriage arrangements, comparing this SD display to the A330 or A320 ECAM arrangements, the SD feels far more crammed and more complex than on the other Airbuses except for the other Four-Engined A380.
     
    It is a marvel on how much has been now inserted with these system modes and their high complex detail in Simulation... ToLiSS was one of the first custom developers with the QPAC A320 that delivered these early Airbus system modes, and this is now a serious deep dive of system functionality, it is also all very authentic to a study grade Airbus with here there is an active 30 warnings and with over 200 caution messages built in to the system.... we have come a very long way in only half a decade.
     
    All the display panels can be popped out (touching glass).. and easily scaled (with your mouse-scroll) for screen space or home cockpit builders.
     

     
    Over the years there has been also the many various manipulators to try to recreate the Airbus push-pull knob system, some were more successful than others. Here ToLiSS has done another take on how to manipulate the Autopilot control knobs.
     

     
    The half-moon manipulators turns the knob (scroll), but to Push-Pull you press the mouse and create a fist, then drag the fist either upwards or downwards to PUSH (drag up), or PULL (drag down)... It take a little getting used to, as all the Push-Pull movements are quite if very small, and you are not sure if you have done the required action. After a while however it does easily become second nature.
     
    Multi-Function Control and Display Units
    The two Multi-Function Control and Display Units (MCDU) are excellent, and better still are both separate individual units for both the Captain and First Officer.
    The left MCDU is set for the left (Captain) MAP/NAV display and the right MCDU is for the right side (F-Officer). The left MAP/NAV shown here is set in ARC mode..  and right MAP/NAV shown here is set in PLAN mode.
     

     
    The pop-out plate facias however are a far more brighter bluish tone than the installed pedestal Blue-Gray units, and to a point they don't really match up together very well.
    You can type directly into either MCDU, by pressing the panel facia, but if you however press the glass area it simply and quickly disappear? and so it is very easy to point yourself into the wrong area and lose the unit...  touching the MCDU glass on the pedestal units is the way to pop-out the units, all like the same with the PFD, NAV/MAP and ECAM Displays.
     
    Ease of use of inserting flightplans and the editing of the flightplan on the MCDU is simply excellent, it is obviously an all Airbus dialogue and layout, but it isn't hard at all to master.
    But be aware that you should understand the data you are inserting into the system get the correct flight profile out of the aircraft. Even small mistakes can do weird things to these very complicated machines, as we are at a study level here and the aircraft reacts only to the correctly inputted data in that aspect. Thankfully ToLiSS provides you with the most critical data required on the Menu.
     
    INIT pages 1 & 2 (INIT FUEL PREDICTION) can be inserted (arrowed below left) and the required data (ZFW/ZFWCG) and (BLOCK) data is important...
     

     
    ...  this can relate to the separate "FUEL PRED" page, which is very good in it's in-flight fuel prediction detail. Notable is "SEC F-PLN" or secondary flightplan (above left) than can be copied (COPY ACTIVE) from the main flightplan and can then be changed and used to create a different departure or arrival route.
    SID/STAR and airways support also a fully custom and supporting a FMGS backbone of all A424 leg types (Arc, course or heading to intercept, Radius to Fix and Holdings).
     
    Also a note... on the TAKE OFF (Performance) (upper right arrowed) phase the FLEX TO TEMP input has to inserted as an "F" in front of the Flex Temperature to get accepted (i.e. F41). So very Flexible, detailed, the A340's MCDU, Flight Management Guidance Computer (FMGC) is excellent in the A340 and very authentic to look at and access.
     
    Pedestal
    The pedestal is perfect... Radios top (each side) of the fully formed four Fuel Switches (they feel gorgeous), with Radar left and ATC (Transponder) right... Notable is that you will notice that there is a basic skeleton installed for the ATC Comm page, another feature of the upgraded ATC, coming in X-Plane12.
     

     
    ....  lower are is the Speed Brake left and Flap lever right (again both beautifully modeled). Set centre is the standard Airbus engine start (Ignition) switch and the backup (Multipurpose) MCDU. Noted here are ACMS, CMS, SAT and ATSU options, and ToLiSS notes these will later become active on all three MCDU units with the Controller–pilot data link communications (CPDLC) link as a high priority, and I like the idea of a printout option, that creates a TXT file that you can print out externally. Bottom left of the pedestal is the cockpit door lock, main PARK BRAKE and RUDDER TRIM knob.
     
    Overhead Panel (OHP)
    The OHP is noted as a “single slope”. with the "Forward zone" for the most frequently used functions, i.e.
    - System controls, that are arranged in three main rows : - center row for engine-related systems, arranged in a logical way. - lateral rows for other systems. The Aft zone (top area), is not really used in flight, and is mainly for being a small maintenance panel corresponding to some maintenance controls.
     

     
    Notable is the complex fuel tank arrangement of six main tanks (Two tanks each Wing, Centre Tanks and the tail Trim tank), plus each has a "Vent" tank open to the elements. Engines also have four separate electrical generators adding into the complexity. Yes study is required if you want to go deeper into these elements.
     
    TISCS Menu
    The menu system or "ToLiSS Interactive Simulation Control System" is a bit long winded but it is shortened as TISCS, but it is an important if essential part of the system, so we will need to go through the TISCS first.
    I do recommend in setting up a key command input to bring the TISCS menu up, as you will access the TISCS a lot (I use "S" and the same TISCS menu key works for all the ToLiSS aircraft, A340, A319 and A321).
     
    There are seven TISCS tabs available covering: SITUATIONS A/C CONFIG, LOADING PERFO, GROUND SERVICES, FAULTS SCENERIOS, SOUND/ADDONS, JOYSTICK ACTIONS and GENERAL SETTINGS. The default is the "Ground Services" panel
     
    Situations A/C Config
    The "Config page" is used to set up the aircraft with two sections, "LOAD/SAVE SITUATIONS" and "AIRCRAFT CONFIGURATION"
     
    Load/Save Situations is an absolute gem of a tool, basically it is "Save" tool, but it saves EVERYTHING including the important MCDU settings and your full route (yes even the SIDs and STARs), and better still it gives you a backup "Auto-Saving" feature in case X-Plane does a nasty CTD (Crash to Desktop) or a freeze on you, all the saved files are held in the X-Plane Plugin's Folder and not in the A340 Aircraft folder...  
     
    It is years better than any other save tool in X-Plane, as it is simply golden to set up or to have your aircraft ready at a certain state of "ready to Flight" or in certain flight position or situation. So if you just want to come back and just fly from a certain (takeoff) point, then you can simply save the aircraft ready to start that way...  it is just simply brilliant.
     
    The Auto-Saving function can be set at save intervals from 1min to 30min, but 5min is the best or turned off. The saved situations can be "Filtered" to find certain saved situations (image below right)
     

     
    Aircraft Configuration section is different to the A319/A321 TISCS layouts. Gone (for now) are the engine configurations, and replaced by; HAS BRAKE FAN (Yes/Auto/No), USE WEIGHT VARIANT (Auto/Regular/HGW - High Gross Weight) and the use of IMPERIAL UNITS (or KGS)
     
    Lower is a new TISCS option to adjust the aircraft's performance relative to it's age (NEW to OLD), on the AIRCRAFT AGE and ENGINE AGE sliders. Note: all the A/C Configurations page settings have to be saved before use.
     
    Loading Perfo
    This tab covers the AIRCRAFT LOADING, BLOCK FUEL, CG-GW and TO-PERFORMANCE
     

     
    AIRCRAFT LOADING: This setting zone sets up the aircraft's payload for; Passengers, Passenger Distribution, FWD Cargo (Lbs/Kgs), Aft Cargo (Lbs/Kgs) and then you can apply the load settings to the A340.
     
    BLOCK FUEL: allows you to set the BLOCK (to BLOCK) Fuel amount (Lbs/Kgs) with a "QUICK REFUEL/DEFUEL".
     
    CG-GW: the diagram shows you via a graph the CG Limits (Centre of Gravity) and current CG position in three colours: Black TO (Takeoff) CG Limits, Blue FT (Flight) CG Limits and Red LDG (Landing) CG Limits.
     
    TO-PERFORMANCE: This is a calculator tool to find the TOGA (TakeOff/Go-Around) performance numbers...  you set the (S/F) Flap Configuration (1+F) and the calculator will give you the V1, VR and V2 ref speeds (For input in the MCDU (PERF) TAKE OFF page). Plus the CG/THS and Flex Temp (F)...  
    ...  to use the TO-PERFORMANCE calculator though you have to set the Departure Airport and Runway in the MCDU before the TO-PER calculator will work?
     
    Other MCDU input data notes are in the left side "AIRCRAFT LOADING" Section, this includes the ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight), and ZFWCG (Zero Fuel Weight Centre of Gravity), they are both inputted on the INIT B PAGE (The BLOCK FUEL is also inputted on the same INIT B page).
     
    Ground Services
    This tab covers the external factors on the aircraft in; QUICK SERVICES, PUSH-BACK, ANIMATED SERVICES and AIRCRAFT DOORS
     
    QUICK SERVICES: provides options for "Ground Power" (Two units in POWER A and POWER B as noted on the OHP) and "HIGH and LOW PRESSURE AIR" which is there to start the engines and provide ventilation/air-conditioning while on the ground. There are no external physical units, But there is a built in PUSHBACK feature...
     
    PUSHBACK: is quite basic in look and to use in AUTO (Set distance and Rotation) or MANUAL modes. However I always use the excellent BetterPushBack Truck as an alternative. The ToliSS A340 has also been configured correctly for the BetterPushBack use, so it works extremely well here. Note in watching the pushback operation details on the ECAM SD "WHEEL" page!
     
    ANIMATED SERVICES: panel is not currently operational at this time, so there are no chock's, flags or engine covers...  as ToLiSS notes that flying performance and systems are more of a priority than any addon features.
     

     
    AIRCRAFT DOORS: have three selections with Auto (default) Close and Open. The Auto setting will open the doors when the park brake is set and the engines are off.
    But they do have a tendency to be a bit uncontrollable in opening the aircraft, and you then have to (constantly and annoyingly) reset all the doors back to the "AUTO" preference state, and as this is default auto setting it will always switch back again and have the front left and the two cargo doors open every time you load up the aircraft?
    The Door Auto setting is my only really pet peeve with ToLiSS aircraft and now with eleven doors and hatches...  but it has gotten better in the save department if you do a "Save" on the Config page.
     
    Faults Scenerios
    The A340 like the A319/A321 has a great failure system, or FAULT SCENERIOS. These failures can be set up on the TISCS Panel. You can ENABLE the RANDOM FAULTS feature and set the FLIGHT TIME FACTOR of LESS or MORE Flights.
     
    You have a total random setting that covers a wide range of 140 system faults, or you can set your own failure with the options including: NOW, AT TIME(set time in Seconds from now), AT IAS (Speed), AT ALT (set altitude) or RANDOM, and you can set as many failures as you like.
     
    My selection here is ELEC (Electrical)/BATT 2/AT ALTITUDE (You can also set the altitude for the failure), and the fault worked as set, second failure was FLT (Flight) CTRL (Control)/R OUTBD AIL JAM/RANDOM/FLIGHT or Flight Control-Right Outboard Aileron Jam-set at Random in Flight. All Faults can be deleted or changed at will.
     

     
    Sound/Addons
    SOUND SETTING: panel covers the aural areas of; Engine Volume, System Volume, Cockpit sounds, Environmental sounds, Ground Contact, Aural Alerts and External Volume. Doppler sound effects and 3D Sound Fading which is an option to switch off the sounds from the PTU (Power Transfer Unit) and Flaps in the cockpit. 
     

     
    ADDONS: Currently there are no "Addon" options at this point in time.
     
    Notable is that the JOYSTICK ACTIONS that was situated on this "Sound" tab on the A319/A321 has been moved to it's own tab (Below).
     
    JOYSTICK CONFIGURATION: selections options cover the "Primary Joystick" FOUND, and the PRIMARY STICK DEADBAND margin selection.
    The control of NWS (NoseWheel Steering) has been changed to select the "JOYSTICK ROLL in No/Auto/Yes options, Enable Second Joystick (For custom setups like home built panels or for training) as it supports the use of two sidesticks (pilot and co-pilot side) again the FOUND option and another DEADBAND slider is available for the SECOND JOYSTICK.
     
    Tiller Assignment. Pedal Brakes Assignment with brake strength, Smart Park Brake, Allow Brake on One Pedal are all for optional Rudder Pedal addons with built in braking actions.
     

     
    THROTTLE CONFIGURATION: This is a brand new option on ToLiSS aircraft, but some actions have been reassigned.
    One moved here is the F1/F2 Toggle reversers (I use a joystick trigger!) option, and SMART THR LVER IDLE LOCK  and REV ON SAME AXIS are both new options...  with CL DETENT LOCATION (Interesting?) and MCT DETENT LOCATION are both here in having adjustment Sliders for throttle addon systems.
     
    ACTIONS: include "ADIRU Quick Alignment", and "Jump to next WPT (Waypoint)".
     
    "Auto-Pause " has four settings: OFF, ON WARNINGS, ON WARN  + CAUT (Caution) and ON WARN/CAUT/TOD (Top of Descent). At these points the Auto-Pause will automatically pause the (X-Plane) simulation, say as if a master caution or master warning goes off. Again you have to save the Settings on the menu for any of them to be effective.
     
    General Settings
    The General Settings tab has five sections in: PRODUCT INFO, VISUAL SETTINGS, STARTUP BEHAVIOUR, USER INTERFACE and MISCELLANEOUS.
     
    PRODUCT INFO: (Information) covers the current (ToLiSS) Version and build number and LICENSE ID, or Authorisation.
     
    VISUAL SETTINGS: include new options in; WING FLEX STRENGTH, WING FLEX FROM GEAR BUMPS (Landing) and (PFD, MAP/NAV & ECAM) SCREEN BACKGROUND GLOW sliders.
     
    Display (Instrument) reflections has been changed to just a REMOVE SCREEN REFLECTIONS (On/Off) selection. SKI/RAIN Windshield (Librain) effects can only be used currently in Open GL, but expect this item to change significantly with the release of X-Plane12 in that Librain/Rain/Snow features will then be the built in default effects in the new X-Plane12 version.
     
    "REFRESH PDF EVERY X CYCLES" This is an option for the weak graphic card users, in that instead of the heavy use every cycle to refresh the system displays, you can set the cycles to be redrawn either every 2nd or 4th cycle.
     

     
    STARTUP BEHAVIOUR : sets the aircraft to a certain startup situation (known as Cold or Hot), options include: OVHD XP START SETTING. COLD START TYPE in COLD+DARK, EXT POWER (connected) and the really all on with APU+ADIRU ON.
    DEFAULT TO COPILOT SEAT (On/Off). DEFAULT BARO in either HPA or InHG. Finally you can set your own default "Transition Altitude" via a slider.
     
    USER INTERFACE: are options on how you interact with the aircraft. Options include: USE MOUSE WHEEL GESTURES, SYNC BARO SETTINGS (separate or aligned Baro settings), POPOUT WINDOWS FOR POPUPS and you can save your set, or save your POPUP CONFIGURATION (Cockpit builders) on Quit.
     
    MISCELLANEOUS: ILS AUTO ALIGN is a feature in that if the custom scenery that rotates the runway; for in these cases when the ILS and the runway are not aligned anymore. The ToLiSS A340 plugin thereby contains a feature that detects if there is such custom scenery installed and then automatically realigns the ILS in the internal database to the new runway heading. XPDR COMPATIBILITY MODE, is the use of different transponder modes.
    CACHE ROUTES ONLY ON STARTUP;  a setting that prevents interruption when you enter your FROM/TO in the MCDU. If you enable this option, the plugin will only check your fms files once on startup. and the advantage is that you do not have interruptions when entering your FROM/TO, the disadvantage is: if you created the fms file for your flight plan AFTER loading the aircraft it won't find it.
     
    ENABLE AVITAB TABLET,  The AviTab tablet is installed on the lower left of the Pilot and usable if you have the AviTab plugin set in your plugin folder. For those that have an Navigraph account the use of Navigraph maps and tools are also available in the A340. You can hide or show the Tablet via this switch.
     

     
    Again remember you have to save the Preferences and Default values for them on the MISCELLANEOUS Page for them to be effective and in some instances a restart is required to activate a setting.
    ____________________
     
    Flying the ToLiSS Airbus A340-600
    First thing to get into your head is just how long the -600 aircraft is...   don't think like A330/A350 or even a Boeing B787 pilot, but be in like a A380 or B748 sized mind. Code F gates are the safest (A380/B748), The A346 is actually Code E, but you will need the extra space...
     

     
    ...   repositioned the A346 at Gatwick (EGKK) and finding a stand large enough to cater for my size was far harder than it looked, and I still felt my tail was hanging out.
     
    There are no ground vehicles or service elements (yet), and being in a beta version there is no GHD (Ground Handling Deluxe) vehicle .set yet either, but no doubt these aspects will come very quickly (there already is a .set for the JARDesign A340).
     

     
    Wind changed on me... so I used the "Second Flightplan" option to copy my installed route, make it active and change it for use with the reassigned Rwy 26L and SID WIZA4M to DVR (Dover). So easy to do. Yes Second Flightplans are not new to X-Plane, but here it is very easy to copy and quickly adjust the route, and that the MCDU does the job so very neatly as well is really impressive.
     

     
    Second (Better)Pushback of the day, and I can now start the engines, APU is running, so BLEED ON and ENGINE START to IGN  (Ignition)
     
    Engines are started in sequence, preferably with engine No. 1 first, that is in order to pressurise the blue hydraulic system, that pressure also supplies the parking brake accumulator.
    APU bleed does however also allow you to start two engines simultaneously. The preferred order of engine start is 1, 2, 3 then 4...  easy... but get the engine start sequence wrong, as I did intentionally (Starting No.4 first) and you get a load of electronic warnings (Hydraulics) and it is not at all easy to rectify.
    The engine bleed model is very good in considering the bleed mass flow for the engine start, in other words each engine start is not an exact replica of each other, but adjusted to each engine for realism.
     

     
    Engine sequence startup sounds are very nice, and now a far cry from the early ToLiSS days, all sound packages now are of high quality and come with specialised custom effects. All powered up, flaps set (1+F) and lighting on, it is time to go and the clock is now running.
     

     
    Notable is the set (check) the TO-Config button to display the right configuration for takeoff, very easy to forget, so I make it a takeoff mantra...  Gatwick is busy, always busy...  so you really feel the size of the -600 here, and of where you can or can not go.
     

     
    I take Taxiways AN and A, that gives me more open space to turn the A346 onto the runway RESA as the overrun at the start of RWY 26L is very large.
     

     
    Chrono (Clock) running and you push all the four petit throttle levers forward to the takeoff point. There is nothing like the push of a "Heavy" to get your adrenaline running, BIG and HEAVY are two words I love in aviation and the A340 fills that aspect perfectly...
     

     
    ....  my TOW (Total all up Weight) is 269585 kg, of that my fuel load is 44121 kg, and that means I am heavy with passengers, but with a flying time of just over 4 hours (4h:08m) I am heavy on payload, but lighter (on fuel) than when flying usually a very long haul route that this A346 is quite capable of. So the speed gathers rather quickly down RWY 26L...
     

     
    ...  Rotate is 173 +10 knts, and the lift and "Positive Climb" is clean...  and your away!
     

     
    Tilting gear now hangs in space, outboard bogies cant backwards, and the centre bogie cants forwards...  retracting the gear comes with some great sounds of mechanical and wind noise, not so much in the cockpit forward, but great in the cabin (Cabin sounds do nicely change frequencies as you move around the or go to the more front or rear of the aircraft).
     

     
    90º south follows the departure track of WIZA4M, then another 90º to MAY (Mayfield 117.90) then to DVR...
     

     
    ...  ToLiSS aircraft are amazing physically to fly (yes you can actually fly an Airbus manually). As the words "Smooth" and "Fluid" that comes easily to mind, and the aircraft will respond perfectly to your actions. So flying tight 90º turns are perfect and clean. ToLiSS has certainly set the benchmark on how these "heavy" aircraft respond and feel to your input actions.
     

     
    Heading towards the Channel, it is time to settle down after takeoff and fly the route, first is a change of speed to 305 kts, then a climb up to 35,000 ft, at 2200 fpm, with a reduction around 28,000ft to 1200 fpm... various weights (heavier or lighter) can obviously alter this procedure and the climb to altitude, but the A346 takes it all in it's stride.
     

     
    Tanking already begins... the complicated fuel system will transfer fuel as required, as the fuel system includes inflight CG control by pumping fuel to and from the tail tank. There is also here fuel jettison, manual and automatic transfers between the different tanks, and across the from the outer wing tanks to the inner tanks, all these procedures are fully automatic and every tanking action is displayed on the E/DW display.
     

     
    Long haulers love their toys...  Flip out work tables (yeah!) and pull down front window blinds are a super nice to have now in a ToLiSS aircraft, the side window shades however don't work (yet).
     

     

     
    Greta Thunberg would stamp her little feet and wave her little finger in the air...  the A340 is a serious climate killer, with four engines all pumping out that nasty oxide, "who cares", this is a great if brilliant aircraft to transport you (virtually) around the world. The Airbus A340-600 looks simply brilliant powering through the sky at altitude.
     
    Quickly we are already approaching Frankfurt, with EDDF now sliding below at 47m on the clock...
     

     
    ....  this point in my mind brings up the debate? Over the last few years, regularly now, we have had the same repeat inquiry on the .Org Forums. "What is the best aircraft for long haul"?
    To be honest X-Plane didn't deliver really good Long Haul aircraft...  that is not totally absolutely true, but the best ones in the FlightFactor's Boeing 777 and Peter's A380 are now very old, very dated. The FF A350 is not bad (after the last update), but the Magknight B787 Dreamliner also still falls far short of it's potential. The JARDesign twins A330/A340 are actually not bad and I like them a lot, if you like their old styling design, and finally the two 747s by SSG and Felis (B742) are quite complicated machines to fly. So there are really no clear winners here. The problem is highlighted even more in that most of the users in asking this "Long Haul Airliner" question are also very new to long haul flying...
     
    ToLiSS aircraft are interesting in this regard. They are certainly study depth, as the avionics, systems and Airbus laws are very and highly refined and ToLiSS is the X-Plane master Guru of Airbus behaviours and systems. That also makes it interesting? Because the systems in here are so highly refined and detailed, then this ToLiSS and the A346 is actually very easy to fly, even to a point being an automatic machine to Boeing's more physically manual aspect.
    I'm not saying you don't still need to understand the A340's systems and the flying behaviours, because you do...  but the A340 is quite an easy aircraft to learn on and to fly (very) long distances, and certainly if you are new to Airbus philosophy.
    Basically ToLiSS is doing the heavy lifting for you here, so the A346 aircraft is currently the No.1 choice if you want to do "Long Haul" flying and are new to the genre...  but don't just pop in and fly it around all the time just on automatic, learn the systems, learn the Airbus philosophy, as the ToLiSS A346 is light on the top, but very deep down below.
     
    You can jump from waypoint-to-waypoint through the cruise phase, and by-pass the boring bits...  to me this is an anathema in Long haul flying, as it is about the distance covered in real time and the numbers in feedback the aircraft gives you...  but the impatient out there will jump ahead to do long haul in a short haul time period, the ToLiSS A340 allows you to do this and very well in this aspect, but it goes very much against my long haul personal coda.
     
    The longer lighting as the day moved onwards (going faster as I am flying East) showed off the excellent detail and lovely textures on the instrument panel...  the more time you spend in here, the more you really love this A340 aircraft.
     

     
    You cruise around Mach 0.82 (470 kn; 871 km/h) at 35,000ft-39.000ft, but I found Mach 0.83 to be easily achieved with no loss of extra fuel consumption. 
     
    Lighting
    Another ToLiSS weakness on the A319/A321 was the internal lighting, before it was okayish. ToLiSS is now more in control on what features and areas than they were before...   but still to a point I approached the A346 lighting with some trepidation... 
    ...   but I wasn't at all disappointed, if in the very opposite and being very excited of all the lighting possibilities in the A340.
     


     
    All the lighting knobs work as per Airbus layouts...  including (now) all the under panel four lighting knobs. The two inner knobs cover the Autopilot panel top displays and lower text instruments...
     

     
    The two outer knobs we will talk about in a moment...  Above on are the three spots for the (Centre) Pedestal, and the two outer Reading lights...  Plus there is a MAP Switch (and even Console switches) left and right of each PFD that lights up both of your side panels.
     

     
    Roll out your work tables and the two outer under panel knobs adjust the lighting for each left and right tray for your convenience!
     

     
    Using the standard seven; FLOOD LT (MAIN and PED), INTEG LT, PFD, ND and the two ECAM (upper/lower) knobs you can successfully adjust to any sort of lighting conditions you want...  including (above right) my perfect cockpit dark and warm lit instrument panel for takeoff or landing, we will see this again in action on landing.
     
    Over head cockpit lighting is the standard Airbus three way CTL (main cockpit lighting switch) and the three way set STORM, BRT (Bright) and DIM selection.
     

     
    So the cockpit lighting in the overhead and the instrument panel selections is pretty well perfect...   The cabin is a surprise as well!
     
    In the day the cabin felt a bit grey and bland, but at night it is excellent.
     

     
    In the external dark the cabin comes well and truly alive, and a very nice place to be it is as well. With better lighting the cabin detail also comes out far better, including the window side panels and overhead bins. Most in here is lovely window and centre strip lighting, it is very well done.
     
    As it got darker we can now also look at some of the external lighting...
     

     
    ...  overall the exterior lighting is very, very good. There is nice star effects on the brighter lighting, and the cabin windows at night are very nice and not with the usual over bright cruise liner look.
     
    There are four (two each side) wing lights and they light up the wing and engines very nicely externally and from the cabin (for those who love their wing lighting effects), and the strobe lighting can be a bit blobby but work well in context..  Navigation lights are all basically similar in detail but again very good.
     

     
    Not keeping an eye on your instruments? The flightplan will alert you to important points if you forget to do them...  here it was a "Decelerate" alert in missing my TOD (Top of Descent) marker for Tel Aviv?
     

     
    I was bit a apprehensive of (yet again) having to learn yet another manipulator system, but the ToLiSS idea is actually very good, the trick is just to remember your PUSH (drag up), or PULL (drag down) positions, but was very quickly using it like a pro...   "just a bit of practise".
     
    I like the option, that when you have taken off...  the TISCS "Loading INFO" page will then show you your destinations METAR information, a great tip in getting your airports air pressure and wind direction/strength inserted ready for landing.
     

     
    Below 6000ft, Airbus allows you now to switch on the tail light which is an automatic system anyway, so you don't have to physically switch it on/off manually, and very good it is...
     

     
    ...  now I set up the cockpit lighting for landing, with most of the overhead lighting off, and the instruments modes set, the visual feel is subtle in your face with that perfect view out, I find it perfect!
     

     
    External lighting for landing is also very good...  Main landing lights and the twin taxi-lights give you a great lighting spread (and I do like the cloud reflections from the lighting, as they are excellent here).
     
    163 knts at full flap on finals and she feels good, ToLiSS aircraft are exceptional handing aircraft for manual landings, but be aware of the length of your long -600 tail as so you don't hit the runway rear first!
     

     
    The Autoland system is perfect, personally you could land almost hands off (the rudder inputs are important though) and the system will automatically guide you in...  over the threshold of LLBG Ben Gurion's 08L and your almost there...  a nice touch is that the cabin(s) darken for Takeoff/Landing, and I really like that aspect, and the view out is excellent.
     

     

     
    After three or four landings now, I am finding I'm coming in slightly too nose (pitch) high, not that bad... but something I need to work on?
     

     
    On the ground and I activate the reverse thrust of those fantastic Rolls-Royce Trent 556s, the reverser sounds are really excellent, they roar and blast into slowing you down...  another point is I feel the braking (Auto BRK) feels a bit weak, I set it for "2" but I still have to use the brakes a lot to reach my turnoff point (tricky here at the end of 08L into taxiway E, as it is so easy to miss and go down RWY 03/21).
     

     
    There are still two more nose lights available in "RWY TURN OFF & CAMERA"...  with all forward lighting on, and it is excellent to find your way around the field on the ground, as the beams in spread is very good and the light goes in were you are wanting to look.
    Assigned Gate D7 beckons, you have to be aware of the steering, as since the QPAC days then the  ToLiSS aircraft nose steering is very authentic, but can also take it's time to turn, so you have to anticipate your turns perfectly, certainly here with the A346 as it is so long an aircraft.
     

     
    APU Available (started on the taxiway), and you power down the engines, again in reverse 4,3,2 and 1...  look around and sigh!
     

     
    Good news is you get to do it all again tomorrow in this magnificent A340-600, just in going the other way.
     
    Liveries
    Provided are three official liveries (more may come yet if completed on time)...
     

     
    (Disclaimer): ToIISS notes that it is their policy in not to endorse brands or logos in being that Toliss is not licensed to use them, so the engine logos here are a GK (Gliding Kiwi) branded (Airbus however is officially licensed). I did personally however add in the RR logos to a livery to make the review more authentic to the real aircraft. And you will find most if not all 3rd party liveries will be also correctly branded.
     
    Painters have already produced a fair few A346 liveries...  I will note I found a lot incorrectly titled and don't work correctly (I think the PaintKit is incorrectly labeled), but they are easy to fix if you have the time...  in time everything will be corrected, but watch out for those missing winglet logos?
     
    Those already presented on the X-Plane.Org are excellent....  with Emirates, Lufthansa (Star Alliance), Virgin Atlantic and Swiss all great liveries.
     

    __________________
    Summary
    This is the third aircraft release form ToLiSS after their extremely well received and very popular Airbus A319-122, and then the larger A321-123. Both aircraft then came with NEO (New Engine Option) upgrades. In the background however was a far more ambitious project and certainly the largest Airbus yet from ToLiSS, the...   Airbus A340-600.
     
    The -600 is not the longest range of the Airbus A340 family, that accolade goes to the -500, but the A346 is the most versatile in both payload and range, sadly for four-engined aircraft have been on the decline around the world with their effenciency and environmental issues, but that should not take away anything from this extremely popular and really one of the great long-range aircraft.
     
    In the past the modeling and other various elements were of ToLiSS aircraft was exported to 3rd party commissions. But this A346 project was created totally 100% in house and this was to create a far more tighter control over the quality and a faster output, plus the addition of more features and detail.
    And the quality now ooozes out of this aircraft like none of the other ToLiSS aircraft before... it is not totally complete yet, as there are still a (very) few quirkes, but overall it is far higher and far better quality standard than any of the previous releases...  much improved over the other aircraft is the internal lighting (exceptional now) and external lighting and the external modeling (mostly with the far better engines) is all of a far higher quality, working animated work tables and windows blinds are new features to ToLiSS aircraft.
     
    System and Airbus Philosophy (flight control laws) are coming from the best X-Plane developer there is, so the Fly-by-wire system here is not only extremely good in normal law and alternate law 1, alternate law 2 and direct law, but even close to perfection...   plus they are some of the most natural flying Airbuses in simulation.
    Fuel system includes inflight CG control (excellent), ADIRU alignment (perfection), deep ECAM system with 30 warning and over 200 caution messages and a built in 140 system faults system that will either at a specific point in flight or randomly during a flight phases cause you issues. System wise this A340 is now the best X-Plane Airbus out there.
     
    Multi-Function Control and Display Units (MCDU) are excellent, and better still are both individual units for both the Captain and First Officer. These MCDUs are again top-notch with SID/STAR and airways support, VNAV guidance with TOC, TOD, Deceleration point, speed limits and full fuel prediction, Altitude and speed constraints and support for Go-Arounds and diversions, only thing I am not fussy about is the pop-up plates don't match or even feel like the same units installed, they are far too blue to the background grey in my eyes.
     
    The TISCS menu system or "ToLiSS Interactive Simulation Control System" is again also exceptional...  it comes with lots of features including the best aircraft SAVE system in X-Plane no doubt (It just works beyond and beyond), aircraft setup and performance tools are also excellent as are the new packaged sounds, the auto door system however has even more doors to correct now than ever before?
     
    One other important aspect in the ToLiSS Airbus A340-600 that is worth understanding, is that it is a very flexible aircraft to learn on and fly...  for the professional Airbus devotees out there, then they will revel in the complex systems and deep Airbus Philosophy...  but that is not to say that newcomers to Long-Haul flying are not provided for here either, as this excellent A346 is so well developed.
    As that a new pilot to these (Heavy-Extremely long haul) aircraft can also fly the aircraft (and actually) quite easily get a lot of learning and enjoyment out of the machine, and that factor is remarkable in that everyone all along the whole scale here is catered for, and X-Plane has wanted of such an accessable aircraft in this category and capacity for a long time.
     
    We always expect brilliance from ToLiSS and any aircraft they develop... This Airbus A340-600 is a mastercraft of a machine, in detail and systems, there are a (very few) areas that are yet still to be covered or touched up, but with projects this size, that is to be expected, and ToLiSS deliver updates very quickly...
    But currently this is simply an exceptional release for the X-Plane Simulator, and on this very date the very first A340-300 took its maiden flight on 25th October 1991. We should be so lucky to receive the same in it's -600 guise all these years later...
     
    This Airbus A340-600 from ToLiSS is a brilliant Simulation, and simply packed absolutely to the top with features and is certainly a... 
     
    "Highly Recommended Purchase".
    _________________________________
     

     
    Yes! the Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Airbus A340-600 by ToLiSS
     
    Price is US$89.99
     
    Most accurate system functionality for any A340 aircraft in the flight simulation world   Fully Featured Detailed FMGS: 3 independent MCDUs providing real life FMGS programming capability 2 independent autopilots SID/STAR and airways support in a fully custom FMGS backbone supporting all A424 leg types (Arc, course or heading to intercept, Radius to Fix, Holdings, etc.) Support for all approach types present in real life A340-600s, including GLS, ILS, LOC backcourse, etc. Full VNAV guidance with TOC, TOD, Deceleration point, speed limits, fuel prediction, etc. Altitude and speed constraints as the real aircraft deals with them Support for Go-Arounds and diversions Nav Aid autotuning Pilot item database, such as pilot fixes, pilot navaids etc. Flight plan saving via the Pilot routes page Equitime point computation and nearest airports page Accurate systems: Fly-by-wire system with reversion between normal law and alternate law 1, alternate law 2 and direct law as per real life logics. Hydraulic model for flight control actuators computing hydraulic flow through the actuators, the control surface hinge moment, maximum feasible deflection etc. This gives realistic surface floating angles if a control surface is lost due to combinations of hydraulic and computer faults. Quantitative hydraulic model considering the maximum hydraulic flows of the different pumps as a function of engine speed. This is most noticeable when flying on RAT or with wind milling engines Quantitative bleed model considering the bleed mass flow for engine start, wing anti-ice air conditioning packs etc. High fidelity fuel system including inflight CG control by pumping fuel to and from the tail tank, fuel jettison, manual and automatic transfers between the different tanks Detailled model of each ADIRU including alignment, small pressure sensor differences between the units, switching of sources for PFDs Fault injection system allowing to trigger over 140 system faults either at a specific point in flight or randomly during a flight phase Cockpit display system simulating the dependency of the displays on the Display management computers resulting in real life display limitations ECAM system with over 30 warning and over 200 caution messages including associated ECAM actions. 3d modelling Detailed 3d cockpit with animated switches Mouse gesture system for interaction with push-pull knobs emulating the motion on the knob with the mouse Detailed cockpit lighting with reading lights, console light, tray table lights etc. 4 class passenger cabin with underfloor lavatories and crew rest Custom particle effects for engine heat trail, Fuel jettison etc. Custom landing gear model for bogey touch down. Usability features Situation loading and saving. It is possible to save the flight at any point in time and resume it another day. This can also be used, e.g., to save the position just before approach and practice just the approach many times Autosaving allows recovering where you left off, should the X-Plane session end unexpectedly Jumping waypoint-to-waypoint through the cruise phase: Shorten your flight to focus on the more interesting parts as you like 4 different startup configuration from Cold and Dark to engines running and ready to go In-screen popup displays or use of x-plane windows for popups Adjustable Wingflex via a slider in the ISCS Possibility to turn the screen reflections on and off Auto-updater by Skunkcraft Included  
    Requirements Support for X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.5GB Release and Review Version 1..0 (October 25th 2020)   The AviTab Plugin IS required for this aircraft   Installation Download of the Airbus A346 is 986mb and it is installed in your Airliner Folder as a 1.85Gb folder. On start up you will have an activation screen presented to enter your Serial Number (Key), and then press the "Activate" bar to authorise the aircraft. I recommend to totally restart the aircraft from your desktop to realign all your plugins and load the aircraft cleanly.     There is extensive full instructions on how to set up the aircraft to your X-Plane settings (commands) and addons (Joysticks/Throttles) and other 3rd Party items in the "ToLiss_AirbusA340-600_SimulationManual".  
    Auto-updater by Skunkcraft is Included for any updates and changes
     
    Documents There are Three Manuals Included with the package. All are extensive and well laid out with great details   Aircraft manual, which is primarily intended as a reference after the tutorial has been completed. It provides a reference for standard operating procedures, as well as a more in- depth look into the different systems of the aircraft. Simulation manual : Describes installation, and setup of the model as well as usage of the “Interactive Simulation Control System”. Tutorial flight, which provides a step-by-step description of a complete flight from cold & dark to aircraft shut-down after landing. This is the best manual to learn flying the aircraft.  
    ToLiss_AirbusA340-600_AircraftManual.pdf ToLiss_AirbusA340-600_SimulationManual.pdf ToLiss_AirbusA340-600_Tutorial _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    25th October 2021
    Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55
    Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGKK - London Gatwick Airport v2 by Pilot+Plus (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$21.00
    - LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99 - Full review availble here: Scenery Review : LLBG - Airport Ben Gurion XP by Aerosoft
     
    (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
     

     
  25. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from markpi in NEWS! - Aircraft Released : Airbus A340-500 by JARDesign   
    NEWS! - Aircraft Released : Airbus A340-500 by JARDesign
     

     
    After a very long development period, JARDesign have now released their Airbus A340-500 aircraft to join their already successful A320neo and A330 Airbus aircraft fleet.
     
    The A340-500 model is the long-long range champion of long but thin routes, if you want that challenge, then this is now the best airliner currently in to do so...  and very good long-haul aircraft are also very thin on the ground in X-Plane and this aircraft fills in a nice niche that is missing from long-haul flying with a sensational 16,670 km / 9,000 nmi range.
     
    JARDesign as a developer is one of the sort of pioneers and to a point even a renegade of development for the X-Plane Simulator, they have produced aircraft for as long as I have been in simulation, and mostly all are Airbus aircraft. Their aircraft in the A320neo and A330-200 have been the mainstay of Airbus flying in the simulator, but also there is the addition of some very clever addons, with Ground Handling Deluxe (GHD), FM (Follow Me) Car, X-Life (Traffic) and their latest in a fully operating Co-Pilot feature.
     
    Feature list is extensive!
    Beautiful and Detailed 3D Model: External, Cockpit and Cabin 3D model based on real aircraft data Hi-Resolution External 4K PBR textures with normal maps Advanced wingflex simulation with ultra-smooth animation Highly detailed Landing Gear animation Animated cargo and passengers doors controlled via MCDU 3-class passenger cabin with automatic controlled 3D lights Virtual Cockpit Animated Switches, Knobs, Levers and Tables in the cockpit Animated wipers and windshield sun visors in the cockpit Custom plugin based Realistic cockpit and external 3D lights Advanced custom real-feeling FCU knobs control system Pilots seen in cockpit in external view mode Hi-Resolution PFD, ND, EWD and SYS displays Flight Model and FMGS:  Custom FMGS system with all main features required for normal flight Common failures can be triggered SID / STARS procedures based on NavData Take off data - V1, V2, VR, DTo and THS/FLAPS calculated by helper on MCDU Perf page  Multi-function MCDU for full aircraft control, optimum flight level, fuel prediction, etc. Multiple ECAM pages for review and selection Ground Handling operation via MCDU or automatically by Ground Handling plugin (by JARDesign) Easy-to-use PayLoad and fuel loading via MCDU menu Embedded Flight Plan generator based on navdata cycle Enter Flight Plan manually or read from SimBrief/PFPX text file Aircraft systems with real aircraft logic and indications Custom Fly-By-Wire system with Normal law and Flight Envelope Protections Custom terrain radar Custom DCDU Metar reading System modelled Air Conditioning, Pressurization, Ventilation, Auto Flight,Communications, Electrical, Equipment, Fire Protection, Flight Controls, Fuel,Hydraulic, Ice and Rain Protection, Indicating/Recording Systems, Landing Gear, Lights, Navigation, Oxygen, Pneumatic, Information System, APU, Doors , Power Plant Other systems Weather radar for default XP weather Custom Hot-Start function MCDU 2D pop-out widget Sound volume control 2D widget Lateral and Vertical Flightplan 2D widget Realistic 3D sound based on real aircraft sound recording CoPilot (by JARDesign) plugin compatible (not included) Ground Handling (by JARDesign) plugin compatible for free (not included) X-Life (by JARDesign) plugin compatible (not included) Better PushBack plugin compatible (not included) Integrated tablet using popular Avitab plug-in  

     

     

     

     
    The long awaited JARDesign Airbus A340-500 is now available for the X-Plane Simulator from the X-Plane.OrgStore
     
    Images are courtesy of JARDesign
     
    X-PlaneReviews extended review of the new JARDesign A340-500 will follow soon... So look out for it!
     
    ______________________________________________________________________
     

     
    Yes! the Airbus A340-500 by JARDesign is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:
     
    JARDesign 340-500 Airliner
    Price is US$59.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 11  Windows, Mac (Linux NOT supported at this time) 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 415 MB Current version: 1.0R1 (August 1st 2021) ___________________________
     
    News by Stephen Dutton
    1st August 2021
    Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
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